Saturday, August 16, 2008
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:01]
INTERNET search engine Google has ranked The Post’s website as one of the best website links in the world. According to Google page rank, The Post newspaper website – www.postzambia.com – was ranked on the sixth position among the websites. This means The Post website is among the fourth best links worldwide.
The pagerank is based on a scale of one to 10th position, with10 being the best. A pagerank is given to every single individual website page on any website Google has indexed.
South African company, Afrihost that hosts The Post’s website said page rank indicated how important Google thinks a website is. Afrihost director Brendan Armstrong explained that Google assigns websites a page rank out of ten so that it could return the most relevant content.
“No one knows the exact formula Google uses to get to this number, but a website’s popularity, age, quality of content all goes towards this.
To put a page rank of six into perspective, one needs to look at other websites with similar rank. e.g. www.mtn.co.za, HYPERLINK "http://www.vodacom.co.za" www.vodacom.co.za are on sixth position and these are multibillion Rand companies,” Armstrong said.
“I doubt if there are many Zambian websites that have a page rank of six or higher. I believe The Post website has this good rank because you have been around for a while and your content is vast and good. Therefore, many people link to your site which helps the rank.”
“There is no easy way to get a good rank but through time and dedication to the site. Websites take a lot of time and work and money to get page rank quickly,” Armstrong said. “Many people believe the ranking is not a simple linear one but rather a logarithmic one.
This means that each successive increment is substantially better than the previous one. However, only Google knows the exact logarithmic scale they use. What we do know is that page rank of five is substantially higher than a page rank of four which in turn is substantially higher than a page rank of three.”
Armstrong said the ranking of The Post website was a good indication for advertisers to know that many people were seeing their adverts.
“As far as advertisers go, it is of great value for them to have their adverts on your website. Adverts on your website that link them will help their website rankings because Google will think they are also good websites,” said Armstrong. “You can see page rank here: HYPERLINK "http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php" \t "_blank" http://www.prchecker.info/check_page_rank.php. This is a good place to check page rank it shows you how important Google thinks your site is.”
And a Post Newspapers Limited’s subsidiary, Post ISP Zambia general manager Joe Kaunda said the ranking confirmed that The Post website was widely read globally.
“We are certainly humbled that an internationally acclaimed entity like Google can recognize the efforts put into postzambia.com, the online edition of The Post,” Kaunda said.
“This also confirms that we have not just been serving the local Zambian population but the international community as a whole.
We do understand that this is no mean feat but we will continue to work with our partners both locally and abroad, like Afrihost, to ensure that we continue to deliver quality services and news to the world.”
Kaunda assured the advertisers that postzambia.com was a good website for them to market their goods and services.
“As for the business community, this is testimony that once you advertise your goods and services via postzambia.com you are guaranteed of not just mere wide but global reach, and this is confirmed by Google. In this vein we are looking forward to providing increased exposure for our clients,” said Kaunda.
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:00]
There is growing anxiety over President Levy Mwanawasa’s illness.
There’s growing fear that President Mwanawasa may not come back to assume his duties. There’s a growing feeling that when he comes back, he may retire or resign his position as president of our country. Whatever the merits or demerits of such feelings, those who don’t like or fear his rule are busy conspiring to replace him, to ensure that he is succeeded by one of their type.
The most ardent critics of President Mwanawasa, those who hate and fear him the most, are invariably corrupt elements. These are the people trying very hard to ensure that he is replaced by a person who is corrupt or who can be corrupted, manipulated.
But as Mark Chona has boldly declared, Zambians will not allow thieves and greedy leaders to succeed President Mwanawasa and destroy their country.
Only people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all should succeed President Mwanawasa when his time to step aside comes.
We say this because the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of the Zambian people today, especially those who are poor and afflicted in any way, are the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of honest political leaders.
And “whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” (Mk 10:14).
The political leadership of this country needs people with high credibility. And participation in the political life of our country must be guided by such principles and values.
What our people are seeking is genuine democracy in which leaders are servants of the people and not their masters. They are not seeking leaders who would rob them of their country’s very limited resources.
Progress can only be made when we have incorruptible, honest, intelligent and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people and not to rape them. And no one should be made a political leader of our country if they are corrupt or dishonest in any way.
We shouldn’t forget that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all our people. Therefore, politics is a way of building up society for the common good.
It is therefore not possible for corrupt elements, for people with narrow minds to move our country forward if they take up political leadership.
We should therefore under no circumstances allow thieves and those with narrow minds to govern our country.
Every period and every nation will need increasingly well-prepared, increasingly able leaders. It’s a new world that is emerging now.
We adapted to this world, we continue to adapt, and we are now learning what to do. We have developed sentiments of solidarity, political awareness, values that have immense power. We shouldn’t lose this in any way.
The governance of our country should continue to be based on principles. And the ideas that we defend have been, for quite sometime, ideas shared by the entire nation.
In opposing the establishment in our country of a government of thieves, by thieves for thieves, we are not in any way motivated by hatred or prejudice.
We should consider ourselves fortunate to have been aware that hatred and prejudice are not political weapons. There are political weapons and, in addition, we have the experience to know that principles are the best weapon.
And quality of life lies in knowledge, in culture and values. Values are what constitute true quality of life, the supreme quality of life, even above food, shelter and clothing.
And in saying this, we are not in any way trying to minimise, in the slightest, the importance of material needs – you always have to give them first priority, because in order to achieve a higher quality of life, the supreme quality of life, certain material needs must be satisfied.
The most perfect system of government is the one that produces the greatest possible happiness, the greatest degree of social safety, and greatest political stability. It is not possible to have that for the great majority of our people under a government of thieves.
It is therefore very important that the great majority of our people who are opposed to corruption should work hard and ensure that if President Mwanawasa is to leave office soon, he shouldn’t be succeeded by a thief or a representative or agent of thieves.
While thieves are conspiring to take over from President Mwanawasa, our people should work openly to ensure that the next president is theirs, belongs to them – he or she is an honest individual.
Power is always contested. There’s always a struggle for it. Even the best of people, the best of individuals will not get it or win it without a struggle of one form or another. While the thieves cannot campaign for power openly – at least for now – the people, the honest people should feel free do so openly.
Of course, taking into account the sensitivities that surround President Mwanawasa’s illness.
There is nothing wrong or evil in trying to ensure that President Mwanawasa’s honest work is not lost to thieves in the event that he fails to continue as our president. While nursing President Mwanawasa and hoping for his quick recovery, let’s be prudent and ensure that we do so without giving any political advantage to thieves.
We therefore urge all our honest politicians to come together and defend the gains of the Mwanawasa leadership. Again, this should be done in the most decent way and in the most disciplined manner.
And doing so should not be in any way be seen to being insensitive to the plight of our president and his family. It should be instead seen as a realistic and most sensible response to the manoeuvres of criminals who are continually conspiring to take over government and free themselves from corruption prosecutions and defend their loot.
We remember in these moments a thought of Che Guevara’s: “The present is the struggle. The future belongs to us.” Let’s struggle and never allow thieves to re-establish their rule over our country again.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:01]
Zambians will not allow thieves and greedy leaders to rule and destroy their country, former Task Force on corruption chairman Mark Chona has declared. And outgoing British High Commissioner to Zambia Alistair Harrison promised to be visiting Zambia frequently. During a farewell luncheon, which he and his wife Victoria hosted for High Commissioner Harrison on Thursday at their farmhouse in
Lusaka’s Makeni area, Chona said despite the situation being worrisome in Zambia due to President Levy Mwanawasa’s illness, Zambians would not allow thieves and those with narrow minds to rule the country.
“This country was meant to be stable because even in the most difficult times, we survived and even thrived. But there are people, of course, who thrive in chaos but here they have not been allowed and they will not be allowed whether they fall in the category of thieves or those who have chronic propensity for power,” Chona said.
“Even those have not been allowed before and they will not be allowed even now because the Zambian people want unity, they want peace, they want stability, they security and do want continuity on what Mwanawasa has built so far…
This edifice which President Mwanawasa has built on the foundation made by former presidents Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba will not be allowed to be destroyed by greedy people; by people who have very narrow interests.
Zambians have standards and you can drive them to the edge but they will not actually go beyond the precipice.”
Chona said Zambians would withstand whatever difficulties they might face.
“Let me refer to the current situation; I know that as you leave Zambia probably you are worried what will happen to this country.
The President is sick and we are all concerned. Anxiety and worry are not good for the health of an individual; they are not even good for the health of the nation,” Chona observed.
He said those who thrived on chaos would be overwhelmed by the spirit of unity and love among Zambians.
“I do believe sincerely that as you leave the country, do know that, yes, there are concerns, there are anxieties but very often it is the success in solving those anxieties that has given Zambia the strength that it actually has,” Chona said. “The investors, yes they be worried as to whether the situation will be the same but I think if they look back at the history of our country, they will actually know that this country has overcome some of the most difficult problems and they will overcome whatever problems there maybe because they Zambians have always been united and flourished in unity.”
