Saturday, October 13, 2007

'Govt to blamfor fuel crisis'

'Govt to blamfor fuel crisis'
By Florence Bupe
Wednesday October 10, 2007 [12:00]

The current fuel shortage has been caused by the government’s change of fuel procurement systems, a senior government source has disclosed. And an energy consultant, Andrew Kamanga has advised the government to get the private sector more involved in the procurement of feedstock as a way of preventing frequent fuel crises.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce an Industry (ZACCI) has said the prevailing fuel shortage will adversely affect Zambia’s economy, which has been recording positive growth over the last few years. The senior government source, who sought anonymity, said the fuel problem was largely due to government’s shift in the procurement system of feedstock.

“Indeni has purely nothing to do with what’s happening. Government has changed the procurement system of feedstock, and that system has made the business community lose confidence in the process,” the source said.

The source disclosed that the last consignment of feedstock that arrived at the Port of Dar-es-Salaam on September 20 had not been released because the government still owed demurrage fees.

“For each day that the ship stays at the por t, it costs about US $20,000. Now imagine how much is owed since the ship docked on 20th September,” the source said.“ It raises a lot on questions on how we are handling this issue of critical importance.”

And Kamanga has said there is need for government to allow the private sector to participate more in the procurement of feedstock.

“If government is having difficulties in the procurement of feedstock, why not get the private sector on board?” Kamanga asked. “At the moment, the rules are that only government can procure the feedstock.

The solution to the existing fuel crisis lies in the private sector managing that side of the business.”

Kamanga said the private sector had more financial strength and capability to manage the acquisition of the feedstock.

“The minister’s (Konga) explanation on what has delayed the pumping of feedstock is purely operational. It is clear that government is not honouring its part of the contract with suppliers,” Kamanga said. “Let someone with greater capability and financial muscle handle this process.”

Last Friday, Konga issued a statement that the fuel shortage was due to the delay by the government to raise a letter of credit to the supplier of feedstock. He said the government’s continued involvement in the procurement process was likely to result in further fuel crises. He said the government needs to have confidence in the private sector as partners in the development of the energy industry.

Konga has said the current procurement system has been in effect for a long time. “Government has not changed any system, what system are you talking about?” Konga asked. “We are still using the old procurement system.”

On the accumulation of demurrage fees, Konga said it was not the government’s responsibility to settle the fees. “That is not our ship. Our business is simply to order the feedstock, and that is what we have done. It is up to the supplier to ensure that those fees are paid,” he said.

As at Sunday, Konga was unsure of when Indeni would resume normal operations. “We are still waiting for information regarding when Indeni will resume the pumping of fuel. The ministry (of energy) will issue a comprehensive statement tomorrow (Monday),” said Konga.

Also commenting on the fuel situation ZACCI chief executive officer Justin Chisulo said in an interview that Zambia’s production levels would greatly decline as a result of the fuel crisis.

“Any fuel shortage in any country affects the business sector in various ways. There are a lot of industries that rely on fuel for actual production and when there is a erratic supply of fuel as is the case now, industries are unable to produce as desired,” he said.

Chisulo said the country was not only losing out in terms of actual production, but that a lot of human resource was not performing at full capacity.

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(HERALD) Zimbabwe: It’s the land, stupid!

Zimbabwe: It’s the land, stupid!

Three pieces — seemingly small and unimportant — came through the media this week. One relates to eleven white farmers who appeared before the magistrate in Chegutu, facing criminal charges for failing to vacate properties acquired by the State for purposes of resettling the landless. The farmers lost the case with costs, with the magistrate, Tinashe Ndokera, agreeing with the prosecutor that the farmers merely sought to frustrate land reforms by abusing court processes.

It was a judgement which more than settling the matter, also carried a rebuke. Expectedly, the farmers are angry and traduce the ruling as "a farce". The farmers told both the BBC and Al Jazeera that they mean to fight on, including putting their lives on the line to keep the land.

A BBC/CNN in borrowed robes

Al Jazeera reporter, one Haru Mutasa, surprising still expected the minister responsible for lands to waste his breath addressing worn-out arguments from these farmers whose defence had been rejected by the courts anyway.

This absurd expectation, apart from betraying the location of the sympathies of the station she reports for, and possibly her own sympathies too, amounted to turning Al Jazeera into a superior court, an appellate court with powers of judicial review.

I have dismissed Al Jazeera as the BBC and CNN in borrowed Arab robes, to capture the rather disconcerting editorial discrepancy between the original, pro-Third World Arab Al Jazeera on the one hand, and this Caucasian medley which uses a branding subterfuge to push and defend white interests, on the other.

Mutasa tried to build emotion and empathy for the convicted white farmers by showing off their well-fed animals, contrasted by their faces made haggard by the dim prospects which land justice would soon bring and deliver. She did not find time to give her viewers a comparable and certainly compelling predicament of Zimbabwe’s black landless who have had to endure the same predicament for generations.

And in their country too! Surely she was here enough (with Mighty Movies) in 2000 and beyond, to know that the debate on land reforms has evolved to stages where no one — I repeat no one in their right mind — is interested in revisiting arguments which justify the whole programme for the benefit of anyone, least of all that of white farmers who must know better. Until recently, they stood out as uninterrupted beneficiaries of African landlessness, most poignantly represented by the Tangwena people who survived just on the other side of Haru’s birthplace.

The white squatters are the evil part of the colonial piece, and no amount of haggardness can ever lift them from their status as villains of this great injustice suffered by generations of Africans. Clearly, the girl seeks to come into the story too late, hoping she can breathe new life into cadaverous claims. In that futile effort, she looks quite hackneyed, strange and misplaced.

To SADC with cynicism

The second piece related to three equally defiant farmers who are in the courts in Rusape facing exactly the same charges. The third referred to a white farmer who has decided to take his case to the Sadc Tribunal, charging that Zimbabwe’s land reforms are an exercise in racism and cronyism, and are pushing out people with the competence to work the land.

Interestingly, this particular white man has been on the land from time of birth, and certainly after 1980 when SADCC, precursor to the current Sadc, was formed.

At no point did he think of taking himself to a similar tribunal to raise the racism argument against the all-white colonial land reform programme which kept all Africans on the margins for so long. So much about human rights and racism.

Rhodesia’s media A-Team

But something else happened. Rhodesia’s indefatigable media A-Team is back in the country to mind this particular story of white struggle. Led by Peta Thornycroft, they have been running up and down, court to court, to ensure the world is roused once more to the "harrowing" plight of the vestigial white tribe left and lost in "Mugabiland".

It is a pleasure to watch their nimble footworks, and how they attempt to pull the entire media fraternity with them. Why a simple and straightforward case in the magistrates’ court in small Chegutu proved to have a better appeal than a whole Vice-President opening an international Travel Expo, is something so hard to fathom. What is at stake which makes tourism and its fabulous receipts a drab in comparison? Why would Al Jazeera, itself an Arab channel, worry more about a handful of remnant, sunburnt, racist and law-breaking Rhodesian farmers, and not an Expo so overwhelmingly patronised by Arab buyers? But then again, what’s in a name?

Against better sense, world sympathies

There is so much at stake, made worse by the fact that President Mugabe keeps moving on to new "outrages", from the point of view of white British interests here.

Between September and now, Brown has taken telling direct hits from the Zimbabwean leader. He faces a fractured EU he cannot look up to for salvation. If anything, the EU seems to be throwing more dust into Britain’s already weeping eyes.

The latest admission by Brussels that the EU was narrow and vindictively British in its rush to impose sanctions against Zimbabwe before exhausting provisions and channels for dialogues can only spell further embarrassment for Brown.

Indeed it can only signal a regional bloc quite fed up with shoring up an unreasonable member’s brittle policy of spite, against better sense and world sympathy. The hungry eastern dragon that continues to rumble in the background, eyeing all manner of resources, can only motivate greater rebellion within the European bloc.

Quite a brown headache

Much more happened. Germany will attend Portugal. France is seeking justification to attend through the dutiful Senegalese president Wade who thinks he can do better than Mbeki in bringing about a resolution of an impasse which has already been unclocked. In Shona we call it bravely slaying the dead and cold, muchekadzafa.

In the end France will attend, which means EU’s two out of three most powerful economies will be in Lisbon. That isolates Brown, making his absence completely immaterial. Of course Sarkozy is under tremendous pressure from Britain to abscond so the EU, through its attendance register does not validate Mugabe’s argument that this is a bilateral dispute. Quite a brown headache!

Stitching and stretching

But Mugabe continues to move on. His Indigenisation Bill is as good as done, only awaiting his assent. Judging by the most recent debate in the House of Lords, the British whose defence of white interests in respect of land was severely breached, are having to stitch and stretch the same tattered defence to cover another assault further up. It cannot be worse.

The Lords want to know what Her Majesty’s Government is doing to protect British commercial interests threatened by "Mugabi". Malloch-Brown, himself a Rhodesian, was quite humble and modest: pretty precious little, beyond praying that Mugabe is restrained by Mbeki. Mugabe cannot be made to quack in his boots, he told the hoary lords.

Malloch-Brown gave a very sober response, itself quite a departure from the bellicosity of the supposedly suave House of Lords. Britain seems to be enjoying a blast of realism. Britain is worried about its mining interests; worried about its interests in the financial sector. That means we can now talk as equals, the colonial power having realised the futility of haughty condescension over a country it dismisses as a minor. Besides, the McKinnon charm has not delivered, with Mugabe turning away in contemptuous disgust from an enticement he was supposed to gobble hook, line and sinker.

Lost indeed

Increasingly, insistently, the argument is paring down to its bare essentials. More than anything else, it is about Britain’s economic interests planted here by colonial history. More than anything else, it is about Zimbabwe’s sovereign rights, won back through tears, blood and struggle. What gives in: a foreigner who seeks retention of colonial rights or an indigene who defends a birthright?

