Saturday, July 14, 2007
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday July 14, 2007 [04:00]
ZAMBIA should have been better off than the World Bank if the money borrowed from the international lending institution was used properly, finance and national planning minister Ngandu Magande has said. And outgoing World Bank country manager Dr Ohene Nyanin has said his organisation intends to stay longer in Zambia while assisting in the fight against poverty.
During an office warming party for the World Bank which will now be housed at Pyramid Plaza in Lusaka, Magande said Zambia could have been one of the developed countries if it properly utilised resources borrowed from the Bretton Wood institution which has had its presence in the country for long.
“We have been borrowing money from the World Bank for many years and the country should have been better off than the bank by now,” Magande said. “We have now agreed with the World Bank that the money coming to Zambia should go into the development of the productive sectors.”
Magande said borrowed resources from institutions such as the World Bank should be used to build the country’s wealth.
“We have now sailed across the river and what we need to do is firmly put our feet on the ground,” Magande said. “I see a lot of opportunities for Zambia and the Zambians.
There is a foreign company which is interested to come and invest in the production of agriculture lime in Mazabuka. This company will also be making fertiliser.” Magande also said Zambia’s poor reading culture had contributed to the country’s underdevelopment.
“We need to know and learn what others have done to achieve economic growth. This is why it is important for people to read as much as they can at all times,” Magande said.
He also said he would ensure Zambia maintains the fiscal discipline it had achieved over the past few years.
“For as long as I remain the Minister of Finance for the coming years, I will ensure we still maintain the fiscal discipline in this country,” said Magande.
And Dr Nyanin said the African continent would one day become needless as a result of the sufficient support being given to several countries in the region for various development projects.
“We intend to continue helping countries like Zambia, although this will not be for too long because one day, Zambia and Africa as a whole will one day not have a need. Until then, the World Bank will do everything it can to help these countries come out of poverty,” Dr Nyanin said. “What we see now is a Zambia that has reached the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative completion point, we see a Zambia that has a reduced annual inflation rate.”
The World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which also has its offices at the Pyramid Plaza, will soon launch a joint information center for use by members of the public.
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday July 14, 2007 [04:00]
A LOCAL business consultant has advised Zesco Limited to identify stakeholders that could help jump-start the utility’s operations for efficient supply of electricity in the country. And Small Holder Enterprise and Marketing Programme (SHEMP) Agribusiness Development Component team leader Gerrit Struyf said the current increase in demand for electricity necessitated by huge investments in mining would affect the agricultural sector if remedial measures are not quickly implemented.
Meanwhile, energy and water development permanent secretary Buleti Nsemukila has said the ministry would engage Zesco Limited to discuss the issue of infrastructure and tariffs raised by the power utility.
Jones Kalyongwe, in an interview, said the current problems in generation and supply of electricity in the country was as a result of inadequate cost-effective analysis of the power utility’s machinery.
“Zesco Limited should seriously look at its internal stakeholders and it should identify the interested stakeholders who can help in the running of the power utility,” Kalyongwe said. “It is important to identify the level of the stakeholders’ contribution and see what impact they can have on the current projects that Zesco Limited is carrying out.”
Zesco Limited managing director Rhodnie Sisala on Wednesday said the current load shedding was not attitude problem but as a result of inadequate investments in infrastructure.
Sisala said an upward adjustment to the current electricity tariffs could help the power utility finance some of its huge projects for efficient and quality supply of electricity in the country.
But Kalyongwe said Zesco Limited should access funding from the government, considering that a substantial amount allocated to line ministries was currently lying idle in commercial banks.
“We have heard the president talk about some Chinese who want to partner with Zesco Limited in electricity generation for the country. We have also heard the managing director of Zesco Limited saying that the utility cannot import power from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) because interconnector had been vandalised. And recently the Secretary to the Treasury indicated that about K700 billion meant for operations of different government ministries is lying idle in commercial banks.
Why can’t Zesco borrow this money?” Kalyongwe asked. “I worked in a factory before and the most important thing is to heavily invest in critical standby equipment which can be used in situations where you have a crisis. The equipment is quite expensive but it is the most important investment that big companies like Zesco Limited can ever make.”
Kalyongwe said investments in infrastructure for power generation should be made if that was the immediate solution to current power deficits the country was experiencing.
“In order to guard the economic life of Zambia, there is need to find a solution to the problem of power shortages by investing heavily in this sector,” Kalyongwe said.
“And I don’t think increasing electricity tariffs will be the best way to generate resources to fund Zesco’s projects. This will just alienate Zesco Limited from its clients. It is all about learning strategic management and planning so that critical planning can be done on how the utility should operate profitably in future.”
And Struyf said the current huge projects in the mining sector posed a serious threat to commercial agriculture since the mines consumed a lot of energy.
“Two smelters will soon be commissioned in Zambia and a lot more investments in the mining sector are happening in this country. I do not know whether the farmers are going to benefit anything from the current generated electricity.
The current situation which farmers have complained about is the load shedding and it has become very difficult to irrigate,” Struyf said. “What is needed is long term planning on the part of Zesco Limited so that most of the key sectors of the economy are supported through the efficient supply of electricity in the country.”
Nsemukila said the government was aware of numerous problems being faced by Zesco Limited and that his ministry would soon engage the power utility to critically discuss its challenges.
“As you are aware, the Minister of Energy has dissolved the Zesco and Energy Regulation Board (ERB) boards,” Nsemukila said. “On the issues that Zesco is raising, government is aware of these issues. It will be appropriate that the ministry engages them over issues raised such as the problem of infrastructure and tariffs. Zesco has been doing some rehabilitations of its plants and that is on-going. Otherwise, we will start hold meetings with them (Zesco) and we will issue a press statement after that.”
Zesco currently generates around 1,200 mega watts of electricity against a peak demand of over 1,400 mega watts, meaning the power utility has to either import the deficit of about 250 mega watts or carry out load shedding in order to stabilise the system.
Rehabilitation works and up-rating of Zesco’s major equipment is being undertaken, with hopes of increasing installed capacity from the current 1,670 mega watts to close to 2,000 mega watts at the end of the project.
Saturday July 14, 2007 [04:00]
It cannot be denied that the standards of education in Zambia are declining, not only at the highest institution of learning but at all levels. This must be a very worrying concern to all those concerned about the development of our country. That is why UNZA chancellor Dr Jacob Mwanza’s observation that the university’s reputation has, in the perception of many, declined over the past 15 years or so should be taken seriously. And in our view, this decline is real. It is not just a perception.
Access to quality education should be a must for all. In our world today, conditions are constantly changing and for one to adapt to these changes, they must have good education. Even those who are already educated must go on improving their education.
It is for this reason that we should continue to spend more and more money on education. A society or country that values its successful future affords the highest priority in providing quality education for all, from nursery up to university.
Dr Mwanza attributes the decline in the university education to the brain drain that led to low staffing levels and instability brought about by student and staff unrest. Yes, this observation is correct but we feel there are more problems or issues which have contributed to the fall of education standards in our country.
Our education sector is faced with more challenges from all fronts today. We may have what we may call an education sector but beneath it there are a myriad of problems.
These problems range from poor conditions of service for teachers to insufficient classroom and lodging space for students and school children.
How can we expect quality education when both the teachers and students have got so many complaints touching on their personal and professional lives?
We have to be more serious and focused as a country if this trend has to be redressed. It is time we started addressing these problems that are compromising the quality of education if we are to achieve any development as a country. We should not be under any illusion that Zambia will develop when our education system is not greatly improved.
And quality education is never cheap. Quality education will always require more and more resources. Yes, Zambia’s resources may be limited but we should remind ourselves that good things do not come cheaply.
But if we are to change this state of affairs, we first need to understand what is going on in our education sector and the implications to the country. UNZA vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga has appealed to the government to allow the university to start charging economic fees to help offer quality instruction to students.
It is true that UNZA is seriously under-funded and highly in debt with several suppliers of goods and services. UNZA owes its suppliers over K100 billion and it is not possible under the current circumstances for the university to liquidate this amount.
If this under-funding is not addressed in a meaningful manner, it will soon prove to be a serious fetter to the development of our country. In most cases, UNZA gets less than 40 per cent of its budgetary allocation. How can we expect our university to function effectively and efficiently with that kind of financial support?
For as long as this continues, our universities and other institutions of learning will never be run in a stable and orderly manner. It doesn’t matter how intelligent the UNZA management can be, the current problems will not disappear from the university in the absence of adequate funding.
As we have said before, the university or indeed any other institutions of higher learning are not a business like the Zambia State Insurance Corporation or Zambia National Commercial Bank which can run on their own after the injection of initial capital.
That is why we feel Professor Simukanga’s proposal of increasing fees is not sustainable. Education is an investment that the state has to continually sustain. We shouldn’t deceive ourselves that UNZA can be commercialised or turned into a profit making enterprise.
Even in more advanced countries of the West, education is still being funded by the state using money from the national treasury.
This is out of a realisation that no country can develop and continue to do so without educated people.
This explains why education levels in our country are forever on the decrease. We all know how many of the many educated Zambians today benefited from UNIP’s policy of free education. Now the gap is constantly widening between the generation that received quality education under the free-education policy and the generation of today which is not benefiting from that arrangement.
