Saturday, March 08, 2008
By Raphael Mukuka
Saturday March 08, 2008 [03:00]
Whilst I do not condone riotous behaviour, I sympathise with the Chambishi miners who have been dismissed for the recent strike and the aftermath that ensued into a riot, destroying the mine’s property. There are two sides to the story though the only one being portrayed is the violence exhibited by the miners. First, the miners are working under poor conditions. Secondl, the negotiations over their conditions of service have prolonged without answers in sight.
Chambishi mine has been a source of concern for a long time now and the unions, together with the government, must have helped the poor miners obtain decent wages and improved conditions of service. Mining is a very hard job with many risks and the workers deserve more than what they are getting. If you work as a miner in a developed nation like Australia even at the lowest level, your wage cannot be lower than $1,000 per week. I’m not saying that a miner in Zambia can get the same wage as the one in Australia but they surely deserve decent salaries.
China has become the biggest importer of mineral ores all over the world due to their huge demand and this has raised mineral prices on the world market. Miners in Zambia also should benefit from this demand as the mines are accumulating enormous profits. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be in Zambia.
Whilst these talks go on for months, the workers still pay union fees on their low wages and as such, we need to create a system that works faster and better for the members in involved. For the workers to react the way they did, the problems must have existed for a long time. Zambians by nature are not violent people and for them to riot simply means they had lost hope in the system and took the action as a last resort.
Let’s face it, how many dialogues and good procedures have brought answers to the workers’ plight in Zambia? The owners of Chambishi mine are happy that they can intimidate their workers because not many people will be ready to fight for what is theirs after this incidence.
Zesco power outages
By Senior Manager Marketing & Public Relations - Zesco
Saturday March 08, 2008 [03:00]
Please refer to a letter by a concerned citizen published in this column on Tuesday 4th March, 2008.
The Citizen indicated his support for demonstrations over the power outages and further stated that the power shortages we are currently experiencing were predicted about 10 years ago and that the growth in demand has been gradual, giving us the opportunity to timely invest in new generation capacity.
We agree that power deficits were projected many years ago. However, no investment went into these plans due to changing policies. The government made a decision to privatise all state-owned enterprises and in consultation with other multilaterals, it was agreed that the economy was to be driven by the private sector. This is why the government created the Office for Promotion of Private Power Investments (OPPI) under the Ministry of Energy and Water Development.
Years passed and there was no investment coming from the private sector into the power plants. The government then decided that Zesco should develop Itezhi Tezhi and Kariba North Bank Extension. In the meantime, a lot of time was spent and lost debating on who should develop the projects while the electricity demand grew. While this was going on, Zesco as a public utility took a proactive role by embarking on the Power Rehabilitation Project. Rather than just rehabilitating the power plants, the plants were up-rated to increase their output. The up-rating will add 210 megawatts to the installed capacity and give some relief to the national electricity supply.
That notwithstanding, the energy sector has been liberalised, meaning that private investors who meet the set requirements can invest. However, despite this enabling environment created by the government, there has been low enthusiasm for investment in the sector. One constraining factor cited still remains to a large extent the un-economic tariffs.
The uneconomical tariff is a double edged sword. On one hand, it hinders those in the sector to effectively invest in maintenance and expansion and efficiently meet customer needs and creates unfavourable financial position to attract lender financing. The uneconomic tariffs also hinder prospective investors, especially those from the private sector whose survival is dependant on profitability from entering the sector. On the other hand, low tariffs attract investments into the country as we have seen from the mining, agricultural and industrial investors who have come in the country.
A company can invest using money from its reserves that it accumulates from its operations. In this case, the price at which electricity is sold should not be lower than the cost of production as has been the case. If the price is less than the cost, the company will continuously make losses hence hindering it from investing further.
A company can also invest with shareholder capital, and as has been already reported, the Government of the Republic of Zambia has indicated its preparedness to assist Zesco with finances to invest in increasing its generation capacity, a move that must be commended. A company can also borrow funds to invest with the expectation of realising enough returns to pay back the loans.
Inciting the public to demonstrate against power outages will not yield any tangible benefits.
Educating the public on using energy efficiently is more beneficial. The nation should focus more on what can be done to mitigate the power shortages and not creating more problems. People aspiring for public office must use their influence to bring about positive change and not fan anarchy at the expense of development. Issuing statements that send a message of chaos and hopelessness to the outside world, particularly those who have intentions to invest in the sector, will only damage the reputation of Zambia as a favourable investment destination that others are trying hard to build and sustain.
Load shedding does not discriminate against anyone on any basis other than technical and security considerations that can’t be compromised simply to appease a section of people. It is worthwhile to note that the current power shortage is a culmination of a number of factors to which all stakeholders must learn from and prevent future occurrences. Personal attacks and finger pointing is not the answer but harmonising and pooling experience, expertise and resources towards addressing the issue is what the people need.
The concerned citizen can contribute positively to the debate on load shedding by using energy efficient lighting, which saves 80 per cent of energy, switching off his/her geyser from 19:00 to 21:00 hours which will save him/her 50 to 70 per cent of the electricity bills. If we do this as individuals, communities and indeed as a nation, we can substantially reduce the amount of load shedding .
Monica Chisela (Mrs.)
By Northmead resident
Saturday March 08, 2008 [03:00]
Allow me space in your paper to express my disappointment with the events at Northmead market. The market is being run like an animal farm in which marketeers have no say on the affairs of the market.
The so called MMD chairman has been treating people like he is running his home. On Tuesday he hijacked the electricity project in which he is not a member and has no shop to use electricity. Efforts to involve the council have failed.
It seems the amended local gvernment Act on markets and bus stations is being ignored by these MMD cadres as they do things their way. This is a work place and not a political arena. My appeal to Lusaka City Council is to restore sanity at the market.I also ask other wings of gorvernment to come in the ACC and DEC.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
THE Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has submitted to a World Bank delegation that it has initiated a coordinated programme with other government agencies to clear imports and exports within 30 days. In its submission dated February 2008 to the World Bank for consideration in the Doing Business report for 2009, ZRA stated that importers, exporters and the World Bank should this year expect further reductions in processing times as the integrated border process was adopted throughout all borders in Zambia.
ZRA stated that customs clearance would be made easier, more transparent, and more accessible, and that the number of pre-qualified imports in ZRA’s customs accredited clients programme was expected to increase.
“The total number of days required to import products into Zambia has been reduced from 64 days in 2006 to 33 days in 2007 and the total number of days required to export products from Zambia has been reduced from 53 days in 2006 to 19 days in 2007,” it stated.
ZRA stated that in 2007, it undertook reforms aimed at streamlining the clearance processes of imports and exports.
“These efforts include full-time participation in a multi-agency Border Management Task Force (BMTF) which has mapped and re-designed clearance procedures – the BMTF has implemented an integrated border process at the Lusaka International Airport and the port of Lusaka. The significance of the integrated border process is that it allows
governmental agencies to simultaneously process imports and exports; implementation of a customs accredited clients programme which will permit accredited importers and exporters to clear borders through a green lane with only a cursory review of paperwork, that is, clear the border within two hours.
This programme conforms to a mandate by the World Customs Organisation and is the first of its kind implemented in Africa,” the ZRA stated.
“The refurbishment of the port of Lusaka and its empowerment to process imports, allowing shipments to proceed to Lusaka and clearances to be processed at bonded warehouses;
centralisation and upgrading of its ASYCUDSA++ software allowing sharing of data easily with Tanzania and Zimbabwe, as well as the application of uniform tariffs, discouraging importers’ use of different ports of entry to negotiate lower tariff and strengthening its post-audit capacities to allow review of a greater proportion of imports after delivery in Lusaka and other points in Zambia.”
ZRA stated that the integrated border process would be extended to Chirundu and Nakonde borders.
By Joan Chirwa
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
BP Zambia Plc has lost its application for judicial review of the competition commission’s rejection of its plans to solely control a Jet-fuel storage terminal at Lusaka International Airport. The court case followed the ninth (9th) Special Board meeting held in September 2007 at which Commissioners of the Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) rejected the application for the acquisition of Mobil Zambia Limited’s 50 per cent shares by BP Zambia Plc in the joint jet-fuel storage facility at the Lusaka International Airport.
In his ruling, Justice Phillip Musonda dismissed BP Zambia’s application with costs. In their assessment, the commissioners noted that the transaction was likely to substantially lessen competition in the relevant product market for jet-fuel at the Lusaka International Airport and would have had adverse effects on trade or the economy in general.
BP Zambia already owns 50 per cent shares in the jet-fuel storage facility at the Lusaka International Airport and it wanted additional 50 per cent shares of the exiting Mobil Zambia, a transaction that ZCC said would have led to uncompetitive practices in the sector.
“This was because the acquisition and eventual sole ownership (which is monopolisation) of the joint storage facility was going to entrench BP Zambia’s position in the supply of jet-fuel at the said airport, with potential for abuse of market power in relation to competitors and customers/consumers of jet-fuel at the airport,” stated the commissioners.
Commenting on the judgment, ZCC acting executive director Thula Kaira said that the ruling on BP Zambia was a landmark decision for the enforcement of competition law in Zambia.
“The Commission shall continue to exert its mandate to ensure that barriers to entry or market access in key domestic sectors such as the petroleum industry are curtailed and afford a market entry opportunity for other interested or prospecting entrepreneurs,” Kaira stated.
