Communications Authority to monitor quality of services
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday December 08, 2007 [03:00]
COMMUNICATIONS Authority chief executive officer Shuller Habeenzu has said the authority is installing equipment to monitor quality of services and billing accuracy of phone and Internet service providers. In an interview on Tuesday in Lusaka, Habeenzu said the authority had engaged a Spanish company called Ibys at a cost of about K4 billion to install the equipment that would be operational before Christmas.
“We have now signed an agreement with a Spanish company called Ibys to install equipment for monitoring quality of service system which will monitor both the technical quality of the call and accuracy of the billing including the Internet services or data and other services that are being provided right now,” responded Habeenzu when asked about complaints from Celtel clients over difficulties to connect to GPRS Internet.
“That will give us the capacity to understand what is happening and we will be able to respond and deal with these issues. Right now we are incapacitated on one or two issues but that is why we are investing in technical capability.”
Habeenzu said most clients of communication services providers’ complaints were on poor quality of service and inaccurate billing.
“Obviously the major complaint is the issue of quality of service; what we know right now is that consumers who are in areas that are being serviced by satellite to Lusaka tend to have lower quality of service than those linked by terrestrial backbone network,” he said. “There is also a complaint of the money they pay for poor quality. But generally it’s two things; quality of service and the cost or inaccuracy of billing.”
Earlier during a cocktail hosted by Communication Authority for stakeholders that rendered support to the authority during the change of the National Numbering Plan, Habeenzu said the authority had signed a contract for K12 billion to improve the frequency spectrum. He also said the authority was in the final phases of numbering change.
“The numbering change was necessary in order to cater for the growth which we anticipated. The global mobile subscriber base hit three billion in July this year,” he said. “We will continue monitoring the experiences of the consumers and also work together with the operators in trying to address the problems.”
Habeenzu also said high cost to access communication services restricted the poor from accessing the services.
“We have to address the high cost of services which is obviously making it impossible for many people to access the services, and most people who can’t access the services are in the rural areas,” said Habeenzu.
Labels: COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY
We are not thieves, charges Panji
By Sandra Mulowa
Saturday December 08, 2007 [03:06]
WE could have gotten all the wealth we wanted in 27 years if we are thieves, Dr Kenneth Kaunda's son Col Panji has said. Reacting to former president Frederick Chiluba’s insistence that he was ready to prove that he bought Col Panji a vehicle using public funds from the Zamtrop account, Col Panji yesterday said his family could have gotten all the wealth they needed when his father was in power for 27 years.
“...We didn’t because we are not thieves,” Col Panji said. “The Post can ask anybody from Luangwa bridge to Chama if I have ever driven anything other than my current one (vehicle).”
Col Panji said all he wanted was to clear his name.
“It was important to me, it’s (the name) all I have. The Post do me a favour: since they believe I got a vehicle, ask Chiluba to produce the documents related to the vehicle,” Col Panji said. “A vehicle is the physical feature. If it was bought, it must be there somewhere. I can’t betray my father for a vehicle.”
Col Panji said he did not want to drag the issue any further.
“...when a mistake is made with good intentions, a simple sorry goes along way to cement the relationship. Even The Post will once in a million copies make a mistake. This is one of them. The editorial hurt very much,” bemoaned Col Panji.
On Monday during a press briefing, Chiluba said Dr Kaunda’s family should be grateful to him and his government instead of calling him names because he did a lot to help the family, including buying Col Panji a vehicle and Kaweche a house in South Africa.
Labels: PANJI KAUNDA
Saturday December 08, 2007 [03:00]
When people think only of themselves, their relatives and friends and their own particular group, then there is division and frustration. This is dangerous and not good for the country. Nepotism is a very dangerous practice. The measures taken by Livingstone town clerk George Kalenga on nepotism, against the practice of employing relatives in the local authority, should be emulated countrywide in all public institutions.
Kalenga says the practice was a great contributing factor to the poor performance of council workers. This is not only true for the Livingstone City Council, the result is the same in all institutions and even at the national level.
We see this in all institutions where nepotism is high. For instance, the performance of our diplomatic missions leaves much to be desired. Our diplomatic missions are filled with relatives and friends of those in power who in most cases are at sea with the jobs they are given to do. But those sending them there don’t seem to care whether they perform well or not.
What they seem to be interested in is simply the fact that their relatives or friends have jobs. That is all that seems to matter to them. They don’t seem to care about Zambia as a country and how it performs. The money that is wasted on these relatives and friends of theirs is government money and not their own; money that doesn’t seem to belong to anyone in their poor thinking – nifya Boma!
We have people who have been appointed to very difficult ministerial jobs without possessing the necessary abilities or skills required for such offices. We have people who are serving as permanent secretaries without the necessary experience for such jobs. And all these have been appointed by the President of the Republic of Zambia. He doesn’t seem to care – it is government jobs not his own, nifya Boma!
This is how irresponsible we can be as a people. And while we are doing all these things or watching all this destructive nepotism, we expect the economy and the general management of the country to perform well.
These wrong and reactionary practices are costing us a lot. And we are paying highly for tolerating all these backward and evil practices. Everything wrong is the same; if you don’t hit, it won’t fall. This is also like sweeping the floor; as a rule, where the broom does not reach, the dust will not vanish of itself. The basic reason all previous governments in Zambia have achieved so little is their failure to correct wrongdoings, bad practices very quickly.
Sometimes we let things slide for too long for the sake of friendship when a person has clearly gone wrong, and refrain from principled arguments because he is a relative, an old acquaintance, a tribesman, a schoolmate, a close friend, a loved one and so on and so forth. Sometimes we touch on the matter lightly instead of going into it thoroughly, so as to keep on good terms. The result is both the nation and the individual are harmed.
It is difficult to understand how we can stand and watch people do all these harmful things to our nation and do nothing about it but sit ndwii. To see someone harming the interests of the nation, of the masses and yet not feel indignant, or dissuade or stop him or reason with him but allow him to continue doing so is the worst form of irresponsibility that can be expected of a citizen of any country.
All those who occupy public office should realise that they are servants of the people and whatever they do should be to serve the people. And if they are truly the servants of the people, how can they continue to be practicing nepotism in public affairs? Their duty should be to hold themselves responsible to the people.
Every act and policy of theirs must conform to the people’s interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be promptly corrected – that is what being responsible to the people means. Their point of departure should be to serve the people wholeheartedly and never for a moment divorce themselves from the masses of our people, and proceed in all cases from the interests of our people and not from one’s self-interest or from the interest of a small group.
We hail from all corners of the country and have joined together for a common progressive objective and all of us should show concern for each other, should care for each other, and must love and help each other. We cannot look at things this way if nepotism is our basic outlook.
We must be at all times conscious of this because what really counts in the world today is conscientiousness. Nepotism is wrong and it reflects the disease of impetuosity. We should always guard against nepotism and let merit prosper. We have come from every corner of the country and we should be good at uniting in our work not only with those from our families, tribes but also with everyone who has something to offer. We should rid ourselves of this type of nepotism, of this type of impotent thinking.
It is an arduous task to ensure a better life for the 11 million Zambians and to build our economically backward country into a prosperous one and it is precisely in order to be able to shoulder this task more competently and work better together that we should at all costs avoid nepotism and constantly rid ourselves of whatever is wrong. Nepotism is evil.
It is evil to deny a person a job that they deserve simply because they are not members of your family, they are not your friends or they don’t hail from your tribe or district.
Livingstone Town Clerk warns against nepotism
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Saturday December 08, 2007 [03:00]
LIVINGSTONE town clerk George Kalenga has warned senior council officers against employing relatives in the local authority. In a letter to all heads of departments dated December 3, 2007 posted on the general notice board at the Civic Centre and copied to the mayor, Kalenga stated that the practice of employing relatives was a great contributing factor to the poor performance of council workers.
“I have observed for quite sometime now that the phenomenon of employing relations in this council, especially those falling in the category of ‘casual’ is on the increase,” the letter read in part.
Kalenga stated that this practice was a serious offence under the conditions of service which govern the local authority and that officers must first declare interest before employing a relative.
“This sort of scenario is to a greater extent contributing to the poor performance by the said category of employees who are supposed to carry out specific duties because of our personal attachment to them,” Kalenga stated.
He appealed to all the officers charged with the responsibility of the day-to-day running of the local authority departments to ensure that the phenomenon of employing relatives came to an end.
“I will not hesitate to invoke the conditions of service on any supervisor who will fail to adhere to this simple instruction,” warned Kalenga.
Labels: COUNCILS, NEPOTISM
IBM's next big thing: Africa
By Marc Gunther, senior writer
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Stereotypical images of Africa, as a global backwater plagued by poverty, disease, conflict and corruption, hide some encouraging realities. Democracy has taken root across the continent. The African economy is expanding briskly. So, too, are opportunities for businesses.
That's why IBM (Charts, Fortune 500) announced this week that it's expanding its stake in sub-Saharan Africa. The $91-billion-a-year technology giant will open a research and innovation center in Johannesburg for its biggest business customers. It will donate what it says is by far the most powerful supercomputer in Africa to a nonprofit computing center in Cape Town. Working with the poverty-fighting organization CARE, IBM will roll out a technology platform to reduce the costs of microfinance.
Finally, it will expand a mentoring program at 20 African universities, working with other multinationals, including Cisco (Charts, Fortune 500) and FedEx (Charts, Fortune 500). Altogether, IBM said it would increase its investment in its African operations by about $120 million over the next two years.