These are the realities we should confront as a country and find lasting solutions to, otherwise we will be setting the country on a path of self-destruction if this problem remains unattended to.
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday July 14, 2007 [04:00]
THE University of Zambia (UNZA)’s reputation has in the perception of many declined in the last 15 years due to brain drain that led to low staffing levels and instability brought about by student and staff unrest, UNZA chancellor Dr Jacob Mwanza has said. And UNZA vice-chancellor Professor Stephen Simukanga has appealed to the government to allow the university to start charging economic fees to help offer quality instruction to students.
But University of Zambia Students Union (UNZASU) president Sage Samuwika said instead of increasing school fees, management should demand increased funding from government.
During the 37th Graduation Ceremony at the UNZA Great East Road Campus, Dr Mwanza yesterday said in the last 15 years, the reputation of UNZA had declined in the perception of many.
He said with the recent appointment of Prof Simukanga as vice-chancellor and the recruitments in other principal officer positions of UNZA provided a unique opportunity for renewal and regeneration under a new leadership.
"I therefore call upon the various interest groups in the university to allow the new administration a quiet period for reflection on how the university should get to where it ought to be; an institution of service and excellence with all its lost glory," he said.
About 1,741 students graduated in the bachelors degree, undergraduate diploma, certificate in adult education, postgraduate diploma, masters and PhD categories.
And Dr Mwanza told the graduands that Zambia needed leaders like them to contribute to the new knowledge-driven economy. Prof Simukanga said there was need to review the level of fees that the university charged students.
"At the moment, the university is charging one third of the current economic fee per year. This affects the quality and levels of instructional activities that could be offered in terms of equipment and practical assignments," Prof Simukanga said.
"My passionate plea to government is to allow the university to charge reasonable, if not cost-effective, fees which would help it offer quality instruction to its students."
Prof Simukanga said inadequate funding was the key challenge facing UNZA.
"The government grant for the University of Zambia does not cover all the needs," he said.
Prof Simukanga said the other challenge was that of indebtedness. He said UNZA owed its retirees and serving staff billions of Kwacha, which could not easily be disposed of with the current levels of funding.
Prof Simukanga said addressing challenges facing society today meant that “we must come to terms with the present and plan for the future”.
“In this regard, it is central that we recognise our place in Zambia and our historical context; claim our rightful place in the intellectual community of scholars; be flexible on access, and activity in redress and rigorous on success; promote equal opportunity and the development of human potential; strive for inter-disciplinary and inter-institutional collaboration and synergy, and above all, value the contributions all our members of staff make to the realisation of our mission,” he said. But Samuwika said management should demand increased funding from government rather than increasing tuition fees.
"As we go to the national symposium which the Ministry of Education is organising, we shall emphasise on the need for the government to increase the funding," Samuwika said. "It's not right now to increase the fees because the first and second year students are paying fees that are different from those of the third and fourth year students. Also, the fifth year students goingup wards are paying their own fees, so why increase the fees?"
By Sandra Lombe in Lusaka and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Saturday July 14, 2007 [04:00]
LUAPULA Province UNIP chairperson Mwansa Musunte has said Colonel Panji Kaunda weakened UNIP in Eastern Province. And MMD Eastern Province chairperson Lameck Mangani has welcomed Col Panji’s resignation from UNIP. In an interview on Thursday, Musunte said Luapula Province had accepted Col Panji's resignation but did not agree with his sentiments that there was no vision and unity in the party.
"A statement by UPND that they were targeting UNIP, after some FDD members defected to it, was undermining us as a party," he said. "Panji as UDA chairperson weakened the party. We can't continue to be with people whose interest is in another party."
Musunte said UNIP members in Luapula were behind their party president Tilyenji Kaunda because he had turned round the economic performance of the party.
Col Panji last Saturday resigned from the party saying the party lacked vision and unity among others.
His final departure from the party followed differences with his brother Tilyenji over management of UNIP.
Col Panji accused his brother of running the party from his bedroom. He also supported FDD candidate Charles Banda in the by-election while his party fielded Levison Mumba. Tilyenji has been elusive to comment on his brother’s resignation from the party. And Mangani who is also Eastern Province minister said UNIP had lost its burning power.
"UNIP has lost its burning power and it’s unfortunate that most people in UNIP do not recognise that," he said. "Tilyenji though being nice can't provide political leadership required of a modern political party."
He said there were many rooms in MMD as he invited Col Panji to join it.
"My advise to Panji as he is reflecting on his next step, he should take into account that he should join forces which will add value to his talents, for us in MMD, we have many rooms," Mangani said.
Meanwhile, Nyimba district UNIP chairman Fastone Mumba resigned from the party citing immature leadership exhibited by Tilyenji.
"I joined UNIP on 23 December 1961; I became a full-time leader in 1980 but today, (11 July 2007) I have decided to resign. Since 2001 elections there has been a lot of immaturity and impotency in the running of UNIP, Tilyenji has no driving force to lead the party," Mumba said.
Mumba said he fully supported Col Panji’s stance. But former Chadiza UNIP member of parliament Philip Zulu accused Col Panji of having destroyed the party in the province.
"Why is Panji and Phiri leaving UNIP after messing it? They have contributed to the destruction of the party in the province. These people are the destructors, destroyers and spoilers of UNIP I don’t know where they are going," Zulu said.
By Stephen Gowans
July 10, 2007
When Africa scholar Mahmoud Mandani looks at the slaughter and displacement of civilians in Darfur he notices something odd. The mass death of civilians in Darfur has been called a genocide, but slaughters of civilians of similar magnitude in Iraq and on a larger scale in Congo have not.
According to the World Food Program, about 200,000 civilians have died in Darfur, 80 percent from starvation and disease, and 20 percent from violence. Close to 700,000 have been displaced(1). This, the US government, calls a genocide.
But 600,000 Iraqis have died since 2003 as a result of violence related to the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq (2) and 3.7 million have either fled to neighboring countries or are internally displaced (3).
"I read about all sorts of violence against civilians," says Mamdani, "and there are two places that I read about - one is Iraq, and one is Darfur ... And I'm struck by the fact that the largest political movement against mass violence on US campuses is on Darfur and not on Iraq." (4)
If Darfur is modest in comparison to Iraq, both are pipsqueeks compared to Congo. There, some four million civilians have been slaughtered over several years, largely as a result of intervention by US proxies, Uganda and Rwanda.
In Somalia, 460,000 civilians have been displaced by fighting sparked by a US-backed and assisted invasion by Ethiopia (5). That invasion was aimed at ousting the popularly-backed Islamic Courts Union, which had brought a measure of stability to Somalia. "In the six months the Islamic courts (governed Somalia), less than 20 people lost their lives through violence. Now, that many die in 10 minutes," observes Hussein Adow, a Mogadishu businessman (6).
Why is there is a Save Darfur Campaign, but no Save Congo Campaign and no Save Somalia Campaign?
Mamdani says that people in the West don't react to the mass slaughter of civilians but to the labels their governments and media attach to them.
"Genocide is being instrumentalized by ... the United States," he explains. "It is being instrumentalized in a way that mass slaughters which implicate its adversaries are being named as genocide and those which implicate its friends or its proxies are not being named as genocide."
Mandani calls this "the politics of naming."
The politics of naming isn't limited to the question of which slaughters are named genocide and which aren't. It applies too to the question of which regimes are called dictatorial, repressive and brutal (and so must be changed), and which are not (and so should be left in peace.)
Take the case of Ethiopia and Zimbabwe. Tons of printer's ink have been consumed by Western newspapers denouncing Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe. According to the Western narrative, he is as a dictator who steals elections, represses the opposition and cracks heads to stay in power.
But Mugabe's government, in view of concerted efforts from outside and within to overthrow it, is remarkably restrained. Archbishop Pious Ncube, one of the government's most vociferous critics, recently called on Zimbabwe's former colonial master, Britain, to remove Mugabe through military means. "We should do it ourselves," he added, "but there's too much fear. I'm ready to lead the people, guns blazing, but the people are not ready." (7) (Imagine Noam Chomsky calling for a coalition of Russia, China, Venezuela, Iran and north Korea to invade the US to force Washington to end its occupation of Iraq. "I'm ready to lead the people, guns blazing," he might say, "but the people are not ready." How long would it be before Chomsky was hustled off to jail?)
Ncube isn't the first government opponent to threaten a campaign of violence to oust Mugabe. And yet Ncube and others remain at liberty to call for sanctions, outside military intervention and insurrection to depose the government.
Ethiopia, on the other hand, is a cipher. It receives little coverage from the Western media, and even less attention from people who routinely denounce the Sudanese and Zimbabwean governments from the left.
That's odd, for the Ethiopian government has all the flaws the Zimbabwean government is said to have that arouse so much moral indignation.
Ethiopia "jails it citizens without reason or trial, tortures many of them, and habitually violates its own laws.
"The government was ... severely criticized for a 2005 crackdown in which tens of thousands of opposition members were jailed and nearly 200 people killed after elections in which the opposition made major gains.
"Ethiopian officials ... have expelled many foreign journalists and representatives of human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch." (9)
Disputed elections, crackdowns on the opposition, expulsion of journalists: this resembles the charge sheet against Mugabe. So why isn't Melawi as thoroughly excoriated as Mugabe is?
