Saturday, May 10, 2008

(FINAL CALL) Zimbabwe Ambassador: Self-determination is at root of conflict

Zimbabwe Ambassador: Self-determination is at root of conflict
By News
Updated Apr 22, 2008, 03:49 pm Email this article

( - With controversy in the western media about Zimbabwe, disputes about the outcome of April 2 voting for president, charges of against President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party, and calls from opposition leaders for western intervention, Final Call staff writers Nisa Islam Muhammad and Saeed Shabazz went one on one with Ambassador Machinvenyika Tobia Mapuranga to discuss the political situation in Zimbabwe and issues facing the southern African nation. Ambassador Mapuranga pointed out that his country functions off of a constitution approved by and based on the British system, and the failure of efforts to change the constitution as evidence that his country is a democracy. He says the current controversy stems from a longtime struggle for Zimbabwe to chart its own course.

Final Call (FC): Your Excellency, what is the atmosphere in Zimbabwe? What is the atmosphere among the people?

Ambassador Mapuranga: My wife as we speak is in Zimbabwe. She left last week and we’ve been in touch on a daily basis. She says you cannot believe Zimbabwe has just gone through an election. It is peaceful, normal, and people are back to work. This is the information I also get from my ministry.

FC: That sounds very different from what we’re reading in the Western press. Why do you think that is?

Ambassador Mapuranga: Well, you know that the West has an agenda. From the time we launched the land reform program. … You have to realize that Zimbabwe and South Africa were earmarked to be “White man’s country.” That is the phrase that was used by great administrators like Lord Salisbury, Sir Harry Johnston, Lord Milner; those who administered the British Empire. They said that Zimbabwe, which was then Southern Rhodesia, together with South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, are “White man’s country,” meaning that they were for permanent White settlement and domination.

This policy entailed that the native population would be herded into, in my country they were called, “native reserves.” I grew up in a native reserve myself. The rest of the country was taken over for British, White settlement.

This policy also envisaged that the ratio between the incoming British settlers and the natives would be changed in favor of the White settlers. It happened successfully, totally successfully, in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. It was well, well, on its way to success in South Africa and Zimbabwe.

As we speak now, in South Africa the population ratio has been changed from 1 to 19,000 in the 16th century to 1 to 10! In my country, at the height of White settlement during the federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the ratio was 1 to 13. But because the liberation war broke out, many of them left and found themselves in England, America, New Zealand and Canada, and the population has changed now.

That explains the reason why the people of Zimbabwe had to fight 14 years of a liberation war. I think your war of independence was only about three years. We had to fight 14 years against the British to get Zimbabwe free. We had to change the colonial heritage. And the moment we tried to do that, we were earmarked for “regime change.” That is the phrase used by President Bush and Tony Blair, the last prime minister of Britain.

From the moment we launched the land reform program, they used their money to engineer the formation of an organization party they call MDC (Movement for Democratic Change) which is funded through the Westminster Foundation and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust. These are two British bodies that are sustaining the opposition. It’s not a secret. If you want to visit their websites, they will tell you, “we have sent so much money.”

The Liberal Party, the Labour Party, and the Conservative Party, also known as the Tories, they will be boasting they have sent so much money to bolster the opposition and NGOs, non-governmental organizations. There’s such a proliferation of NGOs in Zimbabwe because this is part of the strategy to overthrow the People’s Revolutionary Government and install puppets, the MDC.

And as for the United States, this is all for public consumption. If you look at the Department of State’s annual report—look at the annual report for 2007, look up the section that deals with Zimbabwe—you will read everything there. “That we (the U.S.) are supporting, we spent so much money—we are funding the opposition, and NGOs that are opposed to the government.”

FC: Is there any fear that what happened in Kenya after the elections, the war, the outbreak of fighting, is there any fear some of that might happen in Zimbabwe?

Ambassador Mapuranga: Absolutely not. In Zimbabwe, we see, we have the politics of ideology. We don’t have the politics of ethnicity. If you look at Kenya, the United States and Britain, the European Union, they are very happy with either Raila Odinga in power, or President Mwai Kibaki. Any of them is their friend. If any of them has the ascendancy in Kenya, it will not lead to any fundamental transformation in the body politic, or in the ideology of the society.

But in Zimbabwe, this is different. We are talking about a government which is spearheaded by a revolutionary party, which spearheaded the armed struggle against British Imperialism, and for that we have never been forgiven. And, a party that was the creation of the Imperialists themselves, has been funded by the Imperialists themselves.

Now, the people of Zimbabwe have submerged their ethnic, or call it tribal, sentiments. And they look at the vision of their country in terms of this goal: Is it going to be a country that is under control of neo-colonialism? Or a country in which the African people are not content to be just laborers on the White man’s farms? They have to be owners of the land, or a country in which Africans are content to be laborers on the White man’s mines? …

And this is why because we are experimenting with, and pioneering a new paradigm of development, which is not found elsewhere in Africa, we have to be aborted. This process has to be aborted. This is why there is, why there is such a tremendous interest of the Western press of the goings on in Zimbabwe.

FC: What do you see as the future for Zimbabwe?

Ambassador Mapuranga: The future is that we agreed to continue this revolutionary struggle. We got back our land. We want to make it productive because you know we were just laborers on the White man’s land. Now we must learn to make it productive. Production in the agriculture sector has gone down because we were not used to being owners of the land. Now we are going to make it productive. We are going to teach our people the correct use of the soil and give them the farm implements. …

What we launched last year is the largest farm mechanization program in the whole of Africa. It has never happened in any other African country, the farm mechanization. Tens of thousands of tractors and combine harvesters, and hundreds of thousands of plows and shovels have been distributed throughout the country. This is an historic economic movement that is taking place now in Zimbabwe to rehabilitate our agricultural sector.

We also passed a law about three or four weeks ago, in which Africans, the indigenous people, have to have at least 51 percent of the equity in all investment in the mineral sector so that we cannot continue to be just laborers in the White man’s mines. We have to be part of the ownership of these mineral resources.

Our future lies in making this new paradigm a success. We are going to develop this country with the indigenous people in charge of the natural resources of the land.

FC: When will the results of the election be released?

Ambassador Mapuranga: We had four in one elections. This was something unprecedented. We had elections of the local government councils, elections for the Senate, elections for the House of Assembly, and elections for the president. All four in one day.

People were saying this is unprecedented and there’s going to be tremendous confusion and problems. In a sense, they were correct. Sorry, they were not correct in a sense, because the voting went on very smoothly. There were no problems or confusion at the level of the voter. But in a sense they were also correct because the problem has been at the level of the ZEC, which is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. It was has not been able … it was overwhelmed by the work, and was not able to deliver the results within two or three days as used to be the case since our independence.

Now the ZEC, this is the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, this is a body that was setup through the mediation of President Thabo Mbeki. You remember that President Thabo Mbeki was mediating between the ruling party and the opposition parties. …

FC: Do you think there is any way for the ruling party and the opposition party to find some way to work things out so it doesn’t look like it is just so combative?

Ambassador Mapuranga: Yes. As long as they stop getting instructions from London, Washington and Brussels. They are there in the Senate, in the House. They should just stop getting their instructions from London, Brussels and Washington. And these “Zimbabwe patriots,” “African patriots,” they are always mouthing bad words about Thabo Mbeki and all the African leaders. They are always abusing the African leaders, “This is how the opposition is. This is how the OAU is,” and so forth. Instead of portraying themselves as African patriots, and portraying African leadership at the AU (African Union) level and so forth. They prefer to get instructions from London, Washington and Brussels. This is the bane of our opposition movement in Zimbabwe. …

FC: Do you have a feeling on the ground in Zimbabwe that no matter what Zimbabweans do, the movement by the West for regime change is not going to end?

Ambassador Mapuranga: It is going to be a protracted struggle. If you look at what has happened closer home here, Cuba is one country that has jealously said, “No! We will not take orders from Washington.” This has been going on since 1958. They don’t relent. It is a continuing struggle until they subdue you. In the case of Zimbabwe, as long as ZANU-PF is in power, as long as it does not want control from London, and Washington, and Brussels. It will continue to try, to try, to put in place a puppet regime there.

FCN is a distributor (and not a publisher) of content supplied by third parties. Original content supplied by FCN and News is Copyright © 2008 FCN Publishing, Content supplied by third parties are the property of their respective owners.

Labels: , , , , ,


(RACE AND HISTORY) Expressions of imperialism within Zimbabwe

Expressions of imperialism within Zimbabwe
By Stephen Gowans
April 27, 2008

Zimbabwe's Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa on Friday denounced the US and Britain for their interference in Zimbabwe's elections. At the same time, he decried the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), and its civil society partner, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), as being part of a US and British program to reverse the gains of Zimbabwe's national liberation struggle.

"It is no secret that the US and the British have poured in large sums of money behind the MDC-T's sustained demonization campaign," Chinamasa said. (1)

"Sanctions against Zimbabwe (were intensified) just before the elections," while "large sums of money" were poured into Zimbabwe "by the British and Americans to bribe people to vote against President Mugabe." (2)

The goal, Chinamasa continued, is to "render the country ungovernable in order to justify external intervention to reverse the gains of the land reform program." (3)

The justice minister went on to describe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC "for what they are – an Anglo-American project designed to defeat and reverse the gains of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, to undermine the will of the Zimbabwean electorate and to return the nation to the dark days of white domination." (4)

The minister also described the ZESN as "an American-sponsored civil society appendage of the MDC-T." (5)

Were they reported in the West, it would be fashionable to sneer at Chinamasa's accusations as lies told to justify a crackdown on the opposition. But, predictably, they haven't been. For anyone who's following closely, however, the minister's charges hardly ring false.