The Board further directed that Mobil Zambia’s shares be sold by public tender to interested third party Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) which should exclude Total Zambia Limited or any of its affiliates.
The new parties were to come up with an agreement to ensure equitable access to and from the storage facility within three (3) months after the Commission’s decision was communicated to them.
Mobil Zambia or its affiliates were to continue to utilise the jet-fuel facility under existing arrangements until such a time when the 50 per cent shares were accordingly disposed of to other OMCs.
Meanwhile, Total Zambia has also sued ZCC over the board’s determination that the 50 per cent shares of the exiting Mobil Zambia be sold to any other interested OMCs excluding Total or any of its affiliates.
By Kelvin Tembo
Saturday March 08, 2008 [03:00]
RAILWAY Systems of Zambia (RSZ) has signed a K7.6 billion deal with Toyota Zambia to procure utility vehicles to improve its operations. RSZ chief executive officer Benjamin Evens revealed this at the handover of newly acquired vehicles at Lusaka RSZ offices on Thursday. Evens said the company was committed to investing in its operations.
“The company is ready to revive the country’s railway transport sector through a direct cash investment to improve operations of the company,” Evens said.
He said the company had procured a fleet of brand new motor vehicles in form of light trucks and delivery vans from Toyota Zambia at K7.6 billion.
Evens said management had released an initial 16 vans at a cost of K1.52 billion which would be distributed to various railway stations along the line of rail.
“The vehicles are not for managers but specifically for improving the company’s operations, including rolling stock infrastructure as well as its service delivery,” Evens said.
And RSZ corporate affairs executive manager Charles Phiri said re-investment in equipment, motor vehicles and the recent rehabilitation of the passenger coaches would revive the railway transport sector.
Phiri also complained that the increasing levels of vandalism were hindering development for the company.
He called on members of the public to guard against vandalism to help the company improve its service delivery.
By Inonge Noyoo
Saturday March 08, 2008 [03:00]
Coming over here is nostalgic, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela has said.
Speaking on arrival at the Lusaka International Airport yesterday, Winnie said Zambia would always be dear to South Africa because of the help it provided during that country’s liberation struggle.
“I am very happy to be in Zambia. Coming over here is nostalgic, it is not a question of coming to Lusaka but returning back home; our political home. As I flew over Lusaka, all the memories just flooded my heart,” she said.
Winnie said Lusaka was very dear to most South Africans as it was synonymous with the country’s freedom. She said South Africa’s liberation could not have come without the assistance from the people of Zambia.
“I don’t think over time we have thanked this city enough. This city was home to all of us and it was home to almost all of our government. My coming to Lusaka is like reliving the memories. Thousands of South Africans crossed the borders to come to Lusaka and
the hospitality they received is unforgettable,” Winnie said.
She said the battle for South Africa’s liberation would not have been won without Zambia’s support.
“There would not have been winning without Lusaka. We got our ammunition and the tools that we needed to fight for our liberation from here,” she said.
And said women representation was not about percentages and could never be enough anywhere in the world.
She said women still had a long way to go for them to be treated as equals.
“Women representation has never been about quantity of women in decision-making positions but the equality and extent to which they participate. Women struggles are the same all over the world regardless of the region and regardless of whether it is in SADC or not, it is all the same it is a patriarchal struggle,” she said.
Winnie has been invited to be the guest of honor at the PFC International Women's Day dinner and Julia Chikamoneka Award presentation to be held at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel on Saturday.
Labels: WINNIE MANDELA
Posted on March 7th, 2008
Management at Chambishi Copper Smelter says it has not dismissed the striking workers. Company Secretary, Sun Chuanqi said the workers were merely being asked to explain why they took part in the riotous act. Mr. Sun said this in a statement to ZNBC News. He said it was not the company’s intention to dismiss the workers.
Mr. Sun said his company wants to establish why the workers decided to stay away from work for two days despite management and the union having agreed to continue with negotiations. He stressed that none of the employees have been fired. The workers have been given three days to exculpate themselves. Workers have since been asked to report back for work. Earlier reports had indicated that over 500 workers who went on strike and participated in the riot that caused damage to company property had been fired.
Meanwhile, three of the eight Chambeshi Copper Smelter workers have been charged with malicious damage to property while five union officials have been released. Both Copperbelt Province Police Commanding Officer, Antonell Mutentwa and National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) President, Mundia Sikufele confirmed the development to ZNBC News.
Mr. Mutentwa said that the union officials have been released unconditionally while the three mineers have been charged with malicious damage to property.
Police Wednesday, detained eight mine workers among them union officials following the riotous behaviour by workers which resulted into damage to company property.
In another development, Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) has awarded its employees an 18 per cent percent salary increment across the board.
Speaking at the signing ceremony of the new collective Agreement LCM Chief Executive Officer, Derek Webbstock said the increament will harmonize the working environment.
And Mine Workers Union of Zambia President, Rayford Mbulu assured the mining company of its continued support.
He said MUZ will work closely with LCM to enhance growth of the mining company.
Friday, March 07, 2008
By Concerned citizen
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
I am simply surprised at the arrogance of the mining companies. I reckon it is the inability of the government to implement the law.
Sovereignty is basically the freedom to create laws and collect taxes on behalf of the people. In this case, the Zambian goernment is not breaking any mining agreement but making a new law which should be followed by any miner, small or large.
Those agreements were under a different tax regime, the fact that the government went to Parliament when introducing the changes means that it is new law and he who does not like it should quit Zambia.
Zambia is a sovereign state because it has Parliament to make laws. If those companies do not pay the new tax, then they cannot and should not be in Zambia.
Limos and poverty
By Dr Henry I. Kasongo
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
The Sunday Post of March 2, 2008 on page 6 displayed, under the title 'Levy's visit to Gambia in pictures', pictures of His Excellencys sojourn in Gambia.
I wish to thank Ntembe Mwanawasa for this thoughtful initiative. She would have kept the pictures for herself if she wanted, but she decided to share them with the public.
Only one thing attracted my attention on all the pictures. Is it the president, the first ladies or the crowd? No. My attention went to the Hummer limousine. What an extravagancy in a continent where the majority are poor and jobless!
It is well known that the majority of African families live on less that 1 US dollar per day; and women are the most affected by poverty as they are the ones who fetch food for their families, look after orphans and nurse their sick husbands. Many families in Africa have no access to quality health care, clean water and education.
The prevalence of HIV/AIDS is high; and the number of orphans is increasing on a daily basis.
With this background of poverty in mind, one wonders why some African leaders are so wasteful, or should I say heartless.
Is it necessary to have such a mammoth vehicle for one person (the president of Gambia) and his family and waste tax-payers’ money on the maintenance of such an expensive motorcar while the majority of the Gambian people are suffering and living in a spiral of unemployment?
Things will only be fine in Africa when political leaders behave as responsible managers of their countries’ few resources and when they give more priority to the welfare of their citizens than to entertain their egoistic penchants.
'Chiluba sold us to Levy'
By Concerned Citizen
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
Allow me to air my views on the stance that Sata has taken when he argues that Chiluba sold us to Levy.
Which is better between being sold to your local or to the foreigners? It is very fearful that this man whom so many Zambians trust will turn the clock anti-clockwise.
I hope Sata has learnt from his past experience because in many ways, while he worked with Chiluba, he too contributed to the selling of many Zambians together with their properties, either by being active or passively involved.
How can Sata prove that he might not do the same to us? I have come to realise that politicians in Zambia are just using voters for their selfish interests.
Sata is today saying that Chiluba sold us to Levy. But he too, during the Chiluba era, sold our companies to foreign investors through the privatisation process and he indeed held a very high respectable position of minister without portfolio.
Did he not participate in the selling of our property which the KK government acquired ? Can he prove that he will not sell us, together with our belongings to the Taiwanese?
Sata, give us hope and do not use us as a means to meet your ends. Advise your MPs and other officials in PF to pay attention to the promises they gave to the voters prior to the 2006 elections. MMD is now declining in popularity.
They thought upgrading the roads in Kanyama would buy them votes. It turned otherwise. So, I hope you know that words may not buy you votes. We need the implementation of policies, not just words. We are tired of being used by selfish politicians.
Today, its Chiluba. But who knows who's turn it will be tomorrow? Watch your words.
By Concerned citizen
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
The Minister of Labour needs to step down on moral grounds because he has clearly failed to manage the ministry.
The stories of Chinese nationals not respecting Zambian laws must come to an end. The truth of the matter is that these Chinese investors need us more than we need them. We should have a win-win relationship but it seems our government values profits more than human lives.
This is the only country in the world (maybe Iraq too) where foreigners can break the law under the veil of investment. We are tired of seeing our workers fight to earn a decent wage. Foreign investment and economic development are pointless if the ordinary people of Zambia do not enjoy the benefits.
The minister does not need to have inspectors report to him because news of this abuse is in newspapers everyday. Has Mwanawasa sold his soul to the devil that he cannot stand up for his people anymore? What has he promised the Chinese that he cannot dare stand up to them?
We should be equal partners but what I see is a master-slave relationship. The patience of Zambians has been taken for granted for too long. If this is the price we have to pay for foreign investment, then Lord help us.