A July 9th Reuters' report says, "Ethiopian prosecutors demanded the death penalty for 38 opposition officials convicted of trying to overthrow the government, treason and inciting violence.
"The officials were convicted last month of charges relating to violent protests over disputed elections in 2005 that the opposition says were rigged.
"Nearly 200 people were killed in clashes between protestors and security forces over the vote.
"Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said he regretted the post-poll violence, but blamed it on opportunistic rioters and an opposition conspiracy to topple him by force."
I read the Reuters' article to a friend, but replaced Ethiopia with Zimbabwe and Zenawi with Mugabe. There seemed nothing out of the ordinary to her. And indeed, it's likely that most people in the West would not have detected the deception. It meshes with the Western narrative on Zimbabwe. If you've been reading Western press accounts, you would expect Mugabe to round up the opposition (whose leaders have long threatened the violent overthrow of the government), charge them with treason, and seek their execution. But he hasn't.
Had he, a storm of indignation would have swept the Western world. Yet Zenawi does the same, and no politician works himself up into high moral dudgeon, no calls are made for sanctions or Western military intervention, and no emergency meeting of the UN Security Council is convoked. Just a solitary Reuters' dispatch. Why?
The answer is that Ethiopia is fully within Washington's orbit, acting as a reliable proxy enforcing US geopolitical interests in the resource-rich Horn of Africa. Zimbabwe, by contrast, pursues the opposite tact, implementing policies that seek to free itself from Western domination and to frustrate US imperial designs on the continent.
Zimbabwe indigenizes its agriculture and economy; Ethiopia intervenes militarily in Somalia at the behest of Washington, to restore a US-puppet government.
Weeks before Ethiopia invaded Somalia, US General John P. Abizaid flew to Addis Ababa to arrange for Zenawi to unleash the US-trained Ethiopian military on Somalia. Washington even went so far as to shelter Ethiopia, whose military relies on equipment made in north Korea, from penalty for violating UN-sanctions against north Korean arms sales. Ethiopia needed to import replacement parts from north Korea if the invasion was to go ahead without a hitch. Washington, which championed the sanctions, said "go ahead." (9)
Numberless people are being manipulated by Western governments and media, their outrage harnessed to achieve geopolitical goals that have nothing whatever to do with human rights and democracy, and everything to do with the question of who gets to control the oil spigot, mining concessions and vast tracts of fertile land.
Mamdani calls those caught up in the Save Darfur Campaign innocents. The same could be said of those caught up in the dump Mugabe campaign.
Friday, July 13, 2007
EDITOR — I urge Zimbabweans across the political divide to please have the country at heart. I was shocked by statements made by Morgan Tsvangirai, who claimed that the price freeze is a Zanu-PF election campaign gimmick, the price reduction meant to benefit even his relatives?
Where are you buying your groceries Morgan? You know Morgie, you do not have to oppose just for the sake of opposing. Zimbabwe was liberated by its own gallant sons and daughters. That is why we are free today; we were not liberated by Britain or the United States.
We all know that Morgan not only fled the struggle but also travelled the world calling for sanctions that have caused untold suffering on innocent people.
But now we are pursuing home-grown solutions to solve the mess you Morgan invited upon us with your lackey politics.
Remember Zanu-PF yakakurera ukakura Morgan.
How dare you try to sell our country to foreigners? I am glad you failed, why don’t you just leave politics and try something else my brother?
You could try your hand at preaching the Word of God, since you once said you wanted to pray for the nation at Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield.
Morgan, Zimbabwe doesn’t need an opposition party because there is nothing to oppose at the moment.
Surely, everything the Government is doing now is for us all and deserves our support.
I agree with you that some of your friends’ shops were ordered to reduce prices, which is why their shelves are semi-empty but very soon everything will be fine.
If your friends keep on closing their shops, I do not think that Zimbabweans will suffer because we can survive with what we have, no matter how poor we are, we can even reopen those shops on our own.
Those who do not want to comply with a legitimate Government directive must just close shop and leave the businesses to those with Zimbabwe at heart.
Let us work for our country Morgan and support Zanu-PF, the Government and the Reserve Bank in order to achieve our goals.
Let me also take this opportunity to tell the nation that if, by any chance, Morgan wins the 2008 presidential elections, I will commit suicide because there will be absolutely nothing to live for.
A Namibian delegation is in Zimbabwe to assess small-scale mining activities, a move that is likely to see the sector attracting lucrative deals from that country. The delegation, headed by the Namibian director of mining, Mr Erasmus Chivolo, went on a tour of small-scale mines in Mazowe and Kwekwe, in the company of officials from the Zimbabwe Miners’ Federation.
ZMF chief executive Mr Wellington Takavarasha said the visit was a milestone for small miners with the Namibians expressing a keen interest to invest in the sector, particularly in terms of providing equipment.
"We have officials from the Namibian Ministry of Mines and Energy, they want to see how we manage small-scale mining in Zimbabwe, and use that knowledge to develop the sector in their country. From this visit we are likely to see some investments from them especially in the areas of human resources because Zimbabwe is blessed with a workforce with technical expertise," he said.
Stakeholders in the sector will also visit Namibia on a return visit where they will learn more about diamond mining and processing.
"We have also been invited to Namibia, they specialise in diamonds and so we will have a chance to see diamond mining and processing in case our members might want to venture into diamond mining," he said.
Small-scale miners have a great potential to contribute towards the country’s economic turnaround if given adequate funding.
Their progress is hampered by lack of mining equipment with some of them still using primitive tools such as hammers and chisels to extract gold.
Despite poor machinery they contribute at least 40 percent of the country’s gold output. Due to this contribution small-scale mining has attracted foreign investors who come in the country to assess their operations. Some of these come from within the region while others come from as far as Asia and Canada.
By WALLEN SIMWAKA
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa says political parties, and not civil society groups, will lead the constitution-making process. And President Mwanawasa has asked political parties to put aside their differences and dedicate their energies to issues that would improve the well being of the Zambian people. Speaking on arrival at the Livingstone International Airport yesterday, Mr Mwanawasa said if the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) wanted to participate in the constitution-making process, it was important for them to affiliate themselves to political parties.
NGOs did not have the people's mandate for them to start championing the constitution-making process, he said. He wondered why NGOs were concerned with matters of government instead of dealing with poverty and hunger.
"I feel the question of the constitution-making process should be led by politicians and not the NGOs.
If the NGOs want to contribute to the process, they should join political parties,” he said.
“We have never refused them from joining political parties. Why should they be concerned with matters of government? Instead of talking poverty, you have engaged yourselves into politics."
The President said it was a breach of the law for NGOs to abandon their responsibilities and engage in politics. He said Government had decided that political parties would lead the constitutional process because NGOs had continued to denounce him despite several meetings with them to share constructive suggestions on the matter.
"I have met many NGOs and although I have made constructive suggestions, they have gone out to denounce me by calling me a trickster and manipulator," he said.
Mr Mwanawasa also said political differences among parties should not stand in the way of national development. He said Zambia was more important than individual aspirations and that it was important for political parties to take a reconciliatory route.
He commended Livingstone member of Parliament, Sakwiba Sikota, for seconding his proposal at the inter-party summit on how the constitution should be dealt with. He also commended Mr Sikota for receiving him at the airport, saying the gesture was a symbol of reconciliation.
“The last time I spoke about Mr Sikota I said a lot of bad things against him and even challenged him to join me at a political rally so that I could dress him down,” he said. “All that is now history and we have reconciled and are dialoguing because Zambia is more important than Mr Sikota and Mwanawasa."
He said he respected the decision of the people of Livingstone to elect Mr Sikota as their representative.
Meanwhile, the President cautioned the Patriotic Front (PF) not to return to the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) with a motive to cause confusion. Mr Mwanawasa hoped the PF was coming back into the ZCID to make meaningful and honest contributions on the constitution-making process.
PF had agreed to the constitutional conference as the mode of adopting the constitution at the ZCID summit of presidents, but changed their position a day later. Mr Mwanawasa said it was surprising that the PF president, Michael Sata, changed his mind on what was agreed and started denouncing him barely hours after agreeing.
He said the PF decided to pull out of the ZCID but when the Government of Netherlands started donating computers to political parties they returned to say they were still part of the group.
"When we first met at the ZCID summit, Mr Sata agreed with us and there was a picture where we were photographed with him on my right side like God and His Son Jesus Christ. But he changed his mind the following day and started denouncing me,” he said.
“Today if Mr Given Lubinda says we are in it, it is because they have come to eat. We hope PF will honestly contribute to the process. If he is coming to cause confusion, I suggest that he leaves and sits with the Oasis Forum and come up with their own roadmap.”
He asked Zambians to pray for political leaders so that God could continue giving them wisdom.
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
There is a mistaken belief among our politicians that those in opposition cannot see eye to eye with the ones in the ruling party. It is also a general practice that politicians in the ruling party should not recognise or respect anything coming from the opposition. That is why Patriotic Front president Michael Sata is quick to say that President Levy Mwanawasa has destroyed or ruined Sakwiba Sikota's political career by reconciling with him. As far as Sata is concerned, Levy and Sikota should continue beating each other with a live snake if Sikota has to have 'a strong opposition leg' to stand on. The two should continually be at loggerheads with each other.