While U.S. companies have operated in Africa for decades, IBM is a bellwether. When ExxonMobil (Charts, Fortune 500) builds a pipeline in central Africa, that's because there's oil to be extracted. Coca-Cola (Charts, Fortune 500) expands because people have a few cents to spend each day on a Coke. Other firms export diamonds, cocoa or coffee.
But a technology company like IBM - which no longer sells to consumers or small companies - is betting on the growth of other businesses that will buy its hardware, software and consulting services.
"Remember, we're a business," said Nick Donofrio, executive vice president for innovation and technology at IBM. Mark Harris, general manager of IBM South Africa, said. "Africa is a huge market and it's mostly untapped." Yes, IBM has philanthropic ventures there as well, but there's no mistaking IBM's intent.
The company's big customers in Africa include banks, telecommunications firms, and retailers, all sectors that are growing and need more sophisticated technology. According to Harris, they will now be able to turn to what IBM calls a "High Performance on Demand Solutions Lab" in Johannesburg for help with complex problems. Researchers, meanwhile, will be able to use the company's "14-teraflop Blue Gene/P" supercomputer to study the impact of climate change or the spread of disease.
IBM unveiled its plans at a conference called "Africa: Open for Business" that it organized and sponsored in New York. "I can assure you that these are the first of many things you will hear from IBM," said Donofrio. The New York gathering, which brought together businesses, governments and nonprofits, capped off a yearlong study of Africa that unfolded at similar sessions in Atlanta, Beijing, Cape Town, Dakar, Nairobi, Paris, Beijing and Atlanta. Even for a firm as sprawling as IBM, that's a big commitment.
What emerged from all the talk was a hopeful view of a region in transition. Africa remains very poor, of course; its 930 million people make up 14% of the globe's population but generate only 2% of its economic output. Fewer than 20% of its people have access to electricity, and modern roads, ports and airports are badly needed.
Even so, Africa's GDP has grown by an average of 5.4% over the past decade. "African growth has outpaced global growth since 2001," said Haiko Alfeld, head of Africa programs for the World Economic Forum. Foreign investment has grown even faster, he said.
According to IBM's report, the number of wireless phone subscribers in Africa has exploded from 10 million to more than 200 million in the last four years. More fundamentally, 40 of the 54 countries in Africa have held multiparty elections in the last several years, a dramatic uptick from the 1970s, when dictators ruled most countries.
If all goes according to plan, IBM's efforts will be felt both by Africa's biggest companies and its newest entrepreneurs. Its mentoring program is aimed at producing more scientists and engineers for a continent that still suffers because thousands of its best-educated young people go elsewhere.
The microfinance work with CARE should provide more access to capital for rural people who want to start small businesses. And IBM will enhance its brand and make more money. What's not to like?
Labels: IBM, TECHNOLOGY
Mpezeni urges Zambians to give Prof Chirwa a chance
By Christopher Miti in Chipata and Lambwe Kachali in Lusaka
Friday December 07, 2007 [05:01]
PARAMOUNT chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people of Eastern Province, has asked Zambians to give Professor Clive Chirwa a chance to rule the country. And Prof Chirwa described his meeting with Mpezeni on Tuesday as good. In an interview after meeting Professor Chirwa in Chipata, Mpezeni urged Zambians to give him a chance to rule the nation.
“Chirwa seems to be a person who reasons properly because even what he says can tell and he has good education,” Mpezeni said. He said Prof Chirwa was the right person to succeed President Levy Mwanawasa both as Republican and party president. Mpezeni urged Prof Chirwa to continue with his campaign programme.
“I told him to continue his campaign although they will be talking about him, but if a person is grown, he is grown,” Mpezeni, who met Prof Chirwa around 14:00 hours at his Iphendukeni Palace, said.
He said Prof Chirwa promised to go back to Eastern Province to see other chiefs and people. And Prof Chirwa said his meeting with Mpezeni was good although he would not make any further statements.
Meanwhile, former UNIP Chipangali member of parliament Lucas Phiri said the MMD was headed for doom because it had a leadership crisis. Phiri said if the MMD was not careful, it would end after the retirement of President Levy Mwanawasa. He expressed his support for Prof Chirwa saying he was clean and had integrity.
“We need to sell people of Chirwa’s calibre to other provinces, we cannot always be second, we have always been looking forward to people like Dingiswayo Banda and Professor Patrick Mvunga to contest the presidency but they were doing some other things,” Phiri said. “Now we can support people like Prof Chirwa because we need people who can take the province and the country forward, but am not a tribalist. Even if I don’t support MMD and I have no intention of joining MMD, I support Prof Chirwa because he has integrity.”
Recently, Lusaka Province minister Lameck Mangani who is also Eastern Province MMD chairman said Prof Chirwa would be bruised if he dared to contest the MMD presidency. But MMD spokesperson Ben Tetamashimba yesterday said Prof Chirwa had disadvantaged himself by joining the party late.
During the Hot Seat programme on Hot FM, Tetamashimba said MMD had no intentions of barring Prof Chirwa from contesting the party presidency. He said it was sad that most people had been talking against the MMD since Mangani issued a statement against Prof Chirwa.
“But my question is that, where was Prof Chirwa to join MMD now when the party has branches in London? Now that he has seen positive developments in MMD by President Mwanawasa, he thinks it’s time to lead the country. Of course, that is possible but let him hope that our convention is held after September 2010. But if it is held before that time, Prof Chirwa will not be allowed to contest for MMD presidency,” Tetamashimba said.
He said the MMD constitution stated that any member, who had served the party for less than three years, was not eligible to vie for party presidency.
“Since Prof Chirwa joined MMD in September this year, he will attain three years in September 2010. But for other positions such as at council and parliamentary levels, there is no problem because the constitution allows,” he said.
Tetamashimba said Prof Chirwa had disadvantaged himself for not joining the party early enough.
And asked by a caller, Chisulo, who said having people like Katele Kalumba and Michael Mabenga was threatening the integrity of the MMD because they were facing corruption charges, Tetamashimba said there was no article in the MMD constitution that allowed expulsion of people with corruption cases.
Labels: BENNY TETAMASHIMBA, CHIEF MPEZENI, CLIVE CHIRWA, MMD
Civil society advises govt on renegotiation of mining deals
By Kabanda Chulu
Friday December 07, 2007 [03:00]
Civil society organisations have urged the government to include the establishment of windfall taxes
during the renegotiation process of the mining development agreements. Reading the communiqué after closing the mineral resources management in Southern Africa conference in Lusaka yesterday, Ndola Catholic Diocese father Misheck Kaunda said the current situation was inequitable, unacceptable and inconsistent with the principles of the Zambian constitution.
He said the renegotiation of the mining contracts must take into account, not only fiscal but also social, labour, environmental and developmental issues that have a negative impact on the welfare of the people.
“We urge the government to ensure the establishment of the windfall taxes during the negotiation process and the agreements must be renegotiated with the inclusiveness of concerns from local people, bearing in mind that there is wealth of knowledge and expertise among Zambians that can be utilised to enhance any negotiations in the interest of the people,” Fr Kaunda said.
“And when renegotiating these contracts, the government must ensure that new contracts support the Fifth National Development Plan, the Millennium Development Goals and the Vision 2030.”
He also urged the government to ensure that the process and outcome of all negotiations were transparent and accessible to the general public in order to enhance the confidence and trust of the people to whom the government owed the ultimate responsibility.
“So we demand that government proceed to act with integrity and without fear and favour in order to secure an equitable resolution that ensures the well being of the Zambian people, said Fr Kaunda.
The conference whose theme was “Mining Contracts Revision” was convened by Caritas Zambia, Catholic Relief Services and the Southern Africa Resource Watch and participants included representatives from the non-governmental organisations, universities and other interest groups.
Labels: CARITAS, DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, MINING CONTRACTS
By Mwewa Chinama.
Friday December 07, 2007 [03:00]
What can safeguard public resources from abuse and misuse is a system that somehow should be reflected in our Republican Constitution. This should be our cry as countrymen. There has always been wastage of public funds since the time of UNIP till now when we have smart fellows without morals running a more bureaucratic system.
The continued hefty funding of the intelligence service in the disguise of security under the Office of the President, the unrealistic funding of the military instead of the essential social sectors like education and health tells a lot. Does the country care to reduce the excessive expenditure on State House, the Executive and the bureaucracy within the system?
The recent disclosures by Chiluba are welcome and I invite everyone to be concerned about how public funds are abused, misused and stolen by those entrusted to safeguard them. Look at the education sector where most of the funds are coming from the stakeholders; parents and guardians.
The fellows running the institutions are now big headed and smarter in mismanaging the well-intended resources. The government has never cared to put systems in place to safeguard the public funds in schools and poor stakeholders are left to wish otherwise.
Look at the priorities of most school headteachers now: to buy personal-to-holder vehicles using public resources at the expense of promoting academic activities. Let's realise that our own resources are in the dubious hands of the people entrusted to run the learning institutions.
Leave Prof Chirwa alone
Friday December 07, 2007 [03:00]
Of late The Post has been carrying interesting views from people who are supporting Professor Clive Chirwa’s bid to contest the MMD, and later the Republican presidency.
I would love Prof Chirwa’s offer to serve as MMD president (if the party wants him) as well as Republican because time has come for him to give back to Zambia what Zambia invested in him.
Clive Chirwa’s contribution to the world of science is enormous. It is this kind of people Zambia should take pride in and it's high time Zambia benefited.
MMD cadres are afraid of their own shadow. The assertion that they need somebody who is experienced is one way of saying Mwanawasa should go for a third term. There is nobody who right now is at college learning how to be a president.