The ZESN is funded by the US Congress and US State Department though the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Its board is comprised of a phalanx of US and British-backed fifth columnists. (6)

Board member Reginald Matchaba Hove won the NED democracy award in 2006. Described by its first director as doing overtly what the CIA used to do covertly, the NED - and by extension the NGOs it funds – are not politically neutral organizations. They have an agenda, and it is to promote US interests under the guise of promoting democratization. Hove is also director of the Southern Africa division of billionaire financier George Soros' Open Society Institute, which has been involved in funding overthrow movements in Yugoslavia, Georgia, Ukraine and elsewhere. Soros also has an agenda: to open societies to Western profit making. Indeed, the board members of the ZESN comprise an A-list of overthrow activists, with multiple interlocking connections to imperialist governments and corporate foundations.

It doesn't take long to connect Hove to left scholar Patrick Bond (of Her Majesty's NGOs) and his Center for Civil Society. The Center is a program partner with the Southern Africa Trust, one of whose trustees is ZESN board member Reginald Matchaba Hove. The Center for Policy Studies, whose mission is to prepare civil society in Zimbabwe for political change (that is, to prepare it to overthrow the Zanu-PF government), is funded by the Southern Africa Trust, a partner of Bond's Center for Civil Society. Other sponsors include the Soros, Ford, Mott, Heinrich Boll (German Green party), and Friedrich Ebert (German Social Democrats) foundations, the Rockefeller Brothers, the NED, South African Breweries and a fund established by the chairman of mining and natural resources company, Anglo-American. Significantly, Zimbabwe is rich in minerals. Zanu-PF's program is to put control of the country's mineral resources, as well as its land, in the hands of the black majority, depriving transnational mining companies, like Anglo-American, of control and profits. Everjoice Win, the former spokesperson for the ZESN, is on the advisory board of Bond's center. The Center supports the Freedom of Expression Institute (FEI), which is funded by George Soros and the British government's Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD). The FEI is a partner of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (also funded by the British government), whose director Rashweat Mukundu is a board member of the ZESN.

Bond co-authored a report with Tapera Kapuya, a fellow of ZESN sponsor, the NED. He also contributed to a report titled Zimbabwe's Turmoil, along with John Makumbe and Brian Kagoro. The report was sponsored by the Institute for Security Studies, which is financed by the governments of the United States, Britain, France and Canada, the Rockefeller Brothers, and of course, the ubiquitous George Soros and Ford foundations. Makumbe has published in the NED's Journal of Democracy, and is a former director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (funded, not surprisingly, by the NED). The Coalition, like the Center for Policy Studies, is devoted to ousting the Mugabe government under the guise of promoting democracy, but in reality promotes the profits of firms like Anglo-American and the interests of US and British investors. Kagoro is a former coordinator of the Coalition. Significantly, the Coalition is a partner of the ZESN.

Add to this Bond's celebrating the Western-trained and financed underground movements Zvakwana and Sokwanele as an "independent left" (7) and his co-authoring a Z-Net article on Zimbabwe with MDC founding member Grace Kwinjeh [8] (MDC leader Tsvangirai admitted in a February 2002 SBS Dateline program that his party is financed by European governments and corporations (9)), and it's clear that Bond links up with the spider web of American and British-sponsored civil society appendages of the MDC-T.

Chinamasa's clarification of the connections between the US and Britain and Zimbabwe's civil society and opposition fifth columnists is a welcome relief from Western newspapers' attempts to cover them up. The ZESN, despite being generously funded by the US through Congress and the State Department, is described by the Western media as "independent" while ZESN partner, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), is called "an international pro-democracy organization" (10) and "a Washington-based group." (11) What it really is, is the foreign arm of the Democratic Party. The NDI receives funding from the US Congress (as well as from USAID and corporate foundations), which it then doles out to fifth columnists in US-designated "outposts of tyranny." Only in the service of propaganda would the Democratic Party be called "a Washington-based group." One wonders how Americans would have reacted to the British monarchy parading about post-revolutionary Washington as a "London-based" group - an "international good government" organization bankrolling an American NGO to monitor US elections? Would anyone be surprised if the leaders of the British-financed NGO were dragged off to jail, especially were its backers openly working to oust the government in Washington to restore the rule of the British monarchy? In Zimbabwe, the only surprise is that the Zanu-PF government hasn't reacted with as much force as the Americans would have done under the same circumstances. That Zimbabwe's government has tried to preserve space for the exercise of political and civil liberties in the face of massive hostile foreign interference is to be commended.

Washington is quite open in its intentions to overthrow the Mugabe government. Under the 2001 US Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act "the President is authorized to provide assistance" to "support an independent and free press and electronic media in Zimbabwe" and "provide for democracy and governance programs in Zimbabwe." (12) This translates into the president financing anti-Zanu-PF radio stations and newspapers and bankrolling groups opposed to Zimbabwe's national liberation movement to inveigle Zimbabweans to vote against Mugabe.

"The United States government has said it wants to see President Robert Mugabe removed from power and that it is working with the Zimbabwean unions, pro-democracy groups and human rights bring about a change of administration." (13)

Last year, the US State Department acknowledged once again that it supports "the efforts of the political opposition, the media and civil society" in Zimbabwe through training, assistance and financing. (14) And the 2006 US National Security Strategy declares that "it is the policy of the US to seek and support democratic movements and institutions in every nation...with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in..." North Korea, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Belarus and Zimbabwe. (15)

The goal of the overthrow agenda is to reverse the land reform and economic indigenization policies of the Zanu-PF government – policies that are against the interests of the ruling class foundations that fund the fifth columnists' activities. The chairman of Anglo-American finances Zimbabwe's anti-Mugabe civil society because bringing Tsvangirai's MDC to power is good for Anglo-American's bottom line. Likewise, the numerous Southern African corporations that Lord Renwick of Clifton sits on the boards of stand to profit from the MDC unseating Zimbabwe's national liberation agenda. Lord Renwick is head of an outfit called the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust (ZDT), also part of the interlocked community of imperialist governments, wealthy individuals, corporate foundations, and NGOs working to reverse Zimbabwe's liberation struggle. The ZDT is a major backer of the MDC. (16)

Police raids on the offices of the ZESN and Harvest House, the headquarters of the MDC, seem deplorable to those in the West who are accustomed to elections in which the contestants all pretty much agree on major policies, with only trivial differences among them. But in Zimbabwe, the differences are acute - a choice between losing much of what the 14-year long national liberation war was fought for and settling for nominal independence (that is crying uncle, so the West will relieve the pressure of its economic warfare) or moving forward to bring the program of national liberation to its logical conclusion: ownership of the country's land, resources and enterprises, not just its flag, by the black majority. In this, there is an unavoidable conflict between "a government which is spearheaded by a revolutionary party, which spearheaded the armed struggle against British imperialism" and "a party that was the creation of the imperialists themselves (that) has been financed the imperialists themselves." (17)

It's impossible to achieve independence from foreign control and domination without turmoil, disruption and fighting - not when the opposition and civil society are directed from abroad to serve foreign interests. Can Zimbabwe's elections honestly be described as free and fair when the economy has been sabotaged by the West's denying Harare credit and debt relief [18] and where respite from the attendant miseries is promised in the election of the opposition? Are elections legitimate when media are controlled by outside forces (19), and civil society and the opposition have been controlled by foreign powers?

Chinamasa's complaints, far from being demagoguery, are real and justified. Zanu-PF's decision to fight, rather than capitulate, ought be applauded, not condemned. Imperialism cannot be opposed without opposing the MDC and its civil society partners, for they too are imperialism.


1. Herald (Zimbabwe) April 26, 2008.
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.
4. Ibid.
5. Ibid.
6. Michael Barker, "Zimbabwe and the Power of Propaganda: Ousting a President via Civil Society," Global, April 16, 2006.
See also and
7. Stephen Gowans, "The Politics of Demons and Angels," April 15, 2007,
8. Stephen Gowans, "The Company Patrick Bond Keeps," March 24, 2008,
9. Rob Gowland, "Zimbabwe: The struggle for land, the struggle for independence," Communist Party of Australia, . The MDC is also financed by the British government's Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Zimbabwe Democracy Trust, whose patrons include former British foreign secretaries and is headed by Lord Renwick of Chilton, vice-chair of investment banking at JPMorgan (Europe.)
10. The Globe and Mail (Toronto), April 26, 2008.
11. The Washington Post, April 26, 2008.
13. The Guardian (UK), August 22, 2002.
14. US Department of State, April 5, 2007.
16. "Zimbabwe ambassador: Self-determination is at the root of the conflict," FinalCall.Com News, April 22, 2008.
17. Ibid.
18. Under the US Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001, "the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against-

(1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or

(2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution."


