Saturday, September 08, 2007

(RACEANDHISTORY) MDC's civil disobedience tactics cheap publicity stunt

MDC's civil disobedience tactics cheap publicity stunt
Posted: Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Obi Egbuna
March 21, 2007

While the latest demonstrations in Zimbabwe led by MDC faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai have achieved absolutely nothing, on the other hand they exposed a lot. The obvious thing is that the MDC was responding to pressure from Britain and the United States to destabilise Zimbabwe because their masters have invested a lot of time and money in the opposition over the past eight years only to realise that they have failed to unseat the Government.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's legacy in relation to the African continent will mainly be defined by whether or not he was able to force an illegal racist regime change in Zimbabwe, and his sidekick, United States President George W. Bush, is looking for any victory on foreign policy to shift focus away from the Iraq debacle.

President Mugabe's two-word response – "Go hang" – to Western critics of his Government demonstrates to Africans worldwide that we at least have one head of state in Africa that does not toss and turn in bed all night worrying about validation by the imperialist powers.

US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Christopher Dell has three main issues on his plate before Bush makes his exit from office.

Firstly, he must do everything to make sure Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara reunite the MDC at all costs. Secondly, he will be corresponding with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to exaggerate political violence in Zimbabwe and blame it all on Zanu-PF.

Lastly, he will be working with the International Crisis Group to articulate why the Bush administration is justified in increasing sanctions on Zimbabwe. But Zimbabweans will not be fooled by Tsvangirai and MDC's so-called Save Zimbabwe Campaign and are too busy with their bread and butter issues.

Thanks to his willingness to be the scapegoat Bush and Blair need to have on the ground in order to convince the entire world that by imposing sanctions they are responding to the wishes of the people.

Tsvangirai and the MDC are too brainwashed to understand that using civil disobedience tactics when you are financed by the two most violent warmongers on the planet is at best a cheap publicity stunt.

How dare a neocolonialist operation like the MDC try to use positive action as a strategy only a few days after the 50th anniversary celebration of Ghana's independence! This is an attempt by Tsvangirai to politically reinvent himself before Bush and Blair leave office.

If he and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' Wellington Chibebe fail at provoking confrontations with the police, even the Voice of America and BBC might ignore them. Besides, Trudy Stevenson, an MDC Member of Parliament, was severely beaten up by her own membership last year and also another MDC MP David Coltart publicly exposed that youth members in the MDC were planning to kill their director of security Peter Guhu a couple of years ago.

This led to the spokesmen of both factions – Nelson Chamisa (for Tsvangirai) and Gabriel Chaibva (for Mutambara) – openly debating which faction was more violent. This means African organisations in the Diaspora should really do their homework and resist the temptation of grabbing a few headlines which they are guaranteed to receive if they blame President Mugabe and Zanu-PF for all political violence in Zimbabwe.

Before his resignation from the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People as their president and CEO a few weeks ago, Bruce Gordon sent President Mugabe a letter expressing their concern over alleged police brutality against demonstrators, and, more recently, the executive director of Trans Africa Forum Nicole Lee emphasised the responsibility that Zimbabwe's Government had to protect the basic human rights of its citizens.

These remarks have serious political implications.

For starters, if they only issue public statements when the MDC and other opposition groups in their opinion are on the receiving end of violence in Zimbabwe, it means they are aligned with them politically or are strongly considering moving in that direction; and, most importantly, they have learned nothing from those who callously validated Mangosuthu Buthelezi in South Africa and Jonas Savimbi in Angola many years ago.

The propaganda war being waged by the US and its European Union cohorts against Zimbabwe has forced Africans to arrive at one conclusion: Any organisation in our community which hasn't spoken out about the sanctions against Zimbabwe can keep their opinions to themselves. The concept of criticism is a dialectical exercise and some of us have become so intoxicated by our own critiques that we abandon the responsibility to defend a government and people who expect and deserve our solidarity as opposed to excuses to justify abandonment.

The MDC is not a balloon but is definitely full of hot air and Tsvangirai has taken false promises to new unprecedented heights. Last year he promised his British and US sponsors a cold winter of discontent.

When that failed, he then went to the United Kingdom and held a Press conference with Labour MP Kate Hoey urging United Nations intervention in Zimbabwe, only to see former Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorse President Mugabe's recommendation for former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa to mediate between Britain and Zimbabwe.

The opposition paper called the Zimbabwean leaked a story last year that Tsvangirai was scheduled to be meeting with Botswana's President Festus Mogae which was to give the appearance he represented legitimate opposition in Zimbabwe, only to see Mogae open the Harare Agricultural Show last August and sign a new agreement of co-operation between the two governments reaffirm his support for the land reclamation programme in Zimbabwe and praise Zimbabwe for being its second biggest trade partner next to South Africa.

At the beginning of the year, the Financial Gazette had an article entitled "Tsvangirai talks tough" in a rare occasion an opposition paper indirectly suggested he had more bark than bite.

Tsvangirai and the MDC also seek to exploit the religious and spiritual tradition of his people to revive his dying support. Why else would these demonstrations attempt to incorporate a prayer?

Why has Tsvangirai never rescheduled the meeting with the church leaders in Zimbabwe that were cancelled due to his father's death, where the topic of discussion was supposed to be an appeal for him to stop calling for the West to intensify the sanctions against his own people?

Even though Tsvangirai's speeches and political thoughts lack substance and any real vision, his strength is in disguising himself.

During his time in the ZCTU, he tried to convince forces outside Zimbabwe like the AFL-CIO, Congress of Black Trade Unionists and the US Deputy Assistant of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Jeffrey Krila that President Mugabe and Zanu-PF were out of touch with the working class and only he was in touch with their aspirations.

With the help of imperialist Press he is presently doing his absolute best to reappear as the Dalai Lama in Tibet, which is almost as amusing as when Savimbi wore fatigues to give the public appearance Unita was a guerilla movement and not a CIA-trained and financed group of mercenaries and assassins. The African community in the Diaspora has to make a distinction between examples of military repression and violence and vigilant efforts to defend sovereignty.

The coups and assassinations that imperialist forces have orchestrated in every corner of the planet speak volumes because actions do speak louder than words. Last year marked the 40th anniversary of the overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah's government in Ghana and 2008 will mark the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Maurice Bishop in Grenada.

The premature statements some of our organisations have been writing about Zimbabwe make you wonder: After all of these years, what have we truly learned? Under the guise of civil disobedience, Tsvangirai is seeking total anarchy and confusion. After the outcome of parliamentary elections in 2005, the MDC called for power outages countrywide as a way to show dissatisfaction with the results.

The publicity that Tsvangirai and the MDC receive is contingent on how much chaos their demonstrations can stir up. This is what the Blair and Bush administrations expect and demand of them.

The MDC will learn the hard way that in Zimbabwe, the people don't accept civilian neocolonialism and an alternative to military neocolonialism. While he is not shooting people in cold blood like his political twin Savimbi, the blood of every Zimbabwean who dies or starves courtesy of sanctions is on their hands.

President Mugabe is known and respected worldwide for his defiance and strategic brilliance, therefore if he and Zanu-PF arrive at the conclusion that the MDC is threatening the national security of Zimbabwe, anything short of giving them unconditional support is compromising the future of the nation.


Visit: Zimbabwe Watch

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(HERALD) Sikhosana, Bloch castigate Tsvangirai

Sikhosana, Bloch castigate Tsvangirai
Herald Reporter

ZANU-PF Secretary for Youths Cde Absolom Sikhosana and economic commentator, Dr Eric Bloch, have lashed out at MDC faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai for lacking the vision and understanding of the aspirations of Zimbabweans and instigating and supporting the deportation of Zimbabwean students from Australia. In an interview in Harare, Cde Sikhosana said it was unthinkable that someone who claims to be a national leader could go to a foreign country to advocate for the continued suffering of his own people.

"It is unheard of that someone who wants to be a national leader of a country goes to Australia to congratulate the country’s Prime Minister John Howard and the Foreign Minister Alexander Downer for slapping Zimbabwe with illegal sanctions. They (Howard and Downer) have brought untold suffering to the masses," he said.

Cde Sikhosana said some of the opposition senior officials had also come to the same conclusion on Mr Tsvangirai’s character.

"As Youth League, we are at a loss as to what character the man is. Even others in his party have come to the same conclusion with us. He is difficult to understand. We really wonder what those who are following him think he would achieve," said Cde Sikhosana.

He applauded Zimbabweans for their patience and urged them to continue.

"Just ignore the man and let him fizzle into oblivion like that," said Cde Sikhosana.

Last week, Mr Tsvangirai was in Australia where he was celebrating the hurting sanctions that Australia and other Western countries had imposed against Zimbabwe. He later met Mr Downer to thank him for the sanctions Canberra had slapped on Harare and asked for more.

Speaking at a National Youth Development Trust-organised Leadership Forum at a Bulawayo hotel on Thursday evening, Dr Bloch said it was "grossly improper" for anyone — including the MDC faction leader — to fight "fathers through their children".

"You do not have to use the children to get at their fathers. I totally disagree with that. Education is a right that children deserve to be accorded anywhere in the world despite which political party their parents belong to and students should not be used as political punching bags.

"The stance taken by Mr Tsvangirai is wrong and unacceptable. He can call for whatever sanctions he wants but should spare the innocent children."

Dr Bloch was responding to a question from a member of the public during a plenary session who had asked for his opinion on the sanctions imposed by some Western powers on Zimbabweans for reclaiming their land.

