Saturday, September 15, 2007

(HERALD) GMB to supply inputs for peri-urban farming

GMB to supply inputs for peri-urban farming
Herald Reporter

PERI-URBAN farming in Harare is set for a major boom following successful talks between Government and the Grain Marketing Board over provision of inputs for the coming planting season. In an interview yesterday, Harare Metropolitan Province Governor Cde David Karimanzira said talks with GMB over availing of inputs were concluded and they were awaiting implementation to prepare for this year’s planting season.

"We sat down with GMB over inputs and the parastatal is willing to support peri-urban farming," said Cde Karimanzira.

"Other plans in place were to engage Operation Maguta in view of tilling the farms as well as provision of agro-chemicals.

"The onus is now on the farmers to organise themselves in preparation for the planting season. GMB said farmers would get inputs after full payment while Operation Maguta is paid after harvesting," he said.

So far, people settled on Reinham Farm in Dzivaresekwa have benefited from the programme, which will roll on to Selby Farm in Harare North where there are 270 farmers. Cde Karimanzira said both the public and the private sectors should work towards promoting peri-urban farming as it was sustaining many families as well as contributing to national food security.

"The private and public sectors should also chip in and support these programmes so that in the end the implementation is a success as this will not only benefit the families of those involved, but also the nation as a whole," he said.

A number of open spaces in urban areas are used for farming purposes by residents.

"People are now making the best of what they have which is a great development to the nation. Almost all the open spaces in urban areas have been cultivated," he said.

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(HERALD) Develop literature for higher, tertiary education, academics urged

Develop literature for higher, tertiary education, academics urged
Herald Reporter

ZIMBABWEAN academics should develop literature for higher and tertiary education so that the country stops its dependency on foreign sources of information, the Secretary for Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Washington Mbizvo, said yesterday.

He was speaking at the launch of an indigenous book, "St2eep Guide to Resource Materials — Using Resource Materials in Secondary and Tertiary Education", which he commissioned in Harare recently.

"We need to do away with most of the literature in use in our teachers’ colleges and polytechnics which originates from abroad while we have professionals at all levels of education with immense knowledge and experience that is being suppressed.

"Imported literature tends to utilise the scarce foreign currency resources which the country badly needs and such books are unaffordable, hence the need to promote the use of indigenous material and resources," he said.

While acknowledging that foreign literature had a useful role, he said it fails to portray Zimbabwe’s cultural values and identity, leading to the current situation where some Zimbabwean youths copy foreign role models and become strangers in their own land.

"Our children inevitably ape the foreign role models subsequently becoming strangers to their own environment," said Dr Mbizvo.

St2eep Resource Book was written by lecturers from Belvedere, Hillside and Mutare teachers colleges. It focuses on environmental education ranging from the well-known charts, pictures and models over electronic equipment and computers to kinaesthetic activities, fieldwork and special days.

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(HERALD) Zimbabweans’ skills cause of mobility

Zimbabweans’ skills cause of mobility

WE can only say the cat is out of the bag. For those who did not know, Zimbabwe has the highest overall literacy rate in southern Africa, a whopping 90 percent, and also the highest literacy rate in the school-going age group in Africa at 98 percent.

Statistics released by Unesco on the occasion of the International Literacy Day this week showed that close to 98 percent of young Zimbabweans are literate compared to a regional average of 69,4 percent while the adult literacy rate is 89,4 percent, way ahead of the regional average of 59,2 percent. This development prompted a US university, the University of Maryland to honour Zimbabwe for excellence in education at the Second African Awards in January this year, a celebration of the investments made by the Government in the education sector. While Zimbabwe’s human resource development is unparalleled in Africa, the converse obtains in most countries where literacy remains an elusive target with 60 percent of adults unable to read or write. In fact, the global scenario is even sadder as 800 million people are reported to be functional illiterates; that is, they can neither read, write nor count.

Zimbabwe’s impressive record does not only testify to the huge investments made by the Government in the education sector, a fact that trashes claims by detractors who say the country has nothing to show for 27 years of independence, but they also put into perspective the high mobility of Zimbabweans.

While the brain drain and emigration witnessed in Zimbabwe since the turn of the millennium is not unique to the country, detractors sought to explain it in conflict terms claiming the emigrants were escaping penury and Government repression.

Yet such sojourns are common all over Africa since the days of WENELA in apartheid South Africa, which is why Sadc is currently working on a protocol on free movement.

While we accept that our country is undergoing its worst socio-economic slump since independence, we would want detractors to acknowledge that the challenges are not of our own making, and the reason Zimbabwe has not collapsed is because the Government built a strong foundation predicated on social services.

While there may be some Zimbabweans who illegally cross into South Africa, it is a fact that most of those who do so are unskilled, mostly uneducated nationals who would have failed to make it here.

They jump the borders to do menial jobs on South African farms the same way Zambians and Malawians used to do in Zimbabwe, the same way immigrants from Eastern Europe flood Western cities.

Zimbabwe’s untold story involves a much larger number of citizens who cross into South Africa legitimately as cross-border traders, sell their wares and come back while an even bigger number are lured from their jobs as their skills are in great demand.

These are the professionals who are contributing a lot to the development of their host and home countries.

The point is Zimbabweans move simply because they are not only highly literate but also very skilled in many disciplines which is why their services are sought after even in the so-called post-modern continents of Europe and North America.

Let that fact sink into the skulls of those who claim the converse.

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IMF, World Bank policies have brought poverty - KK

IMF, World Bank policies have brought poverty - KK
By Brighton Phiri
Saturday September 15, 2007 [04:01]

THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank are still imposing unpalatable prescriptions for poor countries' economic recovery and development, Dr Kenneth Kaunda has said. Speaking during the commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the late Steve Biko at South Africa's University of Cape Town, Dr Kaunda said IMF and World Bank economic prescriptions imposed on poor countries had brought about high poverty levels and underdevelopment.

"We live in an interdependent world. But a world in which countries are at different levels of development; a world in which the powerful are at an advantage; a world in which competing national interests particularly of the powerful countries are safeguarded," Dr Kaunda said.

"In such a system, development for the poor countries is not easy to attain. This situation requires the intervention of those who care for humanity; intervention of the faithful who are selfless; intervention of the faithful with deep convictions for a fair world order.

Indeed, intervention of those who are guided by principles embedded in spirituality."
Dr Kaunda said development could not be limited to material wealth only because it included education, healthcare, food security, enlightenment and spiritual fulfillment among other issues.

Dr Kaunda said Biko's legacy was about freedom, liberty, human rights, peace, international co-operation and understanding at global level.

"These are values that are based on faith and traditions," he said.
Dr Kaunda described Biko as a young dedicated revolutionary with deep convictions about fairness and social justice.

According to Dr Kaunda, Biko was brutally assassinated by South African anti-apartheid on September 12, 1977.

Biko, who was a militant charismatic leader of the Black Consciousness of Azania (BCMA), was arrested by the South African police under Section 6 of the Terrorism Act.
He was later murdered by the apartheid security forces who had been detaining him without trial since August 25, 1977 when he was arrested.

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NHBT lauds public-private partnership mechanism

NHBT lauds public-private partnership mechanism
By Joan Chirwa
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

NATIONAL Housing Bonds Trust (NHBT) has said the public-private partnership mechanism adopted by the institution is the most sustainable way of handling the accommodation crisis in the country. NHBT chief executive officer Zik Zekko said in an interview that the institution’s focus in the construction of estates in the first five districts of the country was meant to derive greater benefit of both the public and private stakeholders in the development process.

The housing bonds trust, set up last year as a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, seeks to assist in solving the accommodation crisis in the country in collaboration with local authorities in five pilot districts namely Chipata, Kitwe, Lusaka, Livingstone and Solwezi.

Government identified the option of borrowing money from the public through the issuance of housing bonds on behalf of the local authorities so as to deliver periodic housing infrastructure to all 72 districts in Zambia, within the targeted period, with a primary goal of providing about 800,000 quality and affordable housing units to Zambians by 2015.

According to recent statistics, the country is currently short of about 1.5 million housing units, a situation that has pushed up rentals especially in urban areas.

“The housing situation is widespread in this country and this is the reason why the government thought of a mechanism such as the NHBT in order to have affordable accommodation provided to the Zambian people,” Zekko said.

He further indicated that the NHBT has set November as the time for the issuance of housing bonds on the stock market in order to raise funds for the project.

“We will require about US$10 million approximately K40.2 billion to construct an estate in each of the five pilot districts,” Zekko said. “This means we need a total of US$50 million approximately K201 billion to build estates in the five districts. After the issuance of bonds, we hope to start construction by December and I am hopeful that we will complete the construction within the expected period which is two years.”

Zekko said the institution had already acquired land in the four districts, except Lusaka because of the growth of the construction sector in the city.

But some stakeholders have however raised concerns over NHBT’s planned way of sourcing funds, saying the municipal bonds might not be successful if the financial base of the councils was not expanded.

The Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) indicated that members of the public would be interested to purchase the bonds if the financial capacity of the bond issuer councils was known to be strong.

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'No compensation for people killed by animals'

'No compensation for people killed by animals'
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday September 15, 2007 [04:00]

PEOPLE that are being killed by wild animals cannot be compensated because there is no provision for that in the Constitution, Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) director general Dr Lewis Saiwana has said. In an interview, Dr Saiwana said the issue of compensating people killed by wild animals has failed in many countries.