Like we have said before, there is nothing wrong in people reconciling. To reconcile is to become friendly with someone after estrangement or to re-establish friendly relations between two or more people, to settle a quarrel or difference or to make compatible two apparently conflicting things.
This is a good thing to do for people who find themselves in such situations. This is because there is not a river that flows without a sound just like every home has its quarrels. Even hoes that dig together often knock each other. People who live or work together at times do quarrel. This is normal human living.
But when it comes to reconciling, the reconciling parties should reconcile in good faith. Reconciliation should be genuine. And this is the concern of many people because in most cases politicians do not seem to engage themselves in genuine processes of reconciliation or dialogue. In fact, politicians declare that in politics there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. For them, principles do not seem to matter. It is political expedience that matters more.
And so if it suits Sata to embrace Katele Kalumba and pose for a photograph with him for his political mileage, he will do that with pride and without realising that Katele's hands are dirty. But when it doesn't suit him, Sata will be the first one to say Katele should not do this or that because his hands are dirty. These are the inconsistencies that our people are concerned about.
Levy and Sikota can reconcile, and this is good, but for what consideration? This is the key question. If Levy and Sikota have reconciled for public good, that is welcome. But if the two have reconciled to promote their personal interests under the guise of serving the public, then that is unacceptable. If that is the case then it is not only Sikota's political career that will be ruined; even Levy's political career will equally be dented because he will be exposing himself as a political schemer or engineer who wants to compromise citizens for his own good.
Before that is established, we should be encouraging people to reconcile and work together for public good. This is what we believe in. That is why the other day we criticised Nevers Mumba's so-called reconciliation with Levy because we sincerely believe that it is, or was done, in bad faith. And the bad faith was displayed in Nevers' lies. He denied ever asking anyone to re-introduce him to the MMD for the purpose of reconciliation when there are people who can attest to this.
As for Sikota and Levy, of course, it will not take long for our people to tell whether or not their reconciliation is genuine. In saying this, we are not suggesting that Sikota should become blind to the good things that Levy and his government are doing. We expect that in representing his constituency and the people of Zambia, Sikota will be objective and give credit where it is due and criticise where criticism is due.
This is because the role of the opposition is to offer effective checks and balances to the government if good governance and democratic principles are to be upheld or realised. Where he praises when criticism is due, obviously our people will know what sort of reconciliation Sikota had with Levy. Clearly, it will not be the reconciliation to serve the people but one to serve himself or Levy.
If Levy and Sikota's reconciliation is meant to serve and benefit the people of Livingstone in particular and the country in general, we expect to see more benefits accruing to the people and not to Sikota. Sikota should account for his actions, otherwise he will be trashing himself as a political turncoat and a selfish politician who will go to any length or depth to satisfy his unbridled appetite for power.
In fact, it's tricky for both Levy and Sikota because they are not only politicians but also well respected lawyers.
By Bivan Saluseki
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
President Levy Mwanawasa has ruined United Liberal Party (ULP) president Sakwiba Sikota's political career, Patriotic Front president Michael Sata said yesterday. But Sikota opted not to comment on Sata's statement over his reconciliation with President Mwanawasa. Sata said President Mwanawasa had a tendency of using and dumping people and the reconciliation between him and Sikota was not genuine.
"He is ruining the young man's political career. We don't know what opposition leg he will stand on," Sata said.
He said President Mwanawasa had confirmed PF's fears over Sikota.
"As a lawyer, he (Sikota) will always represent us. But politically, we will regard him as another appendix to MMD. We will think twice when dealing with him," said Sata.
During the 2006 general election, Sikota and Sata had entered into a pact and when PF was leading in most provinces, Sikota even declared he would be Sata’s vice-president.
Sata said he now knew ULP’s position. He said Sikota’s ULP had violently been opposing PF’s stand on Katele Kalumba’s participation in the Zambia Centre for Inter party Dialogue (ZCID). Sata said Kalumba’s hands were dirty and should not be on ZCID. However, Sikota said legally Kalumba was innocent until proven guilty. He said he even risked being debarred by the Law Association of Zambia if he started presuming people guilty and asking them to prove their innocence.
Sikota said even Sata was facing court cases bordering on defamation . But Sata said his cases were political while those for Kalumba were outright corruption. However, Sikota said there had been reports of thousands of dollars being confiscated by South African security personnel from Sata and no one had raised an issue.
“Was there anything political about that case? What kind of politics would the South Africans want from him?” asked Sikota.
Sikota said Sata had once faced charges of motor vehicle theft and despite going to court at that time, he was not barred from participating in elections. Sikota said there had also been issues of Sata going to Malawi but he had not raised contentions. He said there must be fairness.
“At which point do you draw the line? You can’t have it both ways,” he said.
Sikota said legal issues should be separated from moral issues and that the ZCID had its own structures, which he believed would handle the Kalumba’s issue.
On Sata’s statement that President Mwanawasa was ruining him, Sikota said he would comment today.
But Sata said Sikota was speaking the language of President Mwanawasa.
He said if Sikota was looking for a job, he should just get it with both hands instead of hiding in reconciliation.
Sata said the reconciliation had proved the MMD meeting, which was held and resolved to look for someone from Western Province to replace President Mwanawasa.
Sata said it was blasphemy for President Mwanawasa to compare himself to God.This was in reference to the group picture which they had during the president’s summit over the Constitution.
“Which crazy God can look like him? He is equating himself to God. That is the problem with him. He thinks he is God, which God can look like him? That is why he is even so rigid over the Constitution because he thinks he is God,” he said.
“He says that he looked like God and I looked like Jesus. Listen, I sat there like a head of state. He looked like a regional secretary. He was so excited to sit next to me. He has even delayed to go to England because I cured him by sitting there. It was a therapy. I never said anything to him but he was smiling. He was so excited.”
Sata said PF had built the ZCID although political mercenaries wanted to hijack it.
“We are still part of it on condition that Katele leaves because his hands are dirty,” he said.
Sata said it was him, UNIP’s Njekwa Anamela and Heritage Party’s Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda that started the dialogue process though it had now been hijacked.
He said PF was the strongest political party with members of parliament of high calibre who should not just be written off.
“Levy should know that we are even represented in his own government. We are 50 steps ahead of him. He would not succeed hoodwinking us,” he said.
By Caroline Katotobwe-Mukuka
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
It may seem a long way from now seeing that we just came from having tripartite elections but before we know it, the current government’s term of office will come to an end. And the question that who will succeed Levy will come up.
What is unfortunate is that we seem not to be learning from our past political mistakes as a nation. Our president himself has not taken time to groom anyone to succeed him.
Also as a nation, we have not began to brainstorm on who should succeed Levy whether from the opposition/the ruling party.
If not careful, for the third time history will repeat itself and Zambia will once again be faced with a leadership crisis. This will not only cause problems in the political realm but also problems in each and every sector of the nation’s economy. Once again we will be left without a choice but agony of electing the best amongst the worst kind of leaders.
This simply means that the probability of electing a thief or a man woken up from sleep without an agenda for Zambia will be high once again .This is because the criteria used in electing leaders will shift from being meritorious to factors such as one’s ethnicity and financial muscle.
And yes once again, history would have repeated itself. It’s surprising and shocking to find that the issue of succession seems to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many political leaders i.e. be it in the ruling party/opposition political parties.
If it were left to our national presidents, they would choose to stay in power for life (the till-death-do-us-part phenomenon) and even then they would hope to rule from the grave. Our first Republican president and father of the nation Dr K.D Kaunda was not any exception when he was president. It took a national uprising to root him out of his position as president. And when this happened, there was not one credible leader, courageous enough to attempt to step into KK’s shoes.
The president then had ensured that he was surrounded by fear-stricken, timid and bootlicking leaders who would not dare stand up and oppose his leadership not even in their dreams. Hence the nation looked to anyone who would come up and pose a challenge. This of course as we all know led to electing a man who happened to be in the right place at the right time, i.e. an opportunist in other words. Had Kaunda groomed someone, the nation would have had an alternative and we wouldn’t have found ourselves in the merciless and greedy hands of the self-proclaimed, and very rightly so, political engineer F.T.J Chiluba.
Chiluba selfishly chose not to groom someone to take over from him. Instead, F.T.J, about to complete his constitutionally mandated two-term tenure as president, got the nomination of his ruling party despite massive internal opposition, including his own vice president and several of his ministers and parliamentarians. Such actions can be traced to personal ambition and intoxication or even addiction of power rather than purposeful leadership.
His decision, later, to respect the Constitution and not to seek a third term came only after violence and a rare and courageous threat of impeachment by his Parliament. He then, out of selfishness and the love of power, had to handpick Levy P Mwanawasa and his victory hoping that they would be continuity of his rule. This unfortunately, seems to be the greedy nature of our political leaders even today.
Our current president Levy P Mwanawasa has, like his predecessors, decided to surround himself with master bootlickers, idle minds and those whose track records are questionable leaving them forever grateful to him for sustaining their shortlived, so called political careers.
This practice/tendency has extended its venom to the leaders in the opposition who instead of grooming people for national leadership or to succeed, would rather keep them at the bottom.