The futile fight by the farmers is an attempt to retain a smokescreen against blazing rays of a sun creeping towards midday. So is the coverage, led by Thornycroft. So are the noises from NGOs and elements within the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.

Yes, so indeed is the case with strange studies and analysis on how Malawi conquered hunger, accompanied by an equally strange downgrading of Zimbabwe on the index of MDGs. It is to give Brown a face, indeed to impute decency to Britain’s lost cause. Lost indeed! And as the challenges against the British stiffen, they are likely to come clean and bold, to tell the EU "it’s land, stupid"!

Commotion in the anteroom

I painted a scenario for you, gentle reader. I am referring to the Mbeki mediation which by the way is going on very well, too well in fact. I indicated Biti would have difficulties in selling the outcome to his constituency. Thank God, Tsvangirai saw sense and decided against leading the axis against the agreement. He would have been finished much earlier. He still faces a certain death politically, albeit one punctuated by spurts of reprieve, here and there. Of course that position on the talks spawned its own problems, causing commotion in his faction’s anteroom.

He is working hard to pacify his constituency. In the meantime, let us focus on revealing indiscretions. The Herald reports that Lucia Matibenga has been fired. The pirate American Studio 7 says she has not been dismissed. Kwinjeh confirms in a rather vulgar obituary that indeed Lucia is dead and forgotten, blaming it all on MDC’s inability to break free "from Zanu (PF) culture" of using women, not rewarding them for their hardly sutured sacrifices. She bares her thighs to prove she still nurses weeping wounds that her male hierarchy cannot see.

Third Force

The article goes further. It celebrates women like Sekai Holland and Priscillah Misihairambwi who have been in the trenches for the rights of this important half of humanity which nature long decided to bear with a delightful breach. So far, all sounds okay. Until one realises Kwinjeh is threatening to resign, and is seeking new pedestals for Third Force unity, across factions. Watch this one. Yet another revealing indiscretion.

Tsvangirai is in the US, on a universities lecture circuit. In one interview he urges the world to help Zimbabwe with humanitarian assistance, and stops. No reference to sanctions in a country which pioneered illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe, and thus which deserves greater thanks than those criminals who lead Down Under whom he thanked so fulsomely.

Why? Equally, he is at pains to indicate he is not meeting State Department officials. That might be true; that might be false. But this is the new image he seeks to found and dress himself with.

Not quite the same as saying remove sanctions. But equally not quite the same as saying please cut electricity, fuel, etc, etc.

Telling England from within its belly

Fortuitously, some Michelle Gavin of the influential American Council on Foreign Relations warns the British and Western interests, including business interests, against the bigoted ABM — Anyone But Mugabe campaign. She makes the warning at Chatham, London, itself the hatchery for British policy against Zimbabwe in early 2000. Maybe this means nothing, but no harm in pointing out something. Yet, yet another goof.

Sekai Holland tells New Zealanders MDC will not hesitate to pull out of talks if Zanu (PF) does not stop harassing its members. She sees harassment from far-away New Zealand, the harassment we on the ground cannot see. Biti reacts with remarkable promptitude. He says MDC will not desert the talks, asserting instead his side will pursue talks to the logic end. Again unimportant? I don’t know. Maybe insignificant farts from a distend belly.

Like-Minded Donor Group?

But maybe greater accent should be placed on the urbane stratum of the groomed high and might. I am referring to diplomatic circles. Again, recall my previous pieces. Even in that usually phlegmatic world, things have been suggesting a revealing hubbub. With the idea of a special envoy of the UN Secretary General for humanitarian affairs visiting Zimbabwe flatly rejected and thus abandoned; with the idea of an EU human rights envoy palsied and dead on conception and, with Mbeki having successfully fire-walled inter-party talks, this suave world of dignified, officially sanctioned espionage appear buttoned up, feeling smothered.

Led by the Swedish ambassador, the so-called donor nations, legitimised by the seemingly lost UNDP, have been seeking ways of boring to the nub of influence. It has not been easy, one attempt after another; one Trojan horse after another. From the old days of the seemingly all-country Rainbow initiative, through to Fishmongers, matters have mutated to what the tireless but misdirected Ray-lander terms Like-Minded Donor Group (LMDG)!

Amazing how grown-ups give us unsolicited humour in broad daylight. Happily the African, Asian and Arab groups have seen through this threadbare subterfuge, stoutly rebuffing any overtures.

That they are a group, no one contests. That these countries are like-minded, again no one doubts. That they are donors, we all surely know. But grouped against, or for what? But like-minded on what, or against what? Donors to whom, to what?

These are the questions to which we have abundant answers. It is just that they take us for infantile fools before whom carrots are dangled for obvious concessions. The Swedish guy writes complaining there is no information sharing on the ongoing talks. I am sure he wrote on behalf of the group. Why does he expect us to place them in that position of privilege? Merely in the hope of donations?

It is clear the guy is so far away from understanding this country. The grovelling for a farthing he sees in the opposition is quite far from the defining national psyche of this country. Let him get that. We all know that these so-called donor nations which we know as "sanction nations" have been hoping that Sadc would approach them for funding of Zimbabwe’s recovery. Let them re-read the Dar communiqué to know what it enjoins Sadc to do.

Weeping Hussein

My learned classmate came to my office the other day for a chuckle. The Financial Gazette had just published a story which reminded both of us of the sitcom "Liar, Liar". Of course those who know it would recall "Liar Liar" is a prostitution of "Lawyer, Lawyer". Here was a lawyer incurably given to bald lies, including turning his villain clients into victims.

Back to the article. Its main focus was a concentrated attack on George Charamba, Secretary for Information and Publicity. We zeroed in on a supposed line of attack against Charamba, namely that he "sings hopelessly out of tune for his supper". We both wondered whose supper must he sing for in order not to be "hopelessly out of tune"? Surely he is an employee of a Zanu (PF) Government? Is he not employed to defend Government interests?

Who sings for his supper? An employee of a Zanu (PF) Government going about his lawful duties of defending that establishment on the one hand, or a lawyer who is not the Attorney General or an officer of the AG, volunteering his services to Zanu (PF) and its Government, on the other, as he claims? After all, surely the fact that he represented Zanu (PF) right up to the highest level is precisely why he faces the opposing action which he does.

Indeed precisely why his begging letter to the Party hierarchy only last week, suggests a personality acutely wishing to be held in good stead by the Party.

Indeed a personality so remarkably different from the bravado he projects through inane placements in once-a-week newspapers over a matter which shall be decided in the courts. Or does he fear Charamba’s singing may turn out to be his weeping? Surely time will tell. Icho!


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(HERALD) Kaunda to meet Brown over Zim

Kaunda to meet Brown over Zim
By Ruth Butaumocho recently in LIVINGSTONE, Zambia

FOUNDING Zambian president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has plans to meet British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to discuss bilateral issues between Zimbabwe and Britain. Without giving a specific date, Dr Kaunda said the meeting would discuss the land issue and other problems Zimbabwe was facing as a result of illegal sanctions being championed by Britain and the United States.

"We are set to meet soon to discuss the Zimbabwe land issue and the subsequent problems that the country was going through. I don’t believe that there is no solution to what is going on between the two countries. There is a solution and we need to find it soon," he said in an interview.

Dr Kaunda said it was wrong for the world to take a myopic view on policy issues in Zimbabwe without looking at failed promises that Britain made for years in resolving the land issue.

He was responding to questions on Zimbabwe, while addressing participants at the British Council Interaction Programme from 20 African countries,

"When I look back at the road that this man (President Mugabe) has walked, I don’t understand how the world can just choose to look only at the current problems that Zimbabwe is facing without looking holistically on the country’s history, particularly on the land issue."

The land issue, he said, had shaped events in Zimbabwe.

"Yes, there are problems in Zimbabwe at the moment. But it would be unfair for all of us here sitting in this room today, to just demonise (Cde) Mugabe, without tracing the roots, from which the problems are emanating today."

The former Zambian leader, who was among the African leaders at the forefront of assisting liberation movements in the struggle to dismantle colonialism in Zimbabwe, chronicled the history of the country’s struggle.

He narrated the hurdles that nationalists such as Cde Mugabe and the late Dr Joshua Nkomo had to overcome on the road to freedom.

Relations between Zimbabwe and Britain have been strained since the country embarked on the land reform programme.

Britain has instigated the European Union, the United States, Australia and New Zealand among other western countries to impose illegal economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

London and its allies have at every opportunity fought for the isolation of Zimbabwe including trying to have Harare discussed at the United Nations Security Council without success.

Of late, Mr Gordon Brown has threatened to boycott the EU-Africa summit in Lisbon, Portugal in December if President Mugabe is allowed to attend.

But Africa has stood its ground and said all its leaders must attend the summit.

Some African countries — notably the Sadc region — have even threatened to boycott the summit if President Mugabe is barred.

Portugal has said it respects Africa’s position that Cde Mugabe should attend while other EU members have said all African leaders must attend because the summit is an opportunity for dialogue.

The EU Commission has even castigated Britain for hurting European interests because of its stance on Zimbabwe.

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Let's avoid unnecessary debts

Let's avoid unnecessary debts
By Editor
Saturday October 13, 2007 [04:00]

There is a saying that those who refuse to study history are destined to repeat it. And experience has shown that when history is repeated where it could have easily been avoided, the effects are even more devastating than during the first experience. Truly, it is a great pity that Zambia, having just come out of a suffocating debt of about US$7 billion, is again back on the borrowing path, a dangerous path to tread for a country that is still battling with a hangover of an excruciating debt.

It is a pity that after reducing our external debt to US$502 million only in July 2006, the amount had dramatically risen to US$1.5 billion by December 2006.

