Saturday, September 06, 2008
Mugabe gets rousing welcome in Swaziland
Last updated: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 06:07:23 GMT
ZIMBABWE President Robert Mugabe received a rousing stadium reception in the Swaziland capital Mbabane Saturday as he joined King Mswati III and other top guests for the king's lavish birthday celebrations. Mugabe, 84, was one of a dozen state and government heads attending the Somhlolo Stadium celebrations amid tight security. He raised his fist in acknowledgement of the welcome, clearly delighted.
The celebrations went ahead amid heavy criticism in southern Africa that they ignored the plight of the poor, and tight security was ordered. Some 2,000 people took to the streets Mbabane Thursday in protest at the spending on the party, and the absence of political freedom. Swaziland, a country of around 1 million people, mostly subsistence farmers, is the world's last absolute monarchy.
The '40-40' celebrations were being held to mark the 40th anniversary of Swazi independence from Britain and Mswati's 40th birthday. Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Lesotho's King Pakalitha Mosisili and US assistant secretary for African affairs, Ambassador Jendayi Frazer were among guests, as were the presidents of Madagascar, Uganda, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Malawi.
Mugabe received the biggest round of applause from assembled citizens and heads of state.
The government says the party is costing 20 million emalangeni (US$12.6 million dollars), but critics estimate it is costing several times that.
The controversy comes against the backdrop of rising tensions in the normally peaceable kingdom in advance of legislative elections on September 19.
Striking workers and youths brandishing sticks and branches smashed car windows and looted shops in Mbabane Thursday in some of the worst rioting in the country in decades.
Mswati, who is famous internationally for having 13 wives, has reigned over the landlocked kingdom for 22 years.
His spending on the party, which includes 20 new BMW 7 series cars and 120 cattle, has angered many in the country where around 70 per cent of people live on less than a dollar a day and one in four adults is HIV-positive.
Nevertheless, many of Swaziland's 1.1 million people, who are mostly subsistence farmers, admire their king.
Among them are the tens of thousands of bare-breasted virgins who competed for his eye on Monday in a traditional Reed Dance, in which he chooses a new wife.
"There's no problem with the 40-40. We are only celebrating our 40 years of independence. The king should do whatever he wants to do," said Phumlile Dlamini, 18, a student.
"He's the king, he should do whatever he wants to do with the money. He is in charge of everything in the country." - dpa/Reuters
Air Zimbabwe • Gono, journalists and military officers added to EU sanctions
Last updated: Sun, 07 Sep 2008 05:55:32 GMT
ZIMBABWE’S national airline Air Zimbabwe will be banned from using Canadian airspace under new sanctions announced by that country on Friday. Canadian officials claimed the sanctions were “targeted” against President Robert Mugabe and his senior officials. The Canadian sanctions top-up other sanctions measures imposed by the European Union, the United States and Australia on Zimbabwe.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister David Emerson charged that since the African country's discredited presidential election in March and the runoff in June, Mugabe's government has made no effort to promote democratic rule.
"Despite efforts by international mediators, and despite calls by the international community to return democracy to Zimbabwe, the government has shown itself unwilling to negotiate in good faith, and uninterested in meaningful reform," Emerson said in a statement.
Zimbabwe's opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was first in a field of four in the first round of presidential voting in March, but did not win by the margin necessary to avoid a runoff against second-place finisher Mugabe. Tsvangirai withdrew from the June 27 runoff because of attacks on his supporters blamed on Mugabe's party militants and security forces.
Mugabe held the runoff, and was declared the overwhelming winner, though the exercise was widely denounced as a sham.
The 84-year-old Zimbabwean leader, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says both his party and the MDC “have acknowledged culpability in the violence”.
Canada announced initial sanctions in June following the runoff, mainly restricting travel, work and study of senior members of Zimbabwe's government within Canada.
Emerson said the measures announced Friday "go further toward isolating and maintaining pressure on key members of the Zimbabwe regime."
Canada is banning arms exports, freezing the assets of top Zimbabwean officials and banning Zimbabwean aircraft from flying over or landing in Canada.
The ban on civilian aircraft will raise questions about Canada's claim that the measures are targeted at punishing Mugabe and his supporters. Currently, Air Zimbabwe does not use Canadian airspace, the airline's Europe and America Regional Manager, David Mwenga said.
Canada's further pressure tactics follow those of the United States and Europe Union, both of which announced expanded sanctions against the regime in July.
The U.S., along with Britain and France, spearheaded a U.N. Security Council drive in July for sanctions, but the initiative was vetoed by Russia and China.
South Africa and other African Union members are pressing Tsvangirai to accept a power-sharing deal. African leaders see a unity government as the way to avert the further spread of violence and total economic collapse in Zimbabwe, which has the world's highest inflation rate and chronic food and fuel shortages. - Staff Reporter/AP
September 5, 2008
Transport and Communications minister Dora Siliya says increased mine activities have strained the transports sector in Zambia. Ms Siliya said this was evident by the overwhelming strain on main roads in northwestern province due to activities of Lumwana mine in Solwezi.
She said expressed the concern at a stakeholders consultative meeting on the performance of the railway systems of Zambia and Tanzania-Zambia railway authority Friday at Mukuba Hotel.
Ms. Siliya said there was need to see how government could work with the private sector in promoting substantial investment in the railway transport sector because of the anticipated increased volume of goods when the mines start full production.
She said the challenge need to be tackled in the province for the for transportation of goods and services from the mines and other industries.
She said the volume of cargo that was coming from the mines and cement production should be better handled by the railway trans[port which could help in saving the roads from quick damage.
She said it was important for railway systems of Zambia and Tazara to find ways of improving capacity to help in the handling of the impending increased volumes of goods that would need to be transported from one point to the other.
She said the agricultural sector was also posing a huge demands in the transportation of fertilizers and the harvests from point one to points two where the railway system of transport could do better.
Ms Siliya said the economic boom that Zambia was experiencing had come with its own challenges in the transport sector and it was the responsibility of the government and the private sector to put their heads together and find solutions to the problem.
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
THE MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) has found it expedient to adopt Rupiah Banda as its candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-election. We say expedient because this is what they themselves have been giving as the reason for choosing Rupiah. They have been saying it would be expedient to let him continue and if they had their way, they would have let him become President without an election.
Actually, they had even attempted to have him adopted without any election at all. They have advanced unity and continuity as the reasons for their support for Rupiah. But we know that unity – important and necessary as it may be – is not a principle.
Unity is an expedience in the quest for power. Thus, in choosing Rupiah, they made expedience take precedence over principles. And they wanted everybody, including ourselves, to do so.
If expedience had been our guide, where would we be today? Who wouldn’t we have gone to bed with? How many wrong things would we have been part of?
When it was expedient for most of our people to go with Frederick Chiluba and his wrong-doings, we refused to do so.
We decided to oppose Chiluba and his doings. We were victims of constant arrests. We were being accused of all sorts of things by those who were eating with him and stealing with him.
We were made to really look bad. For ten years they had us on the ropes, but not down. We endured a lot of hardships when many people we knew were enjoying themselves. There are people we know who have enjoyed the best of every regime in this country. There are people who are good at jumping out and jumping in at the right time.
How else can one explain the presence of the likes of Vernon Mwaanga around Rupiah when one looks where they are coming from, where they have been and what they have done?
The record of Rupiah, which even the people we thought were honest are today trying to launder, is well-known by most of our people. Rupiah was in the UNIP government for many years and he served in many capacities.
Who doesn’t know how Rupiah conducted himself at NAMBOARD, in the diplomatic service, at Lusaka City Council? It is clear that opportunism and expedience can sometimes blind even some of our honest people.
It is difficult for us to give a general approval, to give unqualified support to a person like Rupiah when we know fully well the record of this man. It seems in this country the background of someone is not an issue. And this is not the first time we are sacrificing principles for expedience.
In 1991 the MMD, out of expedience, picked Chiluba instead of Arthur Wina, Edward Shamwana and Humphrey Mulemba. In terms of principles, Chiluba was the worst of them all, he was the least honest. And his record was there for us to see.
Dr Kenneth Kaunda and UNIP warned the nation against Chiluba and other characters in his group. They were ignored and ridiculed. Today, with hindsight, who can ignore or dispute what these decent people said? It didn’t take long for the true colours of Chiluba to start shining.
And today Chiluba is in court for stealing public money, for dishonesty and deceit. Chiluba is lucky not to be prosecuted for human rights violations, over the attempted assassination of Dr Rodger Chongwe and Dr Kaunda in Kabwe.
He is also lucky not to be questioned about the deaths of many other prominent political figures in our country like Richard Ngenda, Major Wezi Kaunda, Paul Tembo, Ronald Penza, among many others, who were brutally assassinated under his regime.
Zambians paid a high price for this type of political expedience.
Again, Mwaanga was one of the key sponsors of Chiluba and defended his regime to the end. And today this same Mwaanga is in the forefront of the Rupiah campaign.
Mwaanga used to denounce us for our criticisms, opposition of Chiluba and his regime. We lost many friends during the Chiluba era, some of them very honest people, who became part of his government or circles.
