Saturday, December 29, 2007
By Fridah Zinyama
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
THE Bio-fuel Association of Zambia (BAZ) has commended the government for finally adopting the revised energy policy as it is going to help the renewable energy sector in the country grow. In an interview, BAZ chairperson Professor Thompson Sinkala said the government had held a meeting with stakeholders from the bio-fuel, electricity and biomass industries to discuss the way forward in the energy sector.
Prof Sinkala said the government’s decision to adopt the energy policy would go a long way in helping the bio-fuel sector to decide what percentage of bio-diesel and bio-ethanol would be blended with petrol and diesel.
“As a sector we recommended that government should allow for three percent of blending of petrol and diesel,” he said.
Prof Sinkala said the association was optimistic that the government would be able to save a lot of money once the blending process of renewable fuels started in the country.
“We have been asking farmers across the country to grow Jatropha as it will help them to improve the income generation,” he said. “We have also been promoting non-food plants in order not to tamper with the food security of the country.”
Early this month, BAZ had announced that an Australian company, Oval Bio-fuels, had started producing bio-diesel in Lusaka’s industrial area.
The company had started bio-diesel production from soya oil on a pilot basis in order to test the machines they had brought into the country.
By Maluba Jere
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
NATIONAL Milling Corporation managing director Peter Cottan has said his company bought over 100,000 tonnes of maize in 2007. In an interview, Cottan said 80 per cent of the maize was bought from small-scale farmers while the remaining 20 per cent was from commercial farmers.
“We have secured stocks of maize to last up to May next year when farmers start harvesting their crop this year, we are probably the second largest buyer after FRA,” he said. “We have finished buying maize and we have enough to last up to 2007/2008 harvest time and we bought most of the maize from small scale farmers as a way of empowering them.”
Cottan said consumers had benefited from excess maize stocks which he said had kept the prices for the commodity stable.
“We also have tremendous competition which is healthy, especially that mealie meal prices have not gone up in 2007,” he said.
Cottan also said the company had secured 17,000 tonnes of wheat from three local traders. He said the wheat stocks would stabilise flour prices on the market if the government banned the exports of the produce.
“We have had a reasonable year in that we wanted an import parity of about $600 per tonne but some people saw an opportunity because of the deficit in wheat,” he said. “The other millers who saw an opportunity of the high prices started offering $400 per tonne and the wheat bought was stored leading to increased prices for the commodity.”
Cottan also said he did not expect the country to have a shortage of maize as there would be carry-overs from the 2007/2008 harvest. He also said it was sad that the government had allowed wheat exports which led to the deficit.
“We don’t want to see any exports because the impact is on stock feed prices which is felt mostly by millers but eventually filters its way to consumers,” he said. “Consumers haven’t seen price increases because millers have been absorbing the prices.”
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
The expected 6.2 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth this year will not be meaningful if unemployment is not addressed, Bank of Zambia (BoZ) governor Dr Caleb Fundanga has said. And BoZ has forecast that the country’s inflation rate would remain at the single-digit level during the first quarter of 2008.
During an end of year media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Fundanga said Zambia still had an enormous challenge of addressing high unemployment levels, considering the much acclaimed economic growth recorded in the past few years.
“A GDP growth of around 6.2 per cent is looking very rosy but what is happening to employment?” Dr Fundanga asked. “This is a key issue if we are going to be talking about GDP growth. We need to have high employment levels when the GDP is increasing.”
Dr Fundanga noted the need for massive investments in sectors that had a high potential for job creation.
“What we need is more investments into sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and construction. Currently, the mining sector is the largest industry in the country but looking at technological advancements, most mines now are not employing as many people as they used to because some machines are computerised,” Dr Fundanga said.
“The construction sector is currently doing very well and the manufacturing sector is also coming up. These are among sectors that provide an opportunity for generating a lot of employment for our youths in this country.
For the manufacturing sector, we are looking at the implementation of the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) in Lusaka by the Malaysians and the Chambishi MFEZ being developed by the Chinese.”
Dr Fundanga said the agriculture sector could also assist in cutting down the high levels of unemployment through the establishment of agro-processing plants around the country.
“If we produce more especially from agricultural produce, this can offer a lot of permanent jobs,” Dr Fundanga said. “The growth we are talking about in the country should translate into more jobs for most of the people who are currently not employed.”
And Dr Fundanga said Zambia is likely to maintain the single digit inflation through into the first quarter of 2008.
Zambia’s current annual inflation rate stands at 8.9 per cent, up by 0.7 percentage points from 8.2 per cent recorded at the end of 2006.
“The overriding objective of monetary policy in 2008 is to consolidate the gains made in establishing price stability by achieving a third consecutive year of single digit inflation, with an end-year inflation target of seven per cent for 2008,” Dr Fundanga said. “Inflation, during the first quarter of 2008, is expected to continue to be in single digit levels.
This outlook is premised on single digit food inflation that has been sustained since April 2006, following the surplus 2005/2006 food harvest and 2006/2007 good harvest which was also reflected in the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) purchases of 396,485 metric tonnes of maize at the end of the crop purchase programme of September 30, 2007, representing 99.1 per cent of the targeted 400,000 metric tonnes.”
Dr Fundanga further said there were a number of challenges that needed to be considered next year such as a projected rise in petroleum products prices as well as higher electricity tariffs approved by the Energy Regulation Board.
And the country had its overall Balance of Payments (BoP) surplus narrowed to US$204.9 million from US $783.0 million recorded during the corresponding period in 2006.
The decline, according to the Central Bank, largely reflected the relatively poor performance in the current account that outweighed the improvements recorded in the capital and financial account.
“Preliminary data shows that Zambia continued to record favorable external sector performance resulting in an accumulation of reserves by the BoZ to US$1.1 billion in December 2007 from US $706 million as the end of December 2006,” Dr Fundanga said. On a year-to-date basis, Zambia’s trade surplus narrowed to US$589.4 million from US $1,041.3 million.
“The decline in the trade surplus was mainly explained by a sharp rise in merchandise imports which outweighed the increase in merchandise exports. Merchandise imports, at US $2,555.1 million, were 35.1 per cent higher than US$1,890.9 million recorded over the corresponding period in 2006,” Dr Fundanga said.
By Muyoyeta Simasiku
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
If there ever was an answer to the deep-rooted corruption that started in the Chiluba regime and has continued today, Chiluba himself is that answer. Everything starts and ends with Chiluba. As a nation we would be privileged to have Chiluba tell us what he knows. Chiluba is exposing Mahtani, forgetting that he is actually exposing himself too at the same time. It's like a thief exposing a fellow thief about how and what they stole. But that's good for us.
You see, Chiluba has nothing to lose now. And as a nation, we will be naive to dismiss what is coming out of his mouth now. He is the biggest fish and he knows it all.
Even though he is facing his own corruption charges, the state could still use him to tell the nation what he knows. It is just sad that the man has lost credibility, so probably no one would believe what he is saying.
But reading through his allegations against Mahtani, it makes a lot of sense and law enforcement agencies should follow on these allegations until they establish that they are baseless. And Chiluba has even challenged Mwanawasa and his government, saying if he didn't know, now he does, and what is he going to do about it?
If the Mwanawasa government ignores these allegations, then it will be safe to conclude and agree with Chiluba that they are conniving with Mahtani. And even though The Post aren't in very good boots with Chiluba, they could still persuade him to tell the nation what he knows about the corruption roots in Zambia. Let Chiluba tell it all!
Govt's 2007 achievements
By Gersh, Nairobi
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
The utterances made by chief government spokesperson Mike Mulungoti in the Times of Zambia that the government met most of its targets for 2007 cannot go without comment. Mulongoti only pointed out two things that the government has achieved. Is this what he calls “most”? Can Mulongoti convince the nation that the government has met its target for 2007 by giving concrete references and not just those two?
I would agree with most opposition leaders that the government has done completely nothing in practice but they have done something in theory and in their heads. If the country’s biggest hospitals don’t have medicine and are almost collapsing and if the highest institutions of learning are closed every now and then, how can the government claim to have done something?
But coming to think of it, maybe they have done something after all - stealing from poor Zambians by paying themselves huge sums from taxpayers’ money!
Wake up government, you have done literally nothing.
Let's be reasonable
By Concerned citizen
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
I wish to disagree with NCC chairman Chifumu Banda’s recent utterances in the Times of Zambia that the NCC allowances are reasonable. I feel Banda is speaking like this because he is one of the beneficiaries of the allowances.
Surely, why else would a person of Banda’s calibre say that the NCC allowances are okay? Where on earth has any poor country like Zambia paid off such huge amounts? If it were in the USA or in Europe, I would agree with Banda that the allowances are reasonable, but as long as this issue is here in our poor Zambia, I simply cannot agree with Banda.