19. The same question can be asked of elections in Western liberal democracies, where the media are controlled by an interlocked community of hereditary capitalist families and corporate board members who share common economic interests inimical to those of the majority.

Reproduced from:

Labels: , , ,


We can't be neutral on corruption - Sakala

We can't be neutral on corruption - Sakala
By Laura Mushaukwa
Saturday May 10, 2008 [04:00]

CHIEF Justice Ernest Sakala has said corruption exists in the Judiciary and the country at large. Officiating at a magistrates’ workshop organised by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) at Cresta Golf View Hotel yesterday, justice Sakala disclosed that every sitting of the Judicial Service Commission dealt with no less than five to ten disciplinary cases involving Judiciary staff in corruption-related matters.

"The importance of these workshops/seminars on corruption cannot be belittled. For me, it would be naïve on my part to deny that there is no corruption in the country and in the Judiciary itself," justice Sakala said. "What these workshops intend to achieve therefore, and I hope and believe they will achieve, is to bring to the fore what corruption is, what form it may take.

“These workshops are intended to sharpen our understanding of corruption particularly that the offence has now become complex and is committed by very sophisticated people using very sophisticated methods.”
Justice Sakala said corruption was one of the biggest deterrents to growth and poverty reduction in Zambia.

“Fighting corruption demands a clear understanding and appreciation of its effects on the society as a whole. As a judiciary, we cannot afford to take a neutral stand. We must be part of the cure of fighting corruption,” justice Sakala said.

He highlighted the negative impact that corruption has on a country.
“We all know what corruption can do to the country and we know what it has done in some countries. It not only distorts the economy by making businesses expensive, makes life expensive and perpetuates poverty in society,” justice Sakala said.

“In relation to our institution, corruption does a lot of injustice and scratches the very mirror of which we are in society.”

Justice Sakala advised magistrates against taking bribes saying bribes blind the eye of the wise, thereby subverting the cause of the righteous.

He said corruption in the judiciary could take the form of fraud, deliberate misplacement of court records, altering of records and deciding matters based on influence and not evidence.

He revealed that corruption in the judiciary could also take the form of improper socialisation with the parties to the case.

“Delay may make you to unwittingly come into social contact with litigants and undue influence may be exerted,” said justice Sakala. “We are all too familiar with the phrase justice delayed is justice denied.”

Justice Sakala said the foundation of corruption was human greed and the desire to accumulate wealth dishonestly.

He said human greed was the foundation as the insatiable need for wealth became so strong that it defeated the strongly held ethical principles.

“Talking of accumulation of wealth, we all know our salaries but is what we own commensurate with our salaries? We have heard of junior staff owning huge mansions in some townships, yet they obtained no loan,” Justice Sakala said.

He stressed the need for people to be content with what they had, saying they would be more blessed that way.

“As magistrates, you should strictly adhere to the Judicial Code of Conduct, eliminate that human greed of accumulating dishonest wealth. You cannot say one thing in open court and then later alter the record to fit the circumstances of bribery,” justice Sakala advised.

He said the lack of a conducive working environment and poor conditions of service should not be used as a defence for corruption.

“I appreciate that we do not have the best conditions of service or the best conducive working environment but lack or absence of these facilities will not be a defence to corruption,” said justice Sakala.

“With our limited budget, we have nevertheless tried to improve in certain areas. For instance, we have purchased or are purchasing a vehicle for each principal resident magistrates’ court for circulating in each province and for ensuring adequate revenue collection.”

Labels: , ,


Zesco power disruptions are harmful - Levy

Zesco power disruptions are harmful - Levy
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday May 10, 2008 [04:00]

PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday described the unplanned power disruptions by Zesco Ltd as harmful, damaging and inconveniencing to people. And President Mwan-awasa directed Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kanganja to seriously and ruthlessly deal with controlling officers that misappropriate money meant for the liquidation of utility bills for government institutions.

Meanwhile, President Mwanawasa said Zambians who would sublet to foreigners new market stands they will be empowered with in Lusaka’s New Soweto Market Complex would be imprisoned without an option for a fine.

Officiating at the launch of the Zambia Urban Water Supply Infrastructure Maintenance project in Lusaka’s Matero Constituency, President Mwanawasa directed Zesco managing director Rhodnie Sisala and his team to properly plan the current power load-shedding schedule. He said there was need to make the citizenry benefit from their payment of electricity tariffs by ensuring that the power load-shedding did not inconvenience them.

“These unplanned disruptions of electricity are causing harm, damage and inconvenience. Our people want a timetable that gives a schedule when they expect water to go and electricity to go and when it will be on. They want to know when they can cook their food,” President Mwanawasa said. “If these things are not planned, you will hear the people will be complaining.”

President Mwanawasa said he was hopeful that the problem of power load-shedding would be a thing of the past next year.

And responding to Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) chairman Justin Chisulo’s complaints over government departments’ failure to off-set water bills, President Mwanawasa said he was surprised that this problem continues recurring even when funds had been disbursed.

“One wouldn’t think that we do not budget for these things. Year in year out there is a budget for water and electricity; and controlling officer, what explanation can you give for not settling these bills?

If water is discontinued, you are going to inconvenience your institutions,” President Mwanawasa said. “And if it is rentals for your staff, your staff is going to be extremely demotivated. Secretary to the Cabinet, can you ensure that all controlling officers spend the money intended for these facilities? If they spend it on something else, it must be a misappropriation, which is punishable by imprisonment up to 15 years.”

President Mwanawasa also said people that failed to pay for their water and electricity bills were failing to meet their national obligations.

“And if the water is disconnected then you will say that ‘ichi chiparty cha Mwanawasa, nshachivote (this party for Mwanawasa, I will not vote for it),” President Mwanawasa said, asking: “Are we going to be blackmailed because of people who cannot leave up to their national obligations?”

President Mwanawasa said a vote based on such blackmail was not a good one.
“I want a caring vote. The kind of vote that I want is that which will assist me provide development to the people,” President Mwanawasa said.

He said the development of water and sanitation services in the entire country was critical following years of neglect.

“It is therefore a challenge for stakeholders, including the government, the private sector, non-governmental organisations, local authorities and all those charged with planning and development control, to ensure that we change the way things are done for a better tomorrow,” President Mwanawasa said.

“If, for example, we are going to achieve gender equality and empower women, then we must make sure that water and decent sanitation facilities are provided which encourage the girl child to go to school, and grow up as a self-assured woman.”

President Mwanawasa, who thanked the various cooperating partners for the support they had provided to the Zambian government towards improving the sanitation and water situation, said interventions in the water and sanitation aspects would be costly.

He also said the request by Matero PF member of parliament Faustina Sinyangwe for the construction of a bigger health facility and secondary school in Matero, which has a population of about 100,000 people, was genuine.

President Mwanawasa said the construction of the secondary school in the area would be commenced in August this year following the conclusion of tender procedures.

He also asked cooperating partners to help in the construction of a bigger hospital in Matero, as this would be a faster and cheaper approach other than if it was solely left to the government to handle.

And Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Li Qiangmin said most of the developmental projects that the government was grappling with were close to his government’s heart.
The Zambia Urban Water Supply Infrastructure Maintenance Project has been jointly funded by the governments of China and Zambia.

During the launch of the project, Sinyangwe organised an inter-party choir to sing for the audience.

And Sinyangwe said the launch of the project was an indication that President Mwanawasa was a caring father who takes development to different parts of the country without discrimination.

Meanwhile, during an inspection of the New Soweto Market Complex being constructed by Millers Construction yesterday morning, President Mwanawasa said it did not make sense that whilst Zambians had been given priority at such markets, they had sadly opted to sublet stands to foreigners.

“We expect law and order to prevail,” President Mwanawasa said. “Zambians have been crying for this infrastructure of this nature, we give them.

We are going to have a police post at this market and we are going to make it an offence for any Zambian, who has been empowered to sell here, to sublet the market stalls to a foreigner.”

Labels: , , , ,


Charges can be dropped if Chiluba surrenders what he stole, says Nkole

Charges can be dropped if Chiluba surrenders what he stole, says Nkole
By Namakau Nalumango
Saturday May 10, 2008 [04:00]

CHARGES against former president Frederick Chiluba and others accused of plunder of national resources can be dropped if they surrender what they stole, Task Force on Corruption chairman Maxwell Nkole has said.

Featuring on Let The People Talk programme on Radio Phoenix yesterday, Nkole said if Chiluba and others came forward, the Task Force would 'cut' a deal with them because even President Levy Mwanawasa had offered to drop the charges in an event that they co-operated.

"We would cut a deal because even the head of state had at one time said that 'look why don't you bring back the money and we would reconsider dropping any other charges' but the former president said he cannot do that," Nkole said.

He said the Task Force was mandated to recover the plundered or stolen assets as a separate activity and to prosecute when there was evidence.

“We have options to consider when looking at these cases. If, in fact, we were able to trace these assets and recover them from the people, I think that the Task Force would have discharged its mandate,” he said.

Nkole said the government had been able to make a saving especially that Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Katanga governor Moses Katumbi surrendered property worth K5.1 billion.

“Essentially, he Katumbi was suing for K17 billion and through this agreement, we have been able to save a possible loss by the government of K17 billion to Mr Katumbi because judgment would have gone either way, anyway, on this matter. In addition, Katumbi surrendered assets worth K5.1 billion, essentially making a saving to the government of K22.1 billion,” he said.

