Saturday, August 30, 2008
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:01]
SCORES of ZANU-PF supporters on Thursday afternoon demonstrated against the behaviour of opposition MDC-Tsvangirai legislators who heckled and jeered President Robert Mugabe during the official opening of Parliament on Tuesday. The ruling party supporters that gathered at the ZANU-PF headquarters in Harare chanted and sang songs denouncing the MDC members of parliament.
Some supporters were even calling for the suspension of the Zimbabwean Parliament until there was an indication or promise of taking parliamentary business seriously from the opposition MDC.
Speaking to the demonstrators, ZANU-PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa said the ruling party leadership was not amused by the opposition parliamentarians' conduct in the House on Tuesday.
Mutasa said the behaviour of the opposition MDC parliamentarians was very bad and that the party was not happy.
"They always strive to destabilise systems of governance in the country and we need to be strong against such machinations," he said.
Mutasa called upon ZANU-PF to be prepared for anything from MDC-Tsvangirai faction as it attempts to make the country ungovernable.
"We should be prepared and when they plan to disturb government programmes, we should always be prepared to counter such actions," he said.
Mutasa urged the supporters to rally behind the ruling party in the face of the threat posed by the MDC and those backing it.
He said the ruling ZANU-PF must be strong against MDC actions.
"We need to deal with such activities by the opposition members," Mutasa said.
There was chaos last Tuesday during the official opening of the First Session of the Seventh Parliament by President Mugabe as opposition MDC members of parliament jeered and continually disrupted the President's opening speech.
MDC members had earlier threatened to boycott the official opening of Parliament but they were made to change their mind on Monday after they won the posts of Speaker and deputy speaker.
The official opening was at 12:00 hours but as late as 11:00 hours, opposition parliamentarians were still locked in a meeting trying to agree on whether to attend the event or not.
They later agreed to attend but also to disrupt the President's speech.
When President Mugabe walked into the Chamber, opposition legislators remained seated. And when he begun reading his 19-page speech, he was constantly interjected throughout the 30 minutes he spent reading it.
President Mugabe's voice was drowned in the severe noise from the opposition who jeered, sung songs against ZANU-PF, shouted at him and even yawned loudly.
ZANU-PF members tried to respond by shouting back but even in the chaos that ensued, President Mugabe continued reading even though no one could hear him.
At the end of the speech ZANU-PF members burst into their trade mark song Zimbabwe ndeye ropa ( Zimbabwe was founded on blood) and MDC members responded with a song (ZANU ya ora (ZANU-PF is rotten).
The noise was deafening as parliamentarians tried to outdo each other in song, until ZANU-PF members attempted to walk out of the chamber only to be beckoned back by Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:00]
Choosing a leader should be an easy undertaking in a society where the values and standards are clear to all. But it can be a very difficult exercise if vanity, greed, selfishness and all the negative human traits are allowed to prevail. In an honest political environment, virtue opens a way for itself, and conniving, greed and cheating fail. In an honest political environment, as in no other, only those who are honest – only those with true convictions can be chosen for leadership.
Nobody should be allowed to get into public office to fulfill a personal ambition or pleasure. They should just be fulfilling their duty – to serve the cause of their people.
The same can be said about our process of choosing a leader to replace Levy Mwanawasa. In these selections and elections, methods and tactics that prostitute the process to falsify the will and interests of the people should not be allowed. They should not be used to put into office the most inept and most shrewd, rather than the most competent and the most honest.
As we stated yesterday, every person vying for the office of president should be put on the scale and weighed. All those found wanting should not be considered for that office in any way.
We have heard so many lies over the last week or so from those campaigning for some candidates who want to succeed Levy. Crooked politicians have been able to conjure up a thousand conjectures.
They have tried to spread discord and doubt, even about ourselves, and we have waited patiently because it is necessary to wait. This differentiates honest people from opportunists, mercenaries, manipulators. Honest people know how to wait; they know how to be patient; they never despair. Crooks, manipulators, opportunists live in perpetual despair, in perpetual anguish, in perpetual lying, in the most ridiculous and infantile way.
It is said in Proverbs 28:10: “If you trick an honest person into doing evil, you will fall into your own trap.
The innocent will be well rewarded.”
When you read the things said by some of these politicians in their campaigns, you ask yourself: But how is it possible this gentleman or lady is not in a stable instead of belonging to such high institutions of government and the state? Some of them are coming out with absolute nonsense. And they have a tremendous habit of lying, they cannot live without lying. They live in fear.
If we say one thing, which is what we have been consistently saying, they see fierce, terrible things, a plan behind all this! How ridiculous! What fear they live in! And one wonders: Do they believe this? Do they believe everything they say? Or do they need to believe everything they say? Or can’t they live without believing everything they say? Or do they say everything they don’t believe?
It’s difficult to say. This would be a matter for doctors and psychologists. What do they have in their brains? What fear is it that makes them see everything as a manoeuvre, as a fierce, frightening, terrible plan? They don’t know that there is no better tactic, no better strategy than to fight with clean hands, to fight with the truth. We say this because these are the only weapons that inspire confidence, that inspire faith, that inspire security, dignity and morale.
These are the only weapons honest people use to defeat and crush their enemies.
Lies. Who has ever heard lies from the lips of a truly honest person? Lies are weapons that help no honest person, and no serious honest person ever needs to resort to a lie.
Their weapon is reason, morality, truth, the ability to defend an idea, a proposal, a position. In short, the moral spectacle of some of these people is truly lamentable.
Recalling our past, we believe we have worked and carried out our duty with sufficient honour, integrity and dedication to better our country in all areas of human endeavour.
And no matter how many lies are piled up, one on top of another against honest people, nothing will succeed. No matter how hard its adversary – falsehood – may try to overwhelm it, truth always refuses to yield and triumphs.
We have stated before that manipulators have never deserved anybody’s respect or been successful anywhere.
We have stated that manipulators are like little sailboats that go with the wind and the waves. Manipulation is synonymous with opportunism. Manipulation doesn’t have substance; it doesn’t have roots. We think everything – respect, relationships, serious analysis and understanding – is possible among people who are honest with themselves and with others. We cannot call others to virtues which we ourselves do not make an effort to practice.
We shouldn’t allow our politics to be relegated to trivialities chosen precisely because they salve the consciences of the opportunists, the power-hungry trying to feather their nests and to conceal the plight of the poor and the powerless.
It is the character of growth that we should learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences.
The problems our people are today facing are such that for anybody with a conscience who can use whatever influence he or she may have to try and move our country forward, it’s difficult to say no.
Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism or selfishness made us fail to live up to Levy’s legacy.
Clearly, what is important, the most important thing, is to give happiness to people. But this is not always easy. It is an endless struggle. After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
The ways in which we achieve our goals seem to be bound by context, changing with circumstances even while remaining steadfast in our commitment to our vision.
The exercise of choosing the MMD candidate in the forth-coming presidential by-election should be a very simple exercise if the leaders of this party have a clear criteria, clear values and standards that their party wants to pursue – and a clear understanding of what constitutes Levy’s legacy. The process appears to be difficult or complicated because these values, these standards are not clear to all and everything has been thrown into a casino to be gambled.
But can a serious politician throw the future of our people into a casino, to be decided upon through the process of gambling? This shows what type of leaders we have whose only preoccupation is what is in it for them, what’s their cut. They seem to be supporting candidates on the basis of who will guarantee them a certain position, a certain presence in his cabinet. This is all that seems to matter to most of them. It is not the abilities, the competency, the honesty and integrity of the candidate, but what is in it for them that really matters.
We believe this explains everything that is going on, the lies we are hearing, the deceit we are witnessing. This is what fell to us to explain. As for the rest, let our enemies worry about it. We have enough tasks, enough things to do in our country, enough duties to fulfill. And we will fulfill them.
By Maluba Jere and Speedwell Mupuchi
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:00]
MMD deputy national secretary Jeff Kande yesterday said the party secretariat does not know former vice-president pastor Nevers Mumba as a party member. But pastor Mumba said he was not an irresponsible leader who could apply to stand on a ticket of a party he did not belong to. In an interview, Kande said since his expulsion from the party in 2006, pastor Mumba had not been re-admitted.
"As a secretariat, we don't know Nevers Mumba as a member of MMD," Kande said. "But we will sit down to go through all the applications before we finally present them to the National Executive Committee (NEC).
When we present to NEC, that's when we will give them a record of who has been doing what in the party and who hasn't. Since he was expelled from the party, he has never been re-admitted and we have never seen his application letter for re-admission."
Kande also explained that any person who had not been an active member of the party for two years did not qualify to contest the presidency.
However, Kande said the party would not stop anyone from applying for the position of presidential candidate, but that rules would apply when scrutinising the applications.
"An application is an application. You can't stop anyone from applying," Kande said. "So if you consider yourself MMD then you can apply, but the party records will tell whether you are genuine or not."
But pastor Mumba said he would not have written the application had he not known his membership status in the MMD.
Pastor Mumba on Thursday applied to be adopted as MMD candidate for the presidential by-election.
Asked when he rejoined the MMD, pastor Mumba said: "If I was not a member, I would not have applied. I am not out of mind to apply to a party to which I do not belong."
