Saturday, April 12, 2008
Where does he get off meddling in Zimbabwe's internal affairs?
If he is threatening violence or invasion, Zimbabwe should expell the cause of this threat to national security. Britain has no business meddling in Africa's affairs. Whatever national interest they imagine they have in Africa, doesn't exist. Either Africa is independent, or Brown and his neoliberal friends must admit to being what they are - unreconstructed colonialists.
Brown sends out warning to Mugabe
Gordon Brown spoke ahead of a regional summit in Zambia
Gordon Brown has warned Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe that he is "appalled" at the latest developments in the country. Zimbabwean police have banned political rallies amid growing tension over the disputed presidential election. The prime minister said the world was running out of patience with President Mugabe, with results still not released almost two weeks after the election. Mr Brown was speaking ahead of a regional summit in Zambia to discuss the crisis.
He said: "The Zimbabwean people have demonstrated their commitment to democracy. We, and the leaders of the region, strongly share this commitment.
The international community's patience with the regime is wearing thin "I cannot understand why it is taking so long to announce the result of the presidential elections. I am appalled by the signs that the regime is once again resorting to intimidation and violence."
Mr Brown added: "We will be vigilant. The international community will remain careful to do nothing to undermine efforts to secure an outcome that reflects the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe.
"But the international community's patience with the regime is wearing thin". Members of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) will meet in the Zambian capital Lusaka on Saturday, but it is not clear whether President Mugabe will be attending.
Last weekend Mr Brown held private talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki, spending more than two hours trying to persuade him to use his influence to end the crisis.
In Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) - which claims to have won the election - has called for a strike starting on Tuesday to put pressure on the authorities.
The ban on political rallies comes two days before a planned demonstration by the MDC in the capital Harare.
Saturday April 12, 2008 [04:00]
THE proposal put forward by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe deserves serious consideration. It would be wrong for ZANU-PF or anyone else to dismiss this MDC proposal outright. We feel in the current political circumstances of Zimbabwe, a government of national unity is a very sensible proposition. There is need for the political leaders of Zimbabwe to sit down and negotiate and come up with a political dispensation that will bring unity, peace and stability to that country.
We feel whatever form of political organisation they come up with should promote unity, if possible; it shouldn't be an artifice aimed at dividing the people.
But why are we calling for negotiations between the ZANU-PF and MDC? The starting point for developing any framework within which to approach some large questions in the negotiating process is to answer the question: why should we negotiate?
There is need for negotiations in Zimbabwe because even if ZANU-PF today tries to hold on to power, it will no longer be able to continue ruling the country in the way it has done since 1980 and should be genuinely seeking some break with the past. And at the same time, the MDC is clearly not dealing with a defeated ZANU-PF, and a total take over of power by them in Zimbabwe cannot be without serious problems or challenges, may not even be realistically posed.
For the last 27 years, Zimbabwe has been a de facto one-party state. This is the first time a serious electoral challenge to ZANU-PF has been experienced in that country. But we know, from the African experience that a one party state - whether de facto or de jure - except at rare moments in history, is a recipe for tyranny.
What we have learnt from the African experience is that the concept of the party as a vanguard which has the right to rule by virtue of calling itself something that makes it appear like a permanent godfather of society, is a disaster. This is the situation ZANU-PF finds itself in today by design or by accident and it has to find a way out of this because this position is no longer viable.
We do appreciate the fact that ZANU-PF and MDC would like to have outright political victory and be in total control of the government of Zimbabwe. Each one of them could be ready to fight some big political battles. And they may think they have all the possibilities for inflicting a crashing political defeat on the other.
But this might have a big cost on Zimbabwe and its people. It is clear that they have created the balance of power required to determine the outcome of the political situation.
But if each one of them could determine the outcome by simply creating the right balance of power and giving the other a chance to understand its disadvantageous position and the need for a negotiated political solution, that should be the preferred solution to waging a large scale and seemingly endless political battle that might prove very costly to the people of Zimbabwe because all large political campaigns have a price.
We think human beings should never draw away from the honest goal they seek and be influenced by other considerations.
Under the current political circumstances we think neither the ZANU-PF nor MDC can govern that country all by themselves.
They certainly need a government of national unity of one form or another. There is no need to wait until after so much loss and destruction of life and property, like we saw in Kenya, for them to form a government of national unity. The dangers can be foreseen and measures can be taken to avert such a disaster.
Moreover what should be important, is not who wins or who loses, but to find a way to ensure that no matter who wins or who loses, both sides must agree to cooperate in whatever form in solving the common problems of Zimbabwe.
This means, in essence, that all sides must share a common commitment to the welfare of that country and its people and the basic values that are needed to achieve that. Politicians in ZANU-PF and MDC don't necessarily have to like each other, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play. Moreover, the ground rules must encourage tolerance and civility in the way they deal with each other.
We know they have said a lot of things about each other; they have called each other all sorts of names but there is still room for them to reconcile their positions in the best interest of their country and their people.
Negotiated solutions can be found even to conflicts that have come to seem intractable and that such solutions emerge when those who have been divided reach out to find the common ground.
But when one negotiates, one must be prepared to compromise; when you negotiate, you have to accept the integrity of another man. And concessions are inherent in negotiations.
That is the nature of compromising: you can compromise on fundamental issues, insignificant things, peripheral issues, don't need any compromise.
If you are not prepared to compromise, then you must not enter into or think about the process of negotiation at all.
If peace and stability is to be established or brought back to Zimbabwe, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of dissention between or among the people of that country, especially the key political players. This requires that all parties respect each other and that all of them in turn recognise and respect the government as a legal institution.
We hope the Southern African Development Community leadership at their meeting in Lusaka today will recognise the need for a negotiated settlement of the Zimbabwean political crisis and not emphasise on trying to find a sweepstake winner in the elections that took place almost two weeks ago.
Of course the outcome of these elections cannot be totally ignored and they should be at the centre or form the basis of any negotiated political settlement. Again, we sincerely believe it will be folly to ignore the proposal put forward by MDC for a government of national unity in Zimbabwe.
We believe it is the best way forward because a divided Zimbabwe - as it stands today - will not be able to solve any of its problems no matter what assistance is given to it by SADC or the international community at large. And there are good examples of this all over the world. We can see it in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. Let's help Zimbabwe emerge out of this political crisis more united and much stronger.
Belief in the possibility of change and renewal is perhaps one of the defining characteristics of politics. It is the character of growth that we should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
It is said that there are few misfortunes in this world that one cannot turn into personal triumph if one has the iron will and the necessary skill. Let's hope and wish our Zimbabwean brothers and sisters will be able to turn this political impasse, crisis into a triumph.
By Fridah Zinyama and Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday April 12, 2008 [04:00]
ZIMBABWE’s foreign affairs secretary Ambassador Joey Bimha yesterday said the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has started the vote recounting process. And Zambia’s opposition Patriotic Front president Michael Sata yesterday said the current crisis in Zimbabwe could have been avoided if political leaders exercised tolerance.
In an interview on arrival at Lusaka International Airport, Ambassador Bimha said there was nothing unusual for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairman President Levy Mwanawasa to call for an extra-ordinary summit of heads of state following Zimbabwe’s post-election situation.
He said he did not even know what SADC expected to hear from them.
Ambassador Bimha said there had been some discrepancies with the election results, which necessitated the need for a re-count.
“As a result of the discrepancies in the results, some ZEC officials have pleaded guilty and have been arrested and are awaiting trial,” he said.
Ambassador Bimha said in light of those discrepancies, ZANU-PF approached ZEC for a re-count which was currently going on to verify the vote.
Asked why it had taken long for ZEC to announce the presidential results, Ambassador Bimha said some countries took as long as three weeks to announce the results.
He said, therefore, there was no need for alarm over the delay in announcing presidential results.
“There is nothing abnormal about a re-count of the votes when certain parties are not satisfied with the results,” Ambassador Bimha said.
“And there is no reason why Zimbabweans should be worried about the outcome of the results.”
And Ambassador Bimha expressed confidence about the outcome of the results as ZEC was an independent body that would do its work independently.
“ZEC is an independent electoral commission and they can take as long as they want to recount the vote in Zimbabwe in order to clear the doubts about the votes.
ZEC is independent; it is not part of government. So we will give them the opportunity to do their work, to verify the results,” he said. “After they have done that then they will announce the results. This is the situation in Zimbabwe there is nothing unusual, it is the normal electoral process. The people should just patiently wait for the outcome of the results.”
Ambassador Bimha said he did not know what SADC Heads of State expect from the Zimbabwean delegation.
“I don’t know what they expect. But what we expect is to explain to them what is happening in Zimbabwe and for them to understand the process that is happening in Zimbabwe,” Ambassador Bimha said.
Asked if President Robert Mugabe would attend today’s emergency meeting, Ambassador Bimha responded: “I think so. Yes!”
He maintained that Zimbabwe had free and fair elections.
