Saturday, November 08, 2008
November 8, 2008
An MMD party official in Kafue says the party should give credit to the Post newspaper for having made it work hard through the stories it used to publish up to the run up of the presidential elections.
MMD district party chairman Goodson Sansakuwa said in Kafue Saturday that the ruling party should consider itself lucky that it was able to win the presidential elections as the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) really gave them a good campaign.
Mr. Sansakuwa said as a party it has learnt lessons on how the electorate view the ruling MMD. He said if it was not for the stories the post were publishing about the MMD, it would not have been easy to plan and strategize well for the its campaigns and win the elections.
He said he was happy that the MMD, despite the negative publicity by the the private daily, was able to turn them into positives. He said the MMD will from now on work hard to ensure it revisits its manifesto to woe more support.
Mr. Sansakuwa who is also Kafue district council chairman said the party in the district has set out a programme in which it will start planning for the 2011 elections.
He said despite some members defecting to the opposition, the party in the district was strong and will not allow outsiders to win the people.
Mr. Sansakuwa appealed to Republic President Rupiah Banda to fulfill the promises made during campaigns. He said the MMD will only win the 2011 elections if it fulfills its promises.
Mr. Sansakuwa also appealed to the national executive committee to start visiting members on the ground instead of only staying in Lusaka. He said many members at grassroots level are not happy with the way the top leadership in the party are treating branch members.
He said the NEC should find time to tour branch officials as these are the ones who campaign for them most of the time. He said the MMD has a huge task of working hard so that new issues are raised and people’s interests in elections are revived.
The district official also called on the party to revive its manifesto so that it is tailored to the current needs of the Zambian people. He said the current manifesto is proving to be not helpful in addressing what the Zambian people want.
Peasant farmer nabbed for growing cannabis
November 8, 2008
The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) , has arrested a 54 years peasant farmer of Fisongo village in chief Nawaitwika ‘s area in Kasama for illegal cultivation of marijuana.
Disclosing this in a statement to ZANIS, Saturday, DEC spokesperson Rosten Chulu said DEC together with Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) arrested the villager and was charged with unlawful cultivation of marijuana
Mr Chulu said another 125kg and two checked polythene bags containing cannabis were seized on a Lusaka bound Germins bus.
Mr Chulu said it was for this reason that DEC has commended the bus service crew’s for their cooperation leading to the arrest of the suspect.
He has since urged other bus operators whose buses are being used as vessels to transport illegal drugs to desist from doing so and emulate Germins Bus service crew in their alertness to fight the drug scourge.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Saturday, November 08, 2008 6:31:58 AM
UPND secretary general Tiens Kahenya on Wednesday advised his party to consider forming an electoral pact with the Patriotic Front (PF). And Kahenya said as long as the electoral law is not amended, it will be worthless for the opposition to continue participating in elections.
On Wednesday, reliable UPND sources disclosed that the party was pondering on how it could work with the PF ahead of 2011 general elections.
Sources said the party top leadership had now realised that had they formed an electoral pact with PF as suggested prior to October 30 presidential election, President Rupiah Banda and the MMD would not have won the election.
The sources said a private meeting was held by some UPND members to discuss how they could work with PF.
"So, there are actually plans of working that out and UPND wants to do that early," the source said.
The source said the party also wanted to carry out a post-mortem in order to identify what exactly went wrong for Hichilema to come in third position in the last elections.
The sources said the party was worried that Hichilema lost in some parts of Southern Province, which was his stronghold.
But when contacted, Kahenya said the proposed electoral pact prior to the October 30 election failed to materialise because the two leaders [Sata and Hichilema] did not trust each other.
Kahenya said while it was true that the general membership of both UPND and PF were in favour of the electoral pact, there were doubts that if one of them was given a chance to rule for three years, he might not step down in 2011 once given prerogatives of power because power was too sweet.
"So, this was a matter of lack of trust because the people were willing to work together but for the two leaders. My advice to the two leaders [Sata and Hichilema] is that they should swallow their pride and put Zambia and people's interest first," Kahenya advised. "Zambians should not suffer just because both leaders want to go to State House."
However, Kahenya said although an electoral pact could have driven the opposition to victory; there would still be confusion on how to share positions because both parties did not have time to discuss such issues.
"Much as we know that the major problem was with the top people, there was no time to look at other things such as sharing responsibilities of governance. You have to look at the manifesto of PF as well as the UPND manifesto, see the differences and then remove suspicions. As you know, when you are in pact and as you continue campaigning, you need to propagate same message to the electorate. PF's message has been tax reduction and more money in people's pockets while we believe in improving the economy through free education, free agriculture input, more employment and end to poverty. So, we didn't have enough time to discuss all these things."
He observed that a pact would be an important tool to remove MMD from power in 2011.
"Of course, the 2008 presidential election was consequential and there was no time because if there was much time, we could have called the church to talk to our leaders. But in this case if a pact is to work, arrangements should start now," he said.
Kahenya also said before everything could be done, the UPND would first conduct an election post-mortem.
"As we look forward to 2011 elections and if people think the best way to defeat MMD is to seek partnership, then that's good. But more to that, Zambians should accept that the electoral law is weak; its prone to manipulation and as the NCC [National Constitutional Conference] resume sitting, my advice is that as a country, we should come up with a strong constitution to create autonomy in the Electoral Commission before the next general election," Kahenya said. "As the situation stands now, the political playing field is not levelled in Zambia."
Kahenya charged that President Banda violated the Electoral Code of conduct and no amount of complaints from the opposition were considered by the ECZ.
"Now even lodging your complaints against MMD candidate is irrelevant. It will also be irrelevant in future to be participating in these elections if all the political loopholes that lead to rigging are not sealed," said Kahenya.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Saturday, November 08, 2008 6:30:08 AM
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday advised President Rupiah Banda to work on reducing the tension in the country because most Zambians are annoyed following the October 30 election results. And Sata has called on all PF members countrywide to desist from engaging in acts of violence. Meanwhile, Sata said he would never concede defeat to President Banda because his victory was not genuine.
Responding to questions from journalists during the press briefing at Pamodzi Hotel, Sata said most Zambians were angry because they knew that President Banda did not win the just-ended presidential election.
He charged that the MMD was surviving on stealing and rigging votes for them to remain in power.
“MMD did not defend any policy. MMD since 2006 survives on stealing and rigging elections. So when they are surviving on stealing, the tension in Zambia is getting higher and higher. The tension in Zambia is very high and any responsible government should work to reduce the tension. If government doesn't work to reduce the tension, they can't provide good leadership to the people because the people from whom they are stealing are human beings,” Sata said.
He said Zambians had further been angered because some people who were caught red-handed attempting to rig elections have gone unpunished. He said such things had worsened tension among Zambians because they felt cheated and manipulated by the MMD government.
“And [General Isaac] Chisuzi, commander of the army and Mr [Ephraim] Mateyo, Inspector General of Police continued to appear on television threatening people. But Mr Mateyo, I understand because he was a policeman, then deputy minister and then back as policeman. So the power he has is of the deputy minister, and so when he speaks, he doesn't speak like a police man; he speaks more of a politician,” Sata said. “But when we come to Mr Chisuzi, we know he is protecting the contracts and 40 others. But you see, they are not going to stay there forever. Mr Chisuzi should not think that he will be there for life. There are so many commanders who have left. And he should not use the army to start intimidating us. When we were in Chisamba, we found fliers written that 'when Mr Sata wins we are going to take over'. But Mr Chisuzi was not there when people created the army. He was just appointed to be commander of the army and he should not intimidate us.”
Sata said President Banda was aware of the tension that has rocked the country, and that was why he had rushed to be inaugurated. He said it was important that as the Head of State, President Banda should show leadership by normalising the political tension which has engulfed country.
“We are very reluctant on violence because where there is violence, the victims are the vulnerable people. This Mateyo and Chisuzi are well protected. They have three meals a day. I know every week Mateyo comes here (Pamodzi Hotel) for free meals with his family. But how many Zambians can come to Pamodzi Hotel for free meals? And Mr Chisuzi, we know how much money he carries in his pockets. So for them, what they are protecting is their comfort. But just as much as they like to protect their comfort, we would like that comfort to be extended to all the people of Zambia,” Sata said. “I know many people are bitter, people are not comfortable. But we must resolve all of us not to give up.”
