Saturday, November 24, 2007

(BLACK BRITAIN) Apprentice Africa holding UK auditions

Apprentice Africa holding UK auditions

The Apprentice Africa will gather 18 contestants from across Africa and the diaspora who will compete for a lucrative corporate job with befitting perks and an annual salary of $200,000. The Apprentice Africa, the first Africa-wide version of the globally recognized television franchise, is seeking outstanding African professionals from the United Kingdom to audition in London this November for a chance to appear on the show.

Nigeria will be the host nation for Africa’s version of the American series launched by Donald Trump that has replicated its success in 23 countries including the UK with The Apprentice: You’re Fired starring Amstrad boss Sir Alan Sugar. The Apprentice Africa will gather 18 contestants from across Africa and the Diaspora to compete for a lucrative corporate job with an annual salary of $200,000 and befitting perks including a luxury car.

Auditions for the show are being held in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, the UK and the USA. The UK auditions will take place in mid-November at a central London venue. Application forms and further details on the show can be found at the web site. To visit the website follow the link below.

Successful candidates selected from the auditions will be flown to Nigeria to take part in the production. Shooting on The Apprentice Africa will begin in January 2008 for four months and the programme will air from mid-February across Africa. The Apprentice Africa is an original format of Mark Burnett Productions, creators of other major reality series such as Survivor and The Contender.

Described as the ultimate, 16-week job interview, contestants compete in a series of tasks that require business acumen, innovation and street smarts. The goal is to impress the CEO and prove they are the best candidate for the job. In every episode the losing team is sent to the boardroom where the CEO and his associates evaluate each applicant on their performance. One person is fired and sent home. Who will succeed? Who will fail? And who will be The Apprentice?

The title sponsor of The Apprentice Africa is Bank PHB, one of the fastest growing banks in Nigeria and an emerging icon for banking excellence. The Apprentice Africa is a co-production of US-based business investment firm The Executive Group (TEG), who owns the rights to The Apprentice Africa format and Storm Vision Ltd, the production company behind reality TV hits Amstel Malta Box Office and Big Brother Nigeria.

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Prof Chirwa will be bruised - minister

Prof Chirwa will be bruised - minister
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday November 24, 2007 [03:00]

PROFESSOR Clive Chirwa will be politically bruised if he dares to contest the MMD presidency without understanding how the party operates, Lusaka Province minister Lameck Mangani has said. Commenting on Prof Chirwa’s intentions to contest the MMD presidency and later the 2011 Republican presidential elections, Mangani advised Prof Chirwa to understand the Zambian politics before declaring his presidential intentions.

Mangani - who is also Eastern Province MMD chairman - said the party did not know Prof Chirwa both at national and provincial levels.

“We have a structure to follow in MMD. You don’t just come from nowhere and say I want to become the party president and later lead the nation. I sit on the MMD national executive committee (NEC) and there has been no time the committee discussed Prof Chirwa and his joining of MMD,” Mangani said.

He said it was important that Prof Chirwa acquaints himself with the Zambian political atmosphere.

“I am afraid, this man (Prof Chirwa) will be politically bruised. This is a political game he is involving himself in. People will reap him off all the money he has worked for as a Professor and later he will even fail to go back to Britain,” Mangani said.

He said from Prof Chirwa’s statement, it was clear that he was adamant to become the next president of Zambia.

“Yes, he may be well educated. But politics are different from academic qualifications. In politics you don’t need to brag. Politics will terminate his education and become a nobody within a short period of time. It is very normal and this is what is happening in the Zambian politics and Africa at large,” Mangani said.

Asked whether MMD has welcomed Prof Chirwa’s intentions to lead the party, Mangani said the party could not do so because he was not known at any level.

“How do we welcome somebody that we don’t know? Personally, I don’t know him. I just met him once at Parliament Motel, that’s all. If the party top leadership knew him, I should be aware as well.

That is why I am warning him to be aware because he risks being reaped off all the money he has been saving to help his family,” Mangani said. “If he has been associating with junior party members, he better changes and let himself be known by the top leadership.”

Asked if people in Eastern Province were aware about Prof Chirwa presidential aspirations, Mangani said no chief in the province knew him.

“You know, even chiefs have been asking me about who this person who claims to be an Easterner is. They don’t know him,” Mangani said.
He said debate over the MMD presidency had not yet been opened and it would be inappropriate at this stage to say whether or not Prof Chirwa was fit to be in the party.

“So to me and on behalf of the party, this is a non-issue,” said Mangani.

Prof Chirwa - who is Britain’s Bolton University Professor of crashworthiness – on Thursday announced that he would be contesting the MMD presidency because Zambia needed to have a president like him.

He said he would prepare himself adequately to ensure that he scooped the presidency both at party and national levels.

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ZCI's offer to Vedanta is betrayal - Saki

ZCI's offer to Vedanta is betrayal - Saki
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday November 24, 2007 [03:00]

ZAMBIA Copper Investment’s offer of its 28.4 per cent shares in KCM to Vedanta is a betrayal to Zambians, opposition United Liberal Party (ULP) president Sakwiba Sikota has said. Commenting on (Zambia Copper Investment) ZCI chairman Tom Kamwendo’s statement that ZCI will go ahead and offer its 28.4 per cent shares in Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to Vedanta Resources Plc according to the legal agreement the Indian mining company signed when it was acquiring its 51 per cent shares in KCM, Sikota observed that the move would be against the efforts to ensure that indigenous Zambians participate in the mining sector of the country, which is the main stay of Zambia’s economy.

“The offer of 28.4 per cent shares to Vedanta by ZCI is a betrayal to Zambians because this offer comes at the time when there is a genuine cry for Zambians to be given an opportunity to participate in the mainstream economy of the country,” stated Sikota in a press release.

“The Zambian economy is still very dependant on copper and will remain so for many years to come; giving control of our copper to foreign investors will be a disaster for our economy. Most of the foreign investors do not reinvest their profits in the country but externalise the money. This is not beneficial to the growth of the Zambian economy.”

He stated that foreign companies’ loyalty was to their countries of origin and not Zambia.

“This selfish attitude for profit can only be reduced and possibly controlled by not giving majority shareholding to foreign investors,” Sikota stated. “Some workers are likely to lose their jobs if Vedanta is given the 28.4 per cent shares which will give them a dangerous 79 per cent 79.4 per cent control of KCM. The government should ensure that the 28.4 per cent shares in KCM are sold to indigenous Zambians.”

He advised the government to ensure that ZCI does not sell its shares to Vedanta.

Kamwendo said: “ZCI’s shares in KCM are being offered to Vedanta rather than being sold via the Lusaka Stock Exchange (or sold in any other way) because that is the provision in the legal agreement that was reached at the time that Vedanta was acquiring its current 51 per cent share-holding in KCM.”

Currently Vedanta Resources Plc has 51 per cent shares in KCM, ZCI 28.4 per cent and ZCCM Investments Holdings 20.6 per cent.

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Friday, November 23, 2007

Govt started re-negotiating mining agreements last week - Mwale

Govt started re-negotiating mining agreements last week - Mwale
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday November 23, 2007 [03:00]

MINES deputy minister Maxwell Mwale has said the government started re-negotiating development agreements with mining companies last week. And University of Zambia (UNZA) Development Studies lecturer Dr Fred Mtesa urged the government negotiators to ensure that the taxes and mineral royalties are increased to global standards. In an interview last Friday, Mwale said the renegotiations were expected to be concluded this year in readiness for implementation next year. He said the renegotiations were taking place in Livingstone but could not give more details on the mining companies, which the government negotiators had so far met.

“The renegotiation of development agreements started this last week,” Mwale confirmed.

Mwale said renegotiations were a legal processes and the government was cautious not to abrogate any legal provisions for fear of being taken to court, which might result in paying heavy penalties.

Mines and mineral resources minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa could not give details on the renegotiations but said the Secretary to the Treasury Evans Chibiliti and his team had done a lot of work on the matter.

“The Ministry of Finance is the one dealing with that matter because these are tax issues. Mr Chibiliti can give you more information on this because he is the one who has been chairing the preparatory meetings. Speak to Mr Chibiliti as soon as you can because the country needs to be informed of what we are doing,” Dr Mwansa said. “Take interest in these issues, they are very important and of national interest.”

But Chibiliti’s secretary said he was not in the office. And Dr Mtesa said the government must look at how other countries such as Botswana and Chile were benefiting from mineral resources so that they apply similar tax measures when renegotiating the development agreements.

“Most mining companies were given a stability period of between 15 to 20 years and they were given a lot of waivers on tax. But it’s possible to try and relook at the stability period and service life or life span of the mines to change the tax waivers,” said Dr Mtesa. “They should also look at the mineral royalties so that it conforms to the global standard which is about three percent.”

And UNZA School of Mines lecturer Dr Mathias Mpande urged the Zambian government to emulate the Tanzanian government’s setting up of an independent committee to review mining agreements. He further urged the government to include local professionals in the renegotiation process and not exclusively depend on foreign consultants.

“We expect the government to have confidence in the Zambian professionals to pioneer the negotiation,” Dr Mpande said. “Getting foreign consultants is the biggest sellout because it’s the same consultants who advised government to privatise those mines.”

Dr Mpande observed that the major pitfalls in the development agreements were that they excluded windfall tax clause and provided long periods of tax exemption.