He said anyone wishing to verify his membership in the MMD should ask MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba.
Asked about the Reform Party which was formed after he was expelled from MMD, pastor Mumba said he had not dealt with the party for the past two years.
"The fact that we have not dealt with our process in the media does not mean I am still president of the Reform Party. On 12th January 2006, the Reform Party resolved to go back to the MMD on condition that I personally assured them that I have reconciled with the President with whom I had differed before," pastor Mumba explained.
"Reform Party was basically a protest party formed by members of the MMD who were frustrated and upset that I was not allowed to contest in the convention of 2005. On 12th February 2007, my reconciliation with the President took place at State House. The resolution was made in 2006 and from that day we did not promote the Reform Party."
Pastor Mumba said after his reconciliation with late President Mwanawasa, there was no further reason for the Reform Party to remain outside.
"The rest of the things that followed were administrative challenges that can be explained by the (MMD) national secretary who was given responsibility to handle our issue," said pastor Mumba.
And Kalumba, when contacted for comment, said the question of eligibility had not arisen at the moment.
Kalumba said an expelled member had the right to apply for membership, which was not restricted. He said he would not reject any application at this stage and that the applications being made were not official nomination but mere intentions.
"The point of deciding who is eligible has not arisen. The issue of Mr Mumba being raised at this point is premature and unfair. We have to wait until a committee scrutinises. We should not at this point assume that anybody who has applied is certified until I see their membership cards and their renewals," Kalumba said.
Among the people who have applied to be adopted as MMD presidential candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-election include former Constitutional Review Commission chairman Willa Mung'omba, Zambia-China Business Association chairman Sebastian Kopulande, finance minister Ng'andu Magande, former Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele and former works and supply minister Ludwig Sondashi.
Meanwhile, Kande said President Mwanawasa had no preferred candidate to take over from him and that the secretariat also had no preferred candidate.
"The President had no preference of anybody. Even us as a secretariat, we always asked him and he always said that that candidate would be known only at the convention.
So no one can claim to be preferred," Kande said. "So even us at the secretariat have no preference of anyone but follow the rules and regulations to elect that person through secret ballot then rally behind him to ensure we win the presidency."
By Patson Chilemba, Mwala Kalaluka and Lambwe Kachali
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:01]
FORMER Nchanga MMD member of parliament Richard Kazala yesterday urged the party national executive committee (NEC) to put national interests first by electing finance minister Ng'andu Magande as presidential candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-elections. But the MMD in Western Province resolved to support Vice-President Rupiah Banda as their presidential candidate.
Commenting on the succession debate in the MMD, Kazala said Vice-President Banda, who is also Acting President, wanted to reap where he did not sow.
Kazala said Magande had managerial skills and shared in late President Levy Mwanawasa's 'New deal' vision that had brought about economic development in the country.
"The Vice-President can continue in the same position but if he wishes to hijack the MMD, it's like you are reaping where you never planted seed. I would call that chancing. Let the man who was heavily involved in the formulation of the Fifth National Development Plan FNDP and other economic programmes be elected," Kazala said.
He said most of those campaigning for Vice-President Banda were just jobseekers. Kazala said MMD stood little chance of winning if it elected Vice-President Banda because among all the presidential aspirants in MMD, Magande was the most credible.
He further urged MMD to uphold the party constitution. Kazala said as far as he was concerned, Vice-President Banda had not clocked two years in the party to enable him to contest the presidency.
"People looking for the Vice-President are looking for jobs. Tetamashimba MMD spokesperson wants to become a Cabinet minister. VJ Vernon Mwaanga is retired, he's saying he shall campaign. Is he looking for a job? We don't want job seekers," Kazala said.
"I would urge NEC members not to take into account the petitions from Eastern and other provinces. The party constitution has no clause that they should accept the petitions."
And MMD in Western Province endorsed Vice-President Banda's candidature.
In a statement signed by over 30 leaders of the ruling party in the province, the members confirmed their unequivocal support for the Vice-President.
"We the undersigned members of the MMD National Executive Committee and Western Province's provincial executive committee, district executive committee, members of parliament and local government councilors, as well as committed party members, do hereby, confirm our strong and unequivocal support for the application of Mr. Rupiah B. Banda, as the party presidential candidate," the statement read.
"We reject the notion that the next President should be based on ethnicity or pretentious inter-community 'cousin-ships' or personal self trumpet blowing."
By Mwala Kalaluka in Kabwe and Maluba Jere in Lusaka
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:01]
ZAMBIA Army chaplain Lieutenant Colonel Moses Chirwa has observed that the late President Levy Mwanawasa derived his tenacity to fight corruption from the public criticism that followed him during his presidency. And President Mwanawasa's body yesterday arrived in Lusaka after the body viewing procession in eight of the country's nine provincial centres.
Delivering a homily during the body viewing procession for President Mwanawasa at Kabwe Civic Centre on Thursday, Lt Col Chirwa said it is a fact that the late President was the most criticised of all presidents Zambia has had.
"That gave him impetus to do a lot. Men of less quality would have crumbled and become ruthless, it was not so for him," Lt Col Chirwa told the crowd. "It is noble; it is important that he fought corruption with zero-tolerance. He fought with tenacity, but men of less quality would have given up and joined the bandwagon."
Lt Col Chirwa said the late President set the record and clearly defined the path for the nation and that it was saddening that people only appreciated his effectiveness at the time of his demise.
He said if the multitudes that had turned up to view President Mwanawasa's body in Kabwe had told him of the noble and right things he was doing for the country during the time he was still alive, he would have enhanced his excellent leadership performance.
"Blessed is the womb that gave birth to such a man," Lt Col Chirwa said. "It is excellent and pure to tell someone of their good qualities when they are still alive, not when he is dead."
Central Province MMD vice-chairman Jonathan Kapungwe said the ruling party in the area would greatly miss President Mwanawasa because of the fatherly role he played in resolving rifts within the party in the province. Kapungwe said despite his busy schedules, late President Mwanawasa had time to offer counsel to feuding MMD members in the province.
"The late President was a hero for us," he said. "Kabwe was a ghost town but today we are proud because it is economically viable. The MMD in this province will miss a great parent, a statesman and a father."
Provincial minister Ackimson Banda urged Zambians to be prayerful and united as they prepare for the days ahead without President Mwanawasa, whom he said was dedicated to the development of the province.
Chief Moono of Mumbwa said President Mwanawasa's death was a great loss.
"We have lost a man who had a vision for this country," chief Moono said.
Thousands of people turned up to pay their last respects to President Mwanawasa and the procession that went as far as 18:00 hours was somber and orderly.
The Kulamba Kubwalo Cultural Group from Chibombo gave President Mwanawasa a cultural send-off.
And the plane carrying the President's body touched down at Lusaka City Airport at about 09:48 hours yesterday.
First lady Maureen Mwanawasa accompanied by some government officials and relatives travelled to all the provincial towns in the country, with Kabwe being the last stop.
Vice-President Rupiah Banda with his wife, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala, defence personnel, Cabinet ministers, several government officials and some family members were at the airport to welcome the body.
As the President's casket left City Airport on the gun carrier for Mulungushi International Conference Centre where it lies in state, local government minister Sylvia Masebo collapsed.
Masebo was quickly taken to one of the offices at City Airport and later rushed to the hospital in a police vehicle.
President Mwanawasa's body was flown to Chipata, Kasama, Mansa, Ndola, Solwezi, Mongu, Livingstone and Kabwe to enable people in the country bid farewell to their leader.
And body viewing of the late Republican President would take place today and tomorrow for Lusaka residents.
On Tuesday, September 2, a valedictory ceremony will take place at the Supreme Court and the body will depart Mulungushi International Conference Centre for State House where it will lie in state.
On September 3, a church service will be held at the Parliament building after which burial will take place at Embassy Park in Lusaka.
About 11 heads of state are expected in the country to attend the burial. Countries that have confirmed their coming are South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Mozambique, Malawi, Rwanda, Botswana, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Madgascar, Lesotho and Chad. Other countries like Isreal are expected to send their representatives.
By Joan Chirwa
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:01]
THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has so far received a donation of K196.5 million in the State Funeral Account created to mitigate expenses incurred during President Levy Mwanawasa's funeral.
The Central Bank opened the State Funeral Account last week for well-wishers to donate whatever amount of money to assist during President Mwanawasa's funeral.
BoZ head of public relations Kanguya Mayondi stated in a press release yesterday that the Central Bank had since channeled the collected money to Cabinet Office for its intended purpose.
So far, BoZ has made a donation of K50 million while Indo Zambia Bank and Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB) donated K45 million and K30 million respectively. Others are Stanbic Bank which donated K25 million, Bayport Financial Services and Standard Chartered both contributed K20 million each, well-wishers at Stanbic Bank and Indo Zambia Bank donated K5 million and K1.5 million respectively.
"The Bank of Zambia wishes to further announce that the account remains open until September 2, 2008 and that all funds collected through this account shall be promptly passed on to government," stated Mayondi.
By Kabanda Chulu in Accra, Ghana
Saturday August 30, 2008 [04:00]
TWN-Africa coordinator Yao Graham has challenged countries to analyse the role of emerging powers in Africa's development because their impact might be worse than what the USA and Europe has done to the continent.
And Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) of South Africa researcher Dot Keet urged African countries to stop accepting neo-liberal concepts because they offer no hope.
And Transnational Institute (TNI) of Netherlands representative Brid Brennan said the current content of globalisation was a remnant of colonialisation.
During the 11th Africa Trade Network review meeting hosted by the Third World Network (TWN) on Thursday, Graham said the world was going towards a multi-polar situation and urged African countries to analyse the approaching dimensions.
"If we leave it open, emerging powers like China and India might do it worse than what others (Americans and Europeans) have been doing, it is true the world is going towards a multi-polar situation which is better than a uni-polar one," said Graham.
"But Africa needs to critically analyse the approaching dimensions and the role which the continent must play or else the big powers will continue exploiting resources at the expense of Africa's economic development."
And Keet said despite being in the middle of instability (global trade crisis and looming economic recession), Africa must not succumb to any neo-liberal concept.
"This is no time to succumb to any power which does not offer hope hence the need to look at home grown and pragmatic solutions," said Keet. "And let us not underplay the role of China and India in this equation because they have been riding on our backs at various forums like the G77+ China, G33+ India."
And Brennan said there was need for the social and progressive movements in developing countries to defeat the whole purpose of unfair trade and globalisation.
"Globalisation is good but the current content is unfair and although Europe is coming to Africa without the Armies (military), the concept is still a remnant of colonialism, which needs to be fought in all forms like the way Latin Americans are doing," said Brennan.
The Africa Trade Network is hosted by TWN in Ghana and it is a consortium of civil society organisations from Africa that normally advocates fair trade and good investment and economic practices.
The 11th ATN meeting was held to clarify and strengthen opposition to economic partnership agreements, unfair global trade practices and interventions required to facilitate linkages and mobilisation of key constituencies and partners.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Fri, 29 Aug 2008 11:25:00 +0000
THE Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs has condemned the Movement for Democratic Change party legislators’ conduct during the opening of the First Session of the Seventh Parliament on Tuesday as a disgrace and called on the government to ensure that they have an induction course to orient them with parliamentary procedures as set according to the Standing Rules and Orders.
Speaking at the swearing in ceremony of Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice at State House yesterday, Patrick Chinamasa, who is a former leader of the House of Assembly, described the booing and heckling of President Robert Mugabe during his speech as a disgrace and said the MDC-T leadership acted irresponsibly by failing to reprimand their newly elected legislators.
“The behaviour was disgraceful, but we are not surprised. As you are aware, those elements who were making noise had a different agenda of effecting illegal regime change in Zimbabwe,” said Chinamasa.
“I am not surprised. They have no respect for national events and institutions,” he continued.
The MDC-T party newly elected legislators jeered and heckled President Mugabe during his parliamentary address on Tuesday, a move condemned by the ruling party.
President Mugabe later criticized the behaviour of legislators at luncheon he hosted after the opening of Parliament..
Describing the behaviour as “"barbaric and nonsensical" he said the opposition MDC disrespected a Speaker they had elected.
“They should have honoured their Speaker. Let’s hope what we saw today would not be repeated in future. Let’s poise ourselves for hard work. Forget the nonsense and barbarism that we saw this morning. That is what they do in their world.”
On Thursday ruling party members gathered at the Zanu PF headquarters in protest against the “rowdy behaviour” of the MPs.
The demonstrators called on President Mugabe to suspend Parliament until MDC-T MPs pledge to take business in the House seriously.
Meanwhile, Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma said all legislators will be required to take induction courses before Parliament resumes on October 2.
All Members of the House of Assembly and all Senators will be required to attend the induction.
Donette Read Kruger
Fri, 29 Aug 2008 00:05:00 +0000
WHEN you become aware of how the Botswana Government have treated with disdain, their own sacred San people, a tiny race that is upheld and revered throughout the world, which until recently survived centuries without disease and through drought, one cannot but help question that country’s Presidential actual policies?
These racist policies however, have become more relevant to Zimbabweans throughout the world since the Government of Botswana announced that it “does not recognize Robert Mugabe as President of Zimbabwe” and has been instrumental in supporting the terrible sanctions which are affecting the very man they have purported to support in the streets of Zimbabwe.
Few realised at the time that, behind the diplomatic smiles, as has become apparent now, that this included the entire nation of Zimbabwe’s immigrants. Is it poetic justice that since their original proclamation, Botswana’s Ministry of Health has admitted that on the back of HIV/AIDS pandemic, TB infections have greatly increased?
It is obvious that this is because the Botswana Government have specifically excluded assisting Zimbabweans access to the country’s free public health system, and all because of a decision based on who the President of Zimbabwe is. The question do other immigrants to Botswana from Angola, Congo, Kenya and Somalia automatically access its free health system?
Refugees and asylum seekers who might be suffering from TB infections could have been be saved from a fate worse than death, if only the enriched Botswana Government had extended their benevolence to include housing, food and clean clothes, but instead their negative attitude has manifested a breeding ground for infectious and communicable diseases throughout Botswana - right on their doorstep? Is it time yet to declare Botswana an Infectious Diseases colony so that its nationals must flaunt relevant inoculations and health certificates, or is its Government keeping its true state of health under wraps?
With its western residents and diplomats upholding Botswana, it is not exactly a third world state in a developing world. In fact, the Central Statistical Office (BW) shows that, despite sanctions against Zimbabwe, during Zimbabwe’s Presidential Elections that country exported 5.1 percent of Botswana’s total exports to Zimbabwe! One assumes that as these were business deals, capitalising on the broken back of Zimbabwe’s struggling economic crisis, done through the back door during a world organised sanctions era in which one has little regard for its victims but is focused merely on making an instant profit, every fast buck will count.
Exports to Zimbabwe, according to Botswana’s Sunday Standard, were in fact 1.3 percent more than its exports to China during March 2008,
confirming that “Exports to Zimbabwe were valued at P155.7 million while those received by China were valued at P116.1 million! On the other hand, the combined total of goods exported to France, Germany, Belgium, Greece, Netherlands, Sweden and Portugal came to P71.3 million.” In fact, it is now common knowledge that Botswana exports more goods than any other African country to Zimbabwe!
It was surprising therefore, that a decision was made to eliminate Zimbabwe from the Memorandum of Understanding with Zambia and Botswana over construction of the US$70m Kazungula Bridge Project. This far-reaching decision only increased the three-way political tension with Zambia taking sides with Botswana, but perhaps it was a decision made to show the world (that, on the face of it) Botswana means business when it comes to supporting the sanctions in its dealings with Zimbabwe.
Were sanctions to be lifted tomorrow, it would be no surprise to learn that Botswana has reverted to its original agreement to now include Zimbabwe but only obviously, because without sanctions, there could now be even greater trade between Botswana and Zimbabwe, i.e. > P155.7m!
With the SADC borders in the region only recently opening up, prices in the local supermarkets and wholesalers have doubled, and Botswana nationals are no longer happy because they now find themselves in a similar situation to Zimbabweans.
It is not surprising because suddenly the very commodities, which once graced their boastful shelves, now having been purchased and hauled across the borders to northern states, are no longer available in Botswana but are seemingly available in none other than Zimbabwe itself!
Padding a gaping wound with PR wadding as the world watches, while the patient continues to haemorrhage severely, has apparently been the attitude of Botswana to its foreign immigrants, but over a period it would now appear that as a result Botswana has “shot itself in the foot” especially in disregarding its closest neighbour’s real predicaments in preference to supporting anti-western policies, despite the paternal President Mbeki urging Botswana to be more proactive in solving Zimbabwe’s crisis.
Ultimately this week, by agreeing in the Botswana High Court, to provide medication to the Zimbabwean deportee Mtandazo Sibanda’s, the result is that this Court is likely to find itself inundated with suits from many more immigrants appealing against deportation, while at the same time suing the Botswana Government and claiming treatment for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB).
Until now Sibanda was just another anonymous statistic in the prison clinics of Botswana, but since his removal to Princess Marina’s Hospital to begin treatment, his case is fast becoming a monumental historical landmark, and one wonders whether other immigrants from countries such as Angola, Somalia and the Congo, will now be taking the Botswana Government for an unprecedented long ride that could have been nipped in the bud when they first arrived in the country seeking sustenance, a warm dry sanctuary beneath a roof over their head during the bitterly cold winters and an attitude of compassion which they claim they were denied in their own destabilised countries, an attitude that was practiced and perfected against an innocent San people, by a supposedly sophisticated and knowledgeable President, Ian Seretse Khama, a President who was warned by his own government against making derogatory statements about its key trading partner with deep friendship roots. One cannot but help compare this man with George Bush Jnr., another infamous son who himself has failed to walk in his own father’s footsteps.
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
There is a presidential by-election ahead of us. And the ruling MMD is gripped by a campaign for the selection of a candidate to be fielded in this presidential by-election. This selection process is starting to lose its bearings. Tribalism, regionalism and all sorts of vices are starting to creep in. Let us not allow the sympathies of the world which we have won so fast to be equally rapidly lost by becoming entangled in the jungle of skirmishes for power. Let us not allow the desire to serve oneself, to bloom once again under the fair mask of the desire to serve the common good.