The allowances are just too much and for me, this shows how extravagant our government is even though it says at the same time that there is no money for developmental projects. We are among the poorest countries in the world and yet, we are the most wasteful in terms of resources and this is why our economy is just dwindling and the poor are getting poorer while the rich are getting richer. There is no equal distribution of resources.
Let us learn not to think only of ourselves but also of others, especially the poor and the needy for they too are Zambians! As a Christian nation, let us put away the spirit of selfishness and adopt the spirit of love for Christ said "Love your neighbour as yourself". Let us be reasonable!
By Amos Malupenga in Mfuwe
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
Zambians must invest in hard work and not nationality if they want to succeed in whatever they do, President Levy Mwanawasa has advised. And Mushroom Lodge chairman Friday Ndhlovu has called on the government to give the Luangwa Valley a VAT free status in a bid to promote tourism in the area as is the case in Livingstone.
Officially opening Mushroom Lodge and the Presidential House in South Luangwa National Park on Thursday, President Mwanawasa said Zambians could succeed in anything they wanted to do as shown by Ndhlovu’s determination over the years. He said it was sad that most Zambians wanted to use their nationality as collateral instead of investing in hard work and integrity in business.
“Most Zambians would say ‘give me this business because I am a Zambian; a foreigner cannot get this business when I am here as a Zambian’,” President Mwanawasa said. “Stop using nationality as a collateral unless it is laced with hard work, integrity and a motive to create development for people and make profit thereafter.”
President Mwanawasa said anyone approaching him for help or assistance in business or anything else on the basis that they were Zambians would not succeed because he would be a wrong sympathiser.
“I will just tell you that ‘you have chosen a wrong sympathiser,” President Mwanawasa said. “Friday Ndhlovu has succeeded not as a Zambian but as a Friday Ndhlovu, a hard working individual.”
President Mwanawasa said tourism was a people-oriented industry which served the people by the people themselves. He said tourism, worldwide, had emerged to play a role as a fastest growing industry and was to become a driving force to boost the world economy now and in future.
President Mwanawasa said last year, Mfuwe registered 18,000 foreign visitors and 12,000 Zambian tourists while the park recorded 900 jobs.
President Mwanawasa said Zambia, like all Southern African countries, depended on biodiversity and mainly wildlife to attract tourists. He said the Luangwa ecosystem was famous for its rich and diverse wildlife resource and hosted the big five. He said it was therefore important for Zambia to conserve its flora and fauna.
“It is with this resolve that my government has committed itself to preserving our national and cultural heritage for future generations to come,” President Mwanawasa said.
He said programmes such as the re-introduction of the black Rhinoceros in North Luangwa National Park were meant to mitigate the effects of poaching and to restore the tourist fibre of the area.
President Mwanawasa said the Tourism Development Credit Facility was meant to provide Zambians with alternative sources of livelihood, especially for the rural communities. He said he was delighted and encouraged to see Zambians fully participating in the development of tourism at an international scale, like the Mushroom Lodge. He urged Zambians not to be spectators in the tourism sector but to be active participants.
However, President Mwanawasa urged the tourism industry to offer incentives to locals by considering a two tier pricing system; a rate for locals and another rate for foreign tourists. He also said that government was committed to addressing the problem of poor infrastructure, particularly critical tourist access roads and airports.
And speaking earlier, Ndhlovu said the opening of Mushroom Lodge marked a new era in the Zambian tourism sector which has been dominated by foreign investors. He said Mushroom Lodge was the first large Zambian investment in South Luangwa National Park, and probably in the whole valley offering a competitive product of world class standards which caters for even the most discerning tourists or travellers. Ndhlovu said they had invested US$1.6 million with the help of Development Bank of Zambia and other stakeholders.
He said the lodge was designed by a Zambian and built by Zambians under the supervision of a Zambian. He said the lodge’s management has plans to build two bush camps next year.
Ndhlovu urged the government to improve security in the park because cases of thefts of property and unruly behaviour such as noises from the bars and discos were on the increase. He said the emergence of housing estates without proper planning was posing a security risk and urged the government to find a lasting solution to the human/animal conflict now prevalent in the area.
Ndhlovu further said the Chipata-Mfuwe road required a permanent solution to avoid costly yearly road repairs and that recent increases in levies needed toning down.
“Please, do not kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” Ndhlovu said.
“Why not give the valley VAT status? Why Livingstone alone?”
By Mutuna Chanda
Saturday December 29, 2007 [03:00]
HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday told the Lusaka High Court that his party does not support the apparent subordination of registered political parties to an NGO. And Attorney General Mumba Malila has applied to the Lusaka High Court to get rid of part of Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda’s petition on the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Act.
This was in a matter in which Brigadier General Miyanda has petitioned the NCC Act in the Lusaka High Court arguing that it was discriminatory.
In his opening statement at the start of hearing of his petition, Brig Gen Miyanda said that the petition was about showing that his rights and that of members of his party had been breached.
He said fundamental rights that were guaranteed by the constitution could not be altered by any process shorter than that which was required in amending the constitution.
“We shall lead evidence to show that the respondent (the state) has breached a number of constitutional provisions guaranteed by part III of the Republican constitution,” he said.
“It will be our case that while ordinary rights may be changed by the legislature in its ordinary process of legislation, fundamental rights and freedoms being guaranteed in our constitution cannot be altered by any process shorter than that which is required in amending the constitution itself.”
He said that his case was that the state enacted a law that, in ‘the vague manner in which it is couched’, had interfered with the rights and freedoms of the petitioners to participate in the NCC.
“This petition is not about objecting to political parties that have willingly come together under the Zambia Centre for Inter party Dialogue (ZCID) trust deed registered under the lands perpetual Succession Act,” he said.
Brig Gen Miyanda said he believed that part of his rights had been breached as a result of the mention of the ZCID in the NCC Act.
“We shall be taking issue with the special or particular place that ZCID has acquired under the NCC Act. This ZCID phenomenon is a new development on our political stage.”
And Malila in response applied for part of the petition to be gotten rid of on grounds that it did not specify the protective provisions of the constitution that the NCC Act was in contravention of.
“The argument is that it is not sufficient for the petitioner to merely allege that provisions of an act of Parliament are in conflict with provisions of the constitution for the court to exercise its special jurisdiction conferred on it by article 28 of the constitution,” Malila said.
“The petitioner (Brig Gen Miyanda) must indicate which articles of the constitution i.e. from 11 to 26, have been infringed. In the petition before this court, it is clear that paragraphs 4(c), 4(d), 4(e) and 4(g) make general allegations of the NCC Act being in conflict with the spirit of the constitution without specifying the individual protective provisions that they are in conflict with.”
Malila asked the court to declare the paragraphs that did not specify the protective provisions of the constitution that had been violated outside the court’s special jurisdiction under article 28 of the constitution and that they be expunged from the petition.
In response Brig Gen Miyanda sought a consent adjournment of the matter after consultations with Malila since he did not expect the state’s submissions.
Judge Mwanamwambwa adjourned the matter to January 7 to 11, 2008.
this David Frost interview.
If true, that would mean that the Bush administration is floating on more lies than any in history.
If true, that would mean that the Bush administration is floating on more lies than any in history.
By Mabasa Sasa
SAMUEL Langhorne Clemens — known to the world as Mark Twain — occupies an uneasy place in American literary history. America would like to celebrate him as one of their greatest literary products by virtue of authoring Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer; classics that anyone educated by the remnants of empire soon after our own independence would no doubt be more or less familiar with.
At the same time, Twain is an ideological headache for the simple reason that the man abhorred slavery, imperialism and colonialism.
In fact, America has celebrated him so disinterestedly that it was only in 1992 — 82 years after his death — that the first comprehensive volume on his anti-expansionist beliefs (Mark Twain’s Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War) was published.
Twain was highly critical of the USA’s incursions into the Philippines following the Spanish-American War and the Treaty of Paris (1898), and he attacked both Cecil John Rhodes and King Leopold for their European imperialism.
He is quoted as once saying: "I am said to be a revolutionist in my sympathies, by birth, by breeding and by principle. I am always on the side of the revolutionists, because there never was a revolution unless there were some oppressive and intolerable conditions against which to revolt."
Since the American political and economic establishment would rather not harp on about Twain’s ambivalence towards the USA’s expansionist tendencies, they would prefer the world to read only those writings they consider more acceptable.
However, even then, Twain has offered the world an observation that probably when first said must have sounded foolish and totally unfounded.
Twain said, "Whiskey is for drinking, water is for fighting over."
The simple logic behind this is that though two-thirds of the world are water, there just is not enough water to go around and sooner or later, man is going to fight over it.
Ismail Serageldin, a former World Bank vice president brought this saying into common currency when in a 1995 interview with Newsweek he aid, "If the wars of (20th) Century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water."
Before that, Egypt’s Anwar al-Sadat had already pointed out that: "The only matter that could take Egypt to war again is water."