“They agreed that they are not going to be taxed for a long time – for 20 years. That is completely wrong,” he said. “The other problem is that there was no price participation clause or windfall tax, which means when the prices increase, the government benefits from the profits.”

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Remembering Smith

Remembering Smith
By Editor
Friday November 23, 2007 [03:00]

There is no doubt Robert Mugabe and his comrades have created a far much superior society in Zimbabwe than Ian Smith and his racist friends did.

Mugabe and his comrades have demonstrated a far much higher sense of humanity than Smith and his friends. But for those who have more to give, more should be demanded of them. It is probably for this reason that more is being demanded of Mugabe than was demanded of Smith.

The death of Smith brings a lot of things to mind. It reminds us of his racism and atrocities - crimes against humanity. Smith not only killed Zimbabweans, he also killed Zambians. We will never forget how Smith caused the death of Alick Nkhata in Mkushi, robbing our country the life of one of its greatest musicians. There are many Zambians who died at the hands of Smith's racist forces.

But there are double standards in the world. The crimes Smith committed have really been played down by the forces that today control world opinion. Instead, Mugabe has been made to look more of a criminal than Smith. We wonder what would have happened to Smith if he was not a white man, if he was a Mugabe.

We have no doubt he would have ended up at The Hague. It seems we still live in a world where a man is judged by the colour of his skin, and not by the measure of his mind and character or deeds. These factors have to be taken into account when we look at the way Zimbabwe is being treated today and how it was treated by the same forces under Smith.

It is very clear to us that the lack of human dignity experienced by Africans is the direct result of the policy of racist supremacy. All of us know only too well that racism demeans the victims and dehumanises its perpetrators.

Racism has not ended in the world, it is still there and should still be fought. It still needs a universal struggle as an affirmation of our common humanity. Out of our experience with the likes of Smith must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

We are not being cruel or insensitive by talking negatively about Smith, a dead man. It would actually be immoral for us to keep quiet at the death of a racist tyrant who sought to reduce an entire people into a status worse than that of beasts of the forest.

The thousands of graves strewn across Southern Africa which are the result of a tyranny of racism, the destructive trail of racist tyranny against humanity - all these are like a haunting question that floats in the wind: why did the powerful West that is today so intolerant of Mugabe allow these to happen under Smith?

As we dream and work for the regeneration of our continent, we should remain conscious that our renaissance can only succeed as part of the development of a new and equitable world order, a world without double standards and in which the formally marginalised take their rightful place, makers of history rather than the possessions of others. We should teach our children that they are not one iota inferior to others.

Our challenge is to steer the continent through the tide of history. Our people are capable of deciding upon their own future form of government and discovering and themselves dealing with any dangers that might arise.

We need to exert ourselves that much more, and break out of the vicious cycle of dependence imposed on us by the financially powerful; those in command of immense market power and those who dare to fashion the world in their own image.

Our continent, more than any other continent has had to contend with the consequences of conquest in a denial of its own role in history, including the denial that its people had the capacity to bring about change and progress.

It would be a cruel irony of history if Africa's actions to regenerate the continent where to unleash a new scramble for Africa which, like that of the nineteenth century, plundered the continent's wealth and left it once more the poorer. Can we continue to tolerate ourselves being shown as people locked in time?

Our people yearn and deserve to redeem their glory, to reassert their centuries-old contribution to economics, politics, culture and the arts; and once more to be pioneers in the main fields of human endeavour.

But let's not forget that for as long as the majority of our people on the continent feel oppressed, are not allowed democratic participation in decision-making processes, and cannot elect their own leaders in free and fair elections, we will not make much progress and we will open a fissure which those who once colonised us will quickly fill.

These are the issues Smith's death should remind us to deeply meditate over.

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Smith was a killer - KK

Smith was a killer - KK
By Brighton Phiri in Livingstone
Friday November 23, 2007 [03:00]

I can’t mourn Ian Smith because he was a killer, said Dr Kenneth Kaunda yesterday. And Dr Kaunda said former African leaders were ready to serve as peace mediators if called upon by the African Union (AU). Commenting on the death of former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith who died in South Africa on Tuesday, Dr Kaunda said Smith was not worth mourning by Africa because of the atrocities that he inflicted on its citizens.

“He is gone. There cannot be mourning on our part. How can we mourn a man who is a killer?” he asked.

Dr Kaunda said Smith’s death should assist all those demonising Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to reflect on their views because the man who detained and killed many Zimbabweans had died on the Zimbabwean soil.

“His death should serve as a reminder for those demonising President Mugabe that Ian Smith has died on the Zimbabwean soil. This is the man who threw comrade Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and several others into prison for 10 years without trial,” Dr Kaunda said.

On Africa’s conflicts, Dr Kaunda said former African heads of state were ready to be assigned by the AU to resolve some of the conflicts that had engulfed the continent.

“It all depends on the AU. If the AU thinks that there is something that we can do to help, we are ready to contribute towards resolving the conflicts on the continent,” he said.

On the outcome of the former heads of state workshop on HIV and AIDS, Dr Kaunda said resolutions would be presented to the full council of the Africa Forum, a grouping of former African leaders.
He disclosed that the leaders present during the workshop had identified poverty as the main contributing factor to increased cases of HIV and AIDS.

“We have all accepted that poverty must be defeated first. For as long as we are still wallowing in abject poverty, we shall face some serious difficulties in eradicating the AIDS pandemic,” said Dr Kaunda.

Those who attended the workshop included former Burundu president Pierrie Buyoya and his wife Sothie, Malawian former president Bakili Muluzi, Tanzania’s second and third presidents Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa, former Organisation African Union secretary general Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim and Africa Forum executive secretary John Tesha.



Prof Chirwa to contest MMD presidency

Prof Chirwa to contest MMD presidency
By Patson Chilemba
Friday November 23, 2007 [03:00]

Professor Clive Chirwa yesterday declared his intention to contest the MMD presidency and later the 2011 Republican presidential election. In an interview in Lusaka, Prof Chirwa – who is Britain’s Bolton University Professor of Crashworthiness - said Zambia needed to have a president like him. He said he would prepare adequately to ensure that he scooped the presidency both at party and national levels.

“I am not saying that I will be the one that will be adopted. But the thing is that I have declared interest and that interest will have…like in any other democracy, there are votes which will be cast and hence I’ll prepare myself, present my portfolio, present my case, present my vision, present my capabilities and present my solutions to the problems.

And then if somebody feels I am the person to be chosen in a democracy, then I will be grateful indeed,” Prof Chirwa said. “I want to contest the 2011 presidential elections on the MMD ticket. No problem at all, I will win.”

Prof Chirwa said Zambia needed a person like him to get out of poverty and underdevelopment. He said his international exposure gave him the edge above others, both in the MMD and outside.

“I have been exposed to a lot of problems which I’ve participated in their solutions. And the 21st century is all about Zambia moving a step further, so much further than where we are now. Why should we be poor when we are one of the richest countries in the world?” Prof Chirwa asked. “Those are the issues which I think people do not see in Zambia.

But they can see that when you are looking from the outside, you can see much better. So that is why I believe that I am not the single one person but I believe that when the contest begins, people will understand that there is only one person who can deliver these developments and take us out of poverty, and that will be me.” Prof Chirwa said he was serious about his intentions and that in 2009, he would permanently come back to stay in Zambia.

“I’m currently out but in 2009, I will be back for good. At the moment, I will be coming back every three months like I am doing now,” he said.

Prof Chirwa said he would love to contest the presidency on the MMD ticket because its policies were being implemented and could easily be polished up.

“The FNDP (Fifth National Development Plan) is a platform but we want to move further from there in order to produce perhaps a development document which will involve every single person in Zambia, not just for those in the offices,” Prof Chirwa said. “I want every talent that we have in Zambia to participate in the development of this country.”

Prof Chirwa said he would be meeting chief Nalubamba of the Ila people to discuss how he could be helped to achieve his goals of becoming Republican president.

“I will be traveling to Choma to meet chief Bright Nalubamba who has invited me, thankfully even to stay at his palace on the 25th on November, and within that, I will be discussing how they can help us try to achieve my goals in 2011. From there, I am moving to Solwezi to meet chief Mumena,” said Prof Chirwa who joined the MMD in September, 2007.

Prof Chirwa is also chairman of Automotive and Aerospace Structures at University of Bolton.

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Nchanga residents live below poverty datum line - Simuusa

Nchanga residents live below poverty datum line - Simuusa
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday November 23, 2007 [03:00]

NCHANGA member of parliament Wilbur Simuusa has said it is disappointing on the part of government to see the disparity between the mineral resources the country has and the low standard of living of the people. Delivering his maiden speech to Parliament on Wednesday, Simuusa said the people of Nchanga in particular were not happy with the current government due to the high poverty levels in the constituency. Simuusa said despite the constituency being the largest producer of copper and cobalt in the country, people were still living below the poverty datum line.

“You may be aware that my constituency hosts the largest copper and cobalt mines in the country and largest contributor to the national economy, it is very sad to note that this does not reflect in the status of people in my constituency,” Simuusa said. “Additionally, there is a boom in metal markets, especially copper and cobalt.

Metal prices have been the highest in more than twenty years. However, a laughable small trace of this boom is visible to the workers and citizens of Chingola.”