As we stated in our editorial comment of yesterday, we should guard against the danger of divisive politics, of regionalism, tribalism as we get deeper into the campaigns for this presidential by-election. We must give up the pernicious habit of supporting and of identifying only with those from the same region as ourselves.
It is really not important now which politician or group will prevail in the MMD selections and the presidential by-election itself. The most important thing is that the winner will be the best of them, in the moral, civic, political and professional sense. The future policies and prestige of our country will depend on the personalities we select and elect.
The campaigns that stretch before us now are a struggle for the souls and the future of Zambia. And we shouldn’t forget that all of us, above everything else, are the trustees of a dream, of a legacy.
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today; the future will not be built in the future, it will be built on the threshold of today, of the decisions and actions we make today.
We are confronted with a fierce urgency of now, in the unfolding life and history. There is such a thing as being too late. We must work unceasingly to lift this nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau.
Let us put the unity of our people first and ahead of any divisive politics. So, we would like to ask all our politicians, whatever their personal interests or concerns, to guard against divisiveness and all its ugly consequences.
What we have achieved when all our people united just must not now be lost in suspicion, distrust, selfishness and politics.
No section of the community has all the virtues, neither does any have all the vices. We are quite sure that most people try to do their jobs as best as they can, even if the result is not always entirely successful. He who has never failed to reach perfection has a right to be the harshest critic.
Let us not forget where we are coming from. Those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it. Our lives teach us who we are.
Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community, rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community.
Let us teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if this means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals, and pragmatic manoeuvering, but that it can even be the art of the impossible, namely, the art of improving ourselves.
If an issue is morally right, it will eventually be political. It may be political and never be right.
The forthcoming presidential by-election is not, and should not be, about Rupiah Banda or Ng’andu Magande, but about what is best for the future of our country.
In deciding which individual to support and select, we should try to look beyond the expediencies of the moment and consider the interests of the country, especially of our young people, our children. When you go home in the evening, look at them, look in their eyes, and ask yourself what type of Zambia will guarantee them a future. Ask yourself which of the people vying for the presidency of our country offers them a bigger promise.
We should ask ourselves the question: If I died today, who among these politicians, between Magande and Banda, would I like to be the administrator of the affairs of my country on behalf of my children?
There is need to look at what Magande and Banda have done in their lives, their records of public service need to be scrutinised. There is need to look at their performance and conduct wherever they have worked and lived.
Their social conduct, levels of honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all need to be looked at, analysed and evaluated. Let us look at what Magande has done or not done over the last seven and half years of working as Minister of Finance and National Planning and his contribution to the realisation of the Levy Mwanawasa legacy that we are all saying should be continued.
Let us do the same for Banda and see what his contribution over the last two and half years of working with Levy as Vice-President has been to his legacy – the legacy we all want to continue.
We need to critically look at what constitutes the Levy legacy and how each of these individuals has contributed to it. We are told, and believe that, the Levy legacy is characterised primarily by two factors: honest and prudent economic management and the fight against corruption. The issue again should be to see how these two individuals weigh on these scores.
The one who weighs more is likely to give us a better chance of continuing the Levy legacy. Of course, there are other factors to consider depending on how one looks at things.
But whatever criteria we use, honesty, integrity and incorruptibility should always be fundamental factors to consider in deciding who succeeds Levy. It is important also to consider who between the two or who among all the candidates is more principled.
Each one of them should not want to win because the other is, or others are, despised, but because they are understood, supported and trusted.
There is no choice between being principled and unelectable; and electable and unprincipled. We have tortured ourselves with this foolishness for too long. Magande or Banda should win because of what they believe.
We shouldn’t fear change. Change is an important part of life. But we should not change to forget our principles, and simply because we want to be elected, to win, but to fulfill them. Not to lose our identity but to keep our relevance. Change is an important part of gaining the nation’s trust.
Let us try to show our people that politics is not some byzantine game played out over the screeds of paper but a real and meaningful part of their lives.
Let us try our best to build a nation with pride in itself. A thriving community, rich in economic prosperity, secure in social justice, confident in political change. A land in which our children can bring up their children with a future to look forward to. This should be our hope, our mission or goal in politics, in the selections and elections we make. This should be our criterion in all that we do.
It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. Don’t you surrender. Suffering breeds character. Character breeds faith. In the end faith will not disappoint.
By Chansa Kabwela
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
Former commerce minister Dipak Patel yesterday urged Vice-President Rupiah Banda's campaign team to avoid petty politics devoid of real issues because Zambians are looking for serious economic managers to sustain President Levy Mwanawasa's legacy. And former home affairs deputy minister Edwin Hatembo said it was cheap for Vice-President Banda's campaign team manager Benny Tetamashimba to say that finance minister Ng'andu Magande has no support in Southern Province.
Reacting to Tetamashimba's statement yesterday that there was no need for a nationally televised debate for all MMD presidential aspiring candidate, Patel said the difference between Vice-President Banda's campaign team and that of Magande was that the latter's team was dealing with real national issues while the former was dealing with petty politics with no ideas on how to sustain President Mwanawasa's legacy.
Tetamashimba's statement read: “We have read the approved statement from Hon Magande through his campaign team in which he wants the MMD party candidates to appear for a televised debate to the Zambian people to see who is the best candidate for president in the MMD.
“I am the official campaign manager for RB. When NEC elects him as our candidate, and I may be biased in my judgement being in this position. But I am not that kind. Let me be judged by what I stand for, the truth under whatever circumstances.
“Since Mr. Dipak Patel is not MMD but campaigner for Hon Magande, I ask him to get clarifications from the national secretary Hon Dr Katele Kalumba or the chairman for elections Hon Mike Mulongoti whether what he is proposing is the MMD way of NEC choosing a candidate. The constitution of MMD has no clause of how to select a candidate and those who don't know the procedure should ask the national secretary. NEC makes all decisions in between the conventions and Mr Patel is supposed to know this.
“The candidates will, if the national secretary advises, only speak to the NEC on 5th September 2008 who have the power to choose a candidate for this by-election and not for 2011. NEC will not choose a party president or fill vacancies.
“Mr Patel must inform the MMD which region will fully give Hon Magande the vote when his own Southern Province regards Mr Hakainde Hichilema as their preferred son. Hon Magande is not popular in Southern Province and he shouldn't mislead that he can defeat Mr Hakainde Hichilema in Southern where the MMD has no single seat and Mr Magande ran away from standing in Southern Province for fear of losing.
“Let Mr Patel and Hon Magande tell the nation whether MMD must throw away its constitutional advantage in the coming by-election for self-centred people. Genuine people who love MMD have decided to wait for 2011 and the MMD must look to the MMD loving people than those who are greedy and self-centred, as we shall be going to the convention.
“Does Mr Patel think that if Mr Magande was in the sandals of the Acting President Rupiah Banda and was replaced to stand as presidential candidate in the coming by-election by an easterner, Southern Province would have ignored the embarrassment to Hon Magande and vote for RB? If the answer is no, does Hon Magande think that the easterners could vote for Hon Magande when their own who was so close and only needed to complete the term was forced out by selfish people?
“The party leaders in the provinces and their NEC members have stated clearly that they want Acting President R Banda to stand in the by-election to complete the term of office of the late President. Are these people who signed that they want RB going to vote against him in NEC when we know they all have integrity.
“Hon Magande will be honourable with his campaigners to unite the party by supporting the Acting President to stand in the presidential by-election. Ministers should not bring in the issue of betrayal.
Let Hon Magande not mislead the nation and his supporters to bring disunity in MMD by claiming that he was the appointed heir. The appointed heir was the one the President appointed as Vice-President. We have to support His Excellency the Acting President R Banda as MMD presidential candidate for the MMD to easily win the election.”
But in response, Patel - who is member of the Elect Magande Campaign Team - said he was forced, yet again, to respond to Tetamashimba who started this debate about President Mwanawasa's successor although people from Vice-President Banda's campaign team deliberately accuse him (Patel) of having insensitively started the debate.
“I am again forced to react to Tetamashimba, who in-fact began the issue of succession in his comments to Radio QFM, when we were in a period of mourning,” Patel said. “I now refer to Tetamashimba's statement of today (yesterday) with regards to our challenge for a nationally televised debate. If his candidate is serious, he should not have any fear to a debate and let all Zambians see for themselves what his favoured candidate has to offer and let the people of Zambia judge for themselves as to the competencies of all candidates.
“Why does Tetamashimba not lay bare all the accomplishments of his candidate in the MMD? Since Tetamashimba is the official campaign manager of RB and suggests that I am not an MMD member, perhaps he can tell us as to when his candidate became an MMD member. But to ridiculously suggest that Hon Magande has no support from Southern Province is naïve and foolish. “In-fact he has national support. This support is not from “engineered petitions”. He represents national politics, not tribal politics.
He is not soliciting support based on tribal alliances. He is soliciting support based on Mwanawasa's legacy and policies that need to be continued.
“He is soliciting support based on performance, competence, experience. Perhaps Tetamashimba should find out if it is true what Hon Machila has said that, “In our last full Cabinet meeting, there was an indication of who President Mwanawasa did not consider as his successor and all of us know this person by implication”.
