Saturday, June 14, 2008
By Kelvin Tembo
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
SENIOR chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II of Lusaka Province has demanded the resignation of the Surveyor General Danny Mubanga, accusing him of being corrupt. But Mubanga refused to comment on the matter saying he has had enough of chieftainess Nkomeshya. Clarifying the boundary dispute between her chiefdom and chief Shakumbila’s in Nampundwe, chieftainess Nkomeshya maintained that the boundary to her chiefdom was at Mwembeshi River.
Mubanga is alleged to have written a letter to the two traditional leaders stating that the boundary for their chiefdoms is at the railway line, an indication that Nampundwe is in chief Shakumbila’s area.
“When the President said Ministry of Lands was stinking with corruption and promised to clean it up, he left out Surveys department. The Surveyor General is a corrupt man, if he is a man of integrity he should resign instead of starting fights among chiefdoms,” she said.
According to a letter number SD/64/205 dated April 28, 2008 to the two chiefs, Mubanga said the wrangle was resolved and that the boundary was at the railway line.
But chieftainess Nkomeshya said Mubanga did not even attend the meeting, which referred the matter to local government minister Sylvia Masebo for guidance.
She said before Masebo could respond, Mubanga went ahead and wrote the letter in question.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya said the Surveyor General sent officers to the meeting who failed to explain where the boundary between the two chiefdoms lay.
She said Mubanga had been in office for a long time and had not come up with any new maps.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya accused Mubanga of creating problems, which might have costly consequences.
She said her people were being harassed by those from chief Shakumbila’s area because of the Surveyor General’s letter.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya vowed to protect her chiefdom even if it meant losing her life. But when contacted, Mubanga refused to comment on the matter further.
“I have had enough of that woman. I cannot say anything,” he said.
Mubanga said the documents were there to indicate who the land belonged to and wondered how one could argue the case.
Mubanga referred further queries to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands.
However, Kafue council chairman Goodson Sansakuwa said the area in question was in Busoli chieftainess Nkomesha and no one should dispute the matter.
Sansakuwa said people should learn not to encroach on other people’s land.
MMD Mungu ward councillor Obvious Mwaliteta said Mwembeshi was a Soli word, which meant “shepard” and wondered why chief Shakumbila was interested in the area.
He claimed chief Shakumbila was just interested in getting rates from Nampundwe Mine and Kafue Sugar. Mwaliteta said he would not allow the people to suffer over things that belonged to them.
Mr Mugabe has been ratcheting up the rhetoric ahead of the run-off
President Robert Mugabe has vowed that the main opposition party will never lead Zimbabwe and said he was prepared to "go to war" for his country. He is due to face Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, in a 27 June run-off poll.
Mr Tsvangirai was released after being arrested for the fifth time this week. Meanwhile, deputy MDC leader Tendai Biti appeared in court in Harare, where a judge is to rule on the legality of his arrest on treason charges. Mr Tsvangirai has been detained several times on the campaign trail.
On Saturday, he was stopped with 11 members of his party at a roadblock, the MDC said, and held at a police station for three hours.
The MDC issued a statement saying that it was now clearly impossible to talk about free and fair elections.
Mr Tsvangirai gained more votes than Mr Mugabe in the first round of voting in the presidential election in March, but not enough for an outright victory.
Speaking at the burial of a former independence fighter, Mr Mugabe said he would never accept the MDC taking over the government of Zimbabwe.
Robert Mugabe vows to fight anyone who 'undermines' his party
He described the opposition as "lackeys" and referred to Zimbabwe's past struggle for independence from its colonial ruler, Britain, saying the country should not be "lost" again.
"We shall never ever accept anything that smells of a delivered parcel that comes through what they call the MDC here," Mr Mugabe said at the ceremony.
"We fought for this country. Now we have it under control. After all that work, can we allow this country to be taken over by lackeys? That will never happen in our lifetime. It will never happen.
"We are prepared to fight for our country and to go to war if we lose it the same way our ancestors lost it."
Mr Mugabe stopped short of explicitly calling for war if the opposition won the run-off vote, but the remarks raised the stakes in his fight to hold on to his job, says the BBC's Peter Greste in neighbouring South Africa.
The Zimbabwean government faces growing pressure from regional leaders over the harassment of opposition leaders two weeks before the presidential run-off election.
On Friday, Botswana lodged a formal protest over the current actions of the Zimbabwean authorities.
Mr Biti was arrested on what police said were treason charges when he returned from neighbouring South Africa on Thursday. The charges carry a possible death sentence.
Tendai Biti has not yet been formally charged with treason
He has not yet been formally charged but that is expected to take place on Monday, says the BBC's Peter Greste in Johannesburg.
It took an order from the High Court for police to present Mr Biti - who had been taken to an undisclosed location - to the court and give him access to lawyers, our correspondent adds.
At the time of his arrest, national police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said Mr Biti would be charged with treason "for publishing a document that was explaining a transitional strategy around March 26".
He said he would also be charged for proclaiming victory in the 29 March elections before official results were published.
The US ambassador to Zimbabwe said the US was very concerned about the treason charge and did not consider it justified.
Mr Tsvangirai says more than 60 opposition supporters have been killed in political violence since the March elections and 200 more are unaccounted for.
Mr Mugabe's supporters say the scale of the violence has been exaggerated and blame the MDC for some attacks.
But human rights groups accuse the ruling party of being behind most of the violence.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Thursday June 12, 2008 [04:00]
ZAMBIANS living in the diaspora are failing to come and invest back home because they are ignorant of the economic improvements the country has scored in recent years, finance minister Ng’andu Magande has observed. And commerce minister Felix Mutati has said most of Zambians in diaspora were only remitting ‘little money’ home for consumption, rather than for investment purposes.
Responding to a question during the press briefing on the sidelines of the Euromoney Zambia Investment Conference on Tuesday, Magande also said some investors who were interested in investing in the country through joint venture partnerships were reluctant to do so as there were no local entrepreneurs to partner with.
“We have a few Zambians out there and many of them left about 10 years ago and don’t know that things have changed in Zambia. Just read the articles they write in newspapers from Australia, Europe…they are all negative. They need to know the environment has improved,” Magande said. “In fact, the problem that me and Felix (Mutati) face when we are courting investors, whether it’s in Bonn, Tokyo, UK, the question they ask us is:
where are the Zambians that we can partner with? And we have told these Zambians to say ‘come home’, we will direct you to Zambia Development Agency, and if they are not satisfied, we will send them to banks like Barclays who will explain to them the investment opportunities that we have.”
Mutati also said there was need for a change of attitudes among the Zambian nationals in diaspora.
“Zambia has the highest frequency of remittance in the southern African region. But in terms of volume, we are fourth. So what that means is that the money that is being remitted is small and only for pocket money, not for capital investments,” he said.
Mutati said people’s attitudes needed to change.
“There is a lot of misinformation about the environment back here. The only information that Zambians living in the diaspora get is that this country is a risk area even when we have told them that they can invest in here and take out 100 per cent of their profits.”
By Joan Chirwa
Friday June 13, 2008 [04:00]
ZCCM-IH will be more than willing to buy shares from companies that want to pull out of Zambia because of the new tax regime, company chief executive officer Joseph Chikolwa has said. But First Quantum Minerals country manager Chisanga Puta-Chekwe said mining companies were not against the new tax regime but the manner in which the law had been implemented, insisting that the government had breached legally binding agreements entered into at the time of investments.
During a discussion on Zambia's new mining sector in Lusaka at the just ended Euromoney Zambia Investment conference, Chikolwa said Zambia had for a long time been at the bottom of taxes for mining companies compared with other mineral rich countries in Africa.
"If some mining companies want to sell their shares because of the new taxes that government has come up with, ZCCM-IH will not hesitate to buy them off," Chikolwa said. "Zambia has been at the bottom in terms of taxes for the mines and that has not benefitted us in any way because copper prices now are very high. "Copper prices are very high, so why are the mining companies complaining?
I am likening the mining companies to farmers who complain when it rains and again complain when it doesn't rain. At the moment, no one expects the mining companies to pack up and go because they have made investments of up to US $3 billion in the sector."
Chikolwa further said none of the mining companies had paid dividends to the government through the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH).
"The business model that was developed for the mining sector did not work. The mining sector has not paid any dividend to the government through ZCCM-IH, so government's decision to revise mining taxes was in the best interest of Zambians," said Chikolwa.
But Chamber of Mines general manager Frederick Bantubonse said ZCCM-IH was aware of the reasons why mining companies had not paid any dividends to the government.
"The prices of copper went down significantly in 2001. When the price of metals started going up in 2004, mining companies had a backlog of carryover tax loses," Bantubonse said. "We also took advantage of the high prices to invest more in the mines. Dividends were not even declared, not that they were withheld."
The government a month ago implemented the three per cent royalty tax on gross revenue of the mining companies, with an initial collection of K29.7 billion at the end of May.