As an old refrain says, humans are the only animal who stub their toe on the same stone twice.
We are again seeing history repeat itself. But men must follow the dictates of their conscience irrespective of the consequences which might overtake them.
Politically, we have probably suffered more than any Zambian has had to endure over the last seventeen years. We have been victims of every regime.
Even our late brother, Levy Mwanawasa, went for us, arrested us, attacked us and accused us of all sorts of things, including of aspiring to stand as presidential candidates in the 2006 elections.
If we were hateful people, vengeful people, there are very few politicians in the country we would be talking to today.
But when it comes to hatred – we really think a newspaper that has devoted its entire existence, its whole life to fighting injustice, oppression of every kind, to serving others, to fighting for others, to preaching and practising solidarity; we think all that is totally incompatible with hatred. Vengeance can find no place in an honest person’s heart. You can fight with all the determination and strength of will in the world, but you can’t do it out of hate.
What we have done, what we are doing, can’t be done except on the basis of principles, on the basis of ideas, on the basis on ethics. It’s the only way. It can never be done on the basis of expedience.
We believe in the human being, in his ability to acquire ethics, a conscience, in his ability to make great sacrifices, sacrifices even for a bad cause, because in the First World War, for example, you see the battlefields of the Marne, Verdun, where even day-labourers went off to fight because of the French national anthem, which is really beautiful, and the French flag.
Men have gone off to die en masse for symbols, believing that those were things to give their lives for, when in fact, they were defending the interests of the empire, the great capitalists, the great colonial powers in Africa, Asia and other parts of the world.
Throughout history, one sees men die for honour, values that they can hold dear. Somebody inculcated those values in them. We say, inculcate the best values from the human point of view, from the point of view of justice, fraternity.
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been aware that hatred and prejudice are not political weapons. In addition, we have the experience to know that principles are the best possible political weapon.
We also know that ignorance is the root of many ills. Knowledge must be the fundamental ally of nations that aspire, despite all their tragedies and problems, to become truly emancipated, to build a better society.
The ideals for which this newspaper has struggled over the last seventeen years of its existence cannot be extinguished, cannot be defeated, cannot die, and they will live on for a very long, long time.
It has also been proved that those like us, willing to fight for a just cause, can suffer setbacks, but can never be defeated by anyone. And those who are today celebrating, saying we have been defeated by the adoption of Rupiah, are fools cheating themselves.
There are few disadvantages, or even misfortunes, in this world that you cannot turn into a personal triumph if you have the iron will and the necessary skill. As long as you have an iron will, you can turn misfortune into advantage.
We are what we are, both as a result of people who have supported us and helped us, and of those who did not support us and treated us badly.
There are men and women chosen to bring happiness in the hearts of people – those are the real winners, heroes. A winner, a hero, to us, is one who lives in a way that respects and enhances the lives of others. And only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can a better society be created in our country.
We are involved in a war against vices. In this war, there will be no quarter given anyone. We are going to call a spade a spade, we are going to appeal to the honour of every citizen of goodwill.
In the end, those who refuse to understand are going to self-correct, but in another way; yes, they are going to be smeared with their own offal. One thing we are sure of: in every human being there is a high sense of shame. And an honest person’s first duty is to be extremely harsh with himself.
We are going to fight this war, and use the highest calibre weapon we have.
Public office doesn’t exist so that people can obtain privileges; it shouldn’t be a source of privileges, of corruption, and a source of abuse of power.
We have dealt with corrupt, dishonest and deceitful politicians for a long time now and we know them well. Corrupt and dishonest politicians can be more subtle than the serpent and sometimes worse than rats.
Rats anaesthise their victims as they gnaw on them, and they are able to pull off a chunk of a person’s flesh in the middle of the night. That’s the way corrupt and dishonest politicians gradually anaesthise the nation and pull off chunks of its flesh.
We have been on the scene long enough to know who is who in Zambian politics. We know who the crooks are, we know who the opportunists are and we know those who are honest. It is easy for people to forget what has been done but we have a record.
We know where each one of these politicians stood when Chiluba was reshaping this country to what it is today – a country where dishonesty and corruption become the norm. We are seeing how these same characters – some of them totally bankrupt and destitute - are congregating around Rupiah, using whatever argument they can find. Again, time – and time alone – will tell.
Let them celebrate their victory but it won’t be for long because this is a hollow victory, which means nothing. It will only mean something if it is used for noble purposes; to fight corruption, abuse of office or power, to fight poverty and all its offshoots.
But given Rupiah’s own background, his character and the large numbers of crooked and corrupt characters who today surround him, we have sorious difficulties seeing or understanding how he will fight corruption.
If Levy, who was much cleaner and more resolved, confessed having had serious difficulties fighting vice, how will Rupiah do it? If he succeeds, we will be the first ones to recognise that and give him credit because we will always be too near to those fighting corruption, injustice.
In doing whatever we are doing we are not seeking any glory, any applaud from anyone - we leave that for Rupiah and his supporters. We don’t do anything for applause.
By Lambwe Kachali and Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
VICE-President Rupiah Banda yesterday called for unity in MMD and asked all unsuccessful candidates to support him in order to achieve victory in the forth-coming presidential by-election. And losing presidential aspirant Ng'andu Magande conceded defeated and pledged to campaign for Vice-President Banda. Vice-President Banda polled 43 votes while Magande polled 11.
Delivering an acceptance speech at Mulungushi International Conference Centre after being declared duly elected MMD candidate in the forth-coming presidential by-election, Vice-President Banda said MMD could not afford to lose the by-election.
The national executive committee (NEC) meeting took about six hours, from about 10:00 hours to 16:00 hours.
Vice-President Banda, who is also Acting President, said every Zambian was part of the government's programmes that should be completed and that citizens should avoid being complacent or leaving a fight, which required completion.
"I am greatly privileged and humbled to be making this address to you today. I very much regret the circumstances of my having to do so and I ask our late president Levy Patrick Mwanawasa who is now with the Lord to bless and guide us from this day forward.
I sincerely thank those who voted for me and forgiving me the opportunity of leading them and the party into the forth-coming presidential by-election. I will not let you down and I am sure, together we will deliver a victory for our party," Vice-President Banda said.
"I ask all unsuccessful candidates to join with me and those establishments to not only continue with the good work that we have carried out under our late president but to use the knowledge derived from him to move the MMD into the new and exciting era.
"MMD must win this presidential by-election; we cannot afford to lose it. We are all in the programme which must be completed.
Let us therefore avoid getting complacent or leaving a fight which we must succeed. We must win as we owe it to our late president to win and we owe it to the people of Zambia to win."
Vice-President Banda said he was determined to work with everyone towards creating a country where the government would be seen as a help and not a hindrance, in order to allow people to prosper with the fullness for their efforts.
He said living in an economic environment characterised by friendliness, people should work together and build a country where all would be treated equally, as doing so would promote continuation of the good works started by the departed president.
"For me, I want to declare publicly that I want to work with all my comrades in the party so that we can light the MMD and the whole country.
That is what our president always taught us - to be united and to learn to love one another," said Vice-President Banda.
And Magande, who is also finance and national planning minister, accepted the results and described the process as democratic.
"I accept the results. Zambia is a democracy and that is what democracy is all about," said Magande in an interview.
Asked if he would campaign for Vice-President Banda, Magande responded in the affirmative.
"Well, I am a member of parliament for Chilanga so I will campaign for my party in my constituency. I will campaign in my constituency, of course for him, yes," said Magande.
Magande said he was not sure if he would contest for the MMD presidency in 2011.
"You know I always said that 2011 is very far. So I have work to do between now and then," he said.
Asked if he was hopeful that he would win the MMD presidency if he contested in 2011, Magande said he would not say he could scoop the position.
"I wouldn't say I will scoop the position, I haven't even told you I will be campaigning for 2011," said Magande.
As Magande was leaving the hall, several party members patted him on the back in praise. And as Magande was being driven out of Mulungushi grounds, several MMD cadres lined up and applauded him for conceding defeat.
The cadres, who waved the MMD symbol, touched Magande's vehicle amid praise for him.
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
SOME MMD presidential aspirants last Thursday complained that the process that the ruling party's National Executive Committee (NEC) used to choose its candidate in the forthcoming presidential by-election was undemocratic. Addressing a packed auditorium during a public discussion organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post at Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) in Lusaka, the candidates accused the NEC members of looking at faces in the selection process.
The candidates that presented their plans and manifestoes during the discussion were former works and supply minister Dr Ludwig Sondashi, finance minister Ng'andu Magande, Ndola businessman Nason Msoni, former Copperbelt University Students Union (COBUSU) president Cain Mweemba, Ndola resident Charles Ngesa and MMD chairman for commerce Sebastian Kopulande.
All the presidential aspirants asked Zambians to give them a chance to lead Zambia to its destiny, as they felt they were best suited for the job. But members of the audience asked each one of them to explain what they would do should the MMD NEC settle for them.
Other questions posed to the presidential aspirants related to how they would address the persistent closures at the University of Zambia (UNZA), how they would fight corruption and continue with late President Levy Mwanawasa's legacy.