Indeed, none of our presidents attended any college to that effect. Can MMD or anyone tell the Zambian people about the experience one needs in order to be a president of the country? If the Democrats win the US elections next year, Hillary Clinton or Barrack Obama (depending on the convention) will go to the White House and yet none of them has any experience it takes to govern. Solomon had no experience as King and yet he was the best of them all. MMD cadres once said “it's God who gives the president!” Does it only apply to Mwanawasa?
MMD cadres are afraid of vibrant people like Prof Chirwa because they know he won’t tolerate their laziness and craftiness once in office. They reap where they didn’t sow.
No midterm gratuity! Those MMD cadres who are against Prof Chirwa shame themselves by commenting on an individual whose record is as straight as a beam of light!
Labels: CLIVE CHIRWA
New Imperialism, Old Justifications
The old imperialism, backed up by an old set of racist justifications, is back in fashion. It's called the new imperialism, only there's nothing new about it, or the arguments used to justify it.
By Stephen Gowans
November 30, 2007
British politicians say Britons must stop apologizing, and start celebrating, their imperial past. Conservative historians say Africa was better off under British rule. Top political advisors promote renewed colonialism as a solution to Africa's problems. Journalists write nostalgically about "the lost paradise of the big white chief" (Rhodesia's Ian Smith) and point to the descent of Zimbabwe into economic chaos as a cautionary tale about what happens when enlightened white administration is ceded to benighted, corrupt natives.
"Barely a generation after the ignominious end of the British empire," observes Guardian columnist Seamus Milne, "there is now a quiet but concerted drive to rehabilitate it, by influential newspapers, conservative academics, and at the highest level of government." (1)
Why has the drive occurred?
One reason is that intervention in other countries is now more of a possibility than it was three decades ago when the Soviet Union was still around. Jonathan Powell, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's longtime chief of staff, argues that Britain should not fear to intervene in Zimbabwe and Myanmar to defend "our interests" and promote "our values" because "intervening in another country no longer risks tipping the two superpowers into global war, because there is only one superpower." (2)
The other reason is because the structural compulsion to exploit other countries economically has never gone away.
With the compulsion still there, and a major deterrent to exercising it gone, an ideology is needed to justify it.
"In the Ancient world, order meant empire," observes Blair's foreign policy guru, Robert Cooper. "Those within the empire had order, culture and civilization. Outside it lay barbarians, chaos and disorder." (3)
Today chaos is found in what Cooper classifies as "pre-modern states" – "often former colonies - whose failures have led to a Hobbesian war of all against all." (4)
Writer Peter Godwin thinks the chaos in pre-modern states is attributable to Britain abandoning its colonies. "The disengagement from Africa was irresponsible," he writes. It was "little more than a hasty jettisoning of colonies, however ill-prepared they were for self-rule, and a virtual guarantee that they would fail as autonomous states." (5)
British historian Andrew Roberts echoes Godwin's reasoning. "Africa," he says, "has never known better times than during British rule." (6)
Top politicians also seem to agree. Gordon Brown sprang to the defense of Britain's colonial record in Africa after South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki justifiably complained about British imperialists "doing terrible things wherever they went." Brown, then chancellor of the exchequer, used a trip to former British colony Tanzania to declare that "the days of Britain having to apologize for its colonial history are over," and that "we should celebrate much of our past, rather than apologize for it." (7)
Godwin points specifically to Zimbabwe to make the case that Africa was better off under white rule. "The terrible situation in Zimbabwe," he writes, "today conforms in many ways to the worst of everything Ian Smith had feared of black majority rule, and is the very specter that inspired him to fight so hard to prevent it." (8)
The Telegraph's Graham Boynton seconds Godwin's point, arguing that Ian Smith, who said blacks could never rule themselves successfully, "has sadly been proved right." (9)
"Today, Zimbabwe is a failed state with a non-functioning economy, a once flourishing agricultural sector now moribund, and a population on the brink of starvation....So much for liberation." (10)
If Boynton and his empire-nostalgics are to be believed, the natives can't be trusted to run their own affairs. But there are many other places bedeviled by war, poverty, misery and chaos that are never pointed to as crying "out for the sort of enlightened foreign administration once provided by self-confident Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets," as former Wall St. Journal editor, Max Boot once put it. (11)
One such troubled land is Ethiopia. Its army invaded Somalia, contrary to the UN Charter (a crime on par with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait), and is fighting an anti-insurgency war in the Ogaden region of the country that has provoked a humanitarian disaster. The country's leader, Meles Zenawi, jails political opponents, threatens them with the death sentence, limits press freedom, and has been accused of rigging elections.
Ethiopia sounds like one of Cooper's pre-modern states, complete with a Hobbesian war of all against all raging within its bosom. But Ethiopia – which receives hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid from the US and Britain – is not on the empire-nostalgics' radar screen. Could it be that the "failed" states empire-boosters say need to be brought under the wing of enlightened Western rule are simply states that aren't doing the West's bidding? Is it chaos, or independence, that's the problem?
Iraq, too, is a troubled land, one for which the idea of a Hobbesian war of all against all seems especially fitting. And yet chaos in Iraq is a product of the "enlightened" Western rule people like Max Boot call for.
"The most logical way to deal with chaos, and the one employed most often in the past, is colonization," writes Cooper boldly. Today, colonialism needs to be practiced as "a new kind of imperialism...an imperialism which aims to bring order and organization." (12)
Cooper sets out his case in an article titled "Why we still need empires."
"The postmodern world has to start to get used to double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But, when dealing with old-fashioned states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert of the rougher methods of an earlier era - force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. Among ourselves, we keep the law but when we are operating in the jungle, we must also use the laws of the jungle." (13)
That the rougher methods of an earlier era have already been deployed against Zimbabwe is fairly obvious. The US, Britain and other "postmodern" states organize, fund and provide support to civil society groups within and outside Zimbabwe to bring down the Mugabe government. In place of the current government, Britain seeks a new government willing to accommodate "our values" and "our interests."
As prime minister, Tony Blair even went so far as to privately argue for an invasion of Zimbabwe, but the head of the armed forces, General Sir Charles Guthrie, counseled Blair against it. You'd lose too many African allies, he warned. (14)
The Nazi Theory of International Relations
While Cooper seeks to give a pleasing gloss to his "we still need empires" view, it is at odds with the foundations of post-war international law. More than that, it is tantamount to the Nazi's theory of international relations.
The Nuremberg Tribunal's affirmation "of national sovereignty as the cornerstone of the international system...stood in marked contrast to the political philosophy of the Nazis, who had treated the concept of state sovereignty with contempt," explains John Laughland.
Any state that intends to intervene in the affairs of other states for the purpose of dominating them will, naturally, express contempt for national sovereignty. This, NATO, and other "postmodern" states, began to do in the run up to the 1999 bombing of Yugoslavia - and have been doing since.
"One can say," adds Laughland, "that the commitment to non-interference in the internal affairs of states...is an attempt to institutionalize an anti-fascist theory of international relations." (15) By the same token, an attempt to establish a justification for forcibly re-imposing colonial domination on independent Third World countries is an attempt to revivify a Nazi theory.
If you're going to knock down the doors of other countries, you have to find some pretty reasons for doing so. People like Cooper, Roberts, Max Boot in the US, and liberals like Michael Ignatieff, are only too happy to supply the justification.
Our Interests and Values?
The imperial ideologues always eventually get around to pinning the necessity of the new imperialism on the pursuit of "our interests" and "our values," implying that the interests of everyone in the West are common and that our values (also assumed to be homogeneous) have something vaguely to do with human rights. But are the interests of a bus driver in Liverpool the same as those of a London investment banker who collects board appointments? Which of these two has the greatest chance of shaping British foreign policy?
In a certain sense it is true that we all share interests in common. We share an interest in being free from violence. Pro-imperial ideologues cite this interest to justify the unapologetic resurrection of open imperialism. Unless we bring the war to them, they'll bring the war to us. Unless we impose order, chaos will spread.
This is a good argument, if you're trying to sell a Nazi theory of international relations. But it's more likely that "our interests" and "our values" refer to the interests and values of the economic class that has a firm grip on the media and state. It's not our interests and values that are being pursued, but theirs.
Investors, financial houses and corporations - tied to the media, universities and state in a thousand different ways – suck mountains of profits out of Third World countries. They have an interest in a muscular foreign policy to safeguard their investments and to open doors that have been closed by communist, socialist and economic nationalist governments that pursue social improvement, rather than foreign investment-friendly, objectives. Is it any surprise, then, that the media, conservative academics and state officials are rehabilitating colonialism?
In an article on Ian Smith in the Sunday Times, RW Johnson draws an invidious comparison between Smith's Rhodesia and Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Smith, he tells us, had "run the country and economy surprisingly well in the face of tough international sanctions," unlike Mugabe, who has presided over an economy that has faltered under the weight of sanctions.
When "Mugabe gained power in 1980, Smith...rolled up every day at Government House to offer his help" and "Mugabe was delighted to accept" it. Significantly, "the two men worked happily together for some time, until one day Mugabe announced plans for sweeping nationalization. Smith told him bluntly he thought this a mistake. Their cooperation ended on the spot." (16) And Zimbabwe, we're to believe, from that point forward, began its descent into economic chaos.
In a certain respect, this is true. Britain, which still dominated Zimbabwe's economy, had no truck for Mugabe's nationalizations, and nor for his refusal to follow IMF prescriptions or his expropriation of farm land. These sins against private property – which Smith would have steered clear of – set off Britain's resort to the rougher methods of an earlier era to push Mugabe aside. Along with its imperialist senior partner, the United States, Britain schemed to make Zimbabwe's economy scream, hoping to galvanize Zimbabweans to throw Mugabe out of office, either at the polls or in the streets. Drought and region-wide energy shortages helped crank up the misery.