A windfall tax on copper has also been imposed on the mining companies, with government expecting to raise at least US $415 million (about K1.3 trillion) from mining taxes at the end of this year. Other mineral rich countries such as Chile are taxing the mines at five per cent of their gross revenue with collections of up to US$270 million in copper royalties (approximately K874 billion) only in the first quarter of 2007.
And Puta-Chekwe said the fundamental point was not the rate of taxation but the manner in which the new tax regime has been implemented.
"There was a breach of contract on the Development Agreements (DAs) which were signed between the government and the mining companies," said Puta-Chekwe. "Government abolished the DAs after the amendment of the Mines and Minerals Act last year before discussions could be held with the mines on the new tax regime."
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said some people that have been flown to South Africa for medical treatment by the government have been compromised. And Hichilema said Zimbabwean authorities must not shift their problems to Zambia by attacking President Levy Mwanawasa. Speaking on Radio Phoenix’s Let the People Talk programme in Lusaka, Hichilema said specialist treatment abroad was given to people selectively and those who received it ended up being compromised.
He said there was need to use public funds to purchase modern medical equipment in Zambia so that every Zambian could have access to those services.
"How many people can be flown to South Africa when they are terminally ill? Or there is basically a tragedy? How many people? Very few! You fly Hakainde to South Africa when he is ill, what about five million Zambians that are not in Hakainde's situation. They will just die and indeed they are dying every day," Hichilema said.
And in an apparent reference to Patriotic Front president Michael Sata, Hichilema said: "We need to bring the capacity here so that we can afford many Zambians an opportunity to be given emergency treatment, those that cannot be flown. At the moment it's a select few and those select few, I think along the way get compromised as we have seen it ourselves and that is what we want to change."
Hichilema described the reconciliation between Sata and President Mwanawasa as circumstantial.
"We welcome those that have now realised, though late in the day. I am sure you remember one of the politicians used to laugh at two other politicians. One of them; when late UPND president Anderson Mazoka fell ill, may his soul rest in peace, one politician was laughing at Mr Mazoka, ridiculing Mr Mazoka, making jokes about Mr Mazoka that his trousers are dropping. I think Zambians remember that," Hichilema said.
"When President Mwanawasa was ill, the same politician was calling for a presidential by-election and calling people vegetables or all that stuff; even producing them in the mouth I feel ashamed of. Now this politician fell ill.
He realised, 'ooh! Being ill is an act which is beyond one's control, you don't have to say the trousers of the late Mazoka were dropping, you don't have to agitate for a presidential by-election because illness can take anybody."
Hichilema said that was how some characters were because they mature late.
"I called the reconciliation circumstantial because of what I have explained, because this individual Sata used to ridicule his colleagues and unfortunately some Zambians were clapping and praising him when he was doing that.
I found that ridiculous, I couldn't understand how a population could clap when someone ridicules other people like that, but thank God this politician is alive and we wish him the best," Hichilema said."
On the verbal attacks between the Zimbabwean and Zambian governments, Hichilema said the problems in Zimbabwe were because that country's President Robert Mugabe had overstayed.
"The Zimbabwe case is a sorry case. It is typical of an African leader who does not want to leave office. Simple as that, that's what it is. We are yet running away from a fundamental problem to peripheral issues to creating a crisis of diplomatic relationship between Zambia and Zimbabwe," Hichilema said.
"I want to say President Mwanawasa is not wrong. President Mwanawasa is right in what he is doing. In our view, he should have done more as chairman of SADC but we don't want the Zimbabwean authorities to start attacking President Mwanawasa on this matter because that is wrong."
He said the Zimbabwean authorities should know that the problems were in their country and not Zambia, hence they should not shift their problems.
"To start shifting the problem from Zimbabwe to Zambia is failing to pin down the real problem; it's failing to have precision. In Zimbabwe, we must have precision and pin down the... he Mugabe is the old order who is refusing to leave office.
That is the problem in Zimbabwe and it must not be shifted to Zambia. Absolutely not, and we refuse because that is not correct and not the way to do things because if we did that, we will be failing to deal with the problem," Hichilema said.
He observed that the local government, parliamentary and presidential elections were held on the same day in Zimbabwe but it was strange that presidential results took longer to be announced.
"Why were the presidential results delayed for over a month?" he asked. "Of course they were cooking the results, no question about that."
Hichilema said the current brutality against opposition supporters in Zimbabwe ahead of the presidential runoff elections was unacceptable.
"What is happening in Zimbabwe is wrong and we must not support it and Zimbabwe must not shift their difficulties which they have inflicted on themselves by failing to accept that Mugabe has overstayed and the old man needs to move on," Hichilema said. "MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai, please if you win that election don't persecute Mugabe, look after Mugabe."
Hichilema said UPND believed that it was important to look after former leaders and not to persecute them.
On the local front, Hichilema said there was need to properly utilise public resources for the benefit of all Zambians. He said there was need for visionary leadership, good management and good approach to managing public resources. He urged the government to ensure that mining companies paid taxes based on the new mining tax regime.
"We are talking about sharing the returns from that endowment of wealth, in this case, minerals. It's not yet happening so the first point we are making is that we are in support of the increase in mineral royalties unlike those who change like a chameleon.
Today they say they agree, tomorrow they disagree; I can't blame them. I think sometimes people don't understand what they agree with but when you understand what you agree with, as we do in the UPND, there is no reversal," Hichilema said. "Number two, the expectation is that there must be more money coming through but we hear already that the government is getting reluctant to ensure compliance which means to collect the amounts due because the MMD government was not sure whether they were to implement a new tax regime in the mining sector. I think they felt incumbent, they also, I think, were maybe not sure how to tackle the issue and it is clear the way they tackled the issue it was a bit haphazard. They only did it after there was public pressure not that they were convinced.
"This is what is haunting them now because I am sure there are some people who are not happy with them and they are lobbying behind the scenes and unfortunately one opposition party ended up backtracking and that is not a good thing to do in leadership. You don't backtrack on a matter that you have thought through unless you didn't think through that issue."
Hichilema also said the fight against corruption should be done professionally as opposed to victimising opponents.
"Let me give you a tip of the iceberg, some of our businesses have been denied operating permits and licenses on account that Hakainde is now an opposition leader. That is immaturity, vindictiveness, fixing other people," Hichilema said.
He urged all Zambians to detest corruption.
"Corruption takes away opportunities to have books in schools, medicines in health institutions, farming inputs and many other things," he said.
Hichilema said it was unfortunate that some pupils were sitting on the floors, 44 years after independence.
He also said interest rates were still high for most Zambians and should be reduced. Hichilema called for improvement in roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
By Mutuna Chanda
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
ZAMBIA has the opportunity to capitalise on the rising world food prices, Israeli Ambassador to Zambia Jacob Keidar has said. And Ambassador Keidar said the solution to the problems that Zimbabwe currently faced internally and now with its neighbours lay in holding free and fair elections on June 27. In an interview during the commemoration of Israel's 60th independence anniversary in Lusaka on Thursday, Ambassador Keidar said his country could partner with Zambia in helping to increase food production for export to the southern African region.
"Nowadays there are food shortages and rising food prices," Ambassador Keidar said. "A country like Zambia can be a food basket for southern Africa and can produce grain for export. On one hand there is the challenge of food shortage and the opportunity is to become that country that provides the food.
He said Israel could be a useful partner that could help Zambia become a regional food basket.
"Israel can become a useful partner in providing agricultural equipment and fertilizer but most of all expertise in agriculture," Ambassador Keidar said. "As you know in 60 years of our existence, we have become very experienced in agriculture technology and expertise."
He regretted that there were not many Israeli companies that had invested in Zambia's agricultural, construction and telecommunications sectors.
"One of the major challenges that I have is bringing more Israeli investment to Zambia in telecommunications, agriculture and construction," he said.
"There are many Israeli companies that are working in other parts of Africa but they are not doing as much in Zambia as they are doing in other parts of the continent. One of the problems is that the embassy is not based in Zambia. It is based in Nairobi so it's an issue of presence. But now Zambia has many opportunities for Israeli companies which we would like to exploit."
Earlier, during his official speech commemorating Israel's anniversary, Ambassador Keidar expressed his country's desire for peace.
"I would like to use this event to reemphasise our desire for peace and our commitment to make every possible effort in order to achieve peaceful co-existence with all our neighbours," Ambassador Keidar said. "We will overcome those who by terror and rockets are trying to destroy us and use the 61st year of independent Israel to make peace with those who are willing to live in good neighbourly relations. The recent example is the restart of a dialogue for peace with Syria."
On the situation in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Keidar said having a government that all people agreed to, would solve the country's internal problems and the emerging difficulties it was facing with its neighbours.
"It's a great pity to watch what is going on in Zimbabwe and the solution to the problems that the country is facing is to have free and fair presidential run-off elections so that the country will have a government that all agree to," said Ambassador Keidar.