Though it is not often said, the reality that we will all have to face, particularly in the developing world, is that water supply is being gradually privatised and commodified with a value beyond the reach of many ordinary folk.
In fact, one magazine has postulated that water "is one of the world’s great business opportunities. It promises to be to the 21st Century what oil was to the 20th".
It is a sobering thought when one considers what competition for oil has so far done to the world.
Over the past decade, three companies have grown to control the water supply of some 300 million people: Vivendi and Suez (France) and Thames Water of England (owned by a German company).
According to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, 12 years ago these companies had operations in 12 countries and this has since grown to 56.
Those in the industry have even coined a new term for water: ‘blue gold’, and rightly so as it has earned these three companies in excess of 10 billion British pounds according to one source.
Gerard Payen, one of the masterminds behind Suez’ expansion is credited with saying, "Water as a business is very effective when you look at the needs. We purify water and bring this water to your home. We provide a service, it has a cost, and somebody has to pay for it."
And the reality is that many people unfortunately cannot pay for it.
So what happens when governments surrender their duty of providing water to the citizenry? What does this mean for the high-sounding Millennium Development Goals that seek to drastically improve the number of people with access to safe drinking water and sanitation?
Water is not a commodity that people can simply opt to do without because the costs are too high.
Currently, 1,1 billion people across the globe do not have access to safe water sources and with increased industrialisation and the need for greater agricultural output; water stress is increasing.
From 1950, global water use has trebled and it is predicted that in the next two decades, three billion people will not have access to safe drinking water.
Some predictions have it that even the US and China will in the near future experience water shortages and it is in the face of such statistics that some have argued for the privatisation of water supply.
In 2005, the World Bank warned Zimbabwe that the country needed US$10 billion for the rehabilitation and refurbishment of its water and sanitation infrastructure.
Harare alone was told that it would have to invest over US$100 million in order to ensure a steady supply of water to residents.
At the same time, Zimbabwe is barred from accessing meaningful assistance from multilateral lending institutions such as the World Bank itself due to its bilateral dispute with Britain that America has waded into.
This leaves our Government with very limited options.
Either Zimbabwe slowly runs dry and its people resort to drinking water from unprotected sources resulting in the outbreak of diseases, or it listens to the voice of NGOs and ‘‘thinktanks’’ and invites private contractors to supply water.
According to Ann-Christin Sjolander Holland, author of The Water Business: Corporations Versus People, companies have devised ways to profiteer from the Third World’s water crisis.
She details how the water corporations make low bids when trying to get into national water markets but steadily increase costs once they are awarded the contracts.
They insert severance clauses that Third World governments cannot afford and these are used as sticks whenever the authorities try to push these expensive contractors out.
In Argentina, Aguas Argentinas, a subsidiary of Suez, won a tender to supply water but immediately sought to re-negotiate terms and increase prices once the tender had been awarded.
The company eventually only supplied 54 percent of the targeted water users in a six-year period in addition to only investing about 40 percent of the money it had promised to pour into the development of Argentina’s water system.
These companies justify their existence like typical neo-lib structural functionalists on the existence shortages and the publication of World Bank reports decrying poor countries’ inability to provide clean water.
None of these companies are into capacity building and even the World Bank itself only engages in small-scale localised projects for ‘approved’ communities.
Meanwhile, governments are emasculated as they are elbowed out of the provision of key services to the people.
The end result is that the State becomes non-essential and a country is basically run from the offices of trans-national corps working hand-in-glove with the World Bank.
Zimbabwe has had a close brush with water privatisation.
In 1999, Biwater International a British-German entity almost came into Harare.
The company pulled out with an executive of the company saying: "Investors need to be convinced that they will get reasonable returns. The issues we consider include who the end users are and whether they are able to afford the water tariffs.
"From a social point of view, these kinds of projects are viable but unfortunately from a private sector point of view they are not."
A Biwater subsidiary, City Water, was chased out of Tanzania in 2005 after winning a 10-year contract to supply water to Dar-es-Salaam.
The World Bank had told Tanzania to privatise this key service as a precondition to access debt relief. But after just two years, Tanzanians were fed up with the false promises and the government kicked the company out.
Hence, no one should be fooled that privatisation of water is for our benefit; profit is king. The challenge for the Zimbabwe National Water Authority is thus: provide an efficient service and there will not be an excuse to lobby for the privatisation of water in the country that could result in fewer people accessing the resource.
It surely would be cheaper in the long run for the Government to capacitate Zinwa than to privatise water supply.
DECEMBER has received record amounts of rainfall countrywide with a cumulative average of more than 200 percent of normal rainfall to date, making it the wettest December on record. The rains have seen Chivhu recording the highest amount of 504mm compared to 496mm recorded over the first half of the season last year. Arcturus received the lowest rainfall of 175mm, which is above the December average of 100mm.
The Meteorological Department yesterday said wet conditions that have been experienced over the month have made this year’s December the wettest of 127 Decembers on record.
Most areas have accumulated about twice as much rainfall as they would during the same period, 200 percent of normal to date.
Rainfall amounts throughout the country continue to rise with most areas receiving more than 300mm in one month.
The heavy falls have led to waterlogging in poorly drained soils, ponds, increases in river flows and dam levels and flooding in low-altitude areas such as Muzarabani and Malipati.
Principal meteorologist Mr Hector Chikoore said Chivhu has recorded the most notable cumulative total of 504mm since the beginning of this month.
"The percentage of rainfall received in December this year is very high. In fact, over half of the country has received more than 300mm with exception of the extreme southern parts of the country.
"Chivhu has received the highest cumulative total of 504mm followed by Harare which received 462mm which is close to the amount recorded during the first half of the season last year," he said.
Other areas that received considerably high rainfall were Mutare 390mm, Chinhoyi 362mm, Kwekwe 349mm and Masvingo 322mm.
During the same period, Gweru recorded 296mm, Makuti 294mm, Chakari 283mm, Mt Darwin 299mm, West Nicholson 278mm and Zvishavane 276mm.
Kariba received 252mm, Joshua Nkomo Airport 247mm, Tsholotsho 239mm, Plumtree 218mm, Odzi 214 and Kadoma 212mm.
Mr Chikoore said that the rates of evaporation were very low across the country due to the extensive cloud cover and high relative humidity that was experienced during the greater part of the month under review.
Friday, December 28, 2007
Friday December 28, 2007 [03:00]
We are now almost at the mid-point of the 15-year period in which to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And as we approach this mid-point, data are now becoming available that provide an indication of progress during the first third of this 15-year period. The results are, predictably, uneven in many areas of these Millennium Development Goals. It cannot be denied that since 2000, when world leaders endorsed the Millennium Declaration, we have seen some visible gains here and there, even in areas where the challenges are greatest.
These small achievements demonstrate that success is possible but that the Millennium Development Goals will be attained only if concerted additional action is taken immediately and sustained until 2015. All stakeholders need to fulfill, in their entirety, the commitment they made in the Millennium Declaration and subsequent pronouncements.
These results, these limited achievements highlight how much remains to be done and how much more could be accomplished if all concerned lived up fully to the commitments they have already made.
More generally, the lack of employment for young people, gender inequalities, rapid and unplanned urbanisation and high HIV prevalence are pervasive obstacles. We still have a lot of challenges that have to be addressed.
We still have unacceptably high numbers of women dying each year from treatable and preventable complications of pregnancy and childbirth. If current trends continue, the target of halving the proportion of underweight children will be missed, largely because of slow progress in this area. We are still losing many of our people from AIDS, and prevention measures are failing to keep pace with the growth of the epidemic.
A large percentage of our population lacks basic sanitation. In order to meet the Millennium Development Goals target, an additional large number of our people will need access to improved sanitation over the period 2008 to 2015. If the current trends continue, we are likely to miss the target.
And to some extent, these situations reflect the fact that the benefit of economic growth in our country have been unequally shared. As Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection director Fr Pete Henriot has correctly observed, the economic growth and single digit inflation our government talks about has only benefited the government, investors and not the ordinary Zambians. We have failed to provide employment opportunities to our youths.
In order to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, we will need to mobilise additional resources and target public investment that benefits the poor.
Clearly, achieving these goals is possible and rapid and large-scale progress is feasible. But this progress is only possible when strong government leadership is in place and appropriate policies and strategies that effectively target the needs of the poor are combined with adequate financial and technical support from the international community.
And during the mid-point year, the international community needs to support the preparation of these strategies and to accelerate implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. In general, strategies should adopt a wide-ranging approach that seeks to achieve pro-poor economic growth, including through the creation of a large number of opportunities for decent work.
This, in turn, will require comprehensive programmes for human development, particularly on education and health, as well as building productive capacity and improved physical infrastructure. And enhanced public accountability is necessary to support all these efforts.