He said in the Second Republic, most Zambians managed to attain their highest education through sponsorship from the mining sector.
“I am a product of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) by the Kaunda government who were so selfless and visionary,” Simuusa said.

Simuusa said it was a shame that qualified Zambian mine workers could be superseded by foreign workers who were less qualified and experienced.

“We should not allow our professionals and workers to be treated as second hand citizens in our own country,” Simuusa said. He also urged the government to revisit the labour laws of the country.
“In particular, on the careless recruitment of unqualified people by our so-called investors,” he said.

Simuusa also thanked his predecessor Charles Chimumbwa for vacating the seat, thus creating an opportunity for him to become a member of parliament.



(BBC) Zimbabwean: 'We were the enemy'

Zimbabwean: 'We were the enemy'

Zimbabwean Richard Donald Munsaka, 53, told the BBC News website, via telephone from his home in the north-western town of Hwange, how he felt after hearing that the ex-Rhodesia leader Ian Smith had died. Ian Smith was a sick old man. I don't begrudge him for what he did - I think he felt he was doing right. He was just an old Zimbabwean man. But life under Ian Smith wasn't better than it is now. I have lived under a cruel regime and I am old enough to know the difference between the two.

When he was prime minister most of us [black] Africans used to live in what were then called tribal trust [communal] lands. But my father worked on the railways so I lived in town - in the country's second city, Bulawayo.

Little change left over

In those days, things like bread, although it was there on the shelves, for us it was a luxury. Our staple food was sadza [maize meal cooked with water and a little salt]. We had a desire for bread but didn't have money to buy it. I remember always smelling bread if I was walking near to the area where the whites lived and shopped - I loved its smell and wished I could taste it. But I never did for many years!

Working on the railways until 1978-79, my father's wages enabled him to buy two 50kg bags of meilie [maize] meal and have a little change left over. My father worked as an assistant grinder - a white or a coloured [mixed race] man would weld the tracks and then my father would grind. The most an African could aspire to be, working on the railways, was a stoker on one of the locomotives and even then that was more for coloureds. Blacks only got the menial jobs. But if you were an educated African you could be either a teacher or a nurse.

Blacks weren't allowed

Under Ian Smith the job that I do now - I am an operating superintendent at Hwange power station - would have been a job for a white man. Even train drivers were white - blacks weren't allowed. People like me weren't trained to learn skills.

When my dad set off to work in the morning, my mother would follow him along the railway line to look for shrubs and any wild vegetables that were growing. She would return home and cook them - without cooking oil - so we had something to eat with our sadza.

That was the life of my mother; to make sure we had a meal on the table. And there was no tea either because there was no money for sugar. In those days there were many silly taxes that blacks had to pay. You had to pay a sum to be able to own a dog, even a bicycle.


And if you so happened to have a few cattle to your name and if a white person came along and wanted them, they could just take them. Us Africans, we had to fend for ourselves - we were the enemy. You would just be told: "You see that bull over there, that is for the boss." That was it. Goodbye. There was nothing you could do.

I had a cousin who left in 1978 for Angola to become a fighter. He went to war because his late father's nine cattle had been taken away from him by a white cattle rancher. At independence he went and took his cattle back.

But I lost another of my uncles to that same white rancher. He was fishing with a few of my other uncles when they were used for target practice. I was still a young man but I have never forgotten, up to this day.

My parents had to pay for our school fees. My two younger brothers lived with one of my uncles in the so-called tribal trust area so they could attend school.


When I visited them, I remember the soldiers - Selous Scouts and forces from the Rhodesian Light Infantry. We even knew some of the notorious ones by name. They used to come and ask: "Where are the terrorists?". They used to beat up the women and children if no-one answered.

I remember in 1978 there was a fight between the Rhodesian forces and the guerrillas. We all had to run and hide for a long time because the next day Ian Smith's soldiers came, as they always did, to take all the young men away. It was war then. I stayed and hid at an uncle's home. There were 20 of us in a three-roomed house. We survived on cabbage leaves cooked in plain water with some salt (no cooking oil or tomatoes!) and sadza when it was there. I never actually joined the struggle as a fighter because by the time I wanted to fight, we were told to stay as it was said that there was so many in Zambia, Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania.

We were the enemy

The things we see now, like the bad shortages and everything, you still can't compare. Us Africans, we had to fend for ourselves. We were the enemy. In those days, though, people in tribal trust lands did not suffer like those in the towns because they made sure they were self-sufficient despite that the land the blacks had to live on was not so fertile. The whites took the best for themselves. Then my father used to point to this land in the distance and tell me that was where our family belonged... but now since the land reform programme, our family have got a portion of our land back. I never saw a time when I thought that Ian Smith was helping the African people.

Tough nowadays

The comparing reasons that people are making now is not right. After 1980 and up to the 1990s, life in Zimbabwe was so good. Rhodesian Prime Minister Ian Smith meets the press at 10 Downing Street with British Prime Minister Harold Wilson (Photo by Terry Fincher/Getty Images)
Britain tried to persuade Smith not to illegally declare independence. It was only after the 1980s that blacks could afford to buy cars, televisions, radios, furniture and houses. And everyone went to school, right up to university.

Right now I own a motor vehicle - a Toyota Hilux [4x4]. I live in a nice suburban house - three bedrooms, two adjoining lounges, two bathrooms each with a toilet, TV with satellite and I have the internet. You are phoning me on my mobile phone and I also have a landline.

And I although I am a Zanu-PF member, I am not an official. I have worked for everything I own. Apart from the land that was returned to my family.

I own property in Victoria Falls that I acquired myself, without a loan. I am having a house and guesthouse built but these days it is difficult. Getting building materials, even cement is a challenge. Yes life is tough nowadays here. But when I say that I am comparing it to life during the 1990s. Not to the those during Smith's time because about that, there is nothing to talk about - it was oppression. Robert Mugabe is not the best leader that we can have. I want the president to leave - he has had his go, he has had his time. But never will Mugabe be worse than Smith.

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(BBC) Mbeki upbeat after Zimbabwe talks

Mbeki upbeat after Zimbabwe talks
President Thabo Mbeki

President Mbeki has been tasked to seek an end to the Zimbabwe crisis South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki says he is "very confident" that mediation will produce a solution for Zimbabwe's political crisis. He was speaking after talks with President Robert Mugabe and opposition officials in the Zimbabwean capital.

There has been
a virtual news blackout around the South African-mediated talks but sources suggest they have agreed four of the five points on the agenda. The sticking point is the last issue - the political climate.

Mr Mbeki stopped off in Harare on his way to the Commonwealth summit in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, to meet both sides. He told reporters he had visited "to see the president, and the leadership of the MDC [opposition Movement for Democratic Change], so we can reflect on where we are and to report to them as facilitator how the talks have gone."

Mr Mbeki, who has been tasked by the Southern Africa Development Community with helping to find a solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis, said the mediated talks were "going well". Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has also gone to Kampala to lobby Commonwealth leaders on the Zimbabwe issue.


MDC leader Mr Tsvangirai also said there had been notable progress. He said he was confident that the agenda set through the South Africa-led mediation would address the fundamental concerns around elections due next year.

The BBC's Peter Greste in Johannesburg says the issue of the political climate is proving to be a much harder issue to resolve and the talks are now months behind schedule as a result. Our correspondent says it encompasses both the violent suppression of the MDC's political activities, and the sanctions that Mr Mugabe's government blames for creating the crisis in the first place.

He says there is no guarantee that President Mbeki will be able to break this deadlock, but at least he will be able to go to the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting demonstrating real effort, if nothing else. Zimbabwe withdrew from the Commonwealth in 2003 after it was suspended because of allegations of poll rigging. But Mr Tsvangirai told reporters in Kampala it was important for the body to continue engaging, to ensure Zimbabwe is rescued from its political and economic crisis.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

(MAIL & GUARDIAN) Land inequality in SA a 'ticking time bomb'

Land inequality in SA a 'ticking time bomb'
Fran Blandy | Muldersdrift, South Africa
19 November 2007 07:12

For more than a decade, Molefi Selibo has been sent from pillar to post by the South African authorities in a futile quest to own a plot of land for his family. "Land to us, it is a very key issue. There is a hunger for land in South Africa," says Selibo as he looks out across the rolling green hills of Muldersdrift which he still one day hopes to transform into a thriving village.

"It is very, very, very frustrating. It is more than 10 years. People become disillusioned, they start questioning whether this thing is progressing," says Selibo, eyeing the land which lies fallow.

His frustration is indicative of a wider sense of disillusionment about the pace of land reforms in post-apartheid South Africa.

Thirteen years on from the end of white rule, the World Bank is warning the issue of land ownership, which has already proved toxic across the border in Zimbabwe, is "a time bomb" that could blow up if not defused.

The land at Muldersdrift, about 30km west of Johannesburg, is the third property the Ethembalethu (Our Hope) community has tried to buy and develop in a ten-year battle with stubborn white land-owners, conflicting government policies and miles of bureaucratic red tape.

South Africa's land ministry admitted earlier this month that drastic measures were necessary to save the country's land reform programme, whose slow delivery has sparked anger and fears of Zimbabwe-style land grabs.

Despite the government maintaining it is "committed to stability" and using a system of payment for land and negotiation with white farmers, patience is wearing thin for those awaiting land.

At the onset of democracy in 1994, about 87% of agricultural land in the country was owned by white South Africans, who form less than 10% of the population.