“This is pre-eminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, candidly and fearlessly. From all MMD presidential aspiring candidates, if we could first know where we are and where we want to go and why, we could better judge and make informed decisions on what to do and how to do it, and the type of leadership that is required, to not only carry the vision and dreams of our beloved President Levy Mwanawasa but to ensure that, not only is it carried forward but sustained for the long term good of all Zambians.
“We are now into the 17th year since the MMD economic and social policies were initiated with the declared objective and promise of putting an end to poverty and achieve citizens' economic emancipation and economic growth. It is very disheartening to hear in this day and age, when people talk of ‘tribal alliances’, when a son of the soil of Africa, Barrack Obama who had the “Audacity of Hope” is today a presidential candidate in the United States of America.
“Surely, the criterion for selecting leadership has to go beyond one's tribe or race. Are the virtues of honesty, integrity, knowledge, performance and experience among many other attributes not important? Are issues of generational change not important? Is our national motto, One Zambia One Nation, not important? Is, for an elected politician, to aspire to the highest offices of the MMD and a government wrong? Is being an unelected politician to aspire to a high office ethically, morally or politically right?
“What will the people of Zambia; the opposition say if a MMD candidate is an unelected politician in this most unusual circumstance that we face today? Is prudent economic management not important anymore? Or, is obtaining power at any cost with tribal alliances more important? Is passing on the baton to a new generation of Zambians now a taboo? “Magande does not think and believe tribe.
He thinks Zambia and Zambians. He thinks economic growth. He thinks citizens' economic empowerment. He thinks good governance. He thinks end poverty. He thinks women's empowerment. He thinks better sanitation and water for all. He thinks better roads, housing, education, health and infrastructure. He thinks more agricultural production. He thinks good governance. He thinks develop Zambia.
“Unfortunately, in the very recent past, there has been something very crude and heartless and unfeeling in haste by some, elected and non-elected politicians, to succeed President Mwanawasa for the sheer sake of gaining power and hopefully the ultimate office, that of the President.
“We must all remember that we are not the Republic of the Ngoni, the Republic of the Tonga, the Republic of the Bemba, the Republic of the Lozi, or any other one tribe. But we are the one and only Republic of Zambia for any and all the tribes of Zambia, including all the minority races in Zambia.
“An ominous dark cloud is above Zambia, we have lost to God a great son, a leader of Zambia, President Levy Mwanawasa (May His Soul Rest in Peace). The MMD has to now elect a new leader. Magande wants to be President, first because he can lead our country to the required economic standing that will set us apart in Africa.
“He has the capacity and experience to build a better Zambia for all. He has the energy, time, experience and age on his side. For most of his life, he has been employed in service of Zambia. Under President Mwanawasa, like many others in Cabinet, he believes in the ‘New Deal’ for Zambia, and like many others helped begin to deliver the ‘New Deal’.
“Yes, in execution of his very difficult duties as Minister of Finance & National Planning, it has not always been possible to please all the people all the time. And this has sometimes been the reason for perceived differences between him and some of his Cabinet colleagues. It was never personal and never shall be. It was always in the greater good of Zambia and not an individual.
“It was always team work. It was always the shared vision of a ‘New Deal’ for Zambia. Fortunate as we are in our new-found beginning of economic prosperity, we still remain fragile for much of the economic vision and dreams of President Mwanawasa. It still needs to be vigorously carried forward and implemented, in the period, what would have been the remaining term of his office till 2011 and beyond. It is therefore in the interest of every citizen imperative that we maintain this vision.
“Magande has had the honour to be one of the economic advisors of our beloved and distinguised President, Levy Mwanawasa, and as such, to hold up in eternal glory, his hands in the economic and political reforms he had initiated. Magande should be untrue to himself, to his promises and to the declarations of the MMD party platform upon which he was elected as a Member of Parliament, if he did not make the maintenance and enforcement of those reforms a most important feature of what he would like to get done as the President of Zambia.
“President Mwanawasa's reforms were directed to abuses of office, good governance, and citizens' economic empowerment, rule of law, integrity and economic growth of all and for all of Zambia. So, Magande not only says to the MMD, but to all Zambians, 'we are indeed economically moving toward an era of good feeling', but he also realises that there can be no era of good feeling save among men and women of goodwill.
“For these reasons, Magande feels justified in believing that the greatest change that we have witnessed under President Mwanawasa has been the change in moral climate of Zambia. Strong hearts and helpful hands are needed, and fortunately we have them in every part of our beloved country. There are some national questions in the solution of which patriotism is needed and must exclude tribalism.
“Distrust of capacity, integrity, and high purposes of the Zambian people is not an inspirational theme. Dark pictures and gloomy forebodings are worse than useless. The prophets of doom never will be the builders of our Republic. If there are those among us who want to make our way more difficult must not be disheartened.
The path to progress is seldom smooth. New, not old things are often found hard to do. We are again undergoing the same ordeal, as we did as Zambians in the past, for having to fight for change, for having to find the new and not the old or the same.
“Yet, difficult as it is, the new task before us today, differs from the tasks set before by our beloved President Mwanawasa, who preserved the dignity of our Republic, the spirit in which these tasks must now be undertaken and these problems faced. Magande has faith that we shall not prove false, nor betray the memories, desires, hopes, dreams and vision of President Mwanawasa. He left us a splendid legacy that we now enjoy.
“And now, in our turn have an assured confidence that we shall be able to leave this heritage unwasted and enlarged to our children and our children's children. To do so we must show, not merely in crisis, but in everyday affairs of life, the qualities of practical intelligence, of courage and endurance and above all the power of devotion to a lofty ideal. “Magande knows and understands the tasks before us.
Magande realises to the full, the responsibility which it involves. We are to beware of all people who would turn the tasks and necessities of our nation to their own private profit or use them for building up private power, perhaps not for the immediate but certainly in the near future.
“Magande has not built nor ever asked for any ‘tribal alliances’ or pacts, instead he has sought alliances and pacts based on policy and building upon the foundations of President Mwanawasa's legacy. There is no shortcut to the making of these ideals into realities.
Zambia has witnessed in the past the futility and mischief of all ill-considered remedies for political, social and economic disorders. We are all mindful today as never before of the friction when choosing a leader, and we must learn its causes and reduce its evil consequences by sober and tested norms.
“One cannot stand in this presence and be unmindful of the tremendous responsibility. But with the realisation comes the surge of high resolve, and there is reassurance in belief in the God-given destiny of our Republic. As the MMD decides on its presidential candidate, the question that the national executive committee of the MMD has to ask is: who shall live up to the great trust, to change for the new and not the old, to putting in office an elected or unelected politician?
“These are not the days of triumph; these are days of dedication. These are days for unity of purpose. The MMD should muster not only the forces of the party, but of the Zambian humanity and their hopes and desires. People's hearts wait upon us; people's hopes call upon us to say what we will do. And remember, as Abraham Lincoln once said: 'A house divided against itself cannot stand'.”
And Edwin Hatembo said it was shameless for Tetamashimba to say Magande had no support in Southern Province. He said the majority of NEC members in the province were behind Magande.
He said the MMD needs a candidate in Magande who has no scandals, who is popular, an economic manager, a non-tribalist and an experienced man with a lot of both local and international experience.
“The international community respects this man because he is a hard worker and a man of integrity. When other candidates are adopted, the opposition and the media will go to town to expose how scandalous they are. I also have some of their scandals, as you know I am a former minister of home affairs.
I have the archive of scandals,” Hatembo said. “They will dig their past in the parastatals they served and in other government ministries where they practiced tribalism. Magande has a clean record and will win MMD this election. So Teta should just shut-up. He has no moral right to speak on behalf of the people of Southern Province.
Let him just continue imposing his candidate on the people of North-Western Province. As far as we are concerned in Southern Province, Magande is the man and I am talking to you from Livingstone, the capital of the province. And ask Teta to tell us if his candidate surrendered his UNIP membership card.”
By Chibaula Silwamba, Edwin Mbulo, Mutale Kapekele and Noel Sic
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
SOUTHERN Province minister Daniel Munkombwe yesterday advised people aspiring for the Republican presidency to weigh themselves against the achievements of the late President Levy Mwanawasa. And Mongu residents attributed Wednesday's stampede during the funeral procession of President Mwanawasa at the Presidential Guesthouse to security lapses.
Addressing mourners before they started viewing the body of President Mwanawasa at Livingstone International Airport, Munkombwe advised the people vying for the presidency not to allow their fantasies to degrade the legacy that President Mwanawasa has left.
"I want to say that those who aspire to the presidency of the Republic of Zambia must weigh themselves against the achievements achieved by this great leader. In politics no one agrees that he or she is unpopular. In politics everyone is popular, they are entitled to dream. It's good to fantasise but don't let your fantasy degrade the legacy that President Mwanawasa has left," Munkombwe said.
He said people had the right to aspire for the presidency but that they would be more respected if they did not announce their intentions.
"I am surprised myself that Levy left a united MMD, I want to continue serving under a united MMD government. If you fragment it, if you tie it to your groupings and so on, results are disastrous," he said.
Munkombwe encouraged first lady, Maureen Mwanawasa, whom he described as a strong lady to be steadfast.
Munkombwe highlighted several developmental projects that the late President Mwanawasa embarked on.
