Saturday, October 11, 2008

(YOUTUBE) Interviews with Hakainde Hichilema

Much thanks to Sifweti on Youtube

Hakainde Hichilema - Profile

Hakainde on investment

Hakainde on national treasury

Hakainde on the economy

Hakainde on infrastructure development, constitution making

"17 years of the MMD has created a degradation in the infrastructure, we need to rebuild that"; proportional representation for parliament

Transparency and International relations

Hakainde on priorities such as education

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(TALKZIMBABWE) President Mugabe allocates ministries

President Mugabe allocates ministries
Our reporter/Herald
Sat, 11 Oct 2008 11:44:00 +0000

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has gazetted ministries allocated to Zanu-PF, MDC-T and MDC in terms of the power-sharing agreement signed by the three parties. The allocation was effected after a series of meetings held this week by the principals which resolved to call in the facilitator to finalize the stages of Cabinet formation.

The ministries were gazetted under Section (L) of the Functions and Powers of the President outlined in the power-sharing agreement.

The section states that the Head of State shall after consultation with the Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers, allocate ministerial portfolios in accordance with the agreement.

After the assignment of ministries to the parties, President Mugabe is expected to sign the necessary papers for the appointment of the Vice Presidents, Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Ministers.

After their appointments, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his MDC counterpart Arthur Mutambara would have three months to find seats in Parliament.

The President would then receive nominations of ministerial appointees from the two MDC formations for appointment into Cabinet.

Sources in the Zanu-PF party told the Herald newspaper that President Mugabe has already agreed on the line-up of ministers to be appointed from the Zanu PF party.

In the 31-member Cabinet, Zanu-PF — which won the popular vote on March 29 — has 15 ministries, MDC-T 13 while MDC-M has three.

The principals are now expected to assign their members in the portfolios who will then be appointed by President Mugabe.

No appointments would, however, be made until the facilitator, former South African president Thabo Mbeki, has come to assist on the outstanding ministry — Finance, which President Mugabe provisionally assigned to Zanu PF, according to the Government Gazette.

Under the Constitution of Zimbabwe, President Mugabe will remain Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces. He also appoints the two Vice Presidents, the Prime Minister and the two Deputy Prime Ministers.

The PM directs the operations of Government, conducts the business of Government in Parliament and exercises any other function including the administration of any Act of Parliament or of any Ministry or department that the President may assign to him..

The assignment of ministries was done in terms of Paragraph (a) of Subsection (1) of Section 31 D of the Constitution.

The ministries are as follows.

Zanu PF party

1. Defence
2. Home Affairs
3. Foreign Affairs
4. Transport
5. Local Government and Urban Development
6. Mines and Mining Development
7. Lands, Agriculture and Resettlement
8. Environment, Natural Resources and Tourism
9. Higher and Tertiary Education
10. Small and Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development
11. Justice and Legal Affairs
12. Media, Information and Publicity
13. Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development
14. Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment
15. Finance (tentatively pending mediation)

MDC-Tsvangirai party

1. Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
2. Economic Planning and Investment Promotion
3. Energy and Power Development
4. Health and Child Welfare
5. Labour and Social Welfare
6. Water Resources Development and Management
7 . Public Service
8. Sport, Arts and Culture
9. State Enterprise and Parastatals
10. Science and Technology Development
11. Information Communication Technology
12. Public Works
13. National Housing and Social Amenities

MDC-Mutambara party

1. Regional Integration and International Co-operation
2. Education
3. Industry and Commerce

NB: Finance is still in dispute.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Inclusive Govt: How it will not work

Inclusive Govt: How it will not work
Nathaniel Manheru - Opinion
Sat, 11 Oct 2008 11:08:00 +0000

LET it be stated clear and plain: the so-called current impasse on the formation of an inclusive government has nothing to do with the poor, the hungry, the unemployed, the black, in short, nothing to do with the plight of all those writhing under the MDC-courted illegal Western sanctions. So let no politician posture, pretending a duplicitous humanitarian cast calculated to improve his or her political appeal.

It has everything to do with the growing discomfiture in the MDC-T constituency that their principals under-negotiated vis-à-vis the lofty expectations deriving from their propaganda postulates. Without proper regard to the real situation on the ground, the MDC-T primed its own constituency to expect its leadership to take over Government principally on the strength of a penultimate result of March 29, about which their propagandists have made much ado, from, by and for nothing.

With their principals in the saddle, their young and largely unemployed constituency saw itself already in uniform, summarily absorbed within security structures as politically glorified privates.

Medley motives in one boat

But there was also a white and foreign constituency, which expected MDC principals to achieve a seismic power transfer, albeit within a Zanu-fied form. Then you have little but ambitious and vengeful autocrats in their midst who tested the agreement solely in terms of its ability to grant them access to instruments of vengeful coercion against those they blame for their chequered opposition days.

Still others — well within this vengeful mode — would only find satiety if certain heads rolled, metaphorically if not literally. This is the wide gallery of expectations that burden implementation, made wider by one furiously ambitious member within the MDC-T executive who would have killed to become the second Deputy Prime Minister, or if he could not, killed to become Justice or Home Affairs minister.

Now, all these concerns are a far cry from recovering the economy or feeding the drought stricken, both of which require one simple intervention by the MDC, namely an appeal to its Western principals to drop illegal sanctions against this country, against this People.

You do not need to have Biti in this or that Ministry for MDC to tell Brown to reverse sanctions so the children can begin to eat, to receive treatment and go to school.

Redeeming stubbornness

So, we are dealing with a leadership which cannot sell an agreement it signed; a leadership which is fighting to improve its estimate in the eyes of its disenchanted constituency by demonstrating a redeeming stubbornness. But it is also a leadership which is so fond of boxing itself into a corner to an extent that movement on any matter, has to involve a face-saving intervention of external facilitator.

For all the pessimism in the media, the fact that Tsvangirai has now called for the intervention of the facilitator, clearly indicates his readiness to compromise, but without losing face.

It is also a major step forward that he is outgrowing his state of eternal denial by acknowledging — as he did two days ago — that sanctions are hurting all Zimbabweans, regardless of political side.

We are getting closer, and all those trained to read things at face value, may miss the huge desire within the MDC to join in Government at any cost, in some cases. That is what belies Chamisa’s boyish bellicosity which no one in Zanu-PF regards or fear. But of course you also had the meeting of the EU ministers this week whose decision on sanctions the MDC wanted to determine its way forward.

At the UN you had Britain, its principal handler, trying to persuade the Chinese and South Africans for another mission to Zimbabwe, followed by another briefing in the Security Council. In a way, the MDC ambivalence owed to its having flung several irons into the fire, none of which was hotting up fast enough.

Apprenticing the MDC

What is most urgent is to get MDC — particularly MDC-T — to understand how Government functions. Even more important, how Government does not function. While the so-called impasse owed to matters quite extraneous to actual governance, it also revealed a disturbing ignorance on the part of both MDCs on how the Government they are about to join will work.

But I grant it to them: the leader of MDC-T a few weeks back and before the signing openly admitted to the facilitator he does not know or understand how government functions or is run, having only run a labour center, even then badly.

I suspect his Western sponsors knew as much, which is why they pushed hard for what they term a "transitional arrangement" which really is meant to be an apprenticeship phase for MDC under Zanu-PF, hoping for a Zanu-PF ouster or voluntary abdication.

Indeed, President Mbeki arranged for a tutorial for the MDC leader. Judging by the current discourse from the MDC-T, either President Mbeki was a very bad teacher, or Tsvangirai was a very poor student. The party hierarchy does not seem to show much grasp of the workings of Government, let alone the role and powers of ministers, once appointed.

Men of small, bad things

And they seem to be badly grasping fast the small things which follow — never begin — in Government. Such as touting titles before swearing-in while at the same time being legally fastidious about the status of current ministers as they go about exercising lawful powers (eg Minister Chombo and his responsibility over local councils). Such as demanding Press accreditation cards to the very media they would have invited for a Press conference at their leader’s home.

It is elementary that when you have brought an ant-infested log into the kitchen, you must expect a lizard! You cannot turn your bedroom into a Press conference venue and still expect journalists not to see an undergarment by your headboard. It is silly.

Where the hub is

These guys badly need to know how Government operates; what they can and cannot do; indeed what they will and will not be able to do, once sworn in. The center of government is and remains Cabinet. Nothing happens outside, beyond, beside, above, it. It is the hub from which all ministerial spokes start.

One can have as many consultative meetings outside of it — as indeed Tsvangirai has been doing — but until and unless those consultations and views are brought to Cabinet through its well-written and well-tried systems, those consultations have no effect on the institution of Government. They cannot be entertained by Government, let alone command its executive attention. And until the substance of these consultations have been adopted by Cabinet after debate and consensus, they will not become policy. So what all those who have met with Tsvangirai have sought to do in those meetings, is merely to influence him ahead of debates in Cabinet, debates in which he shall be but a number, an opinion, pitted against many. One hopes he will be a cogent opinion, indeed one shared, not one too weird, sorry too idiosyncratic, to be roundly rejected. I pray for those who have thus invested.

No Zanu ministries, no MDC ministries

What will not happen is to have fifteen ministries which will run themselves the Zanu-PF way; another thirteen which will run themselves the MDC-T-way; and yet another three that shall be run the Mutambara way.