However, Chona observed that most political parties had problems. He observed that following President Mwanawasa’s illness, the ruling MMD had also been engulfed in problems.
“Now, we look at our political parties, very few don’t have problems. PF has problems – there are discussions, UNIP has problems, MMD now because of the President’s illness you can see the problems but one thing which is important for us is that Zambia and Zambians are like their eagle.
The noble eagle in its flight far, far away. They have an eagle’s point of view,” he said.
Chona also commended High Commissioner Harrison for his support to the fight against corruption and respect for traditional rulers in the country among many other things that he had done in his three years in Zambia.
“We just want you to know that from the depth our hearts that we are profoundly grateful, whether it is in supporting the Task Force on Corruption without which not very little would have been achieved.
For you personally, you went beyond the call of duty in doing some of the things which I had to ask you to do,” Chona said. “Alistair has been in many ways extra-ordinary; he is extremely gentle.
It is fantastic to see how respectful he has been, visiting our traditional leaders and everything that has been said or done by him has not passed our attention. We have always listened to what he has had to say and as a result of his work, together with his diplomatic colleagues, I think Zambia has benefited a lot.”
And High Commissioner Harrison said he had always been positive about Zambia because it was a peaceful and stable country. He said Zambia was such a peaceful, stable and friendly country.
“That is the most precious thing that Zambia has achieved since independence and before. It is a tremendous example to Africa and the world and that peace and tranquility will continue to be Zambia’s greatest asset,” he said.
“I have been very positive about Zambia because I believe that the future stretches out in a very positive way; the economy will continue to grow and the Vision 2030 middle income country status is a challenging one but an attainable one.”
High Commissioner Harrison said he and his wife Sara were sad that they were leaving Zambia. However, he promised to be visiting Zambia frequently.
“It’s a great sadness leaving Zambia; we are devastated to be going. It has been an absolutely wonderful three years here in Zambia,” High Commissioner Harrison said.
“I also know for absolute certain that my family and I will come back to Zambia as often as we can; we have so many friends here. It is such a wonderful country.”
The farewell luncheon was attended by Vatican Ambassador to Zambia Apostolic Nuncio Nicola Girasoli, European Union delegation leader Dr Derek Fee, Zambian Airways chief executive officer Mutembo Nchito who is also Task Force on Corruption prosecutor, French Ambassador to Zambia, Irish Ambassador to Zambia Bill Nolan, Finnish Ambassador to Zambia Sinika Antila, veteran politician Simon Zukas and his wife Cynthia, Stanbic Bank managing director Joseph Chikolwa, Radio Phoenix managing director Errol Hickey who is also Zambia Tourism Board chairman, Post managing editor Amos Malupenga, among others.
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:00]
FORMER agriculture and co-operatives minister Simon Zukas has observed that agricultural input prices will remain high in the next farming seasons, with no hopes of retreating to past price levels this year. And Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Guy Robinson has advised farmers to critically consider producing crops that do not depend on fertilisers.
During an Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) discussion themed, “Zambia and the global food crisis” in Lusaka on Thursday, Zukas said the rising costs of agricultural inputs called for increased food production in Zambia.
“Input prices have been rising and they will never get back to the past price levels any time soon,” Zukas said.
Fertilizer prices have risen three-fold since the last farming season, with a 50 kilogramme bag of the commodity selling at almost K200,000 in a number of areas.
Zukas further commended the government for increasing budgetary allocation to the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) for input subsidies.
Finance and national planning minister Ng’andu Magande this week announced that an additional K300 billion would be allocated to the FSP for agricultural subsidies to small-scale farmers, amidst rising costs of fertiliser.
And Robinson said the rising cost of fertiliser presented an opportunity for farmers to diversify their crop production.
“This is the time for farmers to start producing crops that require less fertiliser. Sometimes we focus too much on maize and forget other crops. This should not be the case,” Robinson said.
“Farmers this season may resist producing maize because of the high prices of farming inputs. We have no time to wait…we need to find solutions to the problems facing the agriculture sector.”
And Food Reserve Agency (FRA) chairman Costain Chilala warned that food prices were likely to surge further between September and March.
“This is because farmers would have sold all their maize and getting into another farming season,” said Chilala.
By Laura Mushaukwa
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:00]
LUSAKA High Court judge Eddie Sikazwe has refused to hear incarcerated former Access Financial Services Limited director Faustin Kabwe’s bail application but instead ordered that it be sent back to the magistrates’ court. This is in a case where Kabwe has applied to the High Court for bail, pending appeal against conviction and a two-year jail sentence by the magistrates’ court on a charge of conspiracy to defraud.
Judge Sikazwe sent the matter back to the magistrates’ court where he ordered that it be heard expeditiously, contending that the bail application was supposed to be lodged before the convicting court upon pronouncement of the judgment.
“It is ordered that since this matter was adjudged by the subordinate court on August 13, 2008 and seeing that this matter is one which is and can be entertained by the convicting court in respect of the bail application and was not lodged before the convicting court immediately upon pronouncement of the judgment, there has been no application before it.
As the vacation judge for the general list for this Michaelmus vacation, I am directing and sending this bail application to the subordinate court to hear the bail application expeditiously,” judge Sikazwe ruled.
He added that after all, the lower court had in the first place granted bail to the appellant all the time the matter was being heard by it.
But when Kabwe and his lawyer John Sangwa went to the magistrates court as ordered, High Court Deputy Registrar Edward Musona, who is the convicting magistrate, set August 28, 2008 as the date of hearing for the application.
Sangwa returned to the High Court to inform judge Sikazwe of the development but was by press time still waiting for the judge’s response.
Meanwhile, incarcerated former Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) chairman Francis Kaunda’s bail application will be heard tomorrow.
On August 13, Kabwe was sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour by the magistrates’ court after he and Kaunda were found guilty of conspiring to defraud ZCCM.
Kaunda was also sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour on a charge of abuse of authority of office.
However, Kaunda will only serve two years in prison as the sentence is concurrent.
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday August 16, 2008 [04:00]
ACTING Indian High Commissioner Oscar Kerketta yesterday said India has an average investment of about US $2 billion in Zambia. Speaking during India's 62nd Independence anniversary, Kerketta said Indian nationals and companies had invested in various sectors of the economy in Zambia.
"There has also been renewed interest in Indian private business in Zambia," he said.
Kerketta said Zambia's request for the credit line of US $50 million to partly finance the US $200 million Itezhi-tezhi Hydro Power project was receiving attention by the Indian government and that they were expecting it to be approved soon.
He also said Zambia last year signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Pan African E-networking project worth about US $60 million, which would be fully funded by India.
Kerketta said the project would provide video conferencing facilities to the entire Africa, tele-education and telemedicine facilities linking them to universities and hospitals in all the 53 countries in Africa.
He said so far, 29 African countries had signed the MoU and that work had already started for Zambia. He further said they were about to implement the US $60,000 Hole in the Wall computer project, fully funded by India, to establish two public computer learning kiosks in two schools in Lusaka.
Kerketta said the equipment had already arrived and was being installed. He said Tata in July this year signed an MoU with Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) for the acquisition of Kabwe Tannery to help the Zambian economy at the grass-roots level.
He further said Shree Renuka Sugars Limited of Mumbai had signed an MoU with Zambian entrepreneurs to set up a sugar plantation and sugar mill in Mazabuka with a proposed investment of about US $200 million.
Kerketta said India had this year given a credit line of about US $30 million to Malawi for irrigation, grain storage, tobacco threshing and one village project.
"Whatever I have said so far shall prove that when we say that India is committed to its relations with Zambia, we are not only giving it a lip-service. India is actually dirtying up its hands in Zambia," he said.
Kerketta said he was also happy with the role that Indian charitable institutions were playing in Zambia to uplift the living standards of the people. He was further happy that India had contributed money to mitigate the floods that occurred this year in Zambia.
Kerketta also cited the India-Africa forum which was held in New Delhi early this year as having given a new thrust to India's engagement with Africa.
Friday, August 15, 2008
WESTERN countries with business interests in Zimbabwe feel threatened by the emergence of black-owned companies hence they have been targeted for illegal sanctions, the Deputy Minister of Youth Development and Employment Creation, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere, has said. Cde Kasukuwere’s Comoil (Pvt) Ltd is among the 17 local companies placed on the revised sanctions list by the US last month. Interviewed recently at the Chimoio Shrine, Mozambique, Cde Kasukuwere said he was not worried by the development.
"Western countries are threatened by the emergence of big black business in Zimbabwe. I do not think that the listing of Comoil should pay me more than the sacrifices made by the heroes lying here at the Chimoio Shrine. These are trials and tribulations that will make us infallible," he said.