Kopulande said the selection process of presidential candidates in the MMD ahead of the presidential election was getting back to the UNIP days when people were not allowed to exercise their democratic right.
"This issue should have been taken to the people," he said. "This is why we founded MMD in the 1990s when UNIP was electing leaders by public proclamation...This seems to be rearing its ugly head into our party and we are going to fight that."
Kopulande, who claimed to have written some of President Mwanawasa's landmark speeches, said he was a policy specialist of high repute and that he was not being driven by opportunism in his quest for the presidency.
"We are all here for we believe in democracy," Kopulande said. "The circumstances that brought us here are not pleasant at all, after putting our president to rest, a new chapter has began for Zambia."
Kopulande said even though he was an underdog, he was the right man for the job.
"President Mwanawasa may not have appointed me as his successor but he trusted me with his words," he said. "My government will have no side deals. There shall be no room for underhand. We will fight corruption in the streets, in the homes and in any place where it rears its ugly head."
Kopulande said people like him were not ready to wait for 2011 before they take a shot at the presidency.
"2011 is three years from now. Three years is too long for us to wait; the legacy must continue," said Kopulande.
Dr Sondashi on his part said it would be very easy to confuse or to corrupt the over 40 people that were mandated to choose a presidential candidate.
"Money has started exchanging hands and if that is continued then you can know what is going to happen tomorrow yesterday," he said. "Then you can know why people clap hands when some people are talking."
Dr Sondashi proposed that intra-party elections should be legislated so as to avoid complaints that someone had been favoured.
He pledged that once elected Republican president, he would see to it that people in the rural areas have money in their pockets and that he would provide equal opportunities for Zambians to exploit their potential, apart from fighting crime with tenacity.
Sondashi said having been part of the older generation that created the mess in the country, he was of the view that the old people should remove the country from the mess, instead of shifting it to the younger generation.
Magande told the crowd that he was disappointed with a senior NEC member who said that he could not be elected as a presidential candidate for the party because he is Tonga.
He said he had the right credentials to take the country from its present situation into the future, building on what president Mwanawasa had achieved.
Magande said he was fortunate to have had worked for a very difficult leader who demanded results at all times.
"I want to know from NEC where I have failed after delivering the country from minus two development? Do not look at my face. One of the senior NEC members said, 'we can't vote for Magande because he is Tonga.' I do not know where my Tonga is,"
Magande said. "In 2003, president Mwanawasa identified from 10 million Zambians and appointed me as Minister of Finance. None of you objected.
All I ask is that tomorrow yesterday the NEC should be level headed; they should not look at faces, they should not look at tribe, they should just pick the best person to lead Zambia."
Magande said he does not operate in dark corners.
He said he was a very clean and that it was surprising that people were accusing him of wanting to write off a debt Zambian Airways owes to National Airports Corporation (NAC).
"That is the only case you want to peddle to stop me from helping my country," Magande said.
Responding to an assertion by a member of the audience to explain that he was arrogant and inconsiderate, Magande replied: "I am not arrogant, I only say things the way I see them."
But another member of the audience told Magande that president Mwanawasa only found it fit to have him as finance minister and not as president.
However, Magande explained that he did not know why other people were appointed to various positions but that he knew that he was appointed finance minister due to his experience in economic management and national planning.
Magande also said he was not ready to apologise over his statement that the problems at UNZA were a consequence of financial indiscipline because people that receive public funds should also be ready to account for it.
Magande said the problems at UNZA was the only mark he would fail to score out of 10 marks because there had been no audited records of the institution's accounts for the last five years.
Msoni said in his response that a presidential candidate who would be elected through corrupt means would be hard for them MMD to sell.
"I will not be surprised tomorrow Friday if I get a zero vote because the current matrix favour the status quo," Msoni said. "Corruption will rear its ugly head but the end product would be hard to sell. This will be the demise of MMD."
Msoni said he had been fighting wrong things within the MMD at a time when some people that were in leadership positions were hiding in cupboards like squirrels.
"For a longtime our people seemed to have been walking away from the real deal; I am the man for the top job," he said. "I have paid a price for democracy."
Msoni said State House was a difficult institution to manage and that only a courageous man like him would be best suited to occupy it.
"I am sure we are not prepared to take a boy there," said Msoni. "If Dr Mwanawasa was vicious at fighting corruption, then I am twice as vicious...anybody who is going to receive those new salary increments, I am afraid they are going to pay back with interests. I shudder to see leaders enriching themselves, where is our morality?"
Mweemba said he was seeking the presidential office because he felt that the ingredients for the country's development had not been well mixed.
"I have fought for multi-partysm. I was one of the main organisers for the MMD convention," Mweemba said. "I worked hard to make sure that young people are advocates for change. It is us who fought running battles with the police, so we should give the direction this country should go."
Mweemba described the current trend where the government delivers top dressing fertiliser before disbursing basal fertiliser as economic sabotage.
However, Ngesa argued that the country's greatness had been reduced because of leaders that were selfish and this was the main reason he wanted to become the next president.
"I want to become the next president of Zambia. I have got a vision for Zambia, come along with me," Ngesa said amidst laughter and heckles. "My vision is that Zambia recaptures its lost glory."
Ngesa, who had issues with the money that Zain Zambia, which he kept referring to as Celtel, was making from Zambians pledged to get back the over K71 trillion that the company makes from the procurement of airtime annually.
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
TIME has come for Zambians to vote across political party lines so as to usher in a leader who will ensure an accelerated economic growth, United Party for National Development (UPND) leader Hakainde Hichilema has said. And Hichilema said if elected into office, the UPND would reverse the salary increments that Cabinet had awarded itself.
In an interview yesterday, Hichilema advised Zambians not to vote for a leader based on regionalism, political party inclination or race, but for a leader that would pull the country together and take it to greater heights economically.
He said Zambia needed a leader with the necessary skills to make the country realise the vision of accelerated economic growth.
"I think it is time we became forthright in our approach to issues. We need a stronger and accelerated economic growth and that is why we in UPND will do things slightly differently," said Hichilema.
He said UPND believed in heavy investments in education because it was education that could make citizens acquire the necessary skills to help the country realise its vision of an accelerated and stronger economic growth.
Hichilema noted that the country's economy needed to grow at a higher rate of at least 10 per cent per year.
He added that his party would also prioritise infrastructure development so as to ease the cost of doing business.
Hichilema said issues of fuel shortages and increments would also be tackled so as to make the commodity more affordable to the average Zambian.
And Hichilema said his party would continue with the fight against corruption although in a more professional and non-selective manner.
Hichilema said Zambians should detest corruption because it took away resources that were supposed to be made available for buying desks in schools, buying medicines in hospitals and paying decent perks to professionals such as nurses, doctors and men and women in uniform.
By Laura Mushaukwa
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
FORMER Access Financial Services Ltd (AFSL) director Faustin Kabwe yesterday testified that his company did not maintain mirror accounts in Zambia to show records of money it held for third party sources in the United Kingdom. This is in a case in which Kabwe is jointly charged with former president Frederick Chiluba and former AFSL director Aaron Chungu for theft by public servant involving about US $500,000.
The trio is alleged to have stolen the money in 1998.
During cross-examination by Task Force prosecutions lawyer Mutembo Nchito, Kabwe told the court that it was not appropriate to maintain mirror accounts because of the nature of the business AFSL was doing on behalf of their client Zambia Security Intelligence Service (ZSIS).
Asked when and when not it was appropriate to keep records of accounts by his company, Kabwe said it was appropriate to keep records when funds moved and not appropriate when the transactions were done offshore.
In response to a question of whether transactions AFSL did in the UK were considered off balance sheet transactions, Kabwe said they would.
On how the money in the UK was accounted for, Kabwe testified that the money was duly accounted for, to the satisfaction of the client.
Nchito asked Kabwe whether the accounts of AFSL should disclose its assets and liabilities but he said not necessarily because it was on the basis of what was appropriate and in accordance with the client's business instructions.
Nchito then brought Kabwe's attention to the International Accounting Standards requirement of disclosure of financial transactions in line with his response of only disclosing when it was appropriate.
Kabwe testified that International Standards required appropriate disclosure of financial transactions and strict compliance with the client's instructions.
Asked whether as a firm a client could tell the firm what to disclose and what not to disclose, Kabwe said the client could not.
Kabwe added that transactions which AFSL conducted on behalf of its various clients through its overseas lawyers were monitored, recorded and reconciled on the basis of the books of accounts maintained by Meer Care and Desai and that the role of AFSL was to ensure that the records at Meer Care and Desai were correct.
On which particular ledger the US $9 million that moved from the Zamtrop Account to Meer Care and Desai went to, Kabwe said it was deposited in the bank account of Meer Care and Desai and in the ledgers of the firm, would be credited to an account under which the subsequent underlying transaction would be conducted.
When Nchito could not get a satisfactory answer from Kabwe on the particular ledger the money from the Zamtrop Account went to in Meer Care and Desai, he put it to him that his company had AFSL accounts in Meer Care and Desai to which he responded in the affirmative.