Dr Bloch, who appeared to be in a mood to tell it like it is, also told members of the public that Zimbabwe was the "safest place" in the world and that President Mugabe was a "frank" man who worked "hard" to improve the literacy levels of Zimbabweans.

"I take a 10-kilometre walk everyday to exercise. I cannot do the same in South Africa, Afghanistan or some parts of America," he said.

The economic analyst added: "President Mugabe is a very frank man. I have met him and we have talked without any pushing.

"He (President Mugabe) worked hard to improve our literacy levels after independence in 1980. The development of literacy and the health sector was astronomical," he said. Riled by the success that Zimbabwe recently scored at the just-ended Sadc summit in Zambia, the Australian government resolved to deport Zimbabwean students whose parents were said to be linked to the Government.

Mr Tsvangirai, who has children studying in Australia despite the fact that he is not gainfully employed, was blasted for hypocrisy after he came out in full support of the deportations.

The MDC faction leader was rewarded with A$18 million by his Australian masters in a bid to intensify the Western-sponsored regime change project.

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Chiawa councillor calls for growth

Chiawa councillor calls for growth
By Post Reporter
Saturday September 08, 2007 [04:00]

A CIVIC leader in Chiawa area of Kafue district has called on government to closely supervise its departments in the district and encourage them to take developmental programmes to rural area instead of concentrating on urban areas. Chiawa ward councillor, Boniface Chiawa, observed that many government departments in Kafue are not making efforts to provide services in rural parts of the district and are only working in urban areas.

Chiawa was speaking during the official opening of a one-day workshop for Chiawa women in entrepreneurship skills and literacy training organised by the Ministry of Community Development yesterday.

He said that poverty levels were high in rural areas and this is where development must be directed to. Chiawa said women should thank government through the Department of Community Development that it is able to come up with training programmes aimed at empowering them.

He said Chiawa has few women clubs and organisations and many villagers are ignorant of how they can go about them. Chiawa urged the women to use the knowledge and skills to be gained to develop the area and improve their livelihood.

He called on the women to register their clubs with the local authority so that they can start accessing developmental funds. And Kafue District Community Development officer, Ngawa Kambani, disclosed that her office has since trained 200 women throughout Kafue from January to date in entrepreneural skills. - ZANIS

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PF is on its way to calvary – Msiska

PF is on its way to calvary – Msiska
By Patson Chilemba and Lambwe Kachali
Saturday September 08, 2007 [04:00]

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) is on its way to Calvary because of Michael Sata’s dictatorship, former Lusaka deputy mayor Charles Msiska charged yesterday as he resigned from PF. And PF councillors complained that they were compelled to vote for Stephen Chilatu as mayor because of intimidation from the top party leadership on Thursday night.

But PF president Sata said Msiska had been burnt by his ‘democracy’.
Meanwhile, UPND mayoral candidate Jimmy Dons withdrew from the race at the last minute in order to avoid splitting votes with Msiska, whom he opted to support. In an interview after losing elections to Chilatu, Msiska said he had resigned from PF because there was too much dictatorship in the party.

“I’ve always said that the party is full of dictatorial leaders and this is what will kill this party,” Msiska said. “PF is on its way to Calvary because of Michael Sata’s dictatorship. PF is gone because of dictatorial tendencies. I have resigned to join the MMD. I have joined them. After all we find democracy in the MMD. It’s a viable party so I thought I should support them. In this day and age, democracy is the cornerstone. If you continue peddling in the affairs of members of parliament and councillors then the end is near.”

Msiska, who polled 14 votes against Chilatu’s 21, said the elections he lost to Chilatu were not fair. He said he was confident that he would retain his Kabulonga ward 16 if given an opportunity.

Earlier, PF spokesperson Given Lubinda said Msiska’s case had been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee because he defied party orders not to contest the position of mayor.

“What has happened is a sign of defiance. Msiska decided to go against the will of the party as expressed in the meeting we held on Wednesday that he should contest the position of deputy mayor and not that of mayor,” Lubinda said. “Msiska did the same last time and got away with it. This time around it won’t be left unchecked.”
Lubinda also warned that PF would trace defiant councillors who voted for Msiska and take disciplinary action against them.
And Sata mentioned councillor Wizza Daka as one of the defiant members. He said Msiska’s perceived democracy had bitten his fingers.

“He has resigned because the MMD sent him. Had he won he would not have resigned. He is going to lose the same seat on the same MMD. That’s a lesson to the other councillors. Msiska has resigned because he can’t swallow his pride,” Sata said
He said PF exercised democracy by coming up with the person they wanted for the position of mayor.
Councillor Mary Phiri was elected deputy mayor.

And Dons withdrew his candidature at the last minute to avoid splitting of votes with Msiska. Dons said there was no democracy in PF and it would be difficult for the party to bring development in their respective wards.
“I was contacted by the councillors about the threats and I thought it was important for me to withdraw so that we support Msiska,” said Dons.

PF sources said Lubinda called and threatened PF councillors against voting for Msiska or Dons. The source said it was disturbing to notice that PF was unable to bring democracy among its members.

“Lubinda was busy calling councillors at about midnight threatening that should any councillor defy the party directives to vote for Chilatu, they will be expelled. So we actually voted under coercion. It was not our wish to vote for Chilatu, we just had no option,” the source said. “The truth is that the elections were not free and fair. There is too much dictatorship in PF.”
The source said as a result of these threats, PF councillors decided to work on a strategy on how to defeat Sata and his colleagues in the top leadership.

“And early this morning (yesterday), we decided that Dons withdraws from the race to avoid division of votes between himself and Msiska,” said the source.

But Lubinda said he only phoned Msiska on Thursday night and not the rest of the councillors as it was alleged.
“I told him that if he continued to defy party directives, then he would face the consequences. But I didn’t coerce any councillors. That is a petty lie,” said Lubinda. “I also called Daniel Chisenga (who contested the position of deputy mayor) to find out if the decision he took to contest for that position was a well-thought one.”

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Be strong, Chiluba urges his friends

Be strong, Chiluba urges his friends
By oel Sichalwe
Saturday September 08, 2007 [04:00]

BE strong, former president Frederick Chiluba yesterday encouraged suspected plunderers in a matter where MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and seven others are charged with abuse of authority of office and corruption. Chiluba accompanied his wife Regina to court for mention after she was re-arrested on Monday for allegedly receiving property suspected to have been stolen. Regina's mention coincided with Kalumba's case.

Kalumba is jointly charged with former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda, former secretaries to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene and Boniface Nonde, and former chief economist Bede Mpande. Others are former Access Finance Services Limited directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu.

While entering the courtroom where the mention was to take place, Chiluba met and shook hands with Katele and his co-accused. When he greeted Faustin Kabwe, Chiluba said: “Mulekosa bane. Uko twafuma kutali elyo ko tuleya kwaipipa (Be strong. We have come a long way and we are getting nearer to the end.)”

Chiluba later left and went to magistrate Sharon Newa’s courtroom where Regina was scheduled to have her case mentioned.

Regina has been charged with nine counts of failing to account for property believed to have been stolen. The property in issue includes a 61-inch Toshiba colour television set, K447 million cash, real estates in Ndola and Kitwe.

Task Force prosecutor Dennis Simwiinga said plea should be taken on September 10 before magistrate Charles Kafunda.

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Zimbabwe police charge Tsvangirai

Zimbabwe police charge Tsvangirai
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday September 08, 2007 [04:00]

ZIMBABWE Republic Police (ZRP) on Thursday charged opposition MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai with alleged disorderly conduct following his tour last month of supermarkets to assess the impact of price cuts. But MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the charge was ridiculous and an infringement of Tsvangirai’s right to shop. In an interview yesterday, police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka confirmed that the police summoned the MDC leader on Thursday.

“Yes, I can confirm that he was summoned to our law and order section at Harare Central Police on Thursday. And he appeared in the company of his lawyer (Alec Muchadehama),” Chief Superintendent Mandipaka said.
“And police are preferring a charge under the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act Chapter 9.23. For what we suspect could have been disorderly conduct. The allegation arose as a result of a complaint that was received by police in relation to the conduct which he is now being charged.”

Chief Superintendent Mandipaka further said Tsvangirai was later released.
“He was released, he is not in police custody,” he said.

And Chamisa described the charge as ridiculous and an infringement of Tsvangirai’s right to shop.
“It is quite laughable... it is ridiculous. Are they trying to send a message that a legitimate leader of the opposition in this country has no right to shop?” Chamisa asked.

“This is purely an infringement on president Tsvangirai’s right to shop. It’s a normal thing for an opposition leader to have first-hand information about the situation on the ground.”

He said MDC was not taking the charge lightly because it was an attempt by the government to abuse the police.
“This is a gesture of harassment and intimidation during the run-up to the elections next year. We question ZANU-PF’s commitment to holding free and fair elections next year because already they are intimidating political opponents,” Chamisa said.

“This kind of behaviour shows that ZANU-PF does not understand democracy, they don’t understand that politics is about competition of ideas.”

Last month, the Zimbabwean opposition leader toured shops and supermarkets in Harare’s central business district and high-density suburbs to assess a government directive issued to business leaders last June to slash prices by 50 per cent.
Tsvangirai was in the company of MDC officials and journalists as he went round the shops and supermarkets.
Meanwhile, ZRP commissioner Augustine Chihuri on Thursday said the ZRP was committed to economic revival as espoused in the strategic plan vision 2008.