"If Comoil is to go, let it go. We have to make sacrifices. I am under sanctions because of my role (in Zanu-PF), but there is no big deal about Comoil. It will continue operating. We are not under sanctions in Zimbabwe."
Cde Kasukuwere said the country must move forward despite the illegal sanctions imposed by the European Union and the US, saying it was important for Zimbabweans to sit down and deal with the current challenges facing the country.
Government has since questioned the motive behind the exclusion of American and British owned companies from the expanded sanctions list despite accusations that they were aiding the State through their continued operations in the country.
The Confederation of Zimbabwean Industries has also described as unfortunate the decision by the US to impose sanctions on local companies saying business had nothing to do with politics.
CZI said it has never supported sanctions of any nature and believes in dialogue, diplomacy and constructive engagement.
THE inter-party dialogue between Zimbabwe’s main political parties resumes in South Africa this weekend on the sidelines of the Sadc summit. Senior officials from Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations yesterday confirmed the resumption of the talks, which Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri hopes will lead to a peaceful social environment, which will free the nation to robustly confront the economic difficulties it is facing.
The talks adjourned when MDC-T leader Morgan Tsva-ngirai requested to "reflect and consult" on a sticking point in the dialogue. MDC leaders Arthur Mutambara and Tsvangirai flew to South Africa yesterday while President Mugabe leaves today. The parties have agreed on every aspect of an all-inclusive government except on a single issue which Tsvangirai wanted to consult over.
Zanu-PF principal negotiator Cde Patrick Chinamasa confirmed that the three principals from the negotiating parties would travel to South Africa with two negotiators each for the talks.
"We (Cdes Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche) are travelling to South Africa with President Mugabe today as the negotiations continue.
"The talks never collapsed and all parties are committed to the dialogue. I would also want to confirm Zanu-PF’s commitment to see the talks end successfully sooner rather than later to the people’s expectations," he said.
Cde Chinamasa said there was pressure for the country to convene Parliament and form a Government.
"We cannot continue wandering around without direction, hence the need to swear in parliamentarians and open the House so that the elected members can continue to fulfil their constitutional mandate."
MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube, who will be joined by his deputy, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, confirmed the resumption of the talks, saying Mutambara flew to South Africa yesterday.
MDC-T acting spokesperson Tapiwa Mashakada said Tsvangirai left for the talks yesterday evening.
"He has flown out of the country with secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma, who are the main negotiators," he said.
Tsvangirai had failed to travel earlier in the day after immigration authorities confiscated his travel document.
Mashakada said Tsvangirai got back his document and was able to travel on an evening flight to South Africa.
Principal immigration officer Mr Evans Siziba said he would only be in a position to comment on why Tsvangirai’s documents were seized today after getting a report of the previous day’s events at the airport.
Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations had signed 13 agreements before Tsvangirai abruptly pulled out of the South African-mediated talks on Tuesday evening.
The party’s negotiators, Biti and Mangoma, had been authorised by Tsvangirai to append their signatures to the 13 agreements as and when they were reached.
At the time Tsvangirai pulled out of signing the final document, endorsed by President Mugabe and Mutambara, only four issues had remained on the agenda.
Zimbabweans have urged the negotiating parties to come up with a settlement so that the country finds solutions to the challenges it is facing.
Comm-Gen Chihuri yesterday applauded South African President Thabo Mbeki for the role he is playing in facilitating and mediating in the talks.
"Allow me to point out and express my sincere appreciation and recognition of the role being played by South African President Mr Thabo Mbeki, which has seen a convergence of opinion which the nation hopes and trusts will lead to enduring peace in the country.
"As the ZRP, we are naturally hopeful that these efforts will lead to the promotion and sustenance of a peaceful social environment, which will free the nation to robustly confront the economic challenges," said Comm-Gen Chihuri.
He was addressing 25 Zimbabwean police officers who had just returned home from United Nations peacekeeping duty in Sudan and Liberia.
Twenty-two served in Sudan while the other three were stationed in Liberia for the past 12 months.
Comm-Gen Chihuri briefed the officers about the harmonised elections, Presidential election run-off and the Memorandum of Understanding, which was recently signed by Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations to pave way for full-scale talks to resolve Zimbabwe’s problems.
"The move that has been taken by the three major political parties in the country to engage in negotiations with a
view to solving the country’s economic and political problems should be applauded," he said.
He urged the officers to discharge their constitutional mandated task professionally because professionalism was the force’s hallmark.
The police chief said he was convinced that the personal and professional conduct of the officers during their missions was beyond reproach since no adverse reports had been received from the UN.
"I want to commend you for a successful tour of duty. You did the country proud by raising our national flag high and upholding the organisation’s impeccable track record in service delivery," he said.
The force would continue to ensure that peace prevailed countrywide especially within the farming areas through a vigorous enforcement of policing measures and strategies meant to flush out criminals engaging in acts of vandalism.
• Text: Memorandum of Understanding between Zanu PF and MDC
Last updated: 15/08/2008 14:04:47
NEGOTIATORS from Zimbabwe's rival parties are meeting to try and reach a settlement to the country's crisis before this weekend's regional summit, a spokesman for an opposition faction said Friday. "They are trying to come to a settlement before the SADC meeting on Saturday," said Edwin Mushoriwa, spokesman for Arthur Mutambara, who heads a smaller faction of Zimbabwe's opposition.
"They are already in South Africa at the moment and they are discussing, they are actually negotiating," said Mushoriwa. A summit of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community will be held in South Africa this weekend.
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai arrived in Johannesburg earlier Friday after his travel documents were briefly seized by authorities at Harare airport the previous day.
President Robert Mugabe was expected to arrive later on Friday.
Power-sharing talks between the rivals were stalled when three days of negotiations adjourned on Tuesday after Tsvangirai said he needed more time to consider a deal agreed by Mugabe and Mutambara.
Tsvangirai said after his passport was briefly seized on Thursday that he remained "hopeful" talks to resolve the country's crisis would resume.
"The whole thing was going to be determined at this SADC summit," he said.
Zimbabwe's crisis intensified after Mugabe's re-election in a June presidential run-off widely condemned as a sham.
Tsvangirai boycotted the run-off despite finishing ahead of Mugabe in the March first round, citing rising violence against his supporters. - AFP
Anglo holding talks with MDC for Zimbabwean mining rights
London’s Financial Times says Anglo American is in talks with Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change to secure platinum mining rights should the party take power.
Posted: Thursday , 14 Aug 2008
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Anglo American
The FT quoted in its European edition two senior MDC figures on Thursday as saying it held talks with Anglo American about possibly granting mining rights to the company's platinum unit Anglo Platinum
South African President Thabo Mbeki is trying to broker a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai after widely-condemned polls this year plunged the country further into political and economic crisis.
The FT said the MDC planned to review mining in the country, which has the world's second biggest platinum reserves after South Africa, should it win power.
Neither Anglo American nor MDC officials could immediately be reached for comment on the article.
A deal that wrests at least some power from Mugabe and promotes political and economic stability could spur investment in Zimbabwe, which was once one of Africa's most prosperous countries but now faces spiralling inflation and biting poverty.
Angloplat owns the Unki project and said last month it aimed to start output there in about two years despite criticism by British politicians and investors about investing in Zimbabwe while Mugabe retains power.
(Writing by Rebecca Harrison; Editing by Peter Blackburn)
Zimbabwe: Anglo American Remains Mum on Talks With MDC
Business Day (Johannesburg)
15 August 2008
Posted to the web 15 August 2008
Anglo holding talks with MDC for Zimbabwean mining rights
London’s Financial Times says Anglo American is in talks with Zimbabwe’s Movement for Democratic Change to secure platinum mining rights should the party take power.
Posted: Thursday , 14 Aug 2008
JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) -
Anglo holds talks with MDC on Zim mining rights-FT
Thu Aug 14, 2008 6:51am EDT
Analysts respond to MDC, Anglo ‘deal’
Our reporter/FT/The Times
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 06:53:00 +0000
Cynthia Carrol (R), Anglo American's CEO and MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai (R)
ANALYSTS in the mining and other industries have express shock and scepticism over alleged talks between mining giant Anglo American and Zimbabwe’s opposition Movement for Democratic Change party led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Yesterday we reported that the MDC party and Anglo were involved in sideline deals that would see mining concessions ceded to the Zanu PF government by Anglo reversed if the opposition party came into power.
The story was broken by the Financial Times (UK) and alleged that two MDC-T officials had held secret talks with the mining giant and had promised them some deals should they get into power. This development was barely a week after MDC treasurer-general, Roy Bennett had expressed his anger at the fact that Anglo was planning a US$400 million investment in Zimbabwe. Bennett at the time argued that the mining conglomerate was “propping up the Mugabe regime”.
Industry analysts expressed scepticism at the alleged deals and Anglo and the MDC-T party remained tight-lipped on the allegations.