Sata urged PF members to remain calm because the party would soon seek an order from the Supreme Court to have all the results verified and scrutinised.
Sata said as much as PF members remained calm, they should also be bold enough because the MMD government was concocting numerous allegations to intimidate them. He said it was better for some members to be jailed for the sake of liberating the majority of poor Zambians.
“The situation we are going through is too bad, intimidations are there and will be there. Some of you might even end up in prison and there will be a lot of fabrications. But for you to liberate the people of Zambia, it is good for one of us to go to prison to liberate 12 million Zambians,” Sata said. “In Zambia we can't extend our airports, the people working in Pamodzi Hotel, their salaries is their manager's talk time; not even the general manager but the talk time for the banquette manager. So these are the things, but there is nothing they can do because there is no employment in the country. So all of us must move and work hard. There will be a lot of provocation but don't hit back. And we as a people, we are in a very awkward position. We apprehended riggers and gave them to police but unfortunately, the police is being headed by a very partisan Inspector General. And we are not going to waste time to get to the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions] for a private prosecutor because we know what is going to happen. But that's why we say those who are going to run our institutions must be ready to serve Zambia and not MMD. We have reached a very dangerous climax where you find that people running our institutions as sensitive as the army and police come out in the open to show their true political colours.”
Sata said people calling on him to concede defeat were just wasting their time because he could not accept defeat to a person whose victory was characterised with electoral malpractices.
“That's very dangerous...Mr Rupiah Banda did not win any election because if he won there would be no need of sneaking him to go and take oath at a hidden place behind parliament building,” he said.
Sata further said he was disappointed at the behaviour exhibited by former president Frederick Chiluba and Dr Kenneth Kaunda at the church service for the late freedom fighter Elijah Mudenda on Thursday.
He said with the election of President Banda, it was clear that UNIP had bounced back to power.
“Well, we would like to take advantage of this gathering here for us to say thank you to the people who made it possible for us to put up a fight in the election. The international and local donors for the first time made PF have a very effective campaign...and when we put up a very effective campaign, we were working against a very well organised gang of thieves. When they put their heads together in 2001, rigging, 2006 and now we can see new friendships. They even dance where they are not supposed to dance because I have never seen people dancing at the funeral. People went to mourn a very honest and gallant leader Mr Elijah Mudenda but Chiluba and Kaunda started dancing; dancing for what?” Sata asked. “This is what surprised us. We have seen that MMD did not win the election. MMD is just as a loser as PF. They surrendered power to UNIP without working for it; UNIP had gained power without working for it. And those who were with us yesterday [Thursday] at Cathedral [of the Holy Cross], they saw that the behaviour of Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba was very disappointing. There was no remorse in their faces. What they were jubilant about nobody knows. They were even singing 'Tiyende Pa Modzi' song. No thief is clever but don't play in thieves' hands.”
Sata alleged that the government had paid K30 billion to a relative of either President Banda or agriculture minister Sara Sayifwanda to supply fertilisers.
He alleged that it was the same fertiliser that President Banda used as a campaign tool.
“I want madam Sayifwanda and Rupiah to challenge me because they gave one of their relatives K30 billion to bring fertiliser, the fertiliser which Rupiah was promising people for K50, 000. I am giving them 48 hours to name this fertiliser conman because this fertiliser conman is a relative of one of these people. He has already received K30 billion when people have not even seen a bag of fertiliser,” said Sata.
Sata also denied having assaulted an MMD cadre during the verification exercise at Nakatindi Hall on Thursday in Lusaka.
Written by George Zulu in Monze
Saturday, November 08, 2008 6:25:59 AM
MONZE Dairy Farmers Cooperatives (MDFC) is working on plans to increase its milk production from 46,000 litres per month to 100,000 litres by the end of December this year. In an interview, MDFC manager Michelo Kasauta said the cooperative intends to increase the production of both sour and fresh milk by next month. He said the projected increase in fresh milk production is due to increased participation by small-scale dairy farmers in the district.
“The number of small-scale dairy farmers in the district has increased from 189 to 230 and this will result in the increased milk production especially during the rainy season when water and grass for our dairy animals is readily available in most parts of the district,” he said.
Kasauta said there were many other factors that would lead to the increase in milk production, among them the technical support received from co-operating partners such as the Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust [GART] and government’s support to the sector.
He said dairy farmers were able to make and conserve animal feed using simple mechanisms for the dry season and that production of milk for the market had improved compared to the past years.
Kasauta also said increased investments in the dairy sector could ensure high production of dairy products for the local and export market for the benefit of farmers and consumers.
He also said the dairy co-operative had embarked on a small-scale production of yoghurt for local consumers.
Kasauta also commended the government for providing the cooperative with generators and other facilities for improved milk storage.
The Monze Dairy Co-operative has set up a milk collection point for its members in the area. Parmalat Zambia is one of the major buyers of milk from the Monze Dairy Co-operative for use at its dairy processing plants in the country.
Written by Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Saturday, November 08, 2008 6:24:37 AM
THERE was a near punch-up between MMD and PF cadres on Thursday during the Ndola Central parliamentary by-election verification exercise at the civic centre after the two parties differed on figures.
The differences started when losing MMD candidate Mary Zambezi claimed that the results she had and the ones that the presiding officer Roy Kuseka announced were different and that all the results were therefore not correct.
The statement annoyed MMD cadres who then started exchanging abusive language with PF cadres and nearly exchanged punches.
Zambezi charged that all the polling assistants and presiding officers were corrupt and that PF had paid them to steal her votes.
"From what I have seen in this verification exercise, my votes were stolen and this gives me an opportunity to go and file in a petition for a recount because this is an indication that everything is not correct. There is no way in one polling station I had 259 but they recorded that I got 15," she said. "And in most of the polling stations everything is not tallying; all the figures are not adding up together. I am going ahead to request for a recount."
Zambezi alleged that PF members were thieves who were fond of stealing and cooking up figures.
"My observers gave me correct figures. And this is how I knew that PF had again stolen my votes. If the figures were tallying, I was not going to accuse them. What was in the polling stations and what was reported at the civic centre is not correct. The compiled report is something else. ECZ employed corrupt people," Zambezi charged.
But some MMD members, who accompanied Zambezi to the civic centre, said in a separate interview that they were tired of going to court.
"We are tired of that woman and her court. If she goes to court she would have to go alone. We are no longer interested in these court cases. She lost and she should just accept," they said.
In the poll, Zambezi got 7,563 against Mark Mushili's 10,720 votes.
And Ndola town clerk Charity Mpande said Zambezi was free to go to court.
She said it was unfortunate that Zambezi had refused to accept the results that were given on the poll day and at the verification exercise.
"On the poll day, Zambezi refused the results and today you have clearly seen that she has refused to acknowledge the results which is unfortunate," said Mpande. "Yes we had a few errors but these are human errors that anyone can make. In one of the polling stations we had an error with MMD votes and they were four points. But that was cleared. Well apart from the Ndola Central, everything in other constituencies went on well."
Written by Noel Sichalwe
Saturday, November 08, 2008 6:22:59 AM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda yesterday abruptly cancelled his trip to Kenya to attend the regional head of state summit that was convened over the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
According to the programme released on Thursday, President Banda was scheduled to attend the summit in Kenya yesterday and later travel to South Africa to attend an emergency Southern African Development Community (SADC) meeting to address the problems in Zimbabwe.
By 05:30 hours, ministers, senior government officials and other dignitaries had gathered at Lusaka International Airport to see off President Banda.
However, the government officials were informed of the change in the programme.
By the time the ministers realised that President Banda would not travel, the pilot of the Challenger was already warming the engine in readiness to take off.
Among the ministers that were at the airport were health minister Brian Chituwo, energy minister Kenneth Konga and works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao.