Success in achieving the Millennium Development Goals cannot be achieved by us alone without the assistance and cooperation of developed countries. Developed countries need to deliver fully on long-standing commitments to achieve the official development assistance target of 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income by 2015.
It requires, in particular, the Group of Eight industrial nations to live up to their 2005 pledge to double aid to our countries by 2010 and the European Union member states to allocate 0.7 per cent of their Gross National Income to official development assistance by 2015.
Aid has to be improved by ensuring that assistance is aligned with the policies we have adopted, and that flows are continuous, predictable and assured and not tied to all sorts of things with continually shifting goalposts.
We say all this because since their adoption by all United Nations member states in 2000, the Millennium Declaration and the Millennium Development Goals have become a universal framework for development and a means for developing countries and their development partners to work together in pursuit of a shared future for all.
And as we have already pointed out, there have been some gains, and success is still possible in many areas. But all these also point to how much remains to be done. There is a clear need for our political leaders to take urgent and concerted action, or the great majority of our people will not realise the basic promises of the Millennium Development Goals in their lives.
The Millennium Development Goals are still achievable if we act now. This will require inclusive sound governance, increased public investment economic growth, enhanced productive capacity, and the creation of decent work.
The successes we have recorded so far in some areas, demonstrate that rapid and large-scale progress towards the Millennium Development Goals is feasible if we combine strong government leadership, food policies and practical strategies for scaling up public investments in vital areas with adequate financial and technical support from the international community.
To achieve the goals, we need to own the strategies and our budgets must be aligned with them. This must be backed up by adequate financing within the global partnership for development and its framework for mutual accountability.
We don’t need new promises anymore. It is imperative that all stakeholders meet, in their entirety, the commitments already made in the Millennium Declaration, the 2002 Monterrey Conference on Financing for Development, and the 2005 World Summit.
Clearly, Zambia needs to put more effort in improving social amenities if we are to attain the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. At the rate we are going, it is not possible and this is worrisome. If things can be improved now, then we will see an indicator for attaining the Millennium Development Goals.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday December 28, 2007 [03:00]
RUSSIAN Ambassador to Zambia Dr Anvar Azimov has disclosed that three Russian companies want to invest a minimum of US$3 billion (about K12 trillion) in the Zambian mining sector. And Ambassador Azimov urged the Zambian government to take advantage of “this golden chance of huge investment”. US$3 billion is equivalent to Zambia’s annual national budget, which was about K12 trillion this year.
A fortnight ago, commerce, trade and industry minister Felix Mutati said Zambia anticipated investment to increase from US $1.4 billion to over US$3 billion by the end of 2008.
Announcing the intention of the Russian companies to invest in Zambia, Ambassador Azimov said the three companies would invest a minimum of US$1 billion (about K4 trillion) each with possibilities of increasing the investments.
“This year, 30 potential Russian investors visited Zambia and there is one good concrete result; three Russian multi-billion investment companies namely RusInvest partner (Renova Groupe), ECN Groupe and Aurora Capital expressed their desire to invest in the mining sector of Zambia, all together US$3 billion,” said Ambassador Azimov in an interview on Wednesday at the embassy in Lusaka. “Of course the priority is mining prospecting. The heads of these three investment companies met Zambian government officials, private business community and their geologists went to Copperbelt Province to study the situation of copper there. But their intention is first to buy the licence for prospecting and secondly set up their activities. They want to make geological survey then to start the process of building plants, electricity power stations, railway line, and houses for the workers and smelters.”
He said the companies’ intentions were to build the mines from geological survey up to processing copper.
“I don’t think that any other company of the world would propose such big investment in Zambia,” Ambassador Azimov. “We understand that now there are no vacant licences for mines though now there is a process of reconsideration. The appeal to the Zambian government for assistance is that they shouldn’t miss this golden chance that if there are possibilities for these three investing groups they will bring huge investments, as I mentioned, over US$3 billion.
“But the problem is that the Ministry of Mines told us that everything is taken, there are no free concessions with exception of Luapula Province.”
He said if there were no other opportunities on the Copperbelt and other provinces other than Luapula Province, then the Russian companies would do geological surveys in Luapula and start their mining activities by constructing plants and smelters.
“But we need the help of the Zambian government because this is huge amount of money,” Ambassador Azimov appealed.
He said the three companies were interested in having joint ventures with local partners though on condition that they retain 70 to 80 per cent shares.
“They will bring Russian capital but they are ready to cooperate with Zambian businesses,” he said.
Ambassador Azimov said the heads of the three companies were happy with the discussion they had with the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investments Holdings (ZCCM IH) and private sector representatives.
“For example, there was a proposal to construct a smelter in Lumwana for US$400 million but these are big companies and they are not interested in investing US$300 million or US$400 million. Their intention is more serious,” Ambassador Azimov said. “By the way, this Renova Groupe invested US$2 billion in South Africa in the diamond sector and the same group is ready to invest US$1 billion but they are even ready to invest US$2 billion in the Zambian mining sector.”
He said the three companies want to construct new modern mines with all infrastructure, including an electricity station, houses for workers, a railway line and roads.
“They are interested in huge projects, not small ones,” he said. “It will be a great break through in economic development of Zambia and our relations. They will be employing many people.”
He revealed that the time the delegation came some mining companies wanted to sell their mines to the Russian companies.
“They met some owners of mines who where ready to sell their mines for amounts from US$300 million to US$700 million but the approach of our companies is to have modern structures – to construct from zero to everything,” he said.
“Each of these companies, if they got the opportunity to invest in the mining sector, they are ready to spend US$10 million for charity goals from every US$1 billion. For example, if these three companies will have the opportunity to invest US$1 billion each in Zambia, it means that US$30 million will go for charity – children, health sector, sport activities, etc.”
He said he had an agreement with the three companies that when they invest in Zambia they should sponsor football.
“It is the practice of Russian businesses if they invest money in any particular country a certain amount of money goes to charity,” Ambassador Azimov said.
He urged the Zambian government to cancel some licences of companies that had not started geological surveys to give chance to huge investment from Russia.
“The Zambian economy will benefit from these investments if the Russian companies are given an opportunity to invest here,” said Ambassador Azimov. “I hope the Zambian government will use this chance.”
By T. M. Mukelabai
Friday December 28, 2007 [03:00]
Over the past year we have continually been short-changed by our so-called leaders through the mediocre leadership they continue exhibiting on all fronts, be it political, religious, economic or social.
Every day we are subjected to lies with forked tongues, accusations with crooked fingers, denials behind tinted windows, dishonesty under cover of high office and darkness and a complete lack of dignity and integrity.
No one cares for the lot of us. Our leaders go on for days filling the columns of our daily papers with news that you expect to find at a mukotokoto.
When are we ever going to see someone come through and say "citizens, here is a fresh start, enough is enough!" Whether MMD or opposition, former or current political, business or religious leaders and the rest of the pretenders, they all exhibit symptoms of a very sick society which badly needs spiritual healing.
Friday December 28, 2007 [03:00]
I would like to comment on Masebo's remarks as reported in The Post dated 27/12/2007 under headline " attributes councils' bad service to poor management" and she went further to say other councils have failed to perform because of poor management and lack of proper leadership. I would like to appeal to politicians to stop making cheap statements and at the same time looking for cheap popularity from the rest of Zambians, of which Masebo is doing right now.
Masebo is the leader of local government and what has she done to those councils that are not performing? Has she given leadership? The answer in "NO". Has she taken any action? The answer is "NO".
The councils are busy misusing monies collected to pay themselves salaries, I am looking at service charges that are paid for which should go towards roads and other services in one particular area. Can Masebo tell the nation where the money in services charges has gone in areas like Kamwala/South, heavy industrial areas, etc.
What leadership has she given in Lusaka, for services in terms of roads, water, street lighting, where services charges has been paid? Look at roads in townships and industrial areas; there are no roads to talk about and here she is talking about leadership. Let us be serious with peoples welfare.
I am very disappointed that each time a politician opens his/her mouth, nothing tangible happens. Honestly fellow Zambians are we to sit and watch/hear from the so-called politicians keep on singing the same songs without results? I don't think so. Please let us stand up and be counted. Enough is enough.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Benazir Bhuttho AssasinatedBenazir Bhuttho Assasinated
This is a very sad day, not only for Pakistan, but for the world.
Benazir Bhutto killed in attack
Benazir Bhutto killed in attack at rally
Official PPP website
On the e-mail she left behind:
There is good germination of crops in most farming areas following the rains that have been falling countrywide. President of the Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs, Chief Fortune Charumbira, yesterday said germination was close to 100 percent in most rural areas. In an interview, he said traditional leaders were generally satisfied with the progress of the agricultural season despite incessant rains in some areas.
"In most areas, the early planted crops recorded a more than 98 percent germination. However, in some areas, some farmers have stopped planting because of the continuous rains," he said.
Most areas in Zimbabwe have been receiving rains for the past three weeks. Chief Charumbira said many farmers were enthusiastic about the season.
