Saturday, March 22, 2008

(YOUTUBE) Power and Roads to Africa: A Tanzanian Perspective

President Kikwete offered his perspective on infrastructure obstacles to growth in Tanzania, including how the donor community, private sector, and African governments can work together to find new and innovative ways to bring power and roads to Africa. The president's remarks were followed by a roundtable discussion with experts on African economic development.

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Kapita calls for improved funding to agriculture

Kapita calls for improved funding to agriculture
By Joan Chirwa
Friday March 21, 2008 [03:00]

AGRICULTURE and co-operatives minister Ben Kapita has said improving funding to the agriculture sector could enhance living standards of the majority of Zambians in rural areas in line with the Vision 2030. In an interview, Kapita said the potential of agriculture should not be underestimated considering that a larger population relied on farming as a source of income.

“A lot of people depend on agriculture and that is where we must zero in for us to make the Vision 2030 meaningful because we have all the resources such as water, land, human resource and political will to improve agriculture,” he said.

Kapita said the good performance of the agriculture industry could improve lives of a lot of Zambians.

“The majority of poor people stay in rural areas and their status will only change with improved agriculture. The good performance of the Ministry of Agriculture can improve lives of many Zambians in the country since agriculture is one of the main economic activities in the country,” Kapita said.

“The agriculture sector has a big task of transforming the rural areas so that people can have access to better life. With improved agriculture, a lot of people can move away from abject poverty to a meaningful life.”

Zambia’s economy is mainly agricultural based, contributing significantly to the country’s economic growth.

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Lawyers unfit to practice worry Chief Justice Sakala

Lawyers unfit to practice worry Chief Justice Sakala
By Maluba Jere
Friday March 21, 2008 [03:00]

CHIEF Justice Ernest Sakala has expressed concern at the growing number of young lawyers that are not proper and fit to practice law in Zambia. And Chief Justice Sakala has told legal practitioners to expect to be criticised and attacked harshly for the decisions they make. Meanwhile, Chief Justice Sakala has regretted the growing gap existing between the bench and the legal profession.

Officially opening a one-day Access to Justice Bar-Bench conference held at Protea Hotel in Chisamba yesterday, Chief Justice Sakala wondered whether the young lawyers were being properly scrutinised before being recommended for admission to the Bar.
“At times I get baffled when I read some of the recommendations for admission to the Bar,” he said. “Perhaps time has come that we should follow up advocates who make improper recommendations; when they should know that a particular character is not a fit and suitable person for admission.”

He acknowledged having received complaints from some senior members of the legal profession that some adjudicators had or were not conducting themselves professionally in and outside court.

And Chief Justice Sakala said as long as legal practitioners continued serving in the arena for resolving contentious battles over emotionally charged issues of politics, business transactions, tribalism and crime; they should expect to be criticised.

“As Lord Denning once said, “we do not fear criticism, nor do we resent it. It is the right of every man to make fair comment, even outspoken comment on matters of public interest,” he said. “It is also true that fair criticism of judges may identify defects in the judicial system and protect the cause of justice. But the criticism or comments must be fair and not made in bad taste.”

He said the conference was an opportunity to find lasting solutions to problems besetting the justice system and urged the legal practitioners not to allow anything erode people’s confidence in the Judiciary and legal system.

Justice Sakala also said the success of the legal profession in its noble role of maintaining the rule of law was equally dependent on a strong and independent Bench.
Meanwhile, Chief Justice Sakala said the growing gap between the Bench and legal profession had affected the general practice and standards being exhibited in the justice delivery system.

“I strongly feel that non-interaction and consultation among ourselves has greatly contributed to the lowered standards being experienced,” he said. “Indifference and failure to communicate with opposing counsel in a matter has derailed many hearings resulting in increased costs and time wasting. In my view, some disputes can be resolved by simply lawyers talking to each other without rushing to court.”
He further said he had noted a growing tendency by some lawyers who storm out of the courtroom seemingly in annoyance after receiving a verdict not in their favour.

“If the commitment of the profession is to the cause of justice, then such behavior is not only unprofessional but undesirable,” he said. “Professional good manners demand that every lawyer must, at the end of any hearing, regardless of the outcome of a case, show courtesy to the court. What has happened to the much venerated phrase ‘much obliged’ if I may ask?”

Justice Sakala said complaints from the public about the slow pace of disposing of cases was genuine but explained that the Judiciary was currently working at improving staffing levels and training the existing staff.

“On the other hand, as a bench, I stand here to admit that indeed our own house has not always been in order. Some of our adjudicators do not put their best,” he said. “I have repeatedly said that as head of the Judiciary, it pains me when I read or hear comments coming from the public complaining about the slow pace at which cases are moving and complaints on delayed judgments. I have also come to accept that these comments and complaints are genuine and as a judiciary we cannot ignore them.”

Meanwhile, Law Association of Zambia president Elijah Banda said the manner in which advocates of the court conducted themselves before court had a bearing on the quality of justice dispensed by the courts.

Banda said he stood charged and guilty for the unnecessary adjournments to court cases.
“We’ve been discussing this issue for a number of years and we are concerned that there are no improvements,” said Chief Justice Sakala. “Sometimes we advocates get shocked that a long awaited judgment is just a page or two.”

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Buried vehicles at First Quantum raise environmental concerns

Buried vehicles at First Quantum raise environmental concerns
By By Mulimbi Mulaliki
Friday March 21, 2008 [03:00]

FIRST Quantum Mining Operations Limited (FQMOL) mining division at Kansanshi Mining Plc has buried some vehicles raising environmental concerns among workers and stakeholders in Solwezi. Handing over a refurbished Toyota Hilux double cab to Zambia Police Service in Solwezi on Wednesday, FQMOL project manager Ron Day confirmed that the company buried vehicles which had outlived their lifespan within the mine area.

“The vehicles buried were just scrap and they could not be sold that is why we decided to burry them. If they were in a good condition we could have auctioned them to either members of the public or to our workers,” Day said.

Day said the company followed procedure in disposing of the vehicles, adding that the method they used was not going to pose any effect on the environment.
Solwezi Council spokesperson Kingsley Mutayachalo expressed concern by FQMO decision to burry the vehicles.

Mutayachalo said it was not safe to burry the vehicles because they remained an environmental hazard.

“They should have found a better way of disposing off the scrapped vehicles other than burying them,” Mutayachalo said.

But some workers said the buried vehicles were still running. The workers indicated that their management refused to sell the vehicles to workers fearing that they would be stealing spare parts from the ware house to be servicing the same vehicles.

“We drove those vehicles to the site where they were buried and they have decided to refurbish one of those still remaining and donated to police as a way of avoiding criticism,” the workers said.

During the donation, Kansanshi Mine public relations manager Philip Msiska said the population increase in Solwezi had brought a number of challenges for the police to cope with.

Msiska said the vehicle donated to police would help to enhance police operations.
“It is common knowledge that the renewed economic operations in Solwezi have also attracted criminals.

This means that police now has to work even harder to contain crime in Solwezi. However, these efforts on the part of the police are sometimes hampered by limited availability of operational vehicles when the police desperately need to cover several areas at the same time,” Msiska said.

And in receiving the vehicle, North Western Province police commanding officer Fabian Katiba appreciated Kansanshi Mine’s continued assistance to police operations in the district.
Katiba said the vehicle would assist police in policing crime by increasing night patrols.

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Sata welcomes Mambilima's appointment as D/Chief Justice

Sata welcomes Mambilima's appointment as D/Chief Justice
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday March 21, 2008 [03:00]

Justice Ireen Mambilima deserves to be appointed Deputy Chief Justice because she is not a manipulator, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said. In an interview yesterday, Sata welcomed the appointment and ratification of Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson justice Mambilima as Deputy Chief Justice, saying she was a competent woman.

Sata said although he was frustrated at the outcome of the 2006 presidential elections results, justice Mambilima did not play a big role in manipulating the elections but the government that did through what he called “impoverished electoral agents”.

He said it was sad that justice Mambilima, despite her efforts, had left ECZ without restoring the lost confidence in the institution. Sata said people, especially the opposition parties, should not blame justice Mambilima over ECZ’s failures but should instead condemn the entire structural composition.

Sata said PF would continue to fight to have an independent ECZ that is not controlled by the government machinery in discharging its functions. He said the last presidential election results indicated that there was little or no hand from justice Mambilima.
Sata said if justice Mambilima did manipulate the election results, PF and opposition UPND could not have scooped such large numbers of parliamentary seats.

“Because if you look at constituencies PF lost, most of them are in rural areas. For instance, Chiengi, Chama North and South, Mambilima constituency, Mansa Central, all these are rural constituencies and justice Mambilima was not there.

So, the MMD government bought councillors, teachers among other polling agents since the salaries of these people are poor and they are easy to corrupt. These are the people to blame,” Sata said.

He said justice Mambilima had again been given a tough job and that Zambians should give her the necessary support in order for her to change the face of the judicial system.
“If it was PF or UPND that won the elections, we would not be saying that justice Mambilima rigged the elections.

But because it is the opposite, we said all sorts of things. You know, it is like a doctor, when a patient is healed, people say ‘that doctor is well trained’ but when patients are dying, all blames are heaped on the doctor. We need to change the way we perceive things,” he said.

Sata said Zambians should fight the government to heed to their calls for an independent electoral commission.

“In my view, both appointees, justice Mambilima and Albert Wood (appointed as puisne judge) are qualified people who deserved such positions and let all Zambians support them,” said Sata.

On Wednesday, Parliament ratified the appointments of justice Mambilima and Wood.
The position of Deputy Chief Justice fell vacant after the death of justice David Lewanika last year.

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Zim's change of law on cops to 'assist' illiterate voters surprises SA

Zim's change of law on cops to 'assist' illiterate voters surprises SA
By Kingsley Kaswende and George Chellah
Friday March 21, 2008 [03:00]

SADC election observers in Zimbabwe are surprised by the new law that President Robert Mugabe has amended to allow police officers to “assist” illiterate voters in polling stations. President Mugabe, using the Presidential Powers Act, has U-turned on changes he made to the electoral law in January as a result of the SADC-mediated talks, which had done away with the requirement for uniformed officers to be present at polling stations.

Last Friday, he changed the law back to what it was before, to allow police officers inside polling stations to “assist” voters.

Head of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) observer mission in Zimbabwe, Jose Marco Barrica, said his team would study the new regulation, how it came about as well as its impact.

Barrica and his team, surprised by the new law after being informed by journalists on Wednesday, said he was not aware of the new development despite having met President Mugabe a few days ago.