Thirteen years later only 4% of land, or four-million hectares has been transferred to black South Africans, and the ministry's annual report says it will be a "serious challenge" to reach its target of 30% -- 25-million hectares -- by 2014.

In 1996, Selibo and others living in Muldersdrift had a dream to become self-sufficient.

A group of about 250 families started putting away R100 a month, until they saved enough to make their first purchase offer.

The community has since faced numerous obstacles, two cancelled sale agreements, court battles, as well as an out-of-court settlement where white landowners paid them not to move into their neighbourhood.

Now, since 2001, they have an agreement to occupy the 30,8ha property owned by the municipality, but have still not won the right to develop or farm on the land.

"It has cost us almost all the money we have saved," said Selibo.

"It has gone to paying the consultants to do the studies that are required. We have been going from pillar to post."

The land ministry has come under fire for its chaotic record-keeping, its failure to fill staff vacancies and the dismal state of its financial affairs, with the department's director general ousted last month.

Chief land claims commissioner Tozi Gwanya said that land reform had been hampered by opposition from landowners who dispute the validity of land claims and demand exorbitant prices.

He said when the government tried to fast-track the process, "prophets of doom" suggested the country was going the same route as neighbouring Zimbabwe.

"We do not want to see what has happened in Zimbabwe and we will always ensure that our land reform programme remains socially, economically and politically sound."

However Rogier van den Brink, World Bank country economist to South Africa, said time was running out to resolve the land issue peacefully.

"The World Bank has always said that a land inequality of this magnitude is a ticking time bomb, at some point some politician will run with this.

"What happened in Zimbabwe, little did we know it was the president of the country who would run with this issue. You cannot predict when and how a land crisis will emerge."

Back at Muldersdrift, Selibo says the community has been battling an absence of any clear policy to help black South Africans buy land in areas near towns.

However over the hill, a high-income development which will eventually include 120 houses, has surged ahead, easily gaining planning permission.

"Each and every landowner is opposing this development. People go far to prevent others from having a better life," said Selibo, who is employed as a civil servant dealing with land issues.

He said the community did not want to build another township where people lived in appalling conditions.

"We have now allocated a site for a primary school. We also planned to have community facilities, a hall and a taxi rank.

"The difference is here we also look at the agricultural side. Here there are no shacks."

Van den Brink says the country is missing out on massive growth opportunities by not using agriculture or land reform to its full potential.

"Countries with more equal land distribution grow faster, permanently," he said. - Sapa-AFP

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Zambia to experience floods this rain season - Mulambu

Zambia to experience floods this rain season - Mulambu
By Nomusa Michelo
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

THE Meteorological Department has warned that Zambia will experience flooding and flash floods during the rain season. Meteorological Department senior forecast officer Anderson Mulambu said parts of the country would receive above normal rainfall while some parts will receive normal rainfall.

“We are also expecting flash flood and flooding in the usual areas like Barotse Plains, the Namwala plains and the usual places in the Eastern Province like Luangwa,” he said. He said flash floods are also expected in most areas such as Lusaka, which experienced flash floods early this week.

“We expect rainfall activity to increase but the proper flooding will start happening between January and March when we have heavy rains,” he said.

He said with increased rainfall activity, temperatures are expected to come down and bring cooler weather.

“With the increase in moisture we expect that the temperatures will drop just within the normal range,” he said.

And Mulambu said the country should expect increased rainfall activities as it heads towards the weekend.

And according to the Meteorological Department news forecast, today will be cloudy with thunder clouds in places on the western half of the country and a few places on the eastern half, with maximum temperatures ranging from 27 to 32 degrees Celsius.



(HERALD) Over 1 000 tractors expected next year

Over 1 000 tractors expected next year
Bulawayo Bureau

MORE than 1 000 tractors are expected in the country next year as the Government moves in to boost provision of farm implements under the farm mechanisation programme, an official has said. The Secretary for Agricultural Engineer-ing, Mechanisation and Irrigation, Dr Shadreck Mlambo, said in anticipation of the tractors his ministry had targeted to train 1 000 individuals to handle the machinery.
The ministry came up with a policy of training people who benefit from the programme on how to handle the machinery to safeguard the equipment.

More than 1 400 beneficiaries have already been trained this year under the mechanisation programme.

"Currently, 1 440 beneficiaries have been trained under the Government Mechani-sation Programme. With an estimated 1 000 tractors coming into the country next year, the target for 2008 training is set at a minimum of 1 000 beneficiaries," he said.

Although Dr Mlambo did not reveal where the Government was going to buy the tractors, most of them have come from China while some are assembled locally.

Dr Mlambo said the training programme focused on ensuring that the machinery was used efficiently.

"Training and extension in agricultural engineering, mechanisation and irrigation focuses mainly on provision of skills on machinery operations, maintenance, setting and management to the farming community.

This will ensure that farmers are capacitated to fully utilise mechanisation to increase productivity on farms and ensure that machinery service life is prolonged at the same time reducing operational costs," he said.

The Government this year embarked on the farm mechanisation programme that has seen many farmers receiving farm machinery as the nation puts in place strategies to boost agriculture productivity.

The programme has now been divided into 10 phases stretching until 2010. The first two phases were launched in June and October this year and were hailed by many farmers and stakeholders across the political divide.

"The ministry has the objective of mechanising farms to the extent that by 2010 each and every A2 farmer will have received a tractor and an implement."

Apart from the tractors, Dr Mlambo said his ministry would also intensify the provision of animal-drawn implements so as to address issues of productivity in A1 and communal areas.

He said in 2008, the ministry would be moving into new areas, particularly rehabilitation of tobacco barns, greenhouses and dairy parlours.

"This will ensure that the agricultural industry will have a sound footing."

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(HERALD) Zim talks: Mbeki to jet in

Zim talks: Mbeki to jet in
Herald Reporter

SOUTH AFRICAN President Thabo Mbeki is expected in Zimbabwe today for a meeting with representatives of the ruling Zanu-PF and the two factions of the opposition MDC as part of the ongoing talks between the two parties. A statement from the Office of the South African President yesterday said: "President Thabo Mbeki will, while on his way to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Uganda tomorrow, make a brief stopover in Harare, Zimbabwe, to consult with representatives of the country’s major political players."

President Mbeki’s visit, the statement said, was in line with the Sadc mandate reached in March this year empowering him to facilitate dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

So far, the parties have co-sponsored the Constitutional Amendment (No. 18) Act which — among other things — will harmonise presidential, parliamentary and local government elections scheduled for next year.

"President Mbeki’s visit is aimed at deepening the process of dialogue," the statement read.

Following the March Sadc Extraordinary Summit in Tanzania — which was called specifically to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe, the DRC and Lesotho — President Mbeki appointed a three-member team to facilitate dialogue between Zanu-PF and the fractured opposition.

South Africa’s Local Government Minister Mr Sydney Mufamadi, the Director in the Office of the President Rev Frank Chikane and Advocate Monjangu Gumbi make up the team.

Zanu-PF mandated the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Cde Patrick Chinamasa and his Public Service counterpart Cde Nicholas Goche to negotiate on behalf of the ruling party while secretaries-general of the Mutambara and Tsvangirai-led factions, Mr Welshman Ncube and Mr Tendai Biti respectively, represent the opposition.

President Mbeki had received a lot of flak for his "quiet diplomacy" approach with the South African leader insisting that Zimbabweans should be allowed to solve their own problems with other countries only coming in as facilitators.

Dialogue between the two parties is reportedly progressing well and they have actually held more meetings without their South African facilitators.

President Mbeki’s approach has paid dividends as evidenced by the passage of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 18) Bill with consensus from both parties.

Among other issues, the amendment facilitates an increase in the number of seats in the House of Assembly to 210 directly elected seats while the Senate will now have 93 members.

Furthermore, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will take over the mandate of all constituency delimitation while voters will be required to cast their ballots in their home wards to minimise logistical constraints.

In the event of a sitting head of state failing to complete his/her term for whatever reason, the House of Assembly and the Senate, acting as an electoral college, will have the prerogative to elect a new president to complete the term.

Dialogue is still in progress, with both parties saying they are happy with the process though the opposition has tried to derail the talks by making unsubstantiated claims of State-sponsored violence.

It is believed that pressures from some civil society organisations opposed to the manner in which the talks are progressing are behind the attempts to throw spanners in the works.

Efforts to get comment from representatives of both parties on President Mbeki’s itinerary were fruitless.

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(HERALD) Budget should foster economic growth

Budget should foster economic growth

EXACTLY a week from today, Finance Minister Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi will reveal what he has in store for the nation over the next 12 months and the task he faces is not an enviable one. The extent of the challenges to be overcome necessitates a cocktail of measures to address the needs of every sector, not least supply side bottle necks manifest in shortages of basic commodities.

The budget should, therefore, provide measures to arrest hyperinflation, address the balance of payment deficit, forex shortages, pricing distortions, diminished export viability, low capacity utilisation in key productive sectors among other things.

Like everybody else, we expect nothing short of a comprehensive people’s budget with practical measures to expedite the economic turnaround initiative.

The 2007/8 agricultural season has been dubbed the mother of all seasons, hence the budget should also address problems in the agriculture sector to ensure that the season is not detracted by undue shortages of key inputs.