Yes, the Mutambara way only in the narrow sense of style of management, but never in the sense of policy direction, implementation direction and the resources from the Fiscus. From that perspective, this fetish around who has what Ministries is needless, indeed immaterial. What underlies it is the deep mistrust between the parties, made deeper by the obvious dependency of some in the agreement,

on hostile external powers. After 1987,

Zanu did not hesitate to cede Home Affairs to Zapu.

In fact that had happened in 1980 after the watershed elections which completed the decolonisation process. But that decision was based on the credentials of Zapu as a party of national liberation. That same offer could not have gone to Muzorewa or to the Rhodesia Front.

It could not. But Finance did. It went to David Smith, himself a Rhodesian of Ian Smith’s Front. What gave the Patriotic Front the courage to cede such a powerful post to a hard-core Rhodesian was a recognition of strictures built within the Cabinet system of Government.

More important, all the parties to the agreement swore in and by that agreement that institutions of Government would remain non-partisan, which means they cannot be the first ones to infract their own agreement, while hoping for compliance from all of us.

The P/S headache

Then you have the office of the permanent secretary in Government ministries. This is an office that receives Cabinet minutes and that superintends over the implementation of Government decisions through Cabinet. It is a constitutional office, which controls the tempo in a ministry. It is not created by a Minister.

It is not abolished by a Minister. All a minister can do is to love or hate it; motivate or de-motivate it. Yes, use it but never abuse it. In it inhere all the rules, the goals, the resources available to the Ministry and Minister who could very well come from Mars.

The MDC will find this echelon possibly useful, but invariably decisive and rule-driven, rule-governed. It is an echelon that is incurably wedded to Cabinet minutes, strictly guided by them. It is an echelon which has the memory and the central processing unity of Government, through respective Ministries. It needs to be respected; it will not be overrun by partisans from whichever quarter.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister

The Prime Minister will come to realise he is a cog in a wheel, never the hub of the wheel that has cogs. He will have a higher echelon of Vice Presidents to deal with and the highest one of President, which must be persuaded for his views to become the views of Government.

And both levels will show huge experience, intellect and composure arising from many trials of what does and can’t. There will be many moons of learning, Honourable Prime Minister, believe you me! More shockingly, you will realise, Sir, much as you may interact with your foreign friends as before, play golf with them even, you may not do it on behalf of Government anyhow, as you please.

You may not. Such as, for argument’s sake, writing the World Bank or UNDP, and inviting their missions here, outside of a collective Government decision. That will not happen, as indeed you have noticed it cannot happen. Only the responsible ministry can do that and even then, within set parameters.

The world in your one palm?

Above all Mr Prime Minister, Honourable Deputy Prime Ministers, you will soon find out that Government is faceless, nameless and very collective.

There are no heroes who stand out, no Herculeses or some such cosmic characters carrying the whole globe in one palm. None Sirs, none madame. We are all small, all big; we are all good, all bad; we are all failures, or successful, depending of course on how this whole bureaucratic monster moves and does not move in the direction of people’s aspirations.

That is the test. Around that test are many headaches, heartaches and other numberless aches in places you do not want me to name, Mr Prime Minister. Welcome aboard, sit back, tie yourself in and, hey, enjoy the cruise.

Ndini Nhataniyere Manheru, Muparanzvongo. Icho!

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(TALKZIMBABWE) BBC gloats over Zimbabwe crisis

BBC gloats over Zimbabwe crisis
MrK - Opinion
Thu, 09 Oct 2008 23:48:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR - " Britain's strategy on Zimbabwe is indeed very chilling as her BBC gloats over our inflation rate. "

I don't think they will have much to gloat about for very long. This financial crisis can get very ugly indeed.

Who knows, perhaps it will be Zimbabweans who will be gloating over Britain's misfortunes, if they were so inclined.

Seriously though, I don't understand what happened to the BBC. Someone decided to throw away its reputation which was carefully built up over a century, and for what?

Who are these mercenary 'reporters' who are the mouthpiece for the MDC (or is it the British government) and make the BBC look like ridiculous to the world? And who are the directors who hire them and worse, don't fire them?

Is Michael Grade to blame? What happened to the likes of Charles Wheeler or Robin Denslow?

Something is very wrong at the BBC.


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(TALKZIMBABWE) Is Tsvangirai his own man?

Is Tsvangirai his own man?
Anonymous contributor
Thu, 09 Oct 2008 00:02:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR – One has to feel sorry for opposition MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai because it is quite obvious that he is not his own man. That is why he has been playing golf with McGee (the US ambassador to Zimbabwe) so that he can be coached on what to say and do.

These negotiations are really between Zanu PF and the West and not between MDC-T and Zanu PF. Isn't it odd that Tsvangirai now wants the services of former President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and yet at one time he wanted him removed from that role?

Tsvangirai is now pontificating about the suffering of Zimbabweans and yet he is allowing the West's quite visible hand to determine the destiny of Zimbabwe.

His own family is not suffering. His children are in Australia, etc and can stay in South Africa and have more than four square meals per day.

Tsvangirai does not know what poverty is and what starvation is. Why is he crying more than the bereaved? All he wants is power for himself and to unlock the riches of Zimbabwe to his backers.

Maybe it is now time ordinary Zimbabweans make a stand against Tsvangirai and his likes.

Zimbabweans should ask Tsvangirai to ask his backers to remove their sanctions immediately. Why has he kept his silent about the sanctions? As Zimbabweans we now need the answers from Tsvangirai. He called for the sanctions to be imposed in the first place and it is his responsibility to ensure that the sanctions are removed immediately.

What is he afraid of? We all have been beneficiaries of a first class education (post independence) in Zimbabwe. How can he grandstand now and talk of the collapse of the education system in Zimbabwe knowing fully well that the sanctions he called for have been the main culprit of the economic woes Zimbabwe is under?

No leader anywhere in the world has ever called for sanctions against his own country and people? Yet Tsvangirai has done so.

MDC have failed to run any local government properly in the past, let alone the city of Harare. MDC has no experience of running any ministry. Isn't it better to crawl first before one runs? Running a government requires learning from those already doing so. Even Zanu PF had to learn from the Rhodesian Front (of Ian Smith).

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(NEWZIMBABWE) 2004 liquidity crisis: Has the RBZ been vindicated?

The best Zimbabwe news site on the world wide web
Last updated: Sat, 11 Oct 2008 05:12:25 GMT
By Victor Chimbwanda
Posted to the web: 10/10/2008 14:31:52

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) must feel vindicated by the fact that the response of its Governor Dr. Gideon Gono to the liquidity crisis in 2004, although controversial and unpopular at the time, is being repeated by central banks and regulators across Europe and the US in the wake of the recent global financial crisis.

When the financial sector experienced a liquidity crisis as a result of irresponsible banking practices in Zimbabwe, the RBZ had some difficult decisions to make.

Every regulator knows that once confidence is lost in the financial sector owing to bank runs arising from a liquidity crisis, the entire financial sector and the economy as a whole can easily collapse.

In the past week, the US Congress has been forced to sanction a controversial US$700bn bail-out package just to ensure that confidence is restored to the markets.

Justifying a massive bailout of over £400bn for Britain’s major banks on October 8, 2008, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said this was not a moment for “conventional thinking”. Yes, extraordinary times call for desperate measures.

An examination of the Zimbabwe banking crisis of 2004 will show that although his decisions were controversial at the time, the Central Bank Governor acted decisively and swiftly to save the entire financial system from collapsing owing to a panic arising from a liquidity crisis experienced by several banking institutions.

This is not to say the Governor did not make mistakes. For instance, the Supreme Court observed that the initial seizure and subsequent transfer of Royal and Trust Bank assets into the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group was irregular. In a subsequent ruling by an independent arbitrator, however, the RBZ’s decision was considered justified and inevitable.

But however unorthodox some of his actions were at the time, the Governor had to address a looming crisis that would have seen the collapse of the entire banking system. The Governor had to think “outside the box”.

In a similar way, the co-ordinated response of central banks and regulators across the globe to address the current global financial crisis has seen some of the most radical and controversial policies ever adopted to contain the crisis in order to stabilise markets.

Governor Gono’s decisions should therefore be understood in the same context.

When financial institutions such as Trust Bank and Royal Bank experienced a liquidity crisis, as has happened to many institutions in the US and in the UK such as Lehman Brothers and Northern Rock, there was a risk to the entire financial system. Although this was aggravated by the RBZ’s decision to raise the minimum capital requirements to comply with international standards (Basle II), as a matter of policy that decision was justified. It was the right thing to do if the banking sector and the entire economy were to be properly integrated into the global economy in order to have some credibility that would one day facilitate access to international capital.

It was a decision that also ensured that by embracing Basle II standards, only banks that were adequately capitalised would be allowed to operate in order to prevent misuse of depositor funds to fund illegal activities. The RBZ therefore endeavoured to ensure that global standards were being applied to guarantee proper oversight of the financial system.

The recent global financial crisis has also seen initiatives by regulators such as the FSA in the UK and the Fed in the US addressing irresponsible and improper practices by the speculative behaviour of traders and bankers in the City of London and on Wall Street. It is for this reason that institutions such as Lehman Brothers were denied a bail-out package as a way of sending a strong message that the financial system needs to be cleaned up of impropriety that has cost investors billions of dollars.

The prudent regulation of financial markets is only possible with the co-operation of the legislature as has been seen with the compromise bail-out package that was recently adopted by Congress in the US which in addition to providing a rescue scheme for troubled institutions also seeks to bring some discipline into Wall Street.