We do understand that borrowing cannot be completely done away with, especially for major capital projects, but we also know that there should be prudence and responsibility on the part of those who borrow on behalf of the nation.

And this is why Dr Kenneth Kaunda and others have today decided to go without food in order to demonstrate to those who are in the habit of imposing debt on our heads that they have been very unkind in their motives.

We agree with KK that most of the debt that we have found ourselves in has not been given to us on favourable terms because most of the time they are aimed at enslaving us. Let us remember how we struggled as a nation to develop because we had to channel most of our earnings towards repayment of debts which were basically imposed on us by ill-motivated forces.

By this time, we should know very well the effects of debt on our countries. All over the world, we have seen how debt has crippled many developing nations.

Today, millions of people face poorer and poorer living standards primarily due to the fact that most of the resources have to be diverted towards debt repayment.

Although we may blame the governments of poor countries that borrowed carelessly, we also think that the rich nations and other multilateral groups such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) share a huge amount of the blame for lending irresponsibly.

It is understandable for anyone to wonder why we should be criticising debt when a nation like ours is still poor and needs to employ numerous measures of mobilising resources for its development. We have already said that it is not possible to completely do away with debts.

What we are against is accrual of odious debts, borrowing enormously to the point of strangulating our economy and leaving the majority of the people in extreme poverty as resources are channeled to rich nations which lend, basically for poor borrowing nations to subsidise the rich.

As we have shown already, our major worry now is that debt accrual is not ending. We are still borrowing and it would appear that we have not yet learnt any lessons from borrowing carelessly.

According to informed experts, total debt continues to rise at the global level, despite ever-increasing payments while aid is dwindling. We are told that we in the developing world are spending US$13 on debt repayment for every US$1 we receive in grants.

For the poorest countries, US$550 billion has been paid in both principal and interest over the last three decades, on US$540 billion of loans, and yet there is still a US$523 billion dollar debt burden.

This is why we thought that although he probably might not have been the best person to have said it, since he represents a regional grouping whose members have also extended odious debts to poor nations, European Union head of delegation in Zambia Dr Derek Fee was spot on when he warned that it would be a scandal for Zambia to get itself back into debt.

As he correctly observed, Zambia had benefited from debt write-offs under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and it would be a scandal for the country to start contracting loans again.

This advice is correct because there would be no benefit from relieving ourselves of the debt overhangs only to quickly take on other loans where we are required to pay back through our nose.

We thought this advice was timely and correct. But what did we get from finance minister Ng'andu Magande? He started addressing a non-issue, talking about the fact that Dr Fee had no right to decide which nations Zambia should partner with.

Yes, Dr Fee might have been subjective or self-interested in his reference to the fact that African countries were mortgaging their countries through the loans they were taking from China. However, the important point from Dr Fee was that, and as he put it himself: "It will be an absolute scandal if Zambia started getting itself back into the loan track of taking loans and having to pay back.

" Rather than jumping to conclusions about how Zambia should be left alone to decide where to get loans from, Magande would have helped a lot if he cared, even a little, to answer the question about Zambia's descent into new loans when it is just emerging from a very huge debt overhang. Of course Magande might have reacted that violently because he had just announced that Zambia was about to contract a loan from China totaling US$39 million for purchasing equipment for maintaining feeder roads.

Yes, Magande can easily justify this kind of debt because he knows that it is not his generation which is likely to repay it. We do not want to get back to a situation where we will be told that all these debts were accrued some thirty or forty years ago by the political leaders then.

This is what we were being told about the famous US$7 billion, that it was a result of careless borrowing as far back as the 1970s and we were still paying it back until last year when we qualified for the so-called HIPC debt write-off.

So we share the concerns of people like Dr Kaunda that the time for imposing debts on our heads is gone and our political leaders must begin to accept the fact that they can no longer borrow carelessly. There is no need to tie future generations to poverty inflicting debts. We have had enough painful lessons about some of these debts from rich nations.

The time for careless borrowing is gone and it is important that the loan contraction reforms in Zambia be expedited so that current politicians are not allowed to keep committing and tying future generations to debts which are not necessary and can be avoided.

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KK urges Zambians to fast against debt

KK urges Zambians to fast against debt
By Brighton Phiri and Joan Chirwa
Saturday October 13, 2007 [04:00]

DR Kenneth Kaunda yesterday said he would today join Jubilee Zambia in fasting for the country's responsible borrowing and lending patterns to demonstrate that debt was a deadly disease to humanity. "I have been invited to participate in fasting and I am glad to be part of Zambians who are fighting this deadly disease," Dr Kaunda said. "I want to demonstrate to those who have been imposing debt on our heads that they have been very unkind in their motives."

He urged Zambians to join forces in fasting so as to denounce the debt inflicted on them by unkind forces.

Dr Kaunda, who has supported Jubilee movements in the past, will fast today to call for a quick enactment of the Jubilee Act in the United States as well as to speed up the loan contraction reforms in Zambia.

The Jubilee Act would compel the US government to cancel the debts of up to 25 additional countries currently ineligible for debt cancellation, end harmful economic policy conditions as well as establish an audit of past lending and set more responsible lending practices for the future.

Jubilee USA coordinator Neil Watkins said: "Dr. Kaunda's fast is an act of solidarity, which should speak to the conscience of the governments of rich countries. Many poor countries are still paying external debt, which is as a result of both their own borrowing and in many cases, irresponsible lending decisions and policing by rich nations as well."

Watkins indicated that indebted nations currently spend an average of $100 million each day to service their debts - money they cannot spend on food, education, health services and other necessities.
"Cancellation of these debts is needed to help reach the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) of cutting worldwide poverty in half by 2015," he said.

Watkins has also urged the US government and other rich countries to put in place legal measures that would promote creditor responsibility and end illegal practices of private commercial creditors - also known as "vulture funds" - which seek to benefit from purchasing the loans of poor countries.

Jubilee-Zambia coordinator Muyatwa Sitali hailed Dr Kaunda's long commitment to debt and social justice.

"As Jubilee movements, we recall how in 1987 Dr Kaunda's government cut off the IMF Structural Adjustment Programme and they chose to pay only 10 per cent of Zambia's export earnings for debt service while allocating more resources to social economic sectors that were needed to propel growth from Zambia's own resources.

This commitment exemplifies the need for prudent debt management and it resonates with the Jubilee movements calls for prudent debt management," Sitali said.

"For Zambia, the need for prudent management of debt resources is extremely important, especially now after the HIPC and MDRI debt relief initiatives.

Zambia's debt is steadily rising and Parliament's participation in loan contraction continues to be marginalised."
In July 2006, Zambia's external debt was only US$502 million but this dramatically increased to US$1.5billion by December 2006.

"The concerns being shared by Dr Kaunda form a key component of a society which should be guided by values of accountability and transparency in debt management and utilisation of debt resources," said Sitali.

And Dr Kaunda, who is also Marli Investment Zambia board chairperson, said the outgrower model of growing jatropha oil plant in Zambia under Marli Investment was the opposite of what the rich nations feared that indigenous people risked being displaced by jatropha production.

"This is not for the rich, but peasant farmers because they will be empowered economically and maintain their traditional land," he said.

Maril Investments director Kamal Desai said his company had raised US$45 million capital through Technopreneur Angel Ventures, a Singapore-based renewable energy company.

He disclosed that his company would contract over 250,000 farmers and was expected to produce over 1. 5 billion litres of Jatropha oil per annum, of which 240, 000 litres would be refined and blended for local consumption and 1. 3 billion litres would be exported.

"Jatropha oil is considered to be an international feedstock of choice for bio fuel as it does not compete with food crops, grows well in marginal land, creates large-scale employment, prevents soil erosion, can be intercropped with food crops, produces more than 30 per cent of oil content from seed and requires low maintenance," said Desai.

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Levy can't arrest 12 million Zambians over NCC -HH

Levy can't arrest 12 million Zambians over NCC -HH
By Lambwe Kachali and Nomusa Michelo
Saturday October 13, 2007 [04:00]

OPPOSITION United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has said President Mwanawasa cannot arrest the twelve million Zambians over the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) stand-off. And Hichilema said his party has written a letter to President Mwanawasa to convene a meeting with stakeholders so that the contentious issues that have besieged NCC are resolved.

In an interview after featuring on Let the People Talk programme on Radio Phoenix, Hichilema said there was no need for President Mwanawasa to issue threats at those who had divergent views against the NCC.

Hichilema said threats would only drag the constitutional review process further.

“We have no right to insult each other. We need to work together in order to achieve a common goal on the constitution rather than issuing threats and insults.

To be specific, when I listen to people insulting each other, I just say to myself that this is a lost arrangement. And on President Mwanawasa’s threats, it is impossible to arrest all the twelve million people among whom are opposing the NCC. The constitution adoption process requires inclusiveness, consensus, not threats.

Most Zambians are not against the name NCC but its composition and the unresolved issues in the Act,” Hichilema said.

He said UPND was not scared by the threats but would contribute to the adoption process in a sober and thoughtful mind.

“Currently, our basis of doing things is different from others. For example, our contribution to the adoption process will be based on a sober, reasonable and thoughtful mind. We will not rush because the constitutional document is long overdue.

As UPND, we want a constitution that will stand the test of time and is inclusive of all key stakeholders. By saying so, I mean a process in which the three church mother bodies and the civil society will participate,” he said.

Hichilema said UPND would not support a constitution that would betray the people of Zambia.
“We had the same process in 1996 in which government did cherry picking. The most important components that were not in favour of government and its sitting president were left (out). We are vindicated now because we were not part of that process. So, this time Zambians will not allow piece-meal amendments,” Hichilema said.