And in his letter to President Mwanawasa dated April 9, 2008, Sata commended the President for calling the extra-ordinary SADC summit to discuss the Zimbabwe situation.
“Your Excellency, as chairman of SADC, you should also seriously reflect on what is happening in Zimbabwe,” Sata stated. “If the leaders in Zimbabwe were tolerant of each other, the current situation might have been avoided. However, I would like to commend your initiative of involving the SADC in the search for a resolution to the Zimbabwe crisis.”
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday April 12, 2008 [04:00]
NATIONAL Constitution Conference (NCC) spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis has said negative sentiments from certain people are making the formulation of the new constitution through the NCC process difficult. Featuring on a special programme on Mongu’s Oblate Radio Liseli yesterday, Zaloumis said fears expressed by some politicians that the NCC was formulated to frustrate their political ambitions were unfounded.
Zaloumis said it was saddening that Africans had operated on a system of pulling each other down and that it was referred to as the “Dark Continent” due the failure by its people to conclude constitution-making processes.
“Certain political comments are one of the difficulties we are having,” Zaloumis said in Silozi. “The other difficulty is that some people think that we are getting a lot of money; we do not get a lot of money.”
She said the formulation of the country’s new constitution would be done in line with the advise that President Levy Mwanawasa gave to the delegates of the NCC at its inception that their work was a solemn one and as such they should undertake it in a patriotic and objective manner.
Zaloumis said one of the points of emphasis that would characterise the next sitting of the NCC, which would resume on April 22, would be the schooling of the delegates in the processes of compiling a constitution that would be publicly appreciated.
She said the public could not appreciate the next constitution if the delegates were not schooled in the proper formulation of the document.
A caller identified only as Sitwala said African leaders were notorious for formulating laws that they rarely implemented.
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday April 12, 2008 [04:00]
ZESCO Limited has said load shedding of electricity will not end but will just be reduced when power rehabilitation projects are completed in March 2009. During a quarterly media briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Zesco director of rehabilitation and generation projects Musonda Chibulu said electricity demand was unpredictable due to the increasing economic development in the country.
“Demand has shot up beyond projections and to suppress it, we have to implement load shedding hence this exercise will not end but will be reduced after completion of rehabilitations works (March 2009) and the current capacity stands at 1,100 mega watts against demand of 1,430 mega watts,” said Chibulu.
And Zesco director of distribution and supply Joe Chiyassa said load shedding was necessary because it helped to strike a balance between supply and demand and to prevent damage to power generation equipment.
“Economic development is fuelling high growth in electricity demand and rehabilitation works will only bring relief through additional mega watts,” said Chiyassa.
And Zesco managing director Rhodnie Sisala said the company had put in place short, medium and long-term measures to address the power deficit that had necessitated load shedding.
He said once completed, the works would result in additional 210 mega watts from the up-rated machines while in the medium-term, Zesco was developing the Itezhi- tezhi power station with a capacity of 120 mega watts and the Kariba North Bank extension whose capacity would be 360 mega watts.
All these projects would cost about US $500 million and would be completed in 2012.
Sisala said in the long-term, potential sites such as Kafue Lower, Kabompo Gorge, Kalungwishi and Batoka Gorge, had been identified and would be developed once developers and financiers were secured.
“However, we appeal to customers to consider electricity as a scarce and strategic resource hence the power shortage can be managed with collective responsibility through energy efficiency,” said Sisala.
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday April 12, 2008 [04:00]
THE Energy Regulation Board (ERB) has with immediate effect increased the price of all petroleum products by seven per cent. Releasing the indicative pump prices yesterday, ERB executive director Sylvester Hibajene stated that the price increase was necessitated by unprecedented volatile international oil prices that hit a new record high of US $111.80 per barrel.
“The upward adjustment of petroleum products prices was also influenced by a number of factors including the depreciation of the US dollar against major currencies and for these reasons, we wish to inform the public that fuel prices have been revised upwards by seven per cent with immediate effect,” stated Hibajene.
He stated that based on the cost-plus model and using the February 2008 cargo, the price adjustment should have increased by about 13 per cent but has been revised by seven per cent due to the government subsidy that has been continued at a reduced rate of 50 per cent.
Hibajene explained that since September 2007, government had been subsidising petroleum products and that prices had not been adjusted despite major increases in oil prices on the world market.
According to the indicative fuel pump prices for major towns, Petrol in Lusaka would now cost K7,616 from about K7,219 per litre and diesel would be selling at K6,388 from K5,974 per litre.
In Mongu, petrol would be sold at K7,900 and diesel would cost K6, 672, while in Chipata, petrol would now cost K7,920 and diesel would cost K6,692. In Kasama, petrol would cost K7,831 and diesel at K6,603 per litre./SM
Friday, April 11, 2008
PRETORIA. South Africa yesterday rejected any notion it would call on President Mugabe to quit after Zimbabwe’s opposition called on regional powers to do so. "We are not a government who can ask other presidents to step down," Deputy Foreign Minister Mr Aziz Pahad told journalists in Pretoria.
"Nobody will tell us when our president will step down and we will never ever allow a situation that we ask other presidents to step down. On what basis would we do that? Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa."
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai has claimed victory in the March 29 presidential election, but the ruling Zanu-PF has said a run-off is needed.
As the official announcement seems to be interminably delayed amid legal wrangling and demands for a recount, Tsvangirai is touring the region urging Southern African leaders to exert greater pressure on Zimbabwe.
His MDC-T has called on Sadc leaders meeting in Zambia tomorrow to demand that President Mugabe — who has ruled Zimbabwe solidly since independence from Britain in 1980 — stand down.
Sadc chairman President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia was quoted by Western media reports on Wednesday saying he had called for a regional meeting to discuss Zimbabwe’s elections.
The Minister of Information and Publicity, Cde Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, has said Zimbabwe is prepared to apprise Sadc of political developments on the ground if need be as it has excellent relations and co-operation with its neighbours.
South African President Thabo Mbeki has come under fire for his muted response to the elections in Zimbabwe, but Mr Pahad said there were unrealistic expectations of the country’s role.
"I think people are overestimating what South Africa can do. We are not a hegemonistic power in the region that we can on a whim to impose our will."
Mr Pahad refused to confirm Mr Mbeki’s attendance at the Sadc summit, but said he would go "if his programme allows".
Tsvangirai made South Africa his first port of call after claiming victory in the poll and met on Monday with ruling ANC party chief Mr Jacob Zuma while Mr Mbeki was away in Europe.
A week after the polls, Mr Mbeki urged "patience" and described the situation in Zimbabwe as "manageable", angering the opposition.
President Mbeki has also said Zimbabwe is not a province of South Africa in resisting mounting Western pressure to condemn the just-ended elections.
Mr Mbeki’s office yesterday said he would be willing to meet Tsvangirai as soon as possible.
"As soon as we have a formal request we will meet with him at his earliest convenience, as the president would any other Zimbabwean leader," Mr Mbeki’s spokesman told Sapa news agency. — AFP-Herald Reporter.
BAK Storage is currently benefiting from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe mechanisation programme and non-governmental organisation contracts, TSL managing director Mr Richard Musvaire said in a trading update. Mr Musvaire said there had been business from the central bank’s programme but the business model at the division had been "altered because there had been a drop in volumes from the traditional customers Unilever, NatFoods and Victoria Foods". He added that increased foreign currency earnings had been achieved from the region.
On the whole of the group’s performance in the last quarter Chemco’s performance had fallen within expectations except for the retail division where restocking was a problem. Mr Musvaire said most suppliers had now received increases from the NIPC in excess of 700 percent of those ruling in December. Chemco had managed to access a 180-day loan at 400 percent because it had been unable to access Bacossi.
"Outstanding performances had been achieved at TS Timbers and ABS, while Agpy was working on a toll manufacturing contract with Premier Stockfeeds," he said.
Hunyani had started the year on a bad note due to delays in getting approval from the NIPC and the breakdown of boilers at the paper mills. Progress has, however, been made Mr Musvaire said, adding the export order book was very good, particularly for tobacco cartons. On the whole the packaging company expects exports in the year to October to total US$12 million, up from around US$10 million in the previous financial year.
The group already had orders for 115 000 more tobacco cartons than last year’s 492 000 and there was potential for another 200 000. Mr Musvaire said the group had started running tobacco cartons two months earlier than normal since the export position had improved "considerably". But he said banana boxes to Zambia and Mozambique could easily overtake tobacco. Last year, Hunyani produced 100 000 banana boxes and already had 500 000 on order this year.
Power problems in January and February had been overcome and Hunyani was now accessing coal from Hwange and not Sengwa. On the core operations, Mr Musvaire said the group forecast that the tobacco crop for the 2007/08 season would be between 75 and 90 million kg. Mr Musvaire said since the crop had not grown in the region as expected the focus was now returning to Zimbabwe. The floors are set to open on April 22.