Dr Saiwana said it was difficult to assume the value of human life. “How do you compensate a human being killed by an animal? This is impossible because there is no unit that determines the value or cost of human life,” Dr Saiwana said.

“Many countries including Botswana, Kenya, Uganda and Ghana have failed to do that.”
He said unless Parliament enacted such a law, ZAWA would not compensate anybody killed by wild animals.

“It is not our fault. This is a matter of law. If there can be an act in our constitution supporting the compensation, then ZAWA will abide by it,” he said.

However, Dr Saiwana said ZAWA would present recommendations to the Ministry of Tourism to ascertain the extent to which the ZAWA Act could be revised.

He said it was important that people were sensitised on the repercussions of illegal hunting.
And asked why ZAWA’s park fees were lower compared to other countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Kenya, Dr Saiwana said:

“I think there is a lapse on the part of ZAWA. We know that the country is losing billions of money through park fees.

Our fees are far below as compared to even our neighbouring Zimbabwe. This is why we cannot improve on the infrastructure like roads in the national parks. ZAWA is charging as less as US$3 on tourists visiting the national parks and Game Reserve areas.”

Dr Saiwana admitted that Zambia was losing huge sums of money in the wildlife sector.
“The country is not benefiting from the sector as it was supposed to,” said Dr Saiwana.

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Stop violence against nurses

Stop violence against nurses
By Editor
Saturday September 15, 2007 [04:00]

Our nurses need support and not beatings. No crime committed against nurses in the name of seeking a better service from them or in frustration against their not providing the service expected of them can be justified in any way. It is surprising that our member of parliament for Roan Constituency, Chishimba Kambwili, can justify and defend the beatings of nurses. As a lawmaker, Kambwili should know that assaulting a nurse on duty is a crime under Section 250 (e) of the Penal Code. It is shocking that a lawmaker can advocate such a criminal practice.

What our nurses need is not beatings but support. Our nurses have tough obstacles. They face many empty storerooms, overwhelming numbers of patients and low wages. And as if it were not enough, Kambwili wants us to add violence against nurses to all this. For all their deficiencies, our nurses - given the tough conditions under which they operate - deserve our understanding, sympathy and support.

They are making extraordinary contribution to our health system. They care for our children, treat our sick and heal us if we are wounded. It is true we are not getting the service that we desire and deserve from our nurses and other health workers. But is it really their fault that things have turned out this way?

There are not enough nurses in Zambia and this causes a lot of problems in the work of those few who have to attend to patients and work long hours. There is need to improve the conditions under which our nurses work if we want to get a better service from them. What they need now is support and funding. We need to find better ways to train and retrain.

To get the best out of our nurses, we must improve the conditions under which they operate and make their work easier. To do this, we need to spend more of our budget as a country on health.

Working conditions are important in motivating our nurses to perform their tasks. And satisfactory working conditions comprise a clean and safe environment, innovative management, availability of medical equipment and supplies. Besides, it is essential that our nurses are not overwhelmed with work. They need to work reasonable hours and take vacations regularly when required. Our nurses are demotivated by so many things, which include the run-down working conditions and heavy workloads.

We should increase wages for nurses in order for them to meet the basic rights of adequate food, shelter, clothing and communication. This is what is going to improve the performance of our nurses, and not the beatings we want to subject them to.

Improving conditions for nurses is not a favour to them; it is a service to the Zambian people who depend on the services offered by nurses. Every person in this country has a right to receive healthcare. We have a duty as a nation to take care of our people who are sick.

In saying all this, we are not in any way defending bad behaviour or practice from our nurses. What we are trying to do is merely recognise the fact that our nurses are not necessarily bad or insensitive people.

They are merely overwhelmed and overburdened by the conditions under which they have to perform their duties to the Zambian people. Nurses should treat patients with respect and compassion. Caring for the sick is a calling of a special dignity and importance, not just another job.

We may not be able to miraculously cure our sick sisters and brothers around us, but we can share the charity of tender hands and promote the justice of good health policies and adequate facilities and medicines.

There is no future development without healthy citizens. We cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life if there is no provision for minimal healthcare for all. Let us try to reach out, in compassion and solidarity, to all sick members of our community.
We have a problem with the way our health system is operating.

But this should not drive us to behave in a brutish way towards our nurses. This is not the way to address such a complex phenomenon. There is need for level-headedness and rationality in the way we respond to the deficiencies in the services being provided by our nurses and indeed other health workers.

We urge our politicians to avoid the type of irrationality, thoughtlessness and lawlessness exhibited by Kambwili. This is not the way political leaders should behave. Violence against nurses and other health workers will not cure the ills that today characterise our health system.

We don't know how many nurses we will need to beat to get things right, to get things working in an efficient, effective and orderly manner. It's only people who can't reason who will resort to the type of violence against nurses being justified by Kambwili. Let us stop the violence against nurses.

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Nurses' beatings are justified - Kambwili

Nurses' beatings are justified - Kambwili
By Sandra Lombe, Nomusa Michelo and Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday September 15, 2007 [04:02]

The recent beatings of some nurses are justified, Roan Patriotic Front member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili has said. But Health Workers Union of Zambia (HWUZ) deputy general secretary Alfred Makani condemned the beatings and called for government intervention in the matter.

Meanwhile, Zambia Union of Nurses Organisation (ZUNO) president Thom Yungana said people should understand that nurses work in very hostile environments.

Commenting on the recent incidents where nurses were beaten up in Lusaka and Mazabuka, Kambwili described some nurses' attitude towards patients as terrible.

"The attitude of nurses is terrible, they must change especially those in government. If they can't change they should be sent for retraining," Kambwili said.

He said nurses and medical officers should respect patients as they were an important aspect of their (health workers) lives.

"Some patients are sulky when sick, others are demanding. Nurses should understand and care for them. Nurses should treat patients like babies. That is why they are paid. When you compare UK and Zambia, patients in UK are considered important," he said.

Kambwili said there were a lot of delays in attending to patients and that at times some patients were clearly neglected.

He said there was need to employ more caregivers to help the nurses to look after patients. Kambwili complained that sometimes it took long to find bed spaces for patients in public health institutions.

"Some patients' actions (of beating up nurses) are justified. Look at UTH! To find a bed space it can take 24 hours, the speed of attending to patients is terrible," Kambwili said. "Even at clinics regardless of one being very sick or not, nurses should have the urgency to attend to people. We have lost a number of people due to delays."

And Kambwili said he had received a complaint of a nurse's alleged negligence, which allegedly caused the death of a miner's child in his constituency.

"The child had been electrocuted and taken to a clinic in my constituency but the nurse on duty told them to go to a mine clinic which is about 4.5 kilometres away. The child died upon reaching the clinic," Kambwili said. "I am trying to follow up the issue but I am not receiving much co-operation. They should not say a child of a miner could only be attended to at mine health institutions."

Kambwili said health institutions should first attend to patients and look at money issues later.

But Mfuwe member of parliament Mwimba Malama condemned the beatings of nurses, saying they were working under difficult conditions and were not motivated. Malama said due to poor conditions of service, most people were frustrated.

"We are all frustrated. We don't even know where to point a finger. Everyone, even members of parliament are complaining, but to whom? Then who is running this country? We should start by admitting that we have failed," Malama said.

"It's a chain of wrong things in the country. It's the wrong system that has gone to sleep. Till we start accepting that we are wrong, that's when things will be fine."

And Makani said the situation of beating up nurses was getting out of hand. However, Makani admitted that a few nurses were not professional in their work.

"Yes, there are one or two bad eggs, but we should not put a blanket statement that all nurses are bad. Most of them are very hard-working, they just need to be motivated," he said.

Makani said health workers were overstretched and it was unfair for them to be expected to work 24 hours a day and not to be tired.

"We need to solve this problem once and for all. The only solution to the problem is to sit down with the government and find a way of sensitising the public," he said.

Makani said health workers in rural areas faced even more hardships because of low staffing levels.

Meanwhile, Yungana said it was not only about attitude of nurses because there were various factors that could lead to people venting their anger on the nurses.

"Our position still stands, we do not condone or support violence in any form. And one thing you should know is that of all the three cases that have been reported so far, from the preliminary investigations we have done so far, we are yet to establish a case of negligence. It's not a question of attitude, there is a procedure that a person has to follow when they take a patient to the hospital.

The nurse has a part to play while other people like the doctor will also have his part to play," Yungana said. "And if a nurse tells a patient to wait in the line because the doctor is attending to someone else, it doesn't mean that they don't want to attend to you."

Yungana said presently, ZUNO was training nurses in Southern Province on attitude and ethics in professionalism. He said the public needed to be sensitised on the hostile environment nurses work in.

"There is a shortage of staff in these hospitals and the public is not aware of that. You can't expect a nurse who was working the whole night to have the same energy in the morning. The Ministry of Health should clearly state what kind of environment we work in," he said.

However, Yungana said nurses should not use the poor working environment to mistreat patients.

"We are doing our best to ensure that issues of attitude are tackled," said Yungana. More than a week ago, a Lusaka police officer is alleged to have severely beaten up two University Teaching Hospital (UTH) nurses after the child he had taken to hospital died.

Another nurse at Lusaka's Mtendere Clinic is alleged to have been beaten up by a woman last Tuesday after she suggested that the patient be taken to another clinic due to lack of electricity at Mtendere clinic.

Another nurse is also alleged to have been beaten up by a man at Chikombola clinic in Mazabuka for delaying to treat his sick child.