Nkole also disclosed that in 2007, a team of experts came to look at the work of the Task Force in the last six years and produced an evaluation report, which indicated that its work was successful.

“We had been evaluated by experts brought in by the donor community because as you know, we wanted to be as transparent as we could be in terms of trying to make an assessment of our performance. So the cooperating donors brought in a team of experts; two British and two Zambians from Cabinet office representing us.

They did that paper which was presented to government and government has been studying that,” he said.
Nkole said he was aware that many people looked at the work of the Task Force as promises that were yet to be fulfilled.

“I think when I look at the administration of Mwanawasa, history will be written that he successfully waged war against corruption. On my own, I feel that the work that the Task Force has done over the last six years has set a firm foundation upon which this country can be built and meets policies which are to fight corruption,” said Nkole.

Labels: , , , ,


Criminal elements in police worry Bonshe

Criminal elements in police worry Bonshe
By Abigail Chaponda
Saturday May 10, 2008 [04:01]

HOME affairs deputy minister Misheck Bonshe has expressed worry that some elements in the Zambia Police Service are contemplating engaging in crime. Bonshe’s comment follows threats by some rural based police officers’ threat that the removal of rural hardship and risk allowances would leave them with no option but to engage in corruption to earn more money.

The officers who did not want to be identified complained that the government had removed the rural hardship and risk allowances from their salaries. They said if the government wanted to fight corruption, it first had to pay police officers good salaries.

“We don’t want to be treated like children; we are human beings with families. Corruption will not end, not until government addresses the salaries of civil servants in the country,” they said.

They said that since the government had scrapped the allowances, they would find other means to increase their salaries.

But when contacted for comment Bonshe said police officers should be exemplary in their conduct.

“Corruption is a criminal offence and whoever is found committing this crime will be prosecuted. We don’t care who is involved, a crime is a crime regardless of who you are in society,” he said.

He said it was shameful and unfortunate that police officers should be thinking of engaging in corruption.

“Resorting to corruption is not the solution, but if those officers insist that they want to get into corruption, let them go ahead, they will see what we are going to do to them,” he said. “Should they be found, they will be dealt with severely.”

Bonshe said the government was adjusting salaries for police officers and that the rural hardship allowance was only paid to officers camped in remote areas.

“When I say rural areas I mean places that do not have electricity, shops and other necessary things that are supposed to be used by people, not officers who are near town where they can access things,” Bonshe said.

He said if the officers were in rural areas and were not getting their rural hardship allowances then they should claim for their money.

Bonshe said the government cared for the police officers and want them to be happy at all times.

Previously the government used to pay police officers risk allowance of K50,000.

Meanwhile, teachers in Mungwi district in Northern Province have threatened to go on strike if the government does not pay them rural hardship allowances by the end of May.

In an interview, Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia (BETUZ) Mungwi district vice chairperson Bernard Kaoma said it was not in order for the government to remove the rural hardship allowances.

“We came up with this decision on Tuesday after the three education unions, BETUZ, SESTUZ and ZNUT, met to discuss the problems that we were facing as rural teachers,” Kaoma said.

“Teachers are people who educate the nation and we should be given respect due to us. Government should not be pushing us to and fro, we are not toys.

We have given government up to May month end to return the hardship allowances, otherwise we will have no choice but to strike,” Kaoma said.

Labels: , ,


Zambia lacks strategic reserves storage facilities, says Mumba

Zambia lacks strategic reserves storage facilities, says Mumba
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday May 10, 2008 [04:01]

ZAMBIA has no storage facilities to hold strategic petroleum reserves, Ministry of Energy permanent secretary Peter Mumba has said. Mumba said under the strategic petroleum reserves programme, the government had prioritised the storing of finished petroleum products and not crude oil. He explained that in case of a breakdown of the refinery, finished petroleum products could be readily used unlike crude oil which needed to be processed.

“Government is therefore planning to ensure sufficient storage capacity space available to hold 30 days of processed fuel products but currently there is no storage capacity to hold strategic petroleum reserves,” said Mumba.

“For this reason, tanks at Ndola Fuel Terminal have to be repaired after which they will be able to hold 10 days of diesel and 15 days of petrol strategic stock and so far TAZAMA is rehabilitating the 40,000 metric tonnes tank at Bwana Mkubwa, whose works will be completed in 2009.”

And international oil prices have reached a record high of US $ 122 per barrel with analysts citing supply disruptions in Nigeria, tensions in Iran and the weakness of the US dollar as some of the causes.

Labels: , ,


Friday, May 09, 2008

LETTERS - Local Government,

Zambia's local govt
By Concerned citizen,Mongu
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

I wish to analyse the current state of our local authorities in Zambia in line with the 2030 vision – an aspiration of Zambia as a prosperous middle income country. In order to achieve our vision, we are to grow our economy at rates consistently higher than 6 per cent now onwards. However, a cursory look at the state of affairs in councils indicates a poor mapping on 2030 on the local government system.

The system is in great shambles – and no one really cares. The Zambian general public as well as donors need to re-examine the state of our councils. Suppose we have 50 councils countrywide, each employing an average of 50 employees, that means over 2,500 employees.

If it is true that each worker feeds an average of 15 extended family members, we are talking of a whooping over 30,000 Zambians starving as a result of poor local government policy. That qualifies to me as a national disaster.

A normal council will not be able to pay salaries every month – at least they will lag behind for up to 12 months. The people of Zambia have let this situation to prevail in a country desiring to reach middle income status soon.

No one is bothered that so many families can be subjected to hunger by virtue of poor government policies. No one is ready to challenge the system to yield results for the people and indeed the communities. A town clerk can be in a council for decades even beyond the tenure of any president in power except perhaps Mr Mugabe.

I wish to draw the attention of the public and donors to what is happening in our Councils today. I am a chief officer in a council in this country where I have been employed for some time now and I really cannot sit and watch a national disaster happen in our country.

Why have we as Zambians allowed this to go on forever? The government needs to take some immediate measures if families are to survive hunger, thirst and corruption and prevent further plunder of national resources:
I propose as follows:-

The minister must be given powers to fire erring principal officers. Most town clerks know that the minister is handicapped and can only dissolve a council and leave the same old inefficient so-called technocrats still mismanaging.

The minister must be given powers to direct that all senior management positions in the councils countrywide immediately be re-advertised from a national centre point, and those in current management be offered an option to retire or to re-apply and risk losing their benefits should they not succeed.

Exclude councillors from participating in any of the recruitment processes as they are ill-qualified.

Use an independent body, such as NWASCO to re-cruit qualified senior management staff, and principal officers. The problem cannot be overcome by merely re-instituting the Local Government Service Commission as has been planned.

Place all newly-recruited chief officers and their deputies, and principal officers on three-year performance based contracts immediately. How can we perpetuate inefficiency?
Involve a regulator to immediately inspect all councils and provide an inspection report of each council as quickly as possible examining seven key specific benchmarks.

Disallow any council from effecting a Valuation Roll which has not met conditionality on selected minimum service standards and efficiency parameters i.e. revenue collection efficiency parameters, salary arrears etc and other basket of parameters such as response to audits, preparation of work plans etc,.i.e. apply efficiency conditionality.

Amend the local government Act to provide for an independent board of directors to manage the councils, and remove that role from councillors and MPs entirely. These can be addressed by district commissioners in DDCCs.

Leave councillors and MPs at stakeholder level just as in a district there are many stakeholders working in collaboration with the district commissioners only to specific duties of plans, developments, in their wards i.e. (DDCC) programmes - based participatory participation and not management based board representation.

Allow the council management to have a disciplinary committee, which would be able to handle all disciplinary matters of the council without recourse to any other committee.

With the recruitment of new principal officers, and management – no council would be allowed to operate without paying monthly salaries. Such a principal officer would be fired if he cannot assure to pay salaries every month. Part of his contract should indicate that he has accepted the responsibility to be a principal officer and to pay salaries each month. (Why? How can we as a Christian nation perpetuate poverty and corruption?

How do you expect a staff who has not been paid for 12 or six months or whatever to perform? What about their families? Would we expect a Chinese firm to employ people on these conditions? But are we not doing it as a government? What is happening is that those who have been in the system have means and ways and do not use the council for salaries. They use the council simply to drain resources.

Sign a minimum service level agreement with each council to provide a minimum service level in its area and communicate that service to the communities.

Abolish the role of Provincial Local Government Office. What is their output if the whole sector is literally dead?

I am inviting all those who care about Zambia to submit their comments on my views, and also donors too I am quite happy to assist this country to work out a drastic policy change on councils as a citizen who has seen a continuous deterioration . There are many other measures which I would be glad to share with others and can be contacted on my email address below.

In its current state our council is an oxymoron. I believe Dr Kenneth Kaunda afforded us free education so that we could be future leaders in our country and turnaround each sector of the economy - and the future is now. I wonder how this sector of local government can achieve the growth rates of 6 per cent and above consistently without the above being urgently addressed. I remain yours in government service truly patriotic Zambian and invite any reasonable Zambian to challenge my views over the sad affairs in our councils and to implement a better system.