Similarly, Dr. Gono, in one of his monetary policy statements appealed to the Zimbabwean Parliament “to come up with stringent statutes that punitively fight corruption and all its shadows”.

After the RBZ’S decision to place Royal Bank and Trust Bank under curatorship was endorsed by an independent panel, the Governor assured the public that the central bank would “introduce far-reaching reforms in the banking sector, supported by a realignment and consolidation of the legislative pillars that govern the financial services industry”.

The fact that Governor Gono appealed for the legislature’s role in the RBZ’s fight to restore credibility to the financial system suggests that he was aware that it was only through proper regulatory frameworks sanctioned by Parliament that the central bank would ensure that sanity would return to the financial sector that had been plagued by illegal and improper banking practices.

It is in this context that Gono’s radical reforms should be understood. Tough choices have to be made for the sake of protecting the integrity of the markets and to prevent innocent depositors from being prejudiced by the reckless behaviour of those operating in the financial system.

The root of the current global crisis was the irresponsible lending by mortgage lenders in the US to borrowers who did not have the capacity to repay their mortgages. This created a panic in the markets for investors who had bought those loans as securities to be traded on the financial markets. Similar practices were rampant in the Zimbabwe banking sector with several indigenous banks engaging in irresponsible and insider lending that eventually led to the insolvency of such institutions because of liquidity problems.

When there is a financial crisis of the magnitude that we are witnessing today, every regulator has to make some tough decisions to prevent systemic risk from spreading. A decision as to which financial institution must be rescued or allowed to fail is not an easy one. But when a regulator has evidence that an institution is insolvent and has failed in its own attempt to rehabilitate itself as was the case with Royal Bank and Trust Bank, usually the only option is to deny it liquidity support (like what happened to Lehman Brothers which was denied a rescue package by the Fed) and focus on protecting depositor interests.

Dr. Gono chose to sanction the amalgamation of all insolvent banking institutions into a special purpose vehicle called Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) which offered to assume all liabilities of the illiquid banks against the transfer of their assets. Creditors had the option of accepting compensation or to have their claims converted into equity.

This strategy ensured that there was a restructuring of the banks’ debts through ZABG while their assets were preserved for the benefit of depositors and creditors. Most importantly, a large number of employees were transferred to ZABG, a move that prevented a massive loss of jobs in the financial sector.

We have recently witnessed extraordinary initiatives by HM Treasury in the UK tantamount to nationalisation of institutions such as Northern Rock and Bradford & Bingley to achieve the same objectives.

There was therefore nothing bizarre about the decisions taken by the RBZ to deal with the liquidity crisis of 2004.
Victor Chimbwanda is a legal project consultant at the Commonwealth Faculty of Research & Advanced Legal Studies (London) and a visiting fellow in Corporate & Commercial Law at the American University of Cyprus. He can be contacted on e-mail:
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(WASHINGTON POST) The End Of American Capitalism?

The End Of American Capitalism?
By Anthony Faiola
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, October 10, 2008; A01

The worst financial crisis since the Great Depression is claiming another casualty: American-style capitalism.

Since the 1930s, U.S. banks were the flagships of American economic might, and emulation by other nations of the fiercely free-market financial system in the United States was expected and encouraged. But the market turmoil that is draining the nation's wealth and has upended Wall Street now threatens to put the banks at the heart of the U.S. financial system at least partly in the hands of the government.

The Bush administration is considering a partial nationalization of some banks, buying up a portion of their shares to shore them up and restore confidence as part of the $700 billion government bailout. The notion of government ownership in the financial sector, even as a minority stakeholder, goes against what market purists say they see as the foundation of the American system.

Yet the administration may feel it has no choice. Credit, the lifeblood of capitalism, ceased to flow. An economy based on the free market cannot function that way.

The government's about-face goes beyond the banking industry. It is reasserting itself in the lives of citizens in ways that were unthinkable in the era of market-knows-best thinking. With the recent takeovers of major lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the bailout of AIG, the U.S. government is now effectively responsible for providing home mortgages and life insurance to tens of millions of Americans. Many economists are asking whether it remains a free market if the government is so deeply enmeshed in the financial system.

Given that the United States has held itself up as a global economic model, the change could shift the balance of how governments around the globe conduct free enterprise. Over the past three decades, the United States led the crusade to persuade much of the world, especially developing countries, to lift the heavy hand of government from finance and industry.

But the hands-off brand of capitalism in the United States is now being blamed for the easy credit that sickened the housing market and allowed a freewheeling Wall Street to create a pool of toxic investments that has infected the global financial system. Heavy intervention by the government, critics say, is further robbing Washington of the moral authority to spread the gospel of laissez-faire capitalism.

The government could launch a targeted program in which it takes a minority stake in troubled banks, or a broader program aimed at the larger banking system. In either case, however, the move could be seen as evidence that Washington remains a slave to Wall Street. The plan, for instance, may not compel participating firms to give their chief executives the salary haircuts that some in Congress intended. But if the plan didn't work, the government might have to take bigger stakes.

"People around the world once admired us for our economy, and we told them if you wanted to be like us, here's what you have to do -- hand over power to the market," said Joseph Stiglitz, the Nobel Prize-winning economist at Columbia University. "The point now is that no one has respect for that kind of model anymore given this crisis. And of course it raises questions about our credibility. Everyone feels they are suffering now because of us."

In Seoul, many see American excess as a warning. At the same time, anger is mounting over the global spillover effect of the U.S. crisis. The Korean currency, the won, has fallen sharply in recent days as corporations there struggle to find dollars in the heat of a global credit crunch.

"Derivatives and hedge funds are like casino gambling," said South Korean Finance Minister Kang Man-soo. "A lot of Koreans are asking, how can the United States be so weak?"

Other than a few fringe heads of state and quixotic headlines, no one is talking about the death of capitalism. The embrace of free-market theories, particularly in Asia, has helped lift hundreds of millions out of poverty in recent decades. But resentment is growing over America's brand of capitalism, which in contrast to, say, Germany's, spurns regulations and venerates risk.

In South Korea, rising criticism that the government is sticking too close to the U.S. model has roused opposition to privatizing the massive, state-owned Korea Development Bank. South Korea is among those countries that have benefited the most from adopting free-market principles, emerging from the ashes of the Korean War to become one of the world's biggest economies. It has distinguished itself from North Korea, an impoverished country hobbled by an outdated communist system and authoritarian leadership.

But the repercussions of crisis that began in the United States are global. In Britain, where Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher joined with President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to herald capitalism's promise, the government this week moved to partly nationalize the ailing banking system. Across the English Channel, European leaders who are no strangers to regulation are piling on Washington for gradually pulling the government watchdogs off the world's largest financial sector. Led by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, they are calling for broad new international codes to impose scrutiny on global finance.

To some degree, those calls are even being echoed by the International Monetary Fund, an institution charged with the promotion of free markets overseas and that preached that less government was good government during the economic crises in Asia and Latin America in the 1990s. Now, it is talking about the need for regulation and oversight.

"Obviously the crisis comes from an important regulatory and supervisory failure in advanced countries . . . and a failure in market discipline mechanisms," Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF's managing director, said yesterday before the fund's annual meeting in Washington.

In a slideshow presentation, Strauss-Kahn illustrated the global impact of the financial crisis. Countries in Africa, including many of those with some of the lowest levels of market and financial integration and openness, are now set to weather the crisis with the least amount of turbulence.

Shortly afterward, World Bank President Robert Zoellick was questioned by reporters about the "confusion" in the developing world over whether to continue embracing the free-market model. He replied, "I think people have been confused not only in developing countries, but in developed countries, by these shocking events."

In much of the developing world, financial systems still remain far more governed by the state, despite pressure from the United States for those countries to shift power to the private sector and create freer financial markets. They may stay that way for some time.

China had been resisting calls from Washington and Wall Street to introduce a broad range of exotic investments, including many of the once-red-hot derivatives now being blamed for magnifying the crisis in the West. In recent weeks, Beijing has made that position more clear, saying it would not permit an expansion of complex financial instruments.

With the U.S. government's current push toward intervention and the soul-searching over the role of deregulation in the crisis, the stage appears to be at least temporarily set for a more restrained model of free enterprise, particularly in financial markets.

"If you look around the world, China is doing pretty good right now, and the U.S. isn't," said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. "You may see a push back from globalization in the financial markets."

Staff writers Blaine Harden in Seoul and Ariana Cha in Washington contributed to this report.



(GOWANS) US Government Report Undermines Zimbabwe Opposition’s Claim of Independence

US Government Report Undermines Zimbabwe Opposition’s Claim of Independence
Filed under: Civil Society, Zimbabwe — gowans @ 10:20 pm
By Stephen Gowans

The US government had a hand in formulating the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the Movement for Democratic Change, Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, and funded community-based newsletters to create a platform to persuade Zimbabweans to accept Washington’s point of view, according to a US government report. The report boasts that Washington is the undisputed leader in nurturing anti-government civil society organizations in Zimbabwe, operating through a CIA-interlocked organization led by former New York investment banker and Michael Milken right-hand man, Peter Ackerman.

In a November 16, 2007 letter accompanying the US State Department’s “Zimbabwe 2007 Performance Report,” US ambassador to Zimbabwe James McGee wrote that,

“Working closely with like-minded governments, we continued diplomatic efforts to maintain pressure on the Government of Zimbabwe and to remind the regime that fundamental changes…are a prerequisite to reengagement with the international community.”