Friday, September 14, 2007

Jubilee Zambia calls for close monitoring of privatised firms

Jubilee Zambia calls for close monitoring of privatised firms
By Joan Chirwa
Thursday September 13, 2007 [04:00]

JUBILEE Zambia has advised government to effectively monitor the operations of privatised companies and foreign investments for the benefit of the local people. Releasing findings of the study on the 'Impact of Privatisation and Foreign Investment in Northern Province' in Lusaka on Tuesday, Jubilee Zambia noted that the privatisation process embarked upon by government was one of the biggest economic exercises that needed to be carried out with caution.

Jubilee Kasama team leader Kelly Kashiwa said the government should bring the process of privatisation to a halt while taking stock of the performance of the already privatised companies.

"Privatisation must be done in a gradual way and must not be rushed and it should also be done in a transparent manner," Kashiwa said. "There were a lot of concerns from the respondents in Northern Province that government has not accounted for the monies realised from the sale of state owned companies."

The findings further revealed that people in Northern Province required government to promote a level playing field where both local and foreign investors could compete in a business environment.

"Government must promote a level playing field where both local and foreign investors can invest freely and compete in an enabling environment especially that our local investors have limited financial base," Kashiwa said.

"There is also externalisation of profits made by foreign investors. Government needs to monitor operations of privatised companies and foreign investment."

Jubilee Zambia further called on government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to intensify its operations to ensure that all investors respected labour laws.

"The Ministry of Labour and Social Services should intensify its operations and address the issues of violations of conditions of service especially that some districts do not have these offices in place and in some areas where these offices exist, there is little work done due to limited human resource," said Kashiwa.

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Equinox considers building uranium processing plant

Equinox considers building uranium processing plant
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday September 13, 2007 [04:00]

EQUINOX Minerals is considering setting up a uranium processing plant to maximise the by-product of its US$760 million Lumwana Copper project in north western Zambia. And Equinox Minerals has completed the Lumwana Copper Hedging Programme as required under its Debt Finance Facilities. Under these facility documents, Equinox has hedged 30 per cent of the initial three years of expected Lumwana copper production.

The completion of the hedging requirements has underpinned the first three years of Lumwana production with only 15 per cent of planned production committed by forwards. The programme leaves the balance, 85 per cent, exposed to the upside of a rising copper price.

Commenting on the prospects of uranium mining in Zambia, Equinox chief executive officer Craig Williams stated that current market conditions for the commodity warranted the company's re-evaluation of Lumwana's uranium potential.

"An updated full bankable feasibility study (BFS) on Lumwana's uranium prospects is due for completion by first quarter of 2008, the outcome of the BFS will decide the way we take forward the uranium aspect of this project, but the likelihood is, that we will build a uranium processing plant as a separate module to the copper plant, that will probably be commissioned a year and a half after the copper plant comes on stream in mid-2008, and could potentially produce 750,000 tonnes a year of uranium oxide," Williams stated.

" And this uranium mineralisation occurs as two high-grade uranium zones within the copper mine's open pit so our current attitude is to selectively mine and stockpile these discrete ore bodies and we will continue to infill drill the zones to better define them and we know from pilot plant trials we can produce yellow cake from Lumwana's uranium."
However, Williams emphasised that while uranium looked exciting, copper still represented the core of the project.

"When Lumwana's maiden copper output comes on stream next year, the mine will produce 170,000 tonnes annually of the metal, making it Africa's largest copper mine at that time and its projected mine life is 37 years," stated Williams.

Lumwana's uranium resources are estimated at 11.4 million tonnes of uranium oxide with metallurgical tests suggesting a 97 per cent recovery rate.



(CNN, FORTUNE) Investors bask in solar power's sun

Investors bask in solar power's sun
Silicon Valley startup Ausra says it can generate cheap, reliable electricity from the sun. Fortune's Marc Gunther looks at whether solar power'sday has finally come.
By Marc Gunther, Fortune senior writer
September 13 2007: 10:36 AM EDT

(Fortune Magazine) -- By now, you've probably heard that the solar energy business is booming. Wal-Mart (Charts, Fortune 500) and Tiffany's, Microsoft (Charts, Fortune 500) and Google, Estee Lauder and Target (Charts, Fortune 500), Kohl's and Staples - all use or have announced plans to use solar photovoltaic panels on their rooftops to power their businesses.

But you may not have noticed the arrival - actually, the revival - of another solar technology, called solar thermal. Whereas solar photovoltaic panels are installed directly on buildings and convert sunlight into electricity, solar thermal power is more complicated: it uses mirrors to concentrate sunlight and heat liquids, which are then used to drive turbines to make electricity.

John O'Donnell, an executive at startup Ausra, says his company's technology is cheaper than other solar power alternatives.

Unlike solar photovoltaic, solar thermal projects tend to be large-scale and in remote areas.

Solar thermal has as much potential as solar photovoltaics and maybe more because it can be deployed on a large scale - big enough to light up shopping malls or towns, not just a home or a building.

Cleaning up coal's bad rap

Like solar photovoltaics, solar thermal has been around for a long time. The problem is, until now, it's been too expensive and the electricity generation too intermittent (think lack of sunlight) to compete with coal or nuclear power plants.

Solar thermal's day, however, may finally have arrived, thanks to improved technology, federal tax credits and state requirements that utilities buy power from renewable sources. Federal climate change legislation - which, if enacted, would drive up the cost of electricity from fossil fuels - has also tilted the playing field in favor of low-carbon power sources like solar thermal and wind power.

Today entrepreneurs are racing to cash in. Three large-scale solar thermal plants have been announced in recent months in California, the latest coming from a Silicon Valley startup called Ausra.

Ausra announced this week that it has raised more than $40 million from venture capital firms Khosla Ventures and Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers, and said it plans to build a 175-megawatt solar thermal power plant at an undisclosed location in central California.

Read more on the Green Biz

Begun five years ago as an Australian company called Solar Heat and Power, Ausra relocated to Palo Alto last year with the backing of well-respected technology investors Khosla (a co-founder of Sun Microsystems (Charts, Fortune 500)) and Ray Lane (the former president of Oracle (Charts, Fortune 500)), both of whom sit on the company's board.

"We are disruptively lower cost than existing solar technologies," says John O'Donnell, Ausra's executive vice president, and a longtime technology industry executive.

Ausra isn't the only company that's betting big on solar thermal.

A Spanish firm called Acciona Solar Power began operating a 64-megawatt solar thermal plant in the desert south of Las Vegas in June. Pacific Gas & Electric (Charts, Fortune 500) said in July that it will contract to buy 550 megawatts of solar thermal power to be produced in the Mojave Desert by an Israeli company called Solel Solar Systems.

And BrightSource Energy, a Oakland, Calif.-based privately held company, said last week that it plans to build a 400-megawatt solar thermal plant, also in the Mojave. Earlier, Stirling Energy Systems of Phoenix, Arizona, announced plans for two solar thermal plants in partnership with utilities in southern California.

Vinod Khosla, one of Silicon Valley's most powerful venture capitalists and an Ausra investor (see "24 top innovators" ), boasted recently that the company's first solar thermal plant would be cheaper than any of the "clean coal" plants on the drawing board.

"I'll beat them any day of the week on price, and I'll build them more quickly. I'll challenge anybody with this," Khosla told the Toronto Sun.

Rupert Murdoch's climate crusade

Such braggadocio is often heard these days in Silicon Valley, where clean energy startups are as ubiquitous as dot-coms were in the late 1990s. But Ausra is a worth a look for a couple of reasons - the pedigree of its backers and the fact that it is part of a boomlet in the solar thermal business.

Ausra executives say the company's technology and manufacturing plans will reduce the capital costs of building solar thermal plans. Once its plants are running, and its borrowing costs come down, the company says it will sell electricity for much less than existing solar or wind installations.

"As soon as we can build solar power projects with the same cost of capital as building conventional coal or natural gas plants," O'Donnell says, "we'll deliver electricity at the same cost as coal."

If so, that by itself would be a significant breakthrough.

A second claim being made by Ausra is equally bold. The company says, rain or shine, its plants will be able to store heat for up to 20 hours, allowing it to sell electricity to the grid whenever demand is greatest.

These claims need to be regarded skeptically. But the fact that venture capitalists, utilities and startups are pouring significant money into solar thermal suggests that this technology isn't smoke and mirrors - to the contrary, it may be an opportunity to replace smoke with mirrors.

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(HERALD) Council in joint venture to build suburb

Council in joint venture to build suburb
Municipal Reporter

HARARE City Council has entered into a US$30 million joint venture with an Estonian company for the development of a residential suburb and hotel on a 18,3 hectare piece of land around the Warren Hills Golf Course; a shopping centre and truck inn in Hopley; commercial and residential development north of Arcadia on almost 71ha; and a link between Enterprise Road South and Joshua Nkomo Road to give a direct route from the city centre to the airport.

The city will have 30 percent shareholding in the company, the shares bought by handing over land valued at almost US$6 million, with the Estonians having the bulk shareholding of 70 percent. The city council will provide land while the Estonians will be responsible for infrastructure development.

Details of the joint venture are contained in an internal council document dated 10 September and headlined: "Approval of the shareholding agreement between City of Harare and Augur Investments OU."

The agreement was signed by town clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi and Commission chairman Eng Michael Mahachi on September 4, 2007. Information on the joint venture had remained elusive with town clerk Dr Mahachi choosing to postpone the announcement of the apparently progressive partnership between council and foreign investors.