"We are paying our respects to an African hero, to a Zambian hero and a Zambian achiever; this airport we are gathered on this morning is testimony of Levy's work, the chronic Choma-Namwala road is being worked on now, the chronic
Nickel-Monze road is being worked on now, the Chronic-Bottom Road is being worked on now, the Batoka-Mamba road is being worked on now," said Munkombwe. "What else can a human being achieve besides these I have itemised?"
Senior chief Mukuni advised opposition political parties not to vie for the Republican presidency because they would form a minority government.
Chief Mukuni said opposition political parties could carry on but it would not be necessary for them to contest the presidential by-elections.
"But for me, the opposition, in the sense that they have lesser MPs in Parliament, between now and 2011, I wouldn't really encourage them to vie for the position of presidency because we will end up with a minority government because they have fewer MPs than the MMD. I think this was the MMD mandate until 2011 which they have to carry on," chief Mukuni said.
He urged the ruling MMD national executive committee (NEC) members to pick a candidate who would uphold the legacy of President Mwanawasa.
Southern Province MMD chairperson Solomon Muzyamba said President Mwanawasa had set high standards in leadership that those who were desirous and aspiring for the presidency would have problems satisfying them.
Finance minister Ng'andu Magande, who is also MMD presidential aspirant, dismissed assertions that he was using late President Mwanawasa's funeral to gain political popularity.
A confident Magande said he is the right leader to succeed late President Mwanawasa because he knew a lot.
He said it would not do the nation any good to have a 'politician'-led nation.
"A politician will just make noise and he will destroy the legacy of President Mwanawasa," Magande said. "If you just talk and people don't have food, you have not given them political direction. I started as an economist in the 70s and if someone says I am not qualified to rule, I would ask them if they know the system and how it operates."
Earlier, Magande knelt before Maureen to greet and console her.
Albidon Mine general manager for corporate affairs Dr Sixtus Mulenga said he did not expect any policy reversal following the death of President Mwanawasa.
Opposition UPND Moomba member of parliament Vitalis Mooya said the late President Mwanawasa had uplifted the living standards of Zambians.
A Livingstone tourism investor who runs The River Club, Peter Jones said President Mwanawasa set a good foundation for the tourism industry.
A Livingstone resident, Hilary Lutangu, who was on a queue to view President Mwanawasa's body, said the President's death was a great loss and the country was in a dilemma.
Meanwhile, thousands of people queued up to view the body of President Mwanawasa.
The queue stretched from Livingstone International Airport up to town, which is about 10 kilometres.
Livingstone health management team representative, Dr Pappy Banza said two people were injured as some mourners rushed to view the body.
However, he said other cases were minor.
Dr Banza said some of those injured were a pregnant woman, another with severe hypertension while the third was unconscious and had to rushed to Livingstone General hospital unconcious.
There was also a near stampede when Munkombwe directed police officers to open a gate on the western side of the airport to allow in people to view the body.
But generally, the procession was done in a calm manner, without stampedes.
People started trooping to the airport at 03:30 hours.
The body arrived at 08:25 hours accompanied by Maureen, science minister Peter Daka, gender minister Patricia Mulasikwanda, sports minister Gabriel Namulambe and presidential affairs minister Cecil Holmes. Body viewing ended at 12:00 hours.
In Mongu, scores of people from Western Province thronged the Mongu airstrip to welcome President Mwanawasa's body from Solwezi on Wednesday.
Multitudes had gathered at the airstrip as early as 10:00 hours ahead of the body’s arrival at 13:48 hours.
The anxious crowd ran after the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) plane carrying President Mwanawasa's body, only to be restrained by alert security personnel.
Many who attended the occasion walked from the town centre and the outskirts to the airstrip, a distance of over two kilometres.
Business in the central business and administrative area came to a standstill for a long time as most people opted to bid farewell to their leadrer.
By mid-morning, most business premises were closed as people headed to either the airstrip or the Presidential Guesthouse, where body viewing was to be conducted.
Another group lined the airport road to merely catch a glimpse of the hearse carrying President Mwanawasa's casket, draped in the Zambian and State House flags.
Most marketeers abandoned their stands, street vendors packed their merchandise and taxi drivers joined the funeral procession, driving with lights turned on full beam.
However, confusion reigned at the Presidential Guesthouse after body viewing had started.
The people in the queue outside the guesthouse grew impatient at the slowness of the procession, opting to advance towards the gate of the guesthouse and force their way in the queue that was forming inside the yard.
In the process of controlling the long queue winding out for more a kilometre, police used minimum force but were met with great resistance from the mourners, who in the process broke the gate.
The crowd had overpowered the security personnel comprising the Zambia Army, Zambia Police and Zambia National Service (ZNS).
Some people fainted and gasped for breath during the furore but were saved by the quick intervention of the Red Cross team, who attended to them from a makeshift sickbay. Others sustained minor bruises, leaving some nurses’ uniforms blood-stained.
Security personnel laboured to control the crowd that had turned restive to view President Mwanawasa's body until the officers resorted to whipping them with combat belts.
Many lost personal effects like shoes, cellphones and money in the confusion while others had their clothes torn, entering the gate barely dressed. Fortunately, the nurses were at hand to cover the women whose clothes had been torn .
Later, security was beefed up, and the men and women in uniform managed to restore some order although people still pushed their way inside. Some mothers, in a bid to save their babies from suffocating, had to throw them across the fence to officers inside the premises.
Earlier at the airstrip, President Mwanawasa was given a quarter guard of honour and the defence brass band played music after prayers from pastors and defence chaplains for the first family and the country.
Western Province minister Adonis Mufalali, who led the mourners for body viewing, said President Mwanawasa was committed to improving the living standard of people in the country.
Mufalali also itemised various development projects that the province had achieved under the new deal administration like road rehabilitation, quality health service delivery and educational infrastructure development.
MMD provincial chairman Simasiku Namakando said Zambia had lost a great man who dedicated his life to improving the economy of the country.
Namakando said President Mwanawasa had valued the province as evidenced by the projects that he undertook.
However, the Litunga could not view the body as tradition does not allow him to look at a corpse. The body was accompanied to Mongu by first lady Maureen, relatives, senior citizens and senior government officials.
By Mulimbi Mulaliki, Mwila Chansa, Kelvin Tembo and Maluba Jere
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
THERE was a near punch-up in Solwezi on Wednesday as MMD senior members and ministers from North-Western Province openly differed over endorsing Vice-President Rupiah Banda and finance minister Ng'andu Magande as candidates for the presidential by-election.
During a meeting called for the party in the province to come up with a candidate they would recommend to the national executive committee (NEC) to consider as a preferred candidate, senior party officials from Mwinilunga and Kasempa rejected the endorsement of Vice-President Banda, arguing that he was not capable of succeeding President Mwanawasa.
The members from Mwinilunga, led by provincial chairperson, Harrison Kamuna, walked out of the hall and started to harass provincial executive committee officials for not allowing the party to debate and evaluate candidates who had filed in their nominations.
Senior party officials had endorsed the candidature of Vice-President Banda, who is also acting President, for the presidential by-election but the members from Mwinilunga and Kasempa floated Magande's name arguing that he had managerial skills as exhibited in the way he had managed the economy.
"You can't call us here to come and rubber-stamp your decision, we are not going to accept to support Vice-President Banda. What we need is a manager who can continue with the programmes of development," said Kamuna. "You are being undemocratic, you cannot force us to support a candidate who we know would be difficult to market to the electorate just because you want to safeguard your jobs.
Another official from Mwinilunga said Magande has worked with three different vice-presidents and understands the economy of our country very well.
"We in our constituencies will campaign for Magande," the official said.
And MMD NEC members, who also attended the meeting, endorsed the candidature of Vice-President Banda saying he was mature and had the experience required for maintaining unity and harmony in the party for the forthcoming presidential by-election.
The ministers, deputies, members of parliament, provincial executive committee members and district chairpersons from Solwezi, Kabompo, Mufumbwe, Zambezi and Chavuma resolved that Vice-President Banda be given chance to lead the nation for the next three years.
Among the ministers that signed the resolution paper were Kenneth Konga (energy) Sarah Sayifwanda (agriculture), Ronald Mukuma (labour), and deputy ministers Benny Tetamashimba (local government), Daniel Kalenga (agriculture), Grace Njapau and Misheck Bonshe (home affairs), Richard Taima (sport, youth and child development), Kenneth Chipungu (provincial minister) and Humphrey Mwanza deputy chief whip and provincial chairman James Katoka.
Meanwhile, chief Nsamba of Samfya in Luapula Province advised the MMD not to spark division in their quest to find a successor for late President Mwanawasa.
Chief Nsamba said chiefs in the district had endorsed acting President Rupiah Banda as the right candidate to succeed President Mwanawasa.
Alliance for Zambia Informal Economy Associations (AZIEA) general secretary Lameck Kashiwa stated that the MMD should have a broader picture of succession and not only limit it to maintaining power at all costs.
He stated that there was need for the ruling party to tone down on what he termed antagonistic language about succession as this was destroying the current mourning mood in the country.
Meanwhile, Northern Province minister Lameck Chibombamilimo said Vice-President Banda was in for a rude shock if he was expecting votes from his province.