But what was the real problem? That Mugabe, as a black man, was too stupid to know how to run the country? Or that Mugabe took on white economic interests?
Politicians, journalists and academics, have launched an ideological assault to justify a new imperialism – an aggressive and expansionary foreign policy whose aim is to bring to heel countries resisting integration into the Anglo-American orbit.
Under the "enlightened" domination of the US and Britain these countries will be expected to open their doors to foreign investment, privatize state-owned enterprises, tear down tariff walls, and rescind performance requirements on foreign firms. Above all, they'll be expected to respect private property.
The assault is based on two deceptions.
The first is that that Englishmen in jodhpurs and pith helmets once provided enlightened administration. The second is that we need (an American-led) empire to impose organization and order on chaos.
But much of the chaos in the Third World is a product of, not a reason for, Western intervention. Iraq was once a thriving modern secular state, until Anglo-American imperialism visited upon it chaos of unprecedented scope.
"We hear a lot about the rule of law, incorruptible government and economic progress, but the reality was tyranny, oppression, poverty and the unnecessary deaths of countless millions of human beings," points out Cambridge historian Richard Drayton. (17)
1. Seamus Milne, "New Labour, Old Britain," Le Monde Diplomatique, May 2005
2. Jonathan Powell, "Why the West should not fear to intervene," Observer, November 18, 2007
3. Robert Cooper, "Why we still need empires," The Observer, April 7, 2002
5. Peter Godwin, "If only Ian Smith had shown some imagination, then more of his people might live at peace," The Observer, November 25, 2007
6. Quoted in Milne
7. Daily Mail, January 15, 2005
9. Graham Boynton, "Ian Smith has sadly been proved right," Telegraph, November 25, 2007
11. Max Boot, "The case for American empire," The Weekly Standard, October 15, 2001
14. Milne; Agence France Presse, November 21, 2007
15. John Laughland, Travesty: The Trial of Slobodan Milosevic and the Corruption of International Justice, Pluto Press, 2007, p. 66
16. RW Johnson, "Lost paradise of the big white chief", The Sunday Times, November 25, 2007
17. Quoted in Milne
Bush: If it’s our oil, why do Venezuelans get to vote on it?
GOP panicked that counting votes in Venezuela will spread to Florida
by Greg Palast
Monday December 3, 2007
The Family Bush can fix Florida. They can fix Ohio. But it’s just driving them crazy that they can’t fix the vote in Venezuela.
[Note: Watch the reports taken from the Palast BBC investigations in Venezuela in the newly released DVD, “The Assassination of Hugo Chavez.“]
The Bush Administration and its press puppies - the same ones who couldn’t get enough of the purple thumbs of voters of Iraq - are absolutely livid that this weekend the electorate of Venezuela had the opportunity to vote.
Typical was the mouth-breathing editorial by the San Francisco Chronicle, that the referendum could make Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s President, “a constitutional dictator for life.” And no less a freedom fighter than Donald Rumsfeld, from the height of the Washington Post, said that by voting, Venezuela was “receding into dictatorship.” Oh, my!
Given that Chavez’ referendum was defeated at the ballot box, we now know that, as a dictator, Chavez is a flop. Of course, without meaning to gainsay Secretary Rumsfeld, maybe Chavez is not a dictator.
Let’s get clear exactly what this vote was about. Firstly, it was a referendum to change the nation’s constitution to end term limits for President.
Oh, horror! Imagine if we eliminated term limits in the US! We could end up stuck with a president - like Franklin Roosevelt. Worse, if Bill Clinton could have run again, we’d have missed out on the statesmanship of Junior Bush. While US media called Chavez a “tyrant” for suggesting an end to term limits, they somehow forgot to smear the tyrant tag on Mr. Clinton for suggesting the same for the America.
We were not told this weekend’s referendum was a vote on term limits, rather, we were told by virtually every US news outlet that the referendum was to make Chavez, “President for Life.” The “President for Life” canard was mis-reported by no less than The New York Times.
But ending term limits does not mean winning the term. As Chavez himself told me, “It’s up to the people” whether he gets reelected. And that infuriates the US Powers That Be.
Secondly, beyond ending term limits, the referendum would have loaded the nation’s constitution with changes in property law, work hours and so many other complex economic adjustments that the entire referendum sank of its own weight.
It’s the Oil.
Term limits and work hours in Venezuela? Why was this a crisis for Washington?
Why is the Bush crew so bonkers about Hugo? Is it because Venezuela sits on the world’s largest reserve of coconuts?
Like Operation Iraqi Liberation (”OIL”) - it’s all about the crude, dude. And lots of it. The US Department of Energy documents I obtained indicate that the guys holding Bush’s dipstick figure that Venezuela is sitting on 1.36 trillion barrels of crude, five times the reserves of Saudi Arabia.
Chavez’ continuing tenure means that Venezuelans’ huge supply of oil will now be in the hands of … Venezuelans!
As Arturo Quiran, resident of a poor folks’ housing complex, told me, “Ten, fifteen years ago … there was a lot of oil money here in Venezuela but we didn’t see it.” Notably, Quiran doesn’t particularly agree with Chavez’ politics. But, he thought Americans should understand that under Chavez’ Administration, there’s a doctor’s office in his building with “free operations, x-rays, medicines. Education also. People who never knew how to read and write now know how to sign their own papers.”
Not everyone is pleased. As one TV news anchor, violently anti-Chavez, told me in derisive tones, “Chavez gives them (the poor) bricks and bread!” - how dare he! - so, they vote for him.
Big Oil has better ideas for Venezuela, best expressed in several Wall Street Journal articles attacking Chavez for spending his nation’s oil wealth on “social programs” rather than on more drilling platforms to better fill the SUVs of Texas.
Chavez has committed other crimes in Washington’s eyes. Not only has this uppity brown man spent Venezuela’s oil wealth in Venezuela, he withdrew $20 billion from the US Federal Reserve. Weirdly, Venezuela’s previous leaders, though the nation was dirt poor, lent billions to the US Treasury on crap terms. Chavez has said, Basta! to this game, and has called for keeping South America’s capital in … South America! Oh, no!
Oh, and did I mention that Chavez told Exxon it had to pay more than a 1% royalty to his nation on the heavy crude the company extracted?
And that’s why they have to kill him. In 2002, The New York Times sickeningly applauded the coup d’etat against Chavez. But that failed. Therefore, as the electorate of Venezuela is obstinately refusing to vote as Condi Rice tells them, there’s only one solution left for democracy-loving Bush-niks, the view express out loud by our President’s spiritual advisor, Pat Robertson:
“We have this enemy to our south controlling a huge pool of oil. Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think we ought to go ahead and do it. … … We don’t need another $200 billion war … It’s a whole lot easier to have some covert operatives do the job.”
But Hugo’s not my enemy. Indeed, he’s made a damn good offer to the American people: oil for $50 a barrel - nearly half of what it sells today. By locking in a long-term price, Venezuela loses its crazy Iraq war oil-price windfall. In return, we agree not to let oil prices fall through the floor (it dropped to $9 a barrel in 1998) and bankrupt his nation. But Saudi Arabia doesn’t like that deal. And Abdullah’s wish is George Bush’s command. (Interestingly, Chavez’ fellow no-term-limits dictator Bill Clinton endorsed the concept.)
I don’t agree with everything Chavez does. And I’ve found some of his opponents’ point well taken. But unlike Bush, I don’t think I should have a veto over the Venezuelan vote.
And the locals’ sentiments are quite clear. I drove with one opposition candidate, Julio Borges, on a campaign stop to a small town three hours from Caracas. We met his supporters - or, more accurately, his lone supporter. The “rally” was in her kitchen. She served us delicious arepas.
The next day, I returned to that very same town when Chavez arrived. Nearly a thousand screaming fans showed up - and an equal number were turned away. (The British Telegraph laughably reports that Chavez’ boosters appear “under duress.”) You’d think they were showing for a taping of “South American Idol.” (Well, the Venezuelan President did break into song a few times.)
It’s worth noting that Chavez’ personal popularity doesn’t extend to all his plans for “Bolivarian” socialism. And that killed his referendum at the ballot box. I guess Chavez should have asked Jeb Bush how to count votes in a democracy.
So there you have it. Some guy who thinks he can take Venezuela’s oil and oil money and just give it away to Venezuelans. And these same Venezuelans have the temerity to demand the right to pick the president of their choice! What is the world coming to?
In Orwellian Bush-speak and Times-talk, Chavez’ referendum was portrayed before the vote as a trick, a kind of “Saddam goes Latin.” Maybe their real fear is that Chavez has brought a bit of economic justice through the ballot box, a trend that could spread northward. Think about it: Chavez is funding full health care for all Venezuelans. What if that happened here?
Greg Palast has just returned from South America. Catch his investigations for BBC Television and Democracy Now! in the newly-released DVD, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, including Palast’s interviews with Chavez, his opponents - even the man who kidnapped Chavez.
Watch the trailer on YouTube.
Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy and Armed Madhouse. This week, Palast will release his new film on DVD, The Election Files: Theft of 2008, with music by Moby.
These films are made available only as gifts to donors to the Palast Investigative Fund, a not-for-profit charitable foundation supporting investigative reporting.
Labels: GREG PALAST, HUGO CHAVEZ, NEOCOLONIALISM, VENEZUELA
I Thought Dictators Couldn’t Lose Elections!