WASHINGTON. Ten years after the Asian financial crisis and its painful austerity cure, the IMF is prescribing the opposite medicine for rich countries fighting off recession: flush the system with liquidity. Lower interest rates, tax cuts and even the use of public funds to help ease conditions are not being ruled out as a financial crisis spreads from the United States around the world.
"Central banks in several advanced economies —notably the United States — have appropriately eased policy rates," Simon Johnson, the IMF chief economist said on Wednesday. They "may need to continue easing until their economies find a firmer footing," he said at a news conference. For example, he said, the US fiscal stimulus — a US$168-billion package — "looks likely to provide timely support" in the downturn.
And "the use of fiscal space" to cut taxes is recommended whenever possible, he said. Dipping into state coffers to avoid bank failures is not taboo either. "Public money can be used and is being used in a sensible way," he said, citing the US government-backed bailout of Wall Street investment bank Bear Stearns. The moral hazard of rewarding excessive risk-taking is decided on a case-by-case basis, he stated. "There is no such thing as a perfect rescue operation," Johnson added.
When it was advising emerging countries, in Asia and later in Latin America, the IMF had taken quite a different tack. To lower the cost of credit, to fly to the rescue of banks that had overly indulged in speculation and to unleash stimulus packages was considered the height of heresy. The IMF preached discipline in public accounts, the elimination of subsidies, and the power of the market to separate the wheat from the chaff. Bankruptcies were part of the cure.
"It was the (Joseph) Stiglitz point in the 1990s that at least for some countries, like (South) Korea, the IMF was pushing too much austerity," recalled Nancy Birdsall, president of the Centre for Global Development, a Washington think tank.
Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel laureate who was the World Bank chief economist during the Asian crisis, "objected particularly to the recommendation that interest rates be raised to create confidence in the currency," Birdsall said.
The new managing director of the IMF, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said the change of focus "shouldn’t be exaggerated."
"One must deal with the questions that one has to deal with in resolving the problem, which faces us, but also by paying attention to collateral damage," he said in an interview.
What is more, "the crisis we are facing today is a crisis that is not a currency crisis in the traditional sense of the word," the former French finance minister added.
The context is different, agreed Domenico Lombardi, president of The Oxford Institute for Economic Policy.
"This crisis is not originating from the macroeconomics of the country but more from financial institutions," he said. — AFP.
Transparency International Zambia calls on leaders to sort out Zimbabwe polls mess...
By Times Reporter
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit scheduled for Lusaka this weekend to conclusively deal with the problems facing Zimbabwe. TIZ executive director, Goodwell Lungu, said in Lusaka yesterday that the election aftermath in Zimbabwe was worrisome and a dent to Africa’s democratisation.
He said that the summit should not gloss over the problem but be decisive and help to resolve the problems in that country.
Mr lungu also hoped that the opposition parties , Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and other stakeholders would be invited to the summit as a way of facilitating the resolution of the crisis.
And United Party for National Development (UPND) president, Hakainde Hichilema, has welcomed the decision to hold a summit over the Zimbabwe elections crisis.
Mr Hichilema said yesterday at a Press briefing that his party and Zambians were concerned about what was happening in Zimbabwe, a country that shared a long border with Zambia.
He said he understood and appreciated the sovereignty of Zimbabwe but that the situation was deteriorating and no country could survive as an island.
“Elections were held almost half a month ago. So I ask the people of Zimbabwe, the government and the opposition to be magnanimous by releasing the presidential results because the situation could worsen,” he said.
Mr Hichilema also commended the opposition in Zimbabwe for holding back their supporters to avoid violence.
Former vice-president Lieutenant General, Christon Tembo, has commended President Mwanawasa for his move to call for an extraordinary SADC Heads of State summit to discuss the deepening tension in Zimbabwe.
Lieutenant General Tembo said in an interview yesterday that the move was appropriate, as it would help ease the tension in that country.
He said it was only Heads of State from the region that would bring the two parties together in that country.
Gen Tembo said there was need for the Heads of State to speak to both Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe and opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, to ensure the two parties agreed on the way forward.
He appealed to Zimbabweans to heed to President Mwanawasa’s call for them to remain calm.
“As the SADC chairperson, Dr Mwanawasa has shown true leadership. The issue of Zimbabwe needs to be handled by the Heads of State and the move by the President to call for this extraordinary meeting has come at the right time,” he said.
And the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has said the move by President Mwanawasa was a positive one, which should be supported by the international community.
Deputy secretary general for organisation and administration, Alfred Mudenda, said Dr Mwanawasa had provided useful leadership that would help ease the political impasse.
He said the move was a positive one, which needed support from the international community.
Mr Mudenda said any disturbance in Zimbabwe would affect the economic development in the entire region, hence the need to commend Dr Mwanawasa’s move.
“The President has provided useful leadership on this matter especially that it will be beneficial to the entire region. It is the move which should also be supported by the international community,” he said.
On Wednesday, Dr Mwanawasa called for an extraordinary Heads of State summit to discuss the deepening tension in Zimbabwe.
By MUKULA MUKULA
NON-Ferrous Africa Mining Plc (NFC) has announced new investments of US$150 million to develop the west ore body and create 1,000 new jobs as part of measures to increase profitability in view of the raised mineral and royalty taxes.
Once the west ore project is completed in 2010, the company intends to invest in the south ore body project, which has 102,030,000 tonnes of copper at an average grade of 2.21 per cent and 0.115 per cent of cobalt. The project will employ an additional 3,000 local people and 150 expatriates.
NFC deputy chief executive officer, Gao Xiang, told the Daily Mail in an interview in Kitwe yesterday that the best way to respond to the challenges of the new mineral taxes was to increase the volume of investment.
He said NFC was poised to be the biggest mine in the country once the two projects were completed in the next six years.
On the new mineral taxes, Mr Xiang said: “Do you think we have any choice, no, we have no choice but it will have a very bad effect on our employees who expect 18 to 20 per cent salary increases every year.’’
He said the new taxes would entail that Government would take away 75 per cent of the US$30 million profit that the mine makes. But the mine would look for best ways of funding the west ore development project.
He said the only concession they wanted from Government was to waive the export tax on concentrates because it was 15 per cent of the company’s profits. He said the mining company was spending K42 million per truck load of concentrate to the border.
“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to Government, our export levy for concentrate is a very heavy tax on our income. We want to be waived for 12 months since we are focused on the construction of our new smelter,” he said.
He also said it would be difficult to substantially increase salaries for workers next year because apart from paying the new taxes, a lot of money would be spent on new investments.
The company had no plans of reducing its workforce because the intention was to increase productivity and be able to increase the profitability of the mine.
“We have to increase our production…that is the only solution for this. I don’t think reducing of employment will be the best way to overcome the difficulty. We hope the prices of copper stay like this at the international market,’’ he said.
NFC employs 2,262 but the west ore body development project would employ an additional 800 Zambians during the construction phase while 1,000 Zambians would be employed once the project was at full production.
Mr Xiang appealed to the Ministry of Home Affairs to approve an application for work permits of 163 Chinese experts who were expected to execute the west ore development project.
A South African company has been contracted to sink a shaft at the west ore body whose lifespan is estimated at 25 years.
And Minister of Labour and Social Security, Ronald Mukuma who visited NFC yesterday told management that Government was impressed with the investments the mine had made.
The minister advised NFC management to integrate the Chinese and Zambian workers to avoid misunderstandings that arose as a result of lack of integration.
Mr Mukuma said the mines should ensure that they employed Zambians on permanent basis and train them in various fields to ensure transfer of skills from the Chinese to the Zambians.
NFC chief executive officer, Luo Xingeng, said the company was seeking assistance from the ministry of labour and social security to help it understand the country’s labour laws. He said it took the mining firm three years for managers to start understanding the labour laws.
At Mopani Copper Mines, Chamber of Mines president, Passmore Hamukoma, told the minister that mine owners tended to give contracts to foreign firms because Zambian companies were not very competitive.
The minister said Government wanted the mines to give business to Zambians so that this could have a multiplier effect on employment levels.
He urged the mines to support colleges and universities so that they could produce well skilled staff to work in the mines.
Mr Mukuma urged the mines to come up with session plans so that executive jobs could be taken up by Zambians.
He said it was dangerous for the country to sustain its mining operations using foreign expertise because there was bound to be a crisis in the event that they left suddenly.
By JUDITH KONAYUMA
A LUSAKA magistrate’s court has acquitted former Nchanga member of Parliament Charles Chimumbwa after a South Korean businessman he allegedly swindled told the court he has been given two vehicles to compensate for the US$35,000 in question.
Chimumbwa was due to start his defence yesterday before Lusaka Resident Magistrate Aridah Chulu when the complainant, Eung Soek Lee, made an application to withdraw the case because the accused had given him two Toyota Hilux vehicles to compensate for the money he obtained. He was charged with obtaining money by false pretenses.
In her ruling, Mrs Chulu informed Chimumbwa that the court was acquitting him following the application by Mr Eung.