According to the council document, Augur Investments OU would provide funding amounting to between US$20 million and US$30 million with the city providing the land.

Mr Oleksandr Sheremet of Mt Pleasant represents Augur Investments OU in Zimbabwe.

The shareholding split was reached at taking into account the respective value of the contributions to the joint venture company by each shareholder.

According to the document, all heads of departments were consulted although sentiments are that some of the heads advised against the arrangement.

The Estonian company would have three board directors with the city having two.

The two parties would have equal decision making powers, some of which relate to the entry of new investors and the diversification of business activities other than those previously agreed upon.

If one of the parties chooses to dispose of its shareholding, first refusal would be given to the other party.

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Probe Sisala, Zesco, CEC deals

Probe Sisala, Zesco, CEC deals
By Editor
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

It is dishonest for Zesco managing director Rhodnie Sisala to pretend he is sympathetic to the Zambian people who are subsidising the power that is being supplied to the mines when he is personally a beneficiary of the rip-off. It is scandalous for Sisala to be a shareholder of Copperbelt Energy Cooperation (CEC) and at the same time be the managing director of Zesco.

CEC totally depends on Zesco for survival. It has negotiated what may be said to be unacceptable deals with Zesco to supply it power at ridiculously low rates for onward transmission to the mines at gigantic profits. CEC is making these huge profits that are supposed to end up in the pockets of Sisala and his friends at the expense of Zesco and other general consumers of power.

In short, what this means is that Sisala is in a position to use Zesco to supply his company CEC power at low rates which he and his friends later sell to the mines at super profits. Is this right? Is this acceptable conduct? Would it be wrong to look at this as a case of corruption?

Clearly, Sisala, as managing director of Zesco, is not in a position to represent public interest efficiently or fairly in his dealings with CEC. He is in a compromised position; there cannot be arms-length transactions in situations of this nature. Even though Sisala claims he is not participating in the management of CEC, he is still in a position to pass on to his colleagues information that will be favourable to their company at the expense of Zesco.

It is now understandable why Sisala who was in a position to get CEC back to Zesco failed to do so. Sisala was in a good position to stop the sale of CEC to his friends and allow it to be taken over by Zesco. We also wonder how many people at the Ministry of Energy are participants in the CEC deal. George Mpombo and Felix Mutati who happened to be ministers of energy at the material time need to explain to the nation what happened, why it happened and if also, like Sisala, they are shareholders in CEC.

It is immoral for citizens of this country to rip off the Zambian electricity consumers in this manner. CEC is not involved in any generation of power. It is simply a retailer of Zesco’s electricity. Does Zesco really need a retailer of its electricity to the mines at such a gigantic discount?

No wonder Zesco is failing to meet its obligations in terms of increasing the capacity of power generation because almost all the money made from mining companies is going to the shareholders of CEC.

Sisala is telling the nation that increased copper production by the mines is putting a lot of pressure on electricity generation by Zesco. But he is not telling the nation that Zesco is not benefiting much from this increased consumption by the mines because most of the money is going to CEC, the benefits are being shared by CEC and the mining companies. And if Zesco cannot make enough money from the biggest consumers of electricity like the mines, where does Sisala expect Zesco to get the money needed for increasing power generation?

Sisala and his friends are not helping Zesco at all, they are just ripping it off - CEC is plundering Zesco. If they are serious businessmen, let them look for money and invest in new power generation ventures. Moreover, Sisala’s friends have not spent any money of their own to buy CEC. What they have done is to borrow money from abroad and pay off the previous shareholders of CEC - and make CEC pay this debt. Effectively, they didn’t borrow the money. CEC borrowed the money for the purchase of its own shares.

They have literally put in nothing themselves; they have taken no risk at all, that’s if there’s any risk to take in a deal of this nature. Effectively, the people paying for the shares of Sisala’s friends in CEC are the ordinary Zambian consumers through the high tariffs they have to endure to keep Zesco running and to enable it to continue supplying CEC with power. In this way Sisala and his friends are making gigantic profits. This is not the way to do business.

We hope the Zambian government can learn something from the Russian experience and why President Vladimir Putin had to lock up some so-called businessmen who had made fortunes from deals of this nature.

There is need for us to realise that public assets like Zesco belong to all our people and all should benefit from them equally or in a fair manner. Public resources should be there for all Zambians to enjoy.

It is clear from this that there is a great danger that government policies, if not combined with clear social concern, will bring socio-economic deprivation.

There is need for us to build our country up through diligence and frugality. A dangerous tendency of personal gain among our public servants doesn’t seem to be dying. It seems to be as stubborn as roaches that have invaded a house. This is very bad because it makes it very difficult for our country to use its very limited resources in a way that fully benefits our people.

But why was it possible for Sisala and his friends to work in this way without anyone realising or noticing that there was something questionable in their dealings? Is the system so rotten that even the rot can’t stink anymore because it has become a normal smell to which all our noses have become accustomed to?

We urge the relevant authorities to carefully probe the CEC deal and its effect on Zesco. We demand this in the interest of justice and fairness. If at the end of the day the situation requires that Caesar gets back what belongs to him, so be it. Deals that are not right, that are not fair should never be allowed to live long.

All Zambians deserve a fair deal from Zesco and from all public resources. Clearly, there is a prima facie case of Sisala abusing his trust as Zesco managing director to enrich himself and his friends.

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It's not profiting Zesco to subsidise mines - Sisala

It's not profiting Zesco to subsidise mines - Sisala
By Joan Chirwa
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

IT is unacceptable that Zesco should continue subsidising mining companies when the mines have been making huge profits in the last few years, Zesco Limited managing director Rhodnie Sisala has said. During Radio Phoenix's Face the Media programme on Wednesday, Sisala said it was not profitable for Zesco to continue with heavy subsidies for the mines considering that the mining sector had recorded huge profits over the years following a boom in copper prices on the international market.

"Tariffs with the mining companies were negotiated around 1996 and 1997 when copper prices were not at their peak. This was to encourage more investments in the sector," Sisala said. "The environment was extremely difficult for the mines that time, so favourable tariffs were given as an incentive to the mines. But now that the scenario is different as a lot of profits are being recorded, it is just important for us to re-negotiate the agreements on tariffs."
Sisala said preliminary discussions were being held with various mines in an effort to agree on a tariff structure that would benefit both parties.

"We wrote to the mines through Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) indicating that we needed to re-negotiate the agreements on tariffs," Sisala said. "Preliminary discussions on the re-negotiation of the tariffs with the mines are currently in place. The mines are making healthy profits and it is unacceptable that Zesco should continue to provide subsidies to the mines because of huge profits being made."

Sisala said increased copper production by the mines was putting a lot of pressure on electricity generation by the power utility.
"Copper production is in excess of 600,000 tonnes per annum and various mining companies have indicated that they hope to hit one million tones per annum in the next few years," Sisala said.

"There is a lot of growth in the mining sector and this requires a lot of electricity. Kansanshi has begun production, Lumwana is in its advanced stage of construction. There is the Konkola Deep project by KCM, the Nchanga Smelter, the Chambeshi Smelter as well as the Milyanshi Mines. All these are being developed and this means the amount of electricity being consumed by the mines will increase from the current 50 per cent."

And Sisala said projects being undertaken by the power utility would continue being disadvantaged if tariffs remained at a low level.
"Zesco's ability to repay loans is also going to be compromised. We have been making a loss, this is why a substantial increase in tariffs is absolutely important for Zesco Limited," Sisala said.
"The revenue stream becomes much lower for a utility that supplies power to a country at low tariffs. The robustness of that project becomes much weaker."

Zesco Limited has proposed an increment of electricity tariffs for domestic, commercial, social services as well as maximum demand consumers by 60 per cent.
The power utility is hoping to use part of the money from increased tariffs to finance some of its projects countrywide, although the proposal for a tariff adjustment has not been welcomed by a number of stakeholders.

Sisala reiterated that the Zambian financial market did not have the capacity to lend huge sums of money required for the power utility to effectively carry out rehabilitation of existing power stations and construction of new generation plants.
"We are looking for long term financing, not short term. The Zambian market doesn't have the capacity to provide the volumes of money required. That is why we are looking at international financing," Sisala said.

"We need amounts of close to US$2 billion (approximately K7.9 trillion) for us to rehabilitate some power stations, extend the Kariba North Bank, Kafue Gorge Lower and the construct the Itezhi-tezhi Upper power station."
The current capacity for Zambia's power system is 1,680 mega watts (MW).

About 450 MW is currently out for rehabilitation, meaning the only available power is about 1,230 MW against a peak demand of about 1,550 MW.
It is hoped that total capacity for the power system will be increased to around 1,890 MW at the end of the rehabilitation projects in the next few years.

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There's no going back in Zim, declares Mujuru

There's no going back in Zim, declares Mujuru
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

THERE is no going back in Zimbabwe, Vice-President Joyce Mujuru (above) has declared. Speaking when she paid a courtesy call on Cuban foreign affairs minister Felipe Perez Roque on Wednesday, Vice-President Mujuru said as much as the blockade against Zimbabwe was tightening, it was a blessing in disguise because development "is now coming to Zimbabwe."

"Necessity is a mother of invention," Vice-President Mujuru said. "What is happening in Zimbabwe is a result of our demand for our right to our land. There is no going back because land is part of us. Without land we are doomed, there would be no way to put forth the future of the country without the right to land. The women and men of our country are fully behind President Robert Mugabe."