State House principal private secretary Alfred Chipoya later informed journalists that President Banda would not travel and that instead, he would send foreign affairs minister Kabinga Mpande and home affairs minister Ronnie Shikapwasha.
A summit in Nairobi, Kenya, was held yesterday on the crisis in DRC.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and DRC President Joseph Kabila, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, and Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete who is the African Union chairman were among others that were supposed to attend.
Ban has expressed deep concerns about the ongoing violence in the eastern DRC.
Ban has since called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and the withdrawal of forces to positions held prior to the resumption of fighting on August 28.
Congolese rebels have been fighting government forces in eastern Congo despite a recent cease-fire.
Friday, November 07, 2008
Written by Editor
The failure by Zimbabwe’s political parties to reach consensus over the sharing of ministries following the unity agreement of September 15, 2008 is worrying.
The ZANU-PF under the leadership of President Robert Mugabe and the Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the other MDC formation led by Professor Arthur Mutambara signed an agreement to form a government of national unity after protracted talks mediated by former South African president Thabo Mbeki under the auspices of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
These talks came in the wake of the disputed presidential election run-off on June 27, which saw President Mugabe retain the presidency.
Earlier, on March 29, ZANU-PF and MDC failed to garner 50 per cent plus one votes required for one to be elected president in the first round of elections.
Tsvangirai then withdrew from the election run-off on grounds that he was the winner of the first election that was conducted on March 29.
The unity government was then proposed by the African Union (AU) and SADC as a compromise for the disputed election run-off, which left over 100 people dead and more than 30,000 displaced in election violence.
What followed was a marathon of talks in Pretoria, South Africa and later Harare, Zimbabwe and deadlocks on what they called sticky issues until the two parties finally agreed to sign the document on September 15. The occasion to sign the unity agreement itself was significant because both Tsvangirai and President Mugabe were meeting for the first time, face to face, in ten years.
There was a sigh of relief after that deal was reached that at least Zimbabwe would move forward to ensure that the economic and political crises in that country was addressed.
Heads of states and governments in Africa and beyond, the clergy, ordinary Zimbabweans, and leaders of international financial institutions expressed hope that Zimbabwe would at last chart a new course.
However, it has now taken 53 days - over one month and three weeks - and the political parties in that country still do not have a Cabinet in place. The lack of a Cabinet has also led to the adjournment of Parliament in that country until further notice. This is really difficult to fathom.
According to their agreement, of the 31-member Cabinet, ZANU-PF is supposed to get 15 ministries, MDC-Tsvangirai will get 13 while the MDC-Prof Mutambara will get three. Although progress has been made on certain ministries, the two parties are yet to agree on ministries like home affairs and finance.
They are also yet to agree on the appointment of the 10 provincial governors. They are yet to agree on the composition, functions and constitution of the National Security Council, the appointment of ambassadors, permanent secretaries as well as the question of the Constitution Amendment No. 19 which would be the legal document necessary and conditional in bringing the inclusive government into life.
The matter has now been referred to SADC and an extraordinary summit has been convened this Sunday in Johannesburg in an attempt to bridge the gap between the Zimbabwean political parties, which have failed to agree on sharing key ministries in the inclusive government.
It is very clear that the two parties have not made much progress to bring the inclusive government into life. We want to believe that the political leaders in Zimbabwe have failed the Zimbabwean people. The reasons for this failure are difficult to understand. There are decisions one can’t take out of pride or purely political strategy.
There are decisions that have to be taken out of principle and in line with the broad interests of the people.
If the interests and plight of the people of Zimbabwe were made to take precedence over the separate and collective power interests of the political leadership of that country, by now they could have found a way of ironing out the contentious issues on the remaining ministries. For instance, there were two proposals on the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The first option was to run the ministry on a rotational mode where parties alternate every six months, while the second option was to have co-ministers running the ministry. Progress was made but then the proposal was at some stage rejected. How can one explain this kind of behaviour from the political leaders of a country that is on its knees in so many ways?
We do not want to believe that it is that difficult to share the 31 ministries if there is political will and the spirit of give-and-take among the political leaders to ensure that they get down to work and address the various challenges that Zimbabwe faces today.
What this seems to indicate is that this agreement may not be so much about an all-inclusive government but that of two separate governments in one - one belonging to the President and another to the Prime Minister.
While all this bickering about who heads what ministry has been going on, the economic situation has not been any better.
The cost of living is high, unemployment and poverty is still on the rise, inflation is out of control and the leaders do not seem to show that sense of urgency to resolve the issue of an inclusive government so that they can start solving the problems that their people are facing which all of them, without exception are responsible in one way or another for their creation.
Yes, there are many considerations in a government of such nature looking at the fact that both parties have different policies, which have to be reconciled. But then again, time is not on their side.
For instance, hunger, poverty and disease will not take a break for them to resolve the impasse. These problems will continue to ravage the people while their leaders trek to and from South Africa to sort out the inclusive government.
Time waits for no one.
The Zimbabwean political leaders, including Mbeki, have always said the solution to that country’s economic and political crises lies with the Zimbabwean people themselves.
That is very true. But it is surprising that the same Zimbabwean leaders are failing to agree and they have referred the matter back to SADC.
We are not saying that it is wrong to refer the matter to SADC. We are mindful of the fact that the regional body in the first place called for the talks between the two parties in Zimbabwe. But one would expect that after the unity government agreement, the inclusive government would have been up and running by now.
If the three leaders cannot sit on one table and agree on the composition of Cabinet now, what guarantee is there that they will be able to resolve other issues that arise afterwards on their own even after SADC’s intervention?
Yes, SADC can decide for them but there has to be that willingness on the part of President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Prof Mutambara to work together. And that willingness seems to be the missing link right now.
These leaders need to come to a realisation that, despite their differences, which may be justified, they have to work together for the people of Zimbabwe, to restore that country to the rightful place that it once occupied in SADC and the world. Their supporters, both MDC and ZANU-PF, also need to understand that they need to work together for the unity agreement to come to fruition.
As we have always said, we would like the problems in Zimbabwe to be sorted out and we know that it will not be done overnight. It is not an easy feat. It will take a lot of work, it will take a lot of sacrifice and compromise on the two parties involved. President Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Prof Mutambara will have to give up something important to gain something of higher value - the peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
Yes, they will feel like they have lost by agreeing to sacrifice certain interests and their power limits and vision will be drained and to some extent their spirits will be wounded, but they have to do this for the Zimbabwean people who are looking up to them to make the inclusive government workable.
There is need to ensure that all Zimbabweans of goodwill are allowed to participate freely in the affairs of their country and in the manner they deem fit. Again, this requires daily negotiations and compromises.
They should never get tired of talking to each other and compromising and building consensus with each other. There has to be unending accommodation of each other.
This does not only apply to the ruling ZANU-PF, but to opposition MDC as well.
The Zimbabwean leaders have no choice but to make the inclusive government a reality or make themselves irrelevant.
November 7, 2008
GOVERNMENT has said the performance of the agricultural sector in Eastern Province during the 2007/08 farming season has been very good compared to other regions.
Cooperatives and Marketing Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Bernard Namachila, said during the 2007/08 farming season, the province produced 267,596 metric tonnes of maize.
Mr. Namachila also said 21,621 tonnes of sunflower and 20,014 tonnes of groundnuts were produced during the same period in the province respectively.
He was speaking when he officiated at the launch of the National Fertilizer Support Programme (NFSP) held at Crystal Springs hotel in Chipata yesterday.
Mr. Namachila attributed the bumper harvest to the good agricultural policy introduced by government coupled with timely distribution of inputs, good rainfall and hard work by farmers.
“I am proud to say that Eastern Province has recorded a bumper harvest in a number of crops like maize, groundnuts and sunflower to name but a few,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary said the province also produced 4,277 tons of soyabeans, 60,512 tonnes of cotton and 169 tons of tobacco.
Mr. Namachila congratulated the farmers in the province and staff from the department of agriculture for working hard, adding that the production of the crops was not a mean achievement.
He called on them to continue working hard because government regarded Eastern Province as an important agricultural production region which contributed significantly to the national food basket.