“In recent months, business in collusion with hostile forces created artificial shortages of basic commodities in the country resulting in runaway inflation where prices were increasing almost hourly,” Chihuri said.
“In response, government put in place the National Incomes and Pricing Commission whose recommendations gave birth to the on-going operation

Reduce Prices. The ZRP is fully participating in the operation which is geared to bring economic normalcy in the country.”
He also urged the police officers to acquaint themselves with the relevant electoral legislation and SADC guidelines in order to be able to provide adequate police services and a conducive atmosphere for the conducting of democratic elections.
“The willing political forces of regression continue to receive sponsorship to sabotage the economy through deliberate acts of misinformation and terror campaigns to create a state of anarchy and lawlessness,” Chihuri said in his address to the officers at police headquarters.

“I urge you all to be vigilant and to remain steadfast, diligent and unquestionably loyal as you serve your country.”

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Chief Chanje warns teachers against excessive drinking

Chief Chanje warns teachers against excessive drinking
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Saturday September 08, 2007 [04:00]

CHIEF Chanje of the Chewa people in Chipata has warned teachers in his area against excessive drinking of alcohol. And chief Chanje has appealed to the Ministry of Health to send qualified health personnel to his area. Chief Chanje expressed concern that some teachers were found drunk during working hours in the area.

"I will not tolerate teachers who are always drinking beer during working hours, I know a number of teachers who are doing this, but its normal for them to drink after 17:00 hours," chief Chanje said.
He appealed to the Ministry of Education to look into ways through which it could deal with teachers who are always drunk during working hours.

"I want the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) to visit my area so that I can explain better and the DEBS should respond early when there are such matters,"chief Chanje said.
He wondered why some schools in the area were not holding Parent Teacher Association and Annual General meetings for more than two years.

And chief Chanje appealed to the Ministry of Health to send qualified personnel to Tamanda clinic.
"Tamanda Rural Health Centre has no qualified health personnel, there is a worker who normally helps in doing some duties that are supposed to be done by a qualified health worker but my worry is that this person is not qualified and as such he is bound to make mistakes," chief Chanje said.

He said it was unfortunate that the district health office had not done anything despite being informed about the problem.
"I informed the health office early this year and they assured me that they were going to look into that during postings but up to now they haven't acted," said chief Chanje.

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Friday, September 07, 2007

Prof Chirwa: Zambia's world-acclaimed engineer

Prof Chirwa: Zambia's world-acclaimed engineer
By Cliff phiri
Sunday August 26, 2007 [04:00]

ABOUT ninety per cent of the vehicles that are running on Zambian roads are not road worthy, Bolton University Professor of Crashworthiness Clive Chirwa has said. Prof Chirwa says most vehicles in Zambia do not comply with any European, American or even Japanese safety standards.

He says his biggest worry is with the buses and minibuses, adding that ninety nine per cent of these are extremely dangerous thereby putting passengers at high risk.

Question: To start with, who is Professor Clive Chirwa?
Answer: Professor Clive Chirwa is actually a Zambian born in Mufulira on the 5th of January 1954. My father is Eford Noah Chirwa, a Chewa and comes from Mugubudu village in chief Chanje's region just after Chipata en-route to Lundazi. My mother Toddy also comes from Eastern Province.

Q: Are you able to speak Chewa?
A: Unfortunately no. You should appreciate that people who were born and bred on the Copperbelt mostly speak Bemba. I am fluent in Bemba but I am a little bit rusty on the Chewa.
Q: How many are you in your family?
A: We were eight children, three are deceased and now we are five.
Q: Where are the other four?

A: My brothers Davies and James are running their own businesses in Lusaka, Priscilla is married to a Bishop, also a Zambian but he was made a Bishop of Gaborone, Botswana; Esnart works for one of the NGOs Non-Governmental Organisation, so everybody is in Lusaka. It's just Priscilla and myself who live abroad.

Q: Now can we talk about your own family. Are you married?
A: Yes, I am married to a Russian lady called Elena; we have two children. The first-born is 25-years-old Dennis and the other is 20-year-old Daniel. Dennis completed a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering and he works for British Aerospace in the design department. Daniel is at the university studying IT and directorship in filmmaking.
Q: He didn't take up your profession?
A: No, he is studying something completely different from me and from his mother.

Q: What is his mother's profession?
A: His mother is a metallurgist. She is actually the European marketing director for a company called Clavel.
Q: Are your children living with you?
A: Dennis has his own place. Daniel comes only during university holidays.

Q: Which schools did you go to?
A: I went to Central Primary School first and later to Mufulira Secondary School. In fact I was with former commerce minister Dipak Patel at secondary school.

Q: How did you proceed from there?
A: I went overseas, to Volgograd University in Russia in 1975. From there, in 1981, I went to Cranfield University in the UK.
Q: What studies were you pursuing in Russia?

A: Automobile and Tractor Engineering and later Masters degree in Automotive Engineering. I then returned to Zambia in 1980 and joined MSD Mechanical Services Department and a year later joined University of Zambia as a lecturer. From there, in 1981, I went to UK under the Commonwealth Scholarship. On completion of my PhD Doctor of Philosophy in 1986, I returned to UNZA as a lecturer and resigned after a few years due to lack of advanced research that I was now used to. I was given a senior research fellow position at the University of Liverpool.

Q: And what were you doing in the UK?
A: I went over to do my Master's degree in Automotive Product Engineering and my PhD in Aerospace Engineering.

Q: What is Aerospace Engineering? What does it involve?
A: Aerospace Engineering is a subject about aircraft, spacecraft and it is about finding new ideas on air transport systems and how you can improve future aircraft in design sense. My work is about research and design of air vehicles' structural dynamics. To be specific, my work involves finding new advanced materials with better mechanical properties and use them in the design of an aircraft fuselage.
Q: You sound technical. What is fuselage?

A: Fuselage is the main aircraft body. It is the tube in which people sit in. Most of the work we do in the UK involves the wing. The British are very good at designing wings as we have seen from the Airbus series of aircraft.
Q: So what have been your major projects?
A: Since I started doing research in aircraft engineering, I've carried out more than 300 research projects and all those are pioneering projects, which had never been done before in the world. The companies I work for mainly are British Aerospace, Airbus, Boeing, NASA and many small aircraft manufacturers.

Q: How did you develop interest in engineering and technology?
A: I developed interest in technology from my primary school days. When I was at Central School in Mufulira, there was an annual inter-school quiz for under 11 years in mathematics and reasoning.

The first time I participated in the quiz of about ten mine schools, I came second and the second time I participated I won the competition. This was among good schools on the Copperbelt. When I went to secondary school we had a tour of Mufulira Mines and this was when my engineering interest started developing. This was in form one. Then in form two, I joined JETS, which is the Junior Engineers Technician Scientist. This is a Zambian thing. From form two to form five, I won the Copperbelt and the national top prizes in category of physics and biology.

Q: What's your comment on the perception some people have that engineering is difficult?
A: Most of the things in engineering are those, which every single person on earth does on everyday basis without realizing that they are solving extremely complex problems. Let us take mechanics or applied mechanics for example.

This is the most difficult subject in engineering and the mathematics involved is extremely difficult. Go to any village in Zambia, you will see women who have never been to school and children carrying buckets of water on their heads without spilling it. This activity is difficult to solve in mechanics. What the women are doing is to balance the applied forces from the bucket of water with their body forces. This is not simple because the forces from the bucket are dynamic; they change in direction and sense as the water splashes about in the bucket. To maintain the bucket forces in equilibrium, the women walk is calibrated format, their necks automatically measuring the direction and sense of the bucket forces so that they are dynamically maintained in equilibrium at all time. If the equilibrium is not maintained, they will spill the water. This does not happen because every person intuitively is an engineer despite not understanding the laws of applied physics.

Q: Hasn't it been challenging for you, working in an environment, which I assume is all white going by the pictures you showed me earlier?
A: That's correct. I've worked tremendously hard to reach this particular position. To complicate the issues I am African and foreigner. I am a pioneer in my engineering field of crashworthiness, indeed I am number one in the world and people come to me for advice on technology. Therefore, presidents, prime ministers, ministers, senators, EU Commissioners, company directors, technical staff, academics and my colleagues who are totally Caucasians have come to accept me because of my input to modern science, technology and engineering as a whole.

Q: So they actually respect you now than before?
A: Very much so. The whole world knows me in this particular area of engineering. When I am dealing with low velocity impact, I help the car, train and aircraft manufacturers. When I am dealing with high velocity impact, I help the spacecraft and the military institutions.

The work I have done for them that has put cars on streets, trains on rails, aircraft in the air, rockets in space and combat machines in theatres has gained me this respect. Indeed, this is why I have been awarded numerous prizes for contributing to science and engineering. Three years ago, the joint American National Academy of Sciences and the British Royal Society gave me the title of Distinguished Professor of Crashworthiness.

Q: So you have never worked with a fellow Zambian abroad?
A: Not in Europe, no. I've worked with fellow Zambians here at the University of Zambia in my early years.
Q: Where are you based now?
A: I am based at the University of Bolton, which is in Lancashire, five miles from Manchester.

Q: Going back to engineering, what is crashworthiness all about?
A: Crashworthiness is a very complex stream of science - what you do here is you look at how a body which is moving can absorb kinetic energy when an instantaneous stop or crash happens to that particular body. This can be a car, an aircraft or even a bicycle.

Since these machines are driven by human beings, I have to make sure that these people survive the impact loads when a crash happens. Therefore in every car, aircraft and train design, I make sure that the vehicles are given survival spaces to reduce accelerations on the body of the occupants. Therefore, my work involves both structural mechanics and bio-mechanics.
Q: What are the modern passenger safety technologies that are in place?
A: The modern passenger safety technologies that are in place are in two forms.