It is no wonder that despite most political parties having credible, educated and able-bodied men and women, the nation still suffers from leadership crisis. In that the people in the forefront are well known power hungry and out of season politicians.
Even those who brag about encouraging the youths to step up and take the challenge of leadership, one would notice that these youths once incorporated are never groomed to be leaders of tomorrow, instead they are left stagnant in one position normally lower ranking political positions. And are expected to join the bandwagon of veteran bootlickers. Hence when time comes for their generation to lead, custody of the nation is passed on to half-baked politicians who embark on a trial and - error journey at the expense of all Zambian citizens. What our political leaders lack is the love for this nation and its future, if they had any interest in the welfare of their children and the children’s children, they would ensure that they groom people to come and safeguard the very existence of humanity.
Instead we see the same old faces with a few new faces entering politics at a level too complex for them to comprehend. The Office of President is one which is very sensitive and needs an occupant who fully understands the dynamics of national governance. In as much as one may have succeeded in the corporate world, politics is totally a different ball game.
It requires one to have the heart of servanthood, wisdom, technical know-how which comes through experience.
However, it is not too late to have a proper answer to the question ‘who succeeds Levy’, only if Levy himself can make a difference and not act like his predecessors.
There’s still ample time for him to work out a plan and groom somebody to take over from him. Someone with the right credentials and has shown a keen interest in the welfare of Zambians.
The same applies to the opposition leaders and all other leaders in various positions who are in the afternoon of their political careers. They should start grooming young and energetic, level-headed men and women who would undoubtedly fare well if given a chance. People should not wait for their political careers to end in an abrupt and disrespectful manner as was the case with VJ and many others. Our political leaders should ‘smell the coffee’ and know when to leave instead of waiting to see their downfall. Imagine a veteran politician like Vernon Mwaanga imparting part/all of his political experience on visionary young upcoming leaders instead being selfish and clinging onto power. He and many like him would have earned more respect if they had stepped out of the arena at the right time and watched from the terraces; the leaders they would have supposedly groomed perform wonders drawing on their experience.
As the case is now, no one would even want to get advice from VJ because of the manner in which he left.
What a shame and waste of experience! If Mwanawasa chooses to ignore this advice and turn a blind eye to the examples given herein, not only will he become a statistic and point of reference but will be held liable and to blame for the leadership crisis that Zambia will continue to face. So Ba Levy, time to act is now!
By Humphrey Mwelwa Ndola
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
In the recent past, the issue concerning the mode of adoption of our supreme law - the Constitution - has indeed left me in the cold. The role of the ZCID in the constitution-making process, issues unfolding from the ZCID summit and the Minister of Justice’s recent press conference have been very disappointing.
Disappointing in the sense that, during the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission, the Zambian people spoke - and the mode of adoption highly prefered/favoured by the majority of us Zambians is a constituent assembly. But why are we being introduced to a constitution conference, which has never been a prefered in the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission Draft Report as a mode of adoption. Why the constitution conference and not constituent assembly? Whose interest will the constitution conference serve?
Looking at various roadmaps presented concerning the constitution-making process, the major issue has been lack of financial resources. But I want to think loudly here : Where have we gotten the funds now even to finance the ZCID?
Our friends in the West have developed because they have put the wishes of their citizens as priority number one. Remember that this is not an academic exercise but something which is going to practically affect the lives of Zambian people. Abash constitution conference!
United States of Africa
By Lee Elias Tembo, Lusaka
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
I wish to register my pessimism and concern over the intentions by certain African leaders to form a single government called United States of Africa.
The drive towards forging one African government as proposed has massive negative consequences if done in a hurry. Essentially, Africa is still a developing continent faced with several problems and big differences in terms of political and economic cultures.
Therefore, this implies that it will definitely prove difficult to aggregate the different political and cultural values of the 53 states that constitute the African continent. Hence, in my view, it is very difficult to accommodate and enforce a centralised executive which will speak one voice for the voiceless. Besides, the proposed formation of a single government requires a gradual approach coupled with maximum consultation with the respective people in all the 53 states.
Most important, the Africa Union (AU) which was formed five (5) years ago, and its predecessor the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU), has failed to address serious problems that the African continent is faced with.
Sudan's Dufur region and the Zimbabwe crisis are just a clear signal of the Africa Union's failure to solve problems. Therefore, what guarantee do we have that this proposed formation of a single government will be able to deliver effectively and meet the people’s aspiration?
Over and above, I strongly feel that the basis of achieving a single and viable African government is through strengthening the regional economic communities such as SADC and COMESA.
By Oliver Haantanda
Friday July 13, 2007 [04:00]
There is absolutely nothing wrong with people reconciling whether in politics or indeed any other sphere as long as such reconciliation is true and brings general harmony and progress.
I however seem to have serious reservations with Kasonso’s insinuation that the editorial staff at The Post were wrong in raising serious questions about Nevers’ reconciliation with President Levy Mwanawasa. What is wrong with questioning unprincipled fellows?
Yes, as Kasonso rightly pointed out, politics is dynamic. But dynamism does not come with insincerity and inconsistency, let alone assumed dignity and integrity.
We may have different opinions but not to the point where we hero-worship individuals and throw caution to the wind. No wonder Zambians have been short- changed from time to time because of trusting thieves, conmen and unprincipled characters.
By Sandra Lombe
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:01]
EASTERN Province UNIP chairperson Colonel Panji Kaunda has resigned from both his position and the party. Col Panji, who was also UDA Eastern Province chairperson, said in a telephone interview from Chadiza yesterday that his resignation was because UNIP lacked a vision and unity.
"I have resigned. Yes I resigned, I sent in my resignation letter on Saturday. I could not compromise that (unity)," he said.
Col Panji said he was not happy with the Kapoche by-election differences between UNIP and UDA.
"We had resolved to support Charles Banda but the leaders decided to go behind my back to discuss with my junior officers and put another person," he said. "My provincial secretary Christopher Phiri has also resigned. He resigned on Saturday after he got my message that I have resigned."
He said he could still support UDA and campaign for it as a freelancer. Col Panji said the people in the province had been disappointed with his move.
"I can still campaign for anybody as a freelancer. Joining another party will come later," he said. "UNIP is not going anywhere. It has lost vision. I can't follow when someone is going in the bush."
He said he would spend time consulting before he could get take the next step. Col Panji said he was of the view of finding a way of UNIP working together with others but that had not been recognised. He expressed pessimism that UNIP would do well in the next general elections.
"I am looking at today and tomorrow, I don't want to be pushed," he said.
However, Col Panji said he had nothing against his brother Tilyenji, who is UNIP president.
"As politicians we have nothing in common, but I will speak to him as a brother because I can't change that," Col Panji said.
"The Kapoche election issues came and made us go different ways. We had difficulties for that election. They went behind my back to discuss with junior officers, this shows I was irrelevant. We can't go back, I told them I won't support them."
Panji said UDA had brought unity in Eastern Province and the spirit of ‘One Zambia One Nation’.
When contacted for comment Tilyenji was reported to be in a meeting.
Tilyenji and Col Panji differed prior and during the Kapoche by-elections with the latter accusing his brother of running UNIP from his bedroom.
Former UNIP council chairperson Wilfred Chirwa said Col Panji's departure signalled the death of UNIP in Eastern Province. He said Tilyenji should not think he was building UNIP by antagonising Col Panji.
"A lot of people I have spoken to, including myself are going with Panji whether to hell or to heaven. I wish you could see my face, this is a serious issue that has annoyed me. I have taken a lot to help rebuild UNIP," said Chirwa who has been in UNIP since 1958. "I was imprisoned in Kabwe and it can't take Tilyenji a second to destroy the party. If Panji goes, there will be no UNIP in Eastern Province.
By Charles Mangwato
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:00] Print
The MMD leadership in Sinazongwe district has asked the government to release adequate funds for the entire reconstruction of the Bottom Road to help ease communication problems in the valley district.
District MMD chairman Foster Siapwaya said the ruling party was disturbed to learn that prospective contractors had only been allowed to bid for partial works when the entire stretch of the Bottom Road needed full-scale reconstruction.
Siapwaya yesterday said the district party leadership would be more comfortable if the government had released more funds so that the entire stretch of the Bottom Road was worked on.
He said most areas under senior chief Mweemba had become inaccessible as a result of the bad state of the controversial bottom road.
Siapwaya said the situation had caused the ruling party serious problems as people in the affected areas were accusing the government of neglecting them.
Recently, works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao described the Bottom Road as the worst in the country. The road runs parallel to Lake Kariba in the Gwembe Valley.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
My apologies for the absence of this column last week. I was on a tour of duty far away from the newsroom and technology failed me as I tried to send my copy. But it’s great to be back! One of the weekend South African newspapers had a screaming headline "Zimbabwe collapses" and other international news wires and agencies were also talking about the Zimbabwe dollar being pegged to the rand and a host of other negative stories pertaining to the developments in this country, particularly in the last week or two where we have witnessed price slashes in one form or another.
What particularly caught my attention was that screaming headline about Zimbabwe’s collapse. Was there an omission of a word or two in that headline by the sub-editor of that newspaper? Could it be they meant to say this country could collapse or was on the verge of collapsing or some such because to me that headline meant there was no Zimbabwe to talk about anymore.