It was alleged that between September 12 2005 and January 25 last year, with intent to deceive or defraud, he obtained US$35,000 from Mr Eung by falsely pretending that he had some copper cathodes for sale when in fact not.
Chimumbwa was found with a case to answer in February.
Chimumbwa informed the court he would call six witnesses, three from within and three others from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
By Roberta Muchangwe, Agness Changala, Kingsley Kaswende, Brigh
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
FIRST Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda has expressed worry over the continued post-election tension in Zimbabwe. And President Robert Mugabe may attend tomorrow's extra-ordinary SADC summit in person and is ready to tell the region about political developments in Zimbabwe, government spokesperson Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said yesterday.
Meanwhile, former Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson justice Ireen Mambilima has urged the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to announce the presidential poll results instead of creating anxiety among Zimbabweans.
Commenting on the political situation in Zimbabwe after its harmonised presidential and general elections, Dr Kaunda called for a peaceful and lasting solution to Zimbabwe's current political and economic problems.
"As an old freedom fighter and a citizen of the neighbouring countries of Zimbabwe, I have followed with keen interest the developments in that country. And I would like you to know. And I would like you to know that for us, Zimbabwe is very close to our hearts and we wish the best for that country," Dr Kaunda said.
He said contrary to pronouncements from the West, he had every confidence that Zimbabweans had the capacity and determination to find a peaceful and lasting solution to their current situation.
"And I know that they will do everything in their power to ensure that the interests of their country come above everything else," Dr Kaunda said.
He appealed to the international community to persuade and encourage Zimbabweans to resolve their differences in a peaceful manner. Dr Kaunda said Zimbabwe needed peace in order to attain its sustainable economic and social development.
He commended President Levy Mwanawasa, who is also Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) chairperson, for convening an extra-ordinary Heads of States summit to discus and find solutions to the high tension in Zimbabwe following its presidential election.
President Mwanawasa called for calm and patience among Zimbabweans as they await results of the presidential election. SADC heads of state are scheduled to meet in Lusaka tomorrow to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe.
The summit follows numerous calls for regional and international intervention in Zimbabwe over the presidential poll results, which are yet to be announced 11 days after the elections in which the ruling ZANU-PF is believed to have lost.
And justice Mambilima, who is also Deputy Chief Justice, said it was important for ZEC to announce the presidential poll results if they were ready as opposed to keeping people in suspense.
"People have a right to know and I think results should be announced to avoid developing anxiety among the Zimbabwean people," she said.
Justice Mambilima commended Zimbabweans for their patience as they waited for the announcement of results.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe's information minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu said yesterday that President Mugabe may attend the SADC summit in person and is ready to tell the region about political developments in Zimbabwe.
Ndlovu, who said he was not sure whether or not President Mugabe had received an invitation from Zambia by noon yesterday, said President Mugabe would respond to his Zambian counterpart after receiving the invitation.
"The President is ready to tell his position but he responds to invitations. I don't have information whether he has received the invitation but if he receives it, he may attend. But he will only respond to President Mwanawasa.
I don't announce presidential movements. He will respond on a president-to-president basis," Ndlovu said.
Ndlovu said he was not absolutely sure that President Mugabe would attend in person or whether he would send envoys.
Earlier, Ndlovu said the Zimbabwean government had not asked for assistance from the international community to discuss the post-election impasse in that country. Ndlovu said the normal procedure was that a summit to discuss a member-state should be held at the request of that country.
But he said his government was prepared to appraise SADC about Zimbabwe's political developments, given that SADC chairman President Levy Mwanawasa had called for a summit.
"As far as we are concerned, we have not asked for assistance. We are waiting for ZEC to do its work, verifying the results because it should announce the correct results, so we don't see any problem," Ndlovu said.
Justice, legal and parliamentary affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa also said the impasse in Zimbabwe did not warrant international intervention.
"There is nothing that has happened before, during and after elections to distabilise international peace and security," Chinamasa told journalists. "There is no justification to internationalise the situation here."
And opposition MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa, whose party had been appalled by the "deafening silence" of the region over the impasse in Zimbabwe, welcomed SADC's move saying he hoped the summit would ask President Mugabe to step down.
"We also hope the outcome of the summit is going to be a strong message to Mugabe and also action that would help to resolve the impasse in the country.
In fact, we hope the summit will ask Mugabe to step down because he has lost the election," said Chamisa.
Twelve days after the election, the results of the presidential poll are yet to be announced.
ZANU-PF claims that figures in its possession point to a run-off in the presidential poll, as none of the four candidates got more than 50 per cent votes to warrant a straight win. But the MDC says figures in its possession show that its leader Morgan Tsvangirai recorded more than 50 per cent votes, giving him a straight win.
Tsvangirai has already rejected a runoff and has asked President Mugabe to concede defeat and step down.
However, President Mugabe's party, ZANU-PF, raised complaints of vote-counting errors and requested ZEC to recount both presidential and parliamentary votes in as many as 21 constituencies.
Chinamasa said so far, ZEC had indicated a recount in five constituencies but had rejected a recount in seven because the petitions were submitted outside the statutory 48 hours.
ZANU-PF claims that its president had been robbed of 8,600 votes in as many as four constituencies in Mberengwa district.
MDC has been accusing ZANU-PF of forcing ZEC to hold the results in order to buy time, "cook up" figures and prepare itself for a runoff.
The Harare High Court has been a scene of "battles" between MDC and ZEC where the opposition party filed an application to compel the electoral body to immediately release the results because they are ready.
MDC sees no need for ZEC to recount the votes before the announcement is made, arguing that the results should be announced before anyone aggrieved files a complaint with ZEC or the courts.
High Court judge Tendai Uchena, who has been hearing the case since Saturday, said on Wednesday afternoon that he would rule next Monday whether or not ZEC should immediately release the presidential results.
"Conscious of the urgency of the matter, I should be ready for a judgment on Monday afternoon. Judgment is therefore reserved until Monday at 14:30. I have heard the parties since Saturday and I need to go over the statute that has been referred to
I also need to digest the submission by both counsel," the judge told journalists after the court session.
Meanwhile, President Mugabe has extended the term of his Cabinet until a new one is sworn in after a possible runoff in the presidential election.
Both information minister Ndlovu and justice minister Patrick Chinamasa confirmed on Wednesday evening that President Mugabe's term was "intact" and that his Cabinet was still operational.
Parliament was officially dissolved with effect from midnight on March 28 in terms of the proclamation published in Statutory Instrument 7A of 2008, while Cabinet was dissolved at the end of its session on March 27.
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti yesterday argued that President Mugabe's term as well as that of his Cabinet had expired on March 28.
Biti said pursuant to Zimbabwean law, President Mugabe was only a caretaker president without any mandate.
"His previous six-year term ended on March 8, 2008 but was extended by law and synchronised with the end of the parliamentary term. He dissolved Parliament and Cabinet a day before the election, on March 28, effectively ending his term. As at now he is just a caretaker president," he said.
Ndlovu also said the current Cabinet was still in office in line with provisions of the Constitution on dissolution of Parliament and Cabinet.
"I want to reaffirm the position that all Cabinet ministers are still in office until such a time that a new Cabinet is appointed to conduct government business," Ndlovu stated. "This is a constitutional requirement for the smooth running of government, implementation of its policies and accountability."
And Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia (EFZ) executive director Bishop Paul Mususu said the recently held elections in Zimbabwe were not free and fair.
Bishop Mususu, who led a faith-based observer team from Zambia to monitor the election process in Zimbabwe, cited a number of anomalies, which he said could have affected the final outcome of the polls.
The Zambian monitoring team, which comprised the EFZ and the Christian Council of Zambia (CCZ), was in Zimbabwe at the invitation of the Zimbabwe-based Christian Coalition.
Bishop Mususu said many registered voters were disenfranchised by the electoral process.
"More predominant was a situation where someone registered at a polling station, but only found their names at another far away polling station," he said.
"The freeness of the elections is difficult to say in light of some anomalies which we encountered. Yes, the elections were peaceful and very orderly, but I cannot say they were free and fair."
Bishop Mususu also expressed concern at the delay in announcing the presidential results, saying it was adding to tension in Zimbabwe.
Bishop Mususu said the situation in Zimbabwe was very volatile and that keeping people in suspense for a long time could worsen the situation.
"We need to remember what happened in Rwanda and, more recently, in Kenya where SADC and AU waited until the situation got out of hand. They only intervened when it was already too late," he said. "We need to avoid a catastrophe and preserve lives."
And the Southern African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) and the Foundation for Democratic Process (FODEP) have said the delay in announcing the presidential results by ZEC raised fundamental questions about the transparency of the electoral process.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, SACCORD and FODEP stated it was the right of Zimbabweans to know the outcome of their elections.
By Kabanda Chulu
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
WORLD Bank president Robert Zoellick yesterday stated that there should be a balance between food supply and the need to develop biofuel in order to mitigate rising food prices. And Zoellick has challenged countries under the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to conclude the Doha Global Trade talks that would cut distorting agricultural subsidies and open markets for food imports.