The PS noted that all the logistics for the inputs distribution exercise under FSP were in place not only in Eastern Province but countrywide.
“I expect farmers to start collecting inputs soon after this workshop in all the districts. To my officers, your role is to implement the programme according to the laid down regulations and you should avoid unnecessary problems for yourselves and government,’’ he said.
ICS Copper Systems suspends exploration
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday, November 07, 2008 4:43:40 PM
ICS Copper Systems Limited has suspended exploration activities and the completion of Mokambo copper/cobalt mine, citing continued declining copper prices on the international market.
The company also stated that due to the reduction in copper prices over the last few months and current market conditions, it has decided to suspend it’s exploration activities and completion of it’s EMEW plant as it undertook a strategic review of operations.
The EMEW plant was nearing completion with electrometals staff onsite overseeing the final installation. The plant was expected to produce approximately 500 tonnes per annum of finished copper and approximately 100 tonnes per annum of cobalt by processing third party ore.
Commenting on the development, ICS president Graham Chisholm said the company would assess other potential acquisition opportunities of advanced stage projects in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) while adopting a prudent approach in conserving cash.
“While the Company waits on prices and market conditions to improve, management will take the time to review the exploration results from the Mokambo property to determine future programmes including potential joint venture candidates that have approached the company,” stated Chisholm who is the chief executive officer for ICS.
Recent results defined by Coffey Mining, an independent Qualified Person, indicate that ICS has to date completed a first phase drilling programme on the Mokambo sulphide ore body.
Mokambo copper/cobalt mine is a joint venture mine between ICS Copper Systems Limited and North Western Plant Hire Limited. It is situated about 16 kilometres north of Mufulira town on the Copperbelt Province.
North Western Plant Hire Limited is a Zambian firm holding a 30 per cent interest, but Chisholm said the company had the option to increase its stake to 80 per cent. Mokambo was expected to start plant construction by May 2008, with first production anticipated by the end of next year (2009).
Recently, two of the country’s upcoming mining companies, First Quantum Minerals and Albidon Zambia also suspended some of the mining projects citing the poor metal prices triggered by the current global economic crisis.
Written by Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Friday, November 07, 2008 4:39:53 PM
KITWE electoral officer Ali Simwinga has expressed sadness that only the Patriotic Front (PF) turned up for the voters’ verification exercise held yesterday.
Speaking after opening the verification exercise of the recently held presidential election in which the MMD’s Rupiah Banda emerged winner, Simwinga said it was important that all political parties turned up irrespective of whether they won or lost the election.
He however expressed hope that more political parties would turn up before the close of the verification exercise.
The verification exercise is conducted in five constituencies of Kitwe, among others across the country, for the presidential election contested by four candidates.
The October 30 presidential election was contested by the MMD’s Rupiah Banda, PF’s Michael Sata, United Party for National Development (UPND)’s Hakainde Hichilema and Heritage Party’s Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda.
Written by Florence Bupe in Midrand, South Africa
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:49:42 AM
IT is critical that we begin to define our own agenda as a continent for development
to be achieved, New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) agriculture head Professor Richard Mkandawire has said.
Officiating at the NEPAD-CAADP (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme) media sensitisation workshop in Midrand yesterday, Prof Mkandawire said it was vital for African leaders to honour their commitment to the development of agriculture in their respective countries in order to attain food security.
“Over the last five years, we have seen complete turnaround in agriculture support from the international community, because they are willing to support an African initiative. CAADP is an African agenda, drafted by Africans, and driven by Africans,” Prof Mkandawire said. “However, the continent has continued to face the challenge of poverty.”
He revealed that despite the resources available to enhance food security, about 200 million Africans have continued to chronically face hunger every year.
Prof Mkandawire urged African leaders to place agriculture at the core of their development agenda.
And International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) head of Media Relations Michael Rubistein observed that the media has an important role to play in holding governments accountable to their pledges.
He said the media had the capacity to compel governments to respond to the needs of the people in all circles, including agriculture.
“What is needed for effective agriculture development is policy response. We should get governments to act and get involved in agriculture development,” said Rubestein. “The media are the gatekeepers, governments respond to what the media highlight. You (media) therefore have the task of ensuring that your respective governments implement the agriculture policies they have promised.”
The media workshop has drawn participants from across Africa.
Written by Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:47:32 AM
SENEGALESE commerce minister Mamadou Diop Decroix has said Africa is alive to the international financial crisis but remained strong.
In an interview here where he is leading an official Senegalese delegation to this year’s Havana International Trade Fair (FIHAV), Decroix said there was a paradox on the issue of the current global financial meltdown whose epicenter was the United States of America.
“Sub-Saharan Africa may not very much be concerned about this crisis because we simply are not part of world trade,” he said. “I mean we are not part of world affairs, we are not into that ground, although there could be some aftershocks to hit our economies.”
Decroix said African countries had been crying for space into international trade but to no avail.
He said as the situation stood today one could simply affirm that, “if things are bad we are still not there, but we will be touched by this crisis to a certain level.”
Decroix said Senegal was very interested in fostering strong economic and cultural relations with Cuba.
He said Senegal was interested in enjoying benefits from a various productive sectors of the Cuban economy.
Decroix said he met Cuban foreign trade minister Raul de la Nuez with whom he discussed mutual exchanges between Senegal and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“We believe there are many opportunities in Cuba, particularly in medicines,” he said.
Decroix said Senegal was interested in Cuban diabetes and malaria drugs among other pharmaceutical products and prevention techniques.
“We discussed the Cuban energy saving experience which is very good,” he said.
Decroix said Senegal was also interested in Cuban cultural sector especially now that his country was preparing for an international cultural festival.
And Decroix said Senegal was still renegotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.
He said Senegal and other ECOWAS member states still had some concerns on the EPAs.
“We are discussing this issue and maybe by June next year, as long as our European colleagues continue doing their best in taking into account our concerns, we shall sign,” said Decroix.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:45:48 AM
FEDERATION of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) president Joyce Nonde yesterday said politics of appeasement should not be encouraged in Zambia because they breed segregation and quarrels among citizens.
Commenting on former first lady Maureen Mwanawasa's rejection of a house that the government offered to rent for her in Roma township, Nonde observed that it was not right for Maureen to reject the house.
Nonde said as much as it was important for Maureen to be given decent accommodation, she should not dictate to the government.
"We know it's the first time we lost the president in office but we need to be guided... We are getting more confused. Is the former first lady going to choose what the government should give her or it's the government to follow the provisions of the law? Because if my employers say I am entitled to a 4 x 4 car, I can't reject it and demand for a car of my choice. Otherwise if everybody was to choose their benefits, I am sure this country would be worse," Nonde said. "So if the former first lady should be choosing, then our country is not going to be safe...because the government has to say that ‘this is your entitlement’, rather than playing hide and seek."
Highly placed sources at Cabinet Office and State House on Wednesday disclosed that Maureen had rejected a house that the government had earlier offered to rent for her in Lusaka's Roma Township on grounds that she wants a modern house.
The sources said after the burial of president Mwanawasa in September, Maureen had agreed to move into a house in Roma that the government had offered to rent for her.
Sources said this followed President Rupiah Banda's instructions that the government should take proper care of Maureen and the family by offering her the accommodation she deserved.
Sources said President Banda also said Maureen should not be disturbed and that she should only move from State House after government finds a house of her choice.
Sources said it was difficult to search for a much better house that would please the former first lady because of the election campaigns.
Sources said the government's aim was to please Maureen so that she could overcome the loss of her husband.
They said now that President Banda was supposed to occupy State House, the government had decided to temporarily accommodate Maureen at one of the lodges in Lusaka's Kabulonga residential area. The sources said the government had rented an entire lodge for the former first lady and that they had found another house in Kabulonga, which they hoped she could move to in the next two weeks.
On September 1, 2008, Attorney General Mumba Malila explained that Maureen is entitled to a salary equivalent to 50 per cent of that of a serving head of state following president Levy Mwanawasa's death.
Malila said Maureen is also entitled to a diplomatic passport and a fully paid foreign trip once a year.