Kabwe said he did not know the exact number of AFSL accounts that his company held at Meer Care and Desai. He also told the court about another account called Uptree Account owned by the ZSIS.
Kabwe testified that he did not know whether or not Uptree received government money.
He explained that the Uptree Account was set up by Meer Care and Desai under instructions from ZSIS through AFSL the interface between ZSIS and Meer Care and Desai.
Kabwe said AFSL duly recorded the remittances and other transactions were accounted for within Meer Care and Desai.
He told the court that AFSL disclosed to Bank of Zambia (BoZ) the accounts of the financial transactions in the United Kingdom.
On what accounts he drew attention to BoZ of AFSL's financial activities in the UK, Kabwe said although AFSL had a ledger in the UK, it did not reflect in Zambia.
He said AFSL would be liable to be questioned if it did not disclose some of its transactions. Nchito put it to Kabwe that failure to record offshore transactions was clear evidence of money laundering but Kabwe denied.
He told the court that there was a debtor-creditor relationship when a client put money in his company's care. Kabwe said he was not aware that Meer Care and Desai provided a financial service to AFSL.
He testified that he and Aaron Chungu were directors of Zamdell in Zambia and that the owners of Zamdell were Zamdell International and a Mr. Dell.
Kabwe pointed out that ZSIS were the beneficiary owners of Zamdell and he acquired Zamdell on behalf of ZSIS. He said he did not know who had physical possession of the bearer shares but believed that Mr. Meer and Mr.
Dewar had custody of the bearer shares
Asked how the government was protected in the Zamdell transaction, Kabwe said the request to buy Zamdell came from ZSIS and personnel of ZSIS had taken appropriate steps to apply for the investment to the Auditor General.
He added that Mr. Dewar and former intelligence chief Xavier Chungu were always in contact, from the beginning of the transaction. Nchito put it to Kabwe that the transaction was not in the interest of government, but Kabwe said there was no evidence that he personally benefited from the transaction.
He said after acquiring property on behalf of his client ZSIS, they informed them of what they had done.
But Nchito reminded Kabwe that the current intelligence chief Regis Phiri said he knew nothing about the Zamdell arrangement.
“Xavier Chungu left and Phiri took over. Why didn't you tell him you were sitting on their money as AFSL? Nchito asked.
Kabwe said ZSIS was not just an ordinary client and that he and his colleagues were not privy to their internal arrangements and other procedures they conducted whenever there was a change.
He said he had written to the current intelligence chief Regis Phiri concerning the relationship AFSL had with his predecessor Xavier Chungu but did not have an opportunity to follow up the matter as investigations had started in June 2002 and he was consequently arrested.
The matter comes up on September 22, 2008.
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Saturday September 06, 2008 [04:00]
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has given opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai the "last chance" to sign the power-sharing agreement or he will proceed to appoint a new Cabinet without the opposition. South African President Thabo Mbeki was on Thursday afternoon expected in Harare for another attempt to make the Zimbabwean leader sign the power sharing deal, which will facilitate for the appointment of a new government.
The composition of a new government is expected to reflect the result of the unity talks that have been recommended by SADC and the African Union for Zimbabwe to end the decade-long political and economic impasse.
The country's political leaders began the power sharing talks after signing the memorandum of understanding on July 21, 2008 spelling out the agenda and rules of the talks.
But Tsvangirai last month refused to sign the deal over the issue of who will hold the majority of the power between the two country's political rivals.
ZANU-PF has said it will not cede MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai more power than has been apportioned to him as the Prime Minister in a deal endorsed by SADC.
MDC argues that the deal, which Tsvangirai refused to sign, would see President Mugabe hold onto the majority of power while the opposition leader would become a ceremonial Prime Minister.
President Mugabe said he would not wait any longer if Tsvangirai refuses to sign the deal.
"If after Thursday Tsvangirai does not want to sign, we will certainly put together a Cabinet. We feel frozen at the moment," he said on Wednesday.
President Mugabe said Tsvangirai was being used by Britain and that the Western country was behind Tsvangirai's refusal to sign.
"We know that it is the British government behind it. It is the British government which does not want an agreement, and as long as they do not want it he (Tsvangirai) will not sign. They want sanctions to continue to punish us into an agreement with them. It is the land question, and all this talk about democracy is nonsense," he said.
The negotiators from ZANU-PF and the two MDC factions, led by Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, were in South Africa last week in an effort to break the political impasse but still returned to Zimbabwe yesterday with differences.
President Mbeki was expected yesterday to meet the party leaders in his role as SADC appointed facilitator.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Nonsense. There is no heterosexual epidemic of HIV/AIDS, not in Southern Africa, or anywhere else in the world.
The authorities have lied, and I am not glad
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, author of 1987's The Truth About the AIDS Panic, says it is a shame that AIDS insiders did not expose the myths and opportunism of the AIDS industry earlier. But still, better late than never.
by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick
There is a widely accepted view that Britain was saved from an explosive epidemic of heterosexual AIDS in the late 1980s by a bold campaign initiated by gay activists and radical doctors and subsequently endorsed by the government and the mass media.
According to advocates of this view, we owe our low rates of HIV infection today largely to the success of initiatives such as the 'Don't Die of Ignorance' leaflet distributed to 23million households and the scary 'Tombstones and Icebergs' television and cinema adverts (though they are always quick to add that we must maintain vigilance and guard against complacency).
Now former AIDS industry insiders are challenging the imminent heterosexual plague story and many of the other scare stories of the international AIDS panic. James Chin, author of The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology with Political Correctness, is a veteran public health epidemiologist who worked in the World Health Organisation's Global Programme on AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Elizabeth Pisani, a journalist turned epidemiologist and author of The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels and the Business of AIDS, spent most of the past decade working under the auspices of UNAIDS, which took over the global crusade against HIV in 1996.
Once prominent advocates of the familiar doomsday scenarios, both have now turned whistleblowers on their former colleagues in the AIDS bureaucracy, a 'byzantine' world, according to Pisani, in which 'money eclipses truth'.
"Pisani reminds readers that 'public health is inherently a somewhat fascist discipline'"
For Chin, the British AIDS story is an example of a 'glorious myth' - a tale that is 'gloriously or nobly false', but told 'for a good cause'. He claims that government and international agencies, and AIDS advocacy organisations, 'have distorted HIV epidemiology in order to perpetuate the myth of the great potential for HIV epidemics to spread into "general" populations'. In particular, he alleges, HIV/AIDS 'estimates and projections are "cooked" or made up'.
While Pisani disputes Chin's claim that UNAIDS epidemiologists deliberately overestimated the epidemic, she admits to what she describes as 'beating up' the figures, insisting - unconvincingly - that there is a 'huge difference' between 'making it up (plain old lying) and beating it up'. Pisani freely acknowledges her role in manipulating statistics to maximise their scare value, and breezily dismisses the 'everyone-is-at-risk nonsense' of the British 'Don't Die of Ignorance' campaign.
Chin's book offers a comprehensive exposure of the hollowness of the claims of the AIDS bureaucracy for the efficacy of their preventive campaigns. He provides numerous examples of how exaggerated claims for the scale of the HIV epidemic (and the risks of wider spread) in different countries and contexts enable authorities to claim the credit for subsequently lower figures, as they 'ride to glory' on curves showing declining incidence.
As he argues, 'HIV prevalence is low in most populations throughout the world and can be expected to remain low, not because of effective HIV prevention programmes, but because. the vast majority of the world's populations do not have sufficient HIV risk behaviours to sustain epidemic HIV transmission'.
By the late 1980s, it was already clear that, given the very low prevalence of HIV, the difficulty of transmitting HIV through heterosexual sex and the stable character of sexual relationships (even those having multiple partners tend to favour serial monogamy), an explosive HIV epidemic in Britain, of the sort that occurred in relatively small networks of gay men and drug users, was highly improbable, as Don Milligan and I argued in 1987 (1).
As both Chin and Pisani indicate, high rates of heterosexually spread HIV infection remain the exceptional feature of sub-Saharan Africa (and parts of the Caribbean where a particular pattern of concurrent networks of sexual partners together with high rates of other sexually transmitted infections facilitated an AIDS epidemic. Though this has had a devastating impact on many communities, Chin suggests that HIV prevalence in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean has been overestimated by about 50 per cent. The good news is that, contrary to the doom-mongering of the AIDS bureaucracy, the rising annual global HIV incidence peaked in the late 1990s and the AIDS pandemic has now passed its peak.
"From AIDS to climate change, experts have been complicit in the prostitution of science to propaganda"
Most significantly, the sub-Saharan pattern has not been replicated in Europe or North America, or even in Asia or Latin America, though there have been localised epidemics associated with gay men, drug users and prostitution, most recently in South-East Asia and Eastern Europe.
Many commentators now acknowledge the gross exaggerations and scaremongering of the AIDS bureaucracy. It is clear that HIV has remained largely confined to people following recognised high-risk behaviours, rather than being, in the mantra of the AIDS bureaucracy, a condition of poverty, gender inequality and under-development.