Anglo American spokesman James Wyatt-Tilby was approached by The Times (SA) newspaper and would not comment on the story.
Sholto Dolamo, precious metals analyst at Stanlib was quoted as saying the story was “a bit dodgy”. He said: ‘‘I think the story is a bit dodgy. It is very unlike Anglo to talk to the MDC without the MDC being the official ruling party.”
Dolamo added: “Investors … have adopted a wait-and-see approach. You could have burned your fingers earlier, for example, after the elections when it seemed the MDC had won. If you had gone in there lock, stock and barrel you would have burned your fingers. So investors have a wait-and-see approach.”
South Africa’s Standard Bank economist Victor Munyama also expressed that many companies had taken that “wait-and-see approach” adding that mining in Zimbabwe had the potential of becoming very big. He said that many companies had pulled out of Zimbabwe, but were now waiting in the wings.
“Zimbabwe has the largest platinum reserves in the world after South Africa. Mining was big in Zimbabwe and has the potential to be big again. So I think a lot of corporations are waiting on the periphery,” said Munyama.
“I don’t think many corporations will engage in talks with political parties.
“Property rights, the rule of law, can contracts be enforced — corporations will be looking more at those.
“It doesn’t make any sense to make a deal with any party before there is assurance that those domestic institutions are in place. So far, we are not quite sure what the outcome is going to be.
“A lot of institutions and corporations will go back, but the political direction needs to be certain. It is common knowledge that everyone is waiting on the periphery.”
Munyama added that the government of Zimbabwe needed to make clear to investors the details of the empowerment legislation and how it will, in the short run and long run, affect investors. He said greater clarity was still needed on Zimbabwe’s economic empowerment legislation.
In March, the Zimbabwe government passed the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, mooted last year which will force foreign-owned firms to sell at least 51% of the shares of every public company and other businesses to indigenous Zimbabwean businessmen.
The Act also specifies that no restructuring, merger or demerger shall be approved unless indigenous Zimbabweans hold 51 percent shares in the resultant business.
An agreement between the MDC and Anglo could affect current negotiations aimed at finding a peaceful solution to the Zimbabwe crisis. It could also affect current contracts that the government of Zimbabwe holds with other companies.
In April this year, a deal was struck between the Zimbabwe government and AIM-listed copper and cobalt producer Camec which bought former Anglo-owned platinum properties in Zimbabwe through the acquisition of British firm Lefever Finance.
Camec is owned by former England cricket spin bowler, Phil Edmonds who recently came under fire from Britain for doing business with President Robert Mugabe’s government.
Camecsaid it believed that "investing in Zimbabwe at this early stage is the best way to help the people of Zimbabwe while also generating shareholder value".
FT/The Times/Zim Guardian
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 07:44:00 +0000
OSAMA BIN LADEN’s brother wants to build the world's longest suspension bridge, linking Africa with Arabia across the world's most dangerous waters and also plans to build two new cities on each end of the bridge, says the UK’s Independent newspaper.
Named “The Al Noor project” the bridge will cost some $200bn (£100bn) and, according to reports, Sheikh Bin Laden has already ploughed hundreds of millions of dollars into the scheme himself.
The bridge will be 18 miles long, and “will link Africa with Arabia across the Bab al-Mandib (Gate of Tears), the strait connecting the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden. Two cities, one in tiny Djibouti, the other in Yemen, will sit at either end,” claims the Independent.
Bin Laden says the two cities, once finished will be the envy of the world.
They will also be models for a further 98 cities, Sheikh Bin Laden hopes to build worldwide.
Bin Laden had a grand launch in Djibouti last month attended by Djiboutian government officials, American military contractors and journalists at the Djibouti Kempinsky Palace, the country's only 5-star hotel
The project was compared to the construction of the Pyramids, the Garden of Eden and the Great Wall of China. It would be a "hope for all humanity".
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 03:57:00 +0000
ZIMBABWE police have tightened security at all police stations and camps countrywide following the recent explosion at the Criminal Investigations Department wing located at the Central Police Station in the capital Harare. Police Chief Spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena issued a statement saying security measures had been beefed up at police stations and camps.
Some of the security measures in place include the banning of private motorists from parking their cars at police stations overnight for safekeeping.
Snr Asst Commissioner Bvudzijena also confirmed that investigations on the bombing earlier this month were still in progress and said a number of officers at Harare central police station have been questioned in connection with the explosion at the beginning of this month.
The Zimbabwe National Army bomb disposal unit recovered unexploded bombs from the first floor of the old wing of the Central Police Station after the bombing attack. The wing houses the CID.
Fri, 15 Aug 2008 14:43:00 +0000
AT the time of writing this piece, this writer shares the optimism of every well meaning Zimbabwean that the Thabo Mbeki-facilitated negotiations by Zimbabwe’s political leadership are the only panacea to the pernicious polarization that had become endemic in our political system for the past eight years.
August is the month we remember all those gallant children of Zimbabwe who chose a perilous route of joining the armed struggle that brought us this freedom that we do not only often take for granted, but also ridicule by the indignity of deriding the survivors and living heroes of that struggle, that is when we are not denigrating the principle of the struggle itself.
The legacy of our liberation heroes who rest at home and outside the country cannot be meaningful in its abstract context. It is a legacy that remains the foundation of Zimbabwe’s destiny. Zimbabwe cannot be founded on free market forces and the delusional campaigns for alien political and cultural values disguised as modernity and globalisation. Neither can it founded on a leadership driven by borrowed reasoning.
Those who feel educated and sophisticated by continually reminding the rest of the country that Zimbabwe is not an island but part of the global village must remember that the fundamental component to the entity called Zimbabwe is not its political behaviour but its identity. Indeed Zimbabwe is part of this planet and will remain so throughout the times. The challenge we have as a country is to find our own footing and to charter a way forward founded on our national interest.
The Heroes Day is a day that reminds us of that national interest – the compendium of the aspirations of those who shed their blood for the cause that took away our servitude and colonial slavery. These aspirations did not die with our departed heroes but remained with those who survived the brutality of the ignominiously racist British colonial forces that presided over Rhodesia. These survivors are not necessarily limited to the ZANLA and ZIPRA ex-combatants and the politicians who led them but also include all the vulnerable civilians who survived Ian Smith’s reckless brutality.
Humanity has this inherent tendency to glorify what cannot be seen and to underrate or even vilify what is before its eyes. Even Jesus Christ had to ask how it was possible for people to love a God they had never seen while they hated the very people they lived with. No doubt some of the people who took part in the struggle that brought our independence have erred and wronged the country by omission or commission but that does not mean a good hero can only be a dead one.
There has been a baseless but unanimous opinion in the West and in some African countries that Zimbabwe can never ever recover in the presence of President Mugabe. This is a man who stands on behalf of the departed and living heroes of the armed struggle we call the foundation to our nation – a man whose vision some of us have chosen to fight against alongside the imperial enemy.
The baseness, stupidity and incendiary with which Western leaders and their media have tried to divide Africa over the issue of President Mugabe are remarkably amazing.
This writer is aware that any writing that that contradicts the “Mugabe is a dictator” philosophy is a path infested with thorns. The danger interestingly lies mainly with some fellow countrymen who have been caught up in the folly that says democracy means the removal of incumbent political leaders, by definition. Sometimes it is safer to meet a lioness robbed of its cubs than to confront a fool caught up in folly. Each time a person like Gordon Brown opens his mouth over Zimbabwe one is reminded of this saying.
This writer can endeavour here to define democracy and give a lecture on how it applies to various peoples and cultures but it is pointless with a people bent on pursuing a hate war. It is as futile as paying tuition to educate a fool who has no heart for wisdom.
The fragility of our own political ranks as Zimbabweans in general is what gave the Western powers the leverage they have used in the past eight years to bring our country down on its knees. These are years that have shown us adversity within our beloved Zimbabwe, within our own ranks as a people, even right in the legacy of our liberation history.
It was now hoped that the fragility and seeming incompatibilities between the ruling Zanu PF and the opposition would be a thing of the past and this hope is now held at ransom by the reported indecisiveness of Morgan Tsvangirai.
Erroneous practices and ideas harmful to the Zimbabwean revolution have developed within the generality of our people and among our politicians. The current talks towards a negotiated settlement are a good effort at combating the destructive route our country has been taking, despite the relative fragility of the political relations between the country’s political parties.
This noble effort has taken a lot of compromises and sacrifices already and it is dishearteningly disappointing for one man or one party to make an attempt to measure popularity by politicking over a matter that has been mandated by Sadc and endorsed by the African Union.
More worryingly there is a looming danger that forces from outside the African influence have not only sneaked into the negotiations but that they have actually stalled progress as a way of assessing the strength of their influence.