It’s a headline that sounded so final, painting a picture that the situation here was now irretrievable. That is where I choose to differ completely with the views (or wishes) of those who think Zimbabwe has already collapsed. Of course, no amount of make-up or any form of camouflage can hide the challenges that this country is facing.
There are there for all to see. Inflation is galloping, foreign currency is scarce, some goods have vanished from the shops and there is growing mistrust between Government and business — among other factors.
And they seem to be compounding by the day, but to say that there is no hope any more is to stretch it a bit too far. I am one patriot who takes great exception when my country is being rubbished left right and centre, particularly when the state of affairs is exaggerated, creating a completely different picture in the end.
Indeed, we are going through a very rough patch but there is hope that the situation will come right sooner rather than later. Same old song from this lady — some maybe saying — but the words will hold true one of these fine days. Over the past two weeks I have attended at least four seminars from where I have emerged with a feeling that we are almost there.
The latest one was the Harare Chamber of Commerce and Business Network International (BNI) held in the capital yesterday under the theme "We will survive together".
I found the theme highly developmental. The discussions were not about fingerpointing but that the current state of the economy was a result of collective actions by all of us and therein lies the solution — collective effort.
It is not about the Government blaming business and business in turn blaming labour or the other way round. Economists, industrialists and Government officials present at the meeting were all in agreement that the ongoing pricing war was not healthy for anyone and that solutions need to be found now.
The HCC president Ozwel Binha summed it very well in his opening remarks: "It’s critical for all of us to realise that we are Zimbabweans first and businessmen second." Implying that it was not about one social partner seeking to fix the other but that at the end of the day national welfare was at stake and the earlier everybody realised this the better.
The breakfast meeting was fruitful and I came out feeling optimistic that we were now headed in the right direction. If only the discussions by the close to 100 participants would cascade to the rest of the populace.
On Tuesday I also had the privilege to attend a meeting between Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono and chiefs, during which the chiefs made a commitment to turn around the agricultural sector and turn Zimbabwe into the breadbasket that it is supposed to be.
They drew their inspiration and motivation from the farm mechanisation programme being spearheaded by the central bank. The distribution of tractors and other implements, the availability of funds under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility and other measures to increase production in the sector would surely see a massive transformation in agriculture, they pledged.
Last week I also attended a National Cattle Herd Rebuilding workshop in Bulawayo organised by RBZ’s Fiscorp and the Cold Storage Company.
Challenges in the livestock sector were discussed at length but at the end of it all the conclusion was that Zimbabwe had the requisite expertise and resources to increase the national herd in terms of numbers and quality.
The dairy sector symposium was another progressive meeting held in Harare to find solutions that would see an increase in milk production. Numbers in this sector have gone down drastically in the last five years but discussions and the commitment to implement could mark the turning point in that sector.
Of course, as a journalist I have attended hundreds of meetings, workshops, seminars, symposiums, conferences, etc, but these ones were different in terms of deliverables.
They were not just talk shops but it was evident that people really meant business this time around.
As proposed at yesterday’s breakfast meeting, there is need for more dialogue and team effort to pluck the economy out of the current challenges. Of course, Zimbabwe will not collapse but there is urgent need to mend things and ensure that its gets back on a sound footing.
The economic wheels have not exactly come off but they need re-oiling to start functioning well again. I must apologise in advance to the doomsayers that they will not see total collapse of this country but instead they will be invited to witness a re-birth of a country that is strategic to the welfare, not just of its people but of the region and the world at large.
In God I trust!
My email:victoria.ruzvidzo _ zimpapers.co.zw
By Reason Wafawarova
IT is unbelievable, indeed shameful that at a time we should all be ganging up against imperialist forces bent on destroying our nationhood, there are some among us who are not only doing nothing but shamelessly availing themselves at the disposal of the brutal forces working against us.
It is mind boggling to imagine that those in the MDC have chosen to showcase their usual double-minded approach to everything by trying to undermine the Sadc initiative, being spearheaded by South Africa.
That feuding MDC leaders have teamed up with the self-anointed representative of the church, a self-styled activist running an organisation claiming to have the mandate to write a national constitution and an overzealous student under the illusion he is the custodian of all students, testifies to this.
That this is happening at a time talks meant to help Zimbabwe pull in the same direction only goes to show that the so-called democratic forces are nothing more than destructive forces that every well-meaning Zimbabwean should be wary of.
It is amazing that MDC leaders and their allies in the so-called civil society have the temerity to brag about their shameful trip meant during which they sought to outdo each in selling-out.
In reality, the European tour by the feuding opposition forces was a mere competition for recognition by the members of the delegation; a competition meant to get gullible westerners to loosen the purse strings.
The Save Zimbabwe Campaign team was made up of renegades who need to be educated on the basics of serving Zimbabwe before they can even think of saving it. The important question begging a speedy answer is how MDC leaders and their allies intend to save Zimbabwe by teaming up with the same people working to bring the country to its knees?
They may be pleasing themselves, their masters and their supporters but they should rest assured that they are not doing their 2008 campaign any good as their tour was viewed as the epitome of treachery by discerning Zimbabweans.
MDC leaders were also insulting Sadc as their Western campaign was a direct slap in the face of those working at finding common ground between the main political players in Zimbabwe.
The same goes for the African Union that recently reiterated its support for Zimbabwe in Accra.
MDC leaders are also slighting the United Nations by undermining the world body’s position that Zimbabwe is not an acceptable candidate for sanctions.
However, they are doing the hawks in the European Union a world of good by proving to be good, faithful stooges.
Those who have played similar roles in the Middle East, some parts of Africa, South America and even Asia have traditionally operated as exiled politicians, carrying out their treacherous missions from the bases of their masters. The situation is, however, quite different for the MDC in that it operates from the same Zimbabwe it is working to destroy, and in the process confirm the country’s democratic credentials.
Of course, none of the quislings will ever admit that Zimbabwe is a democracy that tolerates divergent views, which is why they can pursue their ruinous mischief at will.
Zimbabweans have the freedom to form political parties of their choice, even treacherous ones. MDC leaders are free to openly deride the living and fallen heroes of our liberation struggle at will, hiding their mischief under the cover of freedom of expression.
MDC leaders have no qualms vilifying the same system that makes it possible for them to exist as a political party, even though their activities would have invited a ban in less democracies.
Tsvangirai and Mutambara flying in and out of Zimbabwe, because they have freedom of movement and association, they back rabid online websites that tell the world everything but the truth, all in the name of Press freedom.
They associate with all sorts of subversive characters, because they enjoy freedom of association. They are blissfully unaware that their Western masters outlawed Communist Parties in their countries, simply because they were identified with the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.
In fact, the MDC and its allies enjoy so much freedom and rights that they are now convinced that it is their "democratic" right to unconstitutionally unseat an elected government. They believe that to the extent of publicly declaring a "defiance campaign" and a war against the police. They are even more than convinced that a speech that threatens the violent removal of a sitting President is well within their "democratic" rights.
MDC leaders will tell their supporters that urban orgies of violence disguised as mass actions are a "democratic" attempts to unseat a Government in a country where the majority of people, over 70 percent, live in the rural areas.
They are convinced that putting screws on one’s own economy by way of campaigning for isolation is well within "democratic" rights.
It is high time the MDC and like-minded organisations and individuals are reminded that yes, they do have a lot of legitimate rights under the international human rights regime but those rights will only yield benefits if one takes up the responsibility that goes with the enjoyment of such rights.
Irresponsible people should not expect to benefit from the rights at their disposal. It is the simple rule of sowing; you can’t sow a mango seed and expect to see a guava tree germinating.
The MDC needs to be reminded that the right to gather or assemble comes with a lot of responsibility and most certainly, planning violent protests and inciting people to revolt against the Government is not responsibility. MDC leaders need to know that they have every right to hop in and out of Zimbabwe at will but that their forays also demand responsibility.
Again, flying out to campaign for sanctions and increased suffering for one's own people is being responsible, it is simply unacceptable and Zimbabwe has had enough of such shameless betrayal.
The right to free expression is at everyone’s disposal but it comes with responsibility. Certainly, lies, exaggerations, foul language and running "houses of lies" in the name of media houses is not part of the expected responsibility.
Fighting police officers in an attempt to effect illegal regime change cannot pass for the responsibility expected under freedom of expression, assembly or protest.
The current double standards being shown by MDC leaders that see them pretend to be willing participants in inter-party talks on one hand, while embarking on an anti-Zimbabwe campaigns in Europe on the other is just what we have all along seen of this quisling party.
MDC leaders hail election results that go in their favour as free and fair, and reject all outcomes that go against them as fraudulent. They purport to love the very people for whom they create massive suffering by grovelling for ruinous Western sanctions.
They take part in parliamentary elections and conveniently boycott elections where they see pending defeat and claim to be doing so out of commitment to democratic principles.
They say the land reform programme is failing because it is not well supported with machinery and inputs and loudly cry in protest when the inputs and machinery are delivered.
They cry that the economy is bad but stand up to protest every effort to turn around the same economy. To them, the only legitimate economic growth that Zimbabwe can ever have must be under an MDC government.