By Dr Daniel Maswahu,Cambridge, UK
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
The industrial unrests that are currently proliferating with the blessings of the MMD government are a cause for serious concern.
I do not believe it is a mere coincidence nor indeed xenophobia that there are riots at mining enterprises under the management of the Chinese. There is no need to open fresh wounds and remind ourselves of the poor industrial safety conditions that Chinese mining enterprises expose their workers to.
The constitution does not provide clear guidelines on a minimum wage and it is little wonder that miners are taking the law into their own hands. These are not mere riots or the grunting of career criminals, but they represent an encroachment on, and a test of the strength of our sovereignty.
There is sufficient demand on the world metal market and Zambia can easily attract investors with a good industrial safety record.
The question therefore is, to what extent can Zambians continue being abused before the government realises their suffering?
By Mutuna Chanda
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
THE Parliamentary Committee on Estimates has described as inconceivable government’s proposal of K600,000 as tax threshold and proposed to have it increased to K1 million. And chairperson of the committee Godfrey Beene has expressed concern over the use of the anticipated income from the mining sector after the new tax regime is effected.
Presenting the committee’s report on the proposed Income Tax Amendment Bill of 2008 in which finance minister Ng’andu Magande proposed to increase the tax-free threshold on employees’ incomes from K500,000 to K600,000 and the new mining taxes in Parliament on Wednesday, Beene said the government seemed not to have a criteria on which to base the minimum taxable amount of workers’ incomes.
“Research Mr Speaker, shows that the essential food basket for a family of six in Lusaka currently stands at K1,835,300,” Beene said. “Your committee urges government to move an amendment so as to increase the threshold to at least K1 million.”
But Magande said while many people had advocated a higher increase in the tax threshold, this could not be achieved in a single year.
And Beene urged the government to consult stakeholders including members of parliament over the utilisation of the revenue from the mines.
“Mr Speaker while commending government for this initiative, your committee is concerned about the utilisation of the anticipated income from the mining sector especially that it is not provided for in the 2008 budget,” Beene said.
He however said the new tax regime on the mines should be implemented immediately.
And when the Value Added Tax (VAT) Bill came up for second reading, Beene recommended that the VAT rate be reduced to 14 per cent instead of the proposed 16 per cent.
The government in this year’s budget reduced Value Added Tax rate from 17.5 per cent to 16 per cent.
But Beene said reducing the VAT rate further to 14 per cent would discourage tax evasion, especially at border entry points.
The Customs and Excise Amendment Bill also came up for second reading.
All the three bills passed the second reading and come up today at committee stage.
By Patson Chilemba
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
FORMER Republican vice-president Lieutenant General Christon Tembo (above) has said he is pondering on requests by many people asking him to return to active politics. In an interview yesterday, Lt Gen Tembo said he had no difficulties returning to active politics although this was something one should think about seriously.
“I have no difficulties coming back. At the same time, I’ve got to read the situation in the country. What do these political leaders think? I haven’t concluded yet but as at now, I know I have been approached by so many,” Lt Gen Tembo said. “So I have been approached to reconsider the decision. I want to do it properly...to think about it fully. At the same time I don’t want to disappoint the people. I think let me do a proper assessment.”
And commenting on what he thought was lacking in terms of leadership in the nation, Lt Gen Tembo said there was little attention being paid to the common man in the country. He said Zambians deserved more than what they have been able to get in terms of development.
Labels: CHRISTON TEMBO
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
A state witness in former Southern Province minister Joseph Mulyata’s corruption case has been recalled to explain President Levy Mwanawasa’s alleged involvement in the matter. This came to light yesterday when one of Mulyata’s lawyers re-applied before Livingstone magistrate Edsen Shanduba to recall a state witness to clarify on President Mwanawasa’s alleged involvement in Mulyata’s case.
Magistrate Shanduba has since ordered that a state witness be recalled to clarify conflicting statements on the role that President Mwanawasa is alleged to have played when Mulyata ordered for the irregular release of the impounded bus belonging to Lusaka businessman Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba (GBM) from the Livingstone weighbridge. This is in a matter in which former Southern Province minister Joseph Mulyata is charged with abuse of office.
Making the ruling, magistrate Shanduba said when he first rejected the defence’s application on Tuesday to recall state witness Edward Ntinda for further cross examination, it was not clear as to why the defence wanted Ntinda recalled.
“It is on record that when he (Ntinda) discussed with Honourable Mulyata, he said that he (Mulyata) told him that he was directed by the President to release the bus. The issue is a serious matter as the President is not a matter in this case. I cannot refuse that he (Ntinda) be recalled so that the name of the President is cleared,” magistrate Shanduba said.
In making the application, Sangwa said: “We would like to rely on the same reasons we made earlier. We would like to submit that through cross examining Mr Chibulu, we have realised there is a conflict that needs to be resolved as to what Mr Ntinda told the court.”
Another defence lawyer Mutemwa Mutemwa said the issue that needed to be reconciled was the allegation relating to President Mwanawasa who was not part of the case.
“If the court disregards the matter, the President’s name would be brought into disrepute. The purpose is to reconcile the witness’ statement and not to discredit him,” Mutemwa said.
But prosecutor Dennis Simwiinga objected to the application saying the defence had not cited any law with regards to the application and had not indicated whether it was an appeal against magistrate Shanduba’s Tuesday’s ruling in which he rejected the same application.
“We agree that the President is not in the dock, he was merely mentioned by a state witness who was extensively cross examined by the defence. Justice as it may be, they have the right to call the President if they so wish. We reiterate that the defence must not use this ground to try and delay the prosecution. It is therefore our humble application that this application should not succeed,” Simwiinga said.
And Anti-Corruption Commission investigations officer Musonda Chibulu under cross examination told the court that when interviewed, Mulyata said he had received a phone call from GBM requesting him to help have his impounded bus released. He said he did not know Mwamba and neither did he benefit anything by securing the release of his (Mwamba’s) bus.
Chibulu said Mulyata told him that he was merely passing the request from GBM to RDA officers at the Livingstone weighbridge because being a senior government official, he knew the statutory requirements which stated that the impounded bus should have been released only after the prescribed fee of US $2000 was paid.
“It is wrong for the minister to go against the law he helped formulate, he should have told GBM that it was not possible to release the bus,” Chibulu said.
And when reminded that it was a Mr Kapinda who released the bus, Chibulu said Kapinda released the bus under extreme pressure from Mulyata.
Chibulu said his primary concern was to establish the manner in which the bus was released. He said according to a report written by Ntinda, Mulyata had ordered the release of GBM’s bus.
It is alleged that Mulyata, who was employed in the public service as a provincial minister for Southern Province, between July 5 and 13, 2007 in Livingstone abused the authority of his office by directing officers from the Road Development Agency to release a Germins Motorways bus registration number GML 06 belonging to GBM that had been impounded for evading the weighbridge without paying the required fine, arbitrarily and prejudicial to the interest of the government of the Republic of Zambia
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
The violence that has accompanied the industrial unrest in Chambishi is unacceptable. There is no industrial dispute that can justify atrocious acts such as the stoning of Chinese workers and destroying company property. No crime can be committed in the name of demanding for improved conditions of service. And all those who are involved in this criminal activity if identified, should be arrested and prosecuted. The men they were stoning should be their partners in developing this country; these men are to be their neighbours. Whatever their faults, whatever their offences, there is no reason to stone them. Instead, we should impress upon them our ultimate and essential friendliness towards them.
The violence of this week in Chambishi amounts to nothing but barbarism. If these are not the methods of barbarism, what methods does barbarism employ? These are acts for which we venture to say nothing can furnish justification.
Lunacy is always distressing, but sometimes it is dangerous; and when you get it manifested in such a violent manner, it is about time that it was ruthlessly stopped.
No one can deny that remuneration for work should guarantee people a dignified livelihood for themselves and their families, but this should be achieved in a peaceful and non-violent manner, without physically injuring or maiming others.
The rights of workers, like all rights, are based on the nature of the human person and on her and his transcendent dignity. Among these rights are: a just wage; a working environment not harmful to the workers’ physical health or their moral integrity; social security, and their right to assemble and form associations. In this regard unions which enable workers improve their conditions should be valued and promoted by everybody in society. The dignity of work must be recognised with just wages and safe conditions.
Employees have a strict duty to give their employers efficient and conscientious work for which they have a right to a just wage or salary. People’s work concerns not only the economy but also, and especially, personal values. We say this because work is rooted in respect for human dignity. And every effort should be made that the enterprise becomes a community of persons. In this way, the violence that we saw in Chambishi would not be there or would be easy to avoid.
All workers have the right to receive a just wage. And if our country is to move forward, honesty and hard work are demanded of all of us.
The issue of wages and conditions of work at Chambishi Smelter needs to be reviewed to establish the true situation, not only by trade unions but also by the government .
The government should regulate industries and commerce to protect workers’ rights and curb exploitation. All forms of enterprises that place productivity before persons deserve to be condemned.
And our condemnation of violence in Chambishi does not mean that we are opposed to these workers, demands for just wages and conditions of work. We will always be with them in their peaceful and just demands for wage increments and the improvement of their working conditions. But we will not be with them when they start stoning innocent Chinese workers simply because their grievances are not being met by their employers.