"This will be good for Zimbabwe and also its neighbours. The solution does not lie in putting Tsvangirai Morgan: opposition Movement for Democratic Change leader in prison."
And home affairs minister, Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha, urged Israel to transform its military capability and economic prosperity into powerful instruments of realising lasting peace in the Middle East.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha further called on all peace loving parties in the Middle East to continue searching for peace and security.
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
OPPOSITION MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti, who was arrested on Thursday at Harare International Airport upon arrival from South Africa, is facing treason charges. Police chief spokesperson assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena announced Biti’s arrest on Thursday evening. He said Biti was arrested at the Harare International Airport on Thursday around 12:30 hours.
Bvudzijena said Biti, who is being detained at an unknown place, is facing two charges.
Biti is also being charged with treason, which is now a statutory offence under Section 20 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
“The treason charge arose from a document authored by the MDC-Tsvangirai secretary-general dated March 25, 2008 and titled ‘The Transition Strategy’,” Bvudzijena said.
“Biti is also being charged with contravening Section 31 (a) (iii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for communicating or publishing statements prejudicial to the State.”
Bvudzijena said the charges emanated from the claims that Biti made that the MDC presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai had won 50.3 per cent of the presidential vote in the March 29 elections.
Bvudzijena said investigations were still underway and Biti would appear in court soon.
Last April, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri wrote to Biti informing him that police wanted to interview him for falsely and prematurely announcing the election results.
Biti left Zimbabwe for South Africa just after the March 29 elections.
And confirming Biti’s arrest, MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the MDC secretary general was arrested by plain-clothes police officers upon arrival from South Africa.
“Ten men in plain clothes whisked him away. He was then driven in a twin cab truck registration number AAO 3822 and his whereabouts are unknown,” said Chamisa.
Labels: TENDAI BITI
By Bivan Saluseki in Tshwane, South Africa
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
THE African National Congress (ANC) has expressed shock at the knife attack on the party’s Western Cape provincial secretary Mcebisi Skwatsha. Skwatsha was attacked on Thursday during a meeting in Boland region. ANC national spokesperson Jessie Duarte yesterday said the party could not tolerate such behaviour.
“There is no place in the ANC for behaviour of this nature, and no place in the ANC for people who commit such acts,” said Duarte._
Skwatsha was stabbed in the neck at a meeting.
The meeting was being held following the earlier decision of the Western Cape ANC to suspend the Boland regional executive for defiance of provincial directives on municipal matters.
Yesterday, police stated that they had made two arrests over the stabbing.
Duarte welcomed the arrest of the perpetrators, and urged that those responsible be prosecuted without delay.
Skwatsha was admitted to hospital and later released.
Saturday June 14, 2008 [04:00]
DEFENCE minister George Mpombo’s U-turning on his earlier position to include the upper age limit for the Republican presidency in the national Constitution is a clear confirmation that the making of the constitution should not entirely be left in the hands of politicians. If we go back into the history of the country, it will not be difficult to discover that our politicians have always forced their wishes on citizens.
They have always come up with constitutions to suit their selfish desires and wishes at the expense of citizens. In 1996, out of desperation, and maybe hatred for Dr Kenneth Kaunda, former president Frederick Chiluba and his government amended the law to bar him from contesting the presidency.
There were so many laws that Chiluba and his team changed to satisfy their selfish interests. We saw how Chiluba targeted some individuals and changed the law to make theft of motor vehicle a non-bailable offence.
In 2001, Chiluba laboured in vain to change the law to accommodate his wish to go for a third term of office. There are so many examples we can give. And these examples do not only end with Chiluba’s administration.
Clearly, President Mwanawasa and his administration also would like to give the people of Zambia a constitution that they are comfortable with; a constitution that is alien to the wishes and desires of the great majority of our people.
This is confirmed by Mpombo’s position on the issue of including the upper age limit for the Republican presidency in the Constitution. Because of their fear or dislike for Patriotic Front president Michael Sata, Mpombo proposed some amendment to the Constitution that openly targeted Sata; to make it impossible for him to contest the next presidential election because he was probably their greatest threat or the most powerful contender. Now that Sata has reconciled with the government, Mpombo has dropped his proposal.
The constitution is a very important document for all citizens of a country. In the abstract sense, a constitution can be defined as a system of laws, customs and conventions which define the composition and powers of the state. The constitution will also regulate the relationship of various organs of the state and the relationship of one person with the other.
In the concrete sense, the constitution can be defined as a document which will contain the most important law of a country. Therefore, the constitution is a sacrosanct document which will determine the nature of the state organs and institutions and their relationship with each other. The constitution also controls and restrains the exercise of government powers. That is why the principle of constitutionalism is based on the notion that the government powers must be restrained within the concept of separation of powers and appreciation of human rights.
The constitution is therefore a very important document which should be made based on people’s desires and aspirations; not the desires and aspirations of the few men and women who find themselves in leadership positions.
It should also not be used by politicians to settle old scores by including articles or clauses that are targeted at their enemies, real or perceived.
It is actually criminal to come up with a targeted constitution. We should avoid making laws that simply target individuals because individuals can die and circumstances can change while a constitution is supposed to stand the test of time.
And from history, we can say that those who have targeted others have themselves been caught up in their own schemes designed against their enemies. Some of Chiluba’s lieutenants who ensured that theft of motor vehicle was made a non-bailable offence were inconvenienced by the same law they targeted at the late Archie Malie and others.
There is need to learn lessons from history. For why do we learn history? Is it not so that we can avoid yesterday’s pitfalls and make sound decisions for the future?
With Mpombo’s thinking, our people will have every right to be apprehensive that their aspirations and desires cannot be guaranteed through their representatives at the National Constitutional Conference (NCC). It is clear that Mpombo, as member of parliament, is not representing the views of his voters at the NCC. He is either representing the views of his other masters or his own personal ambition.
But we should remind ourselves that whatever constitution we come up with, it should be a covenant that shall build a more fair, just and humane society in which all Zambians, regardless of age, will be able to walk tall, without being discriminated against, and assured of their inalienable right to human dignity.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Posted: Thursday, June 12, 2008
By Stephen Gowans
June 04, 2008
There is no evidence that the government of Zimbabwe is using food "as a political tool to intimidate voters ahead of an election" or that it is deliberately denying "hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Zimbabweans" food aid, as Human Rights Watch and The New York Times allege.
In fact, a careful reading of what both sources claim, points to a deliberate and knowing attempt to palter with the truth, reflecting and reinforcing a narrative that holds Africa, and particularly Zimbabwe, to be marked by suffering people, corrupt and monstrous governments, and endless chaos.
The New York Times began a June 4 article on Zimbabwe by announcing that "hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Zimbabweans – orphans and old people, the sick and the down and out - have lost access to food and other basic humanitarian assistance."
It's true that Zimbabweans have lost access to food delivered by Western NGOs, but not food aid altogether, and only for the duration of the presidential run-off election campaign. In the interim, the government has made arrangements to take on the job of distributing food aid to those in need. No government-engineered famine is imminent, notwithstanding what The New York Times says.
Harare has ordered NGOs to temporarily scale back or cease operations, accusing them of illegally channeling funding to the opposition MDC party and in March's elections of "going around threatening villagers in rural areas that the donations they were handing them would be the last if they voted for Zanu-PF and President Mugabe."  It is out of a desire to eclipse Western interference in the election that the Zimbabwe government has taken this step.
Are the government's accusations credible?
For the last seven years, the US and its allies have cut off all development assistance to Zimbabwe, disabled all lines of credit, stopped the World Bank and International Monetary Fund from providing financial assistance, and have pressured private companies from doing business with the country. The result has been "a form of collective punishment designed to destabilize the country and shake the population's faith" in the government. 
Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Zimbabweans – orphans and old people, the sick and the down and out - have suffered. And to hide their hand in creating the misery, the US and Britain and their allies have blamed it all on Harare's land reform policies, an inversion of the causal chain. It was not Harare's land reform policies that created the disaster, but the West's meting out collective punishment in response to the land reform policies that undermined Zimbabwe's economy and created widespread suffering.
It is hardly outside the realm of high probability, then, that Western governments that continue to use sanctions "to weaken the economy of the country, to get the people of Zimbabwe so poor and hungry they can change their voting behavior,"  would also use food aid directly as a political weapon to shape the outcome of the upcoming election through their influence over NGOs operating in the country. After all, creating hunger in Zimbabwe is exactly what Western governments have been doing for the last seven years, indirectly, through the use of sanctions.