McGee called for economic reform, translated as abandonment of Harare’s economic program of favoring Zimbabweans over foreign investors, an end to price controls, and privatization of state-owned enterprises.

The neo-liberal, foreign investor-friendly economic policies Washington favors are central to the policy platform of the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. The State Department document reveals that the MDC’s policy orientation may be based more on US government direction than its own deliberations. According to the report,

“The (US government)…assisted the MDC to effectively identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas within Zimbabwe, in the region, and beyond. In particular, (US government) technical assistance was pivotal in supporting (the) MDC’s formulation and communication of a comprehensive policy platform.”

Critics of the party point to the absence of any difference between its policy proposals and those favored in Washington for African countries, an absence that may be explained in the US government’s helping “the MDC to identify, research, and articulate policy positions and ideas, and develop and communicate a policy platform.”

US government assistance to the MDC’s Tsvangirai faction didn’t stop at formulating and articulating a policy platform, the report says, but extended to helping the MDC formulate strategy to oppose the Mugabe government. According to the State Department, the US government,

“provided technical assistance to the MDC…to enable it to conduct regular strategic planning meetings to establish goals, identify key objectives, prioritize activities, and determine performance benchmarks.”

The tone of the report paints Zimbabweans as being incapable of establishing goals, setting priorities, and measuring performance themselves and therefore requiring US assistance to perform basic organizational tasks. It may be that the assistance US advisors provided is more accurately, and less tactfully, called direction.

The technical aid was furnished by the International Republican Institute, the Republican Party arm of the US Congress’s National Endowment for Democracy, whose chairman is John McCain. According to the State Department document, the,

“IRI held a workshop for Tsvangirai’s shadow government at which each shadow minister presented and defended his/her policy positions. A panel of technical experts grilled presenters on the technical content of their policies.”

This assistance was deemed by the State Department to be “critical to building the capacity of (the MDC) to operate effectively and to enable (it) to contend in the (2008) Presidential and Parliamentary elections, and to be prepared to govern.”

On top of helping the MDC shape its policy platform, the report also reveals that the US government helped shape public opinion in Zimbabwe through support for Voice of America broadcasting and community-based newsletters.

While portraying its role as simply one of delivering assistance, the State Department makes clear in its report that the newsletters provided the US government with a platform “to inform Zimbabweans about issues important to them.” Rather than funding community-based journalism, the report reveals that the State Department underwrote the newsletters to use them as vehicles for disseminating US government propaganda.

The State Department report also offers insight into the financial lengths Washington was prepared to go to create and sustain a civil society apparatus to oppose the Mugabe government. In 2007, Washington gave Freedom House and PACT a total of $1.8 million to back civil society organizations that were hostile to the Mugabe government. Freedom House, headed by former Michael Milken right-hand man, Peter Ackerman, is interlocked with the CIA, according to Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky in Manufacturing Consent.

In addition, over $400,000 was funnelled to Voice of America to counter Harare’s efforts to jam VOA anti-government broadcasts. Washington had been supporting VOA’s Studio 7, an anti-Mugabe radio program, since 2002. According to the report, “the program consisted of English, Shona and Ndebele broadcasts for an hour and a half per day, five days per week, until July 2007, when broadcasts were expanded to seven days a week.”

To thwart Harare’s jamming efforts, VOA’s broadcast time was expanded, and shortwave radios were distributed to Zimbabweans. In addition, publicity campaigns were undertaken to build Studio 7’s profile “via the distribution of calendars and pens, advertising in the print media and a text messaging campaign.”

The State Department describes Studio 7 as providing a platform for groups opposed to the Mugabe government and its land reform and economic indigenization policies: “the political opposition, exile groups, democracy activists and human rights proponents” – largely the same groups the US government was funding through Freedom House and PACT.

Conspicuously absent from the report’s list of political parties the US government provided “democracy and governance” assistance to in 2007 was Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. Defenders of US democracy promotion insist that the US government promotes democratic processes aboard, not political parties, but only one party in Zimbabwe received US government assistance: the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC.

That, however, wasn’t Washington’s goal. The report says the US government planned to aid two political parties in Zimbabwe: presumably Tsvangirai’s MDC faction and the MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara. But when the US government approached Mutamabara’s party, it was “rebuffed.” Mutambara has complained publicly about US imperialism and hypocrisy in its foreign policy and has manoeuvred to keep himself free from the taint of being an instrument of Western foreign policy.

To square the circle, and prove that it is promoting democracy and not political parties, the US government calls Tsvangirai’s MDC faction the “democratic opposition.” It is not by accident that the MDC’s full name is “the Movement for Democratic Change,” or that another party that once received US government assistance, Serbia’s the DOS, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia, also incorporated the word democracy into its name. The Western mass media mimic the US government designation of the foreign political parties Washington supports as being a “democratic opposition”, thus reinforcing the deception that US support for selected foreign political parties is democracy promotion, not illegitimate interference in the internal politics of other countries.

The report boasts that the US has been “the undisputed leader among the donor community in providing assistance to civil society,” providing “technical assistance and small grants to 29” civil society organizations through its “implementing partners”, Freedom House and PACT. Grants and assistance were provided to improve “strategic planning, communication, proposal writing (and) platform development.”

Proposal writing is emphasized, the report explains, to equip civil society organizations with the skills necessary to land additional grants from private foundations. According to the State Department,

“youth organizations like the Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) and Youth Initiatives for Democracy in Zimbabwe (YIDEZ) are two good examples of…(civil society organizations that were) nurtured through US (State Department) funding from an idea to a level where they are able to stand on their own and attract other funders.”

Defenders of the idea that civil society organizations are not created and guided by US government funding, but represent spontaneously arising grassroots organizations that would exist even if they hadn’t received US government largesse, paint a picture far different from the report’s reference to Washington nurturing civil society organizations from an idea to a level where they’re able to attract other funders and stand on their own.

The MDC insists it is an independent political party, and anti-Mugabe civil society organizations and their defenders are adamant that Zimbabwe’s civil society is not under foreign control. Scholar Patrick Bond has declared an underground anti-Mugabe organization that receives US government-funding to be part of an independent left, while scholar Stephen Zunes says Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a group singled out in the State Department report as receiving US government funding, can in no way be considered an agent of the US government. These defenders of anti-Mugabe organizations appear to be unfamiliar with the pivotal role played by the US government in nurturing and sustaining Zimbabwe’s civil opposition.

The MDC has received considerable assistance and guidance from Washington and the John McCain-led IRI, in developing and articulating its policy platform, and in formulating strategy to defeat the Mugabe government.

In its opposition to Zanu-PF, it has been helped by civil society organizations funded by the US government through Freedom House and PACT, and by US government-funded community-based newsletters and the VOA’s Studio 7, which have served as platforms for disseminating the point of view of the US government and the views of Mugabe-opponents.

The report, then, reveals how the US government has taken advantage of Zimbabwe’s relative openness to intervene in the country’s internal political affairs to try to bring to power a party whose platform it had a hand in formulating.

Harare has taken steps to counter Washington’s illegitimate interventions, including jamming VOA broadcasts, barring journalists and election observers from the US, and banning some NGOs. These measures have been denounced by Washington as “undemocratic” and “authoritarian” and therefore as reasons for intervention. But the causal sequence is backwards.

The measures Washington calls anti-democratic and authoritarian didn’t cause the US to help the MDC write and communicate its policy platform, to nurture and fund government-hostile civil society organizations, and to provide Mugabe’s opponents a vehicle through Studio 7 and community-based newsletters to shape public opinion. On the contrary, all these things caused Harare to take the measures that have been denounced as anti-democratic and authoritarian as a means to limit Washington’s illegitimate interference in Zimbabwe’s democratic space.

Anyone who was truly interested in promoting democracy would press Washington to stop its interference in Zimbabwe, rather than lionize US-backed civil society organizations as a spontaneously arising pro-democracy people’s movement, as an independent left that people should look to understand what’s going on in Zimbabwe (Bond), or as groups that can in no way be considered agents of the US government (Zunes).

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Zimbabwe's undemocratic 'democrats'

Zimbabwe's undemocratic 'democrats'
Posted: Friday, October 10, 2008
By Reason Wafawarova
October 10, 2008

THE Western-sponsored political running by Zimbabwe's opposition is in many ways a replay of Washington's mindless and reckless games that started soon after the US declared the American century just after the Second World War.

There is nothing new in the sponsorship of client political parties and the regime change doctrine was actually overplayed in Latin America during the peak of the Cold War.

There is nothing new in the role of sanctions as a form of pressure to coerce compliant political behaviour and as a tool to force the public into submission and to create conditions that may lead to an uprising.

This writer will revisit Nicaragua in the 1980s and draw the attention of the readers to some glaring similarities between what was happening then and what we have seen happen in Zimbabwe in this first decade of the 21st century.

Nicaragua held an election in November 1984 and the United States clarified their subversive aims towards Nicaragua by an outstandingly hysterical reaction to this election.

It was a reaction not very different from what we saw in the run-up to Zimbabwe's March 29 harmonised elections and the subsequent June 27 presidential run-off.

The US carried out a classical well-crafted propaganda coup over the Nicaraguan election by deflecting attention from the voting itself through regular diatribes that were seriously reported as news in all Western media.