Luapula bridge
By Concerned Citizen,Kitwe
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

Allow me to comment on Mansa town clerk Bwanga Kapumpa’s comments on the naming of the bridge in Chembe as reported in The Post of 6 May, 2008.

It would appear that Kapumpa is determined to gain favour from Levy Mwanawasa by insisting that the naming of the new bridge over Luapula River is irreversible. Kapumpa’s personal opinion cannot represent the true feelings of the people of Luapula.

It is common knowledge that because of the high levels of ignorance and poverty among our people in rural areas, town clerks have a great say in the decisions that are passed in their council chambers. Kapumpa should not deceive himself that the name is irreversible. Has he forgotten how the famous Kaunda Square in Kitwe was renamed City Square immediately after Dr Kaunda lost the elections.

I am confident that once Mwanawasa leaves State House, the name will be changed to reflect the true wishes of the people of Luapula. People like Kapumpa who thrive on short-term appeasement usually find their names relegated to the archives together with their ideas.

Labels: , ,


Chiluba justifies his silence on maize deal

Chiluba justifies his silence on maize deal
By Namakau Nalumango and Maluba Jere
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

THE Task Force missed an opportunity to get something from my insight into the Carlington maize deal by slapping me with a warn and caution statement, former president Frederick Chiluba has said. But Task Force on Corruption chairman Maxwell Nkole said Chiluba, as former commander-in-chief, owed Zambians an explanation on the Carlington maize saga.

Speaking through his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba, Chiluba said he was left with no choice but to invoke his constitutional right to remain silent because had he cooperated, whatever he may have said would have been used against him in court.

"I decided to remain quiet because of the manner of the interrogation. The blame falls on the Task Force. They narrowed their focus and didn't attempt to establish the truth," he said. Chiluba said in law, the warn and caution restricted one from revealing what needed to be disclosed.

Chiluba said he would only explain the Carlington Sales maize deal when the matter is before court.

He said it was wrong for the Task Force on Corruption chairman Max Nkole to say that he evaded questions because he had always cooperated with them and other institutions and cited the times he had been called to present himself at court and at the police station.

"I did not evade the questions. It was wrong for the Task Force to say that I did in the face of a warn and caution statement that they slapped on me," Chiluba said.

But Nkole said former president Frederick Chiluba was still free to come forward and assist investigators to recover the money in the Carlington maize scam involving about US$7.8 million.

However, Nkole expressed happiness with the way investigations in the case were progressing.

"We have made good progress with statements from Bonaventure Mutale and lawyers from Rossenblatt Solicitors UK, Silwamba ," he said. "Mr Chiluba is still free to come forward and assist investigators recover the plundered money."

Nkole recently said Chiluba and his Iranian associate Ari Ben Menashe knew where the US $7.8 million lay.

He also said there was nothing wrong with the Task Force’s attempt to trace and recover Zambian public funds adding that they expected his assistance which Nkole said Chiluba had denied them.

Nkole added that Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi would also be summoned for interviews when the Task Force was ready.

The Task Force is investigating the case of Canadian commodity supplier, Carlington Sales Company, following an agreement with the Republic of Zambia in 1997/98 for the supply of maize to Zambia in the extent of US$24 million.

The government transferred the money in the extent of US$7.8 million towards this contract but not a single bag of maize was ever delivered and a loss of public funds remains incurred.

And when Chiluba was summoned to appear before the Task Force over the maize saga, he was reported to have evaded questions.

Labels: , , ,


Nigeria's Access Bank to open branch in Zambia

Nigeria's Access Bank to open branch in Zambia
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

ACCESS Bank of Nigeria will soon establish a branch in Zambia and the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) is currently scrutinising its application for an operating licence. BOZ governor Dr Caleb Fundanga and Zambia Development Agency communications manager Margaret Chimanse confirmed the development in separate interviews. Dr Fundanga expressed optimism that the Nigerian premier bank would soon be granted an operating licence.

“They come from a highly supervised economy and I have no doubt that their application to establish a branch here will be successful,” Dr Fundanga said.

“At this stage, I can confirm that they have made an application to the Bank of Zambia and I remain optimistic that their licence will be granted.

The central bank governor of Nigeria (Charles Soludo) has done exceptionally well to ensure that all banks operating in Nigeria adhere to the most stringent rules for corporate governance, good banking rules and banking ethics…So I have no doubt the application will be favourably considered,” he said.

Dr Fundanga said the coming of Access Bank to the local economy would enhance contribution of the banking sector to the local sector as it would increase competition. Currently Zambia has 13 commercial banks operating.

Early this year, Access Bank managing director, Aiboje Aig-Imoukhuede announced that the Nigerian giant bank would soon open branches in Zambia, Congo, Cote-d’Ivoire and other African countries as part of its aggressive Pan-African expansion vision.

Aig-Imoukhuede also announced that Access Bank would soon open its London branch this year in an attempt to be a reference point for African banks operating in the global market.

He said that the bank’s target was to be one of the top five banks out of Africa that would compete favourably with HSBC, one of the world’s largest commercial banks.

Labels: , , ,


Zim NGOs demand runoff in 21 days

Zim NGOs demand runoff in 21 days
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

THE civil society in Zimbabwe has demanded that the presidential runoff must be held within 21 days of the declaration of the results as outlined by the electoral Act. And the civil society has called for the immediate entry into Zimbabwe of expanded regional and international observer missions, especially those from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa), African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN).

Reacting to the delay in the announcement of the date for the presidential runoff by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) yesterday expressed concern over the delay.

"The delay has been unacceptable and, together with the arrest and detention of over 120 ZEC officers, the lack of transparency in the electoral process especially post-voting day, and the ever escalating retributive political violence, has ensured that this result is and remains disputed and of no value to those who voted on 29 March 2008 for a return to the rule of law, peace and democracy in Zimbabwe," the ZLHR stated. "Be that as it may, in line with the provisions of the electoral Act as amended, as no presidential candidate received an absolute majority on 29 March 2008, there is now need for a second election within 21 days of the declaration of the result by ZEC on 2 May 2008.

"Should the two presidential candidates agree to participate in the second election, there is a need to be clear on exactly what issues need to be addressed in order for such election to conform, at the most minimum level, to Zimbabwean constitutional and electoral norms and regional and international standards, most particularly the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections."

ZLHR called for the immediate cessation of all political violence especially at the local community level, by all state actors, and non-state actors acting with the acquiescence of the state.

ZHLR also stated that lawyers, medical practitioners and humanitarian organizations should be given immediate access to all victims of political violence to provide emergency and ongoing support services and to ensure their safety throughout the second election period and beyond.

They also called for the immediate entry of election observers into the country. "In addition, the ZEC must ensure that it complies strictly with its obligations in this regard and does not seek to unlawfully justify the further delay of this electoral process."

And the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) also called for the runoff to be held within 21 days.

"The law provides that 'where two or more candidates are nominated and no candidate receives a majority of the total number of valid votes cast, a second election" must be held within 21 days after the previous election", ZESN chairperson Noel Kututwa explained to The Post. "ZESN will continue to play its role in the observation of this election and the provision of independent information to all stakeholders.

The organisation will continue the deployment of its long-term observers and short-term observers across the country. The network cautions that duly accredited observers should be allowed to freely continue observing the election process."

Kututwa said ZESN would keep a close watch on the situation and called on the responsible authorities to guarantee the security of observers.

"In the run-up to the second round of the presidential poll, ZESN re-emphasises on the need for Zimbabwe to adhere to, and implement minimum conditions set out in SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections in this re-run and all subsequent elections," Kututwa said.

He also called for zero tolerance on the prevailing political violence. "We call upon political leaders to denounce political violence publicly. Furthermore, ZESN urges the police to act swiftly and decisively in dealing with the perpetrators in accordance with the law," said Kututwa.

Labels: , ,


Bush has made my mandate more difficult, charges Morales

Bush has made my mandate more difficult, charges Morales
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

THE Bush administration has made my mandate more difficult, Bolivian President Evo Morales has charged. And Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega has said Latin Americans have an obligation to join forces with President Morales' administration to fight against attempts to divide Bolivia.

Addressing Nicaraguans at the Revolution Square in Managua on Tuesday on the eve of the Latin America and the Caribbean leaders’ emergency summit on food crisis, President Morales, led by his counterpart Ortega, said a lot had taken place in Bolivia in the first two years of his reign.

He said following the nationalisation of the oil industry, his country wiped out the fiscal deficit that had characterised the Bolivian economy since the 1940s.

President Morales said after he took office, Bolivia's international reserves increased from around US $1.7 billion to more than US $6 billion in just two years.

"In spite of these advances, it has been impossible to meet social demands that date back 500 years," said President Morales as quoted by Prensa Latina. "The (US President George W.) Bush administration has made my mandate more difficult. It has been conspiring against my government since the beginning. The oligarchy and the US government are always speaking about the need to topple the Indian (himself).”

President Morales is the first indigenous Bolivian to ascend to the presidency.

And President Ortega said Nicaragua fully supported President Morales in his effort to curtail separatist efforts promoted by the Bolivian oligarchy and the United States.
President Ortega called the attempts to divide Bolivia an open conspiracy.

"We have the obligation to unite in fighting this battle," said President Ortega. "The people have the strength of conscience to succeed."