There is nothing we have not seen in the last eight years. We have seen appalling about-faces; confrontations have followed provocations, and we have seen splits and schisms. The country has gone through a phase we would all want to forget and it is highly irresponsible for any one particular politician to cherish the effect of the country’s turmoil for purposes of maintaining relevance and political mileage.
We have seen opportunism and we have watched it work – in a way that shamelessly abandons the revolutionary struggle and that betrays the intransigent defence of the people’s interests in frantic search for personal and selfish advantage. This seems to be perpetuating in the inter-party talks and for as long as there are people who think of the self ahead of the whole then we are bound to continue watching the national hope being held as personal property by the whim of political ambition.
For having chosen to follow the path of empowering the masses of Zimbabwe through the land reclamation policy rather than the easier route of avoiding upsetting imperial authority, Zimbabwe has been subjected to ever more slanderous attacks from both the traditional enemies of the pre-colonial era and from elements that have come from the ranks of its own population, mainly those currently residing in Western countries. It would appear like this politics of the repossessed land is again central to the cause of the hidden Western hand that has now stalled what looked like promising maturity on the party of Zimbabwean politicians. As has always been the case, those driven by the vindictive drive to turn the tables on the land policy will never openly admit to the real motive behind their hostility.
There is also this new dimension of some regional countries in Africa surprisingly showing unjustifiable exasperation over the affairs of Zimbabwe. Botswana has just been acting like a defacto British protectorate of late, unnecessarily and baselessly accusing Zimbabwe’s leadership of illegitimacy, as if the succession policy in Botswana’s ruling party is not without controversy. Well, Botswana is plainly not doing its own bid and it does not look like they are even ashamed of their decision to get angry on behalf of the Western ruling elite.
The mainly young Zimbabweans occupying themselves with the attacking of their own country, supporting Western imposed sanctions and all adversity; together with the new government of Ian Khama in Botswana; are either ignorantly impatient with the political evolution in Zimbabwe, and in that vein smitten by the zeal of novices, or else they are, as already stated, frantically and openly pursuing the interests and ambitions of Western ruling elites.
Opportunism is just like counterrevolution – it is a thornbush habitually found in the path of any revolution and until the logical conclusion of Zimbabwe’s revolution –that is the creation of a society whose glory was the dream of those who died for our independence – opportunism will continue to show itself at different moments, under different circumstances and in extremely varied forms, all the way from its most right-wing expressions to its most ultra-left and radical. The inter-party talks are about pragmatic and people centred positions and not about political opportunism. Political competition failed to produce a definitive solution to the crisis of the country and the platform for that competition was offered in the elections we saw in the first half of this year. That chapter has been closed and the talks are about a united effort to move the country forward.
The difficulties of the last eight years, the arduous demands of political activity, the harshness of the struggle that was the land reclamation programme, the temptation to betray the country in exchange for accommodation by Western powers – all these factors have contributed to the political turmoil the current talks are set to resolve.
The West is naturally looking for a fatal deadlock and deadly betrayals in the process of the inter-party talks. They seek a deceitful quelling of the problems in favour of the assertion of imperial control over the country’s resources. That is what called Western interests and it is our duty, not the West’s duty, to ensure that our own Zimbabwean interests remain supreme to any foreign interest.
Indeed the negotiated settlement and the idea of a new government is the hope of today. The challenge of tomorrow is in tasks that are many and complex.
The enemies of the country’s land revolution and its self-determination are already working with redoubled energy and ingenuity to bar the road forward. This is what Mr. Tsvangirai can either chose to support or ignore. Both choices have a price and one hopes that dignity will be the chosen prize chosen over the indignity of fulfilling alien aspirations.
Zimbabwe will need more courage, more conviction, and more determination to keep marching forward. This will come, in part, from the lessons we are able to draw from the last eight years of strife and political conflict. The era we are entering now is one that needs a scientifically organised ideological and political framework. The country needs honest appraisal of its policies. However, there is need to enter this challenging phase as a united Zimbabwe and not another fragmented grouping having to commit energies to yet another political conflict being kept in motion by those who chose thwart progress for the sake of achieving selfish personal goals.
Zimbabwe needs the current talks to be concluded positively and amicably so that the country can move into the next phase.
In this phase the neglecting and downplaying of important tasks in government must be a thing of the past, and the rhetoric that gives the impression that we want to change everything immediately must be corrected. Policy implementation must not only be the expected task of the public service but necessarily the mandated order with no option of failure.
Failure to implement public policy must become an unforgivable sin for all those who are going to hold public office. Unity of purpose towards achieving success can only come on the backdrop of acknowledging that we all share the inadequacies and defects currently inherent in our political spectrum.
Zimbabwe needs a diversity of initiatives, of thoughts and activities that are rich with a million nuances, all put forward courageously and sincerely in the framework of accepting differences and respecting the need for criticism and self-criticism, and all directed towards a single, bright goal which is none other than the happiness of Zimbabwean people.
Lastly, corruption must not only be fought, but must be killed to the last offender. We do not need professionals to manage corruption as if it were a virtue. It simply must be killed and the term mercy cannot be compatible with corruption. If it means Zimbabwe will have to export convicts to curb corruption so be it.
As we remember our fallen heroes this month, and as we hope that sanity will prevail with the conclusion of the talks, let us remember that only Zimbabweans can build Zimbabwe.
It is homeland or death and together we will overcome.
[Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or visit www.rwafawarova.com ]
By Joan Chirwa
Friday August 15, 2008 [03:00]
ZAMBIA and other African governments should increase investments in research and development to boost farmers’ cassava yields as a promising industrial crop, scientists have advised. And agriculture and co-operatives minister Ben Kapita said the government has noted the need to list cassava as the second priority crop from maize.
The scientists, who have formed an international network called the Global Cassava Partnership, said cassava could help protect the food and energy security of poor countries now threatened by soaring oil and food prices.
They called for a significant increase in investment in research and development needed to boost farmers’ yields and explore promising industrial uses of cassava, including production of biofuels.
“The world community cannot continue to ignore the plight of low-income tropical countries that have been hardest hit by rising oil prices and galloping food price inflation,” the scientists said.
Widely grown in tropical Africa, Asia and Latin America, cassava is the developing world’s fourth most important crop, with production in 2006 estimated at 226 million tonnes. It is the staple food of nearly a billion people in 105 countries, where the root provides as much as a third of daily calories.
One promising application is fermentation of the starch to produce ethanol used in biofuel, although the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) cautions that policies encouraging a shift to biofuel production should carefully consider its effects on food production and food security.
And Kapita said the government was trying to promote cassava as a second priority crop in Zambia.
“The Ministry of Agriculture last December sent a team of officials to Nigeria to learn how that country had developed its cassava sector,” said Kapita. “The report is out and I am happy with it. We will soon present it to Cabinet.”
By Laura Mushaukwa
Friday August 15, 2008 [04:00]
ATTORNEY General Mumba Malila has said the conviction of Francis Kaunda and Faustin Kabwe is a confirmation that the prosecution of high-profile individuals is not politically motivated but based on evidence in the courts. And the Task Force on Corruption said the conviction of Kaunda and Kabwe is a sign that the fight against corruption is not in vain. Meanwhile, Kabwe has applied for bail pending appeal in the Lusaka High Court.
Commenting on the conviction of former Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) chairman Kaunda and former Access Financial Services director Kabwe by the Magistrates’ Court after finding them guilty of conspiring to defraud ZCCM, Malila, who was cheered by the conviction, hoped that it would serve as a warning to the other corrupt people.
“It does not pay to be corrupt because sooner or later, the long arm of the law will catch up with you,” Malila warned. “I’m very happy with the conviction, I am delighted with the manner in which it was handled.”
He noted that the anti-corruption fight that the government embarked on was bearing fruits.
Malila paid glowing tribute to the Judiciary for the manner in which they dealt with corruption cases.
“I want to express my happiness at the manner in which the Judiciary is dealing with issues of corruption,” said Malila.
On the convictions, the Task Force on Corruption through their public relations officer Victor Makai described the convictions as motivating on their part in the fight against the vice.
“We are very happy that we have registered a victory in the court, we’ve done our job and we managed to get a conviction, for Mr Kabwe we have several cases in the court,” Makai said.
He added that the convictions were facilitated by the government’s political will in the fight against corruption.
“We are happy that such convictions are as a result of the political will that we have received from the present government,” he said.
Makai warned all the people engaging in corrupt activities that they would be brought to book.
“My final warning is: if you are involved in corruption wherever you are, we will get you, we will continue to pursue and carry out investigations diligently to ensure that all cases are brought to their natural conclusion,” he warned.
Makai pledged the Task Force’s commitment to pursuing all the necessary assets plundered from the people of Zambia and bringing all the culprits to book.
“We are ready and willing to pursue everybody and anybody who is involved in corrupt activities or abuse of authority of office,” promised Makai.