Equally, the Zimbabwean election was tactfully deprived of objective coverage as the Western media went into overdrive to paint the picture of an election contested by a ruthless military junta on behalf of the ruling Zanu-PF (or vice versa) and against a well-meaning and most civilised team of democrats in the opposition MDC, particularly the faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

In the run-up to the June presidential election run-off, the Western media and the South African media raved hysterical about a Chinese ship carrying military supplies destined for Zimbabwe in much the same way the US national Press went hysterical about a concocted story over Russian MIGs in Nicaragua, also in the run-up to the 1984 election.

The Chinese ship story was abandoned after it had served its function of eliminating potential allies to the Zimbabwe Government, especially those from Sadc. The Nicaragua MIG story was similarly abandoned quickly as soon as Washington realised that it had served its purpose of eliminating honest coverage of the election.

In fact, the concocted story elicited some highly emotional outrage by some dovish senators in the US, well exemplified by Massachusetts Democrat Paul Tsongas, who warned that the US would have to bomb Nicaragua to eliminate the MIGs because "they are also capable against the United States". It is obviously ludicrous for any sane person to ever imagine that Nicaragua would even for once consider the possibility of attacking the United States, but such is the mentality of US elites.

Well, the Chinese ship story ended up with suggestions for military intervention in the UK House of Lords and revelations that Tony Blair had long mooted the idea of military engagement over Zimbabwe. This time the ludicrous reasoning was that Zimbabweans needed protection from their own "monstrous government" and that Britain was too good to stand aside and watch the people of Zimbabwe suffer. There is nothing sweeter than rhetoric in politics.

The US Latin American Studies Association carried a study of the Nicaraguan election and its largely objective report was virtually ignored by the national Press in the US, as were the elections themselves.

The report rejected that Arturo Cruz, the official "democrat" according to Washington, was excluded from the elections. Rather, his business backed political grouping made an ill-advised decision to exclude themselves from the election despite the fair playing field, the report said.

The report submitted the "observers' doubts" that Cruz's group had a broad following in Nicaragua.

This LASA report resonates well with the view that Tsvangirai made an ill-advised decision to exclude himself from the presidential election run-off, just five days before voting day. He was not excluded from the process by anyone but himself, of course under instruction issued at a golf course.

The report noted that Cruz's agenda was "more attuned to the policy debate in Washington than to the hardships of life in Nicaragua". There is this perpetual argument that the MDC-T agenda is more attuned to policy debates in the UK House of Lords and to Washington's foreign policy than it is to the hardships of life in Zimbabwe — and the argument makes perfect sense when one considers the elusiveness of the MDC-T position whenever Africa comes in the open condemning the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Cruz's call for talks with the US-sponsored Contras was reported as failing to "strike a popular chord in Managua". Even Cruz's own sister, Lilian, opposed her brother's treacherous call by penning an open letter to two pro-government newspapers to remind her brother that her son, Sandinista army officer David Baez, had been slain battling the Contras.

Similarly, the July call by Zimbabwe's opposition for more sanctions against their own country through the UN Security Council was an embarrassment that was widely condemned by the African Union minus Burkina Faso and by Sadc minus Botswana.

China and Russia stood in defence of international law and the United Nations Charter by blocking the ruinous move by the West to effect a fatal punishment on the people of Zimbabwe for their "disappointing" failure to engage in an uprising against their own Government.

The LASA report made a very revealing observation saying: "We know of no election in Latin America or elsewhere, in which groups advocating the violent overthrow of an incumbent government have themselves been incorporated into the electoral process; particularly when these groups have been openly supported by a foreign power."

Well, in Zimbabwe we have now known of at least five such elections in just eight years. Not only that, the groups advocating the violent overthrow of the incumbent government have actually been offered an agreement that seeks to incorporate them in an inclusive government. Then we have the amazing reality that one of the groups has the temerity to declare the offer to be not good enough.

Surely, nothing of this sort would be tolerated for an instant in the US and in the West in general.

The LASA report noted that the Nicaragua elections were indeed "manipulated", but by the Reagan administration, which did everything in its power to block and discredit them, including the inducement of Cruz and others to abstain.

Wasn't Zimbabwe's March election manipulated through politicised food aid that was given campaign-style by Western-sponsored NGOs? We have heard such reports and surely we cannot just conveniently ignore them as Zanu-PF propaganda, not when the ban on such food distribution actually resulted in Tsvangirai chickening out of the subsequent run-off.

Were there no attempts to block and discredit the presidential run-off and did we not see the West inducing Tsvangirai to boycott? It is all part of the same old strategy and for sure we are going to see more of history repeating itself.

Anyone who will demand evidence for these assertions has no idea what four-hour golf sessions between a US-backed opposition leader and a US ambassador mean and this writer will excuse them.

Cruz was later busted as being on the CIA payroll and he defended himself saying he had only "received assistance for a short period from an institution that was dedicated to support the struggle for liberty".

Pressed to name the institution, Cruz went mute while his mate, Alfonso Robelo, admitted that Cruz "had been given money in the past by the Central Intelligence Agency to carry out what the (CIA) official called 'political work'."

It is this writer's hope that someone is not going to be busted too soon. If this so-called deal either fails or leaves out some over-ambitious novice out there, then we may in reality have our own Alfonso Robelo telling it like it is.

After all, we saw a bit of that with the 2006 split of the MDC-T branch based in the UK, didn't we? Remember Job Sikhala going berserk about a "donated" couple of million US dollars the other year?

Christopher Hitchens commented on the democratic credentials of Arturo Cruz. He said: "He would not take part in an election that he felt to be insufficiently democratic, but he will take part in a war of sabotage and attrition that has no democratic pretences at all."

Have we not seen in Zimbabwe, someone refusing to take part in a "sham" election but showing religious commitment to the perpetuation of the illegal sanctions under the so-called "Tongai Tione" slogan? There is obviously no semblance of democracy in calling for sanctions against one's own country and it is not surprising that the advocates are too ashamed to stand openly and publicly withdraw their call.

Arturo Cruz and his colleagues were labelled "democrats" by US commentators not on the basis of any credible information about such commitment, but because their concept of democracy rejected the logic of the majority, which meant that Nicaragua's poor majority would have access to, and be the primary beneficiaries of their country's resources and its public programmes.

This stance, much similar to the position of the Zimbabwe opposition in relation to the popular land reclamation policy of 2000, is what suffices to confer democratic credentials by Washington and London. It is the crowning of the undemocratic democrats.

The Managua correspondent for the London Guardian, Tony Jenkins, summed up what was happening in Nicaragua by saying: "The political opposition in Nicaragua has never really committed itself to trying to win power by democratic means."

Challenged to respond to this assertion, one of the leaders of the opposition Democratic Co-ordinating Committee, a group proudly named "democratic" by Washington, which abstained from the elections, explained this posture.

He said: "It is true that we have never really tried to build up a big membership or tried to show our strength by organising regular demonstrations. Perhaps it is a mistake, but we prefer to get European and Latin American governments to put pressure on the Sandinistas."

Do we know who is playing around with the idea of running away from the negotiating table in the hope of getting European and African governments to put pressure on Zanu-PF?

While some of the reasons advanced by the MDC-T for "boycotting" the run-off might have received a degree of plausibility, there is a more fundamental reason for "the true democrats" to refuse to condemn sanctions and to rely on outsiders more than they do on political mobilisation.

We have learnt the lessons from the "democratic opposition" of Nicaragua, Miami-based Cubans, Honduras, Venezuela and our very own Zimbabwe.

In Nicaragua, Tony Jenkins noted that the opposition "never accepted the basic Sandinista precept of the revolution; that society must be reorganised to the benefit of the workers and the peasants".

Did the Zimbabwean opposition ever accept the basic precept of the Chimurenga revolution and did they ever accept that Zimbabwean society must be reorganised in terms of the distribution of land for the benefit of the landless masses?

In the absence of such acceptances the only route is to bank on pressure from outside forces and this is the only logic behind ZDERA and the shameful support for the so-called targeted sanctions. The idea is to render conditions of life intolerable, forcing the Government to tougher measures, and reinforcing the true allies of the West by presenting them as the only "democratic hope" to end the people's suffering.

That idea has largely done its cycle in Zimbabwe although the opposition still runs a clear risk of overplaying its hand posturing as a party with a popular appeal among the masses.

After all, they just agreed and accepted that the ruling Zanu-PF commanded the most popular vote in March 2008, and accordingly conceded the majority Cabinet posts in the proposed inclusive government to the ruling party.

These comparisons have been made in light of the influences that are at play in the political process in Zimbabwe and this writer's position is that whatever negotiations might still be pending between the three political parties involved; such negotiations must be in the context of Zimbabwe's national interest and must be driven by a desire to build Zimbabwe and not to build on its ruins.

There must be no room for foreign influence in the running of Zimbabwe's affairs and any deviation from this commitment cannot be rewarded or honoured. Indeed, we all seek a solution to the biting problems bedevilling the country but none of us has a right to look for slavery and servitude.

We owe it to posterity to build a solid future for Zimbabwe and any weakness now will be a crack to be mended for many years to come.

Zimbabweans we are always one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on or reason@rwafawarova. com or visit

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(AIDSMAP NEWS) High early mortality after starting antiretroviral treatment in Africa

High early mortality after starting antiretroviral treatment in Africa
Kelly Morris,
Monday, October 06, 2008

Patients starting antiretroviral therapy in sub-Saharan Africa have a high rate of mortality, according to a review article published in the October 1st edition of AIDS. Many of the deaths occurred in the first three months of treatment, and there was also notable mortality in the interval between joining a treatment programme and actually starting therapy.