Last Sunday, Bolivia's wealthiest province of Santa Cruz staged a referendum seeking greater autonomy from the central government in La Paz. However, Bolivia's Supreme Court ruled the referendum invalid. And President Morales called on all the prefects (governors) to work with his government to establish an authentic autonomy within the strictures of the new constitution.

Wealthy landowners, together with businesses and multinational corporations are banking on the referendum outcome to shelter themselves from the deep social and economic changes President Morales is pursuing to resolve high poverty and inequality.

Santa Cruz landowners are fearful of a far-reaching revolutionary process in Bolivia which includes President Morales' plan to redistribute land to the poor. He calls for spreading national wealth to the rest of Bolivia.

Bolivia has nine provinces with the four "gas reserves and oil-rich" eastern provinces of Santa Cruz, Tarija, Beni and Pando calling for autonomy.

Santa Cruz is the wealthiest province and the stronghold of the right-wing opposition. President Morales has dismissed the Santa Cruz referendum as illegal and an action by the oligarchy that was refusing to accept an indigenous president.

Under President Morales, Bolivia is reforming the constitution to eliminate marginalisation. However, the four eastern lowlands provinces home to some 35 per cent of Bolivia's more than 8.5 million people and contribute about two-thirds to the country's gross domestic product have opposed the new constitution.

Labels: , ,


Battle against tribalism has just started, declares Moonga

Battle against tribalism has just started, declares Moonga
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

THE battle against tribalism and nepotism has just started and it will be fought to the bitter end, expelled MMD national executive committee (NEC) trustee Christine Moonga yesterday charged. And suspended MMD Copperbelt provincial chairman Terence Findlay said he is not worried about his suspension because it will give him more chance to concentrate on his business.

Reacting to her expulsion from the party for alleged breach of the party constitution, Moonga said no political demon would stop her from fighting crookedness and archaic leadership in the country.
Moonga said her expulsion was an indication of how bogus the MMD leadership had become.

"I have time and again been saying that tribalism and nepotism in Zambia is the worst cancer than corruption. So, for MMD to base their decision to expel me on the truth is a wonderful blessing to me. I can tell you that no political demon powers... will stop me from this fight. With MMD's action, I believe the people of Zambia will judge whether what I said about the growing tribalism in the party was wrong or not," she said.

Moonga maintained that there was too much tribalism in the MMD and that it should be uprooted if the party was to win the lost trust and confidence from majority Zambians.
She said the ruling party's leadership was intolerant and thrived on silencing its members.

Moonga said it was imperative to understand that for any country to unite and have equal distribution of wealth, the President of the country should treat its citizens as equal, regardless of tribe or blood relationship.

Asked whether she would challenge her expulsion, Moonga said she would not although her case had been handled with a lot of impunity, as she was not even given a chance to appear before the party's disciplinary committee.

"I have said it all, so let the will of God be done," she said.
Moonga said she would rather concentrate on God's ministry than politics.

"But I may bounce back in 2011 because I cannot stop the battle I have started half way. I have to accomplish it. For now, I have put everything in the hands of God and it is only the Lord who will direct me on my next move. But for now I wish MMD well in its endeavours. If anything, the issue of tribalism in their party has made me stronger than ever and it has to be conquered at all cost," said Moonga.

And Findlay said he would watch the interim Copperbelt executive committee's work with great interest.

He said the suspension had rather given him more opportunities to revive his business, which was being affected by political activities.
"I was spending a lot of time on party programmes but now I am able to spend more time on my company and I think this suspension had given me more advantages on my business," Findlay said.

Asked whether he would re-contest the seat since the provincial executive committee had been dissolved, Findlay said he would decide when the time comes.

Meanwhile, Patriotic Front (PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda said his party had been vindicated for expelling some of its members who committed more grave offences than Moonga.

Lubinda charged that MMD was being led by hypocrites who were against divergent views.

Lubinda said when PF expelled some of its members participating in the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), MMD party spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba and defence minister George Mpombo called the party all sorts of names.

"So, what is it that MMD has done to an innocent member Moonga who told the nation the truth? Mrs. Moonga has been expelled not because she talked about Jonas Shakafuswa finance deputy minister but because she touched 'King' Levy Mwanawasa whom MMD leadership think is untouchable. PF has been vindicated and it is clear now that there is too much dictatorship in MMD than any other party," said Lubinda.

On Tuesday, MMD NEC expelled Moonga for saying that President Levy Mwanawasa was practicing tribalism openly by not disciplining Shakafuswa who she said was fond of insulting other members and other people as well as disobeying party regulations.

Labels: , , ,


'Willpower is necessary to defeat poverty'

'Willpower is necessary to defeat poverty'
By Editor
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

It will not be possible for us to defeat poverty and develop without increasing or restoring the confidence of our people in themselves. To restore the confidence of our people in themselves is only the first step in a long march towards eradicating poverty and developing our country.

We have a great country, but developing it will require a lot of effort, hard work and sacrifice. And this must be made clear to all our people and their political leaders. Our people and their leaders must be helped to remain modest, prudent and free from arrogance and rashness in their style of work.

But on what basis should our policies and efforts in trying to defeat poverty and develop rest? It should rest on our own strength, and that means eradicating poverty and developing our country through our own efforts.

However, no country in the world can overcome or solve all its problems by itself; we need the help and support of others; we need friends to help us. Nevertheless, we should stress in everything we do the need for eradicating poverty and developing our country through our own efforts. Relying on the forces and efforts we ourselves organise, we can defeat poverty.

We should stand for self-reliance. It is not wrong for us to hope for foreign aid but we should not depend on it; we should depend on our own efforts, on the creative power of our people and their leaders.

Dependence is a terrible disease and it kills all our initiatives. There is need for us to change our attitudes and start to believe that we can solve our problems with very little, or without, outside help. This dependence syndrome we have today must disappear if we are to see a reversal of fortunes. By dependence syndrome we mean an attitude and belief that we cannot solve our problems without outside help. And this is a weakness that is made worse by charity or aid.

For instance, if an outside agency comes to a community and constructs a human settlement facility, like water supply, it is natural for the community members to see it as belonging to the outside agency. When that outside agency goes away or runs out of funds, the community members will have no motivation to repair and maintain the facility, or to sustain the service in order for the facility to be used, and used effectively, by the community members.

In order for the facility to be maintained and sustained, the community members must have a sense of responsibility for the facility.

Unless the community as a whole has been involved in decision making about the facility – planning and management – and has willingly contributed to the cost of its construction, the sense of responsibility or ownership will be missing. It will not be effectively used, maintained or sustained. It is impossible to build a human settlement facility or service and not expect that it has to be repaired and maintained. That is like trying to eat once and for all.

Whereas it was once thought that community self-reliance in itself was a good thing, it promoted grassroots democracy, human rights, self-development and human dignity, now it has gone much further than that. If communities cannot become more and more self-reliant and empowered, they will simply not develop, and so poverty and apathy will eventually destroy them. Therefore, countering dependence should receive a lot of attention. Dependence must be reduced in every action we take.

And when one looks at the way our national economy is managed, there is very little, or no democracy at all, in this sphere. The involvement of our people in national economic decisions and policies and the way they are implemented is very low. The donors literally make the decisions and arrange things in such a way as to make them appear as though they are ours. But in reality, all that we are implementing is donor policies.

We should carry on constant propaganda among the people on the facts of world progress and the bright future ahead so that they will build their confidence in themselves and their efforts. At the same time, we must tell the people that there will be twists and turns in our road. There are still many obstacles and difficulties on the road of progress in eradicating poverty.

We should assume that the difficulties will be many, for we should prefer to assume there will be more difficulties rather than fewer. Some of our people and our leaders do not like to think much about difficulties. But difficulties are facts; we must recognise as many difficulties as there are and should not adopt a policy of non-recognition.

We must recognise difficulties, analyse them and combat them. There are no straight roads in the world; we must be prepared to follow a road which twists and turns and not to try to get things on the cheap. It must not be imagined that one fine morning all our poverty will go away through the help of donors and the investments of foreign entrepreneurs.

We have done crazy things in many areas of our country’s economic management. We have left too many decisions in the hands of donors and foreign investors. For instance, today a few foreign companies determine which minerals should be discovered and put up for mining. We have no say on what should be mined and in what quantities; it’s all left in the hands of foreign private investors. They are the ones determining our future. This doesn’t make sense. This is ridiculous. This is carelessness.

In a word, while the prospects are bright, the road has twists and turns. There are still many difficulties ahead which we must not overlook. But if our leaders unite with all our people in a common effort, we can certainly overcome all difficulties and defeat poverty and achieve high levels of development.

Anyone who sees only the bright side but not the difficulties cannot fight poverty effectively.

The wealth of a society is created by the workers, peasants and working intellectuals. If they take their destiny into their own hands and take an active attitude in solving problems instead of evading them, there will be no difficulties in the world which they cannot overcome.

We therefore agree with the remarks made by our Japanese friends urging us to develop a strong will power if we are to defeat poverty and develop our country. We should also heed their advice on dependence.

Our people and their leaders must take all this fully into account and be prepared to overcome all difficulties with an indomitable will and in a planned way.