But Human Rights Watch and The New York Times say nothing about Western sanctions and instead accuse the Mugabe government of making Zimbabweans miserable, and further, of deliberately inducing hunger. Human Rights Watch researcher for Africa, Tiseke Kasambala, accuses Harare of taking a decision "to let people go hungry," citing it as "yet another attempt to use food as a political tool to intimidate voters ahead of an election."  Kasambala conjures the impression that (a) the government is deliberately inducing hunger and (b) that this will somehow help Mugabe's chances of winning the presidential election run-off poll. But while the HRW researcher says the government is letting people go hungry, he also complains that it is picking up the slack, delivering food aid in place of the NGOs. The government, he says, should not be distributing food but should "let independent aid agencies feed people." 
Harare, then, stands accused of two opposing crimes: of letting people go hungry, and of delivering food aid (in place of NGOs) and thereby saving people from hunger. Kasambala's "you're guilty no matter what you do" approach reveals that what's really at issue isn't whether people will go hungry (and they won't, though Harare's accusers play politics by carefully couching their comments to make it seem a government-engineered famine is imminent); the real issue is who controls the food aid. The problem from Kasambala's and New York Times reporter Celia Dugger's point of view, is that it isn't Western-funded NGOs that will be doling out relief for the duration of the election campaign. Dugger acknowledges that the government has bought 600,000 tons of corn to distribute to the hungry, but warns Harare could (not will, but could) use food "as an inducement to win support."  Of course, she offers not a whit of evidence that it is doing so or will do so. On the other side, there is good reason to believe that if Western governments are consistent, they'll use their funding arrangements with NGOs to extend their policy of bribing the people to vote for their candidate - this time with threats of food aid deliveries stopping if the wrong candidate is elected.
Kasambala, representing a rights organization that is dominated by the US foreign policy establishment, and can therefore hardly be expected to be politically neutral where Zimbabwe is concerned, goes further by predicting Harare will withhold food aid as "a political tool to intimidate voters ahead of (the) election."  In a milieu in which the "media have long since largely abandoned any attempt at impartiality in its reporting of Zimbabwe, the common assumption being that Mugabe is a murderous dictator at the head of a uniquely wicked regime,"  Kasambala's dark prediction has a ring of plausibility to it, but if you examine his accusation critically, it falls apart.
How, one might ask, could a government induce hunger and expect to win support, when a hungry electorate would be far more likely to vote against, not for, whoever caused the hunger? Indeed, the aim of sanctions is to create enough misery to force the voters to cry uncle by voting Mugabe out of office. It would surely be a government of fools that would add to the misery already created by sanctions by deliberately engineering more misery. This would serve the aims of the regime changers in the West, not Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party. According to Kasambala's logic, if John McCain wants to win support, he should announce that, if elected, he will restore the draft and hike taxes sharply across-the-board.
Western media and organizations allied with US and British imperial goals are trying to create the impression that the government of Robert Mugabe is deliberately inducing hunger and using food aid to shape the outcome of the presidential run-off election, that is, when they're not accusing him of planning to rig the election. One wonders why Mugabe would tamper with the election results if he is using food as a political weapon, and vice-a-versa. Apparently, the aim of the demonization campaign is to hurl as many accusations at Mugabe as possible, in hopes that some or all of them will stick, even if they're mutually contradictory.
It is Western countries that have created hunger through a program of sanctions that has sabotaged the Zimbabwean economy and led to widespread misery and need for food aid. Mugabe's government has temporarily suspended the operations of NGOs, not to seize control of the delivery of food aid for political gain, but to block Western governments from operating remotely through NGOs to channel funding to the campaign of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and to use food as a political weapon. If you read the Western press uncritically and absorb Human Rights Watch's analyses without a healthy dose of skepticism, it doesn't seem that way, but as Malcolm X once said, "If you're not careful the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." 
1. Herald (Zimbabwe) May 29, 2008; June 4, 2008.
2. CPGB-ML Statement, "Hands off Zimbabwe," May 12, 2008.
3. Peter Mavunga, Herald (Zimbabwe) May 3, 2008.
4. Guardian (UK), June 4, 2008.
6. New York Times, June 4, 2008.
7. Guardian (UK), June 4, 2008.
8. Seamus Milne, Guardian (UK), April 17, 2008.
9. New African, June 2008.
Mugabe Links MDC to British Re-Colonisations of ZIM
Posted on June 14th, 2008
President Robert Mugabe on Friday said Britain will never colonise Zimbabwe again as the country is ready to take up arms and defend its independence.
Addressing the National Youth Convention, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe is a sovereign state and would never betray its foreign heroes who lost their lives during the liberation struggle.
” This is our Zimbabwe,” President Mugabe said, ” We cannot allow the British to once again dominate us through their puppets.”
He said no white man would ever be boss over Zimbabweans as Zimbabwe is a liberated country.
The President urged Zimbabweans to be wary of the opposition MDC as it was working with Western countries to force regime change in Zimbabwe.
” Voting for the MDC in the June 27 second presidential election is voting for the British to once again have power over Zimbabwe,” he said.
He said Zimbabweans were aware that white former farmers came back to Zimbabwe after MDC claimed to have won the March harmonised elections.
The independence of Zimbabwe was now being put under test by its detractors and therefore people should unite and defend their sovereignty, he said.
President Mugabe said Britain and her allies were envious of Zimbabwe’s independence and natural resources.
” Britain does not want Zimbabwe to enjoy total independence, it only wants to have total control of our wealth,” he said.
Students from all the country’s tertiary institutions and universities and senior Zanu PF officials attended the convention.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe government said on Friday the order suspending all field operations of Private Voluntary Organisations (PVOs) and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) related to movement of their personnel into communities and not operations at offices.
In a circular to all PVOs and NGOs to clarify the issue, Public Service Labour and Social Welfare acting permanent secretary Sydney Mhishi said the suspension did not imply banning or deregistration.
” The government has received information that some PVOs and NGOS involved in humanitarian operations were breaching terms and conditions of their registration as embraced in the PVO Act by engaging in political activities,” said Mhishi.
” In order to allow for fair and transparent investigations, field operations of all PVOs/NGOs had to be suspended,” he said, adding the government was desirous to complete the investigations to allow the organisations to resume normal operations.
Mhishi said in terms of the suspension letter, field operations implied movement by NGOs/PVOs personnel into communities to mobilise, organise or bring together large numbers of people.
He said the suspension did not prohibit those on Anti-retroviral therapy and those benefiting from Home Based Care programmes to continue accessing drugs and therapeutic feeding from clinics and hospitals.
Supplementary feeding programmes for children were also not covered by the suspension since these were community based and did not entail community mobilisation.
Churches were also not covered by the suspension since the Zimbabwe Constitution guaranteed freedom of worship and they were not registered in terms of the PVO Act.
The Office of the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs organised a meeting of United Nations agencies and NGOs/PVOs on Thursday to seek clarification from the government on the suspension of field operations of all civic organisations.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations has welcomed the clarification, saying it assisted in clearing the air over the issue.
In an interview, the organisation’s advocacy and communications manager Fambai Ngirande said the association was however urging the government to expeditiously conduct the investigations to pave way for the organisations to resume operations.
The umbrella body, which initially refused to respect the order arguing that it was not covered by the PVO Act, has since filed an application in the High Court contesting its legality.
The organisation is arguing that the instruction is not legal as the PVO Act provided for cancellation of registration and not suspension of operations.
Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:26:00 +0000
MDC Secretary General Tendai Biti faces treason charges
THE Secretary General of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change, Tendai Biti, will be charged with treason and faces a possible death sentence if convicted, according to a ort by the police today.
Police spokesperson, Wayne Bvudzijena issued a statement saying: "We are charging him with treason and communicating and publishing false statements prejudicial to the state. For the treason charge he faces the death penalty or life in prison.”
He added: “Biti is in police custody and we are still investigating the matter.”
The treason charge relates to an MDC-T transition document which was alleged to have been penned by Biti and which discussed changing Zimbabwe's government.
"He will be charged with contravening Section 20 of the criminal law codification for publishing a document that was explaining a transitional strategy around March 26 which in its case is a treasonous charge," he said.
The opposition MDC-T party dismissed the document as a forgery.
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee said he had seen the original MDC-T's transition document which he described as a routine plan for any political party.
He added that the “forged version had circulated that raised issues not contained in the genuine document.”
McGee called on Zimbabwe's neighbors to intervene saying the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) should send more observers to ensure peace before and during the vote.
The second charge refers to accusations that Biti announced election results before the official count was released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Bvudzijena said that Biti made false statements ‘prejudicial to the state’. Under Zimbabwean law, only the official body the ZEC is mandated to announce results.
Prior to the March 29 harmonized election Zimbabwe’s service chiefs had issued a chilling warning against the announcement of results by anyone not mandated to do so.
They said that they were “not going to allow a situation where individuals arrogate themselves the role of election officials and announce themselves winners at any stage of the electoral process.”
They added: “The authority of counting votes and announcing the winners is vested in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in accordance with law. We warn anyone of such inclination that we will not tolerate any such pronouncements as they have the effect of trying to take the law into their own hands thereby fomenting disorder and mayhem. Everyone is therefore advised to follow the law.”