December 4th 2007, by Carlos Martinez
Sunday night was a very tense evening for all in Venezuela, awaiting the final results of the referendum while varying rumors about the outcome came every few minutes with the only certainty being that the vote was closer than many expected. I was in front of Miraflores, the presidential palace, at the time the results were released. As one can imagine, there were many teary eyes and bowed heads in what was a particularly perplexing moment for a people not accustomed to losing for a very long time.
The image that appeared on the massive video screens in front of the palace immediately after the results were read was that of an unusually somber faced Chavez. What followed may have been even more unexpected for those in the opposition and weary of Chavez’s unrelenting bravado. In contrast to the lack of diplomacy that many now associate him with, Chavez went on to gracefully concede the election and congratulated his adversaries. This was especially significant considering the closeness of the margin, with 4,504,354 votes against, (50.70%) and 4,379,392, (49.29%) for the YES. Chavez went on to say that he was happy to see the election end peacefully.
While many in the progressive community have been trying to argue that democracy is in fact alive and well in Venezuela for so long now, it has been a difficult argument to maintain with Chavez always on the winning side. Certainly, Chavez’s concession of the vote and his request that those in favor of the SI recognize the results serves to delegitimize those that continue to call Chavez an “aspiring tyrant” as Donald Rumsfeld did in his editorial released yesterday entitled ““The Smart Way to Beat Tyrants Like Chávez” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/30/AR2007113001800.html)
The opposition response has been jubilant. The irony is thick considering what a response from the opposition might have looked like if the results were switched. There were reports that opposition groups were already found to be printing shirts reading “Fraud”. Something that has been particularly interesting in the last few months has been to see the way the opposition has come to embrace the 1999 constitution as their own, adding to the irony, since many of these same people were vehemently opposed to the that constitution’s passing.
However the opposition has also been forced to recognize that many people did in fact want to see the constitutional reforms pass, leading them towards a new rhetoric. Former Chavez ally, General Isaias Baduel, who came out against the reforms has emerged as a new leader amongst the opposition. Calling for national reconciliation yet continuing to champion inclusion of the popular sectors, he is essentially establishing a more moderate opposition pole. Meanwhile, Manuel Rosales, governor of Zulia State and losing candidate in the last presidential elections has said that he will support the creation of a “Social Fund for the Self-Employed”, one of the articles proposed in the constitutional reform.
A TIME FOR REFLECTION & EVALUATION
December has arrived and Venezuela basically closes down at this time of year. It will be an important time for reflection for those in support of the Bolivarian process.
There are many reasons that one could offer to explain the outcome of this election. Many are pointing to the powerful disinformaton campaign launched by the opposition with heavy financial support from the United States. It is true that to a great degree the constitutional changes themselves were not actually voted on yesterday, but rather peopele’s perceptions of the reform. Many did go to polls still believing that their children or their third car or their home could be taken away by the government, although in reality the reform did not contain any such articles and actually reiterated its recognition of private property.
It is evident that many in the Chavista camp abstained from voting or actually voted against the referendum. It has been said that this outcome is not an indication of a growing opposition but rather reflects those who have traditionally been supportive of Chavez but remain tied to a bureaucratic vision of governance and do not want their own power challenged. There has also been talk of disillusionment amongst the popular sectors, the poor and working class citizens who have been considered the real base of support for the Bolivarian Revolution. Partially this is seen as a result of the effects of this bureaucratic class widely perceived as a primary cause for the continuing disfunction within the revolution. As I write this, a spontaneous concentration has formed outside of Miraflores Palace demanding a “house cleaning” to remove the corruption pervading the process.
Additionally, some believe that the way the constitutional reforms were proposed was not as inclusive as it should have been of these popular sectors. While this constitutional reform did receive a wide amount of consultation from a variety of social movements, there are some who believe that the participation was not profound enough for a country seeking to establish a radical model of democracy and whose citizens want to truly be at the forefront of change.
Regardless of what the actual reasons were for the outcome, those supporting more radical changes will undoubtedly be in a state of serious evaluation to try to figure out what this means for Venezuela and the Bolivarian Revolution. Chavez proclaimed in his concession speech “por ahora no pudimos”, for now we could not, repeating the famous phrase he made in 1992 after his failed attempt at taking power through staging a military coup. Many are hopeful that this is another necessary step needed for the Bolivarian Revolution to evolve and deepen, possibly even beyond Chavez and with a greater focus on doing base building at the grassroots. Indeed many of the changes proposed did not need to be made through the process of a constitutional reform and many believe that the next steps needed to deepen the process such as the expansion of the communal councils, the acceleration of the land reform, and the growth of a grassroots economy really depend on the role that social movements play and how determined the government is in supporting them.
Labels: HUGO CHAVEZ, NEOCOLONIALISM, VENEZUELA
Middeldorp calls for creation of conducive business environment
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday December 06, 2007 [03:00]
A CONDUCIVE environment for starting and growing business is the only sustainable way to increase wealth for Zambians, Netherlands Ambassador to Zambia Eduard Middeldorp has advised. And deputy Secretary to the Cabinet in charge of finance and economic development Likolo Ndalamei said the changes in laws, regulations and policies related to business environment must be coupled with administrative changes.
Speaking on behalf of cooperating partners at the semi-annual review meeting of the Private Sector Development (PSD) programme in Lusaka on Tuesday, Ambassador Middeldorp said pursuing middle income status, which Zambia was pursuing, required a much smoother business environment without any unnecessary hurdles.
“The recent edition of the Doing Business report by the World Bank concludes that Zambia’s performance deteriorated relative to its competitors. The statistics do not show improvements, except for maybe the indicator for closing a business,” Ambassador Middeldorp observed.
“This type of business environment is not good enough for Zambia to grow towards a middle income status and attain ‘broad- based wealth and job creation.’ In addition, it is not good enough to attract investment, which is constantly ‘shopping’ for better places to do business.”
He urged the government to facilitate access to essential services such as finance, labour, land, electricity, telecommunication and fuel. Ambassador Middeldorp said integrating the Financial Sector Development Plan into the PSD could have dramatic impact on business costs.
“Let us remember that although lending rates are coming down, they remain second highest in the sub region,” he said.
He said the poor quality of infrastructure and high cost of fuel and telecommunication stifled economic growth.
“Fuel costs are the second in the sub region; high mobile prices in costs which are second highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and lowest access to Internet, fixed and mobile phones,” Ambassador Middeldorp said. “These constraints deter new businesses and stifle existing ones.”
And Ndalamei said the private sector expected the cost of doing business to be reduced once the PSD became operational. Ndalamei said that would in turn increase the businesses starting in Zambia and create more jobs.
And Finish Ambassador to Zambia Sinikka Antila said Finland was committed to supporting the PSD. She said supporting the growth of the private sector was one of the key bilateral ties between Finland and Zambia.
“The private sector is very necessary to the alleviation of poverty and reaching the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals),” said Ambassador Antila.
Labels: PSD, SMEs
Martinez urges banks to provide cheaper finances
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday December 06, 2007 [03:00]
UNITED States Ambassador to Zambia, Carmen Martinez has urged financial institutions in the country to provide cheaper finances to Zambians if the Citizens Economic Empowerment programme is to be successful. And Economics Association of Zambia president Dr Mwilola Imakando expressed concern as to whether a proper mechanism had been put in place to safeguard the funds that would be allocated for the empowerment programme.
In an interview, Ammbassador Martinez said in Zambia the cost of accessing finances was very high and made it expensive for people to access funds.
“Most financial institutions in Zambia are offering interest rates as high as 17-19 per cent and it makes it very costly for ordinary Zambians who are in serious need of funds to access them,” she said.
Ambassador Martinez said the local financial institutions should step in and help Zambians access funds as this would help reduce dependence on donor partners.
“It should not be just about finding financial assistance from donors but the local banks should play a part in empowering the local people as well,” she said.
Ambassador Martinez said unless people had access to finances it would be very difficult for them to be economically empowered.
And Dr Imakando advised the government to come up with a system to ensure that resources that were allocated for the empowerment programme were safeguarded and a revolving fund established to that effect.
“Whatever amount has been allocated for the empowerment programme, government should just be properly grown and revolved,” he said.
Other stakeholders such as the Development Bank of South Africa have expressed interest in supporting the empowerment Act in Zambia.
DBSA executive manager for Private Sector and International Investment Solomon Asamoah said they would like to support projects that were going to help Zambia attain its empowerment goals.
Zambia will next year start implementing the CEE Act and expectations of its success are high as people are hoping to access the much-needed funds that have been set aside to help citizens with workable business proposals.
Labels: CARMEN MARTINEZ, CEE
Thursday December 06, 2007 [03:00]
When we urge former Zambian president Frederick Chiluba to shut up if he is not ready to tell the truth, we are not in any way not recognising his freedom of speech. We are merely trying to remind him that the right to speak, the right to be heard does not necessarily mean the right to be taken seriously. We fully agree with Mr Chiluba that if Zambians allowed themselves to be cowed into silence, the country would soon be a dictatorship.
And it would be sad if some of our people, some of our fellow citizens allowed themselves to be cowed into fear by the government or any other powerful grouping for that matter. We, ourselves, have lived and endured that experience, when Mr Chiluba and his government tried in all sorts of ways to cow us into silence.
We demonstrated that no amount of harassment, persecution or prosecution would cow us into silence. This was not because we are fearless or brave people, but simply because we believe that people must follow the dictates of their conscience irrespective of the consequences which might overtake them for it.
This was also because we firmly believe that to deny any person of any of their fundamental rights is to challenge their very humanity. And because of this we were very much in harmony with ourselves and could face any difficulties without trembling. It is said that if you are in harmony with yourself, you may meet a lion without fear, because he respects anyone with self-confidence.