Although initial pessimism over large-scale antiretroviral treatment in sub-Saharan Africa has mostly proved to be unfounded (around 28% of people in need are now receiving treatment) early mortality rates are very high. An international team of investigators therefore reviewed the mortality rates, timing, risk factors, and causes of death among adult patients accessing antiretroviral programmes in sub-Saharan Africa.

Data from 18 published cohort studies were reviewed. The studies give information on 39,536 patients treated in nine countries, mostly through public antiretroviral therapy access schemes. The median baseline CD4 cell count in these studies ranged from 43 to 147 cells/mm3, and the duration of follow-up varied between three and 46 months. The vast majority of patients had never received antiretrovirals before, and most started treatment with two nucleoside analogues and one non-nucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitor.

The authors comment that high early mortality within antiretroviral programmes in sub-Saharan Africa “has emerged as a key challenge”. After twelve months, between 8% and 26% of patients who were not lost to follow up had died. The greatest burden of mortality occurred during the initial months of therapy. In most cohorts, mortality rates were high within the first year, and particularly the early months, despite good virological suppression, then fell substantially in the second year. However in some cohorts, mortality persisted in the second year, which might be explained by poorer responses to treatment.

These figures are worse than those from initial studies of mortality in similar programmes, note the authors. However mortality data are not always reliable, and in some cases mortality is likely to be underestimated as unascertained deaths may be misclassified as loss to follow-up. Cohorts in South Africa and Ivory Coast with good verification of outcomes found that, whereas most deaths occurred in the first months of treatment in patients with the lowest baseline CD4 cell counts, losses to follow-up were evenly distributed over time and were not associated with CD4 cell counts. However if a programme reports high loss to follow-up over initial months of treatment, this could point to high rates of unascertained deaths.

High mortality rates were also found during the period before starting treatment. In Cape Town, one study found that 67% of deaths during the first three months occurred in the period between enrolment and starting antiretroviral treatment (approximately 30 days). Another South African cohort reported 87% of deaths prior to starting therapy. The authors cite delays in patient referral, waiting lists for antiretroviral treatment, and time taken to prepare patients as likely contributing factors. “How to balance the need for thorough preparation of patients for life-long therapy with the high risk of death among individuals waiting to start therapy requires urgent research attention”, they advocate.

The key risk factors identified for early mortality were low CD4 cell counts and advanced disease (WHO stage 4). Compared with people with higher CD4 cell counts, individuals with a CD4 count of less than 50 cells/mm3 were two and a half times more likely to die (summary hazard ratio 2.5; 95% CI, 1.9–3.2). Compared with WHO stages 1-3, WHO stage 4 was also associated with more than a doubling in the hazard of death (summary hazard ratio 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5–3.2).

High early mortality, as much as four-fold higher, has also been reported from private programmes in which people must pay for treatment, possibly due to poorer adherence compared with public programmes. Although data are limited, leading causes of death appear to be tuberculosis, acute sepsis, cryptococcal meningitis, malignancy, and wasting syndrome. These reflect the causes of death prior to starting antiretroviral therapy, although immune reconstitution syndrome could also be a contributory cause. However, drug toxicity appears to be a relatively minor cause of early mortality.

The authors conclude that mortality rates are likely to depend not only on the care delivered by antiretroviral treatment programmes, but also on disease progression at programme enrolment and the quality of preceding health care. Strategies to reduce early mortality include promotion of early HIV diagnosis, strengthening of patient care before and during antiretroviral therapy, laboratory monitoring, timely initiation and provision of free therapy, support to encourage adherence, as well as optimal prevention, screening and management of opportunistic infections. TB is a particular issue and guidelines already suggest early initiation of TB treatment in people with CD4 cells below 100/mm3.

“Health system delays in antiretroviral treatment initiation must be minimised, especially in patients who present with advanced immunodeficiency,” urge the authors, adding that patients on treatment need monitoring and support to remain within treatment programmes. Further research required includes trials on management of reconstitution illness and studies to determine which type of health professional is best placed to facilitate good outcomes on treatment.

Lawn, SD Early mortality among adults accessing antiretroviral treatment programmes in sub-Saharan Africa. AIDS 22:1897–1908, 2008.



Agriculture sector at crossroads, observes Robinson

Agriculture sector at crossroads, observes Robinson
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Nicholas Mwale
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

THE agriculture sector is on the crossroads, outgoing president of Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) Guy Robinson observed yesterday. And agriculture minister Ben Kapita said the recent reduction in taxes on fuel was a signal of the government’s intention to lower production costs for farmers. Meanwhile, former ZNFU first vice-president Jervis Zimba has been elected the new ZNFU president to replace Robinson.

During the 103rd annual congress of the ZNFU, Robison also urged the government to base its agriculture component of the next budget on recommendations of the action plan by the task force on agriculture.

The task force on agriculture was formed by late president Levy Mwanawasa to address the current global and national food shortages; rising input and food prices and embark on measures to encourage farmers to boost production.

“This work is currently being undertaken and the Union is actively involved. We urge the government to take action plan of the task force very seriously because of the fact that agriculture is on the crossroad,” Robinson said.

He welcomed the recent reduction in the cost of fuel, but further urged the government to remove Value Added Tax on fuel as a way of further pushing down the cost of the commodity, which was a major input in agricultural production.

And Robinson reiterated ZNFU’s frustration with the government’s continued delay in the operationalisation of the Irrigation Development Fund since 2004.

And in a speech read on behalf of Vice-President Rupiah Banda, Kapita said the government would consider other incentives to lower the cost of production for farmers.

Kapita further said the government would embrace regional and global integration with the objective of maximising the benefits that would accrue to the Zambian economy.

“This requires that the bottlenecks that local industries face are addressed before products are exposed to fully-fledged competition from products produced in economies that have been in existence for centuries, have attained economies of scale and enjoy government subsidies,” said Kapita.

“Therefore, all the trade agreements will continue to be examined with a view to reducing unfair competition and ensuring that the government retains the policy space to invoke timely remedy measures when industries come under threat.”

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Hamasaka expresses dismay at election coverage

Hamasaka expresses dismay at election coverage
By Terence Miselo and Anderson Mazoka
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

MEDIA trainer Clayson Hamasaka has expressed disappointment at the current news coverage of the October 30 presidential election by the public media. And Hamasaka has urged journalists to strive to develop a culture of reporting that could bring out the truth and quality in content. Addressing trainee journalists at The Post Newspapers in Lusaka on Thursday, Hamasaka said the current journalism practice was embarrassing.

"The kind of journalism that I sometimes find in the media is so worrying and sometimes may be embarrassing. And I am not ashamed to say that," he said.

Hamasaka explained that this was so, because certain media houses were focusing on their preferred candidates by giving them more coverage than others.

"These are the worst covered elections ever and I think so, worse than 1991, 2001, and 2006," he said, "You tune to ZNBC today, what do you see, Rupiah Banda, Rupiah Banda, Rupiah Banda, news reports almost a documentary," he said.

Hamasaka added that the trend was the same even in the public newspapers and that for other candidates to appear on ZNBC, programmes had to be sponsored by foreign organisations.

He said even for the private media, the focus was just on one candidate while opposition candidates were not being criticised.

"Some foreigners have to come and pay for our candidates for you Zambians to see what they are saying, because our own public media for which you are paying K3, 000.00 per month cannot cover other contenders," he said.

Meanwhile Hamasaka has advised journalists to continue writing the truth and give more details to stories.

"Don't fear to write what is true, correct and dig deeper. Look at the integrity of each candidate with fairness," said Hamasaka.

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CEEC funds not for short-term investments, says Lupenga

CEEC funds not for short-term investments, says Lupenga
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

THE Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) will not allow people to use funds for short-term speculative investments when dealing in securities at LuSE, empowerment programmes director Ricardo Lupenga has said.

During a Private Sector Development (PSD) organised media breakfast meeting in Lusaka on Thursday, Lupenga said CEEC was currently working on a mechanism to enable citizens accessing funds to buy shares in listed companies on the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) as a long-term investment.

“We will not allow someone to use CEEC funds to buy shares today and sell tomorrow…we will lock them,” he said.

Lupenga, who asserted that the first results of the CEEC would be seen in the next ten years, also said some provinces might exceed the K10 billion allocations depending on demand.

“There is nothing that stops any province to tap into the K60 billion once they exhaust K10 billion,” he said.

Lupenga explained that the commission had settled for a 12 per cent interest rate on the empowerment funds to make them competitive, considering factors such as inflation and movements in foreign exchange rates.

Lupenga further noted that the robust growth rates recorded in Asian economies have mainly been on account of co-operation from the local entrepreneurs in those countries.



Probe individuals awarding govt contracts, ZNTB advises media

Probe individuals awarding govt contracts, ZNTB advises media
By Mutale Kapekele and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

ZAMBIA National Tender Board (ZNTB) has advised the media to take an interest in investigating individuals who award government contracts. And Southern Province Contractors Association (SPCA) chairperson Jacob Mangunje has charged that the process of awarding contracts in the province was not transparent.

During a public discussion forum of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in Livingstone on Thursday, ZNTB director for purchasing, goods and services Mannas Simwanza said the media should also take an interest in learning how tenders were awarded while playing a leading role in monitoring tender procedures.

“The media only want s to get involved when there is a problem,” Simwanza said.
He said it was worrying that tender evaluation committees invited the ACC and the Office of the President (OP) to monitor the process, leaving out the media and civil society.