Chibombamilimo said the same people claiming to support the Vice-President were also supporting Willa Mung'omba.
"People in my province shocked Lupando Mwape, so if the Veep is counting on votes from there, he is in for a rude shock," he said.
Chibombamilimo said Vice-President Banda should not expect hundred per cent votes from Northern Province.
But Mbala member of parliament Gaston Sichilima said he and the people of Northern Province, would support Vice-President Banda's candidature.
Sichilima, who is also MMD Northern Province vice-chairperson, advised other presidential aspirants to withdraw from the race and instead rally behind Acting President Banda, saying it was the only way of ensuring continuity in the programmes embarked on by late President Mwanawasa.
Sichilima said the aspirants needed to be sincere and genuine, adding that the matter of succession should not be trivialised.
"Some of these people who are applying today left the MMD and went and stood as independents, so now they think it is sangwapo. I think these will only disturb government's programmes so I would like to urge the other aspirants to just rally behind Rupiah Banda so he can carry President Mwanawasa's vision forward," said Sichilima.
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
OPPOSITION MDC senators and members of parliament have sent a petition to President Robert Mugabe, stating that this week’s official opening of Parliament was a breach of the memorandum of understanding. And MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa announced that the treason case of MDC Secretary-General Tendai Biti has been postponed to November 17, 2008.
In a petition, the MDC-Morgan Tsvangirai faction senators and legislators criticised President Mugabe for proceeding to officially open Parliament when the SADC talks were still ongoing.
“We, the undersigned members of the Movement for Democratic Change elected both to the Senate and the House of Assembly declare that, this official opening of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe is a clear breach of the Memorandum of Understanding and is therefore of no force and effect,” they stated. “The purported opening by Mugabe, the illegitimate usurper of the people’s will as reflected on 29 March 2008, is illegal and of no force and effect.”
They further stated that for the avoidance of doubt, the only person who can officially open this session of Parliament will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing dialogue sponsored by SADC.
“The appointment of senators and governors by Mugabe is an affront to the MoU and a fraud on the people of Zimbabwe, which wrongfully and unlawfully was designed to affect and did affect the election of both the President and Vice-President of the Senate,” they stated. “The continued harassment, arrest of MDC legislators and activists by members of the police and related security institutions is a direct affront to the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
“The people of Zimbabwe await anxiously for the resolution of the
SADC-brokered dialogue in order that the humanitarian crisis they face is urgently and immediately addressed.”
And MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa announced that the treason case of Biti had been postponed to November 17.
“Hon Biti is facing trumped-up charges under the draconian Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. He is being charged with treason arising from a document titled ‘The Transition Strategy’ which he is alleged to have authored,” Chamisa said. “Hon Biti, who is also the MP for Harare East, is one of the key negotiators of the MDC in the SADC brokered dialogue. Today, the State said it needed more time to gather more evidence on the case.”
Biti was arrested at Harare International Airport on June 5 upon returning to the country from South Africa.
By Zumani Katasefa in Solwezi
Friday August 29, 2008 [04:00]
THE government is to construct a hydropower electric generation station in Mwinilunga district at a total cost of US$15 million. In an interview on Wednesday in Solwezi, Mwinilunga council secretary Benson Manjimela said the power station would be set up at a place called Kakobakani, west of Lunga river. He said construction works were scheduled to commence in September this year.
"The project would create a number of jobs for the people of Mwinilunga at construction stage. Over 100 jobs would be created for the Mwinulunga community," he said.
He said once completed, the project will ease the power problems the district has been facing for some time now.
Mwinilunga depends on thermal power generated by Zesco.
Manjimela said the project would be undertaken by a local company known as Mwinilunga Power.
He said the construction of the hydropower station would further boost commercial farming and provide power to the mines which were just being developed in the area.
He said First Quantum had intentions of opening a copper mine in the district.
Manjimela also revealed that pineapple growing in the area had been revamped after the government injected in K40 million through district farmers association to support small-scale farmers in the cultivation of the crop.
Manjimela paid tribute to the late President Mwanawasa for all the developmental projects that had taken place in the district during his reign.
And senior chief Sailunga of the Lunda people in Mwinulunga said he was happy with the development projects taking place in the district.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
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We need to create a massive middle class in Zambia. Just having development programs alone is not enough. We need to create an economy that every single citizen can participate in, because they own property and have a quality education, and there are plenty of Small and Medium-size Enterprises around to provide everyone with jobs and opportunities to make money by providing goods and services.
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Thu, 28 Aug 2008 12:22:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR–Let me register my disgust at the manner in which the newly elected Movement for Democratic Change legislators brought our Parliament into disrepute. After watching a video tape of the proceedings on Tuesday on CNN, I am worried about the calibre of legislators, and opposition leaders, we now have in the respectable Chamber.
I wonder if the MDC-T party has any quality control processes in its selection of leaders and whether it has any kind of leadership code by which all members should abide. Most of them need at least a day at a finishing school, or at Toastmasters International.
Is also seems the party works on impulse in its decision-making, flip-flopping on decisions to attend Parliament or not. I sincerely hope that some of these legislators will not be included in a future government by President Mugabe; otherwise our country will go to the dumps.
Frustration and antipathy towards politics are rising in our country, fuelled by a flurry of allegations and counter-allegations, innuendoes and counter-innuendoes, and the like from the opposition and some misguided elements from the ruling party.
Rather than respecting institutions and getting on with the business at hand, as mandated by the people who voted them into power, we saw MDC-T members forfeit the responsibility they were given by voters on March 29, and make a mockery of one of the respectable institutions we have in the country.
This was a first in the history of the august Chamber.
The MDC-T should understand that democracy is a peaceful way of adapting and responding to changing times. Embracing and harnessing the democratic process is the only way we, the Zimbabwean people, can ensure our country can change for the better without having resort to such barbaric actions as demonstrated on Tuesday 26 August 2008.
Judging from the events on that day, Zimbabwe’s problem is not that it lacks institutions, but that it lacks good calibre leadership. The strong tradition of open debate about issues of national importance is easily being eroded by these “hooligans” as President Mugabe called them – who do not have an understanding of the importance of our Parliament and the processes going on therein.
The last session of Parliament, which effectively was equally shared by the two main political parties, maintained its respect despite sharp ideological differences. Legislators like Professor Welshman Ncube and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga conducted themselves well and co-existed peacefully alongside Zanu PF legislators without the schoolboy drama we saw earlier this week. Other opposition legislators, who entered Parliament at a very tender age, conducted themselves very well, in sharp contrast to the current crop.
If our elected leaders feel secure in openly putting into disrepute the most entrenched, most permanent institutions of our country, is it any wonder that the talks currently going on have taken the route they have, and God knows where Zimbabwe is headed?
The previous six sessions have done a good job of respecting our Parliament and related institutions and respecting them. We all know, however, that that era could soon be coming to an end when political activists who have no understanding of their role occupy such spaces.
The rough-and-tumble nature of Zimbabwean politics is simply reflective of our failure to develop the right kind of attitude needed in co-existing politically with those whose ideas we do not subscribe to.
Institutions such as Parliament are necessary for democracy to flourish and flower, and should never be abused by self-seeking, egotistical individuals.
Thursday August 28, 2008 [04:00]
President Levy Mwanawasa’s death has taught us many lessons.
We can only hope we have all learned our lesson. There are mistakes that we shouldn’t make again; others may be repeated, and we may make new ones.
Levy has left us with more faith in the future of our country. And we shouldn’t forget his most valuable concerns and deeds.
It is true that we should learn from mistakes, but who hasn’t made mistakes – over and over again? An old refrain says that humans are the only animals who stub their toe on the same stone twice.
This is especially so if that stone is the struggle for power, concerns power and its privileges and the patronage that go with it, it concerns political office. Our having done so isn’t very important.
Useful lessons for the cause of our people’s progress could and should be drawn from both positive and negative experiences.
This is why the self-critical aspect should prevail in all that we do. The important thing, for us, isn’t the human dimension of our actions.
The opportunism we are today witnessing over the succession that has followed Levy’s death shows that the great majority of our politicians must be replaced, are of no value, they are a liability and a danger to the nation.
To make progress, most of the present cadres must be swept away and new leadership cadres created who appear and be tempered by sacrifice.
For us to make progress, it requires leaders who see farther and who are selective; self-sacrificing leaders with prestige, who direct the impetuous development of progressive conditions.
That great process should, at one and the same time, create cadres and leaders, because none of them exist now.
One way or another, we have to free ourselves from the present opprobrious politics.
And there is need for every one of us to think deeply, to meditate deeply before we render any support to any person vying for political office, trying to succeed Levy. We should ask ourselves what it is that they can do that is in line with Levy’s legacy.
We say this because it seems to be generally accepted by our people that Levy has left a legacy that needs to be continued. If this is so, then this becomes a criteria for choosing the new leadership of our country.
There is therefore need for us to evaluate how support or assistance should be given to our politicians as they compete to succeed Levy. We think that it should be conditional, so it would be necessary to really know those asking for our support.
When you help someone a position is taken, and that position should be taken on the basis of certain analyses of the loyalty and effectiveness to the progress of our people. The assistance should be conditional; if not, we run the risk of it being turned into the opposite of what we want.