Speaking ahead of International Monetary Fund and World Bank meetings to be held this weekend, Zoellick stated that global food crisis now required the attention of political leaders in every country, since higher price volatilities were likely to stay for some time. He stated that estimates indicate that 33 countries could face social unrest because of higher food and energy prices.
“We need a new deal for global food policy that should focus not only on hunger and malnutrition, access to food and its supply, but also the interconnections with energy, climate change and the marginalisation of women and others,” Zoellick stated. “And with shifting population patterns, higher energy prices and demand for biofuels are draining maize stocks and other food crops, no one country can deal with the problem alone and this new deal requires a stronger delivery system, to overcome fragmentation in food security, health, agriculture, water, sanitation, rural infrastructure, and gender policies and a shift from traditional food aid to a broader concept of food and nutrition assistance must be part of this new deal.”
He stated that global response should begin with providing help to those in need and called on rich industrial nations, including the United States, Japan and European Union, to immediately fill a US $500 million funding gap at the World Food Programme to provide food aid to the world's poorest.
“On our part as World Bank we have increased lending for agriculture in Africa to US $800 million from US $450 million a year and already we have a draft business plan to support increased private-sector initiatives,” Zoellick stated.
And Zoellick stated that trade barriers on food hurt the poor and deterred farm production.
“A fairer and more open global trading system for agriculture will give farmers in developing countries more opportunities and confidence to expand food output and the solution is to break the Doha Development Agenda impasse in 2008," Zoellick stated.
By Namakau Nalumango
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
ROAN PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili yesterday refuted claims by the government that it had released about K5 billion to pay former Roan Antelope Mining Corporation (RAMCOZ) workers their Mukuba Pension contribution funds. Kambwili said that the money that was due to be paid to the workers was instead sourced by Mukuba Pension and not the government.
He explained that as area member of parliament, he wrote to President Mwanawasa requesting him to intervene in the matter of paying the former workers.
Kambwili said President Mwanawasa through the Secretary to the Cabinet acknowledged that the issue be dealt with expeditiously.
“And based on the letter, there was an understanding that while the government is looking for the money, Mukuba was to find the money to pay the workers, which is exactly what they have done. In short, government has not realised the money up to now,” he said.
Kambwili has since appealed to the government to honour its obligation of coming up with the money to repay Mukuba pension.
On Thursday, Luanshya district commissioner George Kapu said that the government had released close to K5 billion to pay former RAMCOZ workers their Mukuba Pension contribution funds.
“Yes I can confirm that funds have been released and former miners are expected to start getting their money through Zambia National Commercial Bank this week," he said.
Kapu said about 1000 miners were likely to receive their money and advised them to put the funds to good use for the benefit of their families.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
THERE is no country that can claim to have attained the objective of adequate shelter for all its citizens, acting Indian High Commissioner to Zambia Oscar Kerketta has said. And local government minister Sylvia Masebo said there is need for Zambia to move away from traditional building materials and look at other alternatives to satisfy the growing demand for shelter.
During the Indian exhibition-cum-seminar on low cost housing techniques and technologies on Wednesday, High Commissioner Kerketta said inadequate shelter and homelessness were growing in developing countries.
He said the deteriorating living conditions also brought with it the problems of health, safety and security for the majority of the population, particularly for the people in the low-income group.
High Commissioner Kerketta said most governments had recognised that shelter and development were mutually dependent and had given it due emphasis.
He said although progress had been made in many developing countries, the construction sector continued to face challenges.
"One option to tackle these challenges is the use of non-conventional building materials based on local resources from forestry, agriculture and industrial wastes," he said.
The high commissioner said technologies based on local resources from forestry, agriculture and industrial wastes not only help in reducing the dependence on natural resources for basic raw materials but also provide cost-effective alternatives in terms of energy efficient and environmental friendly building materials.
He said research and development efforts in India had established that many of these materials could effectively substitute expensive conventional materials like cement, steel and wood.
High Commissioner Kerketta said there was need to provide building materials by masses and not by mass productions at centralised locations in order to meet the need of affordable housing in developing countries.
And Masebo said Zambia was a rich country, which had materials that could be used for construction but that these were avenues that had not been explored.
She said the challenge was to build houses that were pro-poor.
"With these floods, we often hear of houses collapsing and this is because the materials that are used are not strong enough to withstand wind. Water and sanitation is another challenge and the local authorities have been asked to help in the upgrading of squatter compounds," she said.
Masebo said plans were under way to undertake a housing stock survey so that correct statistics were readily available for planning purposes.
She said most districts did not have approved or updated plans and the ministry would like to see integrated development plans prepared in all the 72 districts.
Masebo also said the ministry had initiated a national housing bonds programme to mobilise relatively cheap long-term finance for housing development for districts.
And India's Minister of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation secretary Hargit Singh Anard said India would like to engage with Zambia in areas of human resource and capacity building.
By Maluba Jere and Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
CIVIL Society for Poverty Reduction (CSPR) has said the rising food prices are threatening efforts against hunger and poverty reduction. And United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres has expressed concern about the impact of global food shortages on the world’s most impoverished people.
In an interview, CSPR executive director, Mulima Akapelwa, said her organisation was concerned about the rise in food prices and called on the government to put in place stringent measures that would address the effects of the increments.
“As an organisation that advocates poverty reduction, we are very concerned about the food prices because they have a negative impact on meeting the MDG goal number one of fighting poverty and hunger,” she said.
Akapelwa said food was a basic human need and that lack of access to it would lead to more deaths in children under the age of five.
“This will also have an impact on the health of mothers and under five children,” she said. “And that impact on health will have an effect on the goal of reducing infant mortality.”
She further advised farmers to seriously consider practising irrigation farming and that the government should help to strengthen production.
“In dealing with the effects of these high prices, the government should put in place measures to strengthen productivity in the agriculture sector,” Akapelwa said. “It’s sad enough that the budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector has been reduced this year, but more action is needed and off season crops must be encouraged. Small scale farmers especially should be encouraged to get into irrigation.”
And Guterres urged world leaders to support the World Food Programme (WFP) call for critical funds to address soaring food and fuel prices.
“I ask you to respond positively to the dramatic appeal of the UN’s WFP,” Guterres declared last Saturday at a meeting, gathering 12 centre-left world leaders and eight other key figures from the European Union and major international organisations.
WFP issued an extraordinary emergency appeal to government donors on March 20, saying due to soaring food and fuel prices, it was facing a shortfall of some US$500 million in its efforts to feed 70 million people this year.
Guterres called on former US President Bill Clinton, World Trade Organisation director general, Pascal Lamy and International Monetary Fund managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, to bear in mind the impact of rising energy prices and economic uncertainly on developing countries.
“The biggest threat to progressive governments in the developing world today is the rise of food prices for urban populations and the danger of public opinion triggering social unrest,” said Guterres.
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
There is a strong business case for having an anti-corruption strategy. And the initiative by the Zambia Business Forum to partner with the Anti-Corruption Commission in the fight against corruption is a recognition of business’ vulnerability to corruption and of the benefits of effective anti-corruption programmes and controls. Companies are losing real and significant business opportunities because of corruption risks.
There are many companies that have not entered a specific market or business line or pursued a particular opportunity because of corruption. Therefore, a better understanding of corruption will help them compete more effectively, make better decisions, improve corporate social responsibility and enter new markets and business lines.
It would not be wise for business to sit ndwii hoping things will improve by themselves when they are losing bids everyday because of corruption. A level playing field is crucial to their company’s future business activities. And that level playing field will not come by itself, it has to be struggled for and it is their duty to struggle for it.
There is need for the business community to join hands with other forces in the nation and make corruption too expensive for those who risk to undertake it. The risk to reputation or brand damage from corruption must be raised and made crippling.
Having an anti-corruption programme in place and publicising it should be seen as valuable or very valuable to a company’s brand. There must be severe impact on corporate reputation for those who involve themselves in corrupt activities.
What worries us is that despite being aware of corruption, many companies’ underlying policies and controls currently do little to identify and deal with this problem. It is therefore very pleasing to learn that the Zambia Business Forum is partnering with the Anti-Corruption Commission to promote ethical dealings in both business and government and help create a corruption-free Zambia.
We welcome the Zambia Business Forum initiative because while there appears to be a firm commitment to tackling corruption, companies need to do more to protect themselves from this scourge. There is a gap between corruption risks and companies’ anti-corruption initiatives as well as efforts to remedy it.
Business is more keenly aware than ever of the dangers of corruption. Yet, companies still need to expand the scope and rigour of their efforts to manage corruption risks with well-designed controls that are clearly communicated and enforced.
By looking at the frequency of various types of bribes, the yearly share of revenues paid in bribes, and the views of business regarding the extent to which corruption impairs its performance, we can begin to discern what is holding back investment that could spur higher growth.
Clearly, corruption – whether measured by the frequency of bribes, or the extent to which corruption is an obstacle to business – is a challenge that we all need to collectively confront as a nation.