MDC leaders must assure Zimbabweans where they are going to get interest for Zimbabwe’s national interest if ever they are elected to power. Right now, they do not only lack appreciation for the national interest, they actually stand as prime enemies to the national interest in all its forms, that is the economic interest, the ideological interest and the cultural interest.
What drives their hearts, souls and spirits are western interests, all because of the motivation they derive from the power of treacherous silver in the form of foreign donations.
Agreed, this is a one-sided analysis of part of the political process in Zimbabwe and that is deliberate and for a purpose. That purpose is to tell the MDC that Zimbabwe is getting sick and tired of bei ng taken for a ride in circles of treacherous madness.
People may want change, indeed they do, but not the MDC kind of change geared at destroying the economy in the hope of rebuilding it under an opposition dispensation. Zimbabweans want economic development and ownership of their economy in all its forms.
If Zimbabwe is to have a change of government then the alternative government must be made up of well-meaning and loyal citizens who have the national interest at heart; not the hopeless donor mongers who are masquerading as opposition politicians today.
It is a tragedy to have an opposition party that takes part in elections as a civilised political party that then turns itself into a rebel movement seeking to topple the sitting government between elections. That is what we have seen of the MDC since 2000 and one wonders what would happen if Zanu-PF was organising counter-violent marches to overthrow local governments in places like Bulawayo, Masvingo and other urban areas under MDC control.
It is high time the MDC started acting in good faith and Zimbabwe hopes for a better opposition sooner than later.
l Reason Wafawarova is a Zimbabwean writer living in Australia; he can be contacted on email@example.com.
By Pastor Nicholas Sii, Monze
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:00]
Following the discourse by one of the Post columnists Siame Simeo on the issues regarding land, He asked the esteemed readers of your Newspaper to engage in a debate over Land tenure in Zambia. Surprisingly, no one has contributed to this long overdue debate on land tenure by citizens and foreigners alike. The issues that he raised are of paramount importance for our political leaders both in government and those in the opposition.
These are the issues that our members of parliament would do well to debate. One of the questions Simeo posed in the Sunday Post a fortnight ago was whether it was possible to sell land to a Zambian when it is in fact his/hers by birthright? Our being born in Zambia has bequeathed upon us the very land mass of Zambia, therefore it stands to reason that this is the only and on the face of God's earth we can lay claim to?
The next question brother Simeo posed that begs an answer from technocrats in the field of land in Zambia was that why do we give away our land to foreigners on lease for 99 years? We are the only own Country in the world that sells land to foreigners!
These questions need a lengthy discourse that we the bonafide citizens of this country need to engage in.
The superficiality and shallowness of most Zambians make them not consider such issues as important. We seem to be enamored by the cell phones and talk time more than life and death issues like land which have a bearing on posterity. Let’s wake up as Zambians.
Why should large tracks of Zambian virgin land lie idle due to prohibitive costs of land and the bureaucracy at the Ministry of Land? It is time to pass radical land reform legislation that empowers Zambians with their land as a right. This should be advocated in the new constitution as an appendage to the Bill of rights.
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:00]
Sometimes it may be very difficult for one to believe that President Levy Mwanawasa is actually a lawyer after listening to some of his statements. Levy yesterday said non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are breaching the law by participating in the constitution- making process because their objectives do not allow them to engage themselves in politics. He said he was happy that all political parties had agreed to lead the constitution-making process instead of NGOs and the civil society. Levy said NGOs should not concern themselves with government matters.
Levy further said: "We have decided that this constitutional process should be led by political parties and unfortunately this has to be so because I have met so many NGOs and civil society and although I made constructive suggestions which they accepted during the meetings, they went out to reject and renounce everything they told me and to call me all sorts of names."
It is surprising to hear Levy say that NGOs and civil society members have no role to play in the constitution-making process and that if they try to involve themselves, then they will be participating in politics. Of course we know that a constitution is both a political and legal document. But there is nothing political about its making process.
Levy, as a very senior lawyer, should know that a constitution is for all the people of Zambia and not just politicians. In fact, the constitution-making process is not a government responsibility. It is the people's responsibility using government as the facilitator. This is why the preamble of the Constitution states: "We the people of Zambia, by our representatives assembled in our Parliament, having solemnly resolved to constitute Zambia into a sovereign democratic Republic...do hereby enact and to give to ourselves this Constitution."
From this preamble, it is clear that it is Zambians who resolve to give themselves a constitution, be it a good or bad constitution. It has never been a responsibility of politicians to give Zambians a constitution.
Now Levy is saying that he is happy that politicians will lead the way in this process and that NGOs and other civil society organisations will have no business with this process because they are not involved in running the affairs of government.
It is statements like this that erode people's confidence in politicians, especially with their involvement in a process like the one under discussion. A constitution is a people's document, be they politicians, civil society or NGO leaders and members, they are all required to be involved in making laws for themselves.
What we know is that for a constitution to be legitimate, it must be respected by all the people whose affairs it is meant to regulate. A constitution will never command people's loyalty if they do not respect it. And if the Constitution has to command people's loyalty, the people - not politicians alone - must be involved in its making process. This is a pre-requisite for the legitimacy of the Constitution; people must be involved in scrutinising both the content and form that constitution will take. The Constitution will only become the people's property if they are involved in its making process. Anything short of this is an imposition on Zambians.
And clearly, Levy and his fellow politicians are determined to impose a constitution on Zambians like other politicians before some of them did. This is another tragedy in the making! Once more, the wishes of the majority of Zambians will be overshadowed by those of the selfish and greedy minority in government and beyond. However, a constitution that is not representative of people's desires and wishes will remain remote to their lives and thinking. It will be illegitimate, an imposition on the people.
In our view, no one should own or hijack the constitution-making process. This is the people's process through their chosen representatives arising out of genuine consensus. If there is consensus on who takes the lead, it will really not matter if it were politicians or civil society in the forefront.
And Levy should not be under the illusion that NGOs and civil society members have nothing to do with the constitution-making process. They are Zambians first and foremost with equal rights to have an input in their national constitution. Yes, sometimes they may not conduct themselves in the manner that Levy would want or appreciate, but this does not mean that the Constitution should be prepared to their exclusion. If NGO and civil society leaders are being inconsistent or unnecessarily difficult, let him isolate these issues and deal with them squarely. If these NGO and civil society leaders are agreeing with him in the privacy of State House walls and renounce their agreements in public, let him expose them for what they are but they will remain part and parcel of the constitution-making process because they are morally and legally entitled to decide their own destiny.
Levy should learn to be tolerant and accommodate divergent views, including those that may irritate him. It will never be illegal for Zambian citizens to participate in their own affairs, especially the formulation of their constitution.
These are the things that are stalling progress in the constitution-making process. Instead of spending time on the more difficult things, why argue about obvious things like who will lead or be part of the process?
By Chibaula Silwamba, Mutale Kapekele in Livingstone and Mwala
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday said he has reconciled with United Liberal Party (ULP) president Sakwiba Sikota. And President Mwanawasa said Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) are breaching the law by participating in politics and constitution making process. Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa has advised Patriotic Front president Michael Sata to join the Oasis Forum if his intention was to cause confusion in the constitution making process.
Speaking on arrival at Livingstone International Airport, President Mwanawasa said he had said a lot of bad things about Sikota the last time he was in Livingstone but the two have since buried their political differences.
“I said a lot of bad things about Mr. Sikota and I challenged him to come and join me at a political rally so that we can determine who is popular between the two of us but all that is history,” President Mwanawasa said. “The good thing is we have now reconciled, we are now dialoguing.”
He said Zambia was more important than “Sakwiba or Levy.”
“The people of Livingstone elected him and as President I cannot ignore him because if I ignored him I will have ignored the wishes of the people of Livingstone,” President Mwanawasa said. “We should all work towards the improvement of the conditions of living of our people.”
President Mwanawasa said he met Sikota at the presidents’ summit where the latter seconded his proposal of the Constitutional Conference.
“That goes to show that he was as anxious as I was to see that we should move forward as a nation and our political differences should not stand in the way of development,” said President Mwanawasa.
Sikota was among government and MMD officials and cadres that welcomed President Mwanawasa at Livingstone International Airport.
Later in an interview, Sikota said the reconciliation was meant to create dialogue between him and President Mwanawasa over progressive issues in the country.
“Being in talking terms doesn’t mean that one is being swallowed. We still have our own differences of opinion on certain matters for example, the Freedom of Information bill,” he said. “This just shows that we are able to talk to each other and convince each other on our views in a civil manner.”
Sikota said the Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) had been very helpful in bringing political parties together and that was where his reconciliation with the President came from.
And President Mwanawasa expressed happiness that all political parties had agreed to lead the constitution making process instead of NGOs and the civil society.
“NGO means Non-Governmental Organisation. So why should they be concerned with the matters of government? We in all political parties have never refused members of NGOs from joining a political party. You form an organisation to be looking after poor people and instead of talking about poverty and vulnerable people you engage in politics. Now that is breach of the law because your objectives don’t include politics,” President Mwanawasa said.