While we accept that nothing our workers have attained was granted to them graciously, we don’t think the reckless use of violence should be condoned, tolerated and supported in any way. Anything our workers have attained was granted to them only after a grueling fight, after strikes and organised movements demanding wage increases. But these had to be peaceful and non-violent. Workers have to fight so that their most elemental rights are respected; they have to keep up a constant fight in order to obtain some small benefit in this economic order. But they have to do so in a non-violent way.
The destruction of property at Chambishi may hurt the company financially and otherwise, but it will certainly not benefit the workers in any way. If anything, it may even reduce the capacity of the company to increase their wages as it has to replace the damaged property and equipment.
We therefore urge the labour movement to seriously discourage our workers from engaging in violent and destructive actions. It is not good for our trade unionists to fail to condemn violent and destructive actions of this nature. This is not the way civilised workers should conduct themselves; and this is not the way civilised trade unions should react to such type of barbarism. There is need to condemn that which deserves condemnation.
There is need for the Chinese authorities to examine the conditions they are offering to Zambian workers. If they don’t, they will continue to face serious problems and resentment from the Zambian workers.
The conditions that may be acceptable to Chinese workers may not necessarily be tolerated by Zambian workers. And an attempt to impose such conditions on Zambian workers may be counter-productive and disruptive.
And moreover, the conditions under which Zambian workers live are very different from those of Chinese workers and may therefore need different types of conditions.
Let all these issues be deeply looked into by all the stakeholders, and soberly come to some consensus on what should prevail. We call for maturity, tolerance and restraint. But crime should be punished and not condoned in any way.
By Maluba Jere
Friday March 07, 2008 [03:00]
LABOUR minister Ronald Mukuma has warned employers not to push the government too far by flouting labour laws in the country. Speaking when he conducted an on the spot check at Spur downtown shopping mall yesterday, Mukuma said the government would not condone bad practices being perpetrated by some employers.
“I decided to visit your company because my deputy minister as a normal practice came here and received some disturbing reports from the workers so I came to see whether there are improvements,” he said. “We don’t want a sour relationship with the government but don’t push us too far because we will react.”
Mukuma said the government was setting a higher target of economic development whose achievement would also depend on the contribution of the labour movement.
“The government is not amused with employers who flout labour laws and we expect them to cooperate without exception,” he said.
He also advised Spur management to desist from firing workers whenever it suited them, saying the normal standard was to issue a one month notice to any worker before taking such action.
He said the government was also against employing workers on a temporary basis because the trend prevented most of them from accessing facilities such as mortgages.
“You must treat your workers as partners in development, not tools. but I understand you are not following the collective agreements on issues such as overtime and others,” he said.
But Spur downtown general manager Collins Temba said it was not deliberate that people were employed on temporary basis, saying they just did not make it after their probation.“Out of 140 workers only 90 are permanent and others are on two months contracts,” he said. “Spur is here to stay and so the two-year contract was just a start, we are now adjusting according to the labour laws.”
Mukuma also toured Printeck Limited where he expressed happiness at the fact that most of the workers there were Zambian.
He said the government was concerned with industrial harmony and urged employers to embrace unions at places of work.
“Employers have a tendency of imposing decisions on workers but please make them understand why you have taken a certain stance,” he said. “The vision 2030 of becoming a middle income state will require high productivity and so if the labour market is constrained, then a lot of targets will not be met.”
And Printech managing director Hanif Ali told Mukuma that his company had employed close to a 100 workers on a permanent basis.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
By ALEX NJOVU
ABOUT 500 workers at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) have been issued with summary dismissal letters following their two-day riotous behaviour in protest against alleged poor conditions of service. And Police have apprehended seven CCS workers in relation to the riot that took place on Tuesday at the copper smelter company.
Both CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, and Copperbelt permanent secretary, Jennifer Musonda, confirmed the figure of the dismissed workers in separate interviews yesterday.
Mr Chuanqi revealed that company property worth about US$200,000 was allegedly destroyed by the irate workers during the riot.
He said management was saddened that the workers rioted before the conclusion of negotiations with union representatives.
Mr Chuanqi said the workers had been given a grace period of three days within which to exculpate themselves and show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them.
He complained that work had been adversely affected by the workers’ riotous behaviour.
Mr Chuanqi warned that all workers identified as ring leaders would be dismissed from employment to discourage others from behaving in a similar manner.
By press time yesterday more than 19 alleged ring leaders had been identified while more than 66 workers collected their summary dismissal letters.
Mr Chuanqi appealed to workers to exculpate themselves within the stipulated time so that the innocent ones could be reinstated.
“We’re appealing to the workers to respond quickly to the summary dismissal letters so that those that did not take part in the riotous behaviour could be reinstated because work has been grossly affected and we need local manpower,” he said.
Mr Chuanqi said CCS belonged to Zambians and wondered why the workers destroyed what belonged to them simply because of a dispute that could have been resolved amicably.
“What we are building here also belongs to Zambians, so people must desist from destroying this investment. For those who will not come to collect their letters, we will follow them until they get them so that they can exculpate themselves,” he said.
However, Mr Chuanqi paid tribute to government for its continued support to Chinese investment in Zambia.
He also said the Chinese worker only identified as a Mr Li who was injured during the riot on Tuesday was discharged from the hospital.
And Mrs Musonda also confirmed that workers were served with summary dismissal letters when they reported for work yesterday.
A check by the Zambia Daily Mail crew yesterday at the CCS premises found several riot police officers manning the company.
Some Zambian workers were found waiting to collect their summary dismissal letters while others were reluctant to collect them, claiming that they did not take part in the riot.
Those spoken to said they were ignorant about the whole thing and that they were just forced by some of their colleagues to riot.
Copperbelt Police commanding officer, Antonneil Mutentwa, revealed that six officials of the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and their member were apprehended by police in connection with the riot.
Mr Mutentwa said the union officials and their member were apprehended around 17: 45 hours on Tuesday. NUMAW national secretary Albert Mando condemned the action by the workers to riot and damage company property.
“We are not in support of what the workers did. We are also disappointed with what happened on Tuesday because the negotiations have not yet collapsed, so why strike or riot?” Mr Mando said.
By Times Reporter
MAPATIZYA member of Parliament, Ackson Sejani (UPND), has recommended that Government should decentralise operations of the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to speed up its response to natural calamities. Mr Sejani said in Parliament yesterday that in its current form where offices were only in Lusaka, it took time before the DMMU could respond to a disaster in rural areas.
He said this when he presented to the House a motion on the long-term national disaster management and mitigation plan. The motion by Mr Sejani urges the Government to develop a comprehensive long-term national disaster management and mitigation plan that places more emphasis on prevention rather than management of disasters and to address structural issues that exacerbate the impacts of natural calamities in Zambia.
Mr Sejani further recommended that there was need to look at the preventive and mitigation measures of the effects of natural calamities. He claimed that Government had not put in place proper planning measures to address the effects of natural calamites.
He argued that as the case was this season, where the country experienced floods, if there were sufficient dams the water could be stored and used in times when there was drought.
On the construction of most structures, Mr Sejani said they lacked the strength to withstand natural disasters. He also said there was need to activate operations of country planners to avoid the mushrooming of illegal settlements.
He regretted that there was no mention of disasters in the Fifth National Development Plan and the Vision 2030 when issues of global warming and climate change were a worldwide concern.
He said the DMMU Act should be brought to Parliament and that amendments to the piece of legislations be made. He suggested that the Act should be called Disaster Prevention, Management and Mitigation Unit.
In seconding the motion, Mfuwe MP Mwiimba Malama (PF) said since the DMMU had a gigantic task, Government should increase funding to the unit. This, Mr Malama said should be so because it was the duty of Government to save people’s lives regardless of their localities.
He said Government should set up permanent DMMU offices at district level so as to avoid the bureaucracy of coming to Lusaka in search of aid.
Finance and National Planning Deputy Minister, Jonas Shakafuswa, said both the FNDP and the Vision 2030 had addressed problems of climate change. He, however, said that as much as he was in full support of the motion, he had expected Mr Sejani to suggest to Government where the resources would come from to support the DMMU.
As things stand, he said monies should be moved from one department to the DMMU. Decentralising the operations of DMMU, Mr Shakafuswa said, was an expensive venture.
Moomba MP, Vitalis Mooya (UPND), said there was need for Government to regulate the designs and construction of many infrastructures. He said engineers, architects and others should be included in the supervisory role.
He said most of the infrastructures easily collapsed because there was no supervision during the construction stage. He gave examples of classroom buildings, bridges and some roads. He suggested that the Engineering Association of Zambia (EAZ) be engaged in the supervision role.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Tuesday March 04, 2008 [03:00]
GOVERNMENT should not to be excited by increased foreign exchange inflows and overspend but instead enhance its reserves in case of a slump in copper prices, the IMF has cautioned. But commerce minister Felix Mutati has said the Zambian government is “aggressively” pursuing economy diversification to prepare the country for any slump in copper prices.
executive board members who recently visited the country to assess the economic progress the country has made warned that if Zambia did not handle the current economic ‘fortunes’ properly, it would result in “boom and bust cycle that other countries have found themselves in.”
Leader of the IMF mission team Miranda Xafa said in an interview that there was need for Zambia to handle commodity price windfalls prudently and develop infrastructure to avert a possible recession.