The police commissioner said Biti was in police custody, but did not reveal where he was being held. Biti will be charged "as soon as we are through with our investigation," said Bvudzijena.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai who was detained earlier this afternoon by police while on his campaign trail has been released.
Tsvangirai was detained at a roadblock near the central town of Kwekwe on the way to an election rally.
Its Inheritance of Racists
By Sehlare Makgetlaneng*
May 20, 2008
Why is South Africa regarded as the leader of the African continent in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation? Is it because it is relatively more developed than other African countries? Is this not the reason why it is regarded as the leader of the continent in terms of development and transformation? Why?
Brazil is not regarded as the leader of Latin America in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation. The United States of America is not regarded as the leader of North America and the Americas in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation. Other countries which are relatively more developed than other countries in their respective regions are not regarded as leaders of these countries in terms of socio-political, economic, financial, technological, military and human resources development and transformation.
Why was colonialism in South Africa regarded as colonialism of special type while colonialism in other countries, which were under settler colonial rule such as Zimbabwe, not regarded as colonialism of special type? Why in the case of these countries settler colonialism and colonialism were terms used, while they were popularly not used in the South African case? What were reasons behind well-organised attempts to see to it that South Africa, ruled by Europeans, was not referred to as the colonial situation? Why was the enemy term called apartheid, the term used by the forces of settler colonialism and racism, used to deny the existence of settler colonialism and racism in the country (which was popularly used nationally and internationally)?
Some developing countries are relatively more developed than South Africa. Their manufacturing is relatively more internationally competitive than the South African manufacturing industry. Despite this reality, even some Marxists maintain that South Africa is an imperialist or advanced capitalist country. There are some scholars, some of them Marxists, who seriously maintain that South Africa is an imperialist or advanced capitalist country in relation to the rest of Africa and that in relation to the rest of the world, particularly imperialist countries, South Africa is a dependent capitalist social formation, not an advanced capitalist country. In other words, other African countries make the developing country, South Africa, a developed or imperialist country. What are reasons behind this incorrect, fallacious and degrading position?
African South Africans have become increasingly victims of racism. What is disturbing about this development is that some Africans with power and authority spend time, energy and resources complaining about racism, rather than decisively using their power and authority against racism. Is there any other African country where Africans are the decisive majority of the population where they experience the level of racism confronted by African South Africans? Why in a country which is regarded by a considerable number of individuals and organisations throughout the world as the leader of the African continent and a country which should represent Africa as the permanent member of the Security Council of the United Nations Organisation, its Africans still experience this problem - the problem which was one of the obvious targets of the national liberation struggle? How can South Africa solve other socio-political and economic problems without solving the problem of racism - the problem it has inherited from its settler colonial past? How long will African South Africans complain about racism without taking decisive action against it? Despite the fact that Africans have become increasingly victims of racism in the country, some Europeans in South Africa have openly (in writing) articulated and defended racist positions on the African people and the African continent.
David Bullard, the man who is proud to state in public that he supported settler colonialism in South Africa which he regards as "the hated apartheid system", and who justified his support for colonialism and racism in South Africa to his friends in England by saying that they should not worry about his position because the country, "was changing and there would soon be universal suffrage," articulated his position on Africans in his article entitled, "Uncolonised Africa". In this article of the Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" column, he regards Africa without being colonised by Europeans as a dark continent of noble savages, a continent where "simple tribesmen would still graze their cattle in an "unspoilt" or "uncomplicated lifestyle" without roads, televisions, computers, shopping centres and cellular telephones.
In this uncolonised Africa, apart from "occasionally indulging in a bit of ethnic cleansing," African ethnic groups of South Africa or "tribes" would have been happy and peaceful. "Every so often a child goes missing from the village, eaten either by a hungry lion or a crocodile. The family mourn for a week or so and then have another child," Bullard writes. The Chinese arrive in South Africa in 2008 and claimed mineral rights, water, land and cheap labour and Africans are fortunate in that they someone to blame for their problems. This is how Africa would have turned out to be had it never been colonised by Europeans? The African family having lost a child and mourning for a week or so and then having another child? He regards this in his apology to his readers and friends as the suggestion from his article after he was fired by the editor of the Sunday Times. Far from being the suggestion, it was what Jordan regards as "calculated insults." The fact that he regards his racist position on Africans as 'the suggestion' is such that he was not apologising but implying that Africans are incapable of understanding what he has been saying about them.
Some South Africans responded to the incorrect, fallacious, degrading and racist position of Bullard on Africans. Dr. Pallo Jordan, Minister of Arts and Culture of South Africa is one these South Africans. He pointed out in April, 2008, that South Africa has enough racists born in South Africa and it does not need more imported racists from England such as David Bullard, the former Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" columnist. Bullard was fired by Sunday Times editor Mondli Makhanya for his racist views of Africans in his column. Pallo Jordan criticised Makhanya for tolerating Bullard's racist views about Africans in his previous articles. In his words: "I think Mondli must have learnt a lesson about as a result of [the] Bullard incident. I was quite alarmed for a very long time that Bullard could write like that in a newspaper edited by an African." Why? Jordan continues: "I doubt if a Jewish editor would have allowed things like that to be written about Jews ... [but] this African editor allowed it. Then Bullard took it one step too far."
Jordan in his position that South Africa has enough racists born in South Africa and it does not need more imported racists from England such as Bullard maintains that "Bullard is the sort of person South Africa really does not need within its borders; we have our own headaches, with our own indigenous racists. I don't think we should import them from England. Seriously, we can't afford to import racists from other parts of the world."
Bullard had articulated his racist position on Africans to the extreme. Jordan continues that he has "the right to his silly little opinion and his negative views about Africans, but for God's sake spare us that in our own continent. Go say it in England or wherever you come from ... but don't come to Africa and insult us - that's like coming to someone's living room and defecating on their carpet."
Bullard left England for South Africa in 1981. What Jordan in his criticism of Bullard does not point out is that South Africa, because of its settler colonial past characterised by being the frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa and a frontline miniature of the articulated combined interests of imperialism in Southern Africa, has inherited a considerable number of racists from the rest of Africa and the world.
The position of a considerable number of Europeans of South Africa on the key national issues in South Africa is totally different from that of other South Africans. Their position on these issues is different from that of a considerable number of Europeans based in South Africa who are not South Africans. What are reasons behind this socio-historical development? Is it, among others, because of the role played by the settler colonial South Africa within the strategy and tactics of imperialism, colonialism and neo-colonialism on the Southern African regional and African continental scale?
Bullard is one European South African who maintains that it is the task of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa to solve Zimbabwe's national problems. This incorrect position has its fundamentalist supporters and defenders in the former frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa. It is articulated in the South African national newspapers.
The Weekender in its 21-22 April 2007 editorial, questioning President Mbeki's intentions as the facilitator of dialogue between the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front and the Movement for Democratic Change, maintains that it is the task of President Mbeki to solve Zimbabwe's problems. In other words, he is bound to betray Zimbabweans because of his refusal to solve their national problems. David Bullard maintains the same position. Arguing in his Sunday Times "Out to Lunch" column of 22 April 2007 that the South African "government's stand on Zimbabwe is an international disgrace," he maintains that Mbeki has failed to solve Zimbabwe's problems.
Has Mbeki ever declared that it is his task to solve Zimbabwe's problems? Is it to marginalise the masses of Zimbabwean people and their leaders to maintain that it is Mbeki's task to solve their national problems? Is it correct to maintain that Mbeki has not failed to solve Zimbabwe's problems given the fact that it is not his task to solve them? Bullard maintains that South Africa under the leadership of Mbeki has basically not failed to solve these problems. Why? It has refused to solve them. They are bound to increase. He concludes that "thanks to the ANC government's spinelessness, things" or problems in Zimbabwe "are bound to get worse." According to Bullard and his colleagues, the African National Congress, not the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), not to mention the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) which is regarded as the problem, is central not only to sustaining Zimbabwe's national problems, but also to their solution. It is obvious that this position is incorrect and that it degrades the people of Zimbabwe. Bullard and his colleagues are fully aware of this reality. The fact that this position is incorrect is not the issue. The issue is what it intends to achieve. It is the tactical means to achieve the strategic objective. Central to its demands is that the ANC government should allow itself to be used as the organisational means to effect regime change for the MDC to be in power in Zimbabwe for the advancement of the strategic interests of imperialism and its allies, of which Bullard and his colleagues are their spokespersons.