And responding to a question from a caller who wanted to know if people would be able to participate freely following President Mwanawasa’s threats, Hichilema said there was no need to threaten anybody.

“In the first place, I want to say that there is no need to threaten anybody, absolutely no need to threaten anybody. A different opinion does not justify a threat of treason, no, it just justifies sitting down and try and resolve the outstanding,” Hichilema said. “If I was in a situation of being in that office, I wouldn’t threaten anybody with treason. But we are different. All I can say is that there is no need to threaten anybody with treason.”

Hichilema said he did not believe that anybody would be jailed for having a different opinion on the NCC.

“I don’t think you will see anybody who will be taken to court or to prison. Even those who are offering to be put in jail, they know that they will never be put in jail because this is really an unnecessary threat to be honest,” Hichilema said.

“But I say this with a lot of respect. We can say what we want to say without being abusive or being disrespectful. But absolutely there is no need.”

And Hichilema confirmed that he had written to President Mwanawasa to consider and take on board the concerns that the Zambian people had raised over the NCC Act.

He said Zambians had invested a lot in the constitution and it would unreasonable for the government to amend the constitution without taking into consideration people’s observations.

And asked if UPND would still participate in the NCC in an event that President Mwanawasa did not respond or responds negatively to the request, Hichilema said the decision would be reached after President Mwanawasa replied to his letter.

And commenting on defections by members of parliament between political parties, Hichilema said for as long as poverty persisted, people would continue to join politics for their personal reasons.

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Vedanta's investment posts significant gain

Vedanta's investment posts significant gain
By Joe Kaunda
Saturday October 13, 2007 [04:00]

Vedant's investment in Zambia has continued to post significant gains to the mining group’s general performance with second quarter figures showing a record output for copper and aluminium. According to the Mining Weekly published on Wednesday the second quarter figures released by the Citigroup, showed that Vedanta Resources Plc - a 51 per cent shareholding in Konkola Copper Mines - posted record production of key metals. This was largely in line with market expectations, as new operations came on stream.

Citigroup in a research note quoting Vedanta stated that Vedanta had registered record production at its copper and aluminium operations in India with further positive outcomes from initiatives undertaken at KCM in Zambia having significantly contributed to the Group’s total output.

“The increase in (overall) production was primarily due to the full production from the new Korba smelter, the ramp up of the Tuticorin smelter, stabilisation of the Chanderiya smelter and the positive impact of the various initiatives taken at the Konkola operations,” Vedanta said.

Shares in London-listed Vedanta, which also has operations in Zambia and Australia, were down 0.7 per cent at 2 140 pence last Wednesday when the FT350 mining index was up one per cent and the FTSE 100 index was down 0,2 per cent although the Vedanta shares have shot up about 80 per cent this year alone.

The company achieved its highest-ever quarterly production volumes in aluminium, Indian copper and zinc mining operations, a statement said.

Vedanta said aluminium production for the three months to the end of September rose 25.3 per cent to 99,000 tonnes while copper cathode output in India and Zambia increased 13.8 per cent to 91,000 tonnes and 29 per cent to 40,000 tonnes respectively.

The Group’s zinc mining production grew 15.3 per cent to 143,000 tonnes while refined zinc output rose 20.5 per cent to 94,000 tonnes.

Iron ore output was 1.85 million tonnes, which Citigroup said was 16 per cent below what it had forecast.

“Production numbers were basically in line with expectations, reflecting a good performance in a tough global operating environment,” Citigroup said in a research note, reiterating its “buy” rating and 2 350-pence price target.

“The iron ore division was the only major area to miss production estimates, mainly due to monsoons affecting shipping.”

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No more notice to street vendors, warns Masebo

No more notice to street vendors, warns Masebo
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday October 13, 2007 [04:00]

There will be no more notice to those trading on the streets, local government minister Sylvia Masebo has warned. During the 10th anniversary celebrations for the Lusaka City Market, Masebo said she would ensure that there were no street vendors on the streets of Zambia.

“I’ve already given notice that we shall continue removing street vendors and ensure we remove makeshift shops springing up in the streets.

There will be no more notice to those trading on streets. I’m not one of those populist politicians. I say things as they are,” said Masebo, to a loud applause from scores of marketeers.

Masebo said her job was to ensure that there was no one trading on the streets.
“I’m one of those unlucky ministers whose job is to ensure there is no one selling on the street. That’s my job, there is nothing I can do,” she said.

Masebo said the government could not realise its investment into the construction of markets because people chose to trade on the streets instead of trading in the markets.
She also said government had put in place management boards so that markets could be managed on commercial basis.

“Government wants to take away politics from the markets so that the markets can generate their own funds. It’s important that they are managed in a manner that can make people working in those markets make profits that will sustain their families,” said Masebo.

Meanwhile, Lusaka mayor Stephen Chilatu reiterated the need to eradicate street vending. He said street vending had for a long time robbed the local authority as well as marketeers of the much needed revenue to build more markets.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

LETTERS - Management, Fuel, Treason

Business management
By Murray Sanderson
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

It is wrong to blame our politicians and civil servants for messing up fuel supplies and disrupting the economy. Why do I say this? Because government servants lack business training and expertise, so they are bound to make mistakes. What is wrong is not their mishandling of matters affecting vital fuel supplies, but that they handling them at all.

It is often said that the governments must manage certain key sectors of the economy. This has been said at one time or another of agricultural inputs, banking, maize marketing, mining, railways and the supply of electricity and petroleum products.

All these areas of economic activity are commonly termed 'strategic', and must therefore be managed and controlled by the government.

In reality, however, the strategic nature of these industrial activities is the very reason why governments should NOT attempt to run them, but should leave that task to professionally competent managers.

These vital business organisations are then likely to be efficient and well-financed partners in the nation's economy.

As such, they will contribute greatly to economic growth, and will probably make substantial pre-tax profits, instead of hindering economic development and running up huge hidden losses.

In the unlikely event of large private sector businesses making losses, these will be borne by their own shareholders, not by the Zambian taxpayer.

How much more loss and dislocation will Zambians have to put up with before we acknowledge that 'strategic' industries should not be run by governments, but by independent and professional businesses?

Fuel shortage
By Collen Zulu Ndola
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

I wish to add my comments on the shortage of fuel that the country is currently going through. It seems that we (Zambians) are good at formulating polices but find it hard to implement or do not understand what we are trying to do. The country shouldn’t be experiencing fuel shortage with the strategic reserve fund.

The lame explanation by ERB that this fund has helped to stabilise fuel prices through subsidies is not welcome. Then call the strategic reserve fund as 'price stabilisation fund'. Some non-oil producing developed and developing countries are talking of over 20 years of fuel stocks.

We are not asking for 20 years. That will be too much. But being assured that the nation would have stocks for two weeks after a looming shortage is not good for us at all.

One wonders what statistics are used to arrive at this because the demand for fuel is increasing by the day, considering that we are importing thousands of vehicles per month.

With the strategic reserve fund, we SHOULD and MUST move away from two weeks to at least six months, one year and so on (of fuel stocks) as we accumulate more and more reserves.

We have a lot of land, some of which can be turned into “oil fields” while utilising the strategic reserve fund. And that can be a strategy!

Threats in a democracy
By Ba Biggy
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

I wish to make a comment on the threats that our respected and highly placed President has issued to those he thinks are fighting the government over the NCC.

Are they really fighting the government?

In my view and conviction, what The Post newspaper has been saying about Levy's idea as the one to give the nation the constitution has clearly come out.

He sees it as his government’s duty to give the people a constitution and thus he is prepared to fight whoever is opposed to it.

Let the entire nation, of course with the exception of Levy’s minions, make it clear to Mwanawasa that this is not his duty because the costitution is not about what the government in power thinks but what the people want. Shame on you Levy! You seem to have forgotten that this is a democratic country.

Are you a dictator? As far as I am concerned, you are wrong! If you can now threaten anyone who questions the credibility of your government policies, then you are. Come on, be democratic.

Levy and treason
By Concerned citizen
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

“I have come back a changed person.

Let me hear no more nonsense bordering on malice, they are going to be arrested and charged with treason, and bail is not available to treason.”

Power intoxicates, and when you are intoxicated with power, you really are. Mwanawasa was just waiting for the NCC Act to be law and any opposing view is treason.

Twaafwa fwe balefwaya full participation.
It is under Mwanawasa where treason has easily been committed yet no arrests. Lawyer wa ma lawyer, now doctor in law, has blown it again.

Mwanawasa should know that dissenting views are not treason but a democratic right. He is just wasting people’s time by uttering such statements.

Education impasse
By FarmerGwembe
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

First, allow me to thank The Post for being impartial in their reporting.

Congratulations too to Dr Levy Mwanawasa for the honour bestowed on him by Harding University of the USA. With regard to the closure of CBU, I would like to state that the government has failed to show any political will.

This clearly indicates that the government has no regard for education. I wonder whether this millennium development goal will be achieved.

It is undisputed fact that every Zambian knows what transpired at CBU. All press statements were released to use students as scapegoats.

As a parent and a farmer who toils to generate additional money for my boy, and like many other parents, we cannot afford to see our children suffer in silence. I would also like to read about my son boast about having graduated with a merit.

Therefore I appeal to Mwanawasa to intervene in this matter. I want to remind all government officials that they are in the comfort zone today but it will not be forever.

Just because you can manage to send your children abroad does not mean you should neglect our children. We put you where you are to do what is best for us.

I know that the new deal government cannot let us down now by remaining mute on the matter. Mwanawasa, help us reopen CBU.

Levy and treason
By Concerned citizen
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

“I have come back a changed person.

Let me hear no more nonsense bordering on malice, they are going to be arrested and charged with treason, and bail is not available to treason.”