As usual, the budget presentation coincides with the festive season, expectations are obviously high, especially among workers, that there would be considerable tax relief that would see disposable incomes firming positively.

Workers want to see prices stabilising to cushion them from the dreaded ‘‘January disease’’, the period of austerity that follows the opulence of Christmas festivities.

Industry, on the other hand, wants answers to the perennial problem of foreign currency shortages that have seriously impacted on production and employers’ capacity to give workers their dues.

Civil servants expect measures that would permanently lift them above the Poverty Datum Line. Even those who are not gainfully employed look forward to prescriptions that would see them joining the ranks of the employed at the earliest possible time.

The nation, thus, expects a range of measures that would foster economic growth, create employment, generate foreign currency and create the environment conducive to, and confidence essential for domestic and foreign investment.

We are; however, aware that it will be difficult, nigh impossible for Cde Mumbengegwi to meet everyone’s expectations, but what we expect are measures that will bring meaningful turnaround in the short to medium term.

We are confident that such an environment can be achieved by a holistic package of fiscal and monetary policies, and that can only be achieved by a people-centred budget.

What we all need to appreciate, as was highlighted by Speaker of the House of Assembly Cde John Nkomo at the pre-budget seminar, is that the budget is for everyone, and everyone, the private sector included, must buy in as the Government alone cannot meet all requirements.



(HERALD) Imperialism driven by propaganda

Imperialism driven by propaganda
By Reason Wafawarova in Sydney, Australia

TODAY we are in the era of terrorism, tyranny, dictatorships, rule of law, democracy and human rights — terms oft defined in a rigid and doctrinal manner by the Western ruling elite through their powerful media mouthpieces. Imperialism is inherently an unjust enterprise and those presiding over its crude existence are quite clear that there is no moral justification for their endeavours and for a long time they have resorted to creating any moral pretext their media houses can sell, in order to ensure the continued flow of imperialist capital and the maximisation of unjust profit.

While imperialist regimes embarked on perfidious and slanderous propaganda against socialism and communism as ideologies deriving an existence from the power of indoctrination, especially during the Cold War — the reality of the matter is that the Western communities themselves rank among the most indoctrinated peoples of this world.

Take for example the kind of opposition in Zimbabwe, the MDC in the mind of any ordinary Westerner, who day after day is bombarded by this media image of an all-democratic, holy and civilised group of well-meaning Zimbabweans — all at the mercy of a ruthless and murderous dictatorship literally wanted by no one in Zimbabwe except the cronies of President Mugabe.

What a miracle if this were true!

So determined are the Western media in their MDC image creation commitments that this writer was once portrayed as a ruthless murderer and evil man by one journalist who took great exception to an article by this writer titled "MDC leaders must not mislead youths" published by The Herald (March 28 2007).

The quoted offending words from this piece were, "Without Western media sympathy and biased coverage; stripped of the propaganda against President Mugabe and the Government, along with lies of alleged stuffing of ballot boxes, the MDC is an outfit of thugs, snivelling donor mongers, mercenaries and political opportunists led by a treacherous lapdog figurehead personified by Morgan Tsvangirai."

That this piece came after the March 11 Highfield skirmishes made the attacks against this writer more vicious but now we are all told who the thugs in the MDC are, who the donor mongers are, who the mercenaries are and also who the political opportunists are — all told to the world by bona fide members of the MDC, indeed high ranking officials, particularly those whose positions are under the threat of Tsvangirai’s tsunami-like powers.

All Zimbabweans now know very well what kind of a political party the MDC is, not least those enlisted as its leadership and supporters. Not only are many people now aware of the democratic shortcomings of the MDC and its apparent inherent violent tendencies — they are also quite alive to the fact that giving Zimbabwe’s leadership to the MDC, particularly to Tsvangirai, would be akin to entrusting one’s one and only car to a bunch of unlicensed intoxicated teenagers.

Well, the Western media naturally has no business reporting on the nonsense that the Lucia Matibenga sacking from the MDC Women’s Assembly is. Neither do they have any media space for the circus happening in the so-called MDC UK and Ireland province.

They did not have much space for the October 2005 split, did they? Any balanced reporting on this kind of madness in the MDC would be counterproductive to the perfect image of Tony Blair’s political project as created by the Western media on behalf of the US-led imperial authority.

The question is; why is it necessary for imperialist powers to embark on this crusade of misinformation, if one were to be more charitable with words? The answer is simple according to Dave Holmes, an Australian socialist writer. Holmes argues that imperialism deliberately creates absolute meanings for terms in as much as it creates absolute positions for its opponents — all in order to brainwash the unsuspecting public as well as to strengthen its repressive apparatus both at home and abroad.

Imperialism’s war on terror for example, is in reality the post Cold War ideological justification of the ruling imperialist classes for attacking the so-called Third World as well as establishing fear-driven control of the populations in the imperialists’ own backyards.

Indeed terrorist acts such as September 11 and the Madrid bombings should be condemned without reservation, especially if the attackers’ calculation is to intimidate the West or to arouse the Moslem world into a struggle. Such a calculation is obviously insane and so is the enterprise as a whole.

However, the fact that this enterprise is insane does not erase a stronger fact that the phenomenon of anti-Western terrorism arose as a result of Western domination of weaker nation states, ironically aided by Washington’s previous intimate relationships with today’s "terrorists".

In fact, at whatever rate and from any number of angles, Washington’s "war on terror" is just ludicrous. It is a media created war with no context whatsoever — of course except to try and force it down our throats that anti-Western Islamic terrorists are simply evil incarnate.

For the Western media, terrorism only ever applies to others; by definition the West does not use terror. No, the invasion of Iraq cannot be seen as terrorism, the 2006 murderous bombing of southern Lebanon by Israel at the instruction of Washington cannot be seen as terrorism and the Allied air campaign against German cities in World War II cannot be seen as terrorism. By definition terror victims can only be Westerners or their allies.

When Jonas Savimbi and Afonso Dhlakama were killing civilians in Angola and Mozambique respectively, Ronald Reagan was busy telling the world that they were freedom fighters and even inviting them to White House.

Of course, poor African villagers voting for communist Jose dos Santos and Samora Machel could not pass for victims of terror. They "deserved" it and the perpetrators could only be freedom fighters.

This is the dogmatic and pugnacious doctrine of imperialism that is well-drilled into the masses of this world by the power of the Western media with a view of brainwashing as many as can be reached.

As the singer Bob Marley put it, quoting another source, one can fool some people some of the time but never all the people all of the time. To many of us the opposition to terrorism cannot be in Western media’s absolute terms. The idea of democracy is equally not in Western media’s absolute terms, so isn’t the rule of law, human rights, tyranny, dictatorships and so-called despotic regimes. These are terms whose context can never be ignored.

Why, for example is President Mugabe, the erstwhile West’s best statesman in Africa, all of a sudden demoted to the unenvious role of a tyrant? Why is a clearly fraudulent election that brings Umaru Y’Ardua to power in Nigeria okayed by the West as a "learning curve" while a Sadc endorsed election in Zimbabwe is condemned as stolen and undemocratic?

Why is the killing of opposition activists by Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi a non-event in the Western media when the same media cries loudest at the sight of a button stick wielding Zimbabwean police officer?

The answers to all these questions are of course in the context in which the chosen terms are used. President Mugabe was the best statesman when he did not temper with imperialist interest in Zimbabwe and when he allowed imperialist investment free reign, even embracing the IMF poison of the so-called economic structural adjustment programmes. So was Nelson Mandela when he forgave those heartless butchers of Soweto and allowed imperialist interests a free reign in South Africa. He is the applauded hero of Africa while President Mugabe has been demoted to a "Hitler of Africa" for repossessing white-held Zimbabwean land for distribution among its rightful owners, the indigenous people of Zimbabwe.

Y’Ardua and his colleagues can steal as many elections as they please as long as they allow Shell free reign in the Niger Delta and as long as they keep shooting those Delta protesters on behalf of imperialists, even executing them like they did with Ken Saro Wiwa. Oh yes, they stuff ballots right in front of the BBC cameras and their election can only be a "learning curve" at worst.

And Zimbabwe’s election can be declared free and fair by the archangel Michael with the endorsement of the Lord Jesus Christ but as long as President Mugabe emerges the winner, the West will declare it stolen and fraudulent. Conversely, Tsvangirai can split his party all he wants — he still must win any election in Zimbabwe otherwise that election cannot be free and fair.

Zenawi can kill all of his political opponents if he so wishes, as long as he remains the ally he is in the US horn of Africa interests. It is in the world’s interest to always have a context when the West uses terms like insurgency, terrorism, dictatorships, rule of law and so and so forth.

Not least among imperialism’s worst indoctrinated are members of the poor countries’ middle class, a class from which a sizeable number of the MDC’s supporters hail. This class provided leadership and followers for the Contras, that anti-revolutionary stooge movement used by imperialism to destroy the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua.

The same class propped Frederick Chiluba in Zambia and now imperialist forces want to turn around and persecute Chiluba in their vainglorious attempt at hoodwinking the public into a belief that imperialist rulers stand for transparency; actually stooping as low as to allude that Chiluba stole state money to buy designer suits.

How cheap!

Imperialism has taken advantage of virtue, morality, pacifism and even justice to manipulate world opinion in its favour and often it is backed by the might of the West’s military arsenal whenever it faces resistance. In fact imperialism flows like water, eroding all areas of weakness and the resistant rocky areas are left to the mercy of the rule of force, the sworn doctrine of all imperialists.