“We will go through the new regulation. We will make our own assessment to judge the situation. We will see the spirit of this new Act and compare with what the current law states about elections.

If police officers will be allowed in polling stations, did other political parties accept that?” Barrica, who is Angola’s foreign affairs minister, told journalists through an interpreter.

Neither political parties, the electoral commission nor observers seemed to know about the new changes to the law.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) opposed the amendment to the law, accusing the ruling ZANU-PF of wanting to intimidate voters using police officers.
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti said during the eight-month long SADC talks mediated by South African President Thabo Mbeki, his party agreed with ZANU-PF to call off “assistance” of uniformed forces in polling stations.

“We agreed to amend sections 59 and 60, which touch on assisting illiterate and physically disabled people, respectively,” he said.

“The old law said polling agents would take a (disabled or illiterate) voter in the presence of a police officer and assist them to vote. But we agreed that police officers have been agents of intimidation.

We reached an agreement to amend section 59 and 60 and said that polling assistants should accompany voters, accompanied by other polling officers present. We said police officers should only be 100 metres away from polling stations, carrying out their duties of maintaining peace.”

Biti said President Mugabe signed the agreed amendments into law in January “but we are surprised that he abused the presidential powers Act and enacted statutory instrument no. 13 of 2008 amending the Electoral Regulations Act no. 2 of 2008 without due respect to parliament or SADC principles.”

ZESN, which was banned by the government from conducting voter education exercises two weeks ago, said it was extremely concerned by the late changes to the electoral law that allow police officers to be present inside polling stations.
Police and other uniformed forces are said to have been agents of voter intimidation in the past.

ZESN chairperson Noel Kututwa said the new changes would undermine public confidence in the votes.

“The recent announcement that the electoral regulations have been unilaterally changed to require police officers to be inside polling stations could undermine public confidence that their vote is their secret. Further, voters requiring assistance to cast their ballots should be able to designate a person of their choice to help them mark their ballot,” he said.

Katutwa said the decision to have police officers based 100 metres away from polling stations enabled the police to fulfil their role of maintaining public order while ensuring that there was a safe environment inside the polling stations where voters would feel free to exercise their right to vote.

He said the decision to deploy police officers inside polling stations defied Article 2.1.1 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections, which requires member states to ensure that there is full participation of the citizens in the political process.

“With regards to assisted voting, due to illiteracy, physical handicaps or old age, the principle of ‘equal opportunity to exercise the right to vote and be voted for’ as enshrined in Article 2.1.6 of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections requires that voters should be free to select a person of their own choosing to help them mark their ballot,” he said. “Allowing voters to choose for themselves who assists them to vote is not burdensome to the electoral process and will enhance accountability and public confidence in the process.”

Last week, police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri told police officers that British and American puppets would never rule Zimbabwe. He said he would ensure that his force voted for President Mugabe to defend the country’s independence and sovereignty.

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Thursday, March 20, 2008

LETTERS - Maize, Cold Chains

Maize going to waste in Chisamba
By Concerned citizen
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

I wish to inform you that FRA Chisamba depot managed by Chibombo Cooperative Union has too many bags of Maize going to waste or rotting due to mismanagement by the union through negligence and lack of expert manpower to manage the maize. The maize is currently kept on the slab on the Western side of the offices; more maize is likely to go to waste because they are using plastics to cover it instead of the canvas type.

Please investigate why we are exporting maize when we are likely to record a deficit due to floods. There are more than 30 trucks waiting to load the maize and deliver to Zimbabwe; you cannot help your neighbour’s children when your own are suffering.
You The Post have been a voice of the voiceless for a long time now.

May the good Lord guide and protect you in all your future endeavours. I am proud of you please expose this scandal.

Maize going to waste in Chisamba

I wish to inform you that FRA Chisamba depot managed by Chibombo Cooperative Union has too many bags of Maize going to waste or rotting due to mismanagement by the union through negligence and lack of expert manpower to manage the maize.

The maize is currently kept on the slab on the Western side of the offices; more maize is likely to go to waste because they are using plastics to cover it instead of the canvas type.

Please investigate why we are exporting maize when we are likely to record a deficit due to floods. There are more than 30 trucks waiting to load the maize and deliver to Zimbabwe; you cannot help your neighbour’s children when your own are suffering.
You The Post have been a voice of the voiceless for a long time now.

May the good Lord guide and protect you in all your future endeavours. I am proud of you please expose this scandal.

Teta, Hikaumba's remarks
By Sunday Chanda
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

It must be very gratifying for the Patriotic Front when MMD spokesperson Ben Tetamashimba acknowledges indirectly that the PF is the strongest party in the country, hence the calling on other parties to team up and dislodge the PF.

I have never heard of a ruling party teaming up with opposition parties to defeat an opposition party. Indeed, Sata must have something to smile about.

Again, the remarks by Tetamashimba that they will consider fielding the expelled PF MPs in any forthcoming by-election speaks volumes about the nature, state and capacity of the MMD as a political structure and indeed their levels of desperation. It is this desperation that has killed the MMD.

The desperate manoeuvres by the MMD to get other political parties into some electoral pact so as to deal with the PF is not attainable and only briefcase parties would yield to this call.

Any serious political party will have the line of authority clearly spelt out as we have seen with structures such as the ANC in South Africa, PF in Zambia and many other examples.

There is no way that a political party can exist without a vice-president and that is why many of us contend that the present succession confusion in the MMD is President Mwanawasa’s own making.

The MMD is nothing without President Mwanawasa at State House and this is the truth they do not want to face. The MMD, out of office, would be worse than UNIP and this hard truth will confront them in any by-election the nation may have between now and 2011. The tripartite election of 2011 will be the final nail into the coffin of this political party.

ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba's analysis of the expulsions is simplistic and lacks noble judgment as he does not see anything wrong with the government wasting money on the NCC because he is a beneficiary.

It is surprising that the expulsion of the PF MPs has opened Hikaumba's eyes to realise that the roads in this country were in a desperate condition and needed attention. It is no wonder the labour movement in this country is at its weakest point because mediocre leadership has ascended to the helm of it. This level of compromise by Hikaumba has betrayed the aspirations of the workers in this country as they continue to wallow in poverty and their leader is getting allowances at the NCC.

By-elections will always be a consequence in any democracy and people such as Hikaumba must be well alive to that effect. The argument that by-elections are unnecessary since they consume a lot of our resources as a nation is neither here nor there since political parties are expected to ensure that the line of duty is not frustrated by its members and those who do must be disciplined.

It is also important that MPs understand that it is wrong to misrepresent the people and that the sponsoring party must be respected at all times. Even when you talk about dialogue, which dialogue is Hikaumba referring to? Political parties, like any other organisation should not just dialogue for the sake of the word but must reach a point where they agree to disagree – it’s also called democracy because much as individual members have rights, the party as an institution equally has rights.

In Bemba they say umuchinshi wanseba, kwimina pamo (referring to the fact that birds will always flock together and their respect and beauty lies in that pattern). The expulsions are a good lesson for those affected and their imminent loss in the subsequent by-elections will even be a greater lesson.

Zambians deserve MPs who will represent them wholeheartedly and not those who think they are much wiser than the collective wisdom of the electorate. As a matter of principle, these MPs changing political camps like shirts, also known as political 'crosstitutes', must be taught that it is wrong to take the people for granted. Consistency is the key and one cannot be a hyena today and a lion tomorrow.

There must be a change of attitude among our politicians, who will support a particular party during the general election and the moment their party president does not get to Plot One, their allegiance shifts to the government in power. Some of the expelled MPs are reported to have insulted MMD and President Mwanawasa during the last elections and now that it is convenient for them, they would want to use the MMD! Does this also mean that the MMD lacks credible members to field as candidates for them to go for those rejected by an opposition party?

The tide must change now and this starts when the electorate understand that they have the power to hire and fire, hence the need for them to vote in huge numbers. The desperate move by the MMD to field these expelled MPs is a welcome development and it is obvious that there is nothing to write home about regarding these individuals. Their performance will be far much worse than Chimumbwa’s in Chingola because they have stood on the wrong side of the people.

Once again, farewell to the expelled MPs of the PF! We await your attempts to defend the seats on MMD’s ticket. Congratulations to the PF for setting a good precedent in ensuring that comrades deployed to serve the people do not get away with compromise.

The Bembas say umulembwe wacipuba upwila muli tumfwe (literally meaning that a fool will finish all his okra just by tasting). It’s a lesson to some of these colleagues and comrades who will finish their political careers in a hurried and disrespectful manner because they are politically constipated!
Use of cold chains
By J. Muloboi
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

Please allow me to comment on HH's outburst on the use of cold chains in livestock movement as appeared in the Monday March 17, 2008 edition of The Post newspaper. In case he has just woken up from slumber, cold chains in livestock movement are what has been used by the government for a long time now in fighting livestock diseases in the country.

For instance, live animals have not been allowed to be transported from Western Province. Currently, the same is happening in Southern Province. In exceptional cases, live animals are only allowed to move under veterinary escort and in a convoy for animals going straight for slaughter.

Eastern Province's disease situation has been complicated by an endemic disease of East Coast Fever and Swine Fever still being tackled by the Veterinary Department.

Lastly, Hichilema stabs himself by saying that the MMD is flat and can’t think about encouraging ranching in the country for purposes of exporting beef products. Doesn't he know that his MPs are contemplating demarcating and sharing some existing productive ranches like Batoka to themselves? Certainly he doesn't seem to know since his administration is mainly influenced by the majority type of people who surround him - his relatives. Therefore, if MMD is flat on this issue, then HH flatters the nation.

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Speed up creation of industrial policy, Kopulande urges govt

Speed up creation of industrial policy, Kopulande urges govt
By Mwala Kalaluka
Tuesday March 11, 2008 [03:00]

SETREC chairman Sebastian Kopulande has asked the government to expedite the creation of an industrial policy to enable small-scale businesses make it in an environment dominated by multinationals. And Kopulande said Setrec’s business profile had been enhanced following its receipt of the Golden Arrow Award for the best manufacturing company in Zambia. The award was from Professional Management Review (PMR) Africa.

Kopulande said in an interview on Saturday that the current business environment had stifled the growth of small-scale entrepreneurs because it was devoid of necessary support ingredients to build their capacities.

“You know very well that small-scale entrepreneurs have serious difficulties in accessing credit facilities from our banking system; that is the biggest obstacle,” he said.

“The other serious difficulty is accessing contracts; even contracts from the government.”