Moreover, we firmly believe that freedom of speech and expression are the lifeblood of any democracy. To debate and vote, to assemble and protest, to worship, to ensure justice for all – these all rely upon the unrestricted flow of speech. Democracy is communication: people talking to one another about their common problems, fears, anxieties and aspirations and forging a common destiny. Before people can govern themselves, they must be free to express themselves.
We live by the conviction that through open exchange of ideas and opinions, truth will eventually win over falsehood, the values of others will be better understood, areas of compromise more clearly defined, and the path of progress opened.
The suppression of speech that I find offensive today is potentially a threat to my exercise of free speech tomorrow – which perhaps you or someone else might find offensive. Clearly, all people are harmed when speech is repressed. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth; if wrong, they lose the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.
It is interesting that Mr Chiluba is today a champion of these virtues, these noble principles which he tried very much to suppress when he was in power. Let us just try to remember a bit of what type of treatment Dr Kenneth Kaunda and UNIP leaders were subjected to in the early 1990s under Chiluba. There were many crude and cruel attempts to silence them.
They were subjected to all sorts of police harassment, detentions under trumped-up charges. Mr Chiluba didn’t even allow government ministries and departments to buy copies of, or advertise in The Post. All this was designed to silence us. But he failed and we are still here. Mr Chiluba says some government officials are even afraid to greet him because they fear to lose their jobs. This also happened to Dr Kaunda and us.
There were many friends of ours in his government who could not talk to us openly for fear of losing their jobs. By making these revelations we are not in any way saying Mr Chiluba should not talk about these things.
They were bad things and should not be tolerated under any circumstances and it shouldn’t matter who is perpetrating these evils. But it would be better for Mr Chiluba to acknowledge that he himself and his regime did not come out clean on this score.
Suppression of freedom of speech and expression is a very dangerous thing. For as long as legitimate bodies of opinion feel stifled, vile minds will take advantage of justifiable grievances to destroy, to kill and maim.
The police should not be abused. And we cannot quarrel with Mr Chiluba on this score. But we have not forgotten how his regime used the police to harass, repress and humiliate other citizens. We will never forget how the police was nearly used to kill Dr Kaunda and Dr Rodger Chongwe in Kabwe.
There was persecution of political opponents of the Chiluba regime. And if this is pursued seriously, Mr Chiluba will have so many cases to answer in this regard. Today he is only being prosecuted for corruption, theft of public funds. But if we truly had a government that really respected the humanity of others, Mr Chiluba would be in court answering for a number of human rights violations, including the death of Major Wezi Kaunda, the attempted assassination of Dr Kaunda and Dr Chongwe, among others.
This is what we mean when we say that sometimes it would be better for Mr Chiluba to shut up as a way of self-preservation. This is because whenever he opens his mouth, he is incriminating himself and setting the standards by which his 10 years in government should be judged. A man who takes another man’s freedom or indeed life is a prisoner of hatred.
We agree with Mr Chiluba that there was need for people to treat each other properly because even those in power today would not remain in power forever. And we used to remind Mr Chiluba of this when he was in power but he never listened.
The important thing is to give happiness to people. It is a fact of the human condition that each shall, like a meteor – a mere brief passing moment in time and space – flit across the human stage and pass out of existence. Life is like a big wheel: the one who is at the top, tomorrow will be at the bottom.
Mr Chiluba wanted to be in power, directly or indirectly, for a very long time. And this is why he came up with his stupid failed third term project. When this failed, he tried to use proxies. But this again failed and landed him in problems. So, and again, Mr Chiluba cannot fool or school anyone on this score.
But we agree with him on nepotism. Merit should be allowed to prosper, conniving and greed should be despised and condemned and made to fail. But this is not to say Mr Chiluba himself was any better on these issues.
Again, this is why we urge him to shut up on some of these issues and this is not in any way trying to rob him or curtail his freedom of speech. This is why even when he speaks rubbish, when he peddles lies, we publish them so that people can know what this man thinks.
And as long as he opens his mouth, no matter how much we disagree with what he is saying, we will always give him space in our pages to be heard. But again the right to be heard does not necessarily mean the right to be taken seriously.
Labels: CHILUBA, FREEDOM OF SPEECH, THE POST
Telling people to shut up is breeding dictatorship, bemoans Chiluba
By Amos Malupenga
Thursday December 06, 2007 [03:00]
The atmosphere in the country where people are told to shut up is breeding dictatorship, former president Frederick Chiluba has observed. Addressing hundreds of mourners during the burial of former Northern Province deputy minister Daniel Kapapa on Tuesday in Kasama, Chiluba said if Zambians allowed themselves to be cowed into silence, the country would soon be a dictatorship. He said it was regrettable that some people were being cowed into fear by the government.
Chiluba said some government officials were even afraid to greet him because they feared to lose jobs.Chiluba thanked the police and some government officials for attending Kapapa’s burial. The mourners applauded loudly when Chiluba said the police should not be used to beat and chase people from the streets. He said the police should only be there to serve and not to punish the community.
Chiluba urged people to be as brave and heroic as the late Kapapa was. He said Kapapa was punished through imprisonment in the 1970s when he joined the UPP but rose, with many other Zambians, in the early 1990s to help bring about democracy to the country.
Chiluba also condemned nepotism which he said was evident in the government.
“Chibwabwa na katapa musalu onse (pumpkin and cassava leaves are both vegetables),” Chiluba said. “In this regard, we need to use people with talent, not because we are related to them.”
Chiluba also condemned what he called a spirit of persecution existing in the country. He said there was need for people to treat each other properly because even those in power today would not remain in power forever.
In an apparent reference to Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Chiluba said some leader felt they could rule forever and coined slogans like God was ruler in heaven while they were rulers on earth. He said leaders should always remember that power was with the people.
Chiluba said when the people decided to exercise the power a few years ago, God remained ruler in heaven but those who thought they could rule forever lost their power. He said this history could easily repeat itself. Chiluba said one day, the people will reclaim their power because power lies with them.
Chiluba said Kapapa’s death was a great loss to the country as well as his family because one of Kapapa’s sons is married to his firstborn daughter Hellen. Chiluba said when he was in office, Kapapa was flown out of the country for treatment but this never happened from 2002 when the new deal administration succeeded him. Chiluba said the nearest Kapapa got to leaving the country was when he travelled to Lusaka from Kasama for treatment. He said this was after enduring a long distance of 900 kilometres as a patient.
Chiluba advised the government never to treat people they didn’t like the way Kapapa was treated. He also advised the family to respect Kapapa’s widow, Joyce, who stood by him during his sickness for a long time.
Panji denies receiving vehicle from Chiluba
By Sandra Mulowa
Thursday December 06, 2007 [03:00]
CHILUBA is lying that he bought a Toyota Land Cruiser for me because this did not happen, Dr Kenneth Kaunda's eldest son Col Panji Kaunda said yesterday. But Chiluba yesterday maintained that what he said was the truth and he would stand by it. Reacting to former president Frederick Chiluba's revelation on Monday that he bought him a Land Cruiser and a house in South Africa for his younger brother Kaweche using public money from the Zamtrop account, Panji said Chiluba lied and The Post allowed itself to be caught in Chiluba's web of lies by repeating the lies.
"You people got caught into Chiluba's web of lies with both feet," Panji said. "He was lying. I have never benefited from him. The vehicle I’m using is the same one that I have been using. I got it from the old man (Dr Kaunda) in 1998 which he got as part of his retirement package...No, never, nothing at all. I don't know where that is coming from (Chiluba's claims). He is lying."
Panji said he would phone Chiluba to find out why he was lying.
"I am looking for his number I will have to find out from him why he is lying," Panji said.
He also said there was no house that Chiluba bought for Kaweche in South Africa.
"There was no house for Kaweche. He (Kaweche) was renting a flat somewhere in Johannesburg," said Panji, adding that he wondered why Chiluba was making such claims.
However, Chiluba - through his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba - yesterday denied having told lies about Panji. He said if there will be need for him to show proof, he will gladly show that he said the truth. Chiluba said he did not make any allegation without foundation. Mwamba said Panji was an adult who was not entitled to his father’s benefits.
“And since Panji is looking for Dr Chiluba’s phone number, Dr Chiluba has authorised you to give him the number,” Mwamba said.
On Monday during a press briefing, Chiluba said Dr Kaunda's family should be grateful to him and his government instead of calling him names because he did a lot to help the family. He challenged Mama Betty to explain the payment of US $7,100 on May 8, 2000 and US $24,318 on May 23, 2000, which was drawn from the Zamtrop account.
He said he had to use the Zamtrop account to assist the Kaunda family because he had no money of his own.
"Can Mrs Kaunda explain the Camry vehicle that my government bought for her? Can Mrs Kaunda explain the Toyota Land Cruiser bought for Dr Kaunda and her son Panji?" Chiluba asked.
Chiluba disclosed that he bought Panji a new vehicle after he was robbed of his own vehicle on his way to Chipata. He further revealed that his government bought Dr Kaunda's son Kaweche a house in South Africa after it was brought to his attention that the son of the former president was in distress.
Labels: CHILUBA, PANJI KAUNDA
The Times of Zambia (Ndola)
5 December 2007
Posted to the web 5 December 2007
The drive by Government for a fully decentralised and democratically elected governance system as one way of enhancing transparency and accountability is a noble pursuit. Whichever way one looks at it, there is no denying the importance of a strong local government system based on open, predictable and transparent procedures tailored towards enhanced service delivery to the people. The Government decentralisation vision envisages enhanced and effective community participation in the decision-making process relating to the development and administration of local affairs while at the same time maintaining strong linkages with the centre.