"Despite the rains many farmers are still keen on planting and we hope as a country we will be able to meet our targets."
Chiefs, he said, were keen to ensure that the country becomes self-sufficient in food.
"We have been meeting the villagers telling them about Government programmes and the targets that were set for this season. I am happy because in most areas people have indicated that they will be able to meet the one-hectare per family as targeted by the Government."
He said chiefs in cattle ranching provinces were also happy with the rains, as their livestock would have enough pastures and water.
He, however, said the Government needed to put more resources into cattle farming in the same way it was doing for crops.
"Communities from cattle ranching areas are saying they also want to benefit from Government programmes as a way of improving this important sector."
The Government has dubbed this season "The Mother of All Agriculture Seasons" putting in place a number of measures to ensure that the country records a bumper harvest.
Among the measures is the provision of agricultural machinery and implements under the Farm Mechanisation Programme.
The Government is also importing seed and fertilizer to augment local production.
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday December 27, 2007 [03:00]
FINANCE Bank Zambia Limited has disbursed about K6 billion under its Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Twikatane Loan Facility pilot project. Finance Bank director of corporate banking and marketing Noel Nkoma said the bank had a good year with indicative results showing growth. In October this year, Finance Bank announced that it had grown its asset base to K1.3 trillion, with customer deposits inching closer to the K1 trillion target set for this year.
“The Bank’s balance sheet has now exceeded K1.3 trillion and the profit projections indicate a figure in excess of K80 billion before tax,” he said.
“We expect to hit the K100 billion mark by April 2008 after a complete roll-out in all the branches across the country.”
Nkoma added that the bank’s loan book had also grown from K400 billion (2006) to well over K600 billion in the year 2007 with deposits expected to hit K1 trillion.
“The recently launched products of Mukango interest accounts and the FBZ senior citizens accounts have exceeded targets to hit a combined figure of K30 billion,” he said.
Nkoma said the bank was showing remarkable growth and that the next year would bring more positive results.
Nkoma said the bank next year intends to consolidate its market share and roll-out new products which would be solution based so as to meet the bank’s customers ever evolving expectations.
By Namakau Nalumango and Ntalasha Mutale
Thursday December 27, 2007 [03:00]
Anti-Corruption commissioner Akashambatwa Mbikusita-Lewanika has observed that there is no sufficient united efforts to fight corruption in Zambia. And Mbikusita-Lewanika has advised former president Frederick Chiluba not to personalise issues regarding corruption. In an interview in Lusaka on Monday, Mbikusita-Lewanika said law enforcement officers were no more corrupt than other members of society.
“Am very concerned about the levels of corruption in our society as a whole. Law enforcement officers come from our society and I do not think they are particularly more corrupt than the rest of society they are members of,” he said.
“I think in every sector of our society, unfortunately and shamefully, there is too much evidence of corruption, there is too much tolerance and admiration of the corrupt and there isn’t sufficient united effort to fight corruption. Whether you look at the police force, the church people, you are likely to find a social cancer which is not likely to know sectoral borders and that’s what the case is.”
Mbikusita-Lewanika was responding to a question on what he thought about corruption among law enforcement officers. He challenged ordinary citizens to be committed not to be corrupt and also not to corrupt others.
“The fight against corruption must start at a very persona level. It is quite useless for corrupt people to start finger pointing at other people because if those fighting corruption have the credibility of being upright themselves, then they tend to fight against it,” Mbikusita-Lewanika said.
And commenting on the verbal battle between Chiluba and Lusaka businessman Rajan Mahtani, Mbikusita-Lewanika said important principles get left out when issues were being personalised.
“What is important is the principle that if anybody knows some wrong doing that has been done, they should report it. They should give sufficient information about what they know to enable law enforcement officers because they would need that evidence,” he said.
“So it is not particularly helpful to just be grumbling outside, on the streets and on the papers and without specifications and without directing your complaint to the right authority.”
Mbikusita-Lewanika said wrangling was not very good material for investigations.
By Patson Phiri
Thursday December 27, 2007 [03:01]
INFORMATION and broadcasting services minister Mike Mulongoti has said he is interested in succeeding President Mwanawasa ahead of the 2011 Presidential polls. Mulongoti, who is also chief government spokesman, has also warned former president Frederick Chiluba that he risks breaching the oath of secrecy that requires him not to reveal state secrets.
In an interview, Mulongoti said he had ambitions to succeed President Mwanawasa but he would weigh his options depending on the credibility of those who would announce similar intentions.
Mulongoti said he qualifies to lead the MMD as president but he could not declare yet.
He said at some point, he would assess other candidates and make a declaration thereafter.
He said he has ambitions to succeed President Mwanawasa because he had served the party for a very long time.
Mulongoti also welcomed Professor Clive Chirwa’s intention to succeed President Mwanawasa as party president and subsequently Republican president.
He said even as Prof Chirwa aspired for the post of party president, he should bear in mind that he was subject to the same rules as the rest of the members of the party.
Mulongoti explained that for one to become the party president he must have been a member of the party for three years or more.
He added that the MMD had a lot of competent people who qualified to become party president.
Mulongoti wondered why Prof Chirwa should make a serious declaration such as becoming leader of the ruling party when his village was unknown to most members.
He said leaders should be known by Zambians but for now, Prof Chirwa’s chief remained unknown.
And Mulongoti said Chiluba was required by law to keep quiet for 20 years before he could start commenting on sensitive matters that he committed while in office.
Mulongoti was commenting on a statement by Chiluba that he gave a motor vehicle each to the sons of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, Kaweche and Panji.
He said at the rate Chiluba was going, he could be arrested for breaching the Oath of secrecy.
He challenged Chiluba to report corrupt practices that he knew about in the ruling MMD or keep quite.
Mulongoti said Chiluba had an opportunity to deal with corruption while he was in power but he never did that.
He said each person had the freedom of expression but at the rate the former president was moving, he was likely to cross his boundaries.
Mulongoti advised Chiluba to be careful in the way he conducted himself as a former leader.
He also added that Chiluba had over-dramatised businessman Rajan Mahtani’s matter.
Mulongoti said Chiluba sounded very bitter with Mahtani and this might be due to dealings that they conducted together.
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday December 27, 2007 [03:00]
Lusaka economist Chibamba Kanyama has accused commercial banks in the country of charging high interest rates despite the government’s measures to increase their cash flows. According to Kanyama who is also Economics Association of Zambia national secretary, it was sad that despite several government pleas and pragmatic policy steps to have commercial banks reduce interest rates, most commercial banks in Zambia still charge exorbitant interest rates.
“As we conclude the year, I wish to point out that lending rates are pegged at over 30 per cent for most banks, a move that is highly destructive for private sector investment,” he noted.
Kanyama wondered which investment in Zambia could yield a net return of 2.5 per cent per month for it to service the loan and still remain with enough funds to re-invest.
“No wonder the private sector is constantly hooked to commercial borrowing because all gains end up with the banks,” he said.
Kanyama said the private sector in the country had been told that base rates were below 20 per cent on average and yet the hidden charges still brought the real interest rates paid to as high as 30 per cent.
“The banks have recently announced that base rates have been reduced in the country through the media and I am sure such statements are meant to hoodwink the government into believing commercial banks have responded to its policy,” he charged.
“The spread between the deposit rate and lending rate is widening every month, which is in deep contrast to policy measures instituted by the government and the Bank of Zambia.”
Kanyama said just recently, the Bank of Zambia reduced the statutory reserve ratios with commercial banks and the nation expected that with the increase in bank cash reserves, clients would witness a corresponding reduction in interest rates but this was not the case.
“The government has gone further to issue a long-dated bond to lock in interest rates within a certain margin but banks have not responded positively,” he further charged.
Kanyama said banks did not realise that their stand to maintain interest rates at such high levels had marginalised potential Zambian investors who seek to borrow.
"Only a few selected clients access these funds and at rates much lower than what is available to everyone,” he said.
Kanyama wondered whether Zambia’s economy would ever grow with such a small number of players participating in the economy.
“We certainly do not expect economic expansion if banks lack the necessary creativity and innovation in an economy undergoing economic change,” he said.
Kanyama said banks in Zambia have not been pro-active and needed to be taught a lesson.
“A lot of people who can positively participate in the economy have suffered and we cannot continue to have such a situation in the country,” said Kanyama.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
LAND REFORM POLICIES
The South African land reform policies of the first non-racial democratic government begin with the Constitution, the Rural Development Programme (RDP) and a process of consultation involving community level research and advice from international experts, the most influential being from the World Bank.
The RDP, which was essentially the election manifesto of the African National Congress (ANC) in 1994, had five key programmes: “meeting basic needs; developing our human resources; building the economy; democratising the state and society, and implementing the RDP.” Land reform is largely dealt with under the programme of meeting basic needs and also referred to under building the economy. The RDP makes clear an intention to have a process of restitution for those dispossessed of land by racial laws and a redistribution of land to those who need it.