Malila said Maureen is also entitled to a house to be constructed in an area of her choice by virtue of her being the widow of the former head of state.
According to the former presidents benefits Act No. 21 of 1998, the widow is allowed to enjoy such benefits jointly with children below the age of 21 until she dies, as long as she does not go into politics or joins the government.
Maureen is also entitled to a vehicle, a driver and a house servant.
The two former first ladies of Zambia have not enjoyed this facility because their husbands are still alive and enjoying their benefits as provided for by the law.
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:43:57 AM
The cadres, who lined up outside the Cathedral of the Holy Cross where the church service was held, sang and chanted songs in solidarity with PF president Michael Sata.
The cadres, who wore T/shirts with words 'PF mourns Mudenda' written on them almost disrupted the funeral procession outside the church. The cadres sang that all 'the people' around were for Sata.
When Chiluba walked out of the church after body viewing, the cadres shouted 'Pa Bwato'; as some called him names while a few others praised him.
It was during this time that a female PF elderly cadre started hailing insults at Chiluba calling him a 'short thief.'
"Iwe kakabwalala akepi, bushe ngawalikele president nga ba Kaunda bali rigging'a ama elections (You short thief, would you have become president if (Dr Kenneth) Kaunda had rigged the elections?" she shouted.
The woman told Chiluba that during the time of his prosecutions by the late president Levy Mwanawasa, it was only PF that was there for him. She asked Chiluba if he was going to be alive today if it were not for PF standing with him. The woman said now that president Mwanawasa was dead, Chiluba had abandoned PF to rejoin MMD.
When Mwamba tried to intervene and advise the woman that the platform was wrong for such issues, she insulted and pushed him around. The woman hit Mwamba on the chest with her hands.
As she was about to slap him, one of the protocol officers stepped in to stop the woman while other officers tried to separate Mwamba from the woman.
And narrating the incident later, Mwamba said all he did was advise the woman not to hail insults at Chiluba.
" I advised that the verbal attacks that she was doing were not proper because this was a funeral and she just lodged this attack against me; you heard what she was calling me and started beating me on my chest with both her hands, you know totally unprovoked, totally unjustified and instead of the police taking the woman away who was attacking me, they took me away," Mwamba narrated. "I expected the police to have taken away the woman that was attacking the former head of state and who was attacking me."
Mwamba said he had formally complained to PF general secretary Edward Mumbi who regretted the incident.
But when contacted for comment, Mumbi said he was briefed by Mwamba but had not yet verified the matter since he did not witness it. He said he did not know whether or not the said woman was a PF cadre but had asked one of the chairpersons who was present to go and see him later to find out if the woman was a PF member.
Earlier, when UPND president Hakainde Hichilema walked out of the church after body viewing, PF cadres shouted 'Pa bwato' as Hichilema raised his party's symbol.
The cadres shouted that they were waiting for their president to come out. When Sata finally walked out, the cadres shouted 'Boma, Boma' and that they wanted change. They surrounded Sata and escorted him to his vehicle.
And commenting on Mudenda's death earlier, Chiluba said Mudenda was a huge contributor to Zambia's freedom.
"We are all saddened. I remember once or twice sending him over to Namibia and South Africa in that condition to try and get him healed, we are saddened, it's a huge loss. He was a huge contributor to the freedom of our country," said Chiluba.
And during the church service, which was also attended by President Rupiah Banda, Dr Kaunda said Mudenda was a great fighter.
"We have lost one of the compatriots. A freedom fighter who dedicated his life to the service of human beings. In 1962, the political struggle had intensified, and the wind of change was sweeping on the continent of Africa and soon affected Zambia," he said.
Dr Kaunda said at that time, Zambia did not have many educated indigenous people because the colonial administration deliberately overlooked the provision of education to them. He said upon realising that elections would be called upon any time, they began to make arrangements by recruiting some people with higher education.
"Comrade Kaiba [Mudenda] was a research officer at Mount Makulu. We decided to approach him in order to request him to join the freedom struggle. That was in 1962, three people were assigned this task namely comrades Sikota Wina and Aaron Milner. We discussed with him and he agreed and readily accepted to join the struggle, and the rest as they say is history," he said.
Dr Kaunda said upon attaining independence, Mudenda - who was a member of the central committee, was appointed Minister of Agriculture.
"He was a very effective minister who worked very well with a professional touch. I later appointed him Minister of Finance and later Minister of Foreign Affairs...He was a team player and a committed servant of the people, a selfless leader who served his country with honour sincerity and integrity," he said.
Dr Kaunda said in 1975, he appointed Mudenda as prime minister until 1977. He described Mudenda as a humanist, family man and a brother to all those who served with him.
Veteran politician John Mwanakatwe thanked the government for according Mudenda an official funeral. He said he had lost a friend and brother not in blood but by his actions.
And giving Mudenda's life history, veteran politician Peter Matoka said Mudenda was born in 1927 in Macha, Southern Province. He went to school there then proceeded to Munali Training Centre which had three sessions.
"I was privileged to meet Mudenda on the day that he arrived at Munali. We were lynched by the old students because we were new comers, that same evening I was painted white and given 'chikwangwa' and beans with lots of chillies. I was only a kid of 13 years. I was in tears most of the time. It was Elijah that protected me and threatened them," Matoka said, adding that he appreciated Mudenda's protection even to date.
Matoka said it was during their stay at Munali that he saw the intellect in Mudenda. He said from Munali, Mudenda went to do his first degree and got double distinctions.
Matoka said Mudenda later went to Cambridge University to do his masters degree.
Written by Noel Sichalwe
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:42:17 AM
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda yesterday said party president Michael Sata did not beat a suspected MMD cadre during the verification exercise as alleged.
Lubinda said he was at Nakatindi Hall throughout the morning when party representatives gathered and that he did not witness any confrontation between Sata and the suspected MMD cadre William Mataluzi.
Lubinda said what sparked off the confusion was the mismanagement of polling assistants because the council knew that Nakatindi Hall would be used for the verification exercise and that nobody should have been asked to wait for payment at the same hall.
Lubinda said when the polling assistants entered the hall, they outnumbered the political party representatives and this created the confusion.
Sata yesterday allegedly slapped Matalauzi who sustained a swollen right hand and a shaky tooth on the upper jaw during the voter verification exercise in Lusaka.
Matalauzi has since reported Sata to Kabwata Police Station for assault.
Police spokesperson Bonny Kapeso confirmed that they have received a report of assault against Sata and that they would institute investigations into the matter.
According to several eye-witnesses, Sata went to Nakatindi Hall around 09:00 hours and found polling assistants that handled the just ended elections standing outside the hall waiting to be paid their allowances.
While the polling assistants were waiting outside, the political party representatives had already gathered inside the hall ready to commence the verification exercise.
The witnesses said upon arriving at Nakatindi Hall, Sata told the polling assistants to get into the hall and started telling council officials to pay the polling assistants immediately.
However, as Sata made running commentaries, he annoyed some MMD cadres that charged towards him and confusion ensued.
In the midst of the confusion, Sata is alleged to have slapped Matalauzi and pushed him against a table.
Sata's bodyguard is also reported to have slapped another suspected MMD cadre Moses Banda.
Afterwards, Sata was led to his vehicle that was parked outside and drove off.
According to the police medical report from Kabwata Clinic, Matalauzi sustained a bruise on the lower lip and a swollen right hand.
The medical report states that Matalauzi was assaulted by a known person who allegedly used fists to inflict the injury.
Another police medical report stated that Banda had a painful neck and left arm and that he was assaulted by a known person.
Both medical reports were issued by Sub Inspector Muleya from Kabwata Police Station.
Lusaka Central Constituency returning officer Peter Kashiwa complained that the confusion that was caused by the party representatives delayed the verification process.
Consequently, Lusaka City Council (LCC) town clerk Timothy Hakuyu announced the postponement of the verification exercise to next week.
Hakuyu explained that they had earlier informed the polling assistants to go and get their allowances from Nakatindi Hall.