This is the position of Britain. Britain did not only colonise Zimbabwe. It also decided not to follow through on its financial undertakings towards land reform in Zimbabwe. It did the same in the case of Kenya. It did not only struggle to muster its power to impose its policy position on Zimbabwe, but on the Southern African Development Community, particularly on South Africa. It also wanted South Africa to achieve its objectives in Zimbabwe. A considerable number of European South Africans support the position of Britain in particular and the West in general that Mbeki, through omission, is responsible for the crisis in Zimbabwe. South Africa's policy towards Zimbabwe is regarded as a failure because it has not achieved their interests in the country. While some have been demanding that Mbeki should isolate Mugabe, others have been demanding that Mbeki should facilitate his removal from power through sanctions. Central to these demands is that South Africa should have effected regime change in Zimbabwe. A considerable number of European South Africans have played a key role in the process of shifting the responsibility of resolving Zimbabwe's national problems from Zimbabweans under their leaders to South Africa under the leadership of Mbeki.
Where are African South Africans on this issue? Khathu Mamaila, in his "Third Eye"column, City Press, 22 July 2007, maintains that hypocrisy or double standards of the West has helped Mugabe to maintain his grip on power. He cites some "crimes" constantly mentioned in the criticism of the Mugabe administration. These are examples of this hypocrisy or these double standards. Firstly, is the issue of the suppression of the media by the Mugabe administration. Mamaila maintains that on this issue, the Mugabe administration "is not the worst." He cites the case of two Ethiopian journalists arrested for "outrage against the constitution." They "face execution or life sentence if convicted. There is no public outrage about this," from the West and the fundamentalist critics of the Mugabe administration in South Africa. There are other "worse humanitarian crises on the continent" and throughout the world. He cites the case of the genocide in Darfur and "unending fighting" in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Mamaila maintains that at issue in the hypocrisy or double standards of the West and its allies is "the need to understand the lack of legitimacy of the anti-Mugabe efforts." On the so-called invasion of the Zimbabwean land by African Zimbabweans, his position is that those who attacked Mugabe for "giving" Africans land "lacked legitimacy because they have failed to condemn the obscenity of fewer than 4000 white farmers owning more than 70% of the arable land." He concludes that for "average Zimbabwean, Mugabe was simply correcting a wrong, a colonial legacy which was the principal demand that drove people to take arms against Ian Smith." These forces lack legitimacy because, among others, they are theoreticians of the forces of the sagacious dispensation of legitimised rapacity and sanctioned organised theft on an international scale. This system structurally protects thieves or 'tsotsis' who transform themselves into legitimate owners who invoke the rule of law and order upon establishing themselves in possession of what they have stolen, including the land. Why should the native masses beg for what was taken away violently from their parents and ancestors? The issue of land must be centrally located in the policy formulation and implementation, and in the debate on the socio-economic issues in Southern Africa. Its strategic importance is directly interlinked with the fundamental and structural need for the further development of the regional political economy, not only with its agricultural sector. It applies not only to agriculture and to rural parts of the region. The land question is an integral part of the national question.
The land question is also directly interlinked with the creation of jobs, reduction and eradication of poverty, promotion of sustainable development, the achievement of food security and self-sufficiency in food production. It has been and is still the main source of wealth and means of livelihood. The ownership of the land and the disposal of its surplus produce has been the main base of social control. The owners of the large proportion of the land have been using the social control stemming from the ownership and control of land and its use to appropriate surplus produce derived from the land. This system of appropriation of surplus produce reduced and still reduces a considerable number of the people of the region particularly Africans to poverty in the midst of plenty. Land and its produce have been not only the means of social control, but also the means of creation and perpetuation of poverty. Why should the masses of the people of Southern Africa continue being marginalised from this important national and regional resource in terms of ownership, control, access and use?
On the launching of the Operation Reduce Prices, despite the fact that "the populist solution is temporary and spells disaster in the near future because the country will face a critical shortage of commodities," Mugabe is regarded as a hero by many poor Zimbabweans. What about the role of the business forces? What have those who have condemned Mugabe for enforcing price cuts done to alleviate the plight of the masses of the people? His answer to this question is that both internal and external business forces have remained in the country because they were making profit and that their operation in the country was never a "humanitarian" process. The position that the masses of the people will suffer if the business forces were to pull out of Zimbabwe is "the righteous and patronising approach." The masses of the people are already suffering. He concludes his column by stating that "the key catalyst for change" in Zimbabwe "remains Zimbabweans." This conclusion is the advice to the Movement for Democratic Change - the advice it has refused to practice or recognise in its insistence that the solution to Zimbabwe's problems is primarily external, not internal.
The position maintained by Mamaila is also maintained by Barney Mthombothi in his article on why "Mugabe still wields power?" He maintained that Morgan Tsvangirai's "diplomatic shuttle" across Southern Africa in late 2004 was "a waste of time." His point is that there was "nothing he said in person to the leaders" of Southern Africa that "could not have been relayed down a telephone line" and that "the trip" was "more about Tsvangirai - an attempt at enhancing his status, his own stature - than enlightening people on the current situation in Zimbabwe." The importance of the trip is that it exposed or highlighted "the shortcomings of the struggle" led by the MDC against the ZANU-PF. Instead of mobilising its supporters, the MDC "has been wasting time on fervent pleas to the international community." Tsvangirai and his colleagues should recognise the reality in practice that the masses of the people of Zimbabwe are "the fount of their credibility, legitimacy, power and authority" and that when "the masses are properly mobilised no autocrat, no matter how powerful or repressive, can rule them against their will for any length of time." He concludes that the MDC's "tactic so far has been to appeal for international assistance in the form of sanctions and boycotts without a concomitant intensive mobilisation of the masses within the country" and that this tactic is incorrect in that it fails to come to grips with the reality that the "home front is the theatre, the crucible, of the struggle" or that the "engine of the opposition is in Zimbabwe, not outside" the country. The MDC under the leadership of Tsvangirai is still embarking upon this programme of action. After the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission delayed to announce the result of the March 2008 presidential and parliamentary elections, maintaining that the MDC won the presidential elections and that it had obtained the percentage for it to be in charge of the political administration of the society, Tsvangirai moved from one administrative capital to another administrative capital of Southern Africa meeting political leaders of the region, asking them for support of his political party. These are some of the leaders his organisation have been not only avoiding, but regarding as central to the survival of the Mugabe administration.
Why has President Mbeki become a target of a considerable number of European South Africans? These European South Africans are against Africans of South Africa. They claim to be for Africans of Zimbabwe. This is an interesting aspect of the position of a considerable number of European South Africans. They are against Africans of South Africa and claim to be for their brothers and sisters of other African countries, including Zimbabwe.
Why a considerable number of European South Africans maintain these positions on the Zimbabwean situation? Is it because they are of the view that they will one day in South Africa face problems which we are told are faced by their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe? It is not surprising that a considerable number of European South Africans maintain these positions on the Zimbabwean situation. The point is that a considerable number of European individuals and organisations in South Africa are self-appointed representatives of imperialism in the country, the rest of Southern Africa and throughout the African continent. The former settler colonial South Africa is not only the former frontline state of the settler colonial rule in Southern Africa. It is also a former frontline miniature of the articulated combined interests of imperialism in Southern Africa. South Africa has inherited racists who left African countries upon achievement of political independence for the former colonies particularly those in the Southern African region. When Southern African countries achieved political independence, these racists ended up in South Africa, particularly in its settler colonial era. The settler colonial regime gratefully welcomed them to increase the settler colonial population and its support base in the country. The defeat of colonialism throughout Africa particularly in Southern Africa was also a defeat of the settler colonial regime. The fear of losing control over resources of Southern African countries as a result of the victory of the Southern African progressive forces forced the West, under the leadership of the United States of America acting in alliance with the racist South African regime, to resort to tactics aimed at causing the defeat of the progressive governments, and eventually to bring their allies to power in Southern Africa. The rulers of the West and the racist South Africa viewed a victory of progressive forces in Southern Africa as a victory of the masses of the people of Africa, and as such, any further progress towards the national liberation struggle in South Africa had to be stopped by any means necessary. A considerable number of European South Africans are originally from North, Eastern, Central, West Africa, not to mention other countries of Southern Africa. They left these African countries as a result of their achievement of political independence. They left these countries, among others, because of their opposition to the achievement of the rule of Africans in these countries. They were not only strategic allies of the forces of imperialism and colonialism, but also representatives of imperialism and colonialism in these countries. A considerable number of the European fundamentalist critics of the Mugabe administration in South Africa are former Rhodesians. It is no surprise that they constitute the so-called support base of the MDC Tsvangirai or the MDC under the leadership of Morgan Tsvangirai. They constitute the so-called support base of the MDC Tsvangirai in South Africa because they are basically not for the MDC, but for their own interests. They have been struggling to use the MDC Tsvangirai to achieve their interests in Zimbabwe - interests which are not those of the masses of the Zimbabwean people.
A considerable number of European South Africans agree with the position that Asian and European intellectuals in Africa are theoretical leaders of the liberation movements of the African people. The Swedish Marxist intellectual, Goran Therborn, in a Marxist journal, New Left Review, maintains the position that it was European South African intellectuals within the African National Congress who formulated strategy and tactics which liberated South Africa. Therborn maintains that:
Black African culture, very distant from the Marxist dialectic of modernity has not (yet) been able to sustain any significant Marxist intelligentsia. The most important Marxist intellectuals of Africa tend to be non-blacks, like Samir Amin, an Egyptian Dakar-based development economist of world fame; the two East African class analysts of politics and law of Indian descent, Mahmood Mamdani and Issa Shivji; and the core leadership of the politically sophisticated South African Communist Party - the think tank of the ANC [African National Congress] - who are mainly white.