In the Lusaka High Court, incarcerated Kabwe has applied for bail pleading that if he were to be granted bail, he would abide by all the conditions.
Kabwe explained that throughout the hearing of his case, which has now resulted in his conviction, he had been on bail and that he complied with all the terms stipulated by the court.
He stated that he was informed by his advocates that given the sentence of two years imprisonment that was meted out on him, he was likely to be in prison for 16 months while waiting for his appeal.
Kabwe added that taking into account the workload at the High Court, it was unlikely that the record of appeal containing the testimonies of all the 26 prosecution witnesses would be ready, making it possible to render his appeal academic.
He has since lodged a notice of appeal in the High Court.
On Wednesday this week, High Court deputy registrar Edward Musona sitting as magistrate sentenced Kabwe and his counterpart Kaunda to two years imprisonment with hard labour after finding them guilty of conspiring to defraud ZCCM.
Kaunda was also jailed two years on a charge of abuse of authority of office but will only serve two years since his sentences will will run concurrently.
Kabwe is currently facing several corruption charges in the court. He is jointly charged with former President Frederick Chiluba and Aaron Chungu in a theft case involving about US$500,000 stolen using the Zamtrop Account and was found liable by a London judge Peter Smith together with Chiluba and others for defrauding Zambia out of millions of dollars.
Kabwe is also facing corruption charges together with former finance minister Katele Kalumba and others.
The bail application hearing comes up today.
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Friday August 15, 2008 [04:00]
EASTERN Province MMD chairperson Kennedy Zulu has said most members of parliament in the province have failed to deliver to people’s expectations. And Zulu said the Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) extended the suspension of the provincial youth treasurer Chris Zulu. In an interview last Monday, Zulu said members of parliament that wanted to visit the province should first inform the provincial party chairperson.
“Members of parliament should notify us before visiting the province because we want to know whatever they are going to do and if possible, we would like to go with them to the constituencies and hear what they articulate because what we have discovered is that some of them have failed to deliver the promises they gave to the people. That’s why some of them are panicking now,” Zulu said.
He said some of the members of parliament were forming parallel branches aimed at destabilising the party to try and safeguard their adoption in 2011.
“If they are not performing, they are de-campaigning themselves. So we want to know whether they come to the province to destabilise or to build the party,” Zulu said.
He said according to the PEC’s resolution during last Sunday’s meeting, members of parliament were directed not to interfere in the activities of constituency and district officials.
“According to the reports from the districts, it was noted that they were always faced with interference from members of parliament in the formation of branch and ward committees,” Zulu said.
He said PEC also banned all party members from issuing press statements and contacting the MMD secretariat without following procedure.
And Zulu said the provincial youth treasurer was suspended for fundraising without the knowledge of the provincial party treasurer.
Zulu also said provincial information and publicity secretary Filimino Banda had been appointed vice-provincial chairperson replacing late Charles Gear Nyirenda who died early this year
By Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Friday August 15, 2008 [04:00]
FORMER vice-president Lupando Mwape (below) has said it is unfortunate that his name has been tied to the unconstitutional expenditure of K10 billion that his office incurred prior to the 2006 general elections. In an interview yesterday, Mwape who is now Zambia’s Ambassador to China said tying his name to the expenditure shows lack of understanding of the systematic operations of the offices of the President and Vice-President.
“The vice-president does not handle money directly,” Ambassador Mwape said. “What would happen then is I would say this is my programme and then the administrators at the secretariat at Cabinet Office would handle the rest. So when they bring in the name of the person, it is unfortunate.
The person who is vice-president does not even know the expenses that are incurred. What happens is when the vice-president is going somewhere, he does not even know how much is spent on accommodation and all the other administrative expenses as they are handled by the administrators.”
Ambassador Mwape said it was up to the administrators at Cabinet Office to have determined expenditure that was constitutional and unconstitutional at the time that he served as vice-president.
“That’s a matter that is supposed to affect Cabinet secretariat,” said Ambassador Mwape. “Anyone in the office of the controlling officer should have known whether the expenditure was constitutional or unconstitutional.
An individual cannot be brought into question unless it was a situation where I was asked how much I needed and then I said I needed so much for this and that then I would have been brought into question or my name would be brought in. So it is a lack of understanding of systematic operations of the Office of the Vice-President that has caused my name to be brought in.”
Ambassador Mwape was in Zambia this week until today when he leaves for China.
On Monday, the Parliamentary Committee on Estimates expressed shock at revelations that Ambassador Mwape during the time he served as Vice-President incurred unconstitutional expenditure amounting to over K10 billion from his ‘extraordinary’ travels during campaigns for the 2006 general elections.
Permanent Secretary for administration in the Office of the Vice-President Austin Sichinga said the over K10 billion was realised because President Levy Mwanawasa had delegated part of his job to Mwape.
Labels: LUPANDO MWAPE
By Patson Chilemba and Jack Zimba
Friday August 15, 2008 [04:00]
SALARY increments for constitutional office holders and government officials are justified though inadequate, Bahati Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Besa Chimbaka has said. And Namwala UPND member of parliament Major Robby Chizyhuka said there was need to rationalise the matter of salary increments and face the facts squarely.
But PF Kasama-Central member of parliament Saviour Chishimba said he was opposed to the salary and allowance increments.
Commenting on the proposed salary and allowance increments whose amendment Bills have reached committee stage in Parliament, Chimbaka said people opposing the increments were unfair.
He said his being in Parliament was a sacrifice because he used to get better perks when he worked for the Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT).
"When I was working for ZNUT, I was well-paid. Now as MP for Bahati, I go away with K3 million as monthly salary after they take away K1.2 million car loan, then for insurance K1.2 million. If you have got a loan from Parliament, sometimes you can go empty," Chimbaka said. "After sitting allowance I get K400,000 daily. I pay K200,000 for my room and for meals K25,000. How much do I remain with?"
Chimbaka said it was difficult for members of parliament to sustain their lives from the current perks.
He said Zambian parliamentarians were the least paid in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.
On Hakainde Hichilema and Michael Sata's opposition to the allowances, Chimbaka urged the two leaders to stop politicking because they would be entitled to the same allowances if they were serious about becoming presidents.
"The country should be realistic. If it's good for an executive to get K108 million, now where is the worth of the President to get K15 million? I appoint someone and he gets better than me, how is he going to respect me?" asked Chimbaka. "That's why in Zambian politics we have more people who are not highly qualified because they won't leave their luxury."
And Maj Chizhyuka said the functions of constitutional office holders were diverse and intricate and that the nation should endevour to match their remuneration with responsibility.
"Right now, the Kenyan parliamentarian is paid 12,000 dollars per month. A Kenyan parliamentarian is given accommodation and an office across the street. They are given 80,000 dollars Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Compare that with what a Zambian parliamentarian gets and you will start to get some answers," he said.
Maj Chizyhuka said most parliamentarians were supposed to visit their constituencies every two weeks but wondered how they could do so with the current perks. He said the salary increments should enable those entitled to match their pay with responsibility.
But Chishimba said he was opposed to the increments because Cabinet used the 15 per cent upward adjustment to include outrageous allowances such as responsibility allowance.
He said doctors and nurses had responsibilities but they never received responsibility allowance.
Chishimba said there would be no public outcry if resources were shared equitably.
"Some things we award ourselves as leaders are nonsensical," said Chishimba.
And the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) has expressed concern at the huge disparities between salaries for unionised workers and respective managements in the private sector.
The union demanded that the government also double the salaries for the police and other security personnel and that responsibility allowance be introduced for them as well.
Union vice-president, Charles Phiri told journalists at a press briefing yesterday that the union would consider other options such as strikes if the government did not withdraw the bills.
Executive secretary, Lyson Mando took a swipe at Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba, for justifying the proposed salary increments.
"Our brother has really compromised himself. First of all, which worker would agree with his statement?" he asked.
Mando said Hikaumba could no longer be trusted with the interests of the workers.
Meanwhile, 13 civil society organisations and church mother bodies met with the Vice-President Rupiah Banda on Wednesday to register their displeasure at the proposed salary increments.
Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) executive director Goodwell Lungu confirmed the meeting.
Lungu said the Vice-President promised to take the matter back to Cabinet next Thursday for "re-discussion."
The NGOs have, however, vowed to continue mounting pressure on the government until the bills on salaries are withdrawn.
The NGOs are Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC), Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ), Non-Governmental Coordinating Council (NGOCC), Transparency International Zambia (TIZ), Caritas Zambia and the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR), among others.
Friday August 15, 2008 [04:00]
It is encouraging to hear Commissioner General Chriticles Mwansa announce that the Zambia Revenue Authority has collected taxes from mine companies to the tune of K255.6 billion since the new tax regime was introduced.
The question however is: what are finance minister Ng'andu Magande and his friends in Cabinet planning to do in next year's budget? I suggest Pay As You Earn should be reduced in order to relieve the workers who have been in the past heavily taxed due to the undercharging of taxes on mines.