He said when the polling assistants arrived at the hall, his officers directed them to go to the peri-urban offices since the hall was being used for the verification exercise.
However, Hakuyu said the polling assistants resisted to leave Nakatindi Hall and in the process caused confusion.
“Somebody came and told them to get into the hall. There was a bit of confrontation, some officers were slapped. So there was some commotion,” he said. “It is that commotion that has delayed the entire process and this has prompted the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to advise us to suspend this exercise. So the officers are here, just talk to those who were slapped and then they will explain to you.”
Hakuyu said the verification process would be attended by party representatives, two election agents, observers and monitors.
He appealed to the political party agents to be calm.
Hakuyu said the verification process was not a recount but that they were merely verifying the ballot papers that were issued, used, rejected and cast.
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:38:11 AM
AN amalgamation of civil society organisations in Zimbabwe has said the current bickering surrounding the proposed inclusive government shows that the unity government will not be a solution to the country's problems.
The National Constitution Assembly, made up of more than 40 civil society organisations, said on Wednesday that the current impasse on the sharing of ministries appears to be more about power-acquisition rather than sorting out the country's problems.
"The NCA notes that the continued impasse between the political parties also reduced the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe to one that appears to be more about the acquisition of power for its own sake as opposed to the setting up of a transitional authority," NCA chairman Dr Lovemore Madhuku said.
"It also points to the possibility that even if this issue of Cabinet ministries were to be resolved at the scheduled SADC summit, the political parties will still dispute over lower government positions and further stall the functioning of a power sharing government. This means that the so-called power-sharing talks are not a solution to the current crisis in the country."
An extraordinary Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit has been called in South Africa on Sunday to attempt to bridge the gap between the Zimbabwean parties, which have failed to agree on sharing key ministries in the inclusive government.
Such a government was proposed by the African Union (AU) and SADC as a compromise for the disputed election earlier this year, which left over 100 people dead and more than 30,000 displaced in election violence.
The civil society organisations urged the SADC summit to adopt a three-point plan they have proposed to deal with the Zimbabwean problem.
The first pillar of the plan is that a transitional government must be set up, whether composed of the political parties engaged in the current dialogue or by neutral people with the immediate responsibility of addressing our humanitarian tragedy resulting from the food, health, water, and cash crises.
The second is that during the life-span of the transitional government, Zimbabweans must be given full freedom to write their own constitution in an open process.
The third is that free and fair elections must be held under the new constitution and under international supervision and monitoring.
"We appeal to SADC to adopt this three-point approach to the Zimbabwean crisis," said Madhuku.
Written by George Chellah in Harare , Zimbabwe
Friday, November 07, 2008 3:36:27 AM
OPPOSITION MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai (right) has left Zimbabwe to lobby the region ahead of Sunday’s extraordinary SADC summit in South Africa.
And MDC secretary general Tendai Biti has said US President-elect Barack Obama’s victory will hopefully usher in a departure from the politics of polarisation, fear, unilateralism and arrogance that has defined President Bush’s doctrine over the last eight years.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday confirmed that Zimbabwe’s Prime Minster-designate Tsvangirai has left the country.
“The President of the Movement for Democratic Change, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai has left Zimbabwe to travel to South Africa and the region, ahead of Sunday’s Extraordinary SADC Summit. Mr. Tsvangirai has been forced to travel on a temporary Emergency Travel Document due to ZANU-PF’s continued failure or refusal to issue him with a valid passport,” Chamisa said. “The MDC condemns the lack of sincerity and good faith exhibited by ZANU-PF following the signing of the Global Political Agreement on September 15, and calls upon the former ruling party to engage with the MDC in an open and transparent manner in order that the political leadership can begin to address the suffering of the Zimbabwean people.”
And Biti praised Obama on his historical victory.
“Barack Obama has been elected the 44th President of the United States of America. We congratulate Obama, his family, his campaign staff and indeed the whole of America. To us, Obama’s victory is a victory of hope, faith, change, a restart, values and dreams which have underpinned our fight as a movement against dictatorship and the neo-fascism of Robert Mugabe,” Biti said. “Obama’s victory will hopefully usher in a departure from the politics of polarisation, fear, unilateralism and arrogance that has defined the Bush doctrine in the last eight years. Indeed, we hope that Obama will open new avenues of dialogue of new interaction based on respect of all countries irrespective of the size of national budgets or the number of fighter jets owned.”
He said the MDC also associates itself with the clear messages to those who would tear the world down, and to those who seek peace and security.
“Quite clearly, a full-stop has to be put to the years of plunder, dictatorship and corruption, civil wars, patronage and clientelism that has characterised many failed states particularly on the African continent,” Biti said.
“We are mindful of the difficulties that lie ahead in Obama’s path and the fact that this is no El Dorado, a construct that Obama himself acknowledges in his acceptance speech. Indeed it is a task that may take more than his two terms of office. Perhaps the greatest thing we have learnt from this victory is that democracy can work and that there is no alternative to the same.”
Biti also said Republican losing presidential candidate John McCain’s speech was particularly humbling, instructive and inspiring.
“If in Africa, incumbents would accept defeat and would graciously depart from the seat of power, this would be a different continent, and indeed Zimbabwe would be a different place,” Biti said. “For those of us who are still in the trenches, fighting for change and democracy across the entire African continent, this is our victory. One, which for now we will savour and celebrate.”
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Thu, 06 Nov 2008 02:39:00 +0000
THE Government of Zimbabwe has been urged to revisit mining rights so as to enable the country to benefit from the very lucrative industry. The call was made by the former Zimbabwean Ambassador to China, Chris Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa said the current ownership of mining rights in the country was tantamount to “daylight robbery” and many impoverished Zimbabweans were not benefiting from the vast mineral resources in the country.
“The current ownership structure of mining rights is still very much neo-colonial in nature,” said the ambassador adding that this is “tantamount to daylight robbery”.
Mutsvangwa who is a Zanu PF Information Committee member and strategist, urged the government to extend the current indigenisation laws to include the mining industry.
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe passed the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act which seeks to create an enabling environment that will result in increased participation of indigenous people in Zimbabwe in the economic activities of the country. The Act also makes provision for the establishment of an Indigenisation and Empowerment Fund to provide finance for the indigenous people in the acquisition of shares, working capital and other forms of finance.
A stake of at least 51 per cent shareholding in the majority of businesses in all sectors of the economy will have to be in the hands of indigenous people, under this legislation.
The government proposed separate legislation for the mining industry. The Mines Ministry proposing that 40 percent of the shares in mine companies would be nationalized without any compensation.
Zimbabwe is not the only country that has made such a proposal. African, especially Southern African Development Community countries where there are vast mineral deposits, have passed indigenization laws.
The West African country, Mali, the third highest gold production in Africa (after South Africa and Ghana) has 51 percent shareholding [in gold mines], while Namibia and Botswana have 49 percent in their diamond mines. South Africa is also considering such legislation.
Mutsvangwa who was speaking at a business function held in the capital, said indigenization legislation was necessary to correct colonial imbalances.
He also urged young people to get involved in the mining sector so that they can acquire skills necessary to develop the country in the future.
A trust was set up to encourage young people to develop skills in mining and get involved in one of Zimbabwe’s highest foreign currency earning activities – Youths in Mining and Environment Trust (YIMET)
Speaking at the same occasion, marking the launch of the YIMET, the Chairman of the organisation said his organisation will develop the youth in Zimbabwe in the area of mining and national resources exploitation to enhance production in the mining industry.
Mutsvangwa’s statement comes at a time when Zimbabwe is said to be currently losing US$1.2 billion a month to illegal diamond dealing.
Analysts believe Zimbabwe has enough mineral deposits to turnaround the economy if the production and marketing is properly managed. The country boasts gold, platinum and chrome as the principal endowments. The country’s gold reserves are among the largest in the African region, while it hosts the second-largest platinum reserves in the world.
Diamond mining started only four years ago with the discovery of kimberlites in the Manicaland region, but already the industry is fast becoming the major foreign currency earner. With an estimated US$1.2 billion being lost to smuggling every month, the country stands to benefit from a well-managed diamond production industry.