She said in the recent elections, the West, which had already imposed sanctions on Harare thought the ruling ZANU-PF would lose.

"But we won overwhelmingly much to the discomfort of the enemy," Vice-President Mujuru said. She said the most encouraging thing was that the SADC region and the rest of the African Union countries have been on the side of Zimbabwe ever since the imposition of sanctions.

"This is very good for Africa, we must stand in unity," Vice-President Mujuru said. She said she was not surprised that Cuba was well informed about what was going on in Zimbabwe since the island was the chair of the Non-Aligned Movement and also had very warm relations with Harare.

Vice-President Mujuru said right now the Zimbabwean Parliament was debating bill number 18 aimed at combining all elections in that country. She said the ZANU-PF had discovered that Zimbabwe spent productive time running different elections.

Vice-President Mujuru said as of March 2008, presidential, parliamentary, senate and local government elections would be held together. She said in December this year, the ZANU-PF would hold a congress to explain the purposes of that bill to the electorate. Vice-President Mujuru said Zimbabwe would always support Cuba, which is also living under historical, financial and economic sanctions imposed by the US.

She said Zimbabwe understood the position of Cuban leader Fidel Castro.

"We wish President Fidel good health," Vice-President Mujuru said.
She also expressed her sadness on the death of Raul Castro's wife, Vilma.

"Sister Vilma was the mother of the nation," Vice-President Mujuru said.

"But that is what life is. We live today and die tomorrow."

Vice-President Mujuru tabled before Cuba issues regarding assistance in education and malaria programmes. She said Zimbabwe was impressed with the successes Cuba was recording in education and health sectors and that she was happy that the island was ready to share and transfer technology to Zimbabwe.

Vice-President Mujuru said Zimbabwe was battling with problems of animal vaccines and malaria. Cuban foreign minister Perez Roque said Cuba admired and fully supported Zimbabwe's resilience against the unjustifiable sanctions.

He said what was happening in Zimbabwe was blackmail by the West.
"Zimbabwe should not, it should never be in isolation," Perez Roque said.

"Cuba is in support of Zimbabwe in whatever measures your country feel are right to improve the lives of the people and particularly the farmers who were exploited for centuries. We have profound sense of admiration of the endurance of the people of Zimbabwe."
He said Cuba was happy that the African Union was in support of Zimbabwe's struggle for its rights.

Perez Roque said Zimbabwe's endurance against the harsh sanctions was a symbol of a fight for its independence and dignity of Africa.

He said Cuba as chair of the Non-Aligned Movement was within the rights to offer full support to the government and people of Zimbabwe against the prolonged sanctions.

"We are going to renew cooperation in all areas including training of staff, health and by raising international awareness of injustices being committed against Zimbabwe," Perez Roque said.

"We reject these efforts that violate international law and the UN Charter and the purposes and principles defended by the Non-Aligned Movement."

He said Cuba was aware that drought in Zimbabwe in the last farming season had aggravated the situation on the ground.

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Nalumango commends youths over constitutional assembly

Nalumango commends youths over constitutional assembly
By Sandra Lombe
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

DEPUTY Speaker of the National Assembly Mutale Nalumango has said the National Youth Constitutional Assembly is bringing Parliament closer to young people through its programmes. And Friedrich Ebert Stiftung resident director Gerd Botterweck urged youths to be involved in political parties and organisations. Speaking when she officiated at the Fourth National Youth Parliament, whose theme was mainstreaming youth participation in national development, Nalumango said youth parliament exposed young people to issues that affected them.

“With the introduction of the parliamentary reforms, whose main aim is to bring Parliament closer to the people, the parliamentary doors have been opened wider to allow members of the public to participate in parliamentary activities. The national youth constitutional assembly have blended very well with this reform as they are bringing Parliament closer to young people through their youth programmes,” she said.

Nalumango also urged the youths to participate openly and freely on the bill and two motions that they would debate. The bill is calling on government to formulate a youth empowerment commission to solely look at youth issues while the motions urge the government to revise the current national youth development council Act among others.

And Botterweck said it was important that youths participated and become incorporated in organisations and politics of the country. “They should also be involved in the constitution as it affects them as future leaders and shape the future. Youths should also join political parties and trade unions to set up youth wings,” he said.

However, he said currently youths were not actively involved in the constitution and national development. He said some organisations were trying to involve the youths but there was need to have a stronger youth participation. Botterweck said it was difficult to motivate the youths and there seemed to be apathy in participating in politics.

“They have to form a strong youth movement and try to get things changed,” said Botterweck.

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BBZ enters into partnership with estate agents

BBZ enters into partnership with estate agents
By Joan Chirwa
Friday September 14, 2007 [04:00]

BARCLAYS Bank Zambia (BBZ) has entered into a partnership with local real estate agencies in the provision of home loans to the Zambian people. Bank managing director Danie Nel said the institution was trying to allow participation of as many stakeholders as possible in its operations for positive contribution to economic development.

“This collaboration with estate agents is a significant achievement for Barclays Bank Zambia. The bank needed to find a vehicle that could be used to give long-term investment opportunities. There is a significant amount of development happening in Zambia such as investments in property,” said Nel during the launch of the collaboration between BBZ and estate agents in Lusaka on Wednesday.

“We are increasingly allowing people that do not work for the bank to contribute in a positive manner. We will allow the estate agents to sell and market the product for us so that as many people as possible can have access to the product in an effort to provide decent housing to Zambians.”

During the same function, lands minister Bradford Machila said the government was struggling to meet the demand for housing in the country due to inadequate resources.

“Housing has been made a priority for government,” Machila said. “It is good to see Barclays Bank working with various real estate agents to make housing available to the people through home loans.”

And Hardcastle Realtors principal consultant Christopher Kayebeta, who spoke on behalf of other estate agents, called on the government to reduce taxes on construction materials and processes.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

(THE HERALD) Agric stakeholders optimistic

Agric stakeholders optimistic

Stakeholders expressed optimism on Tuesday for a better 2007/08 farming season but emphasised the need for timely provision of inputs for higher yields. This emerged during a meeting between members of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement and Agriculture and players in the agricultural sector on the state of preparedness for the forthcoming season.

Representatives of farmers, seed houses and financial institutions, who attended the meeting were all upbeat about the forthcoming cropping season, but said a successful agricultural season hinged on timely provision of critical inputs such as seed, fertilizer, chemicals, fuel and loans.

Farmers Development Trust executive director Mr Lovegot Tendengu said the future was bright for the tobacco crop as farmers had been allocated land under the agrarian reform programme and manpower was available while training institutions in the country were providing farmers with the capacity to produce.

Mr Tendengu said tobacco farmers were also guaranteed inputs through contracts they signed with companies in the private sector.

He said the massive mechanisation programme currently underway would also boost tobacco production this season, which had a ready market in Asia.

He said markets in the Far East were prepared to absorb all the country’s golden leaf.

Mr Tendengu said tobacco production was targeted to rise to 150 million kg next year, up from 80 million kg produced this year.

He said large-scale farmers would produce 60 million kg from 65 000 hectares with each hectare yielding at least 3kg while the remaining 90 million kg would come from communal farmers who would produce at least 1kg per every 2 000 hectares.

Seed Producers’ Association chairperson Mr Temba Nkatazo assured the nation of adequate maize seed supplies.

He indicated that farmers had so far delivered 29 000 tones of seed maize out of the required 50 000 tonnes for the nation.

He said more than 15 000 tonnes were still on farms as farmers were anticipating a review of the producer price.

Association vice-chairperson Mr Dennis Zaranyika said the major challenge facing the sector was unviable producer prices for seed maize.

Mr Zaranyika said farmers were demanding more than $20 million per tonne to offset production costs, which were relatively higher than those of other cash crops such as soyabeans.

He said failure to increase the producer price of seed maize would result in farmers switching to other crops that had higher returns, a situation he said would result in the country spending large amounts of scarce foreign currency on imports.

Agricultural and Rural Development Authority acting chief executive officer Mr Wycliffe Matsika told the committee that his organisation would plough at least 10 284 hectares this season, adding substantial progress had already been made in preparing the land.

Mr Matsika was optimistic that the authority would meet its target although a lot depended on the availability of fertilizer and fuel.

He also expressed concern at the depleted machinery fleet, which included 484 tractors, 68 ploughs, 65 disc harrows and 26 planters.

Agribank chief executive Mr Sam Malaba told the meeting that his institution had disbursed $392 billion under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility from January to August this year for tobacco, horticulture and livestock and was still to disburse $40 billion out of the $61,4 billion under the Public Sector Investment Programme (PSIP).

Mr Malaba noted that his institution had received an additional $80 billion for the PSIP that it would disburse to large-scale farmers through the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, as well as $60 billion for disbursement to smallholder farmers under the Maguta/Inala project.

Ministry of Agriculture permanent secretary Mr Ngoni Masoka said there was need to pursue the twin strategy of capacitating the local fertilizer industry as well as import ready-to-use fertilizers since the season was fast approaching.

Secretary for Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation Dr Shadreck Mlambo urged communal farmers to utilise organic fertilizer such as cattle dung as a substitute for compound D fertilizer. — New Ziana.

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(HERALD) Government buys 3 500 more tractors

Government buys 3 500 more tractors
By Innocent Ruwende

GOVERNMENT has bought 3 500 more tractors under the agriculture mechanisation programme and they are expected in the country over the next six months. Part of the consignment is due before the onset of the rains and will be used in the forthcoming summer cropping season.