African Marxist intellectuals, some of whom who have contributed to the programme of action and strategy and tactics for the revolutionary change in Africa, more than Amin, Mamdani, Shivji and European South African intellectuals are dismissed as irrelevant and are cast to the margins of the theoretical and practical development of Marxism as the revolutionary praxis and placed at the bottom of the contribution of Asian and European intellectuals to the liberation of Africa. The position articulated by Goran Therborn on African, Asian and European intellectuals in Africa was not new when he articulated it in 1996. Belinda Bozzoli maintained in the special issue, History from South Africa of Radical History Review, published in January, 1990, that the founders of Marxism in Africa are European South African scholars working at the British universities. This thesis is still dominant today including in the post-settler colonial South Africa where some individuals are self-appointed representatives of imperialism, the West and institutions controlled by developed countries and other related issues, processes and developments which are obviously against the interests of the African continent and its people. Central to this thesis is the position that Africans are incapable of acting on their behalf and in their own interests. They must be led by other people in the struggle to achieve their interests. Other people are their representatives. The very questioning of issues such as African renaissance, African nationalism, African philosophy, African perspective, Pan-Africanism by a considerable number of South Africans is supportive of this reality. Why is only African nationalism and identity politics discredited in South Africa by individuals who support and defend nationalism and identity politics of other South Africans? Discrediting African nationalism, Zackie Achmat, the leader of the Treatment Action Campaign, warned in 2003 that "Both identity politics and nationalism, African nationalism specifically, have been among the most destructive influences on the continent's development." Tony Leon of the Democratic Alliance is one of the leaders of the opposition parties in South Africa who gratefully quoted this position. In one of his controversial statements, Achmat declared that "I'm going to live longer than Thabo Mbeki! I'd like someone to write on my tombstone one day, 'Here's a man who lived longer than Thabo Mbeki." Is it acceptable for one to make such statements? What does he mean by such statements? It is the first time I have come across such statements. He is opposed to only African identity politics and African nationalism, not to identity politics and nationalism of other people. Why is Achmat opposed to only African identity politics and African nationalism? R.W. Johnson, the conservative nationalist who maintains that the Treatment Action Campaign "is a perfect example of democracy in action" in South Africa, answers this question in his allegation that "Thus far African nationalism has merely multiplied the number of the black sick and the black poor." Johnson calls for the recolonisation of Africa as the solution to its problems. Herman Giliomee, Afrikaner nationalist historian who is not against Afrikaner identity politics and Afrikaner nationalism, in defence of Achmat maintains that "All the evidence points to the fact that the government only responds when confronted by a mobilised civil society that it cannot co-opt or control. Zachie (sic) Achmat's Treatment Action Campaign is a perfect example of this." At issue is not only the "Western arrogance of feeling that it has everything to teach others and nothing to learn from them" or "the deadly Western arrogance that has poisoned the international atmosphere for so long." This position on Africans is not the monopoly of those who are said to be white.
The position maintained by Goran Therborn is basically about the perspective of the place of Africans in the world. French President Nicolas Sarkoy affirmed the important intellectual role played by Georg Wilhem Friedrich Hegel in justifying the racist position on the African people and the racist perspective of Africa's place in the world, in the contemporary world and the fact that this position and perspective are still defended in his visit to Gabon and Senegal in July 2007. According to Hegel, Africa, "unhistorical" and "undeveloped spirit" which is "no historical part of the world" and has "no movement or development" not to mention ideas of freedom, justice and progress... Africa has no history and there is nothing Africans have contributed to the enjoyment of humankind. Africans are prisoners of their "wild and untamed nature." Sarkozy maintained that colonialism was not crime against humanity and that it was good for Africa. African societies, through their culture, are against intellectual and material progress.
In his address at the Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar Senegal on 27 July 2007, President Sarkoy maintains the position that "the tragedy of Africa is that the African has not fully entered into history. The African peasant, who for thousands of years has lived according to the seasons, whose life ideal was to be in harmony with nature, only knew the eternal renewal of time, rhythmed by the endless repetition of the same gestures and the same words." Africans live in an "imagery world where everything starts over and over again and there is no place for human adventure or for the idea of progress." This is "the tragedy of Africa" for "Africans have never really entered history. They have never really launched themselves into the future. In a world where nature controls everything, [African] man has remained immobile in the idle of an unshakable order where everything is determined. There is no room neither for human endeavour, nor for the idea of progress." He continues that "In this universe where nature commands all, [African] man escapes from the anguish of history that torments modern man, but he rests immobile in the centre of a static order where everything seems to have been written beforehand."
What is Sarkoy's solution to this "tragedy of Africa" and Africans who refuse to "really" enter "into history" and who refuse to launch "themselves into the future"? This "tragedy" is the problem not only for Africans who are incapable of acting on their behalf and in their own interests. It is the problem also for those who are leading or who must lead Africans in the struggle to achieve their interests. No wonder why Africans are regarded as children of international community! In his attempt to offer a solution to this "tragedy," the president of "an unwavering friend" of Africa maintains that:
The problem of Africa, and allow a friend of Africa to say it, is to be found here. Africa's challenge is to enter to a greater extent into history. To take from it the energy, the force, the desire, the willingness to listen and to espouse its own history. Africa's problem is to stop always repeating, always mulling over, to liberate itself from the myth of the eternal return. It is to realise that the golden age that Africa is forever recalling will not return because it has never existed.
A considerable number of European South Africans maintain that the future of the rest of Africa lies with South Africa. In other words, the socio-political and economic transformation of other African countries in the interest of the masses of their people lies not with the people of these countries, but with the people of South Africa. It is possible that they regard themselves as leaders of the South African transformation process.
Some Africans spend time, energy and resources advising developed countries on how best and effective to promote their interests in Africa. Representing Africans who render this service to developed countries, Kuseni Dlamini points out that it is:
...in the enlightened self-interest of the world's industrialised nations to invest what it takes to stabilise Africa, normalise African politics, build a robust culture of good governance and institutional efficacy with a view to ensure and secure reliable sources of energy and commodities supply in the long run.
Some Africans based in South Africa who advise developed countries on how best and effective to promote their interests in Africa often use South Africa in justifying the service they render to imperialism by maintaining that the future of other African countries lies with South Africa, not with their people. Kuseni Dlamini, in advising the corporate South Africa on how best and effective to promote its interests in Africa, maintains that:
Africa's future lies with South Africa and its companies playing a leading role in the development and processing of the continent's natural resources, as well as the development of its human capital as catalysts for Africa's long-delayed industrial revolution.
The position that the future of Africa lies with South Africa and its polite version that South Africa is the locomotive of growth and development of Africa is disputed by some scholars. Fantu Cheru disputes this position when he maintains that "a democratic South Africa should not be seen as the 'locomotive' of Africa's development" and "may even pursue policies that will be counterproductive for some of its neighbours." In his "challenge" to "those who paint a rosy picture of the future of Southern Africa's economic integration as a result of the elimination of the settler colonial rule in South Africa, Cheru pointed out in 1991 that:
Despite repeated reassurance by the African National Congress officials that a democratic South Africa will not try to dominate the region, a post-apartheid government will be forced to aggressively pursue trade relations to penetrate the African market on behalf of the business community and the social class.
Pointing out that South Africa "does not have the manufacturing and technological base to represent by itself a substantial center of accumulation on a large scale enough to propel development in its wake," Manuel Castells concludes that "the version of a new South Africa becoming the engine of development for much of the continent, through its multilayered incorporation into the global economy ... seems, at close examination, utterly unrealistic." The position that South Africa is the locomotive of growth and development of the African continent is the position that "Africa's hope" is through "the South African connection." Raising the question as to whether "Africa's hope" is through "the South African connection," Castells points out that
...on strictly empirical grounds, the end of apartheid in South Africa, and the potential linkage between a democratic, black-majority ruled South Africa and African countries, at least those in eastern/southern Africa, allows us to examine the hypothesis of the incorporation of Africa into global capitalism under new, more favourable conditions via the South African connection.
This position challenges the position of Greg Mills which downgrades the rest of Africa by using South Africa. This is the long-standing position. Racists have been using Africans of South Africa in either defending, justifying, camouflaging or hiding their racist position on Africans of the rest of the continent. Africans of South Africa were used by leaders and organic intellectuals of the racist, settler colonial South Africa in justifying its rule. It compared their socio-economic conditions not with those of Europeans in South Africa, but with Africans of the rest of the continent. South Africa under the leadership of Africans is going to be used more and more by some European South Africans, particularly racists, in downgrading the rest of Africa.