A specific target of redistributing 30% of agricultural land within five years was set. The RDP suggests a range of measures for redistributing land including a land tax to free up land, “substantial funding”, expropriation of land, and support services to ensure effective land use. It is important to note that the RDP was completed after the interim constitution was written and put its plans for land reform within the confines of the provisions on land contained within the constitution.
Not surprisingly, the RDP did not go far beyond listing a lot of good intentions and wishes. It did not address difficult issues of how to avoid or deal with the consequences of disrupting existing commercial agriculture or the resistance to fundamental change that was bound to come from landowners and from international business interests. The intentions set out in the RDP would, had they been decisively acted on, have gone someway to bringing about a fundamental transformation of property relations. The test of the RDP came at the point when it had to be made into implementable policies and laws with budgets attached.
The main weakness lay in the compromises contained in the section on building the economy that fell short of mapping out a path of radical economic restructuring. The few intimations in the RDP of anything outside a narrow free-market ideology, such as statements like “increasing the public sector in strategic areas through, for example, nationalisation,” were soon vanquished from future economic policies and statements. The clause already revealed an uncertainty as it fell short of saying that there would be widespread nationalisation as part of building a strong state capable of driving economic transformation. Nationalisation, became a “for example” and is quickly followed by talk of purchasing shares in companies and joint ventures with the private sector. Talk of democratising the economy and involving workers in decisions about the economy have in practice never gone beyond rhetoric.
The constitution of South Africa was a result of and a key part of the negotiated settlement that ended Apartheid. Section 25 that deals with land rights was hotly debated. The resulting compromise set the political direction for the handling of land reform and set the legal parameters within which land reform has to be dealt with. The basic land to the tiller sentiment of the freedom charter that called for land to belong to those who work it was not given expression in the constitution. The sentiment, expressed in the preamble, “that South Africa belongs to all who live in it,” finds no place in the property clause.
The constitution recognises existing property rights in sections 25(1) and in section 25(2) allows for expropriation only “for a public purpose or in the public interest” and with compensation being paid. Section 25(4) goes on to say; “the public interest includes the nation’s commitment to land reform.” The constitution not only allows for expropriation, but makes specific mention that land reform is a grounds for expropriation. The compensation to be paid does not have to be at market rates, there are four other factors that have to be considered including “the purpose of the expropriation”. Section 25(8) says that “no provision of this section may impede the state from taking legislative and other measures to achieve land, water and related reform, in order to redress the results of past racial discrimination.”
Sub-sections 25(5), (6), and (7) require the state to take legislative measures to; ensure that there is equitable access to land, people with insecure tenure get secure tenure or equitable redress, and people dispossessed of land rights due to racially discriminatory laws or practices can claim back those rights. These sections oblige the state to deal with aspects of land reform while also recognising current property rights. Thus the constitution is a constraint to the changing property relations in as far as it protects existing property rights, requires compensation to be paid for land to be used for land reform and does not establish clear rights to property for all South Africans or even for those who work the land.
On the other hand the constitution does create an obligation on the state to have land reform and leaves space for far reaching reforms if the state is willing and able to make available sufficient finances and to implement a programme that can make the most of the land reform possibilities within the constraints.
The 1997 White Paper on South African Land Policy sets for itself a wide range of objectives ranging from dealing with the injustices of racially based land dispossession, to promoting economic growth and providing “secure tenure for all.” The white paper also states that the vision is “of a land policy and land reform programme that contributes to reconciliation, stability, growth and development in an equitable and sustainable way.” The White paper does not offer a vision of a transformed rural society nor does it set clear targets for land redistribution. What it offers is a process, involving compromises for the sake of reconciliation, which it is hard to imagine dealing effectively with the massive apartheid created disparities in land access and economic power.
There is an emphasis in the document on giving land rights and opportunities to the poor and addressing gender issues in land ownership. But the impact of these intentions will be limited by the lack of fundamental reform of land ownership.
In the implementation plans the White paper continues to compromise and fails to provide decisive programmes for fundamental change. It sets a limited role for the state and makes it clear that “redistributive land reform will be largely based on willing-buyer willing seller arrangements.” Limiting the role of the state further it is said that the government “will in general not be the buyer or owner. Rather it will make land acquisition grants available”. Apart from the case of Labour Tenants there is no clear intention to give rights to land to those who live and work on it such as other farm dwellers. Instead they are offered access to grants for off farm settlements and on farm settlements where the owners of the land agree. This does not address at all the difficulty of accessing suitable land in the face of the intransigence of farm owners despite the fact that farm dwellers have often lived on the land for generations.
Where the white paper completely falls down is in failing to link land reform to any broader transformation of the economy. The failure to ever mention the concept of agrarian reform appears to be no accident as the policies steer clear of any restructuring of rural economic and political power relations that would need to be part of any agrarian reform programme. The agrarian reform that has gone on over the last decade in South Africa has involved the dramatic liberalisation of the agricultural sector and the engagement in international trade deals. These have happened with no reference to the land reform programme. Land reform policy has, in failing to set land reform as a central part of economic transformation accepted the current dominant economic system and therefore limited change in property rights to changes in land ownership that will not disrupt the economic order, but will if possible re-enforce it.
The budgetary commitments of the government are a practical expression of its policy priorities. In the case of land reform the budgets are the clearest indication of the lack of commitment to making land reform work and show that there is no intention of meeting even the limited promises made in policy pronouncements. In order to achieve a redistribution of only 30% of agricultural land over 15 years the government will be required to spend approximately R1.67billion Rand per year for fifteen years. Unfortunately the government has only budgeted around R500million per year for the next three years for both redistribution and restitution (which does not always get used for land purchases). Over the last years even less than this has actually been spent on land for land reform. It has been argued that the budget is low due to the inability of the Department to spend the money. However, if there were a commitment to implementation the response to such capacity constraint would surely be to deal with capacity problems, including the personnel and programme management budgets, rather than cutting the budgets for these as is being done.
Johannesburg, South Africa
05 July 2007 04:41
Hundreds of squatters invaded private land near Pietermaritzburg last week and began to erect makeshift homes. This is the type of image an investor-friendly country like South Africa is keen to avoid. It is the latest in a series of not-always-reported land invasions since democracy in 1994, coincides with a report on South Africa by 26 African Union members chiding the government over its slow progress on land reform.
It also comes just a week after African National Congress (ANC) members at the party's policy conference recommended more aggressive measures to accelerate the redistribution of land, including expropriations and regulation of foreign ownership.
Thirteen years after the ANC came to power promising to right the wrongs of colonialism and apartheid by returning lands seized by white settlers, the snail's pace of delivery is prompting poor black communities to fend for themselves through land grabs.
Despite representing only 9,6% of the population, white people in South Africa still own more than 80% of farm land, and black farmworkers still live in a situation of quasi-serfdom.
"We're sitting on a [time] bomb and we cannot allow that to go off," Deputy Agriculture and Land Affairs Minister Dirk du Toit told a media briefing earlier this year.
The government has promised to put 30% of white-owned farm land -- 25-million hectares -- in black hands by 2014, but reaching that target would require jacking up the pace of land reform tenfold, from an average 300 000ha a year since 1994 to three million hectares each year.
Given the scale of the task facing it, the government this year for the first time abandoned the willing-buyer, willing-seller principle in carrying out its first expropriation.
The expropriation of the land, which was the subject of a claim under the restitution scheme -- for people dispossessed of their land since 1913 -- came after stalled price negotiations between the owners and the state.
Mention expropriations in South Africa and people immediately think of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe where thousands of white farmers were ousted since 2000 -- mostly with paltry or no compensation.
While South Africa has always rubbished any comparisons with Zimbabwe, more expropriations of white-owned farms are on the cards.
The government is also talking about regulating foreign ownership of land, blaming foreigners -- who, it claims, hold 3% of the land -- for shoving up property prices.
In the meantime, however, it is black farmworkers who are being ejected from farms in large numbers. The mechanisation of agriculture means farmers no longer require the services of hundreds of thousands of live-in farm workers. Joblessness usually spells homelessness for an entire family.
A report commissioned by land rights NGO Nkuzi Development Association found that farm workers are being turfed off the land quicker than the state can give them their own plot: between 1994 and July 2005, an estimated 199 611 households were evicted, compared with the 164 185 households that benefited from land reform.
"We're not near to getting this really solved," Du Toit said during a media tour in the Western Cape in March to quell criticism of land reform by showcasing what the ministry calls "successful" projects.
An estimated 95% of projects go belly up, Professor Ben Cousins, land-reform specialist at the University of the Western Cape, said in a radio interview, in which he accused the state of subjugating sustainability to speed.