This is the doctrine in whose context Blair was contemplating invading Zimbabwe and of course if he had been foolish enough to ignore advice and proceed with the invasion, then the Western media would have had a double duty of creating justification for the invasion on one hand and the defeat on the other. This is how imperialism works, driven by the brainwashing power of propaganda.

This writer is of the firm belief that Zimbabwe can stand united and defeat the marauding forces of imperialism if only all of us can work hard to produce for the nation and stop feeding on each other’s suffering.

Together we will overcome.

l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on

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Balance focus on poverty reduction and economic growth, advises Phumap

Balance focus on poverty reduction and economic growth, advises Phumap
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

Visting World Bank vice-president for human development, Joy Phumaphi has said Zambia should balance its focus on poverty reduction and economic growth. And Phumaphi said Zambia is now in a better position to aggressively get contracts and investments that will favour local people and the economy.

In an interview in Lusaka on Tuesday, Phumaphi said Zambia must continue focusing on the diversification of the economy in order to establish itself in the global market. She said economic growth and poverty reduction should complement each other.

“You cannot just focus on poverty reduction and access to social programmes such as increased education, sanitation and water and health without addressing economic growth,” Phumaphi said. “You need to address them on both fronts.”

She observed that Zambia had focused on creating opportunities for economic growth through exporting products and the improvement of commercial agriculture. She added that there was need to continue the diversification in the mining sector beyond copper and nickel.

“You export a lot of timber; you should focus on trying to turn that timber into finished products, but finished products of quality that can be exported to other parts of the world.

You grow a lot of food products; you need to focus on processing those food products so that you don’t only export the food in its raw form but also process it according to the market needs of the global community,” she urged.

Phumaphi also urged the Zambian government to negotiate for contracts that would benefit Zambians.

“I feel that developing countries particularly in the past decade or so, have managed to communicate very clearly to the global community that they want to have control over their own resources.

So in the same way, Zambia is in the position where it can negotiate contracts, whether they are mining concessions or contracts with companies that are engaged in production that will favour the Zambian people and economy,” said Phumaphi. “The question of aggressively getting the contracts that will favour the Zambian people and economy is possible.”

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Smith brought great suffering - Harrison

Smith brought great suffering - Harrison
By Masuzyo Chakwe in Lusaka and Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zi
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia Alistair Harrison has said the late former Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith brought great suffering to the people of Zimbabwe and Zambia. Commenting on the death of Smith who died in South Africa on Tuesday, High Commissioner Harrison said it would be difficult to be positive about his legacy. High Commissioner Harrison said Smith failed to see when the world was changing.

"First of all, I would send condolences to the family of Ian Smith but I would have to say that it is very difficult to be positive about his legacy.

I think the problem with Ian Smith and his government in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in the 1960s was that they simply failed to see when the world was changing and when Africa was changing. Many people in Zambia, or Northern Rhodesia as it was called then, realised very quickly that white minority rule could not continue," High Commissioner Harrison said.

He said the British government eventually realised and made a statement in South Africa about the winds of change that were blowing throughout the African continent.

"But people like Ian Smith did not realise that and as a result brought great suffering to the people of Rhodesia and Zimbabwe and also great suffering, we should not forget, to the people of Zambia who in the early years of independence were absolutely strong in supporting the liberation struggles in Rhodesia, Mozambique, Angola and I can say the apartheid regime in South Africa," he said.

High Commissioner Harrison said the positive thing one could say was that Smith's vision of white minority rule did not happen.

"Fortunately, eventually but rather late, Zimbabwe did get independence with free and fair elections and majority rule in 1980 and apartheid came to an end. Mozambique and Angola were also liberated but the actions of Ian Smith and the like delayed that process and brought great suffering to this region," he said.

Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services reported yesterday that Smith would be remembered for his racism and for the deaths of many Zimbabweans.

The Zimbabwean government said it would remain silent "for now" over Smith’s death.
Smith was the former prime minister who led the white-ruled Rhodesia, and whose attempts to resist black rule in the present day Zimbabwe plunged the country into isolation and civil war.

He died on Tuesday in Cape Town at the age of 88, having been ailing for some time and suffering a stroke last week.

President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba said the government would rather not comment on the death of Smith, whose rule many black Zimbabweans say symbolised the worst racial oppression.

"Silence is the best we can give him for now. We are not in a hurry to comment about it," said Charamba in an interview.

Smith imprisoned Mugabe for 11 years in 1964, calling him a terrorist who was keen on ushering sole dictatorship in the country.

To many white Zimbabweans, however, Smith is regarded as a hero.
Smith, the son of a farmer was born in the small Southern Rhodesian mining town of Selukwe on April 8, 1919.

Smith was educated in Zimbabwe and at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, where he obtained a bachelor of commerce degree.

He defied the world in 1965 when he led 270,000 white Rhodesians in a unilateral declaration of independence from Britain rather than accept moves to black-majority rule.

became prime minister of white-ruled Rhodesia in 1964 and remained in office until a guerrilla war forced him to accept a ceasefire and political settlement in 1979.

Elections were held the following year, when Rhodesia became the black-ruled Republic of Zimbabwe, with Robert Mugabe as prime minister.


Corruption should be fought by all, says Aka

Corruption should be fought by all, says Aka
By Lindiwe Banda and Abigail Chisenga
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

Corruption is injurious and should be fought by all Zambians because it is never a victimless crime, Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika has said. Addressing trainee journalists at The Post yesterday, Aka said there was a misconception that certain corrupt activities had no victims and yet corruption that occurred in public offices had the potential to injure people that were not even aware of it.

“It is everybody’s responsibility in civil society to be alert and take action to ensure that we do not continue to be victims of corruption. But there is a misconception about who is civil society. Civil society is all citizens of a particular society,” Aka said. “The majority of Zambians are not partakers of corruption but are victims.”

Aka, who is a commissioner with the ACC, further said that the current governance system was alienated and did not match with the cultural system. He said that the alienation that was prevalent made it difficult to have an attitude that allowed people to realise that individuals that stole from public resources stole from everybody. He said that most people holding public offices alienated themselves in that they thought that it was okay to corruptly own properties at the expenses of other people’s lives.

“The public is not fully aware of the corruption that has occurred in the past. It would be a challenge to review the history of corruption in this country. The public will then use the power of the vote to fight corruption. If the electorate makes it known that if an individual is corrupt they will not be elected, this will contribute to the fight against corruption,” Aka said

He further said that forces of corruption needed to be fought vigorously as corruption was an enemy within individuals, communities, nations and also on the international front.

Aka also said some individuals allowed themselves to be corrupt, corrupted, careless, and silent when they know about corrupt practices in such a way as to facilitate corruption. He said other people allowed themselves to collaborate with corrupt individuals, therefore encouraging it. He said people tended to admire certain lifestyles but it would take an alert and very intelligent observer to notice that such high lifestyles may be a product of corruption.

Aka said corruption was inherently immoral and that it was not possible to divorce the act of corruption from immorality. He said according to the ACC Act, bribery and abuse of office were the two categories that corruption was made of.

“Bribery is soliciting, receiving, giving, attempting to solicit, to receive and to give and being silent when you have observed these things,” he said. “It is some sort of an exchange of favours, except that one party gives favours which are not his or hers but at the expense of public resources. Bribery is a manifestation of abuse of office. Rather than use your position in public office to discharge your responsibilities, you use that position to favour yourself and you give things that are not yours to yourself.”

Aka said that some systems of work facilitated bribery. He explained that certain circumstances allowed only two signatories to a document. He said this made it is easy for the two to conspire and practice corruption. Aka said the systems needed to be looked at, to see if they facilitated, aided and made it easy for people to be corrupted.

He said the nature of bribery was such that it was secretive and was better done in environments where there was no transparency, in systems where there was no accountability. He said it was therefore important to look at systems and how they operated.

“There are also environments that are conducive to corruption, systems that have delays, confusion, systems that do not indicate procedure, systems that are over-centralised. Pensioners have to come a thousand miles to Lusaka; there is no system to make it easier for them to get what is rightly theirs. Some of the systems that facilitate bribery are left that way on purpose. There is also need for systems to have records of transactions,” he said

Aka further said the most fundamental facilitators of abuse of office were the blindness and disregard for the possibilities of conflict of interest. He said that the area of conflict of interest occurs in every public service job category. He explained that there was need for individuals to declare interest in matters that may in one way or another concern them.

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Chiefs Kapijimpanga, Mumena give traditional land to Solwezi council

Chiefs Kapijimpanga, Mumena give traditional land to Solwezi council
By Zumani Katasefa in Solwezi
Thursday November 22, 2007 [03:00]

CHIEFS Kapijimpanga and Mumena of Solwezi have surrendered huge portions of their traditional land to Solwezi Municipal Council for the redesigning of the town. In an interview on Tuesday, Solwezi council town clerk Jim Zya said the chiefs had surrendered part of their traditional lands to allow the redesigning of Solwezi district and for setting up a town in Lumwana..

He, however, said chief Kapijimpanga's traditional advisors had objected to the chief’s gesture, saying that part of the land that had been given out for development was reserved for their kingdom.