However, in times of difficulty, we must not lose sight of our achievements, must see the bright future and must pluck up our courage. In building new things, we often experience difficulties and setbacks. It is sheer fantasy to imagine that the cause of eradicating poverty and developing our country is all plain sailing and easy success, without difficulties and setbacks or the exertion of tremendous effort.

At certain times in any struggle, the difficulties outweigh the favourable conditions and so constitute the principal aspect of the contradiction and the favourable conditions constitute the secondary aspect. But through their efforts, our people and their leaders can overcome the difficulties step-by-step and open up a favourable new situation; thus a difficult situation gives way to a favourable one.

Moreover, what is work? Work is struggle. There are difficulties and problems in our efforts to eradicate poverty and develop our country which we must overcome and solve. We must work and struggle to overcome these difficulties. And a good leader and citizen is one who is more eager to go where the difficulties are greater.

It is time we realised that no one will develop this country for us; Zambia will primarily move forward through our own efforts and sacrifices.

Labels: ,


Strong willpower is necessary to defeat poverty - Japanese development

Strong willpower is necessary to defeat poverty - Japanese development
By Mutuna Chanda
Friday May 09, 2008 [04:00]

A STRONG willpower to defeat poverty is necessary for development, a Japanese development expert has observed. And Dr Kenneth Kaunda has said HIV/AIDS will be easy to defeat if poverty is eradicated. And Japanese Ambassador to Zambia Hideto Mitamura has said it is important for local people to take charge of donor-supported projects to enable them to continue after donors have pulled out.

In an interview on Wednesday, after the commemoration of the Participatory Village Development in Isolated Areas (PaVIDIA) day in Chongwe's Kalimansenga village, Takahiro Miyoshi observed the differences in the willpower between the Japanese during their times of underdevelopment and that of present day Zambians.

PaVIDIA is a Japanese government-supported project in collaboration with the Zambian government that promotes sustainable agriculture through the active participation of locals.

Miyoshi is chief advisor in village development of PaVIDIA.
"Japan used to be very poor but our ancestors had a very strong willpower," Miyoshi said. "So willpower is necessary for development. Unfortunately, in Zambia, currently because of the long history of colonialism there is so much of a dependency syndrome among the people but this is beginning to change when you compare with the time we started working on the PaVIDIA project in 2002."
Miyoshi said the mindset of people had changed from the time the project was introduced in various villages.

"When we started the PaVIDIA project, people used to think they were so poor but now there is a paradigm shift and they no longer think that they are poor," Miyoshi said.

However, he said Zambia needed to improve on its infrastructure to support the development of rural areas.

"Infrastructure will be necessary to encourage development because now resulting from poor roads, people can produce but may not be able to sell because they can't get a good market," said Miyoshi. "Also more schools are needed for people to learn and hospitals for healthcare."

And Dr Kaunda encouraged the villagers of Kalimansenga to work hard in the agriculture projects that the Japanese government was supporting.

"There's no more effective way of defeating poverty than working hard," said Dr Kaunda.

Ambassador Mitamura said the Japanese government had committed around US$4.5 million since 2002 to the PaVIDIA projects reaching out to over 56,491 villagers in four provinces in the country.

"In a typical case, financial and technical assistance has been provided for such activities as drilling of boreholes, training of instructors in the maintenance of boreholes, purchase of hammer mills, provision of two cows per village for animal draught power as well as facilitating the provision of building materials for food storage and community meeting facilities," said Ambassador Mitamura. "The project is meant to encourage villagers to exercise ownership of their development initiatives with relatively reasonable funds as start up capital.

The greatest merit of the project is that Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives staff are trained on how to manage the project so that it can continue to run even after the termination of support from the government of Japan."

Labels: ,


Thursday, May 08, 2008

UNIP welcomes Masheke's return

UNIP welcomes Masheke's return
By Kelvin Tembo and Namakau Nalumango
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

GENERAL Malimba Masheke will be welcomed like the prodigal son, UNIP deputy secretary general Reverend Alfred Banda has said. And former secretary to the Cabinet in the UNIP era, Sketchley Sacika has encouraged Gen Masheke to aspire for the UNIP leadership. Rev Banda said his party was surprised to hear that Gen Masheke was claiming to have re-joined UNIP.

“We wish to remind him and all those who left the party to come back through the front door and not through the window or the back door. They will be welcomed like the prodigal son who was welcomed by the father,” Rev Banda said.

He said a person of Gen Masheke’s calibre was supposed to denounce and re-join at a public meeting so that the members of the party were aware of his comeback.

Rev Banda said the party was not aware of Gen Masheke’s return because there was no record of him having left FDD to rejoin UNIP at any level of the party organs.

“All we know is that he is a losing presidential candidate for the FDD convention which took place prior to the 2006 tripartite elections and the party constitution is clear on how defected members can rejoin,” he said.

Rev Banda said the party was aware Gen Masheke was involved with former members of UNIP who were in MMD.
He advised Gen Masheke to demonstrate sincerity and not rejoin the party secretly.

Rev Banda also reminded Gen Masheke that UNIP rejected him at a congress in Ndola and FDD also rejected him at their recent congress in Kabwe.

He also said the party had nothing to fear from the politics of Gen Masheke whose time had gone.

Rev Banda said UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda was ready to hold a congress next year but could not do that without adequate preparations.

Gen Masheke on Monday said the Tilyenji leadership was illegally in office and indicated that he would consider contesting the UNIP presidency.

Some members of UNIP in Mambwe have called on Tilyenji to step down and call for a congress.

But Tilyenji has insisted that he was firmly anchored in the leadership of the party.

Meanwhile, Sacika said there were many members throughout the country that would support Gen Masheke on account of his political maturity and long association with the leadership of UNIP.

“Under Kenneth Kaunda, UNIP was known to be a political party that religiously adhered to the dictates of its constitution and its leadership never failed to renew its mandate regularly as required by the party constitution,” he said. “But a clique of people who have lost their mandate to leadership is now holding UNIP hostage.

”Sacika observed that what was happening in UNIP was a farce which brought into question the role of Registrar of Societies.

“How can the Registrar of Societies allow such an illegality to take place in such an important political organisation?” he asked.
Sacika said UNIP was a public institution which deserved to be protected under the laws of the land.

He said that rather than allow Tilyenji and his cronies to destroy a public institution, the Registrar of Societies should take over affairs of the party and organise a congress at which a new leadership would be elected.

“Tilyenji and his cronies cannot undertake this assignment because they have no constitutional or legal mandate to do so,” he said.
Sacika is also a former FDD chairperson.

Labels: ,


Zim cops arrest Zambians for loitering

Zim cops arrest Zambians for loitering
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

ZIMBABWEAN security personnel on Monday arrested several Zambians for loitering at the Victoria Falls border post. Southern Province police commanding officer Lemmy Kajoba said that he heard that some Zambians were arrested for loitering and those who paid guilty fines were released. He referred all queries to the immigration department in Livingstone or Lusaka.

However, Elphet Tembo, a Livingstone resident said his brother, Zackaria, was on Monday arrested when he went to the immigration counter to have his passport cleared.

“I’m a businessman and I buy goods from Zimbabwe using US dollars … but yesterday when I sent my brother to check on the goods in Zimbabwe, he was arrested at the border and he is appearing in court (yesterday),” he said.

Tembo said that several other Zambians were arrested despite having passports and wondered if it was Zimbabwe’s revenge over the Zimbabweans who were recently picked from various guesthouses and lodges in Livingstone.

A check on Tuesday at the border reveled a calm situation with one Zimbabwean immigration officer saying that the operation was intended for those loitering at the boarder and not traders with genuine papers.

Labels: ,


RBZ liberalises foreign exchangetrade system

RBZ liberalises foreign exchangetrade system
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

ZIMBABWEAN commercial banks have started trading in foreign exchange using the black market rate, having been allowed by the central bank to do so. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Dr Gideon Gono last week liberalised the foreign exchange trading system to allow commercial banks set their own exchange rates, in an attempt to get people trade their foreign currency in the formal financial system.

People had been shunning the formal system because of the controlled official exchange rate of Z$30,000 per US dollar, which is currently 6,000 times less than the black market exchange rate of Z$180 million per US dollar.

The new move is aimed at availing the government with the much-needed foreign exchange for its own financing.
The interbank foreign currency trading got into full swing this week with banks offering competitive rates that ranged from $160 million to $185 million per US dollar.

Scores of people were seen in queues inside commercial banks as they sought to sell their foreign currency.

But the black market foreign exchange dealers responded by pegging the exchange rate a little higher than that of commercial banks, between Z$180 million and Z$190 million per US dollar.
Banks were offering one rate for cash or transfer with cash being paid out on a maximum of US$150.

The commercial banks’ treasury departments forum met on Thursday last week to agree on an operating framework following the announcement of the interbank trading systems by the Dr Gono.
Under the new arrangements, authorised dealers would engage the market for indicative foreign currency trading rate in the morning with each bank’s rates being posted onto terminals.

The willing-buyer-willing-seller principle would then determine the rate at which foreign currency would be traded during the course of the day.

The treasurers forum was confident that at least 90 per cent of the cash currently being traded in the streets would come to the banks.