“It is not correct for the ACC and OP officers to sit on the evaluation committees,” Simwanza charged. “How will those people carry out investigations should there be a problem when they are also part of the process? It would be better if observers from the press and civil society were included in the process.”

And Mangunje said the process of awarding contracts in Southern Province was not transparent as Lusaka-based contractors were getting all the contracts.

“It is surprising that contractors in the province hardly get any contracts because all of them go to the people in Lusaka who, in many cases don't even come for site visits,” Mangunje said.

“On top of all that, the people in the evaluation committee also have private companies and how do we know if they don't award contracts to themselves?”

But provincial tender committee chairperson Clement Mukuka said contracts were not restricted to local contractors alone but anyone who applied and met the conditions.

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Expert predicts global economic slowdown

Expert predicts global economic slowdown
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard has predicted a major global economic slowdown due to the financial crisis that is fast-spreading to emerging economies and developing countries.

And World Bank president Robert Zoellick has stated that there is need to come up with new ideas of solving economic problems such as the global financial crisis.

The 2008 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meetings that begin today until Monday come at a time of unprecedented global financial turmoil, which is marked by the credit crisis in the United States.

Zambia’s finance minister Ng’andu Magande and Central Bank governor Dr Caleb Fundanga are among delegates to the IMF/World Bank annual meeting.

Releasing the IMF latest World Economic Outlook ahead of the annual meetings in the United States yesterday, Blanchard stated that the world economy is decelerating quickly due to the financial shock and the still-high energy and food prices.

He observed that emerging economies are still expected to provide a source of resilience since they were benefiting from strong productivity growth and improved policy frameworks.

“But the longer the financial crisis lasts, the more the emerging economies' growth is likely to be affected and many advanced economies are close to or moving into recession and the growth in emerging economies is also weakening after years of strong growth, though it will still drive global growth,” Blanchard stated.

He emphasized the importance of implementing joint financial and macroeconomic policies at this point to stem the negative momentum on multiple fronts.

“On the financial side, this implies the design of comprehensive programes to deal with systemic problems, while on the macroeconomic side, this implies the use of monetary and fiscal policies to support growth and break negative feedback loops between the financial and real sectors and with the right macro and financial policies, we can ride the storm and expect a recovery to start in the course of 2009,” Blanchard stated.

And Zoellick stated that the world needed to rethink the way it looks at global economic problems.

“There is need to create a new world economic steering grouping of nations because the current composition of the group of eight industrialised countries is applying old methods to tackle new challenges,” stated Zoellick. “Hence the new grouping should include emerging economic powers such as Brazil, China, India, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and the current G8.”

Earlier in the week during the finance minister’s forum, Magande called for protection of the smaller nations from the current global financial turmoil, adding that governments in developing countries cannot easily bailout their institutions.

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Rupiah's campaign of discrimination

Rupiah's campaign of discrimination
By Editor
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

It is becoming increasingly difficult to appreciate what Rupiah Banda’s campaign is really about. At one time, Rupiah’s message to the people of Eastern Province was that they should tell whoever goes to campaign there to go back where they come from. And today, this same Rupiah is saying there are many problems in Zambia and he is calling for unity among Zambians if the problems were to be successfully fought.

But sharing the platform with him, Ben Mwila was asking people not to support Michael Sata because his origin was questionable: “Where have you heard the name Sata in Zambia elsewhere?”

What does this amount to? What does Rupiah and those who support him stand for, believe in? Do they believe in discrimination, regionalism, tribalism? Do they genuinely believe in national unity?

Rupiah’s camp seems to be motley assortment of contradictory elements joined only by their desire to be in the ruling party, by opportunism, selfishness, greed and vanity.

Rupiah’s campaign seems to be permanently wedded to contradictions. Today they say this, tomorrow they say the opposite. Today they speak the language of discrimination and tomorrow they are calling for unity. Sometimes they do this on the same day and on the same platform.

Sometimes they don’t have even respect for facts. Mwila is trying to question Sata’s origins but he is forgetting that the candidate he is supporting, he is campaigning for was born in Zimbabwe. It is not a secret that Rupiah was born in Zimbabwe and not in this country. But surely, why should one discriminate against Rupiah on the basis of having been born in Zimbabwe?

It’s only Frederick Chiluba who was preoccupied and obsessed with where people were born or originated. Chiluba tried to deport Dr Kenneth Kaunda to Malawi where his parents originated. He also deported Rupiah’s current special assistant William Banda to Malawi. It was only Levy Mwanawasa who allowed William to return to Zambia after he became president.

This is what happens when a leader of a group says wrong things without promptly correcting them. This is what happens when the head of a fish is rotten – the whole fish becomes rotten in no time.

Mwila is saying these things because he knows that this is the same language Rupiah was using in Eastern Province at the beginning of these campaigns and he has not said anything to repudiate those statements or apologise for making them.

No meaningful national leadership can be constructed on these shifting sands of evasions, illusions, opportunism and unending contradictions.

These characters are even insensitive to the fact that hundreds of thousands, if not millions of our people originate from our neighbouring countries.

We have many Zambians whose origins are in Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Congo, Angola, Namibia and Botswana. But this does not make them less Zambian. We also have Zambians whose origins are in other continents. Also no one can question their Zambianess.

We are not trying to explain Sata’s origins. What we are concerned about is the discrimination of any Zambian on the basis of their origin, tribe, colour or creed. Dr Kaunda abhorred and outlawed these things. He taught Zambians to hate discrimination based on these things.

But it seems Rupiah and his friends failed to appreciate Dr Kaunda’s teachings on this score.

How primitive would Rupiah’s campaign look in the eyes of the American people today who have adopted Barack Obama, a man whose father originates from a poor African country with Islamic connections – Kenya?

When others are moving forward in very long steps, we seem to be moving backwards in very long strides.

There are many campaign issues that Rupiah and his friends can raise about Sata than to dwell on his origins which they can’t even explain.

This reminds us of what Nelson Mandela once said: “The universe we inhabit as human beings is becoming a common home that shows growing disrespect for rigidities imposed on humanity by national boundaries.”

All of us know only too well that discrimination based on tribe, region of origin, colour demeans the victims and dehumanises its perpetrators.

We detest discrimination of this nature because we regard it as a barbaric thing. And it doesn’t matter who it comes from.

We detest it because it pollutes the atmosphere of human relations and poisons the minds of the backward, the bigoted and the prejudiced. And we must ensure that our origins, our tribe, our colour become only a God-given gift to each one of us and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords us special status to any.

We should never allow our country to play host to any form of discrimination based on these things. We must consciously combat these things and we should not discreetly tolerate them like we are seeing in Rupiah and his campaign team.

The very fact that discrimination of this nature degrades both the perpetrator and the victim commands that, if we are true to our commitment to protect human dignity, we fight it without respite.

We hate this type of discrimination, and in our hatred for it, we are sustained by the fact that the overwhelming majority of the Zambian people hate it equally.

We should always bear in mind that what Zambians are looking for is not the origins of a leader, the tribe or colour of a leader or what degrees or certificates he holds.

They are participating in this election to vote for a candidate who will win them material benefits, who will enable them to live better and in peace, who will help them to see their lives go forward, who will guarantee them the future of their children. These are the principle things the Zambian people are looking for.

And when we talk about these issues, sometimes it is necessary for us to recall the past, so as to foresee and plan the future better. In Zambian history, the struggle for independence has been intrinsically bound up with the struggle for unity.

The struggle to defend and consolidate unity, the driving force of the independence struggle, demanded permanent vigilance and action to neutralise and eliminate the manoeuvers of national opportunists. And by defining tribalism, regionalism and racism as enemies to be fought against, just like colonialism, the leaders of our independence struggle deprived the opportunists of the chief instruments of their anti-people maneuvers.

We hail from all corners of the country, and from all parts of the world and have joined together for a common progressive and noble objective. The seeds of disunity being planted by Rupiah and his friends threaten not only the gains we have made but also our collective future.

It is said that those who are ready to join hands can overcome the greatest challenges. We have many challenges today which require us to join hands and unite to overcome them. Belonging to different political parties does not in itself mean disunity in the nation because it can give rise to unity in diversity.

The discriminatory utterances that were started by Rupiah in Chipata and are now being repeated by his friend and supporter Mwila are dangerous and deserve to be denounced. We wish to emphasise that it is definitely against natural justice and Christian brotherly love to discriminate against someone on the basis of their origins.

And such discrimination is particularly harmful in this country where members of different tribes and races live side by side. This type of discrimination, in whatever form and by whoever, should be condemned by all Zambians regardless of their political affiliations. Nothing but evil can be the fruit of this type of discrimination.

A politician who encourages discrimination on the basis of one’s origins is not fit to be called a leader. He is a danger to the nation. And for these reasons, we ask Rupiah to apologise to the Zambian people for the discriminatory statements he made in Chipata and order all his supporters not to repeat such messages.

We also ask him to distance himself from Mwila’s statement about Sata’s origins. And if Rupiah has any sense of decency, he should apologise to Sata for the remarks made by Mwila at his campaign meeting. Rupiah should take responsibility for the statements made by those campaigning for him or with him.

When they say things that are contrary to his beliefs, he should not hesitate to repudiate them. But it is difficult to see how Rupiah will distance himself from the things being said by his friends in their campaigns for him when he himself had said similar things.
This is the type of leadership Rupiah is promising the Zambian people! The choice is ours!