One is passive safety, here is where crashworthiness becomes important and you can see within the vehicle itself. Passive safety devices are the safety belt itself, the airbags although one would say they become active with an element of impact, but they are passive devices, the body structures that have crumple zones and survival cell. Then we call active safety.

This is divided in two parts: first is the active primary safety, which is like the braking system, the lighting, indicators, etc. And we also have active secondary safety which are the accident avoidance system, ESP technology that improves the handling on vehicles with high centre of gravity There are other safety technologies that are coming on-board. These for example are the speed control and alert devices, lane change control, sleep sensors, re-moulding tyres or puncture proof tyres and many more
Q: What is ESP?

A: Electronic Stability Programme. This protects high centre of gravity vehicles such as SUV or commonly known in Zambia as four wheel drives not to overturn.

Q: Is this the new phenomenon in the technology industry?
A: Yes, this is new.

Q: You have been around for over a week now. What are your impressions on vehicles running on Zambian roads in relation to safety?

A: Ninety per cent of the vehicles that are running on Zambian roads are not road worthy and do not comply to any European, American or even Japanese safety standards.

These are hazards on our roads. Not all imported second hand cars from abroad are good for Zambia. In UK, for example, they have found that over 60 per cent of imported second hand reconditioned Japanese cars do not comply to the safety standard. Similar problems may be in Zambia. This is why I went to visit Mr Fredrick Mwalusaka, the director and CEO chief executive officer of the Road Transport and Safety Agency to see how I can help.

They have accepted my help and I will be advising them on a number of issues that will change the Zambian road picture by removing unsafe vehicles from the roads. My biggest worry is with the buses and minibuses. Ninety nine per cent of these are extremely dangerous and putting passengers at high risk. This is public transport and safety must start from here.

Q: When surfing through the Internet I came across information that you are also an editor of a journal. Which journal is this and what is it about?

A: That's correct. This is 'The International Journal on Crashworthiness'. I am the founder and the editor-in-chief. It's the only journal in the world that publishes the research outputs from all over the world in the engineering branch of Crashworthiness. This is a highly respected journal and was founded in 1996.
Q: How often is it published?

A: We initially started with four issues per year and now we have a circulation of six issues per year. So it comes out every two months.
Q: How many staff members does it have?

A: At the university five people work for it and at the publisher's about 20.
Q: I gather that you have been called upon by multi-national companies like Mercedes Benz, BMW, Grand Prix, British Aerospace and the like to provide your expertise on crashworthiness. Tell me about your experience there.

A: My experience there is very good because most of the vehicles I have participated in designing for Mercedes Benz, BMW, Aston Martin, Ford, Toyota, General Motors, Land Rover, The Jordan and McLaren Grand Prix, etc sell well and better protect occupants in crashes. My contributions to them have been mainly in the structure of the vehicle itself.

Q: Is there any particular project you have done where you think you made a great contribution?

A: I think in all my projects I have made big contributions. The reason being that on over 300 projects I have carried out over the years, there is a tangible outcome that is a working machine. So I cannot distinguish any particular project and say that this is actually the most distinguished among all. The reason being that if I am on a project I give all. Between you and I, NASA have nicknamed me "the perfectionist". This is because I do not tolerate half backed or un-thought through solutions that will spring out problems in the future. But I can say that of all these projects I have done only one project has produced two Internationally awards for me.
Q: Namely?
A: The Holman Brothers Safety Award in Mechanical Engineering for best research work on aspects of eliminating danger to health and T A Stewart-Dyer/Frederick Harvey Trevithick Prize in Mechanical Engineering. The others are company ones such the Ford and British Railway Awards.
Q: As an engineer, what do you look at in promoting road safety?
A: Education is the key. Zambians must be made aware of everything about safety from primary schools. The general population must be informed of safety issues either through leaflets, newspapers, billboards or television. Every country has a safety scheme and I would like to see that here too. Zambian pedestrians are the most uninformed people I have come across so far. They cross roads at high-risk locations, walk along high speed roads in dark clothing putting themselves in danger. This surely must be priority in teaching safety.
Q: Given the scenario, what then is the remedy?

A: The remedy is traffic separation. The people designing the roads shouldn't design the roads specifically for the width of two lanes that carry the vehicle. They must make sure that pedestrianized sections are put in place at the design stage. Road construction in Zambia has been myopic. This must change to improve the mobility of the forgotten walking public who are indeed the majority. We are in a democracy.
Q: Does this essentially contribute to the number of accidents we have?

A: In fact, it does contribute to the number of accidents. I personally nearly experienced this last night as I was driving coming from Lusaka West into the city centre on Mumbwa Road. Pedestrians were crossing to and fro, walking along the edge of this high-speed road without care because they have not been offered pedestrian lanes. I found this extremely disturbing and would like to see accident statistics between cars and pedestrians on this route.

Q: I know you have just been here for a few days now. What's your comment on Zambia's safety in relation to railway transport?
A: Believe it or not, since I came to Lusaka, I have not seen a train. This is the first time in over 30 years that I have not seen a train for a whole week. This is depressing and tells me that the railway system in this country is the worst in the world. The reason may be because nobody has improved the infrastructure since the colonial days. Surely something must be done. The railway in this country is the future if economic revival is the aim. Talking of safety, I saw the railway tracks.

These are all zigzagging all over the place and are below standard for normal operation. I just wonder how accidents do not happen frequently. One reason might be because there are no trains running.
Q: What are your impressions on air transport and air safety in Zambia?

A: I cannot say much on that because there are few aircraft in Zambia. Indeed when I landed I thought I was on the airbase than civil airport. There was not even a single aircraft. I was extremely surprised. But the only thing I can say is the demise of Zambia Airways is a tragedy.

How can a landlocked country have no national airline? The decision taken then and the many poor, tragic privatization decisions have put Zambia back to the turn of 20th Century. We have nothing to show as a country that has been independent for over 40 years.
Q: What about Zambian technology in general? Are we making headway?

A: Technologically no. I have seen there are some changes, for example in Lusaka. I haven't gone to other towns yet but I have been given stories by people who have come from other towns that the whole of the Copperbelt has lost the technological headway it had and the towns are unlivable due to the fact that they are dilapidated. What I want to know is how the owners of these mines are bringing technology back to the community.

This was done well by the British and ZCCM Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines. How are they contributing to the welfare of the locals? These are serious questions that require answers. Copper is sold every year from Zambia and generating billions of kwachas. Why is that only a few millions come to the coffers of Zambia? Surely something has gone terribly wrong here and requires urgent remedy.

Q: What about exporting it as raw copper?
A: We must stop exporting copper as raw material. This should be done in large steps where more manufacturing will take place here and the products sold on the world market. For example, the Chinese come here to buy copper. Why don't we tell them that we will supply manufactured copper components for their assemblies? As the manufacturing business grows, we will demise the copper export and our revenue will be a million times more.

I was surprised to hear of a US$35 million loan from China. This is neither here nor there in terms of great step improvement. It is loose change and will be swallowed in a second without realizing. The painful part will be on the repayments because the money borrowed has to be invested to generate more money, if not as in this case it will be difficult to repay.
Q: I hear senators in the US have called upon you?

A: That's correct. I bet you got this from the website. From time to time I offer advice to The United States Committee on Commerce, Science & Transport. Three weeks ago before coming to Zambia, I was called upon to present to them the European perspective on how we are solving the safety transportation issue on SUV vehicles. Senator Daniel Inouye, the chairman of the committee gathered senators to whom I delivered my report on Capitol Hill.

I have helped the American National Highway Administration on drawing policies that are forwarded to the senate for debate and subsequent implementation into American transport policies. Why they call me is because I am the elected president of the European Union of Transport and Safety Network. My advice does not only end at EU and USA, I also all the time advise the British government, and have offered advice to the governments of Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada. Yes, I made my contribution to these governments.

Q: I realize that this advice has been given to European, US and other governments, what about your own government?

A: I feel extremely depressed talking about this. I have on several occasions written several letters to different parts of the Zambian government, but no show. In fact, I have one letter here which I wrote in 2006 on 13th August 2005 to a Mr A Chipoya. I received a response in a form of a letter through the post nearly a year later and it said the President cannot meet me due to his busy schedule. I recently wrote another letter to the President through Mr P. Mulimbika. This reply was received four months later just about the time when I was leaving for Zambia. Again the reason is the President's busy schedule. I am here until the 7th of September, perhaps I will convince him to see me.

However, when the President was in London on his way from China, he wrote me a fax message. I thought that was good and considerate. I want to help Zambia, but the policy makers do not want to listen to my proposals then there is nothing I can do but to continue helping other developed countries to prosper even further.
Q: What then is the way forward?

A: The way forward is that I want to talk to the President himself. These people whom I write to and I talk to are wasting my valuable time. I really want to help.
Q: What was the response to the letter you received two days before coming here?

A: The response was "no the President cannot see you because he is very busy". These people do not know me and do not understand me.
Q: Do you think this kind of attitude contributes to the brain drain Zambia is faced with?

A: I think it does. If the British, the European Union and the United States eagerly prepared to hear my ideas and implement them in their policies, why should a developing country like Zambia mess me about? You offer help for free that cost in five figure sums and the Zambian policy makers do not want it.
Q: Do you feel frustrated?

A: That's why I perhaps left Zambia. I think the political angle in Zambia is completely wrong. If you look at many governments, which I have advised all the way from the United States to New Zealand, all these governments have got people who actually advise the President, I have seen that ministers advise the President but ministers do not have that expert knowledge of advising the President. They can inform him on how things are happening within their ministries and how the country should be run. But when it comes to pure advice on technical issues, experts should come in.