The Minister of State for Agriculture Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation, Cde Joseph Made, said measures had been put in place to ensure that there would be no defective tractors.

"The country will receive at total of 3 500 tractors from different countries within the next six months. As we prepare for the farming season, we want to make sure that we have all the machinery needed,’’ said Cde Made.

"We are very happy that we are getting tractors of well-known brands, but we are warning companies that we are strengthening our inspection on all products. We will not leave any stone unturned as we want the best products for our farmers. We want to make sure that we will get the products we asked for. Companies supplying the tractors and other farming equipment risk losing business if they supply defective products."

Earlier in the day, Cde Made met Malaysian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Cheah Choong Kit, who reaffirmed his country’s commitment to providing and servicing agriculture implements for Zimbabwe. Cde Made said they discussed ways in which Malaysia could help Zimbabwe boost its cotton production.

"There is need for farmers to venture into cotton production as we are in high need of the crop. Cotton must be grown side by side with food crops where possible. Cotton is useful for edible oil and its by-products are used to feed cattle, so in way we can improve our national herd," he said.

The minister stressed the need to grow food crops to save foreign currency spent in importing maize.

On Monday, Cde Made met Algerian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Ali Mokani.

"In our discussions we were finding ways in which Algeria can help Zimbabwe in the field of irrigation. In Africa, Algeria and Egypt produce the best agriculture machinery and equipment.

"We also want to learn from the Algerians on water application. They have desert conditions in their country but they do have good irrigation schemes, so we want to learn their methods even though we have better rainfall in Zimbabwe,’’ he said.

Cde Made said he had faith in the suitability and durability of Algerian-manufactured farming machinery, particularly tractors.

His office was setting up a division to focus on engineering and mechanisation with training and extension services.

"The equipment we are receiving is worth trillions of dollars and needs good service and maintenance.

"We are going to open maintenance centres countrywide to make sure that the machinery is well taken care of. We need part of our staff to learn what other countries have done,’’ he said.

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ZNFU challenges Levy

ZNFU challenges Levy
By Joan Chirwa
Tuesday September 11, 2007 [14:00]

ZAMBIA National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has asked President Levy Mwanawasa to ensure Zambia produces more food than Malawi before he steps down in 2011. And the farmers union has expressed concern at the increase in prices of seed on the local market, saying most farmers would now resort to planting recycled seeds.

ZNFU board director Jervis Zimba noted that Zambia had the potential to produce millions of tonnes of maize and other agricultural commodities than the neighbouring Malawi as a result of the country’s vast natural resources.

“My humble appeal to President Mwanawasa and Minister of Agriculture Ben Kapita is that let Zambia produce as much as it can before 2011. We need to see Zambia producing around five million tonnes of maize by 2011 before President Mwanawasa retires.

I know this can happen because the president has a passion for agriculture,” said Zimba during a farmer’s association annual general meeting in Kapiri Mposhi last week. “Malawi is a small country compared to Zambia but it has managed to produce three million tonnes of maize in the last farming season when our country is talking of around 1.3 million to 1.5 million tonnes of maize. We cannot be beaten by Malawi in terms of food production because I know that we are capable of doing better.”

Zimba said would never produce agricultural products to a competitive level if the government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, fails to get several farmers out of poverty.

“This country used to produce millions of tonnes of maize some years ago, but that is not happening. Agriculture at some point had collapsed but the current government has chosen to revive it, which is good,” Zimba said.

“What I can say is that agriculture is still in its infancy stage in this country, but I believe that government can help by getting back the old farmers who used to be supported by CUSA and Lima Bank back into the mainstream agriculture production. If this is not done, then I can assure you that no matter how much we try, we will never get to the level we reached year ago in terms of food production. Some of these farmers have become so poor that they can’t even afford a bicycle when they used to own vehicles, tractors and other farm equipment.”

Zimba gave an example of Malawi which three years ago had been importing around 40 per cent of maize for local consumption, but now depends on its own production.

“Unless government comes up with a deliberate policy to promote small scale farmers, we will never compete at a regional level in terms of food production,” Zimba said. “We had a lot of farming blocks in this country but these have been turned into farming blocks. I believe government is also concerned with the situation many of our farmers in the country have found themselves in.”

Agriculture minister Ben Kapita upon his appointment last year promised to work towards revamping the agriculture sector and turn Zambia into the region’s food security.

Government this year allocated 8.8 per cent of this year’s K12 trillion budget towards the agriculture industry, up from 5.7 per cent given in the K10 trillion 2006 budget. And Zimba noted that the increase in prices of seed would negatively affect production in the next season.

He called on the government to consider removing duty on imported farming inputs in order to promote the industry.

“It is very sad news to hear that the price of seed has been increased. I am told prices of fertiliser will also go up,” Zimba said. “I only hope the government will take this into consideration and ensure something is done to reduce the cost of production in the industry. Looking at what is obtaining, I don’t expect prices of maize to remain at K38,000 per 50 kilogramme bag next year. Farmers need to get a fair return on their investments.”

Dealers of seed have increased prices of the commodity from around K60,000 to over K90,000 per 10 kilogramme bag of maize seed.

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Chipata mayor pledges to accelerate development

Chipata mayor pledges to accelerate development
By Christopher Miti
Thursday September 13, 2007 [04:01]

CHIPATA mayor Sinoya Mwale has said he will not tolerate people who want to frustrate developmental programmes. And Kanjala Ward councillor Jealous Phiri charged that the mayoral elections in the town were marred by malpractices. In an interview after being re-elected Chipata mayor on Tuesday, Mwale promised to ensure that the town developed at a faster rate.

“There is a lot of bickering in Chipata. The people who want to frustrate development programmes will not be tolerated because we want to develop,”Mwale said.

He called for unity among the people in terms of developmental programmes.
“The current road repairs in Chipata are impressive but there is need for togetherness among the people if the project is to move as per expectation,”Mwale said.

He appealed to members of parliament to take keen interest in attending council meetings. “I will make sure that members of parliament, who are also councillors, take keen interest in attending council meetings to deliberate developmental issues,”Mwale said.

Mwale retained his position after polling 15 votes while his rival Marvern Zulu of Chiparamba got 10 votes. And Phiri, who also contested the mayoral position, said he would petition the results because the elections were marred by malpractices.

"I will petition the results because there is no way I can lose after doing serious campaigns,” Phiri said. He alleged that mayor elect Mwale engaged in corrupt practices to win the seat.

“I strongly believe the mayor-elect distributed some money to the councillors so that they could vote for him,”Phiri said.

But in response, Mwale said he did not have money to corrupt people and said he won because his colleagues trusted him. Chipangali councillor Wilson Tembo won the position of deputy mayor.

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Oasis Forum's new consultants

Oasis Forum's new consultants
By Editor
Thursday September 13, 2007 [04:00]

It is very important to be careful in the choice of the company we keep. We feel it is poor judgement on the part of the Oasis Forum to invite former president Frederick Chiluba to attend their consultative conference. Chiluba's record on the constitution is scandalous. We shouldn't forget that the many differences we have today with Levy Mwanawasa and his government over the constitution review process are nothing compared to what we had in 1996 with Chiluba.

The constitution we are trying to review or replace today is a product of Chiluba. When he was president of the Republic of Zambia, Chiluba appointed a constitution review commission headed by John Mwanakatwe.

The Mwanakatwe Commission produced a report containing very good recommendations on the constitution review, but Chiluba threw out most of the recommendations and came up with his own positions which he turned into the supreme law of this country. What we have today in this country is a Chiluba constitution. Chiluba didn't want to listen to anyone, including Nelson Mandela, on this constitution.

And Chiluba went beyond the constitution and enacted many other bad laws which took away or affected in a very negative way the liberties of our people. Some of these laws are today hounding Chiluba and his friends.

Surely, any sensible person, any independent-minded person will realise that Chiluba is not fit to be part of the Oasis Forum decision-making processes. Yes, Chiluba may have good things to say about our current constitution review process and he should be allowed to say them.

But an Oasis Forum platform is not the best place for him to say what he may want to say. There are many other avenues he can use to be heard on this score. The Oasis Forum is simply undermining itself, it is reducing its standing and independence in the eyes of our people. There is no doubt the battle lines on the constitution review process are almost drawn.

On the one side is Levy and his minions, including some opposition politicians he has manipulated, on the other it is the Oasis Forum and its partners and supporters. This, however, does not necessarily mean that whoever is opposed to Levy should automatically be part or be an ally of the Oasis Forum. Chiluba has problems with Levy. But their differences are certainly not over the constitution. They are over his prosecution for corruption.

And the Oasis Forum should not be seen to be simply an anti-Mwanawasa coalition. We shouldn't forget that it was Chiluba's bad behaviour, arrogance, lack of humility, selfishness and short-sightedness that gave rise to the need for our people to congregate and form the Oasis Forum. And because Chiluba's anointed successor, Levy, in some respects has maintained some of the attitudes and practices of his initial sponsor, the Oasis Forum has continued to be relevant to this very day.

By saying this, we are not preaching hatred against Chiluba. What we are merely saying is that each person has his friends, has the right to choose who he wants to associate with. And people are often judged by the company they keep, by the type of people who support them. The Oasis Forum is not short of men and women of good record to consult.