We should also realise that good leadership will not come to our country without us working for it, struggling for it.
Experience has shown that most of the people who desperately seek political office, who seek leadership are the least suited for it. And this poses a problem in the selection of good leadership. It increases the amount of work required to be done to ensure that good leadership is chosen.
And the more people involved in trying to choose leaders, the better. A few people can’t push the country forward when the majority of the people don’t want to work, to struggle for a better society.
A spirit of struggle must be created, and cadres and leaders must be found with Diogenes’ lamp and the patience of Job – a task that becomes more difficult as people find more idiots to do things for them without them doing anything, to fight for them without them fighting for anything or against anything.
There are sacrifices that need to be made at any given time by the people and their leaders. We can’t continue to be passive because passivity is the beginning of defeat.
We should also guard against the danger of regionalism, tribalism as we head into this potentially divisive presidential by-election.
We must give up the pernicious habit of identifying only with those who come from the same village, town, province or even tribe as ourselves, who speak the same language and have the same culture and traditions.
Those with whom we must identify and see as our comrades are all those who, like us, are marginalised and exploited who with us in working for the progress of our country.
These are all sacred tasks for our politicians because it is their responsibility to bring up the next generation free from tribalism, regionalism and imbued with a national feeling.
Seeds planted among us by political opportunists, crooks, mercenaries using tribalism and all sorts of divisive politics to gain power cannot be destroyed by words or magic formulas.
A political struggle must be started among all our people to make them clearly understand the harm of such practices, of such ideas.
At the same time, effort must be made to explain to our people that their experience of suffering, exploitation and marginalisation in Chadiza, Kaputa, Mwense, Chavuma, Shangombo, Sinazeze, Luangwa is the same. All bear the same scars, all have known the same hunger, the same poverty, the same suffering.
They should be united by the discovery of the same wounds and scars, but above all unity is realised through common effort, links are forged through collective work and struggle. Regionalism, tribalism have been weighed and found wanting.
The mission of our politics should be underpinned by our dedication to uplifting the most trodden sections of our population and all-round transformation of society.
Many MMD politicians have applied to be adopted as candidates in the presidential by-elections to replace Levy.
There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, this is how things should be because democracy calls many but few are chosen. And those chosen should be the best – the most honest, the most able, the most dedicated and the ones with the highest concern for the welfare of all.
Let’s scrutinise all those offering themselves for the office of president and only choose the best. There should be no compromise between good and bad; only the best should be picked.
By Chansa Kabwela
Thursday August 28, 2008 [04:00]
LANDS minister Bradford Machila yesterday said he is not aware of any Cabinet minister who is about to, or has betrayed President Levy Mwanawasa over succession.
Reacting to finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa's statement yesterday that he was shocked that some Cabinet ministers who knew that President Mwanawasa preferred Ng'andu Magande as his successor are either quiet about the matter or have betrayed him even before his burial, Machila challenged Shakafuswa to come out with specific names of those who have betrayed President Mwanawasa, instead of generalising his allegations.
"Yes, we are aware that there was a certain line of thinking from the President on this matter," Machila said. "But to say we are betraying him in this same matter is an unfair and exaggerated generalisation in that we were and we are still committed to the President's vision and the efforts he was making for the development of our country and the betterment of our people.
If Honourable Shakafuswa has information of those who have betrayed the President on this matter, it is better he comes out with more specifics. Certainly, I would not expect that we can betray someone who sacrificed his life for the good of his people."
Machila said he was aware that a good number of ministers knew the President's inclinations on the issue of his successor.
"In our last full Cabinet meeting, there was seemingly an indication of who the President did not consider as his successor and all of us know this person by implication," Machila said. "But I am aware that other ministers who by the nature of the ministries they run had more contacts with the President, would be privy to that information preferred successor.
But let me say this, that at the end of the day, once we put our President to rest and go through the process of selecting his successor, I appeal to members to hold together, respect the outcome and immediately get to work in order that we secure victory and show that the loss of our President has not been in vain."
Shakafuswa on Tuesday said some ministers who were aware that President Mwanawasa preferred Magande as his successor had ignored this and shifted their allegiance just to protect their jobs and positions.
By Mwala Kalaluka in Kasama
Thursday August 28, 2008 [04:00]
CATHOLIC Archbishop of Kasama James Spaita Mwewa (left) has said the church will not welcome antagonistic manoeuvres from politicians that wish to succeed President Levy Mwanawasa.
Commenting on President Mwanawasa's death in an interview at his residence on Sunday, Archbishop Spaita said politicians should learn from the message of reconciliation and peace that the deceased left for the people of Zambia and the region before he left for Egypt, where he suffered a stroke that later claimed his life.
Archbishop Spaita said he was very shocked by President Mwanawasa's death and he said only a selfless person should replace a man of such stature.
"Let our politicians look first for the interest of the nation and not selfish interests or positions or advantage they will get once they are in certain positions," Archbishop Spaita said. "Let the idea of service dominate rather than personal advantages."
He said it would be retrogressive for politicians to get embroiled in fights as the country braces itself for the forthcoming presidential by-election.
"We do regret, as a church, the antagonism which shows itself very often among politicians; we are one nation," Archbishop Spaita said. "Things can erupt if we are not very careful and if politicians do not follow in the same spirit of reconciliation that our President left us."
Archbishop Spaita, who described the late President as a man of great tolerance and understanding, asked those that will not make it in the pending election to accept the fact that democracy was about losers and winners.
He pointed out that President Mwanawasa's adherence to the concept of peace and reconciliation was made a reality for Zambia when he addressed the 16th Plenary Assembly of the Association of Member Episcopa Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) in June this year, in the presence of his one-time archrival, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata.
"His Excellency has left us a very powerful message of reconciliation and we take this message as one of the last messages of the President," Archbishop Spaita said. "There should be love and unity in the nation; in politics and religion."
Archbishop Spaita said he had a personal relationship with President Mwanawasa and he admired his dedication to duty even when he was not feeling well.
By Brighton Phiri, Patson Chilemba, Kelvin Tembo and Simon Mut
Thursday August 28, 2008 [04:01]
Lusaka lawyer and former Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) chairman Willa Mung'omba has joined the MMD presidential race. And MMD presidential aspirant Ng'andu Magande's campaign team has proposed a nationally televised debate about President Mwanawasa's policies among all party presidential candidates.
In his letter of application to MMD national secretary dated August 26, Mung'omba stated he was in a position to provide leadership over the country's continued search for a durable constitution.
"The rule of law, democracy, good governance and respect of human rights should be in the forefront of MMD leadership in order for us to build a just and equitable society. A free society that values human life is essential to progress. These can be assured by a predictable and respected constitution," read Mung'omba's letter in part.
"I am in a position to provide leadership in Zambia's continued search for a durable constitution. As chairman of the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission, I remain mindful of people's aspiration for a constitution written, adopted by, and delivered to themselves. This is an urgent matter which MMD must undertake to deliver to the people of Zambia without much delay. If granted opportunity by the party, I will do that as a matter of priority."
Mung'omba stated that he had and continued to have a rare privilege of not only knowing, but of working with some former and present heads of state in Africa.
"As leader of MMD and president of Zambia, I would use my knowledge of the world to enhance Zambia's respected profile abroad," he stated. "I am pleased to offer my services to our party and through it to the People of Zambia."
Mung'omba stated that he had been an unwavering member of MMD since the time it was founded in 1991 and that in a modest way, he had continued to support the ruling party whenever he had been called upon to do so.
Mung'omba further stated that he believed that MMD was a dynamic party that should continue calling upon committed and intelligent leadership that would provide hope to Zambia's youth and future generations.
"I have been one of the few privileged Zambians to have visited and worked in all provinces, all districts and all parliamentary constituencies of this country. I have the full picture of our country's natural resources, the disparities in their exploitation and the full potential and its richness. I believe that MMD leadership must possess this picture in order to build a comprehensive framework for Zambia's development," stated Mung'omba.
And MMD presidential aspirant Ng'andu Magande's campaign team has proposed a nationally televised debate among all the party's presidential candidates.
In a press statement yesterday, former commerce minister Dipak Patel ,who is also a member of the Elect Magande Campaign Team, stated that Magande was ready, able and willing, to such a debate.
"In consultation and agreement with Hon. Magande, the MMD presidential aspirant, he and his campaign management team believes that it is not only in the interest of MMD but in the interest of all Zambians for all MMD presidential candidates to have a nationally televised debate among all candidates on 4th of September 2008, a day before the MMD national executive committee meets to decide on the MMD presidential candidate," Patel stated.
"We live in modern times and the generational shift in politics necessitates such a debate. Hon. Magande is ready, able and willing, to such a debate. We also have no doubt that all aspiring candidates would also be willing to such a debate in national interest."
Meanwhile, the MMD in Luapula Province have unanimously endorsed the candidature of Acting President Rupiah Banda as MMD presidential candidate in the presidential by-election.
Magande this week applied to be considered as MMD presidential candidate for the forthcoming presidential by-election.
And finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa yesterday said he was shocked that some cabinet ministers who knew that President Mwanawasa preferred Magande as his successor were either quiet about the matter or had betrayed him even before his burial.