"You certainly do not want to get into a boom (and) bust cycle that others have found themselves in, in that while the boom and bust lasts, they try to spend it all at once and while commodity prices fall, they slow down in possible recession- what we call ‘Dutch disease’," Xafa said.
“When the commodity prices go up there is exuberance and a lot of spending and inflation and when the commodity prices go down there is slow down and recession you want to keep a sort of even pace of spending and I am sure you wouldn’t like to go through that.”
Xafa who is also IMF alternate director said there was need to restructure the country’s spending in a manner that dependence on commodity prices was minimised.
“You want to keep a sort of even pace of spending and kind of detach your fiscal spending from the commodity cycle and commodity prices,” Xafa said.
The IMF also cautioned government not to be “over ambitious” when attracting foreign direct investments into the country because the country did not have the infrastructural capacity to handle that growth.
Xafa said the current weakness in electricity supply, coupled with unreliable road and rail network, could result in the country failing to absorb the investments coming into the country.
“I understand there are investors waiting to come in with mining projects and also in other sectors but there is not enough energy right now to service these new requests,” she said. “So, I think, before we can talk about plans to expand production, it is important to remove these bottlenecks.”
And the IMF warned that Zambia’s economy could overheat if government did not prudently expend the increased foreign exchange inflows.
“Now commodities are very high and you are flooded with capital inflows both from exports proceeds and from foreign direct investments in addition to the usual donor inflows,” said Xafa.
“So what I am saying is that as you lay out your spending plans, it is important to take into account the economy’s capacity to absorb the spending because I am sure you don’t want your economy to overheat… you don’t want to bump against resource constraints and you certainly don’t want to have a boom and bust economy.”
But Mutati in a separate interview said the government could not reduce its expenditure because the poverty levels in the country were still too high.
“We are diversifying our economy by encouraging significantly investments in other sectors other than mining, like agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and the industries,” Mutati said.
“We don’t’ hold the fortunes of copper in prices so you have to have other options in case the price of copper does not perform as much it must perform. There are other alternatives that you can actually lean on and that is why we are diversifying our economy so that we have a diversified portfolio both for the export markets as well export potential.”
Mutati also said the Zambian economy was not likely to overheat in the next few years.
“Poverty still remains a major challenge. A lot of our people don’t have access to basic things particularly in rural areas and, in fact, statistics indicate that we are not giving a major dent to rural poverty,” Mutati said.
“So before the economy can overheat we still have to deal with this huge component of poverty and I don’t think the economy can overheat in the next one or two years because the challenge we have got in terms of poverty reduction is quite a lot.”
Mutati also said while the government admitted that the infrastructure in the country was weak, the country could not halt the attraction of foreign investments.
“Yes, infrastructure problems like power issues and road infrastructure still remain a challenge not just for us but the whole region but that is something we trying to address,” said Mutati.
“International Finance Corporation have already been assigned to do a feasibility for development of Kafue lower, and Zesco is interacting with Tata on Itezhi tezhi…so we are determined to address those constraints, we may not resolve it at once but we think it will help address it.
With regard to the road infrastructure in this year’s budget, we have a total of K1.2 trillion to attend to the road infrastructure and this will be a continuous process of dealing with the road infrastructure.
Yes, while it is a constraint we can’t hold back attracting investments until we deal with all these issues because if we do that, the moment we go back and say now we want to bring in the investors they would have looked elsewhere because they are not obviously just waiting for Zambia; they are being spoken to by other countries in the region and other parts of the world.”
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
THE Ministry of Lands has submitted to a World Bank delegation that it is addressing corruption vulnerabilities and timeliness in land allocation procedures as part of its efforts to improve the business environment in Zambia. According to the Ministry of Lands submission dated February 2008 to World Bank’s Doing Business delegation that visited Zambia, the time taken to register property in Zambia had been reduced from 70 days to 35 days.
“The purpose of this report is to provide updated information to the public and the World Bank on the time taken to process land transactions in Zambia in 2007 so that these updated and faster processing times may be considered by the World Bank to establish its 2009 estimate (in the Doing Business),” the ministry stated.
“The Ministry of Lands began a series of initiatives in 2007 to streamline and make more transparent the registration of lease transfers and the issuance of a new certificate of title at the lands and deeds registry.
“These activities include: systematic assessment of bottlenecks and redesign of business processes; design of a new automated and more secure lands registration system; refurbishment and reorganisation of the lands and deeds registry; establishment of a set of core values such as excellence, efficiency and collaboration to enhance staff productivity and reduce corruption in land transactions; and provision of new computers to more staff and improved survey processing software,” read the submissions.
The Ministry of Lands stated that the objective of the changes was to reduce the estimated 52 days required by the lands and deeds registry to register a lease transfer and issue a new certificate of title within 35 days.
To streamline the lease transfer process, the ministry submitted that it plans to implement a Zambia land administration system to replace the land information management system to further accelerate processing time at the lands and deeds registry and the commissioner of lands.
“We plan to incorporate a Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) representative at the new Ministry of Lands customer service centre to be launched in May 2008. This official will provide tax forms and authorise payment of Property Transfer Tax (PTT) at commercial bank facilities in the Ministry of Lands, potentially reducing the average number of days to collect tax forms and to pay PTT from five days to two days,” the ministry stated. “We plan to implement customer service standards and accountability-oriented management systems which will set and enforce timelier processing of lease transfer applications.”
Power outages are due to lack of foresight, charges World Bank
By Florence Bupe and Fridah Zinyama
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
THE World Bank has charged that the prevailing power outages in the country are a result of inadequate foresight into the ongoing economic growth. And the bank has refuted claims that it has halted funding to Zesco Limited, hence contributing to the erratic power supply. In an interview, World Bank communications manager Jumbe Ngoma explained that the country had not anticipated the rapid economic growth being experienced, hence there was lack of long-term planning to cater for the growing economic activities. And Ngoma refuted claims that the World Bank was partly to blame for the power outages being experienced.
“Zambians are just fond of using the World Bank as a scapegoat. At some stage, we had warned that if Zesco doesn’t plan well, the country would be massively affected by the projected power deficit in the region, but people even went to the extent of demonstrating against our warning,” he said.
A source alleged that the World Bank’s suspension of funding to the power utility for rehabilitation programmes had contributed to the current erratic power supply.
“We don’t have any outstanding financial commitments to Zesco. We fulfilled our financial pledge for the rehabilitation of the Kafue Gorge power station in full. The current power situation has nothing to do the (World) Bank,” said Ngoma.
And sources within Zesco Ltd said the company’s management had neglected necessary rehabilitation works inspite of the company having signed financial partnerships with different partners.
The sources said poor planning on the part of the company’s management was the major source of the problems it was facing currently.
“Some partnerships involving a lot of money were signed between Zesco and different partners,” they said. “But the problem that is there is that these partners insist on coming with their own technical teams that do not fully understand the mechanisms at most of these power generating stations. For instance, works at Kafue Gorge Power Station have not progressed fast because there are three teams of experts working on the transformers at the power station,” they said.
The sources also said Zesco had fired most of the technicians who understood the whole system and could easily identify where the problems were in the power generation and supply system. The sources also said the problems at Zesco were partly due to demotivation of workers.
“The current management is not willing to meet workers’ demands,” they claimed. “Most workers are not motivated and even if they know what they are supposed to do, they neglect to do so because of the impasse with management. The problems that the institution is experiencing are many and need quick government intervention before things worsen.”
The government recently pledged to assist the power utility with finances to hasten the rehabilitation works that the company has been undertaking.
By Lambwe Kachali
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
SUSPENDED Lusaka mayor Stephen Chilatu (right) yesterday asked councillors not to nail him to the cross but forgive him for whatever mistakes he committed against the council. Reacting to allegations that he irregularly allocated himself a house in Ibex Hill and nominated Sanford Mwenda to replace him at the NCC without the council’s authority, Chilatu said it would be wrong if the committee that has been formed to investigate him manipulated the process.
He explained that he shifted into the Ibex Hill house because he was offered by the council on condition that he would be paying rentals. Chilatu said it was not true that he allocated the house to himself as alleged by the councillors. He said the councillors were unhappy with him when Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said he had forgiven him following his resignation from the NCC.
“The housing committee took that matter to LCC and the council did resolve that two houses be reserved for mayor and the deputy. When the matter went to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing for confirmation last year, after the town clerk wrote to the minister that the issue was equivalent to creating conditions of service, the minister did respond that the official council house could not be allocated to me because the nature of my work is part-time,” Chilatu explained. “But she further said that unless the mayor the council on condition that he would be paying rentals.
Chilatu said it was not true that he allocated the house to himself as alleged by the councillors. He said the councillors were unhappy with him when Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata said he had forgiven him following his resignation from the NCC.
“The housing committee took that matter to LCC and the council did resolve that two houses be reserved for mayor and the deputy.
When the matter went to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing for confirmation last year, after the town clerk wrote to the minister that the issue was equivalent to creating conditions of service, the minister did respond that the official council house could not be allocated to me because the nature of my work is part-time,” Chilatu explained.
“But she further said that unless the mayor would be paying rentals, that is how I acquired that house. The house was offered to me through a letter from the town clerk.”
Asked if he had started paying rentals for the same house, Chilatu said the amount to be paid per month had not yet been resolved.