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There's no way i can lose to Rupiah - Sata

There's no way i can lose to Rupiah - Sata
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday October 11, 2008 [04:00]

PATRIOTIC Front president Michael Sata has said there is no way he can lose to MMD candidate Rupiah Banda. And Sata said he would not accept defeat. Featuring on Lusaka's Radio QFM on Thursday night, Sata said he would not concede defeat in a fraudulent presidential election Sata said there would be no way he could lose to Vice-President Banda, UPND's Hakainde Hichilema or Heritage Party's Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda. Below are some callers' questions and Sata's responses:

Interviewer (Mumbi Kalimba): What will happen should you lose this election? Would you accept the loss?
Sata: No! I will not accept it.
Mumbi: Why?

Sata: …because it would have been rigged heavily. There is corruption. There is no way Rupiah Banda can win this election. There is no way Hakainde Hichilema can win this election and there is no way Brig Gen Miyanda can win this election because they don't have any organisation behind them.

You win an election with an organisation behind you.
Lusaka caller (Isaac): I think you didn't answer that question properly. Having a probability that you lose this election, what is going to be your position? Without rigging, without anything, let us just assume that you lost the elections, a clear loss. What is going to be your position?

Sata: When you are talking of losing. All things being equal, MMD should come out to tell us what have they done for this country because they don't even need to bribe people. They don't need to give them chitenje and they don't need to give them K500, 000. All they have to do is to say we did this and this. Look at this, we did this and people will vote for them.

But when you have today Dan Kalale has already reduced 400,000 people from the voters' register, then you start wondering. Is this going to be free and fair elections? If you are leaning to MMD and say I must concede now, I cannot concede to corruption. Fraudulent elections, I cannot concede. I never conceded elections to Levy Mwanawasa.

Mumbi: I believe the caller wants you to say what you mean in detail by saying you will not accept a loss?

Sata: I have answered the caller. If it is free and fair…if this caller is among them who think… Rupiah Banda himself said we have already won; it was on QFM, where he said we have already won this election. Rupiah Banda repeated in Western Province, 'we are wining this election'. What gives him the confidence?

And I remember in Mwansabombwe when we had a by-election when Glaidus Molobeka stood on behalf of PF and Maybin Mubanga on MMD ticket, Levy Mwanawasa came there and declared: 'we have won this election.' This is when now I have realised.

Caller (Chanda): MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba has always said North Western Province is no-go area for you because you insulted the people there. Exactly, what did you tell the people of North Western Province?

Sata: North Western Province, Mr Tetamashimba is a liar. He manufactured that lie in Kasempa when I went in for a by-election because if I would have called people of North Western Province what Tetamashimba is saying…and at that time The Post, even now, I don't think they would have missed my remarks.

When Dr Mwanawasa on the Copperbelt said aba Bemba balanunka, bafiko (Bemba people stink, they are dirty), even government newspapers quoted him. And if I would have insulted the people of North Western or some sections of Central Province they would have quoted me.

But Tetamashimba… that is what he tells people of North Western Province because I haven't told them that. I do sympathise with him. He even went further to tell a lie, to say 'when Sata comes he will send you to Angola.'

That is madness. To Angola to do what? He is in MMD from UPND, he has no issues to convince people of his province apart from lying against me and I will go to North Western to prove to Tetamashimba that what he is saying is not true.

Tetamashimba has repeatedly said Sata insulted people of North Western that they were backward like human buttocks.

Mumbi: What is your comment on Dr Kenneth Kaunda's statement that you work well as a minister but you cannot do the work of a Republican president?

Sata: Dr Kaunda, nobody has ever told us that he is professor in the school of presidential college. So I will forgive him because when Dr Kaunda came to power, he had never been a councillor, he had never been an MP member of parliament, he was lucky he had an efficient British civil service.

You have to bear in mind that Rupiah Banda is the brother of Dr Kaunda's wife, so if he Dr Kaunda is doing his brother-in-law sunka mulamu (support your brother-in-law), if he can help him, he can do that but that is how Dr Kaunda is. I know him very well. There is nobody else in Zambia who knows Dr Kaunda well more than me.

Speaking before callers started phoning in, Sata warned that if anybody would steal his results to claim that another candidate had won, then the new government would not take off.
“The biggest problem we have is dishonesty in this country, where our colleague Electoral Commission of Zambia director Mr Dan Kalale he sends people to South Africa saying, 'come and witness the printing of ballot papers.'

They go there, they showed him already printed ballot papers,” Sata observed. “The registered voters in Zambia is 3, 912, 000, they print 4.5 million. But Dan Kalale has printed more ballot papers. And then according to their own records, out of 3, 912, 000 they have knocked out 400,000. How have they knocked out that 400,000? We want to know.”
Sata demanded that Kalale should explain why the ECZ had printed extra ballot papers when there were fewer voters.

“Secondly, can Dan Kalale explain, how did he arrive reducing the number of voters by 400,000 voters? We know that some voters might have died but even if we die like cockroaches in Zambia, can he show us that 400, 000 have died and can he show us constituency by constituency those who have died?” Sata demanded. “That is the record that is there and Dan Kalale cannot dispute that.”

He complained that his representative, PF secretary general Edward Mumbi, who had travelled with the ECZ commissioners, other political parties' representatives, civil society members and some journalists, to Durban to witness the printing of the ballot papers was surprised to discover that the ballot papers had been printed in their absence.

“Our witness who is an engineer who understands the trade very well, he was waiting to see when they punch the machine to start printing the ballot papers but they came to show them to say, 'yes we have printed these ballot papers'” Sata said. “They gave lots of money to everybody who went there to go for shopping but our secretary general was fed up, he left.”

Sata said Mumbi was even told that he could not travel back to Zambia because flights were full.

“They cheated him that, 'sorry you can't go all the planes are fully booked.' They didn't know that the man has over travelled before them,” Sata said. “Dan Kalale could not even answer the questions from his chairperson.

There was no printing of ballot papers, ballot papers had already been printed and they cheated that Vernon Mwaanga had gone to Johannesburg. Vernon Mwaanga did not go to Johannesburg, he has gone to Durban.”

Sata said that Kalale had marginalised ECZ chairperson justice Florence Mumba in the electoral process.

“Dan Kalale has taken over completely,” Sata observed. “Unless there is democracy, unless people can choose, unless people can speak, if people can speak the government is going to wake up but if you are going to steal the votes and claim somebody has won, government will not take off.”

Sata urged voters to vote out the MMD if they feel the ruling party had not delivered on its developmental promises.

“…if they haven't done very well, show them red card, not yellow card. Red card!” Sata said. “Once you do that, if you elect PF, the ministers who are going to work for PF they are going to be careful to say that, 'if I don't perform, they will give me a red card.' That is what happens everywhere where there is democracy.”

Sata told Zambians that this was their only chance since independence to give themselves dignity by voting for a right candidate. He said other presidential candidates were stinking with corruption.

“There is no corruption attached to me. I don't even smell corruption but some of those candidates with an exception of Gen Miyanda, they stink corruption and if you bring them in government they are going to privatise Zambia,” Sata said.

He also said the people in rural areas such as those in Northern and Luapula provinces where he recently went for campaigns, were suffering because of high prices of fuel, fertiliser and other essential goods.

“We met hundreds if not thousands of pensioners who have not received their pensions. We met retrenches who complained that what have we done to God Almighty that out of the whole Zambia only two pensioners, Dr Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba, are being looked after by the government?” Sata said.

“In certain areas, you have double taxation like in fuel: you have ERB tax, VAT, exercise duty, customs duty and all these taxes passed to the people. And then you find that people in rural areas are much hit and you. The longer you go from Lusaka, the more expensive fuel is.”

Sata said it was his intention to improve Indeni Oil Refinery to ensure steady flow of fuel in the country, unlike the current situation where the refinery was constantly breaking down.

“Zambia has a very small population but with vast wealth; wealth in terms of man power, wealth in terms of natural resources, fertiliser, land, perennial water and I think that if the government was not greedy, if the government was not corrupt, this country would be much richer than any other African country.

It would have been very close to some European countries,” Sata said. “Zambia is very lucky; in each and every district there is agriculture potential.”

He said the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission had not benefited Zambians, hence there was a need to transfer it to commercial banks so that people from all parts of the country could access the funds.

Sata further said he had received overwhelming support where he had gone for campaigns in Northern and Luapula provinces.

He boasted that a lot of people attended his rallies in Mpika, Nakonde, Miyombe, Kasama and Kawambwa.

“We have broken enough ground. Of all the four political parties participating in the elections, we PF have been very consistent since 2001. We have toured the whole country,” he said.

Sata accused PF member of parliament for Kawambwa Central Elizabeth Chitika-Mulobeka of de-campaigning him in the area.

He further accused Chitika-Mulobeka and Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) national secretary Newton Ng'uni of using National Constitutional Conference (NCC) money and resources to campaign for Vice-President Banda.

Responding to a caller who complained about the high school fees at the newly-opened Mulungushi University in Kabwe, Sata said education should be subsidised to enable many Zambian attain tertiary education for them to contribute to national development.
“Education is a social responsibility of the government. If there is anything that has to be subsidised is education and health,” said Sata.

The presidential elections will be held on October 30, 2008 following the death of president Levy Mwanawasa on August 19 at Percy Military Hospital in France. President Mwanawasa suffered a stroke on June 29 in Egypt where he had gone to attend the African Union (AU) heads of state summit.

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