Greg Mills' position of downgrading the rest of Africa by using South Africa is that South Africa bears "the African burden" because of its "geographical location and perception as part of Africa, the continent described by some as the 'Third world's Third world,' marginal in the international mainstream and incapable of solving its own difficulties" and that as "an African state, South Africa has also an additional burden to bear" which "bluntly put" is that it "is Africa's last hope and best chance of getting things right. Any failure will hasten the exodus of world interest and concern." Mills' version of the position that the future of Africa lies with South Africa was criticised clearly in no uncertain terms before he put it in writing. This position is for "the incorporation of Africa into global capitalism under new, more favourable conditions via the South African connection." This is the position of a considerable number of European South Africans.
In our critical analysis of these forces, we should not agree with the position some of them maintain that the race question is primary in relation to the class question. These forces are not for interests of the masses of the European people. They are class enemies of the masses of the European people. The race question, as the secondary issue in relation to the class question in the irreconcilable contradictions among social forces within countries must dialectically be incorporated into the struggle against oppression, exploitation and racism. The importance of the race question must be neither overestimated nor underestimated. The dynamic relationship between the class question and the race question must be viewed and examined dialectically. The reality that the race question is the subsidiary or secondary issue in relation to the class question in this struggle does not mean that the importance of the race question should be neglected or minimised.
Dr. Sehlare Makgetlaneng is a social scientist researcher specialising in governance, democracy and development issues in Africa, the United States foreign policy towards Africa, political economy and international relations based in Pretoria, South Africa.
David Bullard, "Bullard: an apology to my readers and friends," Business Day (Johannesburg), 18 April 2008, p. 9.
Pallo Jordan, quoted in Sibusiso Ngalwa, "Jordan climbs into 'racist' Bullard and his ex-editor," The Star (Johannesburg), 23 April 2008, p. 11.
Khathu Mamaila, "Double Trouble: Hypocrisy helps Mugabe to maintain his grip on power," City Press (Johannesburg), 22 July 2007, p. 22.
Barney Mthombothi, "Why Mugabe still wields power?" The Star (Johannesburg), 3 November 2004, p. 14.
Goran Therborn, "Dialectics of Modernity: On Critical Theory and the Legacy of Twentieth-Century Marxism," New Left Review, 215 (January-February 1996), p. 78.
Belinda Bozzoli, "Intellectuals, Audiences and Histories: South African Experiences, 1978-1988," Radical Historical Review, 46/7 (January 1990), pp. 237-63. This work is included in a book, History From South Africa edited by Joshua Brown, Patrick Manning, Karin Shapiro, Jon Weiner, Belinda Bozzoli and Peter Delius, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.
For this information on Zackie Achmat, see, among others, Ronald Suresh Roberts, "When saints are truly sinners," The Star (Johannesburg), 28 August 2007, p. 10.
Martin Luther King, "Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence," speech delivered at a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned, Riverside Church, New York, 14 April 1967.
Kuseni Dlamini, "Pressure alone will not bring peace," Business Day (Johannesburg), 23 May 2006, p. 13
BPR, established in 1975, is Rwanda's leading retail bank with a nationwide network of approximately 130 branches and outlets throughout the country. Although BPR recently changed from a co-operative to a corporate structure, it has remained true to its co-operative roots, by retaining its widespread shareholder base of clients from throughout the country. The bank is unique in that over 600,000 client-shareholders jointly own the 65% majority of the bank.
The Rabo Development initiative started four years ago and has built on the long and successful co-operative history and tradition of the Dutch Rabobank Group. Rabo Development's mission is to help financial institutions in developing countries evolve into fully fledged, financially sustainable retail banks with a rural orientation. As part of this initiative, it acquires a minority interest in the capital of the partner bank and assigns senior Rabobank managers to the Board and the Management Team, who work closely with local managers. Rabobank also provides comprehensive technical assistance, allowing it to share its expertise with the partner bank.
Although Rabo Development is the strategic and largest shareholder in most of its ventures, it does not acquire a majority interest, as it wants the partner banks to remain largely locally owned. A good relationship with the local stakeholders and agreement on the mission and strategy of the bank are key ingredients for the partnership. Developing a strong, nationwide branch network and providing rural access to finance are crucial elements of this approach.
BPR will be Rabo Development's 6th partner bank following successful partnerships in Tanzania (National Microfinance Bank), China (United Rural Co-operative Bank of Hangzhou), Zambia (Zambia National Commercial Bank), Mozambique (Banco Terra) and Paraguay (Banco Regional).
The partnership with BPR is very special considering our mutual co-operative roots and the many similarities between our organisations. The Royal Netherlands Embassy in Kigali is showing its support for the partnership by making a substantial contribution towards the technical assistance costs. 'We are impressed by what BPR has already achieved in the recent past,' Arnold Kuijpers, Managing Director of Rabo Development, commented. 'The commitment of the Board of BPR and the support of the Central Bank to accommodate our partnership have been equally impressive.' Mr. Manasse Twahirwa, Chairman of the Board of BPR stated: 'We consider it an excellent opportunity to partner with Rabobank in order to make substantial progress in developing the Banque Populaire du Rwanda in the years to come.'
SOURCE Rabobank Group
Friday June 13, 2008 [04:00]
The revelation by Investigator General Caroline Sokoni that her office has difficulties conducting investigations because it only has two investigators is a serious one. For a long time now, the Office of the Investigator General or the Commission of Investigations can be said to have been inactive because very little is heard about its activities and achievements and yet this is a very important institution in a country like Zambia that has waged a war against corruption.
It is difficult to understand that the government passionately wants to fight corruption in the country but at the same time has neglected the office of the Investigator General or Ombudsman in other words.
The main function of this office is to oversee the government administration and to check the abuses of power by those running public offices. The commission is part of the government machinery to deal with administrative abuse. This is a very serious task. No wonder only those who qualify to be appointed as High Court judges are appointed to serve as Investigator General.
Until the early 1970s, Zambia did not have the office of the Ombudsman or Investigator General. In 1972 when cases of corruption and abuse of power were becoming more rampant, Dr Kenneth Kaunda expressed a wish and desire to set up an institution like that of Ombudsman to fight these vices.
This was at the time that he appointed the Chona Commission of Inquiry to review the Constitution. After the Chona Commission finished its work, the government accepted its report to establish the office of the Ombudsman in Zambia. This office, among other things, was mandated to supervise the work of the executive by checking on its maladministration.
Clearly, this is a very important office which the government seems to casualise, going by Sokoni’s revelations. In her presentation before the National Constitutional Conference public service committee this week, Sokoni said her office receives hundreds of complaints every month or one million complaints per year and yet it only has two investigators countrywide. She also complained of lack of funding, among other issues.
How can the government claim to be serious about fighting corruption or abuse of power in the public service when the very institution that is supposed to play a key role in the fight is neglected?
With this gloomy picture painted by Sokoni, one is not inspired to have any confidence in her office because its existence appears only to be on paper. As things stand today, maybe only Sokoni and President Mwanawasa are the only ones who know the success rate of her office.
Serious attention needs to be paid to the existence of this office. First, there is need to properly fund this office and ensure that it has all the skilled manpower it requires; not those men and women they bake in a desperate bid to reduce the heavy work load.
When this is done, there will be need to look at giving the office of the Investigator General the autonomy that it so much requires. Today, the Anti-Corruption Commission and Drug Enforcement Commission seem to be doing a lot of work largely because of the autonomous status that they enjoy. But even with this autonomy, we still hear of some form of external political interference from time to time.
Currently, the Investigator General reports directly to the appointing authority, the President. This arrangement leaves much to be desired because, like Sokoni rightly observed, the President is too busy to look at one million complaints every year and take action against erring institutions. There is no doubt that the office of Investigator General will be more effective if it is made to report to Parliament because this will also promote transparency in their work as they will know that their work will be for public consumption.
As the situation stands, it is very easy for the President not to act on some complaints because this arrangement makes him the Alpha and Omega. He appoints the Investigator General who receives and investigates complaints and later prepares reports for his action. If he decides not to act, that’s the end.
And because all this work is done in camera, the public will not be aware of it. So far, we don’t know how many cases have been acted on and how many have died a natural death. One cannot be wrong to conclude that this state of affairs puts the office of the Investigator General in the pocket of the party in power.
This has to change. This office is too important to be run the way it is at the moment. The whole country has only one office in Lusaka. There is no presence of the Investigator General in the remaining eight provinces of the country and yet there are public offices in all these provinces. How can two investigators cover the whole country with numerous complaints on a daily basis?
Without doubt, there is a lot of abuse and maladministration going on in our public offices considering the fact that the office of the Investigator General receives one million complaints on average per annum. If this office is properly supported and funded, it will do a lot to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public affairs. There is every need to build institutional capacity of the office of the Investigator General if its well-intended objectives are to be realised.