And there is no doubt that better policies, institutions and alliances can help reduce corruption over the medium-term.
There is need for us as a nation to continue to undertake policy and institutional reforms that are targeted at significantly changing the rules of the game. But better policies are not the only determining factor. Everything possible should be done to improve the business environment.
As we try to undertake these policy and institutional reforms, we shouldn’t also forget that corruption comes in many forms; one of the most pernicious of which is state capture.
State capture involves bribes paid to influence the content of laws and regulations, that is, the fundamental rules of the game, rather than simply their implementation in individual instances.
And we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that state capture can change from being a strategy of political influence practiced by a small share of firms to a more widespread practice.
And increased competition among captor firms may actually be making its impact on the business community more diffuse.A lot of things about our attitudes towards corruption also need to change.
Notwithstanding the clear condemnation of corruption, the exposure of corrupt acts is clearly not rooted within our enterprises. We so often encounter corrupt practices and do nothing about them.
This has to change. There are risks in fighting corruption and we should all share those risks. This fight cannot be left to a few individuals, companies or institutions. It requires the participation of every individual, company and institution.
The phenomenon of corruption has negative effects on the country’s economic life in so far as creating a business environment characterised by uncertainty, may be a strong disincentive for investment, both local and foreign. On the other hand, its impact is differentiated in terms of direct costs to enterprise and households.
Corruption is certainly, or evidently, one of the obstacles that must be taken into consideration when formulating any kind of poverty reduction policy in this country.
It is for these reasons that we highly welcome the move by the Zambia Business Forum to take corruption seriously by embarking on concrete measures to combat it. Corruption is a cancer that should be fought with all the tenacity we can marshal.
If we don’t make progress in fighting corruption, we will not make much progress in the efforts to grow our businesses and in the general development of our country.
There is truly a strong business case for business to join in the fight against corruption. It’s business’ business to fight corruption.
By Joan Chirwa
Friday April 11, 2008 [04:00]
ZAMBIA Business Forum (ZBF) has partnered with the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in the fight against corruption while promoting economic development in the country. In a press release, ZBF chief executive, Reginald Mfula stated that the partnership was an indication that ethical leaders in both business and the government shared a common objective of promoting Zambia as a corruption-free and business friendly environment, which was open to safe investment and fair trade.
“By demonstrating our shared commitment and common resolve to fight corruption, business and government will be establishing an ethical framework for all transactions between representatives of our two institutions,” Mfula stated. “ZBF, and its member associations, believe that working with ACC will support our overall goals of promoting the economic growth and development of the nation.”
The emerging “Public-Private Partnership Against Corruption” will be codified in an agreement expected to be signed by the ACC and ZBF at a national forum scheduled for early May this year.
A nationwide survey of business leaders is currently being conducted where ZBF and the ACC are collecting data from different business institutions.
Among the institutions earmarked for the provision of information on effects of corruption on business include Zambia National Farmers Union, Bankers Association of Zambia, Chamber of Mines, Tourism Council of Zambia, Zambia Association of Manufacturers, Zambia Chamber of Small and Medium Business Associations and the Zambia Indigenous Business Associations. Based on the tabulated results, a programme of activities be developed and presented at the national forum.
And ACC director general, Nixon Banda praised the business community for its willingness to join the government in a Public-Private Partnership Against Corruption.
“This partnership reflects the new maturity of Zambia, where business and government share a common purpose of promoting transparency, integrity, fairness, and justice for all. Business leaders are honorable men and women,” stated Banda.
“We welcome them as our allies in this battle against corruption, a battle which our nation must wage with great conviction, using the combined resources of government and business.”
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has asked for "embarrassing" travel restrictions on Nelson Mandela and South African leaders to be lifted. A bill has been introduced in the US Congress to remove from databases any reference to South Africa's governing party and its leaders as terrorists. The African National Congress (ANC) was designated as a terrorist organisation by South Africa's old apartheid regime. At present a waiver is needed for any ANC leaders to enter the country.
"It is frankly a rather embarrassing matter that I still have to waive in my own counterparts - the foreign minister of South Africa, not to mention the great leader, Nelson Mandela," Ms Rice told lawmakers in Washington.
Last week, Howard Berman, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, who introduced the bill said it was "shameful" that the United States still treated the ANC this way.
"Amazingly, Nelson Mandela still needs to get a special waiver to enter the United States based on his courageous leadership of the ANC. What an indignity. This legislation will wipe it away," he said.
South Africa's apartheid government banned the ANC in 1960, imprisoning or forcing into exile its leaders. Mr Mandela, who turns 90 this year, was released in 1990 after spending 27 years in prison. He then became the country's first post-apartheid-era president, before retiring after serving one term in office. He appears to be in reasonable health, but now makes far fewer public appearances.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
SOUTH African real estate firm Chas Everitt International has announced its plans to open offices in Zimbabwe and Zambia. According to reports managing director of the group Mr Berry Everitt said the move was necessitated by the increased foreign interest in property in the whole of the Sadc region.
"Indeed, we are already getting enquiries for Zimbabwe properties to buy and to let and we believe our timing in opening a Harare office is spot on," Mr Everitt said adding they would look more at commercial properties.
Zimbabwe is second to South Africa in terms of infrastructure (African context) development and offers a greater scope to increase revenue, as the property is cheap in US dollar terms.
An investment analyst with a local bank said, "positioning a company’s presence through buying property is the best option at the moment particularly industrial and commercial property as it provides the necessary increase in value to offset the effects of inflation".
Normally an investor in commercial property can expect some growth component of return in addition to their income.
Typically these growth returns are in line with inflation and relatively modest.
However, while buying commercial property is a good hedge against inflation, Zimre Property Investment’s managing director Mr Edson Muvingi said rental growth in the country is subdued because of rental freeze and price controls as compared to the region.
According to a survey Angola was leading with a rent of US$100 per square metre and Zimbabwe lagging with US$1 per square metre. The average for the region was US$15 per square metre.
Mr Muvingi said: "Zimbabwe’s disparity with the other countries represented a huge opportunity for the group to improve its property performance".
ZPI says it would grow its retail and residential portfolio while Pearl Properties managing director Mr Francis Nyambiri said it remained the group’s desire to diversify the portfolio into leisure sector through new developments and acquisitions.
By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia
While the majority of people across the world may be generally agreed on the notion that the United States has become a perfect image of an unthinking bully, it is strikingly ironic that the US and its Western allies rely on a foreign policy that strongly preaches good intentions. For the West in general, and the US in particular, the image of righteous exceptionalism and goodwill has always been the credo upon which foreign policy is formulated.
In fact, the US foreign policy has a clear standard story line in scholarship and in the media. It oscillates between two conflicting theories — the Wilsonian idealism, which is based on genuine and noble intentions and sober realism, which says that the limitations of the US’s good intentions must be realised.
Woodrow Wilson subscribed to the former while the likes of Francis Fukuyama, Condooleeza Rice, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush are hard-core realists and would inflict any amount of harm on any nationality in the name of good intentions, always coming in the name of democracy, liberty, justice, human rights and freedom.
The illegal economic sanctions behind Zimbabwe’s prevailing problems are enshrined in a sanctions law, the so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act.
This is basically ruthless legislation that has brought so much suffering on innocent families and the generality of Zimbabweans. The US did not name the sanctions law the Zimbabwe Sanctions Act — something that would have been more accurate.
No, the image of righteous exceptionalism has to be maintained and the doctrine of good intentions has to be promoted and upheld. Precisely, this is why the naming of the Act wrongly suggests a recovery of the economy and that of democracy as well.
The evil pain coming with the US’s sanctions law has been wrongly attributed to the alleged shortcomings of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF. The economy has faltered as a result of the economic warfare and strangulation that has been orchestrated through the abuse of the Bretton Woods institutions, mainly the IMF and the World Bank. There has been an eight-year blockade on balance of payments and lines of credit but the world is made to believe that President Mugabe has been deliberately starving his own people because some of them support the insidious opposition MDC.
The West has generally been blocking investors from investing in Zimbabwe and influencing companies already operating in the country to freeze operations. The rationale for this absurdity has always been the pretence that the economic strangulation is a way of applying pressure on an "evil" regime.
The operative rhetoric for the US-led Western alliance has always been this vainglorious veil of good intentions, but the truth is what historian Arno Mayer observed when he said that the US has, since 1947, been a major perpetrator of state terror and other rogue actions — causing immense ruin and harm in the name of democracy, liberty and justice.
John Stuart Mill, an otherwise man of high intelligence and moral integrity, seemed to succumb to the pathology of the false doctrine of good intentions. When Britain was at the peak of its crimes against humanity in India and China, Mill wrote what was described as a classic essay on humanitarian intervention, urging Britain to undertake the enterprise of invasion vigorously — never mind that the action would be "held up to obloquy" by backward Europeans who could not comprehend that England was "a novelty in the world".