Q: Despite all the frustrations are you still available for advice?
A: I am here. In fact, I am here until the 7th of September if anybody wants to talk to me my mobile number is 0977376600.
Q: Do you have any intentions of joining politics?

A: Yes, if I am going to make a difference. But I am not saying in what capacity. I will say that later when I am ready. At the moment I am still a university Professor, I would like to help in terms of ideas to different ministries and to different governments. I would like to come and see that I help my country. I have got three more years to actually complete my university work and after that perhaps I will return to Zambia and come and help in a big way.

Q: What has been your greatest challenge in your profession?
A: My greatest challenge has been, being a foreigner in a foreign country. If I weren't pioneering these things nobody would have listened to me. Because everything I have done is pioneering I have never followed or used anybody's ideas. Everything I have produced for all these countries have been pioneering. I have never followed anybody in any research or any advice whatsoever. I have delivered very complex outputs that require profound thinking.

Q: Professor you are at the University of Bolton...
A: Yes! I am a Professor at the University of Bolton, I hold a chair, which is called the chair of automotive and aerospace structures. It is a top chair at the university as it combines two chairs, namely automotive and the other aerospace.

Q. What do you away from you professional life?
A. Yes, I do sponsor and support a school in Lusaka called Cardington School. I have tied this School to a British one from Bolton in UK. My support is in generating funding for the school. We hold jumble sales, raise money and buy books plus equipment for the Cardington school.

The director Ruth Mbewe has visited the UK a few times at the invitation of the sister Bolton School. This is my charity angle.
Q: On a lighter note, I hear you are a manager for a Zambian artist in the UK?

A: Yes, you are right. This is my artistic angle. I found this young man to be very talented and hence I wanted to help him break the ice as I did in engineering. His name is C.R.I.S.I.S. Shortly he will release his debut European CD. It's hot. It will be in the shops soon.

Q: Would you like to say anything in conclusion?
A: Yes. I advise the secretary of state for education in the UK. So education is one of the parts I would like to contribute to in this country. This is if I am given a chance.

Author: Well, I hope you will one day be given that chance. I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity talk to you.
Prof Chirwa: I am equally grateful. Goodbye.

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Govt won't bow to traditional leaders over mining -Nkhata

Govt won't bow to traditional leaders over mining -Nkhata
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday September 07, 2007 [04:00]

GOVERNMENT will not bow to traditional leaders over mining issues, mines deputy minister for small-scale Boniface Nkhata has said. And chief Shakumbila of Mumbwa district has accused the Ministry of Mines of not being transparent in the way mining prospecting licences were being awarded.

In an interview after meeting chiefs from Mumbwa who demanded that Luiri Gold Mines Limited, which is operating in Mumbwa district, releases 50 per cent of the land it is occupying to other interested investors, Nkhata said his ministry had put a monitoring period which should be observed.

He also said the ministry had developed a 'castral system' which he said was a computerised system that helped the ministry to monitor the improvement of land for mining development by investors.

"I think there is a big misunderstanding between the chiefs and Luiri Gold Mines. The period we have put in place now is from 1st July to 30th December, 2007. During this period, we will not allow any investor whether foreign or Zambian to apply for a mining licence. And this is a period when most investors are releasing fifty per cent of the prospected land to government," Nkhata said.

He said it would be against the mining Act to force Luiri Gold Mines to release part of the occupied land to the government before the expiry of the period given to them.

"Come next year January, everyone will be informed to apply for mining licences. To us it will be first come, first serve," said Nkhata.

But chief Shakumbila, who was in the company of chief Moono and a representative of chief Mumba said the ministry had been favouring foreign investors.

"Even when giving licences, most Zambians who want to invest in Mumbwa are denied to be given," he said.

Chief Shakumbila said Luiri Gold Mines was occupying 2,400 square kilometres of land.

"They are not in Mumbwa for copper. They are there for gold. This is why we want government to act," he said.

Luiri Gold Mines country representative Harry Sibbenga expressed surprise at the behaviour of the chiefs. Sibbenga said the aim of their company was to develop the district and not to cause confusion.

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Lusaka councillors, vote wisely

Lusaka councillors, vote wisely
By Editor
Friday September 07, 2007 [04:00]

It seems the confusion that is rocking opposition Patriotic Front is starting to affect the running of the councils which the party dominates. This should be avoided because councils are the instruments by which people cooperate together in order to achieve the common good in their localities or communities.

An authority is needed at the local level to guide the energies of all toward the common good. All our councillors must be conscious of their specific and proper role in the running of our councils.

The squabbles that today surround the election of the mayor of Lusaka are unhealthy and are not helping to move the city forward. Lusaka, being the capital city of our country and the home of over 20 per cent of our country's population, requires the best leadership possible. We shouldn't also forget that Lusaka's example, as the country's leading city, is usually followed by other cities, municipalities or towns.

It is therefore important for the city of Lusaka to set a good example in everything that its leadership and residents do. If the city of Lusaka is disorganised and is dominated by anarchy, other councils are likely to follow its example. This will certainly not be good not only for Lusaka but for the whole country.

With the problems our people are facing today of lack of social and other services, more efficient councils are more needed than at any other time. We need more competent mayors and councillors to run the affairs of our councils. Where there are limited resources, the most competent people are needed to run things.

There is need for our politicians, at all levels, to take a more selfless and honest approach in the way they run the affairs of our communities, of our councils. Our councillors certainly cannot run the affairs of our communities efficiently if their own political organissation is in shambles.

They cannot bring organisation to our councils when their own political parties, the organisations that are sponsoring them are disorganised or are in confusion. We therefore ask our councillors to run the affairs of our councils, including council elections, in a more organised and exemplary manner.

We urge our councillors in Lusaka to make better use of their votes in today's elections for the mayor and deputy mayor.

They should consider it their responsibility to vote for the most suited person, the most competent councillor to lead our city. Their voting should be guided by what is in the best interests of the residents of Lusaka and our country. And as they vote they should remember that as councillors, they are bound to responsible judgement and decisions.

As such they must vote wisely and only for people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all. They should allow virtue to open a way for itself, merit to prosper. And they should not allow conniving, greed and cheating to succeed. Only those with absolute loyalty to the people should be voted for.

The dissension that has rocked Patriotic Front over the election of Lusaka mayor and deputy mayor, in some way, reveals the poor and undemocratic manner in which our political parties are run.

The state of intra-party democracy among our political parties leaves much to be desired. There is very little democracy in the way most of our political parties are run. They are run like personal property of the party president and those close to him or her. While we accept that there is no civilised organisation that can run without a hierarchy, this does not mean that those in top leadership should ignore the feelings of others in the party. There is need for the top party leadership to always mull over things and consider the feelings of other leaders and even of the general membership of the party. Yes, democratic centralism may be necessary in the running of political parties.

But democratic centralism is not synonymous with one-man decisions, with dictatorship. Political leadership of a party should be a collective responsibility and decision making in a political party should be collective. Even where the principle of democratic centralism is highly accepted, this does not mean decisions have to be made only by one person at the apex; there will always be need for consultations and collective decisions. Even the Pope, who has the right to run the Church and the Vatican on decrees, consults others within the leadership of the Church. Political parties cannot be run on decrees.

They are not personal properties of those who founded or lead them. Political parties belong not just to their members and those elected to be their leaders but to all of us, including even those who oppose specific political parties. And because of this there is need for political parties to broaden their decision-making processes and take into account the views of all leaders and other ordinary members as far as possible.

The Patriotic Front having the majority of councillors in Lusaka deserves to take a leading role in deciding who should be mayor and deputy mayor. Ideally, the mayor of Lusaka should be a Patriotic Front member. But there's nothing stopping them from electing a councillor from another political party who they consider to be more able than their own members. It will be interesting to see if this will happen in today's elections. If it does happen, this may be a turning point in the politics of our councils.

We do not want to see anarchy and confusion in any of our political parties. There is need for the leadership of the Patriotic Front to work hard and ensure that unity is maintained in their party. And we urge all other political parties to do the same. We cannot have a strong multi-party political system in this country and indeed good governance without well-organised and disciplined political parties. But if unity and discipline are to be achieved in our political parties, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of dissension among party members.

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PF councillors resolve to vote for UPND mayor

PF councillors resolve to vote for UPND mayor
By Lambwe Kachali and Patson Chilemba
Friday September 07, 2007 [04:00]

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) Lusaka councillors on Wednesday resolved to vote for UPND candidate Jimmy Dons in today’s mayoral elections in protest against PF top leadership’s directive for them to vote for Stephen Chilatu as mayor. And PF has stopped Lusaka deputy mayor Charles Msiska from contesting the position of mayor.

But Msiska said he would defy the directive because he had a lot of support. And Dons said he would take advantage of the confusion in PF to win the position of mayor.

PF sources disclosed yesterday that councillors differed with party vice-president Dr Guy Scott and spokesperson Given Lubinda during a meeting on Wednesday concerning the duo’s directive for them to vote for Chilatu and Msiska as mayor and deputy mayor respectively.

The source accused the PF top leadership of applying dictatorial tendencies and treating councillors like children. “At first we caucused on Saturday last week and it was discussed that the mayor and deputy mayor elections be subjected to free and fair elections.

And prior to this (Wednesday) meeting, we gave Dr Scott minutes of the last meeting. But to our surprise, he just commanded us to vote for Chilatu and Msiska to maintain their positions respectively or else he will ‘Nakazwe’ us, meaning we shall be expelled from the party,” the source disclosed.

The source said it would not help PF if its president Michael Sata and his top colleagues continued to run the party on dictatorial lines.