We have all the resources to be a better people.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
THE Ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises has welcomed the Indo-Zim project, which was launched in Harare last week. The SME project saw the procurement of around US$4 million worth of high technologies from India for use by small and medium enterprises here. In a telephone interview with Herald Business last week, Small to Medium Enterprises deputy minister Mr Kenneth Mutiwekuziva said he was thankful that the two governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding in 2006 in which India pledged US$5 million to develop SMEs in Zimbabwe.
"I thank the Government for the ‘Look East Policy’ which brought about lucrative and unconditional relationships with the East," the deputy minister said.
"This is clear testimony that the East are an all-weather friend who helped us during our colonial era and continue to help us win our economic war.
"We are happy that all SMEs, from urban areas to rural areas will be boosted since President Mugabe clearly indicated that some of the machines will be installed for rural facility centres.
"Our banks and micro-finance institutions should interact with those from India to learn more about how best they can assist our small to medium enterprises sector like they do in their country. It is my wish that this co-operation be an on-going process as well as a mutually beneficial one," said Mutiwekuziva.
Some of the machines procured have already been installed at the Indo-Zim Technology Centre, which has branches at the Harare Institute of Technology, Bulawayo Polytechnic and Small Enterprises Development Corporation’s factory shells in Chitungwiza.
Speaking at the launch last week, President Mugabe urged SMEs to take full advantage of the project to produce quality and competitive products.
He said that the project would contribute significantly to the building of the country’s industrial base as well as developing technically qualified entrepreneurs to start up businesses.
It was high time SMEs moved in tandem with global trends from being traditional and general businesses to high-tech enterprises that would increase national wealth and reduce the apparent scarcity of foreign currency, President Mugabe said.
Indian was hopeful that the launch of the Indo-Zim Project marked the beginning of continued co-operation between the two countries.
The country expressed India’s wish to have companies from that side investing in Zimbabwe in sectors like power, railways, mining, energy, dairy and agriculture. The plastic, electronics, carpentry, railway and other heavy industries are set to benefit from this project.
By Obi Egbuna
AS the people of Zimbabwe paid homage to their fallen heroes throughout the country on Monday, there are several valuable lessons daughters and sons of Africa both at home and abroad can learn. While the majority of people who visit Zimbabwe annually eagerly anticipate visiting Mosi-oa-Tunya (commonly referred to as Victoria Falls) or Great Zimbabwe in Masvingo because of their breathtaking beauty, it is the National Heroes Acre in Harare that will help people not only understand the people’s collective resistance spearheaded by President Mugabe and Zanu-PF.
The national shrine also puts Zimbabwe’s current political and economic challenges in a proper historical context. The first thing that stands out about the shrine should not be the beautiful architecture, but the deliberate effort to bury comrades in Zanu and Zapu right next to each other as comrades-in-arms and not political rivals.
This shows the African world the kind of unity that led to independence on April 18, 1980. Because the West continues to deliberately overlook Zimbabwe’s positive achievements, they will never grasp the true meaning of Heroes Day and the Africans under their thumb are in danger of letting these valuable lessons pass them by.
The national shrine is arguably the strongest political statement on the lengths an oppressed people can go to when attempting to unify their resistance efforts while in pursuit of total liberation.
This has significance on both the Memorandum of Understanding and the talks between the three main political parties.
While US and British imperialism and their neo-colonialist counterparts intensify their efforts to diminish the talks and their political value, they underestimate the political culture of Zimbabweans.
It is these dynamics that made both formations of the MDC realise that the leadership of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe and Zanu-PF in Zimbabwe is the driving force behind the bond that makes the masses in Southern Africa rejoice that they reside in the most stable and unified region of the African continent.
The African community inside US borders is light years behind Zimbabweans and our comrades in the Sadc region when it comes to the concept of unification.
It is quite contradictory that the Africans inside US borders who have decided to devote their energy to condemning President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, using the same baseless rhetoric as the Bush and Brown administrations, are unwilling to do the necessary work to create and maintain a united African front among organisations fighting inside the belly of US imperialism.
We have seen in the last 10 years the funerals of human rights icons like Kwame Toure, James Forman and Rosa Parks turn into showcases for many spokespeople who still haven’t learned how to properly pay tribute to fallen comrades.
Instead of using these platforms to showcase their oratory prowess, they should highlight the work of the fighters they would have gathered to honour instead of behaving like they are trying to earn the final spot on a debate team.
If they came to Zimbabwe for Heroes Day, the first thing that would stand out is that President Mugabe is the only speaker of the day, and others who are gifted in articulating ideas that are the cornerstone of the revolutionary process in Zimbabwe, actually have the humility to sit down and listen to someone else without itching to be the stars of the show.
The way President Mugabe uses this opportunity is both humble and brilliant. He highlights the giants of yesterday for the born-free generation and this ensures the work of comrades like Herbert Chitepo, Josiah Tongogara and Joshua Nkomo will be not only remembered but continued.
He then turns to confronting Zimbabwe’s immediate challenges.
A few weeks ago at a the Press conference after the MOU was signed, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said nobody held a monopoly on patriotism.
This was perhaps his most eloquent remark since he has been on the political scene in Zimbabwe, even going back to his days as the secretary-general of ZCTU.
Tsvangirai will have to admit he has never heard President Mugabe or anyone in Zanu-PF ever declare themselves a patriot.
We can say with certainty that Tsvangirai will find it extremely difficult to find any significant historical figure in any liberation struggle, whether in Africa, Asia or Latin America, who will claim to be a super patriot.
Such a label can only bestowed upon you by your people.
So when evaluating his role in Zimbabwe’s struggle, if the majority of his compliments are coming from Britain and the United States,
perhaps this will help expand his understanding and appreciation of who President Mugabe and the fallen comrades buried at the Heroes Acre are.
Tsvangirai can also travel the world and visit the Caribbean, Latin America, and Asia which have a rich revolutionary tradition like Zimbabwe, and we are confident he will find that the accolade of a patriot can only be given by the people.
The climate of unity in Zimbabwe is stronger than ever and this has helped the country stave off the negative propaganda that comes from Westerners who would like to see the revolution and the talks fail.
What is becoming increasingly obvious is that the US and British governments have made their biggest foreign policy blunder in the manner in which they have chosen to engage Zimbabwe.
This is because of a combination of two dynamics: their hatred of President Mugabe and Zanu-PF and their inability to convince both formations of the MDC to merge and march to the beat of their drum.
As more accurate information is revealed about Anglo-American imperialism’s dual agenda on Zimbabwe, the African world will discover in the near future that the opposition was created to do anything to frustrate President Mugabe’s revolution.
Any means necessary were to be used in this quest.
That is why the West is worried about the present talks and it is working night and day to ensure they do not succeed.
The West has not backed Tsvangirai for all these years only for him to sit at a negotiating table with the man they want removed at all costs.
The European Union, the US and their allies do not have confidence in Tsvangirai’s negotiating skills and they thus do not want to see him talking face-to-face with President Mugabe.
The West will settle for nothing less than President Mugabe’s total capitulation and they do not see this coming out of dialogue.
Today Zimbabwe is too united for the West’s liking and the spirit of oneness, as embodied in Heroes Day, is too much for them to bear.
Arthur Mutambara was present at the Heroes Day commemorations and it is for this reason that the anti-Zimbabwe campaign will try now more than ever to try and make him look irrelevant.
Zimbabweans has resisted such attempts to divide the nation before and they will resist again.
Long live the fallen heroes! Long live President Mugabe! Long live Zimbabwe!
By Political and Features Editor
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai signed 13 agreements with Zanu-PF and the Arthur Mutambara-led MDC formation before abruptly pulling out of the South African-facilitated talks on Tuesday evening, it has emerged. Documents seen by The Herald show that Tsvangirai’s negotiators in the inter-party dialogue — Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma — were authorised by their party leader to append their signatures to the 13 agreements as and when they were reached.
However, on Tuesday, Tsvangirai presented the other two principals — President Mugabe and Mutambara — with a fresh position paper titled "Notes on the Dialogue to Date", which appeared to repudiate all the agreements already signed and would have set back the status of the negotiations by weeks.
At the time that Tsvangirai said he could not sign the final agreement, which President Mugabe and Mutambara had already endorsed, only four issues remained on the agenda.
It is understood that President Mugabe and Mutambara subsequently agreed on these issues, paving the way for Cde Mugabe to form a new Government and for the Seventh Parliament to start sitting following elections held earlier in the year.
The parties were putting their signatures to agreements as and when they were reached, meaning that the final settlement is a compendium of documents that had been assented to by the three principals.
The main issue that Tsvangirai was not amenable to, insiders revealed, was the framework of a new Government, which is an issue that was laid on the table on July 28, 2008.