He said even the recent enactment of the citizens economic empowerment Act in 2006 had not done much to change the above status quo because of the government’s failure to implement the Act.

“That Act also provides for preference to Zambian-owned companies in terms of access to government contracts and so controlling officers who are disregarding this provision are actually breaking the law,” Kopulande said. “We also need to quickly work on an industrial policy, which will ensure that the capacity of small-scale business is built.”

And Kopulande said the award given to Setrec by PMR Africa, which he described as a highly reputable regional business research institution, was an indication that Zambian companies could make it despite the odds against them.

“I dedicate this award to all the small-scale businesses in Zambia,” he said. “They must remain dedicated, focused and stick to the vision. Zambian entrepreneurs have the entrepreneurial spirit and drive which should not be thwarted by this non-supportive environment.”

Kopulande said although Setrec was a small-scale manufacturing company, it had been able to spread its business tentacles outside the country as evidenced from the awards received at various regional and international fairs.

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Uganda hopes to learn from Zambia's road management

Uganda hopes to learn from Zambia's road management
By Kabanda Chulu
Wednesday March 19, 2008 [03:00]

MEMBERS of the Ugandan Road Fund have stated that there is need to learn from Zambia on the best practices and institutional framework of managing the road sector in their country. And finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa observed that Zambia was getting benefits of having separated road sector institutions because it brought about financial discipline through transparency and accountability.

During their visit to specific Zambian ministries and departments by Ugandan members of parliament and members of the Ugandan Road Fund Task Force, delegation leader Tindamanyire Gadioso said Uganda was in the process of forming a road fund and had identified Zambia as one of the countries with road fund management best practices.

“Uganda has more to learn from Zambia’s road sector institutional framework and the operations of the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) in particular,” said Gadioso. “And the outcome of our visit will make it possible to fast track the finalisation of all the mandatory arrangements leading to the passing of the Uganda Road Fund Bill 2007 into an Act of Parliament."

So far the Ugandan delegation had visited the ministries of finance, works and supply, local government and housing, communications and transport and road sector agencies in order to acquire in-depth understanding of the overall operations of Zambia’s road fund and its contribution to the performance of the road transport sector and national development.

He said the National Road Fund Act 13 of 2002 created the NRFA and was responsible for administering and managing all financial resources in the road sector.

"The monies which come from fuel levy, government allocations, loans and grants, are used to fund the core road network and has immensely contributed to economic development of the country through efficient movement of goods and services,” said Shakafuswa.

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Consumer body cries for 'teeth'

Consumer body cries for 'teeth'
By Joan Chirwa
Wednesday March 19, 2008 [03:00]

ZAMBIA Competition Commission (ZCC) has been inactive in enforcing existing laws due to the absence of punitive measures against offenders, commission director for consumer welfare and education Chilufya Sampa has said. In an interview, Sampa said the major problem that the competition commission has had in terms of enforcing consumer laws was the non-existence of punitive measures, as the current court process was time-consuming and costly on the part of the commission and consumers.

“If we need to take someone to task, we have to go through the courts but that is not effective. We have used advocacy instead and we have not taken anyone to court over the last 10 years,” Sampa said. “We have come to realise that this is a weakness on the part of the competition commission for not being able to take people to task over various complaints that we receive from consumers around the country.”

Sampa noted the need for the amendment of the Consumer and Fair Trading Act for it to be more effective in terms of enforcement of the laws.

“The current court processes take so long, so this is why we have just been using advocacy methods in dealing with complaints on products from the consumer. This method is however not the best, but it is quicker compared the court process,” Sampa said. “Because of the absence of punitive measures, we have a number of companies coming out in consumer complaints every now and then. We are now even thinking of just taking some of these companies to court even if the process takes long and is an expensive venture.”

The competition commission last year handled a total of 62 consumer cases on misleading information, deceptive products and foreign particles in foodstuffs, among others.

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Govt to restrict small-scale mining rights

Govt to restrict small-scale mining rights
By Kabanda Chulu
Wednesday March 19, 2008 [03:00]

MINES deputy minister Maxwell Mwale has said the government will this year restrict all small-scale mining rights to Zambian citizens and citizen-owned companies. During the Civil Society Trade Network Zambia, trade and development consultation meeting, Mwale said the mines and minerals development bill of 2008 was intended to address post-privatisation challenges and national aspirations that included the need for Zambians to participate more in the ownership of the mines.

He said the government was proposing to repeal and replace the 1995 mines and minerals Act because it was meant to promote privatisation of the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines, which was done and now was the time to address the challenges of post-privatisation aspirations.

“However, Zambians will remain free to enter into mine development partnerships with foreign investors, but only up to 49 per cent equity participation by non-Zambians,” said Mwale.

Under the existing mines and minerals Act, Cap 213, an artisan’s mining right is the only one reserved for Zambian citizens but government was proposing to add to this, other small-scale mining rights.

Mwale further said that the new bill would cater for the removal of the provision for the minister to enter into development agreements.

The bill would also provide that existing development agreements should cease to be binding on the Republic of Zambia.

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ZACA urges govt to improve revenue collection at RTSA

ZACA urges govt to improve revenue collection at RTSA
By Joan Chirwa
Wednesday March 19, 2008 [03:00]

GOVERNMENT should first improve revenue collection efficiency at the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) instead of implementing new road user fees, Zambia Consumer Association (ZACA) chief executive Muyunda Ililonga has said. Appearing before a parliamentary committee on Communication, Works and Supply on Monday, Illilonga said RTSA was currently failing to collect revenue from motorists because of its low efficiency levels.

“The view held by many motorists is that RTSA is inefficient and is failing to collect existing government revenue as many motorists queue for many days to fulfill their tax obligations. The motorists are let down by the government agency that is failing to provide them service in good time and as a consequence, the money that is supposed to go to government is held back by the motorists,” Illilonga said. “So one of the ways that government can mobilise the revenue so desperately needed to develop and maintain our road infrastructure is by improving the collection efficiency by RTSA instead of increasing fees.”

Illilonga said the proposed increase to road user fees would also stimulate corrupt practices among government officials and citizens.

“Experience has shown that whenever the state imposes high taxes on the citizens, the temptation to avoid paying such taxes by conniving with the enforcement agencies becomes prevalent. This in real terms means loss of revenue to government and an increase in corruption cases,” Illilonga said. “As a consumer body, we also fear that an increase in the road user fees will translate into an increase in bus fares because business entities will simply pass on the fees onto the consumers.”

Illilonga said the proposed road user fees should not be implemented as the government is expected to raise additional revenue from increased mine taxes, the resources that could also be used for road construction and maintenance.

“The Zambian consumer is already heavily burdened with several other taxes and the proposed increase in licence fees will add injury to the already miserable consumer,” said Ililonga.

RTSA recently proposed a 400 per cent increase in road user fees, but it was later announced that the proposal was prematurely announced. The proposed fees have since been revised and are expected to come into law early next month.

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Chiluba spent sleepless nights over ZCCM, says Francis Kaunda

Chiluba spent sleepless nights over ZCCM, says Francis Kaunda
By Noel Sichalwe
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

FORMER Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) chairman Francis Kaunda on Tuesday told magistrate Edward Musona how former president Frederick Chiluba was spending sleepless nights over the privatisation of ZCCM. Kaunda also named United Party for National Development Hakainde Hichilema as having participated in the privatisation process when he headed a committee that was disposing of subsidiary assets.

This is a matter in which Kaunda, 70 and former Access Finance director Faustin Kabwe are charged with conspiracy to defraud. It is alleged that in 1998 Kaunda, as chairman of ZCCM privatisation, abused his authority by offering ZCCM Ndola Primary School to Ndola Trust School, an act that was prejudicial to the interest of the Republic of Zambia.

On the second count, Kaunda and Kabwe are jointly charged with conspiracy to defraud. Both have been found with a case to answer and have now started their defence.

In his defence led by lawyer Frederick Mudenda, Kaunda said after graduating from Howard University in Washington DC with a degree in economics and political science in 1966, he joined the government at Cabinet Office as senior principal.

Kaunda said in 1974, former president Kenneth Kaunda appointed him managing director of the Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines Limited (NCCM). He said in 1981, two state companies, NCCM and Roan Copper Mine, were merged and he was appointed as chairman and chief executive of ZCCM.

“In all, I was chairman and chief executive of ZCCM for 10 years and was removed without reason or giving me an explanation when there was change of government in 1991. Overall, I was at the helm of the Zambian mining industry for nearly three decades,” he said.

Kaunda said after the MMD came to power, he was retired and that it took two years to be paid his retirement benefits.

“After my retirement, I got a surprise call from State House. I went but I didn’t know why I was being called. I was informed by the second Republican president Dr Frederick Chiluba that he was having sleepless nights concerning the privatisation of ZCCM.

It was early March 1997,” Kaunda said. “The president asked me if I could assist and I suspected why he asked that question because I was not well treated when I left office.

As a patriot, I replied that I would assist. When I left the president’s office, I didn’t know that in fact I was going to be appointed as chairman of the privatisation team. On 11th March 1997, I received a letter of appointment from the president and he gave two reasons why I was appointed. One was that my knowledge on the mining assets and also my credibility with the investors in the mining industry.”

Kaunda said during the transformation plan of 1998, the ZCCM privatisation team formed three groups.

He said the first group to sale core assets was headed by Norman Mbazima and John Patterson, the second group for sale for subsidiary assets was headed by Hakainde Hichilema while the third group to dispose of miscellaneous items was headed by Mwila Lumbwe.

“During my career, I handled huge sums of money but my integrity was never questioned,” he said.

Hearing continues on March 20.

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Threat to kill Litunga lands fisherman in jail

Threat to kill Litunga lands fisherman in jail
By Nyambe Muyumbana in Mongu
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

MONGU magistrate Margarita Chisonga on Tuesday sentenced a 48-year-old fisherman to two years light imprisonment for threatening to beat up and kill the Litunga. Lubasi Mbangweta of Mbanikelako in Mongu was sentenced after he pleaded guilty to the offence of intent to cause alarm and threatening the Litunga, Edwin Lubosi, with injury.

Facts before court were that on February 21, 2008 at Limulunga royal village, at the palace, Lubasi was heard saying that he would overthrow and kill the Litunga when he goes to Lealui, the capital of the Lozi people.

Mbangweta was further heard saying that after killing him, a new Litunga would be inaugurated.

The matter was reported to the police who arrested Mbangweta and charged him with the above offence.

In mitigation, Mbangweta pleaded for lenience, saying he was asthmatic.
But the prosecutor said Mbangweta was currently serving a one-month sentence for insulting the Litunga.