Chiluba certainly knows something about constitution making because he made one, he is the father of our current constitution - he sired this constitution that we today want to do away with, to replace. By saying all this, we are not trying to run away from the responsibilities of the present and blame everything on the past. We can't do that because we know that blaming things on the past does not make them better.

But when we know the past we can ensure that it is not repeated. And we know what Chiluba did with the 1996 constitution review: he behaved in the most treacherous way, in the most undemocratic way, in the most crooked and selfish way to give the nation a constitution that served nothing other than his own personal interests.

Moreover, it is the dictate of history to bring to the fore the kind of leaders who seize the moment, who cohere the wishes and aspirations of the people and not people whose main discernible preoccupation had been to dribble, cheat and rob the people not only of their rights but also of their resources. The purpose of our going back into this short history is not to deride human action, nor weep over it or to hate it, but to understand it - and then to learn from it as we contemplate our future.

Chiluba has his own problems with Levy but that should not be part of the agenda of the Oasis Forum. The Oasis Forum is not a platform for crooks; it is a platform for the legitimate causes of our people and should remain that way. It should not be turned into a motley assortment of contradictory characters whose only visible similarity is their opposition to Levy.

It is becoming increasingly clear to us that the Oasis Forum is becoming an omnibus for all who are not happy with Levy for one reason or another. And plunderers of all hues, having lost their political platforms, are turning more and more to the Oasis Forum. Yes, the Oasis Forum needs the support of as many people as possible. But certainly not these crooks of the Chiluba type.

Members of the Oasis Forum shouldn't forget so quickly the battles they had with Chiluba in 2001 when he single-handedly wanted to amend his constitution and give himself additional years in office. Today, such a man should be part of our people's efforts to give themselves a constitution driven by no one other than themselves! We have supported the Oasis Forum literally on everything but we will not do so on this one.

Their failure to recognise the evils of this little devil sadden us. There is no meaningful, credible and dignified consultation the Oasis Forum can have with this devil of devils, especially over the constitution. Maybe we have misunderstood what the Oasis Forum wants; maybe they want to consult Chiluba on how effectively the people can be betrayed!

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Oasis pulls out of NCC

Oasis pulls out of NCC
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday September 12, 2007 [04:00]

THE Oasis Forum has adopted the Non-Governmental Organisations Co-ordinating Council's (NGOCC) position to stay away from the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) which is being spearheaded by the government. And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka said the option of staying away from the constitution-making process was on theOasis Forum's table.

According to some senior members of the Oasis Forum, the three church mother bodies; Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ) and Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia had resolved to stay away from the constitution-making process because they felt deceived by the enactment of the NCC Bill.

"We are waiting to hear from our colleagues in Law Association of Zambia and some of the consultative group members. As for the Church it is clear that they will stay away to avoid legitimising the process," said one of the sources.

"It is very clear from the NCC Act that the process has been hijacked by the politicians. We stand the risk of being used by politicians to legitimise the process if we attend the NCC."
According to one source, some key Oasis Forum members were expected to announce their adoption of NGOCC's position of staying away from the constitution making process during the stakeholders' conference scheduled for Lusaka's Mulungushi International Conference Centre tomorrow.

"The numbers as outlined in the NCC Bill does not instill confidence in the minds of serious stakeholders...the composition has abrogated the demand that no interest group should have built in this case MMD has a built in majority under the NCC bill," said the source.

According to the source, the concerned Oasis Forum members felt that it was risky for them to attend the government sponsored NCC because they could easily be defeated by the majority MMD sympathisers.

"It is better to lobby this constitutional conference from outside so that the people's interest is safeguarded. People have the democratic right to participate or not in any process. And it is our democratic right to participate from outside," said the source.
The Oasis Forum has called for a stakeholders' consultative meeting, where they would review their participation in the constitution making process.

And Lifuka said all Oasis Forum member organisations were consulting amongst their membership and were expected to announce their resolutions during the stakeholders' conference tomorrow.
"As TIZ, we are having our consultative meeting today (yesterday) to decide on the matter," Lifuka said.

"Otherwise the option of pulling out of the constitution-making process is still lying on the Oasis Forum's table."
He explained that the Oasis Forum members would discuss the NCC Act and assess whether it would deliver a people-driven constitution.

"We will discuss the issue of the composition. We are worried that with MMD enjoying built in majority, we will not discuss the content of the constitution in a free and fair manner because of the arrogance of numbers," he said.

Lifuka said one of the questions to be addressed would be whether the Oasis Forum should go into the NCC to legitimise the process. He said the Oasis Forum had invited some students' unions, labour leaders and political parties to attend its organised consultative conference in order to reach a consensus on the matter.

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W/Province road network is a 'thorn in the flesh' - Mufalali

W/Province road network is a 'thorn in the flesh' - Mufalali
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Thursday September 13, 2007 [04:00]

WESTERN Province minister Adonis Mufalali has described the road network in the province as a 'thorn in the flesh'. And works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao has urged the people in the province not to relent in their demands on the government to provide them with a better road network.

Meanwhile, provincial permanent secretary Patrick Kashinka has accused a local radio station in Mongu of being used as an arena to condemn the government over the delayed completion of the Mongu-Kalabo road project.

Speaking when Simbao and a delegation from the Road Development Agency (RDA) paid a courtesy call on him on Tuesday, Mufalali said if there was anything that Western Province lacked it was a good road network.

"The Mongu-Kalabo road, it is a thorn in the flesh. Kalabo-Sesheke Road is also a thorn in the flesh," he said.
He said another 'thorn in the flesh' project was the construction of a district hospital in Shangombo, which he said had been abandoned by the contractor.

"We are very much in need of that hospital," he said. "Your initiative of coming to this province by road is very good because you will see the roads for yourself and you will feel them. You are going to Shangombo and you will see the Sitoti-Sesheke Road , it is hell there and we have been singing that song ever since the liberation wars."

And Simbao said he was touring roads and other infrastructure in the area to explain to the people how the government was addressing the concerns raised by members of the public during a discussion organised by The Press Freedom Committee (PFC) of The Post where he featured in Mongu recently.

"We have come back. We were here last on newsmakers discussion organised by The Post. At that meeting we promised that we will come back to deal with the issues of concern such as the usual ones like the Mongu-Kalabo road ," he said. "As you can see this is the most powerful team that has come to this province and the people here have an opportunity to ask all the questions they have thought of."

Meanwhile, Kashinka said a lot had been said by different interest groups on the Mongu-Kalabo road and there was need for the involved stakeholders to complete the project.

"We have our radio programmes here on our local radio stations but I think one radio station is being used as an arena to start condemning the government on the road instead of people fully understanding they are at times misled," he said. "We have to go flat out and get to the end of this project and this is my appeal at the moment."

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

(HERALD) Statistics on Zim situation false

Statistics on Zim situation false
By Mabasa Sasa

If you are reading this article, there is a strong possibility that you are one of a handful of people remaining in Zimbabwe. The others are this writer, the vendor who sold you this paper and President Robert Mugabe and his Government officials. And where has the rest of the country gone?

Well, for starters, HIV/Aids has decimated the population, thousands are fleeing to South Africa every day, even more are starving to death (some four million according to the World Food Programme) and "the Mugabe regime" has butchered the remainder.

A publication run by the Philadelphia Church of God ("Philadelphia" interestingly means "City of Brotherly Love") called "", says there is a "human tsunami of people fleeing the nation".

In fact, the website claims that "according to recent population estimates, Zimbabwe may be down to seven million citizens — a sharp drop from 11 million".

All things considered, you must celebrate; you are extremely lucky to be alive in this God-forsaken country!

But then again, all these reports smack of unbridled, ill-conceived and, ultimately, desperate propaganda.

After all, since the watershed year of 2000, every year with unstinting consistency the world is told that anything between two and four million people in Zimbabwe are on the verge of dying if the international community does not urgently fly in food and medical supplies.

However, not once have these same people ever told us how many Zimbabweans have actually died of starvation.

Generalisations are the order of the day and with the way people like Christopher Dell loved to bandy statistics, we surely would have been loaded with these fatalities.

Is it because no such deaths have in reality been documented and that the millions starving to the point of knocking on Heaven’s door are creations of over-fertile imaginations in Western capitals?

One statistic the propagandists, however, do love to mention at the drop of a hat is that between 3 000 and 5 000 suffering Zimbabweans are migrating to South Africa daily.

Let’s try a little simple mathematics for purposes of erudition.

For argument’s sake, let’s say an average of 4 000 flee the country daily, amounting to 28 000 a week and some 112 000 a month. It then means some 1 344 000 Zimbabweans are leaving for South Africa alone every year — most of them illegally.

And if we are to be conservative and say this has been going on for five years, a whopping 6 720 000 citizens have left a country with a population of under 12 million in half a decade.

Then surely what we have is a Zimbabwean exodus rivalling the Irish fleeing British brutality in years gone by!

And these are statistics that the world has swallowed hook, line and sinker. For instance, one Briton writing to "The Scotsman" online on August 28, 2007, said: "The population has been devastated under (President) Mugabe, two/three million have run away to South Africa (and) thousands killed . . .

"Of the remaining five million, four million are faced with starvation while some two million in the country are living with HIV/Aids."

Zimbabwe has not had a cosy relationship with the World Food Programme in recent memory and it is not hard to see why when one looks at one of their recent takes on the obtaining humanitarian state of affairs.