Yet they also accept the argument, characterised by Chin as 'political correctness', that it is better to try to terrify the entire population with the spectre of an AIDS epidemic than it is to risk stigmatising the gays and junkies, ladyboys and whores who feature prominently in Pisani's colourful account.
For Chin and Pisani, the main problem of the mendacity of the AIDS bureaucracy is that it leads to misdirected, ineffective and wasteful campaigns to change the sexual behaviour of the entire population, while the real problems of HIV transmission through high-risk networks are neglected. To deal with these problems, both favour a return to traditional public health methods of containing sexually transmitted infections through aggressive testing, contact tracing and treatment of carriers of HIV. Whereas the gay activists who influenced the early approach of the AIDS bureaucracy favoured anonymous and voluntary testing, our whistleblowers now recommend a more coercive approach, in relation to both diagnosis and treatment.
Pisani reminds readers that 'public health is inherently a somewhat fascist discipline' (for example, quarantine restrictions have an inescapably authoritarian character) and enthusiastically endorses the AIDS policies of the Thai military authorities and the Chinese bureaucrats who are not restrained from targeting high risk groups by democratic niceties.
The problem is that, given the climate of fear generated by two decades of the 'everyone-is-at-risk nonsense', the policy now recommended by Chin and Pisani is likely to lead to more repressive interventions against stigmatised minorities (which will not help to deter the spread of HIV infection).
Chin confesses that he has found it difficult 'to understand how, over the past decade, mainstream AIDS scientists, including most infectious disease epidemiologists, have virtually all uncritically accepted the many "glorious" myths and misconceptions UNAIDS and AIDS activists continue to perpetuate'.
An explanation for this shocking betrayal of principle can be found in a 1996 commentary on the British AIDS campaign entitled 'Icebergs and rocks of the "good lie"'. In this article, Guardian journalist Mark Lawson accepted that the public had been misled over the threat of AIDS, but argued that the end of promoting sexual restraint (especially among the young) justified the means (exaggerating the risk of HIV infection): as he put it, 'the government has lied and I am glad' (2).
This sort of opportunism is not confined to AIDS: in other areas where experts are broadly in sympathy with government policy - such as passive smoking, obesity and climate change - they have been similarly complicit in the prostitution of science to propaganda.
It is a pity that Chin and Pisani did not blow their whistles earlier and louder, but better late than never.
Dr Michael Fitzpatrick is the author of MMR and Autism: What Parents Need to Kno (buy this book from Amazon(UK)) and The Tyranny of Health: Doctors and the Regulation of Lifestyle (buy this book from Amazon(UK)).
The Wisdom of Whores, by Elisabeth Pisani, is published by Granta Books. (Buy this book from Amazon(UK).)
The AIDS Pandemic: The Collision of Epidemiology with Political Correctness, by James Chin, is published by Radcliffe Publishing Ltd.
(1) Michael Fitzpatrick and Don Milligan, The Truth About The Aids Panic, 1987
(2) Mark Lawson, 'Icebergs and rocks of the "good" lie', Guardian, 24 June 1996
Fri, 05 Sep 2008 10:08:00 +0000
BOTSWANA’S unelected president, Seretse Khama Ian Khama, caught those who know him by surprise at the burial of the late Zambian leader, Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, on Wednesday. Not only did he leave his cocoon in Gaborone to finally join other African leaders at an African gathering, but he also came sporting a ring on the third finger of his left hand. Yes, a ring.
We all know the third finger is reserved for the nuptial manacle — the wedding band and when one puts a ring on it, particularly a wedding band, the logical conclusion is that there is a maiden revelling in wedded bliss somewhere in the background.
To the best of my knowledge, and this has since been confirmed by sources in Gaborone, Ian Khama is not married, has never been married, does not have a girlfriend, has not been romantically linked to one in his 57 years of bachelorhood, does not have a kid. In fact, haana kana kumbonenerwawo zvake (no maiden ever tried to elope to him).
This is the same way he pretends to be a president, exercising full executive power, yet he never went for an election. It wouldn’t be our business if the Botswana law allows one to be president without an election, that is their system. It becomes our business when the same man shoots his mouth over our own presidency here.
Badmouthing President Mugabe, who has always submitted himself to election every five years since 1980, accusing him of ‘‘pretending to be president’’. But then this is Africa, the land of contradictions, where hypocrites can masquerade without a sense of irony.
Be that as it may, Khama is free to wear a ring on whichever part of his body he likes, the same way he is free to act on EU sanctions in independent Africa, and to discuss hosting the US military force, Africom, against not only Sadc but Africa’s collective opposition.
The point is, in Botswana one can be a president without going for an election as Khama and his predecessors have done, that is their system. Here in Zimbabwe, the presidency is secured by election, not elevation. Our law says where there are more than two candidates; the winner should score at least 50 percent plus 1 to prevail. That did not happen on March 29, necessitating June 27 where President Mugabe trounced Tsvangirai by a wide margin.
As such, Khama can call himself president in Botswana but the Botswana system does not apply in Zimbabwe, which is why Tsvangirai is not a president.
That fact is why Tsvangirai’s name was not on the list of heads of state and government at Mwanawasa’s funeral, but on the list of other invited dignitaries among them opposition leaders in Zambia.
So on what grounds does Khama stand to point a finger at Zimbabwe?
The clue lies in his willingness to enforce EU sanctions in an African country, itself a consequence of Botswana’s history as a British protectorate. As Tsholotsho MP Jonathan Moyo put it, ‘‘what Uncle Sam does, Uncle Tom follows’’. Here are a few examples:
l The EU says it does not recognise President Mugabe and would rather have Tsvangirai. Ian Khama follows suit and mulls not only giving Tsvangirai a diplomatic passport but an armoured car as well.
l The EU imposes sanctions on Zimbabwe; Khama implements them.
l Gordon Brown boycotts the EU-Africa Summit on account of President Mugabe’s attendance; Ian Khama follows suit over the Sadc summit.
l The Western media badmouths Zimbabwe, Ian Khama instructs the Botswana media to follow suit. Works in cahoots with Usaid to launch an anti-Zimbabwe programme, "Voice from Within", that airs every Wednesday, prime time on Btv.
l The Dutch embassy gives Tsvangirai ‘‘asylum’’ during the run-off, Khama follows suit.
The list is long, but the point is Ian Khama and his politics of Western appeasement are the biggest crises confronting Sadc at a time the region is supposed to be gearing for the African renaissance.
How can the renaissance be achieved when the likes of Ian Khama go against the basic tenets? That Africa can engage the West as an equal partner not a basket of client states?
It is no secret why the US is keen to get a foothold in Sadc, a region that has been termed the Persian Gulf of Minerals?
A report released by the US think-tank, Council on Foreign Relations, titled ‘‘More than Humanitarianism: A Strategic US Approach Toward Africa’’, acknowledges the centrality of Southern Africa to US interests.
The CFR report says in part, ‘‘Africa is of growing international importance. By the end of the decade, for example, sub-Saharan Africa is likely to become as important a source of US energy imports as the Middle East.
‘‘China, India, Europe, and others are competing with each other and with the United States for access to oil, natural gas and other natural resources. The world’s major powers are also becoming more active in seeking out investments, winning contracts and building political support on the continent.’’
There you have it. The US is keen to militarise Southern Africa through Africom as a prelude to plundering its resources. Africa need only look at what US military presence has done to the Middle East to see why Ian Khama’s poodle politics is the biggest crisis confronting the region.
Zimbabwe is not the crisis as the likes of Khama and their media embeds would have us believe, simply because Zimbabwe is actually advancing the objectives of the Frontline States, its successor the SADCC and Sadc combined, that is the total decolonisation of African space.
Back to Khama. Mwanawasa’s burial was full of valuable lessons that Ian Khama would do well to imbibe if he is to shake off the tag of ‘‘Sadc’s slouching novice’’.
For starters, it was clear in Lusaka that Botswana is alone in its stance on President Mugabe and Zimbabwe. Africa respects its heroes and elder statesmen.
For instance, it was announced for all to hear, him included, that ‘‘arriving now is President Robert Gabriel Mugabe, President of the Republic of Zimbabwe’’. Tsvangirai’s arrival, if ever it was noticed, was not similarly announced.
Not only that, Ian Khama probably saw and heard for himself the crowd’s reaction, and the stampede from the media, when President Mugabe arrived, the same media that hardly gave him (Khama) a glance when he slouched to his seat among other heads of state and government.
If that did not strike him, then he would have to be as a blind as a bat, if he did not read the significance of the order in which heads of state and government were seated. President Mugabe was given a prominent central position in the front row, just in front of the lectern, both at Parliament Building and at Embassy Grounds — Mwanawasa’s final resting place.
Not only that, when the laying of wreaths began President Mugabe was the fifth to do so after Mwanawasa’s family, Zambia’s acting President Rupiah Banda, AU chairman Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Sadc chairman, President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa.
That arrangement by Zambia’s protocol office was in recognition of President Mugabe’s stature as the elder African statesmen, which is why many leaders conferred with him.