The mining industry earns Zimbabwe over 40% of its total export revenues. Conservative industry estimates say the industry could account for over 60% of export revenue in the next ten years.
Zimbabwe, however, has not been able to derive the full benefits of its myriad mineral resource base. Rather than expanding, the industry is forecast to register an average annual contraction of 1.5% during the 2008-2012 period.
Dr Martyn Tiemba – Opinion
Thu, 06 Nov 2008 02:53:00 +0000
THE impending formation of government will soon have politicians, pundits and propagandists from both sides of the political divide zeroing in on one key issue, that of sanctions.
If Zanu PF is to be believed then the illegal sanctions are the principle cause of the nation’s economic hardship, making the Movement for Democratic Change’s cheerleading for them particularly deplorable.
However, if the MDC is correct then blaming sanctions is merely a convenient excuse for the regime’s misrule and besides, the sanctions are too ‘smart’ to hurt the average Zimbabwean.
The reality lies somewhere in-between and sanctions are a major, even if not principal cause of the economic crisis and unfortunately are not ’smart’ enough to avoid severely impacting on the average Zimbabwean.
However, fortunately for the MDC sanctions are smart enough to conform to the notion that propaganda is most effective when it reinforces already held ideas and beliefs. People already hold ideas and beliefs about the supposedly inconsequential nature of sanctions because of distortion within media coverage.
Despite such media reports to the contrary the sanctions that the MDC have virtually helped draft, are still pushing for, refuse to denounce and yet bizarrely, don’t recognise the existence of are as follows.
Financial and Trade Sanctions
The most significant and damaging sanctions are financial sanctions which impede financial flows such as aid and short and long term loans which reduce foreign exchange flows into Zimbabwe.
Financial sanctions also interrupt commercial and trade finance, through reduction of both Government and private sector access to foreign loans.
This in turn leads the Government and private sector to seek credit internally which exacerbates inflationary pressures.
A subset of this form of sanctions includes the far less significant, infamous so called ‘smart sanctions’ which refine the effectiveness of other sanctions through disguised means and impose travel bans and freeze the foreign assets of certain individuals.
Trade barriers such as embargoes and quantitative restrictions are also imposed on Zimbabwe in order to limit the country’s exports and restrict its imports.
European Union Sanctions
On February 18, 2002, the European Union formally imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe. The specific terms of sanctions made it such that all financial and technical assistance would be "reoriented in support of the population, in particular in the social sectors, democratization, respect for human rights and the rule of law."
The EU then suspended the budgetary support it previously provided and terminated "financial support for all projects" apart from "those in direct support of the population."
It is somewhat paradoxical that the EU has "reoriented" its support to the "population" which will inevitably be hurt by its "suspension of budgetary support and termination of financial support for all projects".
The Delegation of the European Union to Zimbabwe flatly denies that it is ‘imposing economic or trade sanctions against Zimbabwe,’
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001
On December 21, 2001, US President George W. Bush signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act 2001. The main thrust of the act ‘directs U.S. executive directors of multilateral development banks and international financial institutions to propose review of, the cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by, or the extension of loans, credit, or guarantees to, the Government of Zimbabwe.’
President George W. Bush mentioned that he hoped that ‘’the provisions of this important legislation will support the people of Zimbabwe in their struggle to effect peaceful democratic change and achieve economic growth.’’
Given this aspect of the legislation one could be understood for believing that only the former of the President’s two aforementioned objectives was truly intended, in so far as the legislation is having a direct negative impact on the latter.
Arrears triggered Sanctions and withdrawal of Balance of Payments
Since 1999, the Bretton Woods Institutions, including the IMF and World Bank have suspended balance of payment support and technical assistance as a result of Zimbabwe’s inability to honour its financial obligations to these institutions.
The Land Reform Programme in 2000 brought about the following sanctions by Multilateral Financial Institutions:
Suspension of Balance of Payments Support;
Suspension of technical assistance;
Suspension of voting and related rights by IMF; and
Declaration of ineligibility to access Fund resources.
Undeclared sanctions are sanctions which are not explicitly announced but are implied from the actions of the nations imposing sanctions.
For example, certain Non - Governmental Organizations have moved their operations out of the country, since the enactment of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001.
Similarly there have been reports from naval officials in Mozambique of instances whereby shipments of fuel and other imports destined for Zimbabwe have been payed-off at a premium and told to return from whence they came.
Number 10’s Dilemma
There will interestingly come a time when Mr. Tsvangirai’s chickens will come home to roost and both he and his handlers will be faced with a purely self induced dilemma. This dilemma can best be expressed by envisaging a time in the not too distant future when the Zimbabwean Prime Minister flies to the UK to meet his counterpart in order to plead for the lifting of the very sanctions he publicly called for.
His counterpart knowing full well that if such a request is granted the Zimbabwean Prime Minister will have to report the good news back to the Zimbabwean Head of State and Head of Government whose hand he will have just strengthened immeasurably.
His counterpart will also know full well that should he not grant such a request the Zimbabwean Prime Minister will face insurmountable pressure from MDC and Zanu PF members and supporters alike, thus strengthening the President’s hand immeasurably.
October 31, 2008
ELECTORAL Commission of Zambia (ECZ) chairperson, Florence Mumba, has declined a request from Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata to discard the use of the electronic method of transmitting presidential election results from polling centres.
Mr Sata alleged that the electoral system could be subjected to manipulation and interference depending on the installed software.
“We propose therefore that the ECZ uses mere faxing system of results announced at respective polling stations and as tallied and endorsed by all officials,” he said.
Mr Sata said this in a letter addressed to Justice Mumba yesterday.
He demanded an immediate meeting with all stakeholders before close of polling and announcement of results.
But Justice Mumba said in an interview in Lusaka that it would be difficult for the commission to discard the system which was agreed upon by all stakeholders including those from PF.
She said the process was already in progress and stakeholders had travelled to various parts of the country and could not be immediately called for another meeting.
“It is not possible to meet again with stakeholders and the commission alone cannot change the system. If the system was there in 2006 and it failed, no stakeholder raised the matter in our meeting,” she said.
Justice Mumba said it was agreed with all stakeholders that participating political party agents would be given a copy of the results which would later go to the candidates.
“So, I do not understand why this issue should come up now when people are voting. Really, what more can we do?” she asked.
But Mr Sata said former ECZ chairperson Justice Ireen Mambilima attempted to use the electronic system in 2006 but abandoned it halfway through the process.
“In 2006, your predecessor Justice Ireen Mambilima attempted to use this system but had to abandon it half way through the process because the physical/manual results from polling districts/stations proved different from the electronic results,” he said.
Mr Sata said at the last stakeholders’ meeting with ECZ, it was agreed that results from the polling stations would be countersigned by all election agents, monitors and possibly observers and finally presiding officers.
“It was also agreed that this results copy will be given to all agents, monitors and observers.
We would be comfortable if the ECZ could use these copies totalling the final poll results before announcement as opposed to the electronically transmitted results,” he said.
Mr Sata said his party was concerned that with the electronic system in place, election results would not be counter signed by election agents and monitors.
“This is because the aggregate district result is transmitted as a block figure by the returning officer using a special method only known by the transmitting official at the tallying centre,” he said.
Mr Sata said it was not worthy that the electronic system did not provide for correction of errors once it had hit the national tallying centre at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka.
“As a party with experience, we reject the use of this electronic transmission system and demand that even if we have to wait for a few more days to collect faxed results, we are more than ready to wait so that we get the original unadulterated results,” he said.
[Zambia Daily Mail]
By Times Reporter
A WOMAN of Bulangililo Township in Kitwe was yesterday arrested for allegedly collecting money from people purporting she would allocate them land in the area.
Veronica Lwele, 57, detained at Kitwe Central Police station, has since been charged with obtaining money by false pretences and would appear in court soon.
Almost a month ago, Bulangililo Ward councillor Vincent Pelibati clashed with Kitwe Town Clerk Ali Simwinga after the councillor allegedly defended Ms Lwele when she was found illegally allocating plots in the area.