Mill went on to describe Britain as a nation that acts only "in the service of others", selflessly sacrificing herself and bearing the cost of bringing peace and justice to the world.
Is this not the same attitude behind the proposals for intervention in Zimbabwe? When one reads the debates about Zimbabwe in the House of Lords, they would be forgiven if they thought the whole House was composed of the descendants of Mother Teresa. Sadc, the African Union and the United Nations are all painted as less righteous groupings that are either blind to the "evil" nature of the "Mugabe regime" or even complicity in making Zimbabweans suffer.
It just becomes ludicrous when they wrap it all by criticising China for its investments in an economy they want to see completely dead. It becomes more revealing when they start to debate on British companies that are still doing business in Zimbabwe, together with those British investors who have shown interest in doing business in Zimbabwe.
These apostles of righteous exceptionalism will debate all night-through on how to make the Zimbabwean economy collapse and then posture as concerned humanitarians who cannot stand the suffering of the ordinary people of Zimbabwe — a suffering directly resulting from the orchestrated economic collapse.
This is just absurd — but there are many people out there who have been fooled by these apparent contradictions, not least among them Zimbabweans themselves. This recent election pitted Zanu-PF against the economy. While Zanu-PF was telling people that the economic hardships they are facing are a result of the ruinous sanctions imposed by the West at the request of Britain, the MDC was telling the people that the economic hardships are a direct and deliberate act of brutality by Zanu-PF and the Government it leads — all in a bid to make people suffer; just like that.
The same Tsvangirai who has globetrotted grovelling for sanctions from any one who cared to listen was posturing as a man of the people and dangling rescue packages for a fire that his Western overlords and himself are responsible for starting.
It would appear that many people have suffered so much that all they cared about was relief from the pain inflicted by the sanctions. That way they accepted the pawn that fronts their oppressor as the liberator. In all his naiveté and political illusions, Simba Makoni was right when he said the US$10 billion Tsvangirai was dangling was not enough to end the economic challenges bedevilling Zimbabwe.
In fact, that money, if ever it were to come to Zimbabwe, is not meant to make the life of Zimbabweans any better. The West does not think or operate in such terms. That money would only be a veil covering the operative rhetoric of spreading the false doctrine of good intentions. It would be meant to be the anaesthesia designed to send Zimbabweans into a deep slumber that will enable the imperialist gang to rape the country at will.
This is the money that is supposed to send everyone into a big slumber while the white settler farmers make a return to the land that the Government has acquired and redistributed to landless peasants. But is such a slumber achievable? This writer thinks not. This is the money that is meant to reward Tsvangirai and his gang of reactionaries as they play the role of henchman holding Zimbabwe down while the imperialist gang rapes the country with unparalleled savagery. This is the money that is meant to pacify the people while Western companies get a free reign on Zimbabwe’s natural resources.
Are they not in countries like Ghana where the country is hailed for selling a gross of US$2,5 billion worth of gold in 2007? What they will not tell the world is that only US$501 million came Ghana’s way while the rest went to benefit the home countries of these "good-intentioned" investors.
The larger picture for the MDC is that they are a subversive outfit fronting an imperial onslaught meant to re-establish white supremacy in the economic affairs of Zimbabwe. The ousted white farmers cannot wait to come back to "their" land and the Western investors are dying to exploit the Indo-Chinese market for coal, platinum and other minerals.
All the MDC can do for the people is to get the sanctions lifted and all that will happen economically after the lifting of the sanctions is something that could happen easily even if we allowed the Child Parliament to run the affairs of Zimbabwe.
It is pretty much a restoration of easy access to fuel, foodstuffs, public transport and basic medicines.
The level of change will just be enough to keep the people passive while the West loots all they can lay their hands on. There is not going to be an expansion of infrastructure, no expansion of cities, no meaningful fall in unemployment, no improvements of note in health delivery and, of course, the country is not going to be any richer.
The MDC is essentially telling people to refuse to own their own destiny and to surrender their souls to the Western masters. They are telling the people to kowtow Western dictates and then live happily ever after.
One reader sent me an email saying: "Let us sell the country for once and then we will see what happens." This is the attitude the MDC has cultivated in so many Zimbabweans.
The question remains whether the country should allow such an attitude to prevail simply because "vanhu vatambura Wafawarova" as this writer keeps getting in some of the feedback mail.
The US has declared that they are positive Zimbabweans voted "for change" and, of course, that change refers to a stop to independent nationalism, sovereign rule and autonomy in the control of natural resources, particularly the land.
To the US, Zimbabwe’s land reform programme is a reminder of Salvador Allende’s democratic socialism in Chile. Henry Kissinger called the impressive achievements of Allende’s government a "virus" that spreads contagion. The Chile was "virus" was extirpated on September 11, 1973 — thanks to Chile’s own Tsvangirai, one General Augusto Pinochet, the renegade general who attacked the Chilean presidential palace on behalf of Washington.
March 29 was supposed to be the day the Zimbabwean "virus" was to be extirpated — our own September 11 — albeit one of economic terrorism. The attack was launched and the missile used was Tsvangirai, with back-up arsenal in Makoni.
The attack was obviously disastrous but not fatal. The result was that false victory in House of Assembly seats and a stalemate in the presidential race. The presidential run-off is a God-given opportunity for self soul-searching among Zimbabweans and it is incumbent upon the revolutionary forces of the agrarian revolution to ensure that the masses are clear of who the real enemy is.
This is a time to expose the hidden agenda behind every word uttered by Tsvangirai. It is a time to expose the grand plan behind the gospel of change as preached by Tsvangirai and his notorious sidekicks.
An election featuring President Mugabe and Tsvangirai is an election featuring heritage and treachery respectively. It is an election between the soul and silver. There are no good intentions behind and ahead of the MDC and Tsvangirai.
All there is are vested interests of the imperialist club.
l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on wafawarova * yahoo.co.uk
EDITOR — I am shocked by the South African and Western media’s fixation with Zimbabwe. Day in day out they have headlines on Zimbabwe as if there are no problems in their own countries. Talk about ‘‘Mugabe rigging elections’’, ‘‘Mugabe making life difficult for Zimbabweans’’, ‘‘Mugabe not releasing results’’, ‘‘Mugabe this’’, ‘‘Mugabe that’’.
They must give us a break.
Why are they not talking about the excesses of the Smith regime, if they care so much about human rights? Why are they turning a blind eye to George W. Bush’s maiming of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan? Why are they not talking about Somalia and Darfur? Why are their eyes on Zimbabwe every time as if there are no real trouble spots in Africa, and elsewhere? It is evident they hope to prop Morgan Tsvangirai’s ambitions to head the Government.
In all honesty, do these people honestly believe that Tsvangirai, given his numerous shortcomings, can lead Zimbabwe better than President Mugabe has done? All Tsvangirai wants is to line his pockets. His Obama-like sentiments must not hoodwink us, Morgan is More? More what?
More sanctions, more Western influence, more plunder of our resources, more puppet politics? I do not see any other MORE that can come from Morgan. Tsvangirai must never forget that he fled the struggle when Zimbabweans much younger than him braved it out in the bush to liberate this country.
President Mugabe was leading that struggle while Tsvangirai was safely ensconced in the Rhodesian compound at Trojan Nickel Mine. Zimbabwe did not come on a silver platter and it can never be sold on the same platter.
From Victoria Ruzvidzo in BULAWAYO
ZIMBABWEANS should cultivate a culture of hope, unity of purpose and optimism to overcome current economic challenges, Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono has said. Adopting such a stance, the RBZ chief said, was the only way to ensure successful economic turnaround. "Zimbabwe, ladies and gentlemen, will come right in the not too distant future and it will not be long before we witness the turnaround efforts of us all who have chosen to remain behind when everyone else has been packing their bags for seemingly greener pastures," said Dr Gono at a function here last night to mark the re-emergence of clothing firm Security Mills Private Limited from judicial management.
The Bulawayo firm, in operation for the past 69 years, was placed under judicial management for 14 years and is now operating viably. Dr Gono said its turnaround, from withdrawal of financial support, societal isolation and lack of preferential market access among other challenges, was similar to the way Zimbabwe would also shrug off present challenges to emerge an economic powerhouse once more.
"Is this not the same situation we economically find ourselves in as a country?
"Yes, it is: for eight years we have, as a country, not received balance of payments support, have suffered from trading on a cash basis due to lack of lines of credit, diminished export performance and limited access to some markets and have suffered from brain drain, negative image and at times some amongst us have been despondent about our situation and can never imagine that a turnaround is possible," said Dr Gono.
But through total commitment and hard work, Zimbabwe would emerge victorious from these challenges, illegal sanctions and unfair global trading systems. Business advisor and economist Dr Erich Bloch and Security Mills chairman Mr Ronny Zlattner also registered their vote of confidence in the economy.
"There should be conviction that recovery will come. That is undoubted," said Dr Bloch. Despite the obtaining challenges, Dr Gono said the central bank remained committed to getting the economy right.