“We are not kids to be commanded every time. During last year’s mayoral elections, Sata did the same. He commanded us to vote for Susan Nakazwe as mayor but she disappointed him. This is what is worrying us,” the source said.

The source said Dr Scott, who chaired the Wednesday meeting, should know that voting was a secret exercise and councillors had resolved to vote in favour of Dons.
“Our aim is to teach them a lesson so that they stop their coercive attitudes,” said the source.

And Dons said several PF councillors had approached him promising to give him their votes.

“It’s like PF has failed to give freedom to its members. I am taking advantage of this confusion and I have no doubts that I will win the elections,” said Dons.
But Lubinda said in an interview yesterday that PF resolved to retain Chilatu and Msiska as mayor and deputy mayor respectively.

Lubinda said this had been done to avoid unnecessary acrimony in the running of the council.

“I and the party vice-president conducted a meeting with the councillors yesterday (Wednesday) and we concluded that since Chilatu and Msiska have only been in office for a few months, they should continue in the same positions for another year so that they are known to the councillors,” Lubinda said. “Anyone who does anything contrary shall be going against the party position and will be looked at as having brought the party into disrepute.”
Lubinda said the quarrels that have been going on between Chilatu and Msiska were not healthy.

“It’s not acceptable that there be quarrels but the thing is that we have identified the quarrelling and because it is embarrassing we want to put an end to it,” said Lubinda.

But Msiska maintained that he would contest the position of mayor because he has a lot of support. Msiska said this was not the first time he would be stopped from contesting his preferred position.

Msiska, who is PF Kabulonga Ward 16 councillor, said during the last mayoral elections, he contested the position of deputy mayor even though Sata preferred councilor Mary Phiri for the position.

Msiska was elected deputy mayor three months ago after polling 18 votes against Mary Phiri's 14 votes.

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MMD is the only viable party, says Gen Tembo

MMD is the only viable party, says Gen Tembo
By Patson Chilemba and Nomusa Michelo
Friday September 07, 2007 [04:01]

MMD is the only viable party, former Republican vice-president Lieutenant General Christon Tembo has said. And United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has welcomed UK-based automotive aerospace expert Professor Clive Chirwa to the political arena, saying politics is a serious commitment. But UPND Copperbelt Province chairman Joe Kalusa described Prof Chirwa as a hypocrite.

Commenting on Prof Chirwa's decision to join the MMD, Lt Gen Tembo - who is also former opposition Forum for Democracy and Development president - said it was only logical for Prof Chirwa to join the MMD because of its sound policies and direction.

"As at now if you look at all the parties in the country, there are only two or so who are active who can give some sort of direction," Lt Gen Tembo said. "First is the MMD and then the Patriotic Front (PF). Others are as good as dead.

Now with the recent quarrels in PF, MMD is the only party which gives you some direction. Under the circumstances as on September 6, 2007, really you don't have much choice. As at now, the MMD is the only party that is viable with direction and it's only logical that he (Prof Chirwa) joins it."

Lt Gen Tembo said people were joining MMD not because they were job seekers but because it was the only viable party.

"If you look at future development, I would be in difficulty explaining what development these other parties may come up with," he said.

Lt Gen Tembo said Prof Chirwa was a citizen and had the right to associate himself with any party he deemed fit.

"As a citizen, he can contribute in any capacity or in politics. The new politicians can change the politics of insults," he said.

Asked if he had any intention of returning to active politics or rejoining the MMD, Lt Gen Tembo said rejoining politics required thorough consultations.

"It's not just a question of waking up one morning and say I want to join that party or this. You have to consult your family and those close to you. For the time being I will be farming, I like growing tomatoes. I haven't done any consultations," said Lt Gen Tembo.

And Hichilema said every citizen had a democratic right to belong to a party of his or her choice.

"It is good as long as one is able to commit to service and not doing it for personal gain," he said.

And in a separate interview, Kalusa said it was shocking that Prof Chirwa who only on Monday during a newsmakers' forum organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post was condemning the MMD's policies, was now citing the same policies as the reasons for his joining the party.

"This is a man we were together condemning government policies. I'm shocked to hear that Prof Chirwa has moved to join MMD especially that on Monday we were together in Broadway (Cinema) where we were listening to this man giving academic talk to see how Zambia can regenerate," Kalusa said.

"We are surprised that barely two days later, he has switched to join the MMD. Even after Mr Mutayachalo challenged him that the way he was talking was like a politician, he denied that he had no intentions of joining politics."

He said Prof Chirwa at the Ndola discussion stated that the various sectors such as agriculture, education, health and transport were dead. Kalusa wondered how Prof Chirwa could say the MMD government had good policies.

"He was even telling us that from the time he came, he has not seen a train because the rail system had collapse," Kalusa said. "He was even saying that the health system in this country has collapsed and today he says they have proper policies? Where do the morals of this man lie?"

And Kalusa said Prof Chirwa's move to join the MMD did not pose a threat to the UPND.

"As UPND we are not scared of this man, we will meet him in the battlefield. He's a hypocrite. He should have been bold enough to admit rather than say he is an academician," said Kalusa. "We know he is leaving to make some money. Let him make some money, we will meet him when he comes back. He is just like Nevers Mumba.

From word go, he has shown us how dishonest he is. We will meet him in the political arena. He was the one saying the people in government are mediocre, now he wants to work with the people he is calling mediocre."

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

ZNFU seeks ways of keeping bread prices stable

ZNFU seeks ways of keeping bread prices stable
By Florence Bupe
Thursday September 06, 2007 [04:00]

Responding to concerns that the price of bread would drastically increase due to an upward trend in wheat prices, Zyambo said ZNFU would meet various stakeholders to find a solution to consumers’ fears. “We would like to emphasise that there are no farmers exporting wheat and therefore, this can’t be cited as the reason the price of bread is likely to go up,” Zyambo said.

“However, we are aware that there are some misunderstandings between wheat farmers and millers on the price of wheat, as farmers are asking for more attractive prices than what they are getting right now.”

Zyambo said the union would try and arbitrate between farmers and millers to find a compromise to the situation. Some outlets in Lusaka have already effected a marginal increase in the price of bread by about K200, from K2,500 to K2,700. It is also projected that the price of a 50 kilogramme bag of flour will increase to K160,000 from K140,000.

“The situation on the ground is that some farmers are not happy with the price being offered for their wheat produce by the millers. As a farmers’ representative union, we will try and help the two parties come up with a price they will both be happy with. We will prioritise this issue at the stakeholders’ meeting that we will hold in response to the directive by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives on September 11, 2007,” said Zyambo.

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(HERALD) Vital to promote contract farming

Vital to promote contract farming

EDITOR — Manufacturing companies complain that farmers are not producing enough to sustain our agro-based economy. We have heard the litany of complaints, but the question is what should be done to rectify this anomaly? I think President Mugabe should urge the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement to insert a clause in the lease agreements to compel all commercial farmers reserve a minimum of 10 hectares for each of the following crops; wheat, maize, soyabeans and sunflower.

The clause should stipulate that the Government would buy these crops at market price, failing which the land will be repossessed.

We must not forget that these farmers got the land for free, and Agribank is giving them loans for a song, not forgetting the farm equipment they got under the mechanisation programme.

It is only fair that the farmers complement Government efforts to turn around the economy. The farmers can use the remaining hectarage to produce whatever they want.

As for the companies that are always complaining that the land is not being used productively, they should engage the commercial farmers and go into contract farming. This is working well in the cotton and beverage industry.

Tendai O. Tekere.
Warren Park D,

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(HERALD) Politburo happy with Zanu-PF, MDC talks

Politburo happy with Zanu-PF, MDC talks
Herald Reporters

THE Zanu-PF Politburo yesterday "noted with satisfaction" progress in the talks between the ruling party and the opposition MDC. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa presented a report on the talks at a Politburo meeting at the Zanu-PF Headquarters in Harare. Cde Chinamasa is part of the Zanu-PF team to the talks. The South African-mediated talks between Zanu-PF and the MDC were among issues discussed at yesterday’s Politburo meeting.

"The Politburo also received a report from the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, and noted with satisfaction the progress that has been made in the dialogue with the opposition. The meetings are still continuing," said a statement released by the Zanu-PF information and publicity department after the meeting.

The two parties held another round of talks in Pretoria, South Africa, on Saturday while other series of negotiations have also taken place in Harare. The Herald understands some of the meetings have been held without the South African facilitators.

In March this year, Sadc tasked South African President Thabo Mbeki to mediate between Zanu-PF and MDC and the regional grouping noted — at its last summit in Lusaka, Zambia, last month — that the talks were progressing well.

However, MDC faction leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent visit to Australia to celebrate the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe and seek the intervention of Canberra were out of step with the spirit of the talks and a slap in the face of President Mbeki’s mediation.

Mr Mbeki’s preconditions for the talks clearly stated that it was the responsibility of Zimbabweans to resolve their problems and not foreigners. The Politburo also discussed the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18 Bill.

According to the statement, the Politburo wants some changes to the Bill already published and these will be put to the vote during the Committee Stage when the Bill is before Parliament. There were further deliberations on the amendment.

"The Politburo . . . has approved the introduction through Parliament of Committee Stage amendments to the Bill.

"Details of the Committee Stage amendments approved by the Politburo will be tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs (Cde Chinamasa) on Tuesday 18 September 2007 during the presentation of his second reading speech on Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 18 Bill," read the statement.

The proposed constitutional amendment seeks to harmonise from next year the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, reducing the Presidential term to five years with a Parliamentary dissolution automatically triggering a Presidential election as well. A vacancy in the office of President between Parliamentary polls will be filled by the Senate and House of Assembly voting together to elect a new President.