Restrictions on the subdivision of land mean that new black owners, instead of each receiving a portion of a commercial farm to call their own, are forced into communal ownership schemes that are riven by infighting and freeloaders.
The other criticism usually levelled at land reform is that many of the beneficiaries have little farm-management experience and that some, plucked from townships, have no farm experience whatsoever.
Some white farmers are electing to stay on as mentors, like the Keller brothers who sold their 83ha farm outside Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape to their farm workers. The Kellers have retained a majority stake in the business while training the new owners in what is being hailed as a model form of cooperation between black and white.
But after just one year the Kellers say the new owners, who still look on the previous owners as their bosses, are not "responsible enough" and that they may never have full ownership of the business. -- Sapa-dpa
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
FOR seven years now, the British government has sustained a campaign against President Mugabe of Zimbabwe. It describes his country as corrupt and non-democratic. It considers him a brutal dictator who must be voted out of power. In its estimation, he is too old; Zimbabweans deserve a democratic government, human rights, regular meals and a stable currency. This is also the mindset of the British media on the matter. You cannot surpass the BBC or the Economist in this propaganda.
These foot soldiers of neo-imperial Britain have trekked miles to sell their campaign of calumny against (Cde) Mugabe. For example, the Economist of March 15, 2007 raised this alarm for the umpteenth time: "Once the bread-basket of southern Africa and one of the continent’s wealthiest countries, Zimbabwe is now a basket-case and suffers a severe shortage of food.
"It is also the world’s fastest-shrinking peacetime economy, with unemployment now standing at 80 percent. Its inflation rate is the world’s highest: currently 1 730 percent, although the IMF thinks that figure could rise to over 4 000 percent by year’s end.
"From infant mortality to life below the poverty line, the country’s unhappiest trendlines run remorselessly upwards. To stifle dissent and quash opposition, Zimbabwe has been turned into a police state where elections are routinely rigged."
Two weeks later, on the 29 March, the tireless Economist said: "Zimbabwe’s despotic leader, a man of puzzlingly different identities, is a past master at holding on." Certainly, when it comes to their interest, even the "civilised" will abandon etiquettes and embrace insults.
In its war against (Cde) Mugabe, Britain has succeeded in conscripting other European states.
Jose Barroso, the European Commission President, was reported by the BBC as telling representatives of over 80 EU and African countries that "Africa and Europe should be able to discuss human rights and governance in a true spirit of partnership... Frankly, we hope that those who fought for independence and freedom in their countries now can also accept this freedom for their own citizens."
Birds of the same feather, you will say. The occasion was a joint meeting to reinvent African dependence on Europe, now that China is stealing the show.
Yes. Let us speak frankly, Mr Barroso. What good has Europe in its suitcase that it did not offer for over 200 years now? Africans know the answer very well: nothing, but further exploitation.
And this is the crux of the matter when it comes to Zimbabwe. It is not Zimbabwe. It is not (Cde) Mugabe either. It is a long standing phenomenon of exploitation. Simple.
(Cde) Mugabe has understood this long ago. With seven degrees, he is not unlettered even by British standards.
He has read the history of his country since when Cecil Rhodes stepped his foot on his land.
Even the BBC could not hide telling us the fraud and pittance at which the British miner acquired the land from its ruler, Lobengula.
In a recent report, it said Cecil "obtained exclusive mining rights from the Ndebele king, Lobengula, in return for £100 a month, 1 000 rifles, 10,000 rounds of ammunition, and a riverboat."
Rhodes later claimed, in a typical colonial manner, that the deal included land. More settlers poured in the 1890s.
The Crown could not be left behind. It joined the loot by appropriating the entire land of Southern Rhodesia in 1918.
So (Cde) Mugabe was right when he demanded that land compensation due to white farmers should be paid by the British government. It caused the problem in the first instance, he rightly insists. It granted the settlers self government in 1923.
This was followed by a wild grab following the Land Apportionment Act of 1930, with Africans forcefully ejected out of the land they lived on for centuries. It is this robbery that is the basis of the crisis in Zimbabwe, not democracy or human rights.
The result of that grab is described in Wikepedia: "Zimbabwean whites, although making up less than 1 percent of the population, owned more than 70 percent of the arable land, including most of the best land.
However, in many cases this land was more fertile because it was titled, resulting in incentives for commercial farmers to create reservoirs, irrigate, and otherwise tend the soil.
Communal lands, with no property rights, were characterised by slash and burn agriculture, resulting in a tragedy of the commons."
This is the epitome of greed that is characteristic of British colonial practice. Yet, in spite of the robbery, it has the temerity to call Zimbabwe corrupt. Robbery is the worst form of corruption.
Therefore, Zimbabwe is not the problem as Germany’s Markel put it. It is Britain.
The sins it committed in Africa will continue to haunt it. The problem in Zimbabwe is not (Cde) Mugabe. It is the injustice in land distribution which the British government is fighting hard to perpetuate in the manner poverty is perpetuated among South African black majority.
(Cde) Mugabe has refused to allow Zimbabwe to be like today’s South Africa.
The British government reneged on its promise under the Lancaster Agreement of 1979. Out of the pledge of £630 million, Britain actually paid only £17 million, using cronyism as an excuse.
Lancaster, hinged on "willing seller, willing buyer principle" was one of those cleverly contrived colonial agreements which were impregnated with failure in the interest of the masters. So what Britain gave with right hand, it took away with the left.
Knowing that Zimbabwe would not have the funds to settle white farmers, it abandoned the agreement in middle of the river. Twelve years after Lancaster, less than half of the 160 000 families were settled. "Mr. Robert," it told (Cde) Mugabe, "you are on your own." The line was drawn, said the old Mr. Robert.
And (Cde) Mugabe proved a true son of Africa. I am proud of him. Ten years after Lancaster, he passed a new legislation, the Land Acquisition Act of 1992, in which he removed the "willing seller willing buyer" clause of fraud and gave government the power to acquire land compulsorily. Mu je zuwa.
The white farmers cried foul.
Wait, you will cry tears, (Cde) Mugabe silently replied. Five years later he published 1,471 farmlands that were penciled down for compulsory "purchase." The following year, (Cde) Mugabe published "the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme Phase II, which envisaged the compulsory purchase over five years of 50 000 km’ from the 112 000 km’ owned by commercial farmers (both black and white), public corporations, churches, non-governmental organisations and multi-national companies."
As usual donors made pledges at a conference on the programme in Harare, which, as usual, they did not redeem.
Now (Cde) Mugabe went for his last option: compulsory acquisition of land without compensation. However, a gang, composed of academics, unionists, white farmers and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), defeated a constitutional reform in the parliament that would have given him that mandate in 2000. I like the drama that followed.
The review in Wikipedia continued: "A few days later, the pro-Mugabe War Veterans Association organised like-minded people to march on white-owned farmlands, initially with drums, song and dance . . . A total of 110 000 km’ of land was seized."
The British government should endure its own pill. As the white settlers gladly acquired the fertile land of Zimbabwe yesterday, the blacks have gladly retrieved it today. This is not a racial war, I must quickly add. It is simply balancing the equation of justice. (Cde) Mugabe cannot spend ten years in prison and fight another decade of guerilla war for nothing. He fought it to recapture the lands of Zimbabwe from the whites. He refused to be an indolent puppet.
Understandably, we should not blame Britain either for its support to white farmers. Blood, they say, is thicker than water. It is protecting the interest of its race and Crown — something it is good at.
The propaganda will therefore continue. In addition, some Africans, claiming to be the opposition, have been recruited as mercenaries. Britain is giving them all the support it can afford to defeat (Cde) Mugabe such that democracy will return and Zimbabwean economy will boom once more in the hands of its white farmers and multinationals. What a dream!
But Africa is never short of betrayers. They were there during the slave trade.
They are here today, as Abubakar Ladan said: "A cikinmu akwai wasu ‘yan iska/ Burinsu a karkasa Africa/ Su sayar da kasa eka-eka/ Su barmu a rabe cikin bukka/ Abadan ba a haka Afrika.(Among us there are rascals, whose interest is to divide Africa, to sell its land acre by acre, leaving us hiding in huts/ it will never be done (again) in Africa)."
(Cde) Mugabe will not budge either. He understands that there is an organic link between him and the African soil.
"Nothing frightens me," he told the Economist, "I make a stand and stand on principle here where I was born, here where I grew up, here where I fought and here where I shall die."
Africa understands the Zimbabwean game very well. That is why it sees (Cde) Mugabe as a hero. When the European Union barred (Cde) Mugabe from attending the "Lisbon café", other African leaders said to hell with the talks.
The Europeans acquiesced, though British Prime Minister failed to turn up. Oho dai.
At the 10th anniversary of South African independence in 2004, (Cde) Mugabe received "a deafening applause," according to the Economist. Britain and its allies could not hide their surprise that, despite the elaborate propaganda, the guy is the most popular leader in Africa.