The WFP reportedly claimed: "Vulnerable families will be forced to resort to eating potentially poisonous wild plants or exchanging sex for food and other desperate measures to survive."

Echoes of Jeff Koinange and his thoroughly discredited claim that Zimbabweans were being forced to eat rats for their daily sustenance. (If Zimbabweans really did need to eat rats to make it from one sunrise to the next, it’s debatable if Koinange would have made out of the country alive!)

Interestingly, even British researchers are now saying the impact of HIV/Aids on the population has not been as catastrophic as the world has for years believed, and recent studies show that Zimbabwe’s demographic composition is, in fact, expanding by some 1 percent per annum.

So unless these new births can be solely credited to the handful of people still living in the country, then perhaps miracles of old are still with us and virginal, and, indeed immaculate conception is not limited to Biblical times.

South Africa, for one, has refused to be bullied by these creative statistics to force it into creating refugee camps for the "human tsunami" sweeping through Beitbridge.

The attempt to have those Zimbabweans that are going to South Africa classified as refugees would place this country in the same frame as Sudan, a country in the throes of civil strife.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nquakula was recently quoted by a probably disappointed "Australia Sun Herald" saying: "I believe that we must defuse the myth that millions of Zimbabweans are in South Africa."

She also slammed the media for peddling incorrect figures on the situation, thereby creating a "state of panic".

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(HERALD) Zimtrade targets regional markets

Zimtrade targets regional markets
Business Reporter

ZIMTRADE says it will facilitate participation of local companies in trade promotional missions due to be held in the Sadc region as it seeks to capitalise on these markets ahead of the Fifa 2010 World Cup to be hosted by South Africa. The trade body said local companies were being invited for the Windhoek Agricultural and Industrial Show to be held in Namibia later this month.

Zimtrade said it would also facilitate the participation of local companies inthe Tanzania Solo Exhibition to be held in Dar es Salaam early next month and the Global Expo Botswana scheduled for Gaborone between October 17 and 20.

Other events include the Afribuild to slated for Johannesburg between October 23 and 25 and Malawi Solo Exhibition later next month.

Zimtrade chief executive Mr Herbert Chakanyuka said companies willing to participate in these events should start making their submissions.

He stressed the importance of maintaining the presence of Zimbabwean companies and products within the Sadc and Comesa regions and urged local companies to take advantage of preferential access.

"The Sadc and Comesa market is a major market for Zimbabwean goods and presents the most potential for earning foreign currency through exports," he said.

"The export promotional events outlined reflect the need to develop these markets.

"In view of the 2010 World Cup, South Africa will be inundated and fully occupied with satisfying demand on the local market.

"This presents an opportunity for Zimbabwean companies to fill the gaps in the South African market itself and in the larger regional market.

"Zimbabwean companies are, therefore, urged to gear themselves up to take advantage of this opportunity," said Mr Chakanyuka.

Back home Zimtrade was also organising an Export Marketing Training Programme targeting individual small to medium enterprises and large companies that will run from September 17 to September 21.

"With the necessary support SMEs have proved as effective as large companies in their ability to enter and operate in export markets.

"With this in mind Zimtrade carries out a training programme, "Export Market Training Programme", for SMEs" that are interested in penetrating export markets in a sustainable way. "The programme is meant to develop an export culture among small to medium enterprises," he said.

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Kazala urges MMD to avoid shortcuts in Nchanga poll

Kazala urges MMD to avoid shortcuts in Nchanga poll
By Patson Chilemba
Wednesday September 12, 2007 [04:00]

MMD should uphold the party constitution when it comes to adopting parliamentary candidates, former MMD Nchanga member of parliament Richard Kazala has said. And Kazala has said he is ready to re-contest the Nchanga seat on the MMD ticket. But MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba said it was more likely that MMD would adopt former Patriotic Front (PF) Nchanga member of parliament Charles Chimumbwa. In an interview, Kazala said there should be no shortcuts to adopting candidates in the MMD.

“For anyone who wants to contest positions in the MMD and this includes members joining the MMD, whether councillor, member of parliament or president, they have to be members for three years. Our party we’ve got to uphold the constitution. We’ve got to be a party of rules and regulations,” Kazala said. “Basically I feel there are no shortcuts to adopting members of parliament.”

Kazala said he was ready to re-contest the Nchanga seat because he has been a very loyal and committed member of MMD.
“I’ve never been a prodigal son. I’m one of those who go by what the manifesto says. You see Richard Kazala is a well-known person in Chingola and people have seen my capabilities as a leader.

The projects such as roads that are being implemented are those I initiated. I’m a local person. I live in Chingola; I was born and bred in Chingola. People know where I live,” Kazala said. “I’m ready to stand…it’s now up to the people to decide. I’m the best candidate for MMD. I’m well known.”

Kazala challenged Chimumbwa to show what he has done for the people of Chingola since he was elected.
“First anyone who wants to stand must show what they have done for the constituency in the last one year,” said Kazala in apparent reference to Chimumbwa. “I’ve been very loyal to the MMD. In the elections of 2006 I spent a lot of money, even part of my gratuity towards the campaigns. I lost but I didn’t petition.”
But Tetamashimba said MMD was likely to adopt Chimumbwa for the position.

“Chimumbwa is most likely to be adopted because of what we’ve been doing in the past. We can’t just stop on him. Even me when I was expelled from the UPND I was adopted. Who defeated the other between Chimumbwa and Kazala?” asked Tetamashimba.

Reminded that Chimumbwa might not be popular with the people of Nchanga especially with his statements over the Kafue River pollution by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM), Tetamahimba accused Sata of having told Chimumbwa to issue the statement.

“He directs. He just says go and do that,” said Tetamashimba.
Chimumbwa said the KCM pollution of the Kafue River was a ‘small’ mistake.
The Nchanga seat fell vacant after Chimumbwa resigned from the PF to join the MMD.



Rehabilitation of Zimba-L/stone road to be delayed

Rehabilitation of Zimba-L/stone road to be delayed
By Mwala Kalaluka
Wednesday September 12, 2007 [04:00]

ROAD Development Agency (RDA) acting director Erasmus Chilundika yesterday said the rehabilitation of the Zimba-Livingstone Road will be delayed due to problems in the procurement process. Briefing the press, Chilundika said the European Union funded rehabilitation of the 72-kilometre Zimba-Livingstone Road was scheduled to commence this month but that the process had been delayed.

He said the four companies that bid for the over 20 million Euros funded project were found to be non-responsive to the selection criteria that was seriously scrutinised by a panel from the RDA and observers from the European Commission in Zambia, finance ministry and the National Authorising Office of the European Development Fund.

“The tender for the rehabilitation of the Zimba-Livingstone Road was advertised as an open tender on January 30, 2007 in the local print media and the European Union website and closed on May 4, 2007.

The bids were opened on the same day at the Zambia National Tender Board in the presence of the bidders who chose to attend,” he said. “Four bids were received at the close of the tender from both international and local firms.”

Chilundika said only one South African company applied for the tender as most firms from that country were engaged in construction works ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
Among the local companies that failed to meet the administration requirements on the road tender was Sable Contractors and Raubex.

“The tenders were unsuccessful as contractors failed to meet the administrative and technical compliance,” he said. “According to the European Development Fund tender procedures and those of the Zambia National Tender Board, the tender had to be cancelled because it was unsuccessful and fresh tender called.”

He said the bids failed because the contractors submitted wrong bid bonds and the inclusion of personnel from non-African, Caribbean countries.

“In addition the bids received were generally very high. The lowest bid was K118.58 billion and the highest bid came in at K154.4 million,” Chilundika said.

“The tender for the rehabilitation of the Zimba-Livingstone Road will therefore be readvertised by the end of 2007 after a review of the project has been completed. It is expected that the road works should start after the rainy season.”

And Chilundika said RDA was not careless by allowing the company engaged by Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to transport its 140 tonnes cool box into the country.
He said the transporter would have to pay for the costs for any damage that would be noticed within 60 days after the passage of the cool box.

Last week, a South African company, Vanguard, transported a 50 metres long cool box to Chingola. Vanguard has since paid US$35,000 for any possible damage that would be caused to the roads and bridges where the truck passed.

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Sinyinda urges govt to tackle fish, cattle diseases

Sinyinda urges govt to tackle fish, cattle diseases
By Inonge Noyoo
Wednesday September 12, 2007 [04:00]

MMD Senanga member of parliament Clement Sinyinda has urged the government to launch an appeal for international assistance to tackle the fish and cattle diseases in Western Province. In an interview, Sinyinda said the whole Western Province should be declared a national disaster as the main source of livelihood was becoming extinct.

He said if the government could not solve the disease problem in the country they should seek international intervention.

“Western Province needs to be declared a national disaster. The fish disease cannot be contained by any authorities not even government and our only hope is the international community,” he said.

“The province has been struggling with CBPP and nothing tangible has been done to resolve the problem. Many people are still losing their cattle to this disease.”

Sinyinda said the effects of the fish and cattle disease may not be seen now but the government needed to realise that there would be long-term effects.

Sinyinda said the poverty levels were also propelled by the fact that many parts of Western Province such as Lukulu, Kalabo, Senanga and Kaoma had been hit by floods and were still recovering. He said the poverty levels in the province were likely to get higher as many people in Western Province were surviving on fishing and cattle herding.

He said the bad road network in the province was also contributing to the underdevelopment and urged government to urgently rehabilitate the Mongu-Senanaga road. He said the road was in a deplorable state and was almost impassable.

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