The second major set of changes in the Bill concerns Parliament itself, with the House of Assembly becoming a larger but almost purely elected chamber as all chiefs and provincial governors move to the Senate.

The proposed new House in the Bill would have 210 members, 200 elected in single-member constituencies and 10 appointed by the President.

The proposed new Senate in the Bill would have 84 members. Each of the 10 provinces would elect five and these would be joined by the 10 governors, the president and vice president of the Council of Chiefs, two chiefs from each of the eight non-metropolitan provinces elected by fellow chiefs in their province, two Presidential appointees to represent Harare and Bulawayo, the provinces without chiefs, and four other Presidential appointees.

There are other proposals to give specific duties to each House.

Committee Stage amendments tend to concentrate on detail, leaving the principal of a Bill untouched.

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(HERALD) ‘Zim must be represented at EU-Africa summit’

‘Zim must be represented at EU-Africa summit’

BERLIN. Zimbabwe should be represented at December’s European Union-Africa summit despite Britain’s reservations, an EU commissioner said yesterday. Plans for a summit between the EU and the African Union have been on hold since 2003 because Britain and several other EU states have refused to attend if President Mugabe is invited. EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said "a high-ranking government minister" could attend the summit and represent Zimbabwe.

"I understand that the British naturally have a big problem (over this issue), but we should not let our political relationship with Africa fall apart because of (President) Mugabe," she said in an interview with German daily Financial Times Deutschland.

SA and several other African countries are expected to say that (President) Mugabe, who has vowed to run for another term as president next year, should be allowed to attend the summit.

The summit is expected to focus on areas including co-operation between Europe and Africa, notably in trade, migration and an energy partnership. — Business Day.

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(HERALD) We won’t dump our President for a puppet

We won’t dump our President for a puppet

EDITOR — Recent media reports that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has been barred from entering the United Kingdom, while Australia simultaneously publicised its intention to deport his three children studying there, is not surprising and should enlighten some naïve members of our society who mistake Anglo-Saxon grins for smiles.

Albion is panicking.

What with China reclaiming the economic enclaves of Hong Kong and Taiwan to its jurisdiction, and in so doing completing the total economic emancipation of Asia.

To make matters worse, several South American states are following the trend set by Vanezuela’s Hugo Chavez of ensuring that resources benefit citizens.

What this means is that the Anglo-Saxon empire is keen to keep a stranglehold on Africa by whatever means necessary.

Last year, I wrote a letter stressing that we should let the Americans and British continue with their madness of scoring own goals.

The sanctions they imposed, I argued, would backfire in the medium to long term and already, they are beginning to hurt the Anglo-Saxon world in real terms because they have over 400 companies here.

Sanctions are not new to us, as Africans have been under sanctions from the days of slavery, and this is precisely what is happening today.

Forget the rhetoric about democracy, human rights, good governance and so on.

It is an indisputable fact that Britain is a financial services economy and any real economic structural changes in key resource-rich developing countries, particularly Zimbabwe, will have a direct impact on the British economy.

This is why our decision to repossess our land sent the British into a panicky frenzy.

Yes, our leaders will no longer visit those cold, foggy isles but the British Queen will also no longer enjoy Zimbabwean beef, that she prefers to the GMOs from across the Atlantic.

It is because of this realisation that the Anglo-Saxons are now in perpetual panic to the extent of using ridiculous sanctions, withdrawing unsolicited honorary degrees, deporting children of our leaders, and barring cricket team tours to Zimbabwe among other things.

If anyone is in doubt, then consider why would, for instance, John Howard stoop so low as to bar the tour of a cricket team, instead of barring BHP, an Australian multinational, to revoke any interests in Zimbabwe.

Yes BHP packed its bags, but I hear they still have some interests here.

We also have their multinational colleagues stalking our mineral wealth by trying to gain acceptance through immaterial public relations stunts of mere name changes from Rio Tintos to Rio Zims and Lonrhos to LonZims.

All that works to our advantage because the Anglo-Saxons still think they are dealing with 16th century native Africans or some old Shona folktale baboons who, having grabbed hare’s hind leg to mete some measure of revenge are told by the latter to abandon the "root of a tree" for a "real leg".

They think we Zimbabweans can be fooled into ditching our real President for a puppet.

Let them continue with their silly economic sanctions and travel lists because at times, the best strategy to conquer a stupid enemy is to let them exhaust their Mickey Mouse arsenal.

Kugona muvengi benzi kumurega achikanda twumiseve twake twese, iwe chako kunzvenga chete.

We are better off directing all our national efforts towards achieving the agricultural production targets we have set ourselves this season, than pay attention to the misery and desperation of the British and their crumbling empire.

That’s their problem. The Neanderthal.


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Prof Chirwa joins MMD

Prof Chirwa joins MMD
By Nomusa Michelo, Joan Chirwa and Patson Chilemba
Thursday September 06, 2007 [04:02]

UK-BASED automotive and aerospace expert Professor Clive Chirwa has joined the ruling MMD, citing good economic policies by the current government. And finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa has confirmed that Prof Chirwa has joined the MMD in Katuba constituency where he is member of parliament and described Prof Chirwa as the MMD’s biggest catch.

But Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said there was nothing to fear about Prof Chirwa joining the MMD. Prof Chirwa told The Post in an interview that he decided to join the ruling MMD so that he could help the government to rebuild the country’s economy.

“I have decided to join the MMD so that I can help in a number of things with regard to the country’s development efforts,” Prof Chirwa said. “Some of the reasons that have made me join the MMD are the current government’s economic programmes with regard to investments and other developments stipulated in the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) and beyond.”

Prof Chirwa, who is also principle advisor to the European Union commission of transport as well as safety and education advisor to the United Kingdom government, said he had a vision to make the country one of the most prosperous African states in the world.

“I have a vision for Zambia. This country is really rich in resources and we need to be producing quality products in the development cycle,” Prof Chirwa said. “We need to look at areas that will give Zambia the much-needed resources and revenue at the end of the day so that we can make the country more developed.”

Prof Chirwa said he could not have joined any political party other than the MMD because of the current government’s “outlined objectives to attain macro-economic stability and reduce poverty in the country.”

“There are more parties existing in the country now but I could not have joined any other party than the MMD. The ruling party has good policies; I have looked at a number of programmes that the government is trying to do and I think a continuation of good policies is needed to develop the country further,” Prof Chirwa said. “I believe that the MMD will manage to move development forward for the benefit of all citizens in this country.”

And Shakafuswa said he met with Prof Chirwa when he paid a courtesy call on him at his office. Shakafuswa said Prof Chirwa discussed with him the possibility of joining the MMD.

“I never followed Professor Chirwa. He is the one who came to my office and yes we discussed him joining the MMD. I’m actually overwhelmed that he has decided to join the MMD. Professor Chirwa is the future of MMD,” he said. “We need politicians who are of the calibre of Professor Chirwa so that they can help put Zambia where it is supposed to be. There are some people in the MMD who just want to reap without adding any value.”

Shakafuswa said the MMD would soon ‘flush out’ low calibre leaders.

“Those whose morality does not match Professor Chirwa, we will start kicking them out. The new MMD is the party of the future. The bad habits of Chiluba will be flushed out. In fact, I can say Professor Chirwa is the biggest catch we have had,” Shakafuswa said. “He is actually buying a card from Katuba Constituency.”

When asked who the leaders of low calibre and low morality in the party were, Shakafuswa said the nation would soon see who they were.

“Some of them are even provincial chairmen, others are holding other high positions in the party. Just wait,” he said.

And commenting on Prof Chirwa’s joining of the MMD, the party’s spokesperson Ben Tetamashimba said he was welcome.

“If people are joining the MMD, it means they are satisfied with the performance of the party. I have been reading about him and if he has joined us he is offering skills to contribute to the vision of our party,” Tetamashimba said. “I believe if the MMD can attract people of high calibre then everything is okay. We are asking for more to come; they are free to come. We are not going to chase anyone, even leaders in the opposition are most welcome.”

But Sata said there was nothing to fear about Prof Chirwa joining the MMD.

“He has joined MMD? That’s alright but as controversial as he is…he’s controversial of the MMD. There is no problem, let him continue. He’s trying to make a name,” Sata said. “I don’t know him, I’ve never seen him and now he has joined MMD. If you are scared about Professor Chirwa, that’s your problem, that’s not my problem. There is nothing to fear.”

However, Sata said if the intention of Prof Chirwa’s joining politics was to become president, there was nothing wrong.

“If he wants to become president there is nothing wrong. Even you, even Brighton Phiri would want to be president. No one owns Zambia so good luck to Professor Chirwa,” said Sata.

But MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga said he did not even know who Prof Chirwa was.

“Who is Professor? Who is this Professor Chirwa? I don’t even know him. I don’t even know where he lives,” Mabenga said sharply. “I will have to check in the party register if he has been entered. I can’t talk about somebody I don’t even know.”

And Zambia Republican Party president Ben Mwila has urged Zambians to judge politicians based on their quality and not academic qualifications.
Commenting on Prof Chirwa’s decision to join the MMD, Mwila said Zambians should be cautious with the kind of leaders they want to put in power.

“The business of trying to import leadership you don’t know is dangerous, because Zambians have to vote for the people they know. They don’t have to vote for qualifications. In Malawi, they thought they were importing a doctor, Dr Kamuzu Banda but they ended up importing a monster,” he said.

Mwila said he was not scared of Prof Chirwa’s joining politics.
“We have equal opportunities. Zambians need to understand leaders they are voting for because voting blindly, they will vote for a monster; not necessarily the imported ones, but those from within could be worse monsters who would end up enslaving them,” he said.