Labels: ,


Police detain MMD Chipata secretary

Police detain MMD Chipata secretary
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

POLICE in Chipata last Tuesday detained district MMD secretary, Samuel Lugomo Phiri, for failing to appear in court for the continuation of his case of obtaining money by false pretences.

Eastern Province deputy police commanding officer Chrispine Mudeene said police detained Phiri on Tuesday afternoon following a bench warrant that was issued by the Chipata magistrates’ court on April 18 this year.

Mudeene said Phiri was expected to appear in court this week for return of the bench warrant where he would explain why he did not show up in court on April 18.

He said at first Phiri was believed to be in Lusaka and that police managed to apprehend him after getting information that the suspect was within the district

Phiri is alleged to have obtained K3.8 million from Sylvia Kangwa Kalunga by falsely pretending to deliver 68 by 50 kilogramme bags of fertiliser last year but he did not honour his promise.

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) UN commission on sustainable development meets

UN commission on sustainable development meets
Business Reporter

THE United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development chaired by Mr Francis Nhema met on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland for its sixteenth session, which opened a two year-cycle aimed at tackling critical issues related to increased global food crisis. The sixteenth session will be running for two weeks engaging in full discussion for enhanced productivity and sustainable development.

With the soaring global prices of oil, food staples and sparking riots across the world, the commission’s agenda for the next two years will focus mainly on agriculture, land use, rural development, drought and desertification.

Mr Nhema said this was to influence the global effort to devise a concrete and comprehensive action plan for food security, covering immediate needs, as well as medium and long- term solutions.

Estimates that the world’s population would reach 9 billion by 2050 meant that the pressure on agricultural production would only increase, Mr Nhema said.

With regards to trade, he said, "without a fair trade system, no long-term progress was possible in providing developing countries with access to markets," adding that major players were to play pivotal role to the effect.

The spikes in food and commodities prices have exacerbated the existing poverty and malnutrition, especially for Africa and the small island developing nations. The commission also noted that agricultural production had been slowing since the 1970s, even as demand for food had been increasing.

The impact of climate change, Mr Nhema said, which if left unchecked, could do serious damage to tropical agriculture, especially in Africa and South Asia, which would have an additional 1,8 billion people to feed by 2050.

Furthermore, the public agricultural research and development system that played a vital role in the first "green revolution" had been starved of funds as donors had reduced their support for agriculture.

On the other hand, rising prosperity and changing diets had resulted in increased demand for food.

Labels: , , ,


Zesco is financially unviable - IMF

Zesco is financially unviable - IMF
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

ZESCO is a financially unviable company that is incapable of mobilising resources for the necessary expansion of power generation and the electricity grid, the IMF has stated. According to a recent summary paper titled, "Electric power in Zambia - potential obstacle to growth by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)", Zesco would have a hard time raising the needed finances for investment even if it raised electricity tariffs due to its track record and weak balance sheet.

"Zesco is a troubled company, beset by inefficiencies and high costs and the company's inefficiencies and high costs are well known. This has undoubtedly contributed to the strong resistance to increases in electricity tariffs," IMF stated.

"Zesco has accumulated substantial tax arrears, while a number of government agencies and parastatals, particularly water utilities, have failed to pay their electricity bills on time. At current revenue and cost levels, Zesco is a financially unviable company that is incapable of mobilising resources for the necessary expansion of power generation and the electricity grid.

"Even with an increase in tariffs, Zesco will continue to have a hard time raising the needed financing for investment because of its track record and weak balance sheet."

Zesco Limited has in recent times engaged in mobilisation of funds for its power rehabilitation projects aimed at improving its existing power plants as well as construction of new generation facilities.

And the IMF also stated that the government should also re-evaluate the role of Zesco in the expansion of the country's power sector and explore more fully the role that the private sector could play.

The Fund also supported calls for unbundling of the power utility company, stating that the move would enhance Zesco's efficiency as well as encourage private sector participation in the country's energy sector.

It also reiterated that the only way to encourage private sector investment in the electricity generation sector was by raising electricity tariffs to cost recovery levels.

"Once a decision has been taken to raise tariffs to cost recovery levels, it should be possible to attract private interest in investment in the power sector. This would require guaranteed access to the transmission network and suggests that the unbundling of Zesco's generation, transmission, and distribution operations could be necessary," the Fund stated.

The IMF further observed that although the government had shown reluctance to privatise Zesco, it should continue exploring the role the private sector could play in helping to alleviate the power shortage that has rocked the country.

Recently, a number of stakeholders called for the unbundling of Zesco Limited into three segments namely generation, transmission and distribution saying the move would improve efficiency of the country's monopoly power company.

However, Ministry of Energy declared that the government had no immediate plans to implement the decision, arguing that the current inefficiency at the power utility company was not management-related, but a result of inadequate funding.

Labels: , , ,


More is needed from the UN over Zimbabwe

More is needed from the UN over Zimbabwe
By Editor
Thursday May 08, 2008 [04:00]

WE have no doubt Zimbabwe will recover from the difficulties it is today experiencing. The economic problems that country is facing today are not natural, they are a creation of various forces that have colossal interests in Zimbabwe. Let's not forget that throughout the years of the liberation struggle, that country's economy was virtually left intact. It was supported by the same countries that have today strangled it. Recently, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said as soon as there was a change of government in Zimbabwe, his government would give a lot of financial assistance to that country.

Clearly, the assistance is on condition that there is a change of government, the Mugabe regime is kicked out and replaced by MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. This is not the way countries are helped. This is help not to a country but to a regime that the British feel can advance their interests.

We agree with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) deputy regional director for Africa Moustapha Soumare's observations that Zimbabwe's recovery depends on agreement from all the parties in the country to move forward. What Zimbabwe needs are patriots who wish to see their country succeed regardless of who is in power. It needs political leaders who don't gloat over national reverses, nor talk down their successes.

We wish to see Zimbabwe behaving honourably, being an influence for good in SADC and Africa. We wish to see the economy of that country recover and regain its strength. We want to see politicians in Zimbabwe who don't look to defeat their opponents on the back of national failure.

There will always be sufficient grounds in a democracy without that to argue for their removal. It is this type of politics that has contributed to the destruction of Zimbabwe's economy.

The white Rhodesians who have been in the forefront of campaigning for sanctions against that country wherever they may be - Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa - never campaigned for sanctions against the racist white minority regime of Ian Smith. They never even campaigned for sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

Unfortunately, some opposition leaders in Zimbabwe joined hands with them in this venture in their desire to replace the Mugabe regime. They have every right to campaign and remove Mugabe from power, but it is treacherous for them to do so on the back of national failure.

The Mugabe regime will finally be brought down. It won't last forever. It is humanly impossible for Mugabe to continue in power beyond a certain age. But the damage that has been caused to the Zimbabwean people and their economy may take much longer to repair. This type of politics should be avoided. It is not prudent to join hands with imperialism - that was not very long ago our common enemy - to destroy our own countries simply because we want to be in power.

Those who genuinely support Zimbabwe should work to unite its people because there is very little a divided country can achieve. Unlike the UN, they should be there to support the country, and not factions or groups.

In the final analysis the true solutions to that country's problems will only come from the Zimbabwean people themselves and not from the divisive and arrogant rantings of Brown. Those who genuinely love Zimbabwe should help broker peace among its divided politicians instead of fuelling or deepening divisions and suspicions among them.

We share Soumare's optimism that Africa will one day be one of the most democratic regions in the world. But this will only happen when Africa starts to find its own strategies for good governance and development and build capacities for strong democracies.

The situations of the European and African countries are not comparable. The European countries are rich and developed; they have established certain political forms and achieved certain standards of living by exploiting and plundering the rest of the world.

They have amassed enormous wealth that they took from the colonies and neo-colonised countries, and they have achieved a passable standard of living. They have invented procedures for maintaining a sort of social peace based on redistribution of some of the wealth to alleviate the worst consequences of class society and the system of capitalist exploitation, and to calm the masses of the poorest and dispossessed. They have money to establish a system - we are not going to call it a single-party system - of single-class government.

They have established a ruling class that, using different methods which include some differences of opinion within the capitalist system, has created a political situation in which nothing threatens its system. Its members are rich and live in peace; nobody threatens or attacks them - save for the rare terrorist attacks.

They live in conditions that are completely different from those we live in - and especially those in a country like Zimbabwe, which is subjected to a blockade, and imperialism's ongoing hostility, which forces them to make a truly incredible effort to survive. These conditions aren't at all similar to those in Europe.

There may be a difference of opinion, but it's a difference of opinion within the system, whose continued existence is ensured by the monopoly on all means of communication, all money, all wealth and all the power of the state. This is the only way a system of that kind can continue to exist.

Truly, these elections we hold are very important steps in democracy but, as Soumare observes, democracy must be looked at in terms of opening up dialogue in a country. Elections per se should not be seen as the only reflections of democracy in a country.

It cannot be denied that there are serious problems in Zimbabwe that need to be resolved. But these can only be resolved by efforts that genuinely seek to unite Zimbabweans across the political spectrum and not by efforts that seek nothing but divisions among them. We don't know when imperialism will ever stop this tactic of divide and rule.

We therefore urge the United Nations, as the best placed organisation, to step in and help the Zimbabwean people overcome their political differences and unite to tackle the economic and social problems today facing their country.

Labels: , ,