"It will not be long before we showcase our economy, its opportunities and performance to the current doubting Thomas or the unbelieving world, a once hostile international audience and to a currently sceptical market," he said.
It is in this regard that Dr Gono condemned the re-emergence of disturbances on farms between resettled farmers and former farm owners.
"Such friction, if indeed it is re-emerging, does not augur well for a country that has been hailed as exemplary in terms of peace and stability in the just-ended harmonised elections.
"We call upon and urge all concerned to respect the law of the land and to settle any misunderstandings and disputes peacefully in the interest of both the image of the country and preservation of life and property whose destruction can militate against our economic turnaround."
It was also important that Zimbabwe revisited the social contract concept to foster mutual understanding between Government, business, labour and civil society "bearing in mind that there can only be one Zimbabwe to which we all belong and to which no one stakeholder can claim unitary or singular ownership".
For its success and commitment to turnaround efforts, Security Mills has been exempted for a year, from foreign currency export earnings surrender requirements by the central bank to encourage it to build a robust export base and other growth strategies.
Plans were also in place to support exporters through an aggressive incentives regime to be unveiled soon while such sectors as manufacturing, mining, tourism and agriculture were in line for a major boost.
Furthermore, efforts were being directed towards the removal of price distortions that were driving parallel markets of foreign currency and other products as the economy gravitated towards a market-based economy "with as few controls as possible".
Coming soon: Florida
By Sylvie Barak: Thursday, 03 April 2008, 5:12 PM
A SMALL ISRAELI STARTUP has found itself embroiled in the political storm surrounding the recent Zimbabwean elections, with accusations that the ruthless dictator of 28 years, Robert Mugabe, has tried to use its software to rig the recent vote.
Cogniview, a data conversion software startup based in Israel, was accused by the newspaper “Zimbabwe Online” of providing software, able to alter PDF files, to Mugabe’s ZANU party, to change voter registration lists and rig the vote in their favour. They also accuse the company of working with the Israeli secret service, Mossad, to keep the dictator in power. Cogniview CEO, Yoav Ezer, told the Inquirer in a phone interview that he had been “completely surprised” by the allegations, adding, “they are science fiction to us”.
There is currently major tension in the African nation as election results trickle in at snail’s pace, increasing the suspicion by most of the country’s opposition and observing foreigners that Mugabe and his cronies are desperately trying to make last ditch attempts to falsify votes and keep themselves in power.
Ezer explained what he thought had led to the confusion about his company being spread through the Zimbabwean press. He claims that open source PDF converting software developed by his company a year ago, CC PDF converter (available for free online), which allows anything printable to be converted into PDF, was used by officials to compile voter data. The program adds a Creative Commons license to the last page of its documents, including a link to Cogniview’s website. The voter-roles provided to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by Zimbabwean officials were in PDF format and had this very link attached, on the final page. This led the MDC to jump to the angry conclusion that it was all an Israeli concocted Mossad plot, to fiddle with their democracy.
The accusations started coming in thick and fast, flooding the tiny ten employee company with accusations of selling “the Zimbabwean people for 20 pieces of silver” (or $3 million dollars as the rumours have it) by working for Mugabe. Eventually, Ezer realized that the accusations could seriously damage his company’s reputation, and went online to blog his refutation of them. The post, entitles “codswallop” says “here’s my official response … this story is NOT TRUE. In fact it could have only been more fictional if we were accused of using alien technology."
He also told the Inquirer that not only did Cogniview not have any connection to the Zimbabwean elections, they also had no prior connection to Zimbabwe whatsoever. Ezer added that he was happy that people in Zimbabwe appreciated his company’s software, but that it was free and available to anyone, anywhere.
Ezer also said that he had been in contact with an exiled MDC activist by the name of Phil Matibe, who currently resides in the US, and that Mr Matibe had promised to discuss the matter with party leadership in order to secure a retraction of the accusations.
To prove that his company had nothing to do with either Robert Mugabe or the Israeli Mossad, Ezer said that any “respectable party” (by which he means the UN, US, or European Union) who want to investigate the matter would get Cogniview’s full cooperation. He said that they would be given unlimited access to the company’s legal and financial records, and that they could feel free to interview any company employee. He added, “Heck, they can strap us all to lie-detectors - we have nothing to hide”. µ
By Dambudzo Mapuranga
THE secretary-general for the main opposition party, Tendai Biti, has admitted that the just-ended harmonised elections cannot be rigged as the Sadc guidelines and amendments made to Zimbabwe’s electoral laws make it difficult for any form of rigging. Biti said this at one of the several Press conferences his party has given since the closing of polls in Zimbabwe on March 29.
Several observers and journalists have condemned MDC Tsvangirai for creating confusion and shifting the goalposts over the past few days.
In an interview with SABC correspondent, John Nyashanu, a local journalist asserted that MDC Tsvangirai was playing a dirty game where it makes conflicting statements through Biti.
On Sunday March 30, Biti was quoted as having said the MDC was confident that it had won the elections as reports coming in from the urban polling stations indicated that the party was at an advantage over Zanu-PF.
The following day Biti was claiming that the Government was delaying the release of results in order to rig. As results began to be released Biti then made a U-turn and announced that the elections could not be rigged.
Nyashanu pointed out that the MDC is at a crossroads and does not know which way to go.
On one hand, the MDC leadership needs to have a scapegoat if it fails to win the presidential election, but if it wins it then needs to acknowledge that the elections were free and fair because the results will be in their favour.
This shifting of goalposts is not something new for the MDC, as it has become a trend for the Tsvangirai-led group to make statements that are emotional and not informative.
A South African from the Institute of Peace was interviewed by the BBC on Monday night and pointed out that MDC Tsvangirai was finding it difficult to substantiate its claims of vote rigging and keeps on making baseless claims against the Government in the hope that eventually people will come to take such claims for fact. He also concurred with the reports that indeed the elections were free and fair. Unfortunately, this interview was cut short and this writer doubts the BBC will be re-airing it, as it certainly does not support the British line on Zimbabwe.
One reporter with Al- Jeezera has indicated that the MDC has been able to gain ground in the elections because of the Sadc-mediated talks that saw the Govern-ment of Zimbabwe creating a conductive political arena for free and fair elections.
The reporter then pointed out that Biti and his boss Tsvangirai prior to the elections scorned the inter-party talks as being a non-event and yet on March 31, Biti was on air thanking Sadc and South African President Thabo Mbeki for working hard to ensure the Zimbabwe elections were free and fair.
The same Sadc he had earlier on accused of ‘‘playing ping-pong with the people of Zimbabwe’’!
MDC leaders need to come up with one position on the elections and not create confusion among their supporters and the nation at large. As the situation stands, election results still need to be verified in light of reports that some ZEC officials were paid to tamper with results in favour of MDC Tsvangirai. However, conflicting statements by the opposition create a negative atmosphere which is not representative of the true mood of the nation that has been hailed by observers as having just voted in a calm, organised manner.
While several Western governments are jostling to voice their concerns over the delay in the releasing of results one wonders what the urgency is? This writer knows of several countries that have held elections and have released results weeks later. In the USA, for instance, results of the George W. Bush and Al Gore contest took over a month to be announced.
In Zimbabwe, the delay in the releasing of the results should, in fact, serve as an assurance to all parties and stakeholders that the ZEC is doing all it can to ensure there will be no question over the tallying of votes.
The ZEC is not a partisan body that does a shoddy job to appease one political party. In this case it cannot legally take results over the telephone from polling agents but has to collate results using the requisite documentation from all polling stations. Lest we forget, any party that loses can claim the results reported by the ZEC command centre were different from those recorded at polling stations. It is then prudent for ZEC to wait for all the actual papers from polling stations that all parties involved have signed, to be in their possessions before announcing the results.
The argument that the results are in the public domain and can therefore be released by anyone does not hold water given that if the circumstances were different and it was Zanu-PF releasing results unofficially, this writer doubts that Biti would take the situation as lightly as he expects the Government of Zimbabwe to do. In fact, this writer is quite sure there would be an outcry from the MDC and several diplomatic community members with US and British ambassadors at the forefront accusing Zanu-PF of undermining the electoral process.
There so-called results that the MDC has unofficially released after receiving them from its various functionaries across the country should not be consequential as there is a high probability that both the recipient and the receiver can doctor them. It is hypocritical that the MDC challenged the tallying of votes in 2005 alleging that the polling officers had phoned in correct results and that all tallying of votes should be done with the requisite papers at hand and yet now they are using that same method they faulted as flawed to proclaim their supposed victory in the polls.
Who has won or lost this election is important not only to Zimbabweans but also for Africa and the Westerners who bankroll the MDC.
The next few days are crucial and the people of Zimbabwe must maintain peace as the courts and ZEC decide on the presidential contest.
We must remain calm and peaceful as we wait for the results in the same manner we patiently queued to vote.
The resolve of the people of Zimbabwe should not shaken by the few elements that have dubious reasons to destabilise Zimbabwe.