Power intoxicates, and when you are intoxicated with power, you really are. Mwanawasa was just waiting for the NCC Act to be law and any opposing view is treason.

Twaafwa fwe balefwaya full participation.
It is under Mwanawasa where treason has easily been committed yet no arrests. Lawyer wa ma lawyer, now doctor in law, has blown it again.

Mwanawasa should know that dissenting views are not treason but a democratic right. He is just wasting people’s time by uttering such statements.



Appreciating our cultures, civilizations

Appreciating our cultures, civilizations
By Editor
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

We agree with Nigerian actor Nkem Owoh's observation that we Africans do not seem to appreciate our own culture and civilisation. And it is true that many of us, Africans, are failing to appreciate our own cultural products because we are on a daily basis bombarded with Western cultural products and we have therefore become - to a large extent - dupes of Western culture and values.

But there are reasons for this state of affairs and it largely borders on the question of the political-economy of the entire media and/or film industry.

The truth of the matter today is that our continent is exposed to a bombardment of Western produced cultural products, whether it is news or entertainment.

As Owoh has put it, the African continent is being flooded by foreign products because the Western media or film industry is predominant. We must hasten to say that we are totally opposed to xenophobia but at the same time, we will not accept any form of imperialism.

Much as we should be ready to accept cultural diversity, that should not be done only to the benefit of one particular culture or one particular civilisation at the expense of other cultures or civilisations of the world. And we agree with Owoh when he says:

"We have to begin to appreciate the value of our own culture and civilisation. The Western civilisation has had strong influence on Africans and because of that, you find African investors are being turned down in preference of Western investors. This is because of the perception that we have of recognising people from the Western world as more civilised than us. But we are also civilised in our own way."

Although some people may wish to argue otherwise, the truth is that the global spread of multinational media conglomerates is intimately linked to imperialist histories. And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to the effect that the flow of cultural products, primary information and entertainment, is in a one-way format. And that flow is largely from the West, especially from the United States, to the rest of the world.

By this manner of flow of information and entertainment, what is left to suffer is the traditional and indigenous local cultures which are not only diluted but basically eroded or even destroyed and what is created are new forms of cultural dependence which are shaped in a manner resembling older imperialist relations of powers. And this is what we mean when we say that the spread of the global media is closely connected to imperialist histories.

As a result of allowing ourselves too much consumption of Western-generated cultural products, we will find that our original and authentic traditions and cultural heritage are being tainted by values imposed from outside by the spread of the Western global media.

But as we have already said, the present state of affairs, where the Third World is consuming more of Western cultural products is primarily the result of the predominance of Western media conglomerate in the industry.

It is all about economics, about who has the means or muscle to produce what, when, where, for who and how. We have to begin to understand that the cultural industry is a significant player in the economics of developed economies such as the United States and these countries take the industry very seriously, not only for cultural purposes but also for the economic value that it adds to their countries.

It is partly because of this reason that some European countries, for instance, have come up with regulations and measures which are aimed at limiting or restricting the flow of United States-generated cultural products into their markets. They are doing this not only to protect local cultures but also to safeguard the local cultural industry and therefore the local economy.

So what we see in most African countries where the distribution of Western-produced cultural products in our countries is almost entirely left in the hands of overseas companies or conglomerates should be seriously checked.

If this is not checked and corrected, we will find that even when we have our own local products of high market value, they may not find themselves on the market because the distributors - such as pay television channels - are from outside our countries and they will always have their own special interests. It may be true that as Africans we may not have the kind of resources - financial or technological - required to produce highly marketable cultural products as compared to those from, for instance, Hollywood.

However, it is also true that as long as highly marketable Western produced movies or films continue to find themselves cheaply and easily in African markets, our cultural industries will continue to lag and remain undeveloped, yet both the Indian movie industry (Bollywood) and the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) have demonstrated that it is actually possible for local cultural products to attract the attention of local and international audiences as long as the right things are in place.

In order to make progress in this area, we have to start creating space for our own cultures and civilisations and that can start by first appreciating them and also by ensuring that we create and develop our own resources and try to take advantage of the modern technological advances in order to improve our ways of life, our cultures and our civilisation.

We have to accept the reality that African culture and civilisation has its own roots, wisdom, philosophy, insights and values that largely inform our lives.

And we need to preserve all these not only for sentimental purposes but also because when professionally packaged in the form of cultural products, they have the potential to contribute significantly to our economies and our livelihoods.

We need to safeguard our cultures because essentially we are all products of our own culture. Indeed, culture beats and moulds each one of us into a particular shape. It cannot be doubted that it is culture which makes us think, speak or behave in a particular manner.

Basically, culture defines who we are and we have a duty to protect that which defines us, that which is about our identity, about who we are.



Appreciate own cultural values, urges 'Ukwa'

Appreciate own cultural values, urges 'Ukwa'
By Joseph Mwenda
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

RENOWNED Nigerian actor Nkem Owoh popularly known as Ukwa has urged Africans to begin appreciating the value of their own culture and civilisation. Speaking when he addressed trainee journalists at Post newspapers offices yesterday, Ukwa said Africans were, however, not to blame for not appreciating their indigenous traditional values and culture.

He said Africans did not appreciate their cultural values as much as they recognised the Western norms because the young generation was being introduced to the Western world at a tender age.

Ukwa said much as it was wrong for Africans to prefer Western cultural products, it was not justifiable to entirely put the blame on them because the continent was being flooded by foreign products.

“We have to begin to appreciate the value of our own culture and civilisation. The Western civilisation has had strong influence on Africans and because of that, you find African investors are being turned down in preference of Western investors. This is because of the perception that we have of recognising people from the western world as more civilised than us. But we are also civilised in our own way,” Ukwa said.

He urged Zambians to exercise courage and zeal when promoting local products including art and music. He gave an example of one of his popular movies, Osuofia in London, which he said exposed the African culture to the Western world.

“That movie brought the Western world to the realisation that we also have our own culture and we are civilised in our own way,” said Ukwa.

He also wondered why most African hotels did not recognise African foods when they offered services to Africans.

Ukwa also advised youths in Africa to guard their lives against the HIV and AIDS pandemic. He, however, expressed concern that statistics on HIV infection rates in Africa were being exaggerated by the Western world.

Ukwa is in the country for a series of performances in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. He arrived on Wednesday.



People against NCC are aliens - Mabenga

People against NCC are aliens - Mabenga
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

The few people who are against the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) are foreigners bent on destabilising national peace, MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga has said. And Mabenga said that millions of taxpayers’ money was going to waste as the contractor working on the Simungoma - Mulobezi road was doing a shoddy job. Speaking in Livingstone yesterday, Mabenga said the people who were against the NCC Act were not appreciating what government was doing and were therefore disgruntled.

“There are a few disgruntled people who are not even Zambians who want to destabilise the peace of our country. I want to tell these people that we only have one country,” he said.

Mabenga said that during President Mwanawasa’s reign, other people’s views have been accommodated.

“The NCC is now law and cannot be easily repealed and what we are now waiting for is the Ministry of Justice and Cabinet Office to appoint members to sit on the NCC,” he said. “The good intentions of Dr Mwanawasa must be cherished and we must move forward. If people have issues, it is better to bring them forward inside the NCC.”

And Mabenga said a Namibian firm called Roads Construction Company (RCC) was making the Simungoma - Mulobezi Road worse than it was due to poor workmanship.

“I will be writing to the Ministry of Works and Supply to revisit this contract as taxpayers’ money is being wasted,” he said.

And Mabenga said 900 households in Nawinda, Kamanga and Namulambe areas in Mulobezi were at risk of starvation. He warned that children would stop going to school and this would be catastrophic to the nation.

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Africa should unite before I die -KK

Africa should unite before I die -KK
By Edwin Mbulo
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

Dr Kenneth Kaunda has said that he wants to see an African continent which is united before he dies. And Dr Kaunda said Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe must not be demonised for his actions because he was going through problems created by British colonial masters. Addressing 200 participants from Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Uganda, Mauritius, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Pakistan, Sudan, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Namibia and the United Kingdom, attending the British Council sponsored Inter Action leadership programme in Livingstone, Dr Kaunda said that he foresaw a United States of Africa despite political problems going on in Sudan, Ethiopia and other African countries.

Dr Kaunda said that despite having caused the two world wars, Europe was more united now than before.

“Slaves where picked from Africa by European countries and I’m happy that the financial base of blacks account for billions of the wealth in America. I appeal to all blacks in Europe and America to come back to Africa and invest. It is better for them to have two homes in Europe and here in Africa,” he said. “God is great and before I die I want to see an Africa continent which is united.”

And Dr Kaunda said during the liberation talks with then British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, President Mugabe was told not to talk about the land issues as a prerequisite for independence.

“The colonial masters used one John Cecil Rhodes to drive blacks from their beautiful land. We held several talks with the British colonial masters led by my dancing partner Margaret Thatcher and Mugabe was told not to discuss the issue of land. So don’t demonise him as he has gone through a lot against what the British promised,” Dr Kaunda said.

He said that unless the message of ubuntu was well understood, the greatness of globalisation would not work.

“Globalisation must be realised in respect of all races, religions and beliefs. In Southern Africa, we were affected by apartheid and we managed to overcome it. The most important thing is that we are all God’s children, regardless of race or faith,” he said. “Judaism, Islam and Muslim are all from the same area in the Middle East but people are still fighting their neighbours. However, globalisation cannot be defeated as it cuts across all races.”

And Emilia Arthur, lead facilitator and team leader from Ghana wept uncontrollably when Dr Kaunda requested Ethiopians and Eritreans to join him and shake hands as a sign that Africa’s freedom and peace lay in the young generation.

Arthur had asked Dr Kaunda how it felt to be the only surviving leader of the liberation struggle.