In passing sentence, magistrate Chisonga said Mbangweta could have considered his illness before committing the offence. She said it was clear that Mbangweta’s actions were deliberate since he committed a similar offence for the second time. She said although she was Tonga, she knew that some of the duties of the Lozi people were to respect the Litunga.

Magistrate Chisonga said the Bible required that people respected their leaders since leadership was given to them by God. She said that if Mbangweta had a problem with the Litunga, he could have sought audience with his indunas (the Litunga’s advisors) rather than resorting to violence.

Meanwhile, some unknown persons in Mongu are distributing a two-leaf paper containing information urging the people of Western Province to shun this year’s Kuomboka ceremony scheduled for April 12, saying that it was a waste of time and money to take part in the celebrations.

Police have confirmed the development although they have not yet instituted investigations because there is no complainant so far.

But acting Ngambela Imasiku Iliamunga, said he was not aware of such a document being circulated in Mongu.

The document, written in Silozi by unknown people and widely distributed in all the streets of Mongu, has accused the Litunga of destroying the Lozi culture by not following traditional norms. It stated, among other issues, that the capital palace for the Litunga was Lealui in the Barotse plains and not Limulunga where the Litunga lives all the time.

The document further explains that Kuomboka Ceremony is the moving out of water in Lealui to Limulunga on the upper land rather than the current situation where the Litunga lives in Limulunga and only went to Lealui using a speedboat on the eve of Kuomboka. The document stated that it is not genuine for the Litunga to say he does not live in the palace in Lealui because it is dilapidated.

The document alleges that Kuomboka ceremony has become meaningless and was only used to fundraise for the Litunga and his indunas. The document is urging people to shun the ceremony and avoid contributing towards the fundraising for the ceremony.

According to well-placed sources, the Office of the President in Mongu is investigating the matter to establish people behind the anonymous document.

According to investigations so far, three GX Land Cruisers were seen distributing the documents in Limulunga royal village last weekend.

Western Province police commanding officer, Vaels Muzwenga, said in an interview that they were aware of the document although they were waiting for an official complaint from the affected party so that investigations can be instituted. And Muzwenga dismissed as false rumours that police officers had been sent to guard the Litunga following the distribution of the documents.

And University of Zambia Mongu resident lecturer Masheke Iliamupu has declined to be part of this year’s Kuomboka Kufuluhela ceremony committee, citing lack of accountability by the Barotse Royal Establishment towards the funds donated for the ceremony.

Iliamupu also said it was unheard of in the Lozi tradition to set a date for Kuomboka a month ahead of the ceremony. He said the concept of Kuomboka ceremony was that people move out of water at a time when they feel they are flooded.

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Mambilima's ratified as deputy chief justice

Mambilima's ratified as deputy chief justice
By Lambwe Kachali
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:01]

PARLIAMENT yesterday ratified the appointment of Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson justice Irene Mambilima as deputy Chief Justice. But some opposition members of parliament questioned the appointment of Justice Irene Mambilima saying the timing was bad.

Contributing to the debate of the report of the parliamentary select committee which was appointed to scrutinise the presidential appointment of Mambilima and Albert Woods to serve as deputy chief justice and puisne judge respectively, Roan member of Chishimba Kambwili said the opposition had been vindicated when they said that she (Mambilima) favoured the MMD government in 2006 general elections.

Kambwili said although Mambilima was well qualified and competent to serve that position, her appointment was wrongly timed.

He also expressed concern at the involvement of lawyers during the scrutiny process.

He said the position to which Mambilima had been appointed required independent people to carry out the scrutinisation process and not lawyers who are also part of the judiciary.

“Mr. Speaker, we are just coming from elections where MMD won but people questioned the outcome of those elections.

Sir, barely two years a person who chaired the electoral process is elevated to a higher position. What will the opposition and the country as a whole think?

As for the opposition we feel Justice Mambilima has been paid for rigging the elections in favour of the ruling party,” Kambwili said. “Sir, the opposition is now vindicated for saying that the elections were rigged.”

At this point, local government minister Sylvia Masebo stood on a point of order asking the Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa if Kambwili was in order to suggest that justice Mambilima had been paid for allegedly rigging the elections.

But Speaker Mwanamwambwa ruled that the executive would be given an opportunity to defend the allegations.

Kambwili further said it was unacceptable for both Chief Justice and the deputy to come from the same province.

He said it would be difficult to root out tribalism in Zambia if such senior appointments were not taken care of.

And committee chairperson Chifumu Banda urged all parliamentarians to support and adopt the report.
Banda said the committee viewed the judiciary as a key institution in promoting good governance.

He said in scrutinising both appointments, the committee took into account the need for the candidates to have the highest levels of competence, eminence, soundness of character, integrity, efficiency, diligence and commitment to the people of Zambia.

“Sir, the nominees also have personal attributes which have given confidence to your committee that they will be able to perform their duties in these important positions with diligence and commitment,” said Banda.

Sinazongwe member of parliament Raphael Muyanda said there was need for justice Mambilima to ensure that the confidence that Zambians had lost in the judicial system was returned.

He said the country had developed a trend of not disposing of cases on time, a situation he described as retrogressive.

Meanwhile, justice minister George Kunda said government supported the ratification of both appointees.

Kunda said justice Mambilima and Wood had risen through many ranks in times when conditions of service were not favourable in the judiciary.

Parliament thereafter ratified their appointments.

The position of deputy chief justice was vacant following the death of David Lewanika

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ZANU-PF wins 389 wards unopposed

ZANU-PF wins 389 wards unopposed
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

ZIMBABWE’S ruling ZANU-PF has registered another early lead after it won about 389 wards unopposed in the local government elections. ZANU-PF is also leading in parliamentary elections after two of its candidates in Mashonaland Central Province went through unopposed after filing their nomination papers last month. Zimbabwe’s harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections are scheduled for March 29, 2008.

According to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network’s (ZESN) latest election update, the ruling ZANU-PF was now ahead of all opposition political parties and independent contestants taking part in the harmonised elections.

ZESN, which is an independent election monitoring group stated that figures obtained from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) revealed that ZANU-PF had won 389 wards countrywide unopposed.

ZESN further stated that both factions of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) only managed to secure a combined number of 39 seats.

MDC’s Morgan Tsvangirai led faction got 25 seats and the Professor Arthur Mutambara faction won 14 seats unopposed bringing the combined number of seats won by both factions to a total of 39.

About 1,572 wards throughout the country remained up for grabs in the March 29 harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections.

And ZESN chairperson Noel Kututwa noted that despite some administrative problems, the electoral commission was moving rapidly to accredit all 11,000 of ZESN’s anticipated observers and that it appreciated the speed with which the process was occurring.

“ZESN, therefore, urges ZEC to immediately allow accredited domestic and international observer groups access to observe all aspects of the electoral process in particular postal balloting. For Zimbabweans to have confidence in the electoral process, the management of elections must be transparent and accountable.

“This will also enable the winners, regardless of political affiliation, to have the legitimacy to govern. Preventing accredited domestic and international observer groups from observing postal balloting reduces transparency and potentially creates the perception that there is something to hide,” said Kukutwa.

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Water and sanitation

Water and sanitation
By Editor
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

Every year, unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation and hygiene claim many lives of our children under five years old from diarrhoea. This tragic reality underscores the need for us to commit ourselves to meeting the Millennium Development Goal of water and sanitation – to halve, by 2015, the proportion of our people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.

But those who die are no means the only children affected. Many more have their development disrupted and their health undermined by diarrhoea or water-related diseases.

In all, many of our people do not have access to drinking water from improved sources, and many are without basic sanitation – yet these foundations for healthy living are taken for granted by the majority of our people. And as local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo has observed, many of our people don’t feel comfortable to discuss the topic of water and sanitation or toilets.

These issues often make some of our people uncomfortable. Even the media’s coverage of these issues is relatively very low.
Water and sanitation are vital in themselves, but they are also key prerequisites for reducing child and maternal mortality and combating diseases.

They are also key to reducing child under-nutrition and achieving universal primary education. Girls, especially, are likely to spend more time in school when they spend less time fetching water and when adequate sanitation facilities are available on school grounds.

The benefits of improved drinking water and sanitation are evident and could be extended to so many more of our people, if only sufficient resources and resolve were dedicated to the task.

It is hard to think of a more potent reason to redouble our efforts than the thought of the many of our children, who every year, will not live to see their fifth birthday.

Water is as fundamental to human life as the air we breathe. Yet, ironically, this essence of life can have an injurious impact if its source is not free from pollution and infection – and the most likely pollutant is human faeces that have not been disposed of and have spread because of lack of basic sanitation and hygiene.

Young children are more vulnerable than any other age group to the ill effects of unsafe water, insufficient quantities of water, poor sanitation and lack of hygiene. Lack of safe water, sanitation and adequate hygiene contribute to the leading killers of our children under-five, including diarrhoea diseases, pneumonia, neo-natal disorders and under-nutrition.

Those children and adults who depend on water from unprotected dug wells, rivers, lakes or streams for drinking are at risk of infection from waterborne diseases if sanitation is poor. Too few of our people enjoy the safety and convenience of having water that has been treated under managed conditions and piped into their homes or compounds.

Many of our people do not have access to improved sanitation. Improved sanitation facilities are those that reduce the chances of people coming into contact with human excreta. These include toilets that flush wastes into a piped sewer, septic tank or pit, as well as dry pit latrines constructed with a cover. Such facilities are only considered to be improved if they are private rather than shared with other households.

The great majority of our people who remain without access to improved drinking water live in rural areas, where journeys to collect water tend to be longer than in urban areas. And the great majority of our rural population must collect water from a communal source and they must collect sufficient amounts not only for drinking but also for cooking and washing needs of the whole family.

They spend more of their time collecting water.
In peri-urban areas and shanty compounds, irregular interrupted supplies may cause residents to wait up to several hours before they can collect water.

The urban-rural divide is not the only disparity evident in access to water and sanitation: the richest quintile is four times more likely to have access to sanitation than the poorest quintile. There is also an associated gender gap.

Women and girls bear more of the consequences of poor water, sanitation and hygiene, as they are usually the ones who fetch the water and care for the children and other household members who fall sick from water-related diseases. In addition, girls’ school attendance is affected the most by inadequate water and sanitation facilities in schools and by time spent travelling long distances to drinking-water sources.