The magazine reported Gareth Evans, former Australian foreign minister as saying: "I cannot figure out why he is being applauded when he has destroyed his country."
It is a matter of choice, Mr. Gareth. Possession is better than skill, as Abubakar Ladan said: Ai samu ya fi iyawa, shi/ Kwado bai mallaki do dukushi/ A ruwa aka sanshi makomarshi/ Nan ne zai samu abincin shi/ Yayi wasanni da nishadinshi.
It seems I have dwelled so much on the history and politics of modern Rhodesia. We are undoubtedly unhappy that fellow Africans are living in hardship there, as a result of British machinations.
Showing solidarity with (Cde) Mugabe is good, but Africa must do better. Zimbabweans deserve more. Our policy must not be restricted to politics. It must include economics too.
Africa can greatly help the situation by coming to the aid of Zimbabwe. (Cde) Mugabe has fought gallantly all his life. Despite the poor economy, he insists on educating his people. The literacy level in Zimbabwe is the highest in Africa: 85%! It is time we come to his aid and we have the resources to do so. If we must pay any compensation, it must not be more than the cost of the "1 000 rifles, 10 000 rounds of ammunition, and a riverboat" with which Mr. Rhodes bought the land of Zimbabwe in the 1880s. In fact, we must not pay any compensation. The lease has expired. Or we can argue that Lebengula agreed to the transaction under duress. Shi ke nan.
Instead, let us focus on equipping Zimbabweans with the resources they need to till its lands mechanically as Britain helped its white farmers. How much does it take? If we had resolved to do so since 1979, the problem would have been over by now.
A country like Nigeria was spending a million dollars in Liberia everyday for many years, just because it pleased the Americans.
It recently built a billion dollar stadium, squandered over $7 billion on roads, $8 billion on failed electricity, etc. A country that can afford these and has presently over $50billion in reserve can also be prompted by the African spirit of solidarity to spend a million dollars a day in Zimbabwe. Certainly. Certainly. Yar’adua, please listen. Just what sense does it make when Nigeria says Africa is the cornerstone of our Foreign policy when Zimbabweans are left to suffer in despair?
More so, Nigeria is not the only country that can do that without feeling the slightest pinch. Libya is there, wanting to become the leader of Africa.
To achieve his dream, Gaddafi must listen to al-Mutanabbi: the loyalty of free people is earned by generosity. Both Nigeria and Libya helped (Cde) Mugabe when he was a guerilla fighter. They should help him as a President. The war is not over. Let our leaders rise to the occasion. The wolf — Britain — that once lurch our backyard has eaten our ancestors and devoured our land. We cannot leave it to devour our Shona and Ndebele brothers.
It wants to install its puppet as it did in other parts of Africa. Giving the white farmers of Zimbabwe lands in Nigeria as their agent, Obasanjo, did is a slap on the face of Africa.
Nigerians should send them packing too. They cannot be bad for Zimbabwe and good for us.
The crown, if it has any sympathy for the white farmers, should recall them to England and distribute the royal property it usurped from peasants during the feudal past.
I am convinced that (Cde) Mugabe has fought gallantly. His defeat in the hands of imperialists, may God forbid, will be our defeat. We must come to his aid. Just as we successfully waded off British propaganda against (Cde) Mugabe, we must generously help Zimbabwe financially out of its present state of despair. — Daily Trust (Abuja).
By Torby Chimhashu
Last updated: 12/20/2007 14:14:04
ZIMBABWE’S central bank governor has sensationally said he is ready to name corrupt officials in President Robert Mugabe’s ruling Zanu PF party if he is invited by Parliament. Gono’s extra-ordinary chellenge to Zimbabwe’s MPs came just a week after he accused President Mugabe's cronies of fuelling the country's runaway inflation through illicit dealings.
Gono told the Zanu PF congress last week that some top government and ruling party officials were among "cash barons" blamed for the current cash shortages that have seen customers waiting long hours for scarce money.
And on Wednesday, in an interview with state television after a speech to announce the introduction of higher denomination banknotes to help end the cash crunch, Gono said he was ready to name names.
The central bank chief said he had the support of President Mugabe and would not be intimated by the politicians in his quest to have them brought to justice.
He said: “It's true I know three quarters of those politicians involved in illegal activities. If challenged in circumstances that do not lend me in conflict with my ethics, I could tell the nation now.
"(However) I would be happy to name these people in a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Budget and Finance. If they (Parliamentary Committee) have the guts, they can call me tomorrow, anytime, whether it is 6am, 12 noon or midnight and I would be happy to share with them and the nation. Let them call me and I will name these guys in the presence of the media.”
In comments that will send a chill in the corridors of power, Gono said corrupt Zanu PF officials were “getting away with murder”.
“Those who are perpetrating these malpractices are getting away with murder. Those that are working flat out to have them prosecuted are frustrated as these guys are either fined or let away,” Gono said.
"Imagine someone caught with kilogrammes of gold is allowed to go scot-free. Yet it is not so long ago that the police were complaining about sharks in their gold investigations.
"This governor will not be intimidated. I have the full support of my principal. This time there are no roadblocks. We are saying to cash barons come with your sack or trunk of money and we will talk. There is every reason for them to be very afraid," he said in reference to the new measures he put in place Wednesday to ease cash shortages.
He de-monetised the $200 000 bearer cheques and replaced them with $250 000, $500 000 and $750 000.
The $200 000 bearer cheques will expire on December 31, and after the deadline, Gono said, the bearer cheques "would be useless manure".
Last updated: 12/20/2007 19:57:51
NEWLY-ELECTED ANC leader Jacob Zuma gave his backing Thursday to South Africa's controversial policy of "quiet diplomacy" towards its troubled northern neighbour Zimbabwe. In his first press conference as head of the governing party, Zuma defended the South African President Thabo Mbeki's refusal to publicly criticise his Zimbabwean counterpart Robert Mugabe, saying it "is better than any shouting from any part of the world."
Zuma also criticised a package of Western sanctions against Mugabe's regime, which the European Union and United States say do not affect Zimbabweans as a whole.
"I don't think sanctions have produced anything," said Zuma who used his inaugural speech as leader of the African National Congress to praise a number of African political parties including Mugabe's Zanu PF.
Zuma's victory in the ANC leadership contest puts him in pole position to succeed South African President Thabo Mbeki in 2009.
Mbeki was tasked earlier this year by his fellow leaders in southern Africa with mediating between the Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front and Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change ahead of elections next year.
Hopes of an agreement on the election framework have risen after the government recently agreed to soften some of its hardline security and media laws.
Zuma said measures such as the sanctions, which include a travel ban on Mugabe and his inner circle, had failed to produce results.
"What has worked in Zimbabwe outside our engagement? Nothing.". - AFP
By Laura Mushaukwa
Monday December 24, 2007 [03:00]
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) directors have emphasised the importance of raising electricity tariffs to levels consistent with the full cost recovery. According to the 2007 IMF executive directors’ assessment of Zambia’s development and policies, the directors considered development of the energy sector as vital to achieving a vibrant private sector and reducing poverty.
They commended Zambia for pursuing sound macroeconomic policies, which, together with high copper export prices and debt relief, had contributed to a strong economic performance.
They also noted that Zambia’s economic growth was robust, inflation had been brought under control, public finances and the external position had both improved.
The directors encouraged the government to take advantage of the favourable outlook to step up their efforts to further strengthen growth and reduce poverty in the context of the Fifth National Development Plan.
The IMF directors stressed the need for Zambia to focus on improving budget execution and creating fiscal space for increased spending on infrastructure and social sectors, strengthening project evaluation, implementation capacity, diversifying the economy to reduce the vulnerability to fluctuations in copper prices and further improving the conditions for private sector growth.
They further advised Zambia to manage the effects of high foreign exchange inflows as a way of maintaining macroeconomic stability.
However, the IMF directors warned against complications for liquidity management that could arise from weaknesses in budget execution and recent lowering of statutory reserve requirements.
They observed that the current exchange rate was consistent with external stability and aligned with economic fundamentals including a significant improvement in the terms of trade.
The IMF directors commended Zambia’s fiscal discipline, welcoming the targeted increase in revenues and shift towards capital spending and arrears reduction in the preliminary 2008 budget.
They noted that the projected growth in the government wage bill heightened the need to accelerate civil service and pay reform.
The IMF directors emphasised the importance of strengthening tax administration and widening the tax base and welcomed the efforts underway to increase revenue by aligning the fiscal regime for mining companies with international standards.
They saw further progress on strengthening public expenditure management as crucial to enhancing the effective use of public resources encouraging the government to step up implementation of the public expenditure management
They went on to stressed the importance of aligning the budget cycle with the fiscal year and finalising the new Procurement Act in order to improve budget execution.
The directors called for accelerated implementation of reforms to improve the business environment and welcomed governments’ commitment to an open trade regime to accelerate export development.