“My age mates in your countries do not see the need to love your neighbour as you love yourself, but for you as young leaders, this opportunity of being together creates a conducive environment for a United Africa because you are interacting in peace now and what will stop you from doing the same when you become heads of state?” he asked.

Dr Kaunda also caused laughter when he said that had God created a green human being, he was going to be among the participants at the interaction leadership programme.

And Dr Kaunda said he was forced to become a vegetarian in protest against racism by colonial masters who sold meat products to blacks through pigeon holes which they called ‘boys meat.’

“I almost stopped taking chicken and eggs but I was advised against this as I was expected to get into the rural areas and the villagers were going to be offended as they were going to feed me on chicken and eggs. But by January 1980, I completely did away with eggs and chicken,” he said.

Dr Kaunda urged upcoming leaders to believe in the truth and not lies if Africa was to rise to the occasion.

And Inter Action programmes manager Samantha Chuula said the leadership programme was developed to help participants understand their role as leaders, increase their impact in their communities and contexts and learn from their peers in Africa and the UK.

“So far 930 Africans from 19 countries and the UK have been through the programme, with a further 300 passing through the programme by March 2008,” she said.

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Chililabombwe residents run amok

Chililabombwe residents run amok
By Gweny Phiri and Vincent Matandiko
Friday October 12, 2007 [04:00]

Scores of Chililabombwe residents on Tuesday ran amok, blocking the Chingola highway in protest over the death of 16 people that died in a road accident on Saturday night. And Zambia’s Ambassador to Japan Godfrey Simasiku yesterday said there was too much disregard for traffic regulations and laws on Zambian roads.

The angry mob, comprising mostly mourners who were attending the burial of two victims of the accident at Kakoso cemetery, blocked the road around midday throwing missiles at trucks which they accused of being responsible for the accidents due to speeding.

However, quick action by police in riot gear restored calm and normal traffic flow resumed while they continued to patrol the district to prevent further unrest.

The burial procession was nonetheless temporally suspended till later in the afternoon as mourners scampered for safety after police officers tear-gassed the area near the graveyard.

Some mourners said they were incensed by the carelessness and speeding of truck drivers travelling between Chingola and Chililabombwe.

The mourners said there was need for strict legislation and constant police patrols along the highway to ensure the truck drivers obeyed traffic rules to avoid similar accidents in future.

More accident victims most of whom are Chililabombwe residents are expected to be buried at Kakoso cemetery this week.

The fatal road accident which resulted in the death of 16 people and leaving several others injured, occurred when a Nissan civilian minibus registration number ACH 4496 fleet number CNC 927, coming from Chingola enroute to Chililabombwe, collided with an oncoming truck.

The truck registration number ABC 5104, trailer number ACH 267 belongs to Farah and Sons Transport of Ndola and the driver has since been arrested and charged with causing death by dangerous driving.

And Ambassador Simasiku said the death of 16 people in an accident on the Copperbelt this week was an act of senseless slaughter.

“More accidents are taking place almost daily. Most of them are caused by either careless or dangerous driving arising from blatant disregard of traffic regulations and laws,” he said.

Ambassador Simasiku said arising from his 10 years service and experience as an honorary road traffic inspector before going to Japan as Ambassador, Zambians should join hands and bring normalcy to the roads.

He said there must be a stop to the carnage.
“It is high time law enforcement resulted into stiffer penalties: fines or imprisonment or both,” he said.

“In Japan causing death by dangerous driving has attracted up to 17 years in jail and where fines were applied up to US $ 450,000. In Japan pedestrians cross when it is green without ever bothering to look at drivers as they know they are safe.”

Ambassador Simasiku said with thousands of vehicles registered every year alongside reckless drivers some of them without driving licences, such accidents would continue.
“I call for a halt to all this madness of people going through red traffic lights, overtaking on continuous line or uphill or blind corners and driving under the influence of alcohol,” he said.

Ambassador Simasiku said in Japan a new law punishes even the passengers for agreeing to be in a vehicle driven by a drunken driver. “Zambians must review the culture of being absorbed into politics everyday,” he said.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

(YAHOO) Officials say drug caused Nigeria polio

Officials say drug caused Nigeria polio By MARIA CHENG, AP Medical Writer
Fri Oct 5, 3:55 PM ET

LONDON - A polio outbreak in Nigeria was caused by the vaccine designed to stop it, international health officials say, leaving at least 69 children paralyzed. It is a frightening paradox in a part of the world that already distrusts western vaccines, making it even tougher to stamp out age-old diseases. The outbreak was caused by the live polio virus that is used in vaccines given orally — the preferred method in developing countries because it is cheaper and doesn't require medical training to dispense.

"This vaccine is the most effective tool we have against the virus, but it's like fighting fire with fire," said Olen Kew, a virologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC and the World Health Organization announced the cause of the polio outbreak last week, even though they knew about it last year.

Outbreaks caused by the oral vaccine's live virus have happened before. But the continuing Nigerian outbreak is the biggest ever caused by the vaccine. It also follows a nearly yearlong boycott of the vaccine in Africa's most populous country because of unfounded fears the vaccine was a Western plot to sterilize Muslims.

Officials now worry that the latest vaccine-caused Nigerian outbreak could trigger another vaccine scare.

Experts say such outbreaks only happen when too few children are vaccinated. In northern Nigeria, only about 39 percent of children are fully protected against polio.

The oral polio vaccine contains a weakened version of polio virus. Children who have been vaccinated excrete the virus, and in unsanitary conditions it can end up in the water supply, spreading to unvaccinated children.

In rare instances, as the virus passes through unimmunized children, it can mutate into a form that is dangerous enough to spark new outbreaks.

In 2001, officials reported that 22 children were paralyzed from polio in the Dominican Republic and Haiti in this way. Subsequent vaccine-caused polio outbreaks have occurred in the Philippines, Madagascar, China and Indonesia.

In the West, the polio vaccine is given as a shot and uses an inactivated virus, but that method is more expensive and requires training.

In Nigeria, the outbreak comes "in the wake of all the other problems they've had in," said Dr. Donald A. Henderson, who led WHO's smallpox eradication campaign in the 1970s.

In 2003, politicians in northern Nigeria canceled vaccination campaigns for nearly a year, claiming the vaccine was a Western plot to sterilize Muslims. That led to an explosion of polio, and the virus jumped to about two dozen countries.

Now, health officials' decision to keep quiet about the cause of the outbreak for so long may look suspicious.

Dr. David Heymann, WHO's top polio official, said that because the organization considered the outbreak to be a problem for scientists and not something that would change global vaccination practices, they thought it was was unnecessary to immediately share publicly.

CDC's Kew added: "The people who are against immunization may seize on anything that could strengthen their position, even if it's scientifically untenable."

Rumors are still rife among Nigerians that the vaccine is unsafe, and several religious leaders continue to lecture on its dangers. Another mass vaccine boycott could lead to further polio spread, derailing long-standing eradication efforts for good.

Nigerian health officials contacted by The Associated Press declined to comment on the situation.

"Convincing the Nigerians to take even more of this vaccine will be a tough sell," said Dr. Samuel Katz, an infectious diseases specialist at Duke University and co-inventor of the measles vaccine.

More than 10 billion polio doses have been given to children worldwide, and the vaccine has been credited with cutting polio incidence by more than 99 percent since 1988. Far more children are paralyzed by the wild polio virus than the virus spread by the oral vaccine. But no vaccine is risk-free.

WHO said that changing the vaccination strategy is unnecessary. "It would be nice if we had a more stable oral polio vaccine, but that's not the way it is today," Heymann said. "We will continue working the way we have been working because we don't want children to be paralyzed anywhere."

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(HERALD) Farm Mechanisation: Maintenance workshops being set up

Farm Mechanisation: Maintenance workshops being set up
Business Reporter

The Minister of State for the department, Dr Joseph Made, said the centres would be located throughout the country and would offer specialised service to the farmers that received machinery under the mechanisation programme. He said competent engineers would man the training and maintenance workshops. In addition to the training centres, he said, his department would continue offering expert advice on the importation of tractors.

Dr Made said the main focus was on finding the right make of tractors that are suitable for the Zimbabwean environment and the types of soil.

Most of the farmers, especially A2 farmers, who received implements have had to undergo training since most of the equipment needs expert handling.

Dr Made said the mechanisation programme had opened new horizons especially in the steel sector where there was need to reinvigorate production to meet escalating demand.

The mechanisation seeks to empower indigenous farmers who were allocated land through the provision of specialised machinery such as combine harvesters, tractors and hay balers, among others.

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(HERALD) Farmers’ union blasts continued illegal sanctions

Farmers’ union blasts continued illegal sanctions
Herald Reporter

CONTINUED illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe are detrimental to economic development, the ordinary people and the country as whole, the Commercial Farmers' Union has said. In a statement issued following a meeting with Government officials and Ministers in Harare, CFU took a swipe on the embargoes.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement, Cde Didymus Mutasa, Minister of State for Special Affairs Responsible for Land and Resettlement Programme Cde Flora Buka, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Senator Aguy Georgias and senior Government officials.

"As citizens and investors of this country, commercial farmers do not condone actions that are undertaken to the detriment of the people of this country.

"We will continue to work on our core business to promote viable agricultural production through the optimisation of the use of land in the country," the body said.

The Government has previously expressed concern with the perceived lack of respect by CFU members for its authority and the tendency to disobey new land laws promulgated by Parliament.

Of late, some CFU members have been under fire for allegedly throwing spanners into the land reform programme to cripple agricultural production.

Acting CFU president Mr Deon Theron said the union was committed to the pursuit of negotiation and dialogue to resolve national and international differences.

"The union respects the sovereignty of the country and believes that it remains for Zimbabweans to solve Zimbabwean problems," he said. CFU, he said, remains ready to contribute positively to the national economy through the production of crops, livestock and sharing of expertise with new farmers.