“Yes, I am supposed to be paying rentals.
The issues of the rentals are yet to be determined because initially the house was at K5 million per month and later it was revised by the minister that the houses are overpriced and they should be K3 million, and the issue has not yet been cleared. So I haven’t started paying rentals but I shifted. There are ten houses which have remained unoccupied for the past ten years. Of course it is because they are still being worked on,” Chilatu said.
On his nomination of Mwenda to replace him at the NCC, Chilatu said some councillors did not want him to be mayor. He said some councillors would be more than happy if he was expelled because they were harbouring ambitions of succeeding him.
Chilatu said it was for that reason that they were ‘cooking’ all sorts of fake allegations to pin him down. He said he nominated Mwenda because he did not want to leave that office vacant. He said Mwenda’s nomination was subject to ratification by the council.
“So it will be a big plus to these councillors if I am kicked out of office so then they can go for the position. After I resigned from NCC, I did not want to leave the office in a vacuum and so, in my own understanding I thought I should forward another name to replace me. I did indicate that this issue will be ratified by the council at the sitting in March.
It was not as if I were the final person because I knew that the matter was subject to ratification by the council which will have the final say,” Chilatu said. “What the council should have done was either to ratify or pick another name. I thought I was doing the right thing but everything has been misconstrued by a few councillors who are fighting me for the position.”
Chilatu said despite everything he did, he was human, could make mistakes and offend others. He said there was need for LCC to forgive him for whatever they deemed unfit for him to do.
“Of course, it will be very unfortunate if they expel me because I left NCC in good faith and I did acknowledge to the president that I made a mistake. We all make mistakes and what is important is to acknowledge one’s mistakes, make amends and move on.
It will be a big mistake if councillors can’t forgive me and would want to nail me to the cross. That will be very unfortunate. I have put the matter of NCC behind me and I would want to see unity and harmony prevail. I want to appeal to my friends that let us unite and work in harmony,” Chilatu said.
On allegations that he damaged the council vehicle, Chilatu denied saying at no time had he bashed any council vehicle.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC)’s anti-money laundering unit has arrested Luapula Province Permanent Secretary Alfred Kalumba and a senior economist in the Ministry of Agriculture Charles Chilufya for money laundering. And DEC has also arrested the proprietor of Chrismar Hotel, Atics Bureau, Zoom Roadways and Atlantic Investments, Valden Harry Findlay, for a similar offence.
DEC public relations officer Rosten Chulu yesterday said Kalumba and Chilufya had been jointly charged with theft by public servant.
Particulars of the offence are that Kalumba and Chilufya between May 1, 2006 and February 28, 2008 in Mansa jointly and whilst acting together with other unknown public servants in the Ministry of Agriculture and the provincial permanent secretary for Luapula Province did steal K161 million which came into their position by virtue of their employment.
And in a separate incident, Chilufya has been charged with four counts of forgery, uttering of false documents amounting to K209 million and money laundering amounting to over K42 million.
And Chulu said Findlay, 45 a businessman residing at House number 9021 Lake Road, Lusaka had been arrested for lending money without a Lenders Licence and money laundering involving K200 million.
He said Findlay on dates unknown but between March 2007 and June 2007 jointly and whilst acting together with other persons unknown in his personal capacity and without a Lenders Licence did lend money amounting to K200 million to May Getrude and accrued interest amounting to K20 million.
Meanwhile, DEC has arrested one Tanzanian and four Zambians for trafficking in psychotropic substances.
Chulu said in Eastern Province, the DEC arrested Gibson Mbewe, 29, of house number 243/10 Chaisa compound in Lusaka for trafficking in 125 bundles of miraa weighing 68.5 kilogrammes.
He said the DEC also arrested Elisha Ndhlovu, 23, a peasant farmer of Imphaneni village in Lundazi district for unlawful cultivation of 556.2 grammes of cannabis and Sylvestor Ndhlovu, 25, for unlawful cultivation of 466.8 grammes of the same drug.
Chulu also said in Northern Province, they arrested Anna Michael Mgalla, 35, a business lady of Tanzanian nationality for trafficking in 15 bundles of miraa weighing 9.5 kilogrammes. He said the suspect was intercepted on a bus enroute to Ndola from Mbeya, Tanzania.
Chulu said in Luapula, DEC arrested Joel Chola, 38, of Potolo village in Nchelenge district for unlawful cultivation of cannabis weighing 1.5 kilogrammes. DEC also uprooted 21 kilogrammes of cannabis in Kapela village in chief Mununga's areas intercropped with maize and cassava.
By Inonge Noyoo
Thursday March 06, 2008 [03:00]
FORMER secretary to the treasury James Mtonga yesterday told the magistrates’ court that he regretted being a beneficiary of fraudulently obtained funds. Mtonga was testifying in the case in which MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba is jointly charged with former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda, former secretaries to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene and Boniface Nonde, former chief economist Bede Mpande, former Access Financial Services Limited directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu on charges of corruption and abuse of authority.
In his evidence in chief led by state prosecutions lawyer Mutembo Nchinto, Mtonga testified that he received US $7,000 from former director of Zambia Intelligence Services, Xavier Chungu, while on government business in London. He said the US $7,000 was paid in two installments by a Mrs Kaluba who was the then manager of Zambia National Commercial Bank London branch, and was acting on Chungu’s instructions.
Mtonga said he was in London on the Zambian delegation for the privatisation of ZCCM. He said he also received a diner’s card, which he used for his transport, and other things.
Mtonga said at the time, government ministries had not reached a level of giving credit cards to its employees abroad on government business. He said the trip to London was fully sponsored by ZCCM, per diem inclusive, and that he was not entitled to per diem from any other source other than ZCCM.
He said he did not know then that the US $7,000 he had received from Chungu was fraudulently obtained as he just took it as a kind gesture by a colleague.
“I felt a fellow public officer as director general of Office of the President had given me money to assist with my upkeep while abroad on government business. I thought the assistance was in good faith at the time,” he said.
Mtonga said he only came to realise that the money was fraudulently obtained at the time the matter was being investigated by the Task Force on Corruption.
“Over the years, I came to learn of the background to the money. It did not earlier occur to me that time that the assistance I received from Mr Chungu was given to me from resources that I have now learnt were fraudulently given and on that score, I regret having received the money,” said Mtonga.
He said his relationship with Chungu was an official one - that of controlling officer to controlling officer. He said he received the money during the implementation of payments to Systems Innovations and Wilbain Inc.
Mtonga said there was a lot of pressure from the two companies to settle all financial obligations.
He said the provisions of the contract were very clear that if government defaulted, the penalties would be high.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
By KANGWA MULENGA and JERRY MUNTHALI
UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) School of Mines academic Mathias Mpande says the new mine taxes are reasonable at the current copper prices. Speaking on Radio Phoenix’s “Let the People Talk” programme yesterday, Dr Mpande said there was no need for mine investors to dispute the proposed taxes because they have realised good profits since they bought the mines. Dr Mpande said Zambians have not benefited from the mines under the existing development agreements.
“For instance, Konkola Copper Mines has so far made a profit exceeding US$375 million against the US$40 million purchasing price of Nchanga mine. These new mine taxes should benefit the Zambian people,” Dr Mpande said.
He said the new taxes would help to remove discretion in the way returns on copper sales were being distributed by investors.
Dr Mpande urged Government to be firm and ensure that the new taxes were implemented. Dr Mphande served as Deputy Minister of Mines and Mineral Development under President Chiluba’s administration. He said the implementation of the new taxes would not attract any review of the development agreements.
Speaking on the same programme, Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Rayford Mbulu asked the mine investors to abide by the new taxes. Mr Mbulu said mine investors were making huge profits and so must not resist the new taxes.
He said the proposed taxes were not extraordinary because those were the ones obtaining on the world marke, including in Chile that has a reputation for high copper production.
“Zambians have not benefited from the mines and yet the mine owners have reaped billions of dollars in profits. Zambia must benefit from its mineral resources,” he said.
And Patriotic Front (PF) Nchanga member of Parliament, Wilbar Simusa, said ZCCM Investments Holdings (ZCCM–IH) must be aggressive in the collection of dividends from the mines where it owned shares.
“I am appealing to the ZCCM-IH to change their approach in demanding for dividends and become more aggressive if the people of Zambia are to benefit from the mineral resources God has given Zambia,” Mr Simusa said.
Several callers on the phone-in programme appealed to Government to be more aggressive in ensuring that the new mine taxes were implemented.
Meanwhile, the Bible Gospel Church in Africa (BIGOCA) has called on all Zambians to support the new mining tax regime because the increase from 31.7 per cent to 47 per cent was reasonable.
BIGOCA Overseer, Bishop Peter Ndhlovu, said this in a statement in Lusaka yesterday.
Bishop Ndhlovu said it was clear that foreign investors were not keen on sharing the profits with the people of Zambia in whom God vested the minerals they were extracting.
He wondered why the mining companies suggested a 12.5 per cent in windfall profit tax when the 25 per cent that Government proposed was generally acceptable.
“Effective mining taxes at 47 per cent from 31.7 per cent is reasonable because we have information, which even the investors have not refuted, that some countries charge as high as 52 per cent in effective aggregate taxes,” Bishop Ndhlovu said.