Khama would also be interested to know that President Mugabe, apart from winning numerous accolades all over the world, was also knighted by the Queen of England as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1994 just like his (Khama’s) father, Seretse Khama, but because of his pan-African grounding, President Mugabe never used the title ‘‘Sir’’ preferring the revolutionary Comrade (whose Chimurenga meaning is blood brother) that he carries to this day.
A title won, not by serving the Empire but from fighting the depredations of the Empire, which is why the Empire tried to strike back by revoking the meaningless title in June this year.
This was testimony to the fact that Westerners have no permanent friends, only permanent interests. By choosing to put the interests of Zimbabwe before those of the Empire President Mugabe became the West’s enemy.
Ian Khama would do well to learn from how the Western leaders, who were lauding Mwanawasa whenever he launched tirades against Zimbabwe, were conspicuous by their absence at his burial, sending a few of their lowly envoys resident in Lusaka.
In contrast African leaders came from as far afield as Ghana and Madagascar to pay their last respects to their African brother.
Blood, not skin, is what unites us.-The Herald
Fri, 05 Sep 2008 11:28:00 +0000
THE LEADER of the larger faction of Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai has become implacable and is a threat not only to the all-party talks in Zimbabwe, but to the future of his own party and its supporters. The centre of malevolence in the MDC-T party is the centralized sole power in the hands of one person or few of them – i.e. Morgan Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti. They make the ultimate decisions and everybody else has to follow suit.
Despite their public outcry that they are not concerned about positions, their behaviour points to the contrary.
The truth is that, although Morgan is remote-controlled by some conspicuous, visible hand, he wants to grab, total power in his own hands, and Biti wants a piece of the cake too. Biti has been a member of almost every known opposition political party in the country, even a member of the now defunct Zimbabwe Unity Movement, led by that political maverick aptly nicknamed “Two Boy”.
Unfortunately, no one in the MDC-T dares to question these two characters who have already consolidated power before they even acquire it, except their funders who are directly responsible for the unending flip-flops.
These two individuals (plus their funders) monopolize the decision-making process in the party and their followers have to concede with whatever decision they come up with, including the endless flip-flops and sulks.
One can almost sense the desperation in characters like spokesman Nelson Chamisa – whose limelight was recently stolen by a newcomer, Tsvangirai’s “spokesman” George Sibotshiwe in the aftermath of the March 29 harmonised election – to be in power. They have worked hard, and for too long and the “stop-start approach” by Morgan is draining all their political energies and vitality. Chamisa missed a chunk of his adolescent life to the MDC-T party. As Tsvangirai, who is a rich man now, was saying talks have stalled and there's no hope, Chamisa was telling SA FM that President Mugabe should re-consider the ultimatum given to the MDC-T party on the appointment of the cabinet.
US President George Bush has openly allocated millions of dollars to finance an ostensibly democratic opposition subservient to Western interests, yet that has brought very little, in material terms, to many MDC-T members – who are being bitten by the sanctions initiated and celebrated by their leadership – except to the two MDC-T "fat cats".
The first big show of strength by the opposition on March 29 proved to be a bitter disappointment, as the two leaders mishandled the successes they had gained at the elections. They took the ruling party by surprise, but failed to handle the win properly. They let slip power that was staring them in the face, by not contesting the June 27 run-off presidential election, citing violence they later agreed was also perpetuated by their own people. Remember the joint communiqué issued by the MDC-T party and the ruling Zanu PF? It laid blame on both the parties for the violence that characterized the aftermath of the elections. How then could the MDC-T call the perpetrators of the violence “political prisoners” or “prisoners of conscience”?
Instead of displaying the strength and determination of the opposition, the flip-flops in the election aftermath and the “over-excitement” made clear structural weakness and lack of preparedness for higher office. MDC-T leaders were wrenching the microphone from one another and sweating, not knowing what to do with the “win”. Chamisa was almost relegated to a “nobody” as Biti became the new spokesman.
You could almost sense the power struggles and squabbles and many of their activists got exasperated by their inability to handle a win. Poor followers of the MDC-T party got sucked into the flip-flops and were shifting positions as quickly as Morgan was, without clear direction.
Most observers regard the weakness of the opposition MDC-T as a product of the hunger for power and disunity of its protagonists. That, however, is only half of the story. More fundamental is the gulf which separates the opposition from the people and their day-to-day problems. When Morgan spent two months in South Africa and/or Botswana he completely ignored the concerns of his electorate – many of whom were victims of the violence he agreed was also caused by his party. He then came back home and withdrew from the presidential run-off election, despite MDC-T supporters vow that they would vote against President Mugabe, regardless of the level of violence.
The destruction of the Zimbabwean economy by the illegal sanctions (and supported by the MDC-T) has left more than half of the population without work, including Tsvangirai’s supporters.
The country's infrastructure has been badly damaged, leaving many without water or electricity. Nevertheless, not one of the MDC-T leaders has spoken openly about the imposition of the sanctions or pose a solution to the worsening social and economic crisis. They have nothing to offer apart from a few vague hopes of help from the very governments that have just reduced Zimbabwe to rubble. When he returned from his “sabbatical” in SA and Botswana, Tsvangirai pledged US$500, 000 for the victims of violence. It remained that: a pledge.
How can Britain, a country facing the worst economic crisis in thirty years, pledge US$10 billion to Zimbabwe? How can Zimbabwe privatize the public services to help those on welfare? Does the MDC-T party not know that privatization increases the cost of provision? The prescriptions of the MDC-T party are as ill-conceived as the formation of the party itself.
The two leaders of the MDC-T party will have to rethink their position in relation to the concerns of their supporters. Many exasperated MPs are hopeful of getting into power and the top leadership has become a huge liability and a stumbling block to the realization of their dreams.
That the opposition seeks to come to power on the back of the misery caused by the West is inconceivable. Trying to increase social tensions by calling for sanctions and then trying to then canalize them into political demands, can never be passed off as true leadership.
philipmurombedzi * yahoo.com
Fri, 05 Sep 2008 09:46:00 +0000
MDC Secretary General, Tendai Biti (left) and Morgan Tsvangirai, the President. Photo: AFP
THE Movement for Democratic Change party has appealed to the regional Southern African Development Community for talks to be unlocked and called on President Robert Mugabe to reconsider his ultimatum to appoint cabinet before the talks are concluded, despite their leader indicating that talks will not be resumed anytime soon.
The spokesman for the MDC-T party, Nelson Chamisa made the call yesterday after President Mugabe announced that he would go on and appoint cabinet without the MDC-T arguing that “the country cannot be frozen forever”. The MDC-T President, Morgant Tsvangirai said on Wednesday that power-sharing negotiations “have broken down and are unlikely to resume soon”.
“It is very clear that the deadlock in the current dialogue has to be unlocked,” Chamisa told a South African radio station
“And to be unlocked we need the help of Sadc and the helping hand of the mediator, (South African) President Thabo Mbeki,” he said.
“It is better to be talking than fighting. Our country is so important, so precious. We need to resolve all our differences through dialogue for prosperity and stability in the country,” he added.
Chamisa’s call comes on the heels of an ultimatum issued by President Mugabe on Wednesday as he left for the funeral of the late Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa.
“If after tomorrow (Thursday), Tsvangirai does not want to sign, we will certainly put together a cabinet. We feel frozen at the moment,” President Mugabe reporters at the airport.
Chamisa’s call to the South African President’s mediation efforts in direct contrast to the MDC-T President’s earlier statement regarding the efforts of President Mbeki. Morgan Tsvangirai fired fresh criticism on Mbeki saying he crafted the “controversial document” that he was expected to append his signature to.
Tsvangirai told South Africa’s Talk Radio 702 on Wednesday, the MDC-T leader said, “The mediator says there is sufficient grounds for us to sign. He is not the one who is going to sign. It's me.”
He also indicated that there was no likelihood for any further talks between his party and that of President Mugabe citing irreconcilable differences over power-sharing arrangements.
The MDC-T has in the past issued conflicting statements. Last month before the convening of Parliament, the MDC-T Secretary General criticized President Mugabe for swearing in legislators and opening Parliament arguing that it was tantamount to the MDC-T party accepting the legitimacy of President Mugabe. The party nevertheless attended the ceremony. Their leader, Tsvangirai had argued that there was no problem with the convening of Parliament as the talks were predicated on power-sharing and not on the exact structure of the House of Assembly.
It is not clear whether the call by Chamisa to resume the talks is shared by their leader, Tsvangirai who has expressed his dissatisfaction over President Mbeki’s impartiality in the process.
MBEKI EXPECTED IN HARARE NEXT WEEK
President Mbeki is, however, expected to continue with mediation efforts early next week.
Reports had earlier indicated that he would be visiting Zimbabwe soon after the funeral of President Mwanawasa on Thursday, but this was denied by the office of the president in South Africa.
“The presidency wishes to place it on record that President Mbeki is not travelling to Harare today (Thursday)," Mbeki's office said in a statement.
They also attacked the media over the report, saying "these 'informed sources' [quoted by reporters] continually get it wrong, including on matters as basic as the President's itinerary."
Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, has indicated that President Mbeki will be in the country next week in a final attempt to get Tsvangirai to append his signature on the final document paving the way for power-sharing between the two factions of the MDC and the ruling Zanu PF party.
“He (President Mbeki) has not been able to make it today and I am made to understand the trip has been postponed to next week,” Chinamasa said yesterday.
It is not clear whether President Mbeki will be able to salvage the talks. The ruling Zanu PF party has clearly indicated that it will not go back on the proposals currently tabled. Chinamasa last week said as far as Zanu PF was concerned “there was a deal on the table” and it was up to the MDC-T to accept it.
“There is a deal all three parties agreed to,” he said. “Two parties agreed to sign the deal but the third one decided not put his signature” referring to Tsvangirai who walked out of the all-party talks three weeks ago.
Thu, 04 Sep 2008 10:47:00 +0000
THE recently-appointed Governor and Resident Minister for Mashonaland Central Advocate Martin Dinha has condemned the rowdy behaviour of MDC-T House of Assembly members who heckled President Mugabe when he officially opened the first session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe last week. He said such behaviour should not go unpunished and government should take action.
Addressing Zanu PF members who were demonstrating against the ‘deplorable behaviour’ in Bindura, Advocate Dinha said the legislators’ behaviour was deplorable and disgraceful. He scorned at their lack of seriousness in matters of national interest.
He said the disgraceful behaviour by the MDC law makers has also crept into newly sworn in MDC led Bindura Town council where workers are being victimized on political lines saying this should stop immediately.
Turning to his new term in office, Advocate Dinha called for unity of purpose in the province saying this is a time for Zimbabwe to be strong in the face of machinations by some unruly elements to render the country ungovernable.
Advocate Dinha said during his tenure he will strive to see that natural resources found in Mashonaland Central Province benefit the ordinary people.
Fri, 05 Sep 2008 12:05:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR–The attempt on the part of the Western governments to construct a powerful opposition in Zimbabwe and install a government of their choice is proving to be an impossible task.
In order to be effective, such a move requires grass roots support. But every grass roots movement necessarily opposes the Western governments who are responsible, in large part, for the social misery in Zimbabwe—not just because of mismanagement and corruption by some elements in Zanu PF, but also because of the Western inspired economic programmes which has transformed all Africa into a poor house.
In light of the impotence of the opposition, attention is being directed more and more to possible props inside the Zanu PF government itself. There, the number of Zanu PF elements who are ready to work with the opposition and the West is increasing.
Simba Makoni was the forerunner to all this.
Others—above all in the so-called “moderate or reformist wing” of Zanu PF—are maintaining a low profile, hoping this will transform themselves. This is ill-advised and irresponsible.
All Zimbabweans need to recognize that these underground tactics will not do well for our country. We should all work together for the common good and that starts with being open about our intentions and focussing on developing our nation.
By Fridah Zinyama
Friday September 05, 2008 [04:00]
ZAMBIA Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has expressed concern over the difficulties experienced by the business community in making international calls. In an interview, ZACCI executive director Justine Chisulo complained that his organisation was losing business and the the business community was losing millions of kwacha as they are unable to conclude business transactions.
"We do not operate in isolation, we deal with the outside world and the situation currently prevailing in the country is unacceptable and should not be allowed to continue," he charged. "We can't have a situation where business transactions are affected in this manner."
Chisulo urged the Ministry of Communications and Transport and the Communications Authority of Zambia (CAZ) to quickly address the problem before the business community suffers any more losses.
Stakeholders in the mobile communication industry have expressed concern at the continued difficulties that their subscribers have been having in making international calls due to technical and signalling capacity problems on the part of Zamtel.
Over the past few months, mobile subscribers have been experiencing difficulties in making and receiving international calls.
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday September 05, 2008 [04:00]
ZIMBABWEAN President Robert Mugabe has said there is no one who can break the relationship Zambia and his country embellish. And President Mugabe warned that he would go ahead and form Cabinet if opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai fails to sign the negotiation agreement.
In an interview before he left for Zimbabwe at Lusaka International Airport on Wednesday evening, President Mugabe said he would not forget Zambia because of the role it played in dismissing the British colonial masters from Zimbabwe. He said Zambia sacrificed a lot to ensure that Zimbabweans were liberated from the colonial chains.
“Zimbabwe will never forget Zambia especially on how our independence was fathered and how Zambia helped us.
Property was destroyed, people were killed and some places bombed both in Zambia and Zimbabwe. And also with this history and the fact that we share the same geography, we drink the same water from the Zambezi River, we share the same time, our people Zimbabweans regard Zambia and Zimbabwe as one. So I say no one can break that umbilical code that we embellish with each other,” President Mugabe said. “Again, Zambia helped us to magnanimously dismiss the British and now we are no longer under the British colony. So, with this I had nothing but to come and console the country.”
President Mugabe said the relationship and development that Zambia and Zimbabwe were enjoying would continue despite the untimely death of president Levy Mwanawasa. He said although there were some differences between himself and the late president Mwanawasa, especially during the presidential election runoff in Zimbabwe following the disputed elections, it did not mean that they had become enemies.
“First and foremost, the death of an African leader, especially a member whose country was a training ground for our liberation, the death is very shocking and touching. It is devastating. You know history tells us that we differ in views but that is a political difference.
A difference in opinion does not amount to such as to make enemies or harm each other. Brothers can quarrel but you still remain brothers. So we are brothers much more in harmony,” President Mugabe said. “I remember we talked with President Mwanawasa about projects, e.g the Batoka project over electricity generation, we talked about promoting tourism within the SADC region and there were much more on the ground.”
He said he had many things in common and that he admired President Mwanawasa's philosophy.
“As history says, we were related even before we became presidents. And when he (President Mwanawasa) became president after taking over from president Frederick Chiluba, we talked about how he felt about president Chiluba as well as the history of the country.
He also talked about the former president Dr Kenneth Kaunda and from his speech; he was aggrieved of how president Chiluba treated Dr Kaunda. So I admire his philosophy. He visited us and that brought about interaction and made our two countries to come together. Because of that, I decided to come and mourn him. When I arrived, I talked to the widow and consoled her,” he said.
And President Mugabe said he would form Cabinet even if Tsvangirai failed to sign the documents of their negotiations. He wondered why Tsvangirai was failing to sign the documents when he at first agreed to what was on the paper.
“Talks started well and the facilitator was committed, flying to Harare and Johannesburg to whichever place as the venue of the talks and we signed the MoU Memorandum of Understanding by all the three leaders. And after that understanding we engaged in discussions, in dialogue and it is this dialogue that has not gone well. After we agreed, and when it came to signing what was put on the paper, Tsvangirai says he will not sign. Although he agreed, he refused to sign what was put on the paper,” he explained.
President Mugabe accused the British government of influencing Tsvangirai not to sign the documents so as to disturb the operation of the government.
“We know that the British government is behind him Tsvangirai in order to delay the talks. So as long as the British are behind him, he will not sign. This is all because of the land issue that they are fighting. Although they talk about the rule of law, that's just rubbish. It's the land issue. But there is vast land which is still under the British control,” President Mugabe said. “This land is used by mining companies and tea companies and still under the British control, perhaps two-third of the land is still controlled by the whites. But we had agreed that some of the land be allocated to the people (Zimbabweans).
So I don't know what they want. But we are the government that should be empowered after elections. But we cannot allow to have no Cabinet. So we are talking to the facilitator possibly tomorrow (yesterday) and if Tsvangirai still refuses to sign, I think we shall go ahead and form Cabinet, the country must go ahead. The government must tick, we feel frozen as at now.”
By Noel Sichalwe
Friday September 05, 2008 [04:00]
VETERAN politician Rodger Chongwe yesterday said Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata is not well to be elected Republican President. Endorsing Acting President Rupiah Banda as his preferred candidate to succeed late President Levy Mwanawasa during a press briefing at his office in Lusaka, Chongwe said Sata was not well and should not be allowed to contest the Republican presidency to avoid another presidential by-election.
"Sata is not well. We made a mistake in 2006. We don't want another death of a president in office. Let us try someone who is at least fit. Let us not be tempted to go the 2006 way it is very expensive," Chongwe said.
Sata in April suffered a severe heart attack and was rushed to South Africa for treatment by the government.
And Chongwe also urged the National Constitutional Conference to consider the provision of a running mate for anybody vying for Republican presidency.
Chongwe said he was supporting Vice-President Banda because he believed he was the best candidate at the moment for the position.
"I am here today to ensure that my support for Mr Rupiah Banda for the post of president of the Republic of Zambia goes on record at the earliest possible opportunity," Chongwe said.
He said Vice-President Banda cared about citizens that struggled to survive with very limited support. He said Vice-President Banda was a freedom fighter and a seasoned diplomat.
Chongwe said Vice-President Banda had agreed to be appointed in his position because it was clear that late President Mwanawasa could not find any suitable candidate for that post. He said when he chaired the Alliance of Opposition Parties opposed to the corruption in government in the mid 1990s, he worked with Vice-President Banda among others to restore the political credibility and stop the theft of national resources.