The CFU statement comes in the wake of remarks by both factions of the MDC supporting the ongoing dialogue between the opposition party and Zanu-PF during debate on the Constitutional Amendment Bill Number 18, which the two parties co-sponsored in Parliament.

Secretary General of the Mutambara-led faction Professor Welshman Ncube said the two parties had taken the right steps to address the socio-economic challenges facing the country and were impressed with the progress made by the dialogue.

He said: "As the negotiating teams move on with the rest of the agenda (of the talks), electoral laws, AIPPA and indeed the question of sanctions, we will deal with them and we hope to find each other.

"We believe we cannot continue to conduct politics for the sake of politics. We should begin to conduct politics for the service of the people," Prof Ncube said while contributing to debate on the Bill, which now awaits President Mugabe’s assent.

Mr Theron said CFU members were using their land and co-existing with communal and new farmers.

"We are also assisting communal and neighbouring farmers in the agricultural sector and we have also formally applied for the necessary authority to farm to the Ministry of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the form of 99-year leases," he said.

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LETTERS - Mwanawasa, Fuel, Education

Levy, the changed man
By Dr Daniel Maswahu Cambridge, UK
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

So President Mwanawasa has declared that he is a changed man after returning from New York. I can only make an intelligent guess as to the sort of 'Damascus' experience Mwanawasa had while in New York, but there is no speculation involved in telling that whatever happened there has clouded his discernment of the difference between sedition and treason.

I will, however, not bore anyone by explaining the difference.
Mwanawasa's new academic title may perhaps have somehow clouded this simple distinction that is very clear to any first-year law student but the over-zealousness to deliver a punishment that far outweighs the alleged crime remarkably demonstrates his true colours over the constitution review process and is in stark contrast to remarks made several times in the past when he pleaded with us, Zambians, to trust him on the matter.

Some naive souls never expected this apparent change of face, but for those few initiated in the arts, the picture comes as no surprise at all.

We can also speculate that the New York 'Damascus' experience involved rubbing shoulders with persons of a less than user-friendly demeanour as this demeanour appears to have rubbed off.

The NCC and those that sanctioned it for the explicit purpose of devolving little or no power to the people must remember that soon, and sooner than they expect, they will be on the other side of the legal fence they are cowering under like the cowards they truly are.

They must bear in mind that they will not be in power forever and when that day comes, their actions and the seeds they sowed while in power will take root, sprout and deliver fruit containing the same bitterness and strife they held in their hearts against the people and nation they were entrusted in stewardship to look after.

My last particle of speculation is that the over-zealousness to administer the punishment of a greater crime than that committed arises from a realisation that the privilages that were available in New York will only be available for a short while, hence the panic to punish those perceived to be responsible for the termination of these privileges, the long-suffering Zambian people.

Arresting people for treason because they are speaking their minds about a document that involves their very own welfare and future will only confirm what we already know - that Mwanawasa and Mugabe are the same side of the coin of brutality and disregard for their own people and, by default, places the aforementioned in the same infamous bracket of failed statesmen that litter the lesser nations of the world. In this there is absolutely no guesswork or element of surprise.

Fuel woes
By Concerned citizen
Wednesday October 10, 2007 [04:00]

Someone once said that it's only in Zambia were people who cannot perform their duties are left to keep their jobs.

One does not need to be an economist to know the effects of a fuel crisis on an economy. But just in case common sense is not common to our leaders, I will give a simple example. It has become the order of the day for employees in organisations to get permission so that they go and look for fuel.

What does this imply? It simply means there is loss in man hours of production and as the saying goes 'Time is money'. No wonder that we are not developing. There is no way we can develop when we have no fuel because fuel drives the economy of every nation.

Please put competent people to handle the energy sector.

Education sector problems
By Concerned Citizen
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

I wish to add my voice on the prolonged closure of the Copperbelt University (CBU). I find it very difficult to believe the demands from education minister Professor Lungwangwa for CBU management to compile a report on what led to the closure of the university.

I also hear that there is a task force that has been set up to look into the root cause of the closure of the university. What does the minister want when every citizen knows that the university was closed because students became riotous? Their riotous behaviour was as a result of missing lectures.

It is a common practice to temporarily close a university when students become riotous and the management was right to temporarily close the institution in order to bring peace and also to give management a conducive environment to negotiate with the striking lecturers.

It is common knowledge that CBU is a very stable university. Yes it has had closures but not long ones like the current one. CBU has a stable management which is level-headed.

What Prof Lungwangwa is trying to potray to the public and what the public may not see is that CBU and UNZA are equal in terms of management failures.

Prof Lungwangwa was deputy vice-chancellor at UNZA and he and his boss Prof Serpell failed lamentably and could not be given a second term of office while Prof Musonda has performed exemplary at CBU as Vice-Chancellor. As a human being he may have made mistakes but he has been given a second term of office outright without any competition.

CBU produces graduates who are highly sought by the mining industries and delaying their completion is delaying the development of the country. Let the minister swallow his pride and reopen CBU.

All the press statements that CBU management has been putting up in the local press are just meant to please the minister. Otherwise, I know that CBU management is for the idea of reopening the institution.

My word of advice to the government is that salaries and conditions of service in general should be negotiated within a stipulated time frame; not beyond the month of May every year.

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COMESA, partners agree on regional staple food programme

COMESA, partners agree on regional staple food programme
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

THE Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and its cooperating partners have agreed to design a regional staple food programme. The regional staple food programme, which will include other member countries of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), seeks to improve food security in African countries that have potential to contribute to the continent's food basket.

According to the COMESA CAADP newsletter, the programme would initially focus on maize, cassava, beans and bananas but would expand to other staple foods in due course.

"The partners agreed to work with COMESA's CAADP agenda in the area of staples to build on existing programmes in the region," the newsletter stated.

The newsletter indicated that COMESA's designed programme would collaborate with various activities in the Intergovernmental Authority for Development which also seeks to improve food security in the region.

Earlier, agriculture permanent secretary Richard Chizyuka said agriculture remained a vital economic engine in all member states of COMESA.

Chizyuka said the region appreciated the effort COMESA was taking in increasing food production in the region.

"Of particular importance among COMESA's agricultural sector activities is in the area of arresting soil degradation through the design of an agricultural inputs strategy in collaboration with SADC," Chizyuka said. "We look forward to the full implementation of that initiative."

He added that COMESA's intervention was visible in the irrigation sub-sector through the fielding of experienced experts from India to identify priority interventions.

"We, in Zambia have prioritised the agricultural sector as the key sector for national development," Chizyuka added. "We trust that through the CAADP initiative, our member states will be fully supported to succeed in the agricultural sector."

He explained that Zambia was endowed with good soils, abundant water and diverse climate, which could be used for development and growth.

"For our part as government, we can assure you that agriculture will be getting the attention and support that it needs and that real efforts will be made to tap its potential for growth and the achievement of food security for all Zambians," said Chizyuka.

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AU economic chief calls African countries to action

AU economic chief calls African countries to action
By Joan Chirwa
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

AFRICAN countries should urgently move from rhetoric to action for greater economic integration, African Union (AU) commissioner for Economic Affairs Dr Maxwell Mkwezalamba has advised. In his address to the 5th meeting of the Committee on Trade, Regional Co-operation and Integration, which ended yesterday in Addis Ababa, Dr Mkwezalamba noted that although there had been some progress on the integration agenda, the continent "could have achieved even more after four decades of efforts."

"I therefore call on African countries to now urgently move from rhetoric to action," said Dr Mkwezalamba.

Ethiopia's state minister for finance and economic development Mekonnen Manyazewal supported Dr Mkwezalamba's concerns, adding that the African regional integration area had been 'materially insignificant'.

He thus urged the Committee to undertake "candid soul-searching" on why progress had not been made in key areas to date and identify concrete actions for follow-up.

Regional integration was also top on the agenda during the last Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state summit held in Lusaka in August this year.

And in his opening speech, UN under-secretary general and executive secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Abdoulie Janneh highlighted the fact that Africa still faced tremendous challenges in advancing its integration agenda at all levels.

Janneh said there was no doubt that Africa had made some progress in its efforts to integrate its economies.

"Given the potential challenges likely to be faced by African countries as a result of bilateral and multilateral trade reforms, ECA will continue to put the strong capacities it has built on trade to the service of African countries in order to achieve the desired outcomes in the international trade negotiations," Janneh said.

"We will also continue to provide technical support to our member states in the EPA negotiations."

The Committee on Trade and Regional Cooperation and Integration is one of ECA's sectoral committees which meets on a biennial basis to review developments and issues pertaining to their respective development sectors, formulate policies and strategies to address Africa's development challenges, and advise the governments on sectoral work priorities to be reflected in the work programme of the Commission.

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Collective wisdom pays

Collective wisdom pays
By Editor
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

Politics, like wisdom, is like a baobab tree which no single individual can embrace. And so even those who are not involved in politics per se are usually affected by the way politicians run politics. Since politics touch or affect almost all citizens in a given society, it is important that everyone pays attention to the way politicians behave or conduct business. That is why we agree with Union Network International secretary general Fackson Shamenda’s observation that participation in politics is not for politicians alone but the wider society.

It is true that many times government leaders have shifted their views on the participation of the labour movement, the Church and civil society in matters affecting the nation. In other words, government leaders or politicians in general have identified themselves as the only key players in politics. Anybody else is and should be a spectator.

That is why these politicians in most cases exhibit intolerable arrogance in the running of the country’s affairs. They feel as though they were running a personal company where they have full control and say.