It is noteworthy that the Government's decentralisation is also aimed at formulating and implementing mechanisms for a bottom-up flow of information and integrated development and budgeting from the district to the centre. This is as it should be because local government, by virtue of its location in the respective communities, is better placed on the ground and is fully in tune with the day to day realities obtaining in various situations.
As things stand now, the responsibilities and scope of activities conducted by the local authorities are increasing. This is especially the case in areas where there is a resurgence of economic activities such as mining. This increase in economic activities and other infrastructural development means that local government also has more responsibilities in terms of the collection of various local forms of levies such as land rates.
Furthermore, increased economic activity raises issues pertaining to environmental protection as well as ensuring proper health and sanitation. On the other hand, even as Government outlines its decentralisation vision, there is also need to step up efforts aimed at enhancing capacity building in local authorities as one way of ensuring better service delivery to the communities they serve. Most local authorities especially those in the rural areas are in quite a precarious position and are barely able to cope with their mandate.
It is important therefore that deliberate measures are put in place to ensure that councils are empowered. With an efficient, accountable and transparent local government system able to deliver quality service to the people, the long term development objectives of the central government should certainly be made much easier.
Labels: DECENTRALIZATION, LOCAL GOVERNMENT
New mines’ tax regime on cards
By Times Reporter
THE team tasked to re-negotiate the development agreements with the mines has made tremendous progress in establishing a new tax regime which will be contained in 2008 national budget. Finance and National Planning Minister, Ng’andu Magande said in Lusaka yesterday that the team had almost completed its work and appealed to Zambians to be patient despite the long time the process had taken.
Mr Magande told a Press briefing that the mandate for the re-negotiation team was extended to cater for the establishment of an optimal fiscal and regulatory regime for the mining sector.
Emphasising that the team was wholly composed of Zambian top civil servants, Mr Magande said from its findings on the renegotiation, it became imperative to re-look at the entire tax regime for the sector.
Among the findings, he said, were that the Zambian fiscal regime had the lowest effective tax rate in the mining sector in the world with a total of 31.8 per cent followed by Peru with 39.7 per cent.
That and many other findings made it vital for the entire fiscal administration in the sector to be looked at so that the best possible one was introduced.
“Through this work that the team has undertaken, it has become apparent that there is need for further reform for both the fiscal and regulatory regime if the people of Zambia have to equitably benefit from their natural resources.
“I can comfortably state that a lot of work has already been done by the team towards developing an optimal fiscal and regulatory regime for the sector. I should therefore be able to give a comprehensive statement in the 2008 budget address on the outcome of the work of the team,” he said.
The team which visited various mining countries including Chile, engaged international consulting firms from Norway and United States of America, to assist it with an international perspective.
He said that the Government objective on the matter was to have a robust mining sector with attractive fiscal and regulatory system which would benefit both Zambians and the investors.
Mr Magande said the planned optimal fiscal and regulatory regime when implemented might render the current and future development agreements irrelevant.
He said it was important that the mining companies contributed more to Government to fulfil the stated purpose of development agreement on the need to secure maximum benefits for the local people.
Because of the concessions given to the mining investors in 2000, their tax contribution now did not correspond with their revenues following the soaring metal prices on the international market, hence Government’s decision to re-negotiate the agreements.
During the same occasion, Mr Magande denied former President Chiluba’s allegations that the Government instructed some ministries and departments to shift their bank accounts from Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) to Finance Bank.
Mr Magande, who displayed lists of accounts for different departments, with ZNCB still holding more accounts, said it was not possible for a Government official to order account transfers. He said these decisions were made by individual ministries or departments following tender procedures centrally carried out.
Mr Magande said following tender procedures, the banks were short-listed and it would be up to a respective ministry or department to pick their bank from the list based on their needs.
On Dr Chiluba’s allegations that TAZAMA, ZESCO and Indeni Oil Refinery, were ordered to move their policies from Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) to Professional Insurance Corporation of Zambia (PICZ), he said the procedures were almost the same.
He said he particularly talked to Zesco managing director, Rhodnie Sisala yesterday who reportedly confirmed to him that Zesco had moved from ZSIC to PICZ in 2004 after seeing the PICZ’s conditions were more competitive.
And Mr Magande said that the Government had transferred all its shareholding in Maamba Collieries to ZCCM-Investment Holdings.
He said, however, that the payments to creditors arising from the scheme would be effected after it had been approved by the High Court on December 17, 2007.
At the same occasion, ZCCM-IH managing director, Joseph Chikolwa said that the creditors who were owed about K7.6 billion had agreed to write off 75 per cent of the debts.
Labels: DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, MAGANDE, MINING CONTRACTS, TAXATION
By Chabala Mubili, Canada
Wednesday December 05, 2007 [03:00]
I beg to differ with Murray Sanderson's letter (The Post December 2, 2007) on the cost of cancelling the so-called mining agreements. Murray should not just look at the gloom-and-doom side of things, but also be aware that such exercises are meant to correct the wrong. As Martin Luther King Jr once observed, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”. We have a duty to protect our future generations from unnecessary strife.
Most of these agreements were conceived under questionable circumstances and as long as our correction mechanism is transparent, preferably through Parliament, it is perfectly okay and credible in the eyes of the international community.
Actually, even the affected companies know that the said agreements were ‘forced’ on Zambia in bad faith. The standards and tactics they used, by and large, fall even short of the minimum practiced in their countries of origin.
In fact, Murray should also be aware that such exercises happen everywhere, including in the developed west.
Recently in Canada, the Alberta Premier set aside the mining agreements signed by the previous Ralph Klein government and imposed increased royalties in line with the companies’ increased profit margins; the new government in Saskatchewan has just cancelled the Power Agreement signed by the outgoing NDP government citing inadequate public participation and benefit.
Surely now is the time to review those agreements and boldly correct them accordingly. If we cannot stand up for what is right, for fear of losing dubious and corrupt investors, then we are as good as non-starters.
ZNBC's My Own Boss
By Bruce Chooma, Lusaka
Wednesday December 05, 2007 [03:00]
I have followed the business innovations reality TV show, My Own Boss with a lot of interest and must admit, as it comes to a close, that it has been a very brilliant programme.
Hands up to Bwalya Chiti for the initiative at such a time when many youths lack intellectually stimulating programmes on television.
In my analysis, it is a very brighter and more productive idea. In future programmes, Chiti should do more to market and popularise the programme. I personally would be interested to help market such an idea through the media.
That K100 million will go a long way in uplifting the welfare of the youth who will emerge winner and create opportunities for many others that will benefit from the business to be established, as opposed to a fully sponsored wedding in the case of Ready for marriage.
Anyway, we are a society that loves an easy life and lazy at thinking and promoting productive ingenuity.
Management of resources
By Mwewa Yamba
Wednesday December 05, 2007 [03:00]
Zambia is a poor country and may continue getting poorer due to poor management of its resources by those in government. They seem to be duty bound to attend international conferences and summits even when their input at such gatherings is insignificant, especially that they seem not to understand the discussions at such forums.
The world trends now are more activity-based and not just membership by attendance as seen in government leaders.
What do we go to showcase out there when our own people cannot see anything tangible out of our management style? Do we care to tell the country how much is spent on such foreign trips?
Meanwhile, we fail even to build schools and hospitals using our own resources? Are we not ashamed to seek help from the so-called coorporating partners for failing to show any signs of seriousness when using our resources?
Come on, you smart fellows who so often line up at the airport to see off and welcome one another. Don't you have morals to realise that that is mere prestige, especially some of you who are highly learned.
Christianity does not promote hero-worshipping. As a country that is without much influence on world trends, but one swept away by the same trends, we would save money by using Zambians living abroad who are on holidays to represent us at such expensive meetings.
Go for it Prof Chirwa!
By Catherine Sichone Mutofwe
Wednesday December 05, 2007 [03:00]
Go, Prof Clive Chirwa! Go! Go!Go! I had been wondering who would take over from President Mwanawasa. My question has been answered.
The calibre of leaders like Prof Clive is the kind of leadership that Zambia needs. President Mwanawasa has fairly performed well.
He has brought sanity to this nation. To that end, we need a leader who is going to successfully carry on and drive this country to another development level in 2011.
Prof Clive Chirwa is the man. I pray that as a nation, we should pay attention to him, watch him closely and later when the time comes, hear what vision and strategic plan he has for our country.
Thereafter, the choice is still ours. Some people are criticising him that it is too early to declare his intentions.
Ever heard of preparing adequately? My advice to professor is, you are on the right track. So far, so good. Do not be misled. The important thing is that you should have the heart for the people. The underprivileged in the country are what should give you the drive to get to State House.
How and what difference are you going to make in their lives? Given a chance to be President, are you going to leave a legacy that people will live to appreciate? It’s good you openly declared your intentions. May God guide you as you strategise for our country Zambia. You might not be the saviour, but you can make a big difference. Go Professor go!
Labels: CLIVE CHIRWA, DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, MINING CONTRACTS
Million Man March proved vibrancy of the revolution
By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia:
THE Million Man March held on November 30 2007 in support of President Mugabe’s contribution to the independence legacy of Zimbabwe as well as his candidature for the March 2008 election has created a lot of media, political and intellectual interest. It does not matter that The Standard newspaper puts the figure of the participating marchers at "just over 200 000", that the rabid Zimdaily online tabloid puts it at "around 100 000" or that the bitter professor from Tsholotsho loudly reckons that it was "anything between 500 000 and 700 000".
The indelible fact remains that the crowd was massive and a lot of Harare residents who were not yet born in 1980 had never seen such a crowd before.