Girls and women need greater privacy for personal hygiene than boys and men. In the absence of private sanitation facilities, there have been cases where women limit their food and water intake so that they can relieve themselves under cover of darkness; yet night-time trips to fields or roadsides may put them at risk of physical attack.

Unsafe water and unhygienic conditions not only have a detrimental effect on the health of our under-fives, but also have an impact on the health, attendance and learning capacities of school-age children.

Let us ensure that all our schools have adequate child-friendly water and sanitation facilities, along with hygiene-education programmes.

We should emphasise sanitation in our schools as a priority action. We shouldn’t forget that providing adequate water and sanitation in our schools is essential if the enrolment, learning and retention of girls is to improve.

Let us meditate deeply on these issues today as we commemorate World Water Day whose theme this year is ‘sanitation’.

Again, let us not forget that water is as fundamental to human life as the air we breathe; it is the essence of life and we should keep it free from pollution and infection. Water and sanitation are vital in themselves.

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Don't be uncomfortable to talk about sanitation or toilets, urges Mase

Don't be uncomfortable to talk about sanitation or toilets, urges Mase
By Florence Bupe, Chibaula Silwamba, Joan Chirwa and Prudence M
Thursday March 20, 2008 [03:00]

Poor and indiscriminate disposal of waste has had a toll on the dignity and development of the country, local government minister Sylvia Masebo has observed.

Speaking during the commemoration of this year’s World Water Day under the theme ‘sanitation’, Masebo said there was increased need for appropriate disposal and management of solid waste by all stakeholders.

She said the subject of sanitation had continued to be underdiscussed, thereby inhibiting progress in the sub-sector.

“If current trends of inadequate and inappropriate attention to sanitation continue, there will be untold misery in the nation as the number of people without basic sanitation will continue to rise with children continuing to pay the most price in lost lives, missed schooling and poverty,” she said.

Masebo directed all stakeholders to prioritise sanitation issues.
“I would like all related programmes to ensure that there are proper linkages with sanitation,” she said.

Masebo lamented the low levels of sanitation coverage, saying sanitation was an important aspect of human life that had been neglected.

“The topic of sanitation or toilets often makes people uncomfortable. The reluctance to talk about sanitation and the ‘don’t care’ attitude are some of the reasons for the poor coverage of sanitation in the country,” Masebo said. “This is why as a country, one of the lowest service level coverage among many services is that of sanitation.”

And a Kanyama resident has lamented the continued inadequacy of sanitation facilities in the area and called on the government to increase the allocation of funds for the improvement of sanitation service provision.

In an interview, Charles Mhango said most peri-urban areas had continued to suffer a serious shortage of proper sanitation facilities and this was negatively affecting development in various aspects.

“There has been so much talk about plans to provide better sanitation facilities, especially toilets, but practically, no change has been seen. Most residents here still rely on poorly constructed pit latrines, which actually pose a serious health hazard,” Mhango said.

Meanwhile, Devolution Trust Fund (DTF) manager Samuel Gong’a has disclosed that a total of K9 billion would be disbursed this year to fund about 10 water projects. He said DTF would cover an additional 200,000 peri-urban and rural dwellers in terms of clean water provision by September 2008.

DTF is a basket fund under the administration of the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) that was established by the government to assist commercial utilities extend and improve water and sanitation service provision in low income urban areas.

Gong’a disclosed that cooperating partners had pledged and availed funds for the implementation of the said projects.

“We have commitments amounting to about K64 billion. The German Development bank KfW has pledged K33 billion, and the European Union has committed K23 billion, while K8.4 billion will come from DANIDA,” Gong’a said.

And Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWSC) public relations officer Liversage Mulinda has said high levels of vandalism to water infrastructure was hindering development in the improvement of sector service delivery.

In a message to commemorate the World Water Day, Mulinda stated that the high vandalism levels were hindering the achievement of water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“The concept of community integration or indeed community involvement is critical at all levels and with all categories of people and institutions as each has a specific but important complimentary role to play in achieving the UN goal on sanitation,” Mulinda stated.

“Experience at the water utility level has revealed that the problem of vandalism and other negative vices that negate the little progress that has so far been made in addressing issues of sanitation in the Southern Province are mainly due to the local communities not having a sense of ownership to the water and sewerage facilities.”

A huge percentage of the country’s peri- urban and rural population lack access to proper sanitation, resorting to the use of ‘flying toilets’ and open defecation practices which pose a serious health and environmental hazard.

The world today commemorates the World Water Day under the theme ‘Sanitation’ in support of the United Nation’s declaration of 2008 as the International Year of Sanitation.
The World Water Day is observed on March 22 every year, but this year’s commemorations have been brought forward by virtue of the day falling on a holiday.

The United Nations is working in collaboration with various organisations in different countries to increase the number of people with access to proper sanitation.

Currently, an estimated 2.6 billion people lack access to proper sanitation, resulting in approximately 1.5 million diarrhoea related deaths which could be prevented through the availability of sanitation facilities.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Barack Obama's Speech to the PA Constitution Center (17/03)

Obama Speech: 'A More Perfect Union'

Barack Obama speaks in Philadelphia, PA at Constitution Center, on matters not just of race and recent remarks but of the fundamental path by which America can work together to pursue a better future.

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(TIMES) Zambia to expand trade with Angola

Zambia to expand trade with Angola
By Times Reporter

PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has said Zambia will expand its trade with neighbouring Angola, as it is the closest route to the sea. Dr Mwanawasa said Angola, which had gone through civil war in the past, was an important neighbour to Zambia. Speaking to journalists at Lusaka International Airport yesterday before leaving for Angola on a four-day State visit, President Mwanawasa said the Government wanted a railway line to be re-opened from Chingola through Lumwana in Solwezi to the sea via Angola. He said the Government was trying to find an investor for the project.

“Angola is a very important neighbour and we would like to diversify our trade. Angola is the closest route to the sea. My trip is to the extent important. We would like a railway line to be re-opened through Chingola and Lumwana,” he said.

Dr Mwanawasa said he was travelling to Angola at the invitation of his counterpart, Jose Eduardo Dos Santos.

He said this was the first time he was travelling to that country on a State visit.
The President, while in Angola, would also sign of agreements on extradition and transfer of prisoners of the two countries and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Zambia’s North-Western and Angola’s Benguela province.

President Mwanawasa who was accompanied by the First Lady Maureen’s entourage to Angola includes Communications and Transport Minister, Dora Siliya, Energy Minister, Kenneth Konga and North-Western provincial minister, Kenneth Chipungu.

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(TIMES) Permsec explains wasteful expenditure

Permsec explains wasteful expenditure
By Times Reporter

INFORMATION and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, Emmanuel Nyirenda, yesterday told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the wasteful expenditure in installation of local area network was as a result of the failure by the contractor to fulfill contractual obligations. Luena Member of Parliament, Charles Milupi (independent) is the chairperson of the committee.

Mr Nyirenda appeared before the committee in the company of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) director general, Joseph Salasini and acting director of planning at the ministry, Gilbert Maimbo.

He was called before the committee to clarify some financial irregularities highlighted in the Auditor General’s report for the financial year ended December 31 2006.

Mr Nyirenda said the ministry engaged a company known as Evolution to install the local network but it was regrettable that the company failed to complete the works forcing the ministry to seek the services of another company.

The ministry paid K33,570,450 to Evolution but since it could not complete the works, the ministry paid K35,035,705 to the new firm.
As a result, the Auditor General regarded the K 33,570, 450 as wasteful expenditure.

But Siavonga MP Douglas Syakalima (UPND) queried Mr Nyirenda why he did not follow Evolution to the latter to ensure that it completed the works.

“I admit that we did not do a good job to ensure that Evolution finished the works. On unretired imprest quite a number of officers who are involved are now made to pay. I can say that recoveries have started,” Mr Nyirenda said.

He added that the other wasteful expenditure of K 302,264,000 was to a company that was contracted to supply digital cameras and card readers.

The wasteful expenditure was because the cards were not compatible with the cameras but Mr Nyirenda said that despite that, the ministry did not waste the resources per say as the cards were later used on other cameras.

He, however, regretted that most of the companies that bid for tenders in the ministry usually demanded 100 per cent payment.

Mr Nyirenda said this when he responded to a question from Mbabala MP, Emmanuel Hachipuka (UPND), who wanted to know why in most cases 100 per cent payments were made even before the contractor starts work.

And Mr Salasini said ZNBC would no longer give contracts to a company, once it was established that one of the directors was an employee of the corporation.

And Mr Nyirenda told PAC that the ministry did not interfere with editorial contents at public media institution.

He was compelled to say this after Mr Milupi wondered why the ZNBC camera was constantly zooming at the members of the executive each time they appeared before the committee.

Mr Salasini also said that it was an issue which management was also addressing.

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Barclays Bank to expand microfinancing by 2010

Barclays Bank to expand microfinancing by 2010
By Bright Mukwasa
Monday March 17, 2008 [03:00]

BARCLAYS managing director Zafar Masudi has said the bank is targeting to become the largest microfinance institution in the next two years. In an interview after the tour of Lusaka city market on Saturday, Masudi said Zambia had lots of opportunities for the creation and development of microfinance projects. Masudi said the bank was in the process of finalising a plan for the microfinance projects.

“We’re in the process of finalising the plan for the microfinance projects and our target is to become the largest microfinance bank in two years time (2010),’’ said Masudi.

He said the microfinance development programmes were crucial to the existence of the bank.

Masudi said the bank had already done preliminary planning to the development of microfinance projects and was likely to start implementing the programme in the third quarter of 2008.

He disclosed that the bank would move swiftly and strategically in taking up existing opportunities on the market and eventually capitalise on them.

Masudi further said the Zambian banking market had a promising and impressive growth, which gave the bank a lot of enthusiasm in terms of its expansion programmes.

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ZBF welcomes launch of Taxpayers' Charter

ZBF welcomes launch of Taxpayers' Charter
By Joan Chirwa
Monday March 17, 2008 [03:00]

THE launch of the Taxpayers Charter by ZRA will create certainty in business transactions among companies, Zambia Business Forum (ZBF) chief executive Reginald Mfula has said. Mfula, in a press release, stated that the newly launched Taxpayers Charter would ensure companies operated with certainty once the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) remained true to the charter.

“ZRA has taken a very important step towards transparency and predictability in all its business transactions. If ZRA is true to its charter, companies will be able to operate with the certainty that business transactions will be completed in a timely manner, thereby enabling them to make informed financial decisions and eliminating the temptation to make unofficial results or facilitate payments to achieve results,” Mfula stated.