“We have decided that this constitutional process should be led by political parties and unfortunately this has to be so because I have met many NGOs, civil society and although I made constructive suggestions, which they accepted during these meetings, they went out to reject and renounce everything they told me and to call me all sorts of names; ‘trickster, he wants to manipulate’ and the like. So I’m glad at the fact that we are now moving in the same direction as political parties.”
President Mwanawasa asked Zambians to pray for all members of the inter-party dialogue for God to give them wisdom to do that which was pleasing. He expressed sadness at Sata’s change of mind after they agreed at the presidents’ summit on the mode of adopting the constitution.
“The Patriotic Front agreed with us and we were happy. You all saw, we were pictured; there was a group photograph in which their leader sat next to me - to my right - as if it was God and His son Jesus Christ. He (Sata) decided to renounce something which he had accepted the very next day,” President Mwanawasa said. “Now when the organisation (based in the Netherlands) that sponsored the inter-party dialogue gave certain donations including computers for the political parties, Mr. Sata changed his mind or Patriotic Front changed their mind to say ‘we are also members of the inter-party dialogue’ and they got the computers from the organisation which they renounced only a few days previously.”
President Mwanawasa said PF spokesperson Given Lubinda’s announcement that the PF was still part of the inter-party dialogue showed that he was not telling the truth.
“The whole truth is that he is back to come and eat what has been given to the member parties. We welcome him but we hope that he will - his party will - not bring confusion to the development of our constitution making process,” President Mwanawasa said. “If he is coming to cause confusion then I will suggest that it’s better that he leaves and goes to sit with the Oasis Forum and plan their own roadmap and we will see if they will implement their road map.”
Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa decided to use his presidential chopper from State House to the Lusaka International Airport to avoid ‘inconveniencing’ motorists.
Sources at Lusaka International Airport said that President Mwanawasa decided not to use the motorcade to show that he has listened to motorists’ complaints that the motorcade usually disturbed the flow of traffic, especially at critical hours.
But President Mwanawasa’s special assistant for press and public relations John Musukuma said this was not the case and he declined to disclose what had prompted the sudden change in the President’s movements.
“Today the President (Mwanawasa) is going to use a chopper because he says he does not want to inconvenience people on the way,” the source said.
However, a smaller motorcade was on standby at the International Airport’s apron before President Mwanawasa’s arrival.
Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa has urged the MMD national executive committee (NEC) to immediately step up public consultations on the proposed united African government.
At an MMD NEC meeting held at State House on Tuesday, President Mwanawasa re-emphasised his earlier stance that he wanted to consult the people before saying anything on the proposed United States Africa government.
MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba said President Mwanawasa called on them to consult extensively over the issue.
“We discussed the summit of presidents, which was held in Ghana and we agreed with the President that people must be consulted,” Tetamashimba said. “We also looked at the issue of the constitution conference, which we all agreed should be the one to adopt the constitution.”
By Charles Mangwato
Thursday July 12, 2007 [04:00]
The price of mealie-meal in Siameja area of chief Mweemba’s area in Sinazongwe district has shot up with a 25 kilogramme bag of mealie-meal fetching K50,000. Villagers in Siameja said that traders that were able to transport the commodity to the area had increased the price of the staple food citing high transport costs as a result of the bad road network.
Headman Siankuni said this had forced villagers to cover long distances on foot across hills to Mapatizya Mine where a 25kg bag of mealie-meal was relatively cheaper. Siankuni said most transporters were shunning the Bottom Road because of its bad state. He said this has greatly hampered delivery of goods and services to the area.
He said most people in the area did not harvest any maize because of the drought experienced in the valley in the past rainy season. Siankuni said people in the area would require relief food from government in order to survive.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
EDITOR — Morgan, why are you so power hungry? If your policies are relevant, your time will come. For now, why can’t you call for the removal of the illegal sanctions that you campaigned for when you foolishly thought you were fixing the Government?
You see, you only made yourself an enemy of the people.
How can you expect the same people whose lives you ruined by abetting sanctions to vote for you?
You are like a stupid father who goes to a witchdoctor to ask him to curse his family.
Shame on you (Makatinyadzisa Dziva). I think it’s high time you shout (Ndachinja mafungiro akatsveyama).
We have suffered enough because of your unbridled lust for power.
However, we are not going to give in to your Western masters.
How many British pounds were you given when you promised to return land to white commercial farmers?
Land that was won by copious amounts of blood, and you want to return that to your Western bosses?
Dziva very sorry, you in Zimbabwe House, over our dead bodies.
Rosie Chaitwa Chapeyama.
Wednesday July 11, 2007 [04:00]
Efforts by Secretary to the Treasury Evans Chibiliti to strengthen the treasury and financial management of public funds are good but should be cautiously commended. And we hope that the two-day workshop that Chibiliti has called to deal with, inter alia, concerns that have been raised by the Auditor General, Public Accounts Committee and the Government Assurances and Estimates Committee will bear fruits to be enjoyed for a long time to come.
In the recent past, just like in the remote past, the Auditor General, the Public Accounts Committee including other oversight institutions have exposed glaring financial irregularities by our public service workers, particularly controlling officers in various ministries.
Like Secretary to Cabinet Joshua Kanganja rightly observed, revelations of unaccounted for public funds are a clear demonstration of erosion of foundations of the civil service and government. There have been frequent reports of deep concern by oversight institutions regarding the abuse, misapplication, mismanagement and outright theft and misappropriation of public resources.
These are not new revelations. That is why we feel that Chilibiliti's efforts to redress the situation must be cautiously commended. We say this because perpetrators of these criminal activities are not strangers. Although no names are mentioned in the Auditor General's reports, thieves of public funds in the names of controlling officers and other officials are known and just a little effort by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) or indeed the police will bring them to the fore in order to face justice.
However, what happens is that institutions that are supposed to continue from where the Auditor General would have ended go to sleep as soon as reports are submitted to Parliament. The Auditor General's mandate does not include prosecuting thieves of public resources. Her mandate is merely to check how public resources are being accounted for by those who receive them.
But why is it that reports from the Auditor General's office are in most cases allowed to gather dust on shelves by those who are supposed to investigate further and take the necessary action? This is the crux of the matter. But Kanganja has an answer to this question. This state of affairs is a clear demonstration of the erosion of the civil service's foundations. Corruption has permeated the entire civil service, from top to bottom and it is not difficult for people to get away with thefts of millions of kwacha. There is no one to police the other; everyone has become a thief.
One does not need to be a genius to realise that civil servants are the greatest thieves of public funds. They complain of receiving peanut salaries but their way of life and their possessions are not commensurate with their earnings. How is this possible?
There is no need to waste more public resources organising workshops to deal with problems whose solutions are already known. We need to know what corrective and preventive actions or measures have been taken against all individuals who have been exposed by the Auditor General and other oversight institutions for various shortcomings, thefts and abuse of office.
This is the first step in normalising the situation in our civil service. Whenever a controlling officer has been exposed for failing to account for this or that, the public should be informed of what action has been taken against such an erring officer. Has he or she been fired, arrested or demoted? After that, the public should be told what has been done to ensure that there is no repetition of such thefts or abuse.
This is what will help to quickly bring sanity to the accountability of public funds. Workshops will serve little or no purpose. It is not that these controlling officers are inadequate in their qualifications or knowledge and so sometimes they make mistakes because they do not understand procedures and things like that. We can safely say that our civil service today has some of the most educated Zambians. In fact, some of these officers are able to launder millions of kwacha from public coffers because they misuse their education.
In our view, our controlling officers do not need a two-day workshop to understand why there is a huge accumulation of cash balances in commercial banks by ministries and spending agencies, issues of non-alignment of procurement plans to budget execution, the poor performance of non-tax revenue and accumulation of domestic arrears including utility bills. A controlling officer who doesn't understand why this is so does not deserve to continue in his or her position and there is no need to waste time with him or her at a workshop.
Like we pointed out earlier, these controlling officers know what is expected of them and in most cases they have the capacity to deliver. But because of their unbridled appetite for public resources, they are the ones in the forefront circumventing rules and procedures to accommodate their thieving schemes. How can one explain the K3 billion saga that Kashiwa Bulaya was involved in a few years ago when he served as a controlling officer? And there are many more Kashiwa Bulayas today in government who are being shielded from facing the law.
For as long as this continues, nothing will be achieved. Chibiliti will call for one workshop after another but the situation will keep on degenerating.
Controlling officers are custodians of public resources and are therefore expected to spearhead the development of the country as well as safeguard the interests of the general citizenry. But this is not happening. These officers are day in and day out spearheading their own development and safeguarding their own interests.
But why should we continue to accept this scenario? Our people should not be deceived by smokescreen workshops meant to send them to sleep under the mistaken impression that corrective measures in as far as good governance and accountability of public resources are being taken. Chibiliti, Kanganja and all those involved in ensuring accountability of public resources know how best to stop the looting of public funds but are shy to implement that.
Kanganja is complaining that things are not alright because every day there are press reports highlighting abuse of public resources by public officers, but he is not telling the public what corrective measures his office has taken against such officers. Let the right steps be taken, otherwise nothing will be achieved. Only a few weeks ago, several controlling officers appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and lamentably failed to account for millions of kwacha that were released to their ministries and provinces.
Our people are much more interested in finding answers to such issues instead of being treated to smokescreen workshops.