He called on all Zambians with the interest of the nation at heart to back Government on the new tax regime in the mining sector.
“It is yet another mark of greed by our colleagues who want to continue to reap while we watch without thinking about the benefits that should accrue to the owners of the land under which the minerals are extracted,” Bishop Ndhlovu said.
He urged Government not to backtrack on the taxes because the nation needed additional money to construct schools, hospitals, clinics and roads.
Bishop Ndhlovu said the arguments that the foreign investors had put in billions of dollars to expand and upgrade the mines including starting Greenfield mines were well appreciated.
But it had to be noted, too, that no mining firm had recorded any losses in the last five years.
He said Government must ensure that the proceeds from the mines are used prudently.
“It will be very sad to waste the resources after all the trouble we have gone through to make sure that the profits are shared equitably,” Bishop Ndhlovu said.
He proposed a special budgeting process to equitably distribute profits from the copper revenues to all the provinces for viable economic projects.
“People should be consulted in all the provinces to propose projects that will benefit them, be it construction of schools or clinics, so that everyone can benefit in the same way,” he said.
By ALEX NJOVU
THREE workers, two Zambian and one Chinese, sustained severe injuries in a riot that erupted following a protracted labour dispute at Chambishi Copper Smelter (CCS) in Kitwe yesterday. The fracas between unionised workers and senior management staff at the Chinese-owned copper smelter under construction lasted several hours and left one Chinese worker without teeth after he was stoned on the mouth. CCS company secretary, Sun Chuanqi, said the company had not refused to address the workers’ demands and was therefore disappointed by the unrest that turned violent.
“The process of negotiation is still going on. We have not refused to meet their demands in any way. We are still negotiating, but I must state that we are disappointed that the workers damaged company property,” Mr Chuanqi said.
Workers rioted and damaged infrastructure worth millions of Kwacha. They set ablaze infrastructure and fought with police for several hours. The damaged property included a tractor, a security checkpoint, a crane, rear gate, Chinese workers’ hostels and a water tanker. The protesting workers attempted to set ablaze a company bus before police contained the situation.
The workers blocked all the roads leading into the company premises and demanded that their pay be increased by over K800,000. Workers’ representatives said the K291,000 workers were paid per month was not enough to sustain them and demanded a minimum of K1.2 million for the lowest paid.
Chief Government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti condemned the striking CCS workers who rioted and damaged company property on the second day of the labour protest. Mr Mulongoti who is Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services said in an interview that it was unfortunate that the workers damaged property instead of negotiating with management over their grievances. The minister said it was regrettable that the workers vented their anger on company property.
“They have now destroyed their own pot where they were feeding from. They could have found a better way of presenting their grievances rather than damaging company property,” Mr Mulongoti said.
He said it would now be difficult for anyone to sympathise with the workers because they had resorted to destroying property.
“They may have genuine reasons, but then it might be difficult to sympathise with them because they have damaged company property.
The owners of the company may one day decide to relocate somewhere else and that property will belong to them, the Zambian people,” he said.
“As Government, we don’t condone such destructive behaviour.”
Several police officers from Kitwe, Chambishi and Kalulushi were called in to control the situation.
And Copperbelt permanent secretary Jennifer Musonda who rushed to the scene condemned the workers for damaging company property.
Mrs Musonda said management had since asked all the Zambian workers at CCS to stay away from work until investigations to establish what caused the confusion were concluded.
She said management would take action against the ringleaders once they were identified as the ones who led the violence.
She said two Zambian workers and one Chinese national were injured during the confusion. The Chinese worker is admitted to Sinozam Friendship Hospital in Kitwe.
“A Chinese national was stoned on the mouth and lost some of his teeth. He was bleeding a lot and was rushed to the hospital. What happened is embarrassing,” she said.
“They attempted to burn the filling station, one of the company big buses, the kitchen…they burnt the guardroom, they burnt the tractor, and they smashed all the windows of the Chinese hostels,” she said.
“What has happened is shameful, but as Government, we would like to assure the Chinese people and Government of our continued support and that their investment is protected.”
Mrs Musonda said the workers started rioting between 07:30 hours and 08:00 and wondered why the workers decided to damage and burn company property when they could have used other channels to present their grievances.
“This infrastructure which is here belongs to us the Zambians; why then are we damaging our own property? The operations at the company have not been suspended but management have asked all Zambian workers to stay home until further notice,” she said.
Copperbelt police commanding officer Antoneill Mutentwa and Kalulushi District Commissioner Joshua Mutisa accompanied Mrs Musonda.
Some Chinese mines in Zambia have poor safety records
A Chinese manager at a copper smelter in northern Zambia has been admitted to hospital after being assaulted by workers demanding better conditions.
An estimated 500 workers at the Chinese-owned Chambishi mine site started throwing stones at the managers as they attempted to hold talks.
Police came in to restore order and rescue the Chinese who had taken refuge by locking themselves in their offices. Several buildings were burned in the violence and a protester was injured.
Last year, China's president cancelled a visit to Chambishi fearing protests. A blast at the copper mine killed 50 people in 2005.
Chambishi Smelter, which is under construction, is part of a huge multi-million dollar Chinese investment in the area.
Miners see 'little reward'
The BBC's Boyd Chibale in Kitwe says a kitchen for Chinese workers and a guard's house were set alight and hostel windows smashed in the violence. Our correspondent says the workers have now gone home, and the Chinese management are in talks with the unions.
The protest was sparked by rumours that members of the Chinese management team were about to go on holiday, which workers feared would delay negotiations to improve their conditions of service.
"The Chinese are not respecting Zambian labour laws," workers' representative Teddy Chisala told the AFP news agency.
In recent years, China has emerged as one of the biggest buyers of Zambian copper. But correspondents say Chinese investment in mining and manufacturing has not been without controversy - with constant industrial disputes amidst allegations of poor working conditions.
In elections in 2006, opposition candidate Michael Sata ran on an anti-China ticket, calling for "Zambia for Zambians".
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday March 05, 2008 [03:00]
HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday asked government to stop challenging the mining companies to go to court over the new mineral tax regime. Commenting on the on-going stand off between the government and the mining companies over the new mineral tax regime, Brig. Gen. Miyanda said it was dangerous for government to rely upon the court to defend its position over the new tax regime.
"Government must desist from using threats of going to court because nobody knows the outcome of the matter that is taken to court," he said. "We can't know who is going to win between government and the mining companies. So far government has lost cases that has cost the country a lot of money such as the Vulture Funds case in London."
Brig Gen Miyanda asked the mining companies to pay what was due to Zambians instead of being stubborn. Brig Gen Miyanda, however, accused government of having contributed to the impasse due to their delay in introducing the mineral taxes.
"I do not support the stand taken by the mining companies but government ought to have taken this matter at least three years ago. It is not good management to introduce taxes on the eve of the budget speech," he said.
He said government had a greater share of the blame over the tax impasse due the manner in which they were playing hide and seek with the mining companies.
Brig. Gen. Miyanda said government could have been mindful of the fact that the mining companies had been implementing their strategies and business plans over the period of seven years during which they enjoyed tax relief.
"To spring up this tax in the 2008 budget, it seems to me that it was an after thought by government. If this had been a well thought out government plan and strategy, it ought to have been introduced for public debate about three years ago to cushion the transition," he said. "Although I don't support the mining companies' stubbornness in refusing to share in the huge profits that they have raked in, I say they have valid grounds for complaining because they have been implementing their strategic business plans based on the past government pronouncements."
He accused the government of being inconsistent and that they often contradicted themselves on their major policy pronouncements.
Brig Gen Miyanda said it was important for government to be predictable to avoid creating uncertainty and instability in the economy.
"There is no need for government to be shy or apologetic when it has made a correct policy statement which seem to ruffle feathers, but to back track in the face of the counter attack of the investors is the sure sign of timidity which eventually undermine the government because the other side becomes aware that government is not sure of itself hence applies pressure," he said. "Lest I may be misunderstood, I agree with President Mwanawasa's statement on his arrival from Madagascar when he said and I quote...at the beginning of my administration I said where there is a conflict between the people of Zambia and something else, the interest of Zambians will be paramount.
I support this without qualification. But criticism is on the inconsistence on the pronouncements. One moment government says the tax regime is non negotiable and the next moment the invite the mining companies for a meeting to come and explain. Just a little pressure from the investors and donors, government gets intimidated and shifts from its resoluteness."
Wednesday March 05, 2008 [03:00]
TRULY there is need for the Church and other sectors to find new strategies of making government understand the problems that Zambians are facing, especially in rural areas. We agree with Bishop George Lungu’s observations and conclusions that there is need to dialogue with the government so that it can provide equal services to both urban and rural areas.
We will only be able to build a healthy democratic society if all our citizens and institutions participate in the life of our country – adding their voices to the public debate and holding the government accountable for its actions. In this way, we will all be sharing the responsibility to shape a future for our country that will embrace the spirit of fairness, humaneness and justice.
It shouldn’t be forgotten that in a democracy, government is only one element co-existing in a social fabric of many and varied institutions, organisations and associations. And it is this diversity that is called pluralism. Many of these organisations, institutions or associations serve a mediating role between individuals and the complex social and governmental institutions of which they are a part, offering individuals opportunities to exercise their rights and responsibilities and citizens of this country. They also help to influence policy decisions and through them individuals have an avenue for meaningful participation in the government.