It also does not matter much that The Standard would rather imagine that "most" of the marchers were coerced and force-marched to Zimbabwe Grounds — ostensibly by a minority of the usual "Mugabe cronies" — or that the irascible professor from Tsholotsho believes that the marchers were "barefooted and running on empty stomachs".
The fact remains that a massive crowd marched for 10 kilometres and did gather, listen to and applauded President Mugabe at Zimbabwe Grounds.
Obviously, the words attributed to Professor Jonathan Moyo by one online publication as well as the editorial of The Standard can only mean one thing — that some of our political commentators and newspaper correspondents have evolved into miracle workers. Not only do these people want the readers to believe in miracles by saying hundreds of thousands of people can be forced into marching, singing, ululating and dancing by a handful of President Mugabe’s "cronies" but the Professor would also have us believe that all this 10km marching, all this singing and dancing, was on empty stomachs.
Away from the delusional denials of the spiteful, this writer wants to explore why and how a man so demonised as a tyrant, dictator and habitual human rights violator by the Western media can attract a crowd running into hundreds of thousands at a time his own country is facing ‘‘a critical economic crisis’’ as well as other social ills. How do the United States’ so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, the European Union sanctions and the blockage of International Monetary Fund/World Bank credit lines all have a benign effect on the political support of President Mugabe?
The only answer to this is the language of a revolution. A revolution refuses to be suppressed; its core tenets are perseverance, courage, resolve and the never-ever attitude. Suffering fuels people in a revolution; they are propelled by the challenges from the enemy; and their vision is always the glory of turning around repression into liberty.
If the British are as astounded as the BBC seems to be by the November 30 pro-Mugabe Zimbabwe march, then they need to be reminded of their own history. In their belief that the colonial territories were part of an acceptable revolution worth defending and protecting, as well as the belief that their imperial aspirations to annex the rest of the world as part of the Great Britain Empire were justifiable, the British found themselves under heavy attack from fellow imperial aspirants, Germany, at the end of 1941.
Without its usual allies and for a solid 57 nights, Britain was under heavy bombing from the Germans and cities like London, Bristol, Coventry and others were all under attack and Britain lost 47 000 of her children to this attack. Winston Churchill, the World War II British Prime Minister, stood firm in defence of the British resolve and on October 29, 1941 he was invited to give a speech at the Harrow School of Excellence and his four minutes and 12 seconds speech has always been remembered as his greatest speech ever – all for three words made eight by the repetition of one.
Said Churchill, "Never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give in."
There is a myth that these words were all he said before resuming his seat while others claim all he said was: "Never give up." Of course, all this is not true, but the speech was extraordinarily short, anyway. In the same speech, Churchill asked his audience of aspiring world leaders, a product the Harrow School boasts of producing, the following important question. He asked about the war itself: "Did you not expect to move from crisis to crisis?"
Encouraging his fellow countrymen not to focus on the appearance of German arsenal, Churchill had this to say, "You cannot tell from appearances how things will go".
On the way forward for his people, Churchill said: "Without imagination nothing will ever happen."
The British just need to revisit their German role on Zimbabwe in the last eight years and try to find out how many times President Mugabe has said: "Never, ever." They also need to find out how many times he has reminded Zimbabweans that the illegal sanctions imposed on the country will get the people to move from crisis to crisis. Indeed, they need to remind themselves how many times President Mugabe has insisted that despite the appearances of Britain and her allies, Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.
Lastly, they need to remind themselves how many times President Mugabe has been demanding decisive and imaginative leadership from his Cabinet since the days of the War Cabinet.
If those who today sit in Churchill’s chair can answer themselves honestly to the above questions, then there is little trouble understanding why such multitudes of people as did turn up to endorse President Mugabe’s leadership. If imperial Britain, under attack over its stolen territorial possessions, could make a resolve to die to the last man, what more Zimbabwe, under unjustifiable attack over its decision to repossess its stolen land — ironically stolen by some of the most rogue of Britain’s children?
It must be noted that even if Professor Moyo’s wish of seeing barefoot and hungry people were true, the march would still have been a success for it was a march in revolution — a march whose language is never ever to give in.
Now the march has not only disabled the perfidious and slanderous propaganda machine as existing in the name of the Western media.
The march, more than anything else, took off the mask of the giant that has always been put on the tiny and not so attractive face of Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC faction. The delusions of grandeur have been exposed for what they are and indeed even many of the die-hard MDC supporters have now come to terms with the right size of their insidious party.
The world needed none other than a woman of British origin, one Peta Thornycroft, to tell it as it is that the MDC that Tony Blair created — that house that Anthony built — is not as glamorous and as strong as the Western media has been shouting. While she was busy telling the pirate SW Radio what the real MDC is like, Senegalese President, Abdoulaye Wade was telling the whole world how the Western media had misled him about the situation on the ground in Zimbabwe — and he had no kind words for the British ambassador in his own country whom he accused of grossly misleading him as well. That says a lot about an African leader falling prey to foreign Press and foreign spokespersons presenting issues about his own continent.
Anyway, it is the picture of the miry MDC that was given by Peta Thornycroft, an avowed critic of the Government of Zimbabwe in the mould of the BBC’s Hillary Anderson, the brains behind the Panorama imaginations, that is most telling.
This writer, just like many other analysts, has written before about the MDC having been founded on the strength of Zanu-PF’s points of weakness rather than on any alternative policy. This meant that the rallying point for those who founded the MDC was protest over perceived Zanu-PF failures. This meant that various interest groups — some of them with irreconcilable interests as well as conflicting principles — all came together under the unifying factor of hate politics towards Zanu-PF and the Government it leads as well as their common interest in Blair’s money. It goes without saying that from the outset the MDC’s point of weakness has always been its multiple power centres and Thornycroft agrees that her biased colleagues and herself never bothered to get it right with what the MDC was really made of. Now that she can openly agree that the MDC was never the united democratic movement that she and her colleagues preached about with the zeal of fire-and-brimstone evangelists. It may be time for those who were hoodwinked to accept the reality of Western media deception.
Thornycroft outlined in precise detail how the MDC is not a political party deriving its existence on an ideology, but an industry providing a source of living for people who have no qualms remaining in opposition as long as they can continue to dupe Westerners into pouring money into the party’s coffers. She did mention that Tendai Biti is seen as the finance director who must keep popping out money like an automated teller machine — yes, even to foreign-based "provinces" of the party.
Thirdly, Peta alludes to the media-created delusions of grandeur on the MDC — a party clearly overrated above its station. In the same vein, she concedes that she and her colleagues underrated Zanu-PF and portrayed it is a party with no support while, in fact, the party had "massive support" in many parts of Zimbabwe. She even expressed shock at more than 4 000 voters voting for Zanu-PF in the Budiriro by-election, right inside Harare, an area the MDC claims is their 100 percent monopoly.
Fourthly, she helps put home the point we have always tried to put across — that the MDC did not bother creating any synergies in Africa, totally alienating themselves from the political circles of Africa while endearing themselves to their crumb providers in the West. Thornycroft thinks this was purely lack of strategy and may be political experience, but the real reason is the MDC is a Western creation. Here is a party that launched itself by vowing to violently remove a legitimate government and went on to openly call for sanctions against the people. Consulting fellow Africans on such treacherous, if not treasonous, issues would be akin to a cheating spouse trying to share details about her evil deeds with the sister of her husband. Indeed, the MDC was hiding from Africa hoping that the suffering they were campaigning for would drive Zimbabweans into revolting against the Government and they hoped the uprising would in itself give them legitimacy in Africa. Of course, all attempts at an uprising were dismal failures with the last cruise ending up in a few bruises.
Number five, Peta notes that the West is now giving up on their political project and she laments the fact that the Government has been so triumphant over London that Gordon Brown is now "exiled in his own continent", a reference to the announcement by the unelected British premier that he will stay home while the elected leaders of Europe and Africa talk business at the EU-Africa Summit that begins this weekend — all because Brown can’t face the man behind the bravery that has withered away the power of the sanctions his country has so painfully mobilised over the last eight years.
This writer avoided quoting Thornycroft for the major reason that she only said what has been all along so obvious about the MDC — of course, also because this writer is no big fan of the lady and what she stands for.
Lastly, Peta expresses bitterness that the MDC is a violent party, and she says she overlooked this in 2001 just because she thought she was covering a cheated party.
When Tsvangirai vowed to violently remove President Mugabe, the MDC had not participated in any election, and when they coined and popularised the term "jambanja" in 1999, they had not participated in any election and, therefore, no electoral cheating could have been a factor. Peta is of the opinion that the MDC’s violent tendencies would be understandable if the aggression was not directed towards fellow members to the party — an inference that violence against Zanu-PF or the Government could be acceptable to her and, by extension, to her Western allies.
The MDC infighting, its current fractious state, its lack of ideology or policy — all put together with the shock of the November 30 pro-Mugabe Harare march — will definitely lead to some Western players deciding to ostracise the MDC and it won’t be surprising if the US will be among the first countries to do so. After all, Uncle Sam has a reputation for discarding fodder that outlives its usefulness just like he can pick up alliances with former enemies without problems. With the US, Al-Qaeda can turn out to be an ally one of these days should they decide to redirect their energies towards, say, the Chinese.
The crowds that marched in Harare were a big statement for Zimbabwe’s revolution. That the mighty waters of Western sanctions have not doused the revolutionary fires of the Third Chimurenga is what we all have learnt from the march.
For the marchers and all the children of the revolution in Zimbabwe, it is homeland or death! Together Zimbabwe will overcome.
l Reason Wafawarova is a Zimbabwean political writer and can be emailed on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: DEMONSTRATION, ZIMBABWE