Zya said the matter was being discussed and hoped that the chief's advisors would understand the purpose of new infrastructure developments in Solwezi. Zya said once the district was redesigned, the local authority would not allow people to put up their buildings anyhow.

"In the recent past there has been no proper control of how buildings have being constructed,'' he said.

Zya said the local authority would also upgrade some of the existing infrastructures such as schools and business centres. He said the council would also create by-pass roads as the current roads in the district were not able to accommodate the influx of vehicles in the area.

He said the council would further create commercial centres in places such as Mushitala to spread development to the western parts of the Solwezi town.

"With political will that is there, it will be very disappointing for the council to fail to positively respond to the challenges that this district is facing," said Zya.

And chief Mumena said he was happy with the new developments that were taking place in the district, hence his gesture to give part of his traditional land to the local authority to allow the expansion of the district.

He said that he would want to see classic buildings being put in the district and not ramshackle ones.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

'Egypt ready to support Zambia in irrigation'

'Egypt ready to support Zambia in irrigation'
By Kabanda Chulu
Tuesday November 20, 2007 [04:00]

EGYPTIAN Ambassador to Zambia Sherif Mohamed Shaheen has said Egypt was ready to support Zambia in the field of irrigation in order to strengthen the agricultural sector. And Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) secretary general Erastus Mwencha said there has been an increase in growth of imports from Comesa countries to Egypt from US$ 285 million in 2000 to US$ 813 million in 2005.

Speaking after presenting his credentials to Mwencha as Egypt’s permanent representative to Comesa, Ambassador Shaheen said there was need for partnership in order to enhance and sustain economic growth.

He said Egypt had extensive experience in the field of irrigation and was willing to help Zambia so that it reduces dependence on rain-fed agriculture hence increasing food security.

“Cooperation between our two countries will be the only way to uplift the living standards of the people and this is why we are ready as Egypt to share the experiences in the field of irrigation to help Zambia sustain and increase its agriculture potential especially that this country has huge water resources,” said Ambassador Shaheen.

“But we are also willing to help in any field which the Zambian government will request so that we can be able to strengthen bilateral trade.”

And Mwencha said Egypt has become a major contributor to the Comesa fund despite joining in 1998.

“Egypt is one of the recent members of Comesa having joined in 1998 and upon joining she became one of the most active members and successfully hosted the first Comesa economic forum that has resulted in regular business summits in different capitals,” said Mwencha.
“And there has been an increase in growth of imports between Egypt and Comesa countries from US$ 285 million in 2000 to US$ 813 million in 2005 and Egypt’s exports also grew from US$ 95 million in 2000 to US$ 533 million in 2005.”

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OMCs blame govt for fuel shortages

OMCs blame govt for fuel shortages
By Kabanda Chulu
Tuesday November 20, 2007 [03:00]

Government monopoly in crude oil importation is responsible for the fuel problems in the country, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) have claimed. The OMCs want the government to liberalise importation of crude oil in order to resolve the problem of fuel shortages in the country.

The OMCs were reacting to energy minister Kenneth Konga’s statement that the government would not liberalise the importation of crude oil because some players may find a way of bringing substandard products into Zambia.

Enfin Energy Consultants managing partner Andrew Kamanga said the government should get the private sector more involved in the procurement of feedstock as a way of preventing frequent fuel crises.

Kamanga said there was need for the 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 and 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 feedstock.

And a representative of one of the major OMCs in the country who sought anonymity said the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) was capable of monitoring the industry’s operations and performance and there was no need for the government to worry about the standards.

“The lack of competitiveness in the importation of crude oil in Zambia is a major contributor to the fuel problems because currently, government has absolute monopoly in the importation of crude oil. But this needs to be revised to suit the best competition principles since competition in crude oil importation will definitely reduce the abnormal costs being experienced in the country,” the official stated.

“In a liberalised economy like Zambia, consumers deserve better petroleum services and it is ironic for a poor country like ours with low purchasing power to have the highest prices of petroleum products in the region.”

ERB communications manager Kwali Mfuni declined to comment on the matter, preferring that a press query was written before a response was given.

Last Friday in Parliament, Monze member of parliament Jack Mwiimbu asked Konga why OMCs were not allowed to import unfinished fuel products in order to stabilise the supply of the commodity.

In response, Konga said the government would not liberalise the importation of petroleum feedstock because some players may find a way of bringing in substandard products.

“The ERB Act enables different players on the market to trade openly in petroleum products but the only problem is that we will end up with substandard products since there are no strict monitoring systems in place,” Konga said.

He said the government would in future develop a framework to guide the importation of crude oil in line with free market policies.

“Refusing the OMCs to import crude oil is not going against the policies of economic liberalisation per se but there is need to put in place various issues and safety gauge measures before we allow the OMCs to be part of the importation process of the petroleum feedstock.”

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Corruption is making life difficult

Corruption is making life difficult
By Editorial
Wednesday November 21, 2007 [03:00]

Corruption is robbing our nation of scarce resources. And without eradicating corruption, the conditions of the poor will never improve. We agree with the observations made by outgoing Norwegian Ambassador to Zambia Terje Vigtel that corruption in this country has made life difficult for many and has affected development, the health and education sectors, among others.

The presence of corruption is evidence of the fact that public resources are not utilised optimally. Our country may have economic potential but without economically exploiting this potential, our people will continue to be poor.

To exploit the economic potential of our country and improve the lives of our people will require efficient and effective utilisation of whatever resources are available. But it is not possible to utilise resources efficiently and effectively where there is corruption.

We say this because where there is corruption resources are never optimally deployed. Money is usually taken to projects from which it can be easily accessed and stolen. Projects where it is difficult to steal, money doesn’t go there, few are interested in such projects.

And as Ambassador Vigtel has correctly observed, corruption is one way of misusing development money and making the poor poorer. Clearly, if corruption is not fought, our people’s lives, especially those in rural areas, will not be uplifted.

Corruption has drastic evil effects and should be fought with all the tenacity we can marshal. And every citizen of this country should be made to avoid corruption at all costs and condemn it whenever and wherever they see it. Corruption destroys the social structures. And we should all have a mission to promote transparency, accountability and honesty in the nation.

However, corruption will not disappear by itself – it has to be fought and defeated. Honesty must be nourished but dishonesty or corruption springs up spontaneously like weeds and grows by itself. It therefore requires a lot of effort to promote honesty in the nation.

It is something that must start from the home, from the family and be taught to our children at school, college or university.

Honesty is something that we should inculcate wherever we are, be it at church or at the work place. We must nurture it and, like all virtues, it must be nourished.

We are not doing much as a nation to encourage or inculcate the spirit of honesty and accountability among our people. Today in many of our families, children can bring home all sorts of expensive items whose parents cannot afford without being questioned.

It would seem gone are the days when if a child brought home something whose source they could not properly explain, the parents told them to take it away or they would call the police because they didn’t want to be put in trouble.

Today, many of our parents would appear to be more than eager to take or consume things brought home by their children which clearly appear to be ill gotten.

Our churches are no different. Our pastors appear to be more than eager to receive huge tithes from members of the congregation who clearly cannot raise them from earned income.

In short, our pastors are not reluctant to receive stolen money as offering. Those with money, regardless of its source, are given a reservation seat at church congregations. This is not the way to build an honest society. This only serves to encourage and deepen corruption in the nation.

The situation is not different also when it comes to politics. Those with ill-gotten wealth and are able to bribe their way through elections end up occupying positions of leadership in our country.

But we shouldn’t forget that when they get into power, at whatever level, they don’t throw away the ladder of corruption that helped them to ascend to power – they continue to live by it.

And business cannot escape this corruption. It is also conducted on the basis of corruption. With corrupt politics and religious institutions, business has enough moral basis to anchor itself on corruption.

The other issue that we need to pay attention to is educating our people against paying bribes. One who pays a bribe is not different from one who receives the bribe, he may even be worse. People ask for bribes because they know there are people out there willing to pay them.

We agree with Ambassador Vigtel that people offering bribes should be the first to be punished and punished much more harshly than those on the receiving end. We say this because those who pay bribes facilitate and perpetuate an already dysfunctional system.

Corruption raises the cost of everything – of governing the country, of public projects, the cost of living and of doing business.

And this consequently impacts very negatively on those who are weak, the poor. If corruption is passionately fought, our people’s lives, especially those in rural areas and the urban poor, would be uplifted.
At this rate of corruption there is no way our government can be expected to be able to ensure that each individual has got adequate resources to survive, to develop and thrive.

We need to embrace the culture of responsibility and accountability and to commit ourselves with dedication and sacrifice in working to create a more humane nation, a more just nation, a more fair nation where public resources are utilised for the benefit of all our people.

It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental needs to remain unsatisfied. There are people who each day cannot meet the basic needs for a decent human life because public resources are being misused, are being stolen.

We must learn to be responsible in the use of public money and other resources. Corruption needs to be fought with all our intelligence and all our energy if our people, especially the poor, are to harbour any hope of a reversal of fortunes.



Corruption has made life difficult for many - Vigtel

Corruption has made life difficult for many - Vigtel
By Sandra Lombe-Mulowa
Wednesday November 21, 2007 [03:00]

CORRUPTION in Zambia has made life difficult for many, outgoing Norwegian Ambassador Terje Vigtel has said. In an interview on Monday, Ambassador Vigtel said his worst experience in Zambia was being exposed to corruption. He said that corruption had affected development, the health and education sectors among others in Zambia.