They forget that they have been entrusted to run the country’s affairs by the citizens whom they usually taunt for being vigilant observers on how the country is being managed. That is why President Levy Mwanawasa and his colleagues in government want to impose things upon our people. Levy even says ‘I want to give or leave Zambians with a constitution that will stand the test of time’.

But when we look back into history, we see that various stakeholders have played various roles in the emancipation and development of the country. This country’s independence was not realised by politicians exclusively.

Men and women, both and young old from different walks of life played different roles that saw the defeat of those colonialists from Britain.

In 1991 when Zambians fought to return to multiparty politics, we saw the Church, trade unions and other civil society organisations come together for a common purpose.

And victory was recorded with efforts of all these organisations and citizens in general put together.

But as soon as Frederick Chiluba and his colleagues in the MMD took positions in government, they forgot the various roles that the Church, trade unions and civil society in general played in bringing to an end Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s regime.

Each time the Church or civil society wanted to air their views on the governance of the country, they were asked to shut up because politics were for the politicians. The church leaders were even challenged to join politics, if they wanted to engage politicians, instead of using the pulpit to criticise politicians.

This was said ignoring the fact that it was the Church’s intervention at the Cathedral that forced Dr Kaunda to amend the Constitution and reintroduce multiparty politics in the country. This is the development that even compelled Dr Kaunda to cut short his term of office and called for elections that saw his ‘eviction’ from State House.

In 2001, Chiluba attempted to manipulate the Constitution in a bid to go for a third term in office. Again, civil society in general, working together with the Church, joined hands to form the Oasis Forum and worked with trade unions, among others, to ensure that Chiluba’s bid was frustrated.

It is these efforts that saw Levy become President of our country. But the moment Levy formed government together with some people who heavily participated in the activities of the Oasis Forum during the third term debate, the Oasis Forum, the Church and trade unions became enemies of his government by offering the necessary checks and balances.

They have been called all sorts of names for trying to play the same role that they played in 2001 in fighting against constitution manipulation and bad governance in general.

Clearly, when it suits the people in government, the Church and other civil society organisations, including non-governmental organisations, are stakeholders in the development of the country. And when the government wants to pursue its narrow and selfish agenda, the Church and civil society organisations are advised to stick to their mandates and are described with all sorts of mean-spirited names.

Politicians should be reminded that they require checks and balances all the time. Leaving them to do things as they please will retard national development because these men and women in politics will occupy themselves with pursuing their own interests as opposed to national interests.

That is why they are having difficulties marshalling the necessary consensus in the constitution-making process, because they want to impose their will on the people.

But our politicians will do well to look at the Church and civil society in general as partners in development and not enemies who are bent on fighting them out of offices. Of course, disagreements and differences will always be there.

However, when the Church or civil society differs with the government on an issue or vice-versa, this should not be taken that one party wants to destroy the other. Differences are inevitable everywhere. People who live or work together do quarrel at times, just like hoes that dig together often knock each other.

What we are trying to say is that when differences occur among these interest groups, it is always good to seek solutions as opposed to widening the distance between or among these groups. Of course, there will always be people who do not mean well in these organisations.

But these bad eggs in government on one hand and the Church and civil society on the other should not be allowed to destroy the common good. This will be easy to achieve when those in authority remind themselves that governing a country is a business for everyone and that they are in those positions merely to represent the rest of the citizens who cannot all be accommodated in those positions.

Therefore, it is fallacy to say that participation in politics or governance of the country is a preserve of politicians. It is in this vein that we encourage our civil society, trade unions, non-governmental organisations together with the Church never to give up in keeping the government accountable for its deeds.

We say this because even the many inclusions in the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act were as a result of the pressure and suggestions coming from these organisations or stakeholders. If sufficient pressure had not been mounted, those changes would not have been made to the NCC Act.

There is wisdom in working together as a country because this country knows no single genius as we said before. We need collective wisdom and collective genius if this country is to develop.



Arrest me now, Sata dares levy...insisting NCC is a national fraud
By Webster Malido and Brighton phiri
Thursday October 11, 2007 [04:00]

Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata has dared President Levy Mwanawasa to immediately arrest him because he will continue not to recognise the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), insisting it is a 'national fraud'. And Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda declared that he would not succumb to President Mwanawasa's threats.

Reacting to President Mwanawasa's threat that all those fighting the government over the NCC would be arrested and charged with treason, Sata said he would not stop criticising the NCC because it was flawed.

Addressing scores of MMD cadres and government officials at Lusaka International Airport soon after his arrival from London on Tuesday, President Mwanawasa warned that anyone daring the government over the NCC was committing treason and risked being charged with treason.

"NCC is now law. This law is now embodied, for those who did not know, in the NCC Act. I want those who are daring government to know... those who are still doubting that this is not the law and those who want to fight government and make governance impossible, that they are committing treason," President Mwanawasa warned.
"I have come back a changed person.

Let me hear no more nonsense bordering on malice, they are going to be arrested and charged with treason and bail is not available to treason."

But Sata accused President Mwanawasa of diverting the nation's attention from real issues such as the fuel shortage in the country.

"The entire leadership of the Patriotic Front is ready to be arrested. We want to see which law Levy will use from his Harding University. We don't know which law to break in the NCC," Sata said.

"Now we have proved that he doesn't mean well; he doesn't want people to get a good constitution. Tell him, we are ready to suffer on behalf of the people.

Instead of the President addressing the critical shortage of fuel and cement in the country, he has to threaten us. He doesn't own this country; this country doesn't belong to him. He doesn't need to send his trucks, we are ready to walk on our own to Chimbokaila (Lusaka Central Prison).

"The people who should be arrested for treason is the entire government for economic sabotage because they can't explain where the fuel has gone."
Sata said going by President Mwanawasa's threats, those who have decided to boycott the NCC have been vindicated.

"This NCC law, we have not seen any offence and from what changed Dr Mwanawasa is saying, we have been vindicated because there is nothing that will come up. He is hiding in this national fraud," Sata charged.

"I've packed my prison mattress, I've packed my bucket because I need to bath in prison and I've got my patapatas (flip flops) because I need all these. We are ready to go to prison if we have to achieve what the people of Zambia want and he can't imprison the whole country; he can't imprison all the Catholics, the evangelicals and the Christian Council of Zambia."

Brig Gen Miyanda said President Mwanawasa's sermon at Lusaka International Airport was an act of breach of the Constitution.

"Zambians must refuse to be cowed into silence because Zambia is a common inheritance and does not belong to one individual. It is a pity that the first message that Dr. Mwanawasa delivered to Zambians after his trip abroad was to threaten them with death penalty," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"What has provoked the President to make such serious attack on citizens upon his arrival? As a concerned and loyal citizen, I cannot succumb to this threat because to keep quite when the President is in breach of the constitution is what must amount to treason."
Brig. Gen. Miyanda asked Zambians to seriously begin to inquire what happened to the good people whenever they got into State House.

"What has happened to our Mr. Chibumba (concrete wall)? President Mwanawasa was a pillar of the 1991 mini-revolution when we succeeded in compelling the UNIP regime in reverting to multiparty system of government," he said.

"Even as a layman myself, I am convinced that Dr. Mwanawasa's declaration at the airport is not law in Zambia. May be in America where they honour people who do such things."

Brig. Gen. Miyanda said it was wrong for President Mwanawasa to threaten that it was illegal for anyone to criticise the law.

"What is this law that he decreed that you cannot criticise the law? If this were so, we would not have managed to change Article 4 of the one party constitution. Why are amendments provided for in our current laws?" he asked. "What is the NCC Act trying to achieve? Is it not to change the existing laws of the land? How then does Dr. Mwanawasa arrive at the airport and deliberately mislead his cadres that it is an offence to comment on the existing laws?"
Brig Gen Miyanda said it was President Mwanawasa's type of conduct that was contributing towards the creation of the mistrust and polarising further the already tense situation in the country.

"If Zambians are in doubt about our concerns about the NCC that it will take place under the cloud of fear and intimidation, now they have the direct evidence from the doctor of laws himself," he said.

"So is Dr Mwanawasa saying that those suggesting changes to the present Constitution at the NCC will be guilty of treason?"

He said under the country's current laws, treason was punishable by mandatory death sentence and that the courts of law had no choice, once they found the accused guilty of treason, except to enforce the death sentence.

"Yet Dr Mwanawasa has amended the Constitution by publicly declaring that he will never consent to the death sentence as long as he was President. If he is so strong against the death sentence, why is he rushing to threaten people with this offence whose sentence is death?" Brig Gen Miyanda asked.

He said Zambians could excuse the first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba, who were not lawyers, for any mistake they made regarding the law, but not President Mwanawasa, who was not only a lawyer, but had a honourary degree bestowed on him for the perceived accomplishments in the developmnent of the law in the country.

"What kind of law development is this that is based on threats all the time?" he asked. "What kind of example is this for the youth to whom Dr Mwanawasa has dedicated his honourary degree?"

He said it was clear that President Mwanawasa knew what he was saying was wrong and unconstitutional.

"But he has chosen to threaten Zambians in order to ensure that delegates to the NCC are clear in their mind that there will be trouble for them if they do not agree with him. I was so encouraged by the accolades by the University in America that last week I wrote to the President, congratulating and asking him to agree to meet those who were questioning the NCC Act. Judging by his statement, my letter which was delivered to State House last week, will be used as evidence of treason," Brig Gen Miyanda said.

"But my little consolation is that I am aware of one famous and world re-known politician who was found guilty and convicted of treason. This man today is the darling of the world in spite of the treason charges...the man is Dr Nelson Mandela. It would not be a bad idea to take a leaf from this great man of Africa. When Dr Mwanawasa is no longer in office as it is likely to happen, unless the Constitution is changed to allow his third term, Dr Mwanawasa may just turn round and find that one of the people he had arrested and charged with treason, has just saved him from some problem."

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