“For example, if ZRA stands behind its commitment to refund customs duties within 30 days, or to refund customs deposits within 48 hours, Zambia will be among the leaders in Southern Africa. This is good for business and great for Zambia.”

The ZBF represents business associations in Zambia's key economic sectors such as mining, farming, manufacturing, and banking.

In its recent ranking of countries Doing Business in sub-Saharan Africa, the World Bank placed Zambia 11th among the 46 countries in the region.

However, in terms of the factor called Trading Across Borders, Zambia was only 34th in the region, highlighting the importance of ZRA’s new Taxpayer Charter and the service standards it contains.

And Mfula has commended ZRA for involving the business community in the actual development of its service standards.

Other government institutions developing customer charters to improve services are the Ministry of Lands and the Department of Immigration, both of which are essential to a properly functioning business environment that would lead to job creation and economic growth.

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Cisco launches initiative to support African economies

Cisco launches initiative to support African economies
By Kelvin Chambwa in Johannesburg
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:01]

Global IT group Cisco has launched an investment initiative to support emerging economies in Africa in addressing the critical IT skills shortfall. The initiative that is under the auspices of the Global Talent Acceleration Programme (GTAP) will first be implemented in South Africa this year and eventually spread to other countries in Africa, including Zambia.

According to Cisco, as part of the ongoing investment in the region, GTAP was a long-term initiative aimed at developing local next-generation network consulting engineering for the company.

The initiative has particular relevance in emerging countries where there is need to train and transition staff in service delivery.

At present, the entire African region is experiencing tremendous growth in information technology (IT). However, finding the right talent to support this growth is becoming a critical challenge for governments and organisations alike.

Announcing the launch of the programme at Birchwood Executive Hotel in Johannesburg on Thursday last week, Phil Wolfenden, senior director of Cisco Advanced Services in emerging markets, observed that demand for technical talent had undoubtedly exceeded supply in emerging Africa.

“Our belief is that local or near-shore employees are best suited to understand and address the business requirements of their native regions,” Wolfenden said.

“Our investment will help foster a climate of confidence in which business and government leaders can commit to major new projects.”

Wolfenden added that instead of importing talent from other regions on a temporary basis, GTAP would accelerate the development of a highly skilled and well-trained local workforce.

“The skills that GTAP provides to its graduates contribute to the local knowledge infrastructures that are critical for accelerating and sustaining economic growth,” he said.

Initially, the focus will be on South Africa where Cisco aims to employ and train locally based recruits at the professional and associate levels.

The Johannesburg facility is the second GTAP initiative to be launched in emerging countries following the establishment of a facility in Jordan in November last year. The South African facility will eventually act as a “hub” for emerging Africa.

Selected students will be put through a rigorous programme that combines theory, industry exposure and hands-on experience.



Shakumbila, Nkomeshya border dispute persists

Shakumbila, Nkomeshya border dispute persists
By Sandra Mulowa in Mumbwa
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:00]

THE boundary wrangle between senior chief Shakumbila of Mumbwa district and chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo of Chongwe district has persisted. Chief Shakumbila told health minister Dr Brian Chituwo when he paid a courtesy call on him at his palace that he did not know what chieftainess Nkomeshya wanted from his chiefdom. But chieftainess Nkomeshya said she would talk about the boundary issue at the right time.

“There will be a time, just wait when I am going to react to all he said. I will tell you all,” she said. Chief Shakumbila said he had tried his best to get to the bottom of the matter but was failing to understand what chieftainess Nkomeshya was looking for in his area.

He said chieftainess Nkomeshya had been claiming that a number of projects in his area belonged to her chiefdom.

“Sable is getting confused as an investor,” he said.

Chief Shakumbila said two headmen (Shamakaba and Mukuni) have since been abolished. He explained that Shamakaba was found with two registers; one belonging to Shakumbila and another to Nkomeshya’s chiefdoms.

However, chief Shakumbila said he was expecting some headmen from chieftainess Nkomeshya’s area to visit him on March 28, 2008.
He also said he would write letters to Mumbwa district commissioner, the provincial (Central Province) permanent secretary and Lusaka so that the boundary issues could be resolved.

Meanwhile chief Shakumbila complained Nangoma and Mwembehsi members of parliament, Boyd Hamusonde and Edward Kasoko were not visiting their areas.

He said he was working as a chief and member of parliament because Hamusonde and Kasoko were not visiting.

“I am not trying to criticise or condemn anyone, the two MPs are not helping us. I am not saying this because they belong to opposition,” he said.

“We have no MPs here. For us they do not exist. I have been in office for one and half years and none have come here. We don’t know where to lodge our problems. Now I have become chief and MP at the same time. Even school problems and health issues, people are coming to me.”

Dr Chituwo said boundary issues were best handled by the traditional leaders themselves and hoped that the matter would be resolved amicably because records were there.

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Bishop Njase lashes out at MPs

Bishop Njase lashes out at MPs
By Correspondent
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:00]

UNITED Church of Zambia (UCZ) Copperbelt Presbytery Bishop Committee Njase has said it is disheartening that most members of parliament abandon their electorate when they start enjoying luxury life. Speaking on Sunday at St Peter’s UCZ congregation in Chambishi township during the induction service of Reverend Lydia Chella Nachilima Sichinsambwe, Bishop Njase charged that some members of parliament were mere job seekers and had no heart to serve their electorate.

He said he was disappointed that some roads in Chambishi township were in a deplorable state while most people were living in dilapidated structures not fit for human habitation.

He said members of parliament should show commitment and dedication to improving the lives of people, instead of abandoning their constituencies and enjoying luxury life, while the electorate were wallowing in poverty.

“When I was coming here I almost shed tears of sorrow to see the deplorable state of roads in the area and the type of houses people are living in. I was wondering whether this place has got its MP and if the MP has seen the deplorable state of the roads and the state of some houses in which his electorate are living,” he said.

“I must say it is disheartening that most MPs are just using the electorate as stepping stones to Parliament and later abandon them when they start enjoying luxury life in Lusaka. These MPs, they do not even bother to come even during weekends just to come and see how the electorate are struggling.”

And Bishop Njase urged Christians to fight social ills like corruption, disease, rape and defilement that have continued in the country.

He also urged the Church to become actively involved in agriculture to produce food and alleviate poverty and hunger.

“As a Church, your role does not only end at preaching, but being practical and ensuring that you involve yourselves in agriculture to produce food so that you alleviate hunger. The Church should be self-sustaining in most of the things. The Church must also engage in various community projects,” said Bishop Njase.

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FBS happy with tax incentives on mortgage

FBS happy with tax incentives on mortgage
By Chibaula Silwamba
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:00]

FINANCE Building Society chief executive officer Srinivasa Krishnamurthy has said with the tax incentive on mortgage, low inflation and falling interest rates, it is now most appropriate to buy or construct houses. And Finance Building Society deputy chief executive officer Abha Chaturvedi said any country’s economic improvement can be seen in the development of the housing sector.

In an interview, Krishnamurthy said what the government had done to introduce an incentive on mortgage was the first step to reducing the cost of building or purchase houses.

Krishnamurthy observed that the incentive would help reduce the high number of people and families that do not have decent houses, estimated at 1.2 million.

“We have been making demands since 1996 that interest of mortgages should be deductable for tax purposes and in 2004 we also made the demand. Before 1994 that incentive was there but it was removed and now it has been restored.

That is a very big incentive and we are very happy,” Krishnamurthy said. “What this incentive does is that it allows a person to borrow more; if the mortgage interest is taken out of his taxable income then he pays less tax. It affords people to service bigger loans.”

He observed that many countries in the world had incentives for home loans.

“If you don’t buy a house today the cost of building materials might go up, inflation might go up, borrowing costs go up; anything might happen,” Krishnamurthy said. “At the moment inflation is low, there is concession on mortgage, interest rates are falling substantially, and therefore this is the most appropriate time for any individual to buy a house or construct a house.”

The government, in the 2008 national budget, made mortgage interest allowable for tax purposes for Zambian individuals who obtain loans for construction or purchase residential property.

And Chaturvedi said Finance Building Society’s lowest amount of loan has been K7 million and the highest K800 million.

“But it will take some time for every Zambian to have a decent house, it can’t happen overnight, but we are very determined in our goals,” she said.

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PF’s intolerance

PF’s intolerance
By Editor
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:00]

What is happening in opposition Patriotic Front (PF) can be said to be internal party wrangles and therefore should not necessarily attract public attention or involvement. But the expulsion of six members from the PF cannot be said to be purely an internal matter because its consequences have a bearing on the national treasury. There will be six by-elections resulting from these expulsions. And these by-elections will have to be funded by the taxpayer.

Therefore, the PF’s decision to expel six of its members of parliament affects all of us because the billions of kwacha that will be used to hold by-elections in the affected constituencies is taxpayers’ money, our money.

It cannot be denied that there are differences in the leadership of the PF. But are these differences so important to the Zambian people that they must be forced to pay billions for them?

So when by-elections are caused for reasons that don’t to have much merit, the taxpayers’ should legitimately raise concerns and denounce the perpetrators of such schemes.
Political parties are like clubs where members join voluntarily and pledge to conduct themselves in accordance with the rules of those clubs. The same can be said about the PF and its expelled members together with those other members whose expulsions are imminent.

But we have to bear in mind that any political party’s decision to expel a member of parliament has far-reaching ramifications.

This drama that has engulfed PF could have been avoided if there were some changes in leadership style of the party from one that is more personalised in the party president to a more collective one. And we think it is here that the problems of PF primarily rest.

It doesn’t make much sense to expel six members of parliament for withdrawing their monthly contributions from the party. It cannot, without qualification, be said that this act amounts to one resigning from the party and therefore the party’s central committee merely accepted their resignations when it resolved to expel them.

And when reminded that it was the party president who actually ordered all the PF members of parliament attending, against his wish, the National Constitution Conference (NCC) to stop contributing to PF what he termed “blood money”, the PF president yesterday said what he rejected was their suggestion to contribute 50 per cent of their earnings from NCC.

However, those who have followed this matter closely will have no difficulties seeing through these lies because some correspondence has even been published in the media. It’s not true that the “blood money” they talked about was to come or was coming from NCC.

Clearly, they are talking about the members of parliament withdrawing their monthly contributions from the party. We all know that the NCC has not sat for more than a month, so how can these members withdraw their monthly contributions when they have not even received money for a month? When they withdraw, it means they were initially remitting those contributions.

There is no doubt that the “blood money” they talked about is that money members of parliament voluntarily contribute from their salaries at Parliament. That is why they said all those members of parliament who chose to defy the instructions not to attend the NCC should immediately cease to make financial contributions because their money was bloody, whatever that meant.