We cannot continue to ignore the fact that there are in our country people who each day cannot meet the basic needs necessary for a decent human life. And it is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental needs to remain unsatisfied. Living conditions must be improved especially for the low-income earners. Economic justice requires that each individual has adequate resources to survive, to develop and thrive, and to give back in service to the community.
There is no way the Church, the Catholic bishops can remain indifferent in the face of the tremendous social injustices existent in Zambia today, which keep the majority of our people in dismal poverty, which in many cases becomes inhuman wretchedness. A deafening cry pours from the throats of millions of men and women asking their bishops for a liberation that reaches them from nowhere else. We see in our country a set of injustices which constitute the nucleus of today’s problems and whose solution requires the undertaking of tasks and functions in every sector of our society.
Therefore, the Church and its leadership must be prepared to take on new functions and duties in every sector of human activity if justice is really to be put into practice. The action of the church and its leadership should be directed above all at those individuals who because of the present character of our society are silent, indeed voiceless, victims of injustice.
A mediatory role by the Church is essential to overcome day-by-day obstacles and ingrained privileges which are to be met with the advance toward a more human society. But effective mediation involves the creation of a lasting atmosphere of dialogue. A contribution to the progressive realisation of this can truly be made by the Church.
By virtue of their origin and nature, by the will of the Creator, worldly goods and riches are meant to serve the utility and progress of each and every human being. Thus each and everyone enjoys a primary, fundamental and absolutely inviolable right to share in the use of these goods, insofar as that is necessary for the worthy fulfilment of the human person.
The mission of the Church in Zambia is immense and more necessary than ever before, when we consider the situation at hand: violations of justice and freedom;
institutionalised injustice and so on and so forth. Fulfilment of this mission will require activity from the Church as a whole. For the attainment of a society that is more just, more free and more at peace is an ardent longing of the people of Zambia and an indispensable fruit of any meaningful evangelisation.
It is very pleasing to witness that the Church in Zambia has adopted a clear option expressing preference for, and solidarity with, the poor. And its doing this despite the distortions and interpretations of some, who vitiate this spirit, and despite the disregard and even hostility of others.
The Church’s concrete commitments to the poor have in not a few instances changed a number of things. All this has produced tensions both inside and outside the Church. The church has frequently been the butt of accusations of all sorts.
Not all in the Church have committed themselves sufficiently to the poor. Not all are always concerned about them, or in solidarity with them. Service to them really calls for constant conversion and purification among all Christians. That must be done if they are to achieve fuller identification each day with the poor Christ and their own poor.
The evangelical commitment of the Church, like that of Christ, should be a commitment to those most in need (Luke 4: 18 – 21). Hence the Church must look to Christ when it wants to find out what its evangelising activity should be like. The Son of God demonstrated the grandeur of this commitment when He became a human being. For He identified himself with human beings by becoming one of them. He established solidarity with them and took up the situation in which they find themselves – in His birth and in His life, and particularly in His passion and death where poverty found its maximum expression (Phil. 2: 5 – 18).
For this reason alone, the poor merit preferential attention, whatever may be the moral or personal situation in which they find themselves. Made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1: 26 – 28) to be the children of God, this image is dimmed or even defiled. That is why God takes on their defence and loves them (Matt. 5: 45; James 2: 5). That is why the poor are the first ones to whom Jesus’ mission is directed (Luke 4: 18 – 21), and why the evangelisation of the poor is the supreme sign and proof of His mission (Luke 7: 21 – 23).
When they draw near to the poor in order to accompany them and serve them, they are doing what Christ taught them to do when He became their brother, poor like them. Hence service to the poor is the privileged, though not the exclusive, gauge of their following Christ.
The situation in our country today offers an exceptional opportunity for announcing and for bearing witness to God’s kingdom. If, through fear and mistrust, or through the insecurity of some in the face of any radical social change, or through the desire to defend personal interest, they neglect this crucial opportunity to commit themselves to the poor, they would be in serious violation of the gospel’s teachings.
This commitment implies the renunciation of old ways of thinking and behaviour, and the dramatic conversion of their church. Indeed, the day when the Church fails to present the appearance of poverty and to act as the natural eye of the poor, will be the day it has betrayed its divine creator and the coming of God’s kingdom. Never before has Zambia been faced with such a need to persuasively confirm this commitment to the poor.
The poor of whom Jesus speaks and who surround Him are truly poor, the hungry, the afflicted, the oppressed, and all those for whom society has failed to provide a place. Through this solidarity with the poor, Jesus proclaimed His Father’s love for all human kind, was persecuted, and died.
It is in this light that we see and receive the call by Bishop Lungu for the Church and other sectors to find new strategies of making government understand the problems that poor Zambians are facing, especially in rural areas. This deserves the support and commitment of all men and women of goodwill.
By Lambwe Kachali
Wednesday March 05, 2008 [03:00]
THE Lusaka City Council has indefinitely suspended mayor Stephen Chilatu for allegedly irregularly allocating himself a house in Ibex Hill and nominating Sanford Mwenda to replace him at the NCC without the council’s authority. But Chilatu said he followed all the necessary procedures before he shifted into that house. The decision to suspend Chilatu was reached at during a full council meeting on Monday which was chaired by the deputy mayor Mary Phiri and Lusaka town clerk Timothy Hakuyu.
The councillors, particularly those from the Patriotic Front, questioned Chilatu’s leadership to allocate himself a house without following council procedures.
The councillors also wondered how Chilatu could, in his own capacity, nominate a person to sit on the NCC when it was the council which was supposed to make such a nomination.
Munali PF member of parliament Mumbi Phiri charged that Chilatu’s decision to nominate Mwenda as his replacement at the NCC after he withdrew, without the council’s knowledge and approval was tantamount to corruption. She suggested that Chilatu be investigated for corruption. Mumbi said PF was against the NCC and therefore Chilatu went against the party’s position on the matter.
Mandevu member of parliament Jean Kapata said Chilatu had not only offended PF but the council as a whole and therefore did not deserve the position of mayor.
Kapata said although Chilatu claimed to have reformed after he withdrew from the NCC, there was no sign of change in his behaviour. She said Chilatu had become big-headed and needed to be taught a lesson.
And Kabulonga ward councillor Charles Msiska said he had earlier warned councillors that Chilatu was not the right person to lead the council. Msiska said other councillors thought he was against Chilatu when he fought for the same position.
“Chilatu has marginalised us. We should not entertain this behaviour, especially from a person who is supposed to lead by example. I told you at first but you couldn’t listen. Now I am vindicated,” Msiska said. “How can we allow ourselves to be led by a foolish mayor for all this period? Chilatu must confess. He is sitting on our intelligence.”
Msiska disclosed that Chilatu had also damaged the council vehicle which he was not supposed to drive in his personal capacity.
“I propose that Chilatu should stand down as mayor of Lusaka and the deputy mayor should perform mayoral duties until we choose another mayor,” said Msiska.
The meeting also revealed that on February 29, 2008, Chilatu in his own capacity had written to Hakuyu appointing him as acting town clerk for three months when in fact Hakuyu had been acting town clerk since 2006.
The meeting indicated that Chilatu had breached Statutory Instrument 115 with regard to the contract of town clerk.
The meeting also noted that Chilatu had gone against the council resolutions to handle management issues concerning line managers that were already passed by the council in December last year.
It was also disclosed that Chilatu renewed contracts of some council officials when local government minister Sylvia Masebo had advised councils countrywide that all line managers should not have their contracts automatically renewed until the establishment of the Local Government Service Commission.
This was in connection with another letter dated February 29, 2008 in which Chilatu renewed Hakuyu’s contract as director of city planning for six months with effect from February 1, 2008.
The councillors argued that Chilatu had no authority to renew contracts for council officials and declared the renewal as null and void.
The councillors said Chilatu further antagonised Hakuyu on Radio Phoenix and also appointed his friends to serve on the Local Government Association Committee.
UPND Kalingalinga ward councillor Dampson Chansa said Chilatu should not be forgiven because he had taken the councillors for granted. He said Chilatu should be dismissed immediately.
But Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda proposed that an adhoc committee be formed to investigate Chilatu before he was dismissed. Lubinda said although the evidence was overwhelming, there was need for the immediate suspension of Chilatu until investigations were completed.
Lubinda said PF would not entertain such unprofessional conduct because Zambians looked up to the party. Kanyama member of parliament Colonel Gerry Chanda seconded Lubinda’s proposal. He further said PF councillors should not be involved in the selection of a councillor to replace Chilatu at the NCC because the party was against the process.
When the decision to suspend Chilatu was reached, Phiri told the councillors to choose amongst themselves who should be in the committee to investigate Chilatu so that investigations could start.
The committee was later formed and it comprised seven councillors: Mwewa Musaiwale (PF), Jimmy Dons (UPND), Harry Hampende (UPND), Daniel Chisanga (PF), Damson Chansa (PF), Kapata and Col Chanda.
Meanwhile, Dons said Chilatu should not be given access to his office or be allowed to tamper with any council documents with effect from yesterday until investigations were completed.
Dons said Chilatu had committed a serious offence, saying he had no interest in serving the public but himself. He said the councillors would not allow Chilatu to tarnish the image of the council.