Other outstanding issues were legislative agenda priorities (tabled on July 25), and implementation mechanisms and electoral vacancies (both tabled on August 5).
Below are the agreements:
l On the 25th of July, Tsvangirai agreed that sanctions were not targeted and the Western economic embargo was hurting the nation and should be lifted as a matter of urgency.
l Part of that agreement, titled Restoration of Economic Stability and Growth, reads: "All forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe (must) be lifted in order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe."
l The three principals also agreed on the same date that there was undue external interference in the country’s domestic affairs and they would not tolerate the subversion of the sovereign will of the people of Zimbabwe by outsiders with vested interests that ran contrary to national aspirations.
l "The parties reaffirm the principle of the United Nations Charter on non-interference in the internal affairs of member countries.
"The parties hereby agree that the responsibility of effecting change of Government in Zimbabwe vests exclusively in and is the sole prerogative of the people of Zimbabwe through peaceful, democratic and constitutional means," they said.
l They added that they would "reject any unlawful, violent, undemocratic and unconstitutional means of changing governments" and that "no outsiders have a right to call or campaign for regime change in Zimbabwe".
Despite this earlier agreement, it is understood that in his new position paper Tsvangirai unconstitutionally wanted the foundation of the next Government to be premised on the results of the inconclusive March 29 elections — a demand that has been the cornerstone of Western opposition to Zimbabwe’s electoral processes.
Another interesting agreement that was reached was on the issue of land reform.
l On the 25th of July, the three parties said Britain must honour its Lancaster House obligations to fund land tenure reforms in the country.
l The parties called "upon the United Kingdom government to accept primary responsibility to pay compensation for land acquired from land owners for resettlement".
l It was also agreed that the issue of multiple farm ownership and productivity on farms be dealt with as a matter of urgency by the Seventh Parliament through the institution of a holistic land audit.
l On the issue of freedom of expression and communication, in an agreement that was also signed on July 25, the parties said: "(We) call upon governments that are hosting and/or funding external radio stations broadcasting into Zimbabwe to cease such hosting and funding."
l Zanu-PF, MDC and MDC-T also urged those journalists working for these pirate radio stations to return to Zimbabwe, get proper accreditation and start working for the good of the country rather than for its enemies.
l Other agreements signed were on State Organs and Institutions, Rule of Law, Respect for the Constitution and Other Laws, and Free Political Activity on July 25.
l The next day the parties signed agreements on the Security of Persons and Prevention of Violence, the National Youth Training Programme, Freedom of Assembly and Association, Traditional Leaders and Humanitarian and Food Assistance.
l On August 5, the parties signed an agreement titled Promotion of Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity.
The insiders said everyone had been caught unawares when on Tuesday Tsvangirai brought to the table a document that made it appear as if no agreements had been reached.
It was at this point that the other two parties, in the presence of President Thabo Mbeki, decided they could not start the negotiations all over again and would proceed with the formation of an inclusive Government and the convening of Parliament.
Tsvangirai, the insiders said, would be accommodated in the new Government when he was ready to sign.
However, according to AFP news agency, Tsvangirai yesterday issued a statement in which he said: "We knew negotiations would be difficult, but a resolution that represents anything other than the will of the Zimbabwean people would be a disaster for our country.
"We are committed to a solution that recognises that the people spoke on the 29th of March, 2008," said Tsvangirai, in reference to the harmonised elections that failed to produce a winner in the presidential poll in which he was leading.
This result was overturned in the June presidential run-off election that President Mugabe won resoundingly and Tsvangirai has not challenged that result in the courts.
Insiders said Tsvangirai was parroting the same sentiments expressed by the United States, European Union and Britain.
He also repeated the same demand that Government should unban the NGOs that were being accused of sponsoring opposition activities in the
country with Western sponsorship.
"Without further delay, we are demanding that NGOs be allowed to resume humanitarian assistance — distributing food, medicines and life-saving assistance. This destructive policy of banning humanitarian assistance can be reversed with one letter," said Tsvangirai.
On the eve of the talks on August 8, the governments of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK and US, and the European Commission issued a similar demand.
"The magnitude of the humanitarian crisis requires the immediate and unconditional lifting of the suspension on all NGO field operations. Harassment of NGOs must cease immediately, and protection for humanitarian workers must be guaranteed. Timing is critical. Steps must be taken now in order for food to be available to those in need in future months," said the statement.
The government has accused these NGOs of using food to campaign for the MDC-T in the rural areas, which are the traditional stronghold of the ruling Zanu-PF.
Herald Reporter-New Ziana-AFP.
Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations have agreed on every aspect of an all-inclusive government except one issue that Morgan Tsvangirai wants to consult over, President Thabo Mbeki and Arthur Mutambara said yesterday. President Mbeki is the facilitator of the inter-party talks, while Mutambara heads the other MDC formation. The two told separate news conferences in Harare that Tsvangirai had requested for the talks to be adjourned so that he could consult on the "sticking point".
"All the three parties are in agreement in everything except on one sticking point, which he (Tsvangirai) has requested to reflect and consult on before he comes back to the negotiation table.
"Morgan Tsvangirai has requested time to reflect and consult," Mutambara told repor-ters.
"Three times he agreed to this one aspect and three times he changed his mind," Mutambara said.
He said although he was not at liberty to disclose what had actually stalled the signing of the agreement, his party had no problems with the aspect that Tsvangirai wants to consult over.
The party’s secretary-general Welshman Ncube said the sticking point stalling the settlement was not critical. "The point is not critical and the dialogue process can proceed without that," said Ncube.
After three days spent mediating power-sharing negotiations to end Zimbabwe’s political challenges, President Mbeki said he remained confident that all three parties in the talks would find a resolution.
"We have dealt with all the elements on which President Mugabe and Mutambara agree, but there is disagreement on one element over which Morgan Tsvangirai had asked for time to reflect," said Mbeki.
"We have adjourned to give Morgan Tsvangirai more time to consider these matters.
"I’m quite confident they will resolve all their outstanding matters which would result in this inclusive government, and in the second instance then acting together," President Mbeki told reporters.
He left Harare for Luanda yesterday morning to brief Angolan leader and chairperson of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on the talks.
President Mbeki said he would discuss with President dos Santos the time frame that Tsvangirai should be given to consider the power-sharing proposals, after which he would reconvene the negotiations.
President Mbeki said major issues that the three principals had been discussing over the past four days were to do with the allocation of Cabinet portfolios in the all-inclusive government.
"A lot of ground had been covered," he said.
Mutambara said the dialogue must not be allowed to collapse until a lasting solution was reached to end the challenges facing the country.
"Negotiations would continue while consultations are being made. There is a single issue to which Tsvangirai has reservations and we have to respect that, so the talks have been adjourned."
He said parties to the dialogue should be driven by national interest and find a solution to the challenges besetting Zimbabweans.
"We are determined to put national interests first than self-interests and partisanship to craft an obtaining settlement to heal our country while promoting the recovery and transformation of our economy.
"This dialogue must not be allowed to crumble. All parties must work together and put national interests above petty and personal interests."
Mutambara, however, reiterated that the West should not work against the dialogue and remove the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
"We are negotiating as Zimbabweans and we want the dialogue to succeed so the international community should not act to destroy the spirit of discussion."
He said the MDC was against the imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe when an internal process is underway to address the country’s challenges.
"We condemn violence in whatever form, including the sanctions imposed even as we hold the talks. The sanction should be condemned without reservation.
"It is not productive to destroy the spirit of rapprochement, the Zimbabweans’ appetite to discuss their issues. The West should show confidence and respect by allowing the country’s leaders to hold talks without meaningless intervention."
He said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding by the three parties on July 21 was a "sort of ceasefire" while negotiations continue and the international community should also observe the principle of that agreement.
President Mbeki is expected to brief Sadc leaders on the state of the Zimbabwe talks at the grouping’s summit in South Africa at the weekend.
He commended the Zimbabwean leadership for their commitment to the talks, saying they were all eager to conclude the negotiations.
On what was at stake for him in the negotiations, President Mbeki said his country and Zimbabwe were neighbours that were inseparable as they shared a common history of colonialism.
"Personally, I have known the Zimbabwean leadership for a long time," he said, noting that Zimbabwe played an important role in the liberation of South Africa.
President Mbeki said as a neighbour, South Africa was aware of the difficulties that the people of Zimbabwe were experiencing and was obliged to assist.
"Even if it means spending six months in Zimbabwe, then we will do it as long as it will bring an end to the challenges that the country is experiencing," he said.
President Mbeki implored outsiders to give Zimbabweans an opportunity to address challenges facing them, saying he was convinced that they would do so if left alone.
"Let us give the Zimbabwean leaders breathing space to resolve their differences," he said.
He said he was impressed that all the Zimbabwean leaders appreciated that none of them individually had a solution to the challenges facing the country. — Herald Reporter-New Ziana-AFP.