In line with this directive, the affected members wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly Doris Mwinga, advising her to stop effecting those monthly ‘bloody’ contributions because they were no longer wanted by the ‘clean’ party.

In reaction to this withdrawal, PF secretary general Edward Mumbi wrote to all the more than twenty members of parliament who gave those instructions, advising them that they had committed an offence against the party.

“I would like to inform you that my office is in receipt of your letter together with other members of parliament addressed to the Clerk of National Assembly dated 24th January 2008 in which you have conveyed your instructions to discontinue your payment at source being your financial contribution to the Patriotic Front as a member,” read Mumbi’s letter dated February 14, 2008 to one of the members of parliament.

“In this regard, withdrawal of your financial contribution is a breach of your membership obligations and is therefore an act of resignation from the party from the date of your letter of instructions referred above. In view of the foregoing, you must furnish my office within 7 days from the date of this letter with reasons why you must have decided to breach your membership obligations before I refer the matter to the central committee for further consideration and decision.”

It is very clear that there is no NCC money being talked about here, as they want the public to believe. In short, what we are saying is that the real reason for these members of parliament’s expulsion is their decision to attend the NCC against the party president’s instructions.

But because these members have a court injunction restraining PF from expelling them, they are avoiding to be cited for contempt of court and therefore are using other reasons to kick the defiant members of parliament out of PF. After all, they have publicly said this several times that there are several ways in which to deal with rebel members.

What they are doing by expelling the six members of parliament is merely testing the waters and also employing divide and rule tactics. If indeed it is an offence for members of parliament to withhold or withdraw their monthly contributions, why have they only purged the six members when over twenty of them gave the same instructions to the Clerk of the National Assembly?

And the argument that the expulsion of Faustina Sinyangwe is not connected to the NCC but her referring to the party president as a thug is not sustainable. This whole saga is connected to NCC.

We say this because it was only after Sinyangwe went to the NCC that the men she described as thugs descended on her, harassed and poured Chibuku on her. It is this event that prompted Sinyangwe to say the party president is a thug because as far as she is concerned, those thugs were his agents because they are his security men.

Anyway, the point we are making is that people must be interested in the goings-on of the PF because these events have a lot to say about the democratic values and principles of fair play and justice that we cherish as a country.

Above all, these events have a direct impact on our national treasury because to host 27 by-elections in constituencies where these so-called rebel PF members of parliament are coming from, the government will require a minimum of K80 billion since we are told that each parliamentary by-election gobbles a minimum of K3 billion.

Yes, by-elections sometimes are inevitable and let’s have these elections when it is really necessary. We should not allow individuals or parties to cause unnecessary by-elections for unjustified reasons.

There are men and women who decide to defect from one party to another, mainly for selfish reasons. When they do, let our people reject them for causing unnecessary strain on the national treasury by voting them out.

The question for now is: should we as a country spend K80 billion as a result of petty squables within PF? If channelled into programmes of national development, how much development would we record from that amount?

In saying this, we are not in any way suggesting that PF should not instil discipline in its members. Every institution or organisation has a disciplinary code, which has to be adhered to. But this discipline must be fairly and justly administered. It should not be propelled by arbitrariness or motivated by malice and vindictiveness.

PF is the largest opposition party so far and therefore one can safely look at it as an alternative government or the government in waiting. How they manage their affairs, internally and externally, therefore is a matter of public concern or interest.

If PF is not seen to be a democratic party, if its members are seen to be intolerant with each other, what reason should our people have to usher such a party into government?

We are raising these points because we feel that, given a chance, they would run the affairs of this country in the same way they are running PF.

They are showing very dangerous dictatorial and intolerance tendencies. They don’t seem to respect divergent views in the party. Only their wishes should prevail. This is not good leadership. It is a model of bad leadership.



Levy opposes adoption of expelled PF MPs

Levy opposes adoption of expelled PF MPs
By Mwala Kalaluka
Tuesday March 18, 2008 [03:00]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday said he is not for the idea of adopting any of the five expelled Patriotic Front (PF) members of parliament because the MMD has capable people. And President Mwanawasa said the problem of load shedding of electricity which is prevailing in the country has become unavoidable. Addressing the press before departure for Angola, President Mwanawasa directed members of the MMD’s national executive committee to develop a habit of consulting the top leadership before issuing important statements that bordered on policy.

President Mwanawasa said the expulsion of the five PF members of parliament was a sad development but that it was not his intention to comment on how other parties chose to conduct their own affairs. “Now, I am very skeptical about fresh elections because I do not know where this thing is going to end; they might decide to go to court,” President Mwanawasa said.

“If ultimately there should be by-elections, and I want to clear the point which was said by the chairman for information and publicity Benny Tetamashimba which appeared in the paper that we are going to adopt the six expelled members; I want to say that members of the national executive committee, when it comes to making important statements of policy, please develop a habit of consulting the top leadership. We have not decided whether we are going to adopt them all.”

President Mwanawasa said speaking for himself, he would not recommend the adoption of the expelled parliamentarians because it would be a discouragement to the ruling party membership.
“I can only speak for myself and this is the position I will take when we meet. I will not recommend that we should adopt any of the six,” President Mwanawasa said. “We have our own members who are quite capable of participating.”

President Mwanawasa said they adopted people from other parties in the past because such resigned from their parties before they were fired.“In this particular case, they waited until they were fired,” he said.

On the forthcoming general elections in Zimbabwe, President Mwanawasa said the best people could do for the moment was to “keep silent and pray that the best man wins”.

“To do otherwise is campaigning. So, I will not be drawn into discussing the situation in Zimbabwe,” he said. And President Mwanawasa said Angola was a very important neighbour to Zambia.

“Angola, after the long civil war, is a very important neighbour to this country and we would like to diversify trade with that country,” he said. “Angola is the closest route to the sea and so we would like the rail line to Lobito to be opened and that it should come to Lumwana, Solwezi and Chingola. We are busy trying to look for an investor who can do this. We produce a lot of products that can find ready market in that region.”

President Mwanawasa, however, declined to give more comment on the new mining tax, saying things had reached a stage where it seemed as if the government was at loggerheads with the mining investors, when in fact not.

“Most of them are beginning to see why we have increased this tax. What is important is to bring them closer so that we can develop this country,” he said. “It is already law.”

And President Mwanawasa in a statement last evening said there were things that could be done collectively by Zambians to even possibly minimise the effects of load shedding.

“I share the serious concerns of each and every one of our citizens on the disruption that this load shedding is causing on our industries and lives,” he stated. “Everyone would have noted that except when there is a technical fault, load shedding usually takes place in the morning, at lunch time and in the early evening.”

President Mwanawasa stated that it was therefore cardinal that citizens took actions such as the less use of electricity as a way of reducing load shedding.

“Government is also looking at encouraging coal based electricity generation using the Maamba Coal Mine, which will soon be revamped after a strategic partner comes on board, but it will take years for these efforts to produce increased capacity because of the long lead time required to construct the facilities and to get the generators manufactured,” President Mwanawasa said.

He assured that in time the generators being rehabilitated would return into service at least by March next year.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Envoy calls for foreign, local investor partnerships

Envoy calls for foreign, local investor partnerships
By Chibaula Silwamba
Monday March 17, 2008 [03:00]

SOUTH African High Commissioner to Zambia Moses Chikane has said partnership between foreign and local investors is the best way to ensure that the local people benefit from foreign investments and get rid of suspicion about foreign investors.

In an interview in Lusaka, High Commissioner Chikane said the good thing about the South African law was that it provided for partnerships between foreign and local investors as a means through which ordinary South Africans could benefit from investments.

“We have realised that if you do not make partnership, often, even good agreements with all good intentions turn into a situation where investors get all the benefits and never give to the local people,” High Commissioner Chikane said. “Ours is that we want a young person like you the reporter and many others to form partnerships to contribute to our economic development because our future depends on all of us.

If you relate well you will have no reason to take arms against each other, but if you don’t do business together you are likely to be suspicious of each other because you have got no close contacts among yourselves. We want to establish that and business is one of those.”

He said there were many South African companies that would want to invest in the mining and other sectors in Zambia through partnerships with local entrepreneurs.

“But this is like a man-woman love story; someone must make a first move and a first move is that the people here must consult us at the High Commission and tell us that this is the area of interest that we want to find partners and then we should facilitate that,” High Commissioner Chikane said.

“As you know that the majority of South Africans regard Zambia as their second home; we were all brought up and cuddled in Zambia. We think that now the second step of our development must be economic partnership between South African and Zambian people.”

He said he looked forward to the removal of unnecessary hurdles leading to more trade ties.

“South Africa is known worldwide for its mining abilities and Zambia’s copper has been gaining momentum in the international market, we think that there is an area of cooperation there, not only in terms of mining but also in terms of processing and beneficiation of the product so that it can be a win-win situation for everybody,” said High Commissioner Chikane.

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Chief Ndake breaking the myth

Chief Ndake breaking the myth
By Brighton Phiri
Sunday March 16, 2008 [03:00]

THE history of the Nsenga speaking people is incomplete without mentioning chief Ndake of Nyimba district. More interesting though is chief Ndake’s ascendancy to power. Actually the selection came as a surprise, at least to a point where he wanted to run away. It all started when chief Ndake (born Alick Maponda) heard about his uncle’s death.

He left for Nyimba so that he could be present at his uncle’s burial. Unfortunately at the time, transport was a big problem and he arrived a day after the burial.

“That was 15th February when he died and around 1st March, that was the time to finalise the mourning rituals. On that day, the people demanded that the name of the successor be mentioned. I became a bit suspicious because some of my drunken cousins openly said we want the same Alick, meaning me.

I never believed that it would happen,” chief Ndake says. “On that day, I was not even consulted or regarded as a member of the family. Nobody whispered to me. I never thought I could be picked because both my father and mother were telling me that none of their children was going to be a chief. So I was confident that since my mother and father were there, nothing would happen.”

So the rituals started off with people among them the royal family members gathering at the palace.
A tradition cousin of the Lungu clan (Ndake royal family’s clan) took control of the proceedings. He made a few announcements before dropping the bombshell.

The master of ceremonies explained how the royal family’s senior uncle (Tumvi) and his royal sisters (Mbumba) conducted the selection process before turning his head towards where chief Ndake was seated.