However, Mwila welcomed Prof Chirwa’s joining of politics through the MMD.
“Let him join the MMD and if he wants to bid for president he will bid for the presidency in MMD,” said Mwila.
During a Press Freedom Committee of The Post newsmakers’ forum held on Monday evening at Broadway Cinema in Ndola, Prof Chirwa was under pressure from the audience to state his ambitions for political office.

During his presentation, the cheering crowd shouted: “Chirwa uli wa mano (Chirwa you are intelligent)…ni iwe wine fye (you are the one)… presidential material.”

Yotam Mutayachalo, a trade unionist, said Zambia had a lot of mediocre leadership both in the opposition and the ruling party.
“We need leaders with a vision, we need a political and economic revolution in this country. Professor, I’m afraid that the political arena in this country has been infiltrated by mediocre leadership; both in the ruling government and in the opposition. And we have people like you Professor and we cannot allow this to continue. We are not going to allow mediocre leadership to continue to be misleading Zambians. The question is that don’t you have ambitions?”

Mutayachalo asked amidst cheers and applause from the audience.
“The 2011 elections are around the corner; don’t you have ambitions professor to provide a service to this country because the majority of politicians are there to enrich themselves. They are just there to drive Pajeros and get sitting allowances in Parliament.”
In response, Prof Chirwa said he was still an academician but would be returning to Zambia in 2009.

“At the moment as you understand, I am academic and of course what I will just say is that I am retiring from academia in 2009 then I will come back home,” said Prof Chirwa.

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Zim to unveil new economic strategies

Zim to unveil new economic strategies
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Thursday September 06, 2007 [04:00]

The minister’s budget and monetary policy review statement, which comes against a backdrop of hyperinflation currently running officially at 7,600 per cent and huge budget overruns by line ministries, is expected to address several challenges including hyperinflation, price distortions, food and fuel shortages, disorderly foreign exchange rates along with the availability of foreign exchange, people’s saving culture and balance of payment.

These are the most crucial economic issues affecting the country that was once the breadbasket of southern Africa, according to Luxon Zembe, former chief executive of the Harare Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr Gideon Gono last month put off the unveiling of the mid-term monetary policy review statement, which will now concurrently be presented with the supplementary budget that has just been approved by Cabinet.

Zembe says the budget faces a mammoth task of trying to fill in the huge gaps that have been left virtually vacant by the 2007 Budget statement that has already missed most of its targets halfway into the year.

Inflation, forecast by the 2007 Budget to close the year at between 350 and 400 per cent, has already a reached world record of 7,600 per cent according to official RBZ figures. Independent estimates, however, are pegging the inflation figure well beyond 10,000 per cent.

The budget deficit that was predicted at -17,5 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has already ballooned to about -40 per cent, creating the need for a supplementary budget.

Of the Z$4.6 trillion 2007 Budget, the finance ministry had targeted a deficit of Z$1.6 trillion while the economy was forecast to expand by between 0.5 per cent and one per cent spurred by improved agricultural productivity.

Agriculture was forecast to grow by about 28 per cent but indicators show that it will shrink by almost that size this year while the mining industry, expected to grow by seven per cent, has fallen by 13 per cent, according to Chamber of Mines statistics.

“We look forward to the minister to present a statement that will address issues surrounding inflation, shortages of commodities, the two-tier forex rates that are decimating business as well as balance of payment,” said Zembe. “The economy cannot go on like this.”

Price distortions and shortages of commodities have hit the economy since June 26 when the government assumes price controls.

The controls have left companies operating in the red zone on account of huge operating costs and low or non-existent profit margins.
Despite the government reviewing the controlled prices last week, commodities are still missing from shop shelves.

“We were happy when the government announced the new prices thinking the supply of commodities will improve but nothing of that sort has happened,” said Denford Matashu, general manager of chain supermarket Food World.

“Maybe let’s wait and see what happens in the next few weeks but manufacturers are arguing that they can’t supply because of small profit margins and lack of fuel.”

Matashu said supermarkets have sometimes had to collect supplies from suppliers, adding that retailers would want to see more adjustments from the 20 per cent recently announced by the government.

Only last week, the Zimbabwean government gazetted a new law that prohibits increases in salaries, prices and other charges on account of the consumer price index, exchange rates or taxes.

In the new law, the ‘normal’ market forces that sanction increases in retail prices or charges will be overlooked and instead prices will have to be approved by the National Incomes and Pricing Commission (NIPC), appointed by the President.

From now on, all proposed fees charges and tariffs by government departments, statutory bodies, state universities and companies where the state is a majority or sole shareholder must be approved by the Commission.

Private associations, schools and companies also fall in the net of those prohibited and their price or charge increases will follow standards set by the NIPC. The government expects the new regulations to have an anti-inflationary effect and to push down inflation.

Zembe said the government also needed to come up with realistic policies to avail the much-needed foreign currency. He called for the review of the two-tier foreign exchange system that he said was confusing business. The government has two exchange rates - Z$250 and Z$15,000 - over and above the dominant black market exchange of Z$250,000 per US dollar.

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Muchinji railway cheers Mpezeni

Muchinji railway cheers Mpezeni
By Lambwe Kachali
Thursday September 06, 2007 [04:00]

And Mpezeni said the government should complete the project before the rainy season. In an interview, Mpezeni said there were many benefits to be accrued after the accomplishment of the railway line. He said the construction signified that the government was focused towards bringing development in the country and particularly in the Eastern Province.

"Last week, about ten kilometers were done. This is a good development," Mpezeni said. And Mpezeni warned that if the constructors delayed, they would not finish the project as the rainy season was nearing.

"The main problem with most constructors is that they tend to be fast in the beginning so that they woo support from both the government and residents and relax in the process," Mpezeni said.

"This is unacceptable and I as a paramount chief will not tolerate that." He noted that it was unfair for the Zambian government to take ages to do its part. "Our friends in Malawi did their party along time ago. The have already reached Muchinji boarder and what is remaining is on the Zambian part. This is worrying me a lot," Mpezeni said.

Mpezeni also said the buying of maize by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was going on better than last year. "Last year, FRA delayed to pay farmers their money. But for this year, at least there is some improvement although there are still pockets of complaints from farmers. I hope they will sort them out as soon as possible," Mpezeni said.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

(PROGRESS) Green Taxes

Is this eco-idea working too well?
Green taxes 'are making billions'

Brits are paying a tax that cuts their pollution, gives the planet's ecosystem a chance to recover, and fills the public treasury to full. Is that a problem? Some businesses think so. But the solution need not mean reducing the tax; it could mean: share the revenue; just like businesses pay dividends, so could government.

BBC International, 3 September 2007

The Taxpayers' Alliance says some businesses are suffering unfairly. The government is raising billions of pounds more in green taxes than it needs to remove the UK's "carbon footprint", a report says.
The Taxpayers' Alliance said emissions in 2005 had done damage worth an estimated £11.7bn, but green taxes and charges in that year had made £21.9bn.

It claimed ministers were "cynically" raising revenue rather than using the money to improve the environment.

But the Treasury said the pressure group's claims were "ridiculous".


But the Taxpayers' Alliance said the £11.7bn figure covered the "social cost" of climate change to the world, such as weather changes and related disasters.

It added that UK green taxes should not exceed this figure.

The group also said that, on average, UK households were "over-paying" £400 a year.

Fuel duty and vehicle excise duty were between 30 and 40 times higher than the level needed to cover estimates of the social cost of CO2 emissions.

The doubling of Air Passenger Duty, announced in last year's pre-Budget report, was actually likely to have increased total emissions from air travel, creating incentives for longer flights, the report added.

Meanwhile, it said the landfill tax was raising up to £620m more than was needed to meet the social costs of methane emissions from landfill.

Corin Taylor, research director of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: "Green taxes and charges impose substantial costs on, amongst others, northern manufacturers and the NHS.

"Green taxes in the UK are already well in excess of the level they need to be to meet the academic estimates of the social costs of carbon emissions.


"Every household is paying more than £400 extra in tax every year because green taxes are set too high.

"UK taxpayers are already more than doing their bit to pay for the costs of pollution and additional green taxes would be completely unjustified."

But a Treasury spokesman said: "The government's definition of environmental taxes includes those taxes that are designed to primarily have an environmental impact -- the climate change levy, aggregates levy and landfill tax.

"We make clear, for example, when setting fuel duty rates that the Government takes into account a range of factors, including costs of motoring such as congestion, and the need to maintain sound public finances.

"It is ridiculous to argue that the government is failing against its environmental objectives. The UK is one of a few countries on course to meet its Kyoto commitments. By 2010 we will have met it almost twice over - cutting greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20%."

A spokesman said: "In arguing against these taxes, the Taxpayers' Alliance are being doubly dangerous -- it would mean cuts to public services, schools and hospitals, as well as higher carbon emissions leading to accelerated climate change."


We here at The Progress Report note that not only may the Kyoto targets be set too low but also that there's another way to resolve the issue of having "too much" public revenue -- that is, the government could share it among citizens, paying out the surplus as a dividend to residents or registered voters, much as Alaska does with oil revenue. Indeed, government would be rolling in revenue were it to charge -- at full market value -- all polluters, all depleters, and in general all users of Mother Nature. Getting this Citizens Dividend, people could get by with much less governmental service, and government, by recovering so much of this natural value, could lose the counterproductive taxes on earnings, enterprise, and buildings yet still do its job. Bottom line, don't charge people for the value they create but for the values they take. Then share the revenue raised

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