"Corruption is one way of misusing development money, hence the poor are remaining poorer because they cannot access facilities (health, education, among others).

The money is used for other areas, so poverty is more," he said. "It (corruption) is undermining people's confidence in the system, government and all over."
He said if corruption was fought, people's lives especially the poor in rural areas, would be uplifted.

Ambassador Vigtel said his visit to some areas in Southern Province had proved that people had no access to information, newspapers, and medicines and had nothing to invest in and that there was also a shortage of finances.
Ambassador Vigtel said corruption was still a very big problem that was affecting the poor more.

"It is damaging both locally and internationally. The Task Force on Corruption has done well on 'big' corruption, but to 'small' corruption there is no progress. It's a shame that we still have petty corruption. We need to enforce the law and prosecute," he said. "It's damaging to the people, it's a terrible thing for the poor, the poor will suffer always. It's difficult to be poor in Zambia."

Ambassador Vigtel said that his worst experience was being exposed to corruption.
"People offering (bribes) should be the first to be punished since they are offering. You (Zambia) are moving well but there are still some stumbling blocks. If anyone is willing to pay anything, people will always continue asking," he said.

Ambassador Vigtel also said a visiting Norwegian member of parliament had been asked to pay money if the public bus she was on had to proceed at one of the roadblocks.

And Ambassador Vigtel said his best time was working with the people in rural areas.'
"I enjoyed working with the people in rural areas and how they stick to agreements. Some have stopped begging after we helped them with projects. They first had to contribute 30 per cent before we committed the 70 per cent. It's encouraging. You have very hard working people, but they need tools to work," he said.

And Ambassador Vigtel said despite Zambia making some headways in development, there was still need to vigorously fight poverty.

"Progress in the fight against poverty is a challenge. There has been good economic and macro development due to stable government which has stabilised the economy. But government has not been able to find ways and means of positive development, not so much change is being seen," he said.

He expressed optimism that in 20 years time, Zambia would be a fairly rich country.

Ambassador Vigtel emphasised the need to seriously invest in education if the country was to develop. He also said the Norwegian government had given Zambia an extra US $5 million as support towards the climate change programme.

"We got a letter a few days ago. We want to work closely with government on climate change," said Ambassador Vigtel.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

(HERALD) Mbeki urges IMF, World Bank reform KLEINMOND,(South Africa).

Mbeki urges IMF, World Bank reform KLEINMOND,(South Africa).

South African President Thabo Mbeki yesterday urged reform for both the IMF and World Bank at G-20 meeting, telling delegates they should stop putting minority interests first.

"Clearly, for the global community equally to enjoy prosperity, we need this new model of engagement which actively seeks to break deadlocks, sometimes age-old, which frustrate global economic and social development and the eradication of poverty," he said.

"This model must celebrate rather than scorn diversity. It must insist on longer-term collective gains in preference to the shorter-term interests of a few."

South Africa’s support for Strauss-Kahn’s candidacy came on condition that the developing world’s representation in the 185-nation IMF be significantly increased.

South Africa’s Finance Minister Trevor Manuel told journalists the gathering had seen a "very deep and challenging discussion on commodity prices. What we didn’t do was to beat up on oil producers," he said.

"There was discussion on choices in biofuels ... a better energy mix and the impact of that on climate change.

"The key question is adequate supply of crude. And there might not be sufficient investment in refining capacity."

The two-day G20 meeting was the first to be hosted by an African country and the first to hold talks with the new heads of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF); Robert Zoellick and Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

The meeting saw talks on the need for reform for both of institutions, with Manuel saying discussions were "very candid."

On the current credit crunch also hitting financial markets, the G20 ministers said there should be greater effectiveness in financial supervision and risk management.

The statement also said the G20 countries were "committed to working with trade authorities to reach a rapid and successful conclusion to Doha," the stalled round of global trade talks.

The G20 represents nearly 90 percent of the world economy and two thirds of its population and trade.

It includes the wealthy G7 nations — the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Italy, Britain and Canada — as well as the European Union, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea and Turkey. — AFP.

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(HERALD) Maize seed imports arrive

Maize seed imports arrive
By Martin Kadzere

MAIZE seed imported from Zambia started coming in last Friday with 476 tonnes already in the country. The seed is stored at Bak Storage in Harare awaiting distribution to various Grain Marketing Board depots countrywide. Bak Storage managing director Mr Davison Ziki said daily deliveries of about 308 tonnes were expected during the next five weeks. The Herald Business news crew visited a Bak Storage depot in Willowvale industrial sites in Harare and witnessed some trucks being offloaded.

"Deliveries began last Fri-day and up to now we have received 476 tonnes of maize seed. We will be expecting daily deliveries during the next five weeks and we will be open 24 hours a day."

The seed was imported by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe from Seed Co’s Zambian subsidiary at a cost of about US$17 million to avert seed shortages during the 2007/08 farming season. Government had indicated that it needed to import an additional 15 000 tonnes to ensure sufficient maize seed to farmers. About 300 000 tonnes of sorghum seed would also be imported from Botswana. Now that the seed maize has started arriving, focus should now be turned on quick distribution, analysts have noted.

"It is good that the seed has started arriving. What is important now is to ensure that farmers get the seed on time. Rains have already started with some farmers in various parts of the country having already started tilling. So the authorities should expedite the distribution of the seed so that farmers plant on time," a Harare-based agriculture analyst said.

No comment could be obtained from Agriculture Minister Mr Rugare Gumbo by the time of going to press. GMB officials were also not immediately available for a comment. Zimbabwe needs about 50 000 tonnes of maize seed during the current season. At least 35 000 tonnes was available from local sources.

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(HERALD) Zim’s economy set to turn around next year: Georgias

Zim’s economy set to turn around next year: Georgias
Business Reporter

ECONOMIC Development Deputy Minister Senator Aguy Georgias has indicated that 2008 could be the year for Zimbabwe’s economic turnaround if the current policies are implemented fully. In his paper on the economic outlook to the end of 2008 at the just-ended Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe convention in Nyanga, the senator said he forecast phenomenal gains in sectors such as agriculture, mining and manufacturing, given the right policies. With regard to agriculture the deputy minister said a growth of 28,6 percent was anticipated in in the 2008/09 season.

"Measures expected to drive this growth include the announcement by the Reserve Bank Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, in the Mid-Year Monetary Policy Review Statement announced on October 1. These include allowing cotton growers to retain 20 percent of their earnings in their foreign currency accounts. Production of all other crops, tobacco, maize, coffee included as well as livestock and dairy have been encouraged through a package of incentives and policy measures announced by the Ministry of Agriculture.

"With the ongoing retooling of the key agricultural sector through the RBZ innovative mechanisation programme we envisage increased production of tobacco, citrus, tea, coffee, sugar, beef and flowers for export. I cannot speak for God, but from what the experts are saying, we look set to receive above normal rainfall this season," he said.

Senator Georgias said the envisaged benefits from the improved agricultural performance were expected to impact positively on the manufacturing sector, especially the agro-based industry, which in turn would increase exports and foreign currency earnings.

In this regard, the manufacturing sector is expected to grow by 1,7 percent in 2008, further buttressed by the Basic Commodities Supply-side Intervention (Bacossi) facility, the efficient operationalisation of the National Incomes and Pricing Commission and value addition initiatives and improved supplies of packaging materials.

Turning to mining, Senator Georgias said the sector was expected to grow by 3,7 percent.

The growth was expected to be underpinned by the firming of mineral prices on the world market.

"Benefits will accrue to our economy in the coming year from improved prices for gold, nickel, copper and diamonds.

"Production and export of chrysotile asbestos products has been allowed to continue with South Africa taking up 80 percent of the product.

"Firming prices on the international market should, therefore, come as a boon to increased volumes and enhanced foreign exchange earnings," he said.

Other measures, he said, included the timeous issuance of licences to explore new mines, increased foreign currency availability and improved fuel and electricity supply.

He said other key sectors such as tourism, construction and services were also expected to grow as they were subject to different sets of incentives.

The growth in the different sectors, he added, was dependent on the ability to rein in inflation.

"How to contain inflation is critical to the success of our plans. We, however, envisage a return to single-digit inflation by the end of 2008, all things being equal," he said.

Stabilisation of prices and incomes was also critical.

"This is key to sound economic management and social progress. Experiences of the recent months have been quite telling and instructive in this area," he said.

Another factor that would be crucial to the turnaround, the senator said, was the ability of the country to earn foreign currency.

In this regard, he said, there was need to increase export volumes and foreign direct investment as well as adding value to primary products and harnessing the potential wealth in precious minerals and agriculture produce.

"The outlook for 2008, given a combination of these sound fiscal and monetary policies, looks encouraging.

"With innovative exchange rate management and policy responsiveness to market forces, we look set to achieve exponential increase in export volumes.

"My ministry is coming up with a policy package expected to yield positive results by 2008," he said.

Senator Georgias also called for unity of purpose among all Zimbabweans.

"Cynics may say my confidence is misplaced, that the situation on the ground paints a gloomy picture with odds weighing heavily against revitalisation.

"Since I am not an obsessive pessimist or clairvoyant, I will state here that what we need in this country once again is to pull in one direction in order to withstand the rigours of exogenous factors," he said.

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