“The master of ceremonies went round telling the people that we have decided…and he went on and on before turning towards where I was seated… he pronounced my name…Alick Maponda, the son of Mr. Maponda. You all know him and he has only one wife,” says chief Ndake. “I did not know what followed because I broke down into tears before they rushed me into a hut. I considered all those saying kind words about me before as terrible enemies. I looked at my mother and uttered one word while crying. I asked my mother why she allowed me to be selected as chief when she knew that I had very young children.”

The Nsenga people observe matrilineal descent. Chiefs are chosen from particular lineages within clans who rule designated lands, but exogamy between clans has created a situation where most clans are represented in each chiefdom. Although all pre-colonial Nsenga chiefs were equals, the British named senior chiefs in order to centralise authority and administration. The three senior Nsenga chiefs were namely; Kalindawalo (Petauke), Lwembe (Nyimba) and Mbuluma (Luangwa).

Upon his arrival from Livingstone where he used to live, it was agony again for chief Ndake as he was confronted with questions regarding the selection of a new chief.

The first to confront him was his wife Ruth, who upon opening the door led him to the bedroom before asking him to disclose the name of a new chief.

“When I entered my bedroom, she sat next to me on our bed and looked directly into my eyes and asked how I travelled to the village. I told her that I was selected as chief before breaking down in tears…and she too broke down. Both of us broke down, but we agreed that we should not tell our children,” he said.

Another trial for chief Ndake was at his office, where he had difficulties breaking the news before his principal. Before he left for the funeral, the principal advised him to guard himself against being selected as chief.

“So when I reported back for work, I wept upon being asked how I travelled. But later I pleaded with the principal not to tell anybody. It took over three months for the children to know as we were preparing them for the village life. Unfortunately, some people who were on transit to Zimbabwe used to publicly declare that chief Ndake was in Livingstone.

So somebody came to inquire about the presence of chief Ndake at the college. We realised that the news had been broken and so we decided to tell our children because it was not good for them to get it from the other people.

So we chose an evening dinner to announce our pending transfer to the village. When I broke the news, majority of them stood out of their chairs crying, apart from one of them who jumped high in celebrations.”

But before breaking the news, chief Ndake was scheming on how he could avoid becoming a chief. He attempted to run away to Swaziland under the pretext of seeking employment because at that time Zambian teachers were on high demand.

“So I told my wife that I wanted to resign and leave for Swaziland, but she discouraged me from conceiving those ideas. She reminded me that one day I will grow old and find myself back at the village and that it will be embarrassing for the people to begin questioning me about my going back to the village late. So since my wife said it and since she was one of those that opposed it earlier, I felt comforted,” says chief Ndake.

Since chief Ndake had not reached retirement age and he did not want to lose his retirement, he asked the Ministry of Education to transfer him to an education institution near Nyimba district. And the government was fair enough and transferred him to Nyimba Secondary School as deputy head master.

Later after clocking 25 years in service, people asked chief Ndake to move from Nyosali where he settled to Lwezi, chief Ndake’s headquarters.

The people further asked chief Ndake to retire so that he could concentrate on traditional matters.

“So I retired on 31 January, 1990. I started performing as a full time traditional leader,” he says.

An educationist turned chief Ndake in 1986, Alick Maponda has spoken on issues of national interest, but it is his attempt to discard some bad Nsenga cultural beliefs that has yielded controversy.

“Our people’s pace to catch up with the fast changing world is very slow due to lack of proper education,” says chief Ndake.

“As a result they are easily corrupted by bad cultural beliefs such as superstition that leads them to think that problems like illness, poverty or any other fortune that befalls them is caused by man. So when they want to find out about the causes, they resort to witch-hunting by consulting the witchdoctors. And these witchdoctors are not sincere with the people. Even if someone is infected with HIV, they will not advise accordingly.”

In his quest for a just society, chief Ndake has banned the traditional healers from identifying the suspected persons linked to causes of illness. But he has instead asked the traditional healers to assist their patients with medicine only.

“I have since lost some favour among the people over this matter because they think that a chief cannot live without taboos or practising witchcraft. So they are saying chief Ndake is against the diviners because he fears to be exposed. So those are some of the challenges I am facing as a chief.”

Despite the accusations, chief Ndake has remained resolute to conquer illiteracy and poverty among his subjects.

In 1997, chief Ndake was instrumental in the establishment of the Nsenga Cultural Institute whose objectives were to maintain and promote Nsenga traditions and culture.

Under the institute, chief Ndake guides his subjects towards assimilating issues or actions that bring about positive results elsewhere in the world so that they are kept abreast with the latest global development.

“In June this year we have designed a workshop, which will last for two months, for about 260 school-going girls to try and discourage them getting hooked to early marriages. Our young girls get pregnancies much earlier at the expense of their education.

That is one of the challenges,” chief Ndake says. “There has been some calls asking me to punish the parents, but I think before were punish we must educate them.

The girls too, must get educated. Drunkenness has taken toll on some of our young men, leaving them unproductive because they spend most of their time drinking. Worst still, some of them completed Grade 12 with good results, but they end up drinking Kachasu, having unstable marriages, insufficient food and unable to think properly.

All they think about is where to find the beer or where to steal to raise money to buy beer. These are some of the vices I am fighting against.”
Chief Ndake was born on March 14, 1945 at Ndake village in Nyimba district.

He enrolled for his Sub A, currently referred to as Grade One class, in 1954 at Kalindawalo school in Petauke, where he went up to Standard Two.

When chief Ndake’s father was transferred as treasurer clerk from Petauke to Nyimba where he took over as a court clerk, chief Ndake followed him and was admitted at Hofmile boarding school after writing his examinations.

“I was at Hofmile middle school from August 1958 to May 1960, again after writing my examination for Standard Five I qualified to go to Melwe Upper School in 1960. I was at Melwe for two years and completed Standard Six. And I was among the fortunate seven pupils to be selected to go to Katete Secondary School in August 1962…where I did my Form Two until May 1963,” says chief Ndake.

In January 1964, chief Ndake was to undergo a primary school teacher’s training at Malcolm Moffat Teachers Training College. After completing his training in 1966, chief Ndake’s first posting was to his former school Hofmile where he was later appointed assistant teacher.

“I taught at Hofmile from 1966 to 1971. I was appointed as headmaster for Hofmile Upper School and I was later transferred to Nyanje Upper School. These were mission schools run by Dutch Reformed Churches in Zambia,” says chief Ndake.

In 1974, the Ministry of Education selected chief Ndake for an in-service training course at Chalimbana, in what was then known as Zambia Primary Course for three months.

While at Chalimbana, chief Ndake pursued his private studies aimed at obtaining the O-level certificate with the Rapid Results College of London. “I struggled up to 1974. While at Chalimbana, I applied for an advanced Zambia Primary Course. After completing the course in 1975, I came back to Nyanje. I stayed just for a few months before I applied to go to UNZA to do a diploma in teacher’s education. I was accepted and I was at UNZA from 1976 to 1978,” he said.

At UNZA, chief Ndake studied science, social studies and education. After graduating he was posted to David Livingstone Teachers College.

After being promoted as lecturer grade one in 1978, chief Ndake was sent to the then President’s Citizenship College in Kabwe, where he obtained a certificate in political science.

Unfortunately, while chief Ndake was enjoying his teaching career, death struck his family and claimed the life of his uncle, the then chief Ndake.
He was made chief.

It was not all rosy for chief Ndake.
He was taking over a chiefdom that was under siege from the RENAMO across Mozambique.

Chief Ndake joined forces with the Zambia Army in sensitising the local people on security issues.
As if that was not enough, chief Ndake was faced with the challenge of responding to the winds of regime change that had engulfed Zambia.

“At the time of my retirement there were whispers and calls for regime change from the labour movement led by former president Frederick Chiluba. It was a very vocal movement, which shook Dr Kaunda as it led to some unrest, strikes by the workers and demonstrations against high prices and food shortages.

The time for a one-party system was numbered and the demand for multi-party was increasing. And he (Dr Kaunda) had to have supporters, therefore, in 1991, in March he turned Nyimba into a Boma and appointed me chief Ndake as its first governor.

So moving away from teaching and concentrating on the traditional matters, the head of state saw it fit to push me into politics in order to defend UNIP.”

“It is like forcing somebody to wear gloves to go and fight in the ring and indeed, I fought, but the fight was not violent. It was a peaceful approach to politics.

It was not dirty, yes some people might say politics is dirty, but what makes it dirty is the human mind because our first President is not dirty even as at now. He is a very dedicated man to human calls. He is very dedicated to peace and human development and that is what we learnt from him.

That is why I accepted when he chose me to stand as representative of Nyimba district and I went through with a very big margin,” says chief Ndake. “There I was, thinking that Dr Kaunda was very popular and believing that one day I was going to be a minister.

We were sure that we were going to defeat the MMD, but for sure it was like we were dreaming. We lost lamentably except a few parliamentary seats from the Eastern Province. So I went to parliament with a lot of despondency because what I thought I could contribute from the government bench was destroyed by the loss.”

Chief Ndake’s desire to stay in the National Assembly was unfortunately shattered when UNIP decided to boycott the 1996 presidential and general elections after the new constitution barred Dr Kaunda on account of his citizenship.

Chief Ndake got married to Ruth in 1966 with whom he has six children and 30 grandchildren.
Chief Ndake met his wife during his early days of teaching at Hofmile.

“My wife’s father was a grader operator camped at Nyimba site. We used to do the shopping at Nyimba and passed through their camp. And her father was a very good friend of my uncle, the late chief Ndake. When I broke the news about my plans to marry her, both my father who was a court clerk and my brother vigorously protested because they did not want me to marry someone from other provinces.

They wanted me to marry a Ngoni, with whom I could pay lobola. And so my uncle decided to approach my wife’s father Mr. Ibrahim Hussein to negotiate for my marriage. Since both of them were heavy drinkers, the negotiations did not take long. So the marriage was arranged by my uncle and I married my wife that year.”
Chief Ndake does not want to be left our on the current stand off between government and the mining companies.

“The foreign investors are being very unfair. The reason why they swarmed into Zambia to come and do whatever they are doing is due to our relaxed economic regulations.

And so they are threatening to drag our government to court simply because our government had been soft on them from the beginning. We are a developing nation. In my view we should not withdraw from our demands for a fair share of our resources.

If they don’t want why can’t they roll their mats and go rather than allowing a situation where we are not afforded the chance to benefit from our wealth,”
Chief Ndake says Zambians are malnourished economically and yet there is food.

“So for us to develop properly, there must be a tax regime that will ensure that those that are ripping from our resources are taxed heavily,” says chief Ndake.

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