"I have had many friends in politics but only a few with whom I would go hunting. In the days of confrontation with Chiluba and his coterie, Rupiah Banda's humility was tested and he did not let me down. I discovered that he was a sort of friend with whom I could go hunting, even crocodiles," Chongwe said.
He hoped that Vice-President Banda would continue with the current government’s policies and hold himself accountable to the Zambians.
"Mr Banda is the best candidate and possibly might turn out to be the best president that Zambia has ever produced post-Kaunda era," Chongwe said.
He said those who were claiming that late President Mwanawasa had a preferred candidate should produce written evidence to that affect or else their argument would not be valid though it should be subjected to a democratic process.
"Let us embrace democratic ideals and ideas. Let us not be governed by emotions and sensation," said Chongwe.
He also said his support for Vice-President Banda was not in the hope of getting any government position because he had served at the highest level in the country, region and world.
Meanwhile another veteran politician, Simon Zukas, said the issue of loyalty did not fit in the equation of who was supposed to succeed late President Mwanawasa.
He said the challenge of loyalty was the wrong way of going about the current elections.
"It doesn't come in the equation at all and it has no significance politically. The Vice-President cannot be with disloyalty, maybe other factors. We want a man who cares about the poor," said Zukas.
Zukas, however, said he was still listening to the views before he could decide which candidate to support.
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday September 05, 2008 [04:00]
MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba yesterday said some ministers and other government officials are scared that they will lose their jobs when Vice-President Rupiah Banda is elected Republican President.
Addressing the press at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka, Tetamashimba said Vice-President Banda was more than mature and that his major aim was to unite the party and the country as a whole.
He said no Zambian would be victimised by Vice-President Banda once elected as Republican President in the forthcoming presidential by-election.
“There have been false statements that RB will dismiss people related to the former first family. Others are scared of their jobs. The RB camp has been linked to people believed to be plunderers,” Tetamashimba said. “We are not and we don’t want anybody to put words in our mouths. Ours, through RB, is reconciliation and forgiveness through the church mother bodies. RB is more than mature and can’t do this. Those that are scared of their jobs, let them be sensible. Our team when we win the by-election will be forgiveness and reconciliation of Zambians through the Church.”
Tetamashimba urged NEC members not to take Zambians for granted by going against their wish. He said Zambians supported Vice-President Banda because they knew that he would unite them and that he would follow the footsteps of President Mwanawasa.
He said that Vice-President Banda had been in MMD for many years and that he vigorously helped the party to win popularity in the Eastern Province.
Tetamshimba said it would be difficult for the MMD to sell finance minister Ng’andu Magande.
“My brother Hon Magande has no constituency, as Southern Province is without doubt the strongest voter base for UPND president and his members of parliament, and to allow Hon Ng’andu Peter Magande to be MMD presidential candidate is to think that a presidential candidate can win from other people’s areas losing in his own village or province,” said Tetamashimba.
Friday September 05, 2008 [04:00]
There is need for always to be ready to stand up for the truth. We say this because truth is in the interest of the people and lies, deceit, manipulation are against the interest of the people.
But standing up for the truth, for what is right, just, fair is not always a popular undertaking. However, for us, popularity, easy life, a life without struggle, without sacrifices don’t mean anything to us. We don’t torture ourselves about such things. We are more concerned with preserving and advancing principles, ideas of justice and fairness. We are more concerned with the creation of a more humane society, the establishment of a nation overflowing with solidarity and love for our fellow human beings.
Over the last few days – from the time the issue of succession started to be openly discussed in the MMD – we have received all sorts of accusations and insinuations. Some idiots have claimed that in deciding the position we have taken on succession, we have been motivated by the interests of our businesses.
It is not difficult to discern that this is all rubbish, this is all lies. But how else can these crooks live if not by lies, deceit, manipulation and calumny? Our history is there for everyone to see. We have done everything that we have done, we have achieved everything that we have achieved through hard work, with integrity and honour.
We have not sought any favours from those in government. Of course we have the right not to be discriminated when it comes to government resources and facilities – it is our constitutional entitlement. And if anyone tries to take away anything that we are legally entitled to, or discriminate against us, they will not do so without a fight.
If vanity, selfishness, ambition and business interest were the things that motivate us, there is no way we would have fought for so many years against the corrupt and intolerant Chiluba regime. If we could survive that, we will survive anything.
We have never supported things or any individual or group simply because they are popular and that’s where everyone is flocking. We have always done so on principle. We opposed Chiluba and fought his regime at the height of his popularity, when many people, including clergymen, were falling on each other trying to get favours from his corrupt regime. What some of our companies operating in highly regulated and complex business environment have been doing or trying to do with the government has nothing to do with favours.
The concessions they have sought from the government are what our government has given to others, especially foreign enterprises. It is madness for any sensible politician to think of fixing a company which employs over 200 people, a company of such a high value to other sectors of our economy and generating a turnover of over four million dollars a month simply because those connected with it, those who have invested in it, had vigorously opposed a particular presidential candidate.
This is the type of government Rupiah and his sponsors want to bring us. This country does not belong to any group or individual who wins an election. Chiluba used to think the same way. But where is he today? We survived Chiluba and we will survive them. Ours has never been an easy life, it will never be an easy life, it will always be a difficult life, one of endless struggle as long as evil exists in our country. We know those who are used to parasitic existence on government can never believe that others can survive and prosper without government contracts, deals, jobs and in some cases, outright theft of public funds.
We will always identify ourselves with principles, with honest and integrity, even if it is unpopular to do so. We say this because to behave otherwise is to be opportunistic; it is to refuse to struggle for a better society. We will always fight evil because evil has to be fought. And if these gentlemen can treat their fellow citizens who differ with them in a multiparty political dispensation like this, then what is in stock for foreign investors and others who are not nationals of our country must be frightening. It is either you are with them or you are condemned and your businesses will not receive any favourable treatment from a government they control. The intolerance of these idiots is truly embarrassing.
But they shouldn’t cheat themselves that they will have things their way. This country belongs to all of us. If it will not be good for us to live in it under their rule, it will also not be good for them to live in. They are not dealing with individuals they can corrupt, intimidate or hire.
Their winning election doesn’t mean much to us. How many crooks have won elections in a competition with decent people? How many decent people have crooks defeated in elections? Does this mean crookedness has been turned into a virtue, which those seeking political office should all follow to win elections? Even Hitler had won an election and was very popular.
And Rupiah shouldn’t cheat himself that he has total loyalty of his sponsors. These are not men and women who believe in loyalty – and they are saying so openly. They believe in political expedience and not in genuine, honest and selfless support for anyone. Their primary motivation in supporting him does not lie in his virtues or abilities. It lies in their vanity, in their greed; it is for personal gain.
They all know Rupiah’s weakness very well and they are supporting him so that they can exploit this. Some of these elements supporting Rupiah were already campaigning for the 2011 election and are simply not just ready for this by-election. It won’t be long before they resume their activities. And the unity that seems to be among them today will soon disappear because everything they are doing today is simply transitional.
Some of them have been heard to say they don’t want somebody strong, they want a weak president who they can easily remove in 2011; someone they can easily manipulate and get whatever they want. There are also elements around Rupiah who are simply tribal. And they know all his weaknesses and deficiencies but they are saying wako ni wako.
We are really on the verge of returning to the Chiluba type of politics – corrupt and vindictive politics. But we will not be part of those aiding such a process, such a reversal.
And the political methods, the things these elements are ready to say and do to win power tell a lot about the character and intentions of these elements and what we should expect from them.
What we are saying about Rupiah today will certainly be their ammunition against him in a few months time. Mark our words.
As we have stated before, we have nothing personal against Rupiah. This is not a personal matter.
It may not be pleasant to see the truth, but we can assure you that the alternative is virtual slavery. Standing up for what is right isn’t popular. But our job is to tell people the things they don’t know. Our job is to tell the people the things they can’t ask for in a survey.
We should always go into the whys and wherefores of anything, use our heads and carefully think over whether or not it corresponds to reality and is really well founded; on no account should we follow blindly. And those who aspire to political leadership should set an example in being far-sighted. For only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing bearings in the match forward.
Those who want to be our leaders should have largeness of mind and should be staunch, looking upon the interest of the people as their very lives and subordinating their own interests to those of the people; always and everywhere they should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions; they should be more concerned about the masses than about any individual, and more concerned about others than themselves. Only thus can they be considered to be worth of what one can call a leader.
Every individual aspiring to leadership must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the words and deeds of a leader is whether they conform with the highest interest of the people.
At no time and in no circumstances should they place their personal interests first; they should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, corruption, deceit, lies, manipulation and so on and so forth, are most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty, and quiet hard work should command respect.
It is said that the estimate of the shrewd enemy is rarely based on sheer misunderstanding: you can tell a man’s mistakes by the people who praise him. We are being advised to close our eyes to the reality before us and yield to what we clearly see as wrong – we won’t. And to borrow revolutionary leader Fidel Castro’s phrase: history will absolve us.