Mr Pelibati supported Ms Lwele when Mr Simwinga said that she should be reported to the police for getting involved in the illegal allocation of plots.
Copperbelt police chief, Antoneil Mutentwa confirmed the arrest of Ms Lwele in an interview.
“Yes I can confirm that the woman has been arrested for allegedly obtaining money by false pretences after she collected K2 million after purporting that she would allocate plots in the area,” Mr Mutentwa said.
And Mr Simwinga has advised the people in the city to report all those involved in illegal land dealings to the police or to the local authority so that they were dealt.
She said it was sad that some people were allowing themselves to be swindled out of millions of Kwacha by unscrupulous people purporting to be land dealers.
“It is indeed sad that every time we are talking about illegal allocation of plots in the city. As a city, we should be talking about how best to develop our city, instead of wasting time sorting out issues of illegal allocation of plots. Members of the public should be alert and report cases of illegal allocation of plots in the city,” Mr Simwinga said.
By Times Reporter
ABOUT 60 per cent of land in Ndola has been lying idle after the city council allocated it to individuals and organisations.
Town Clerk, Charity Mpande (left) said in an interview yesterday that a preliminary land audit conducted by the local authority showed that there was an ‘‘artificial’’ shortage of land because much of it was being held by people and individuals who had not undertaken any development.
Ms Mpande said the council would repossess the land which had not been developed 18 months after allocation.
The repossession exercise would be done after concluding the necessary legal processes so that it could be re-allocated to other developers.
“After a preliminary audit, we discovered that on paper, there is a shortage of land in Ndola.
‘‘However, on the ground it was discovered that about 60 per cent of the land which was allocated to some people was still lying idle for various reasons.
‘‘We did advertise in the newspapers last month that we shall be repossessing land which has not been developed,” she said.
The council was disappointed that Mitengo area, which was initially called Mufulira Round-about land development area, had not been developed from 2001 when the local authority initiated the project.
Ms Mpande said, however, that part of the land in Ndola was protected forestry land consisting of natural and exotic vegetation, which could not be developed into residential and commercial areas.
“There is still some land which has not been allocated south of the city. We’ve identified land for development. For instance in Mushili, land has been identified for development,” she said.
She said the council had spent K2 billion on grading roads in Mitengo area where the network had been gravelled and levelled with laterite.
“We sourced money within the council to do the roads in Mitengo. We graded the roads, levelled them and we did them professionally.
‘‘This is to enable people to access their plots and eventually develop the area,” she said.
By Times Reporter
THE Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) has accused traders who are selling mealie meal above the association’s stipulated prices of exploiting consumers.
MAZ executive director, Harrison Banda said in Lusaka yesterday that MAZ had stipulated maximum prices for regions in Zambia and traders should abide by that.
Mr Banda said the recommended mealie meal prices ranged from K39,000 to K42,000 for a 25 kilogramme bag of roller meal and from K50,000 to K52,000 for breakfast for Lusaka retailers.
“These are the retail prices prevailing at the official MAZ millers’ outlets, including major retail shops.
“Therefore any trader selling mealie meal at prices well above the MAZ millers’ prices, although operating in a liberalised economy, would be trading unfairly to consumers,” Mr Banda said.
A snap survey in Lusaka revealed that the price of mealie meal had shot up to about K61,900 per 25 kilogramee bag of breakfast while roller meal is being sold at K51,000 for a similar quantity
The Zambia Consumer Association (Zaca) separately condemned the increase in the prices of mealie meal and called on the Government to intervene to ensure that the prices were reduced.
Zaca executive director , Muyunda Ililonga said the increase of mealie meal prices was pure exploitation of the consumers.
Mr Ililonga said in an interview yesterday that it was sad that market forces in Zambia always favoured the traders and not the consumers.
He said the situation if left unchecked could create despondency in the country hence the need for the Government’s quick intervention.
“Government has a responsibility to the people and must ensure that the staple food should not go beyond the reach of the majority. This is politically dangerous as it can bring about despondency,” he said.
Mr Ililonga said the peasant farmers had always been complaining of the low prices at which they sold their maize and it was unjustifiable for the millers to say that the maize prices were too high.
He said there was no real competition on the Zambian market in the sector and accused the millers of teaming up.
By Times Reporter
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has congratulated Democratic Party candidate, Barack Obama on his election as president of the United States of America.
Mr Banda also said he would announce his Cabinet after he returns from South Africa where he is expected to attend a Southern African Development Community (SADC) emergency summit on Zimbabwe.
He was responding to questions from journalists at Mass Media Complex in Lusaka where he had gone to have his pictures for the presidential portrait taken yesterday.
The president said that he was a keen follower of the US presidential elections and he liked Mr Obama’s inaugural speech.
“I was very much interested to listen to his inaugural speech. I am glad that I made mine before his otherwise you would think I had copied from him. It was a very lovely, lovely election,” he said.
And Mr Banda said he had not yet decided on his new cabinet but hoped that he would be able to finish with the matter after he returns from the South African summit.
“I have to think about it. We had our first Cabinet meeting this morning just to ask my colleagues to go back to work. You know we have been out of office for so long, there are a lot of things that we need to attend to. So there is still time ahead for that.
“I will be travelling to South Africa on Saturday to attend the emergency summit of the SADC. So when I come back I will think about it,” he said.
Mr Banda also said that Patriotic Front president, Michael Sata has a right to accept or reject the results of the just ended presidential election because the law provides for that.
Meanwhile, US ambassador to Zambia, Donald Booth is confident of America’s continued support to Zambia in areas of education and health following the election of Mr Obama as new president.
Mr Booth said in Lusaka yesterday when he joined the rest of the world in congratulating Mr Obama on his election victory that his country would continue to promote peace and mutual respect.
“As you might be aware, during the campaigns senator Obama stressed his desire to strengthen cooperation between the United States and Africa in areas of HIV/AIDS, malaria and education,” he said.
He said now that the elections in Zambia and those of the US have passed, his government’s call would be to work closely with Zambia’s new president, Mr Banda in promoting peace, prosperity and mutual respect.
“This is the 56th time that the Americans have gone into elections. Barack Obama is our new president after winning with about 51 per cent of popular votes though counting is still going on,” he said.
Mr Booth congratulated Mr Obama on his victory as US president adding that the new president would only be inaugurated in January while he prepared for his government and senior officials.
He said as per American traditional, losing candidate Mr McCain had not only conceded defeat, but also congratulated Mr Obama and pledged to work together for the sake of unity and prosperity of the country.
By NANCY MWAPE
ZAMBIA is still undecided whether to join the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) customs union scheduled for next month. Commerce, Trade and Industry, permanent secretary, Davidson Chilipamushi said Zambia’s joining of the COMESA customs union was dependant on the outcome of the ministerial meeting scheduled to take place before the summit next month.
Mr Chilipamushi said this in an interview yesterday in Lusaka. He said the council of ministers would have to agree on a number of issues including the roadmap of the customs union.
“COMESA has to define itself as a customs union this December according to the road map but they also have to take into consideration the Kampala Declaration at the tripartite meeting Uganda last month.’’
Last month during a tripartite meeting for COMESA, Southern African Development Community(SADC) and East African Economic Community (EAC) adopted the Kampala Declaration to create a free trade area for the three regional blocs that encompass 24 countries.
He said COMESA member States have to agree on the common external tariffs, rules of origin for goods and revenue sharing principles for member states.
Mr Chilipamushi said most countries within SADC, COMESA and EAC were already in FTAs.
He said the aim is ultimately to move towards the Abuja Treaty, which declares that the regional groupings be used as a building block for the African Union.
He said having a FTA among SADC, COMESA and EAC was one step that would embrace a lot of countries to fulfill the one Africa dream.
“With this development, the debate to fall for one regional grouping automatically falls off. The argument is no longer valid,’’ he said.
Mr Chilipamushi said the benefit of having FTA among COMESA, SADC and EAC is the creation of bigger market for everyone.
He said companies would also maximise their economies of scale because of greater market.
The declaration would also facilitate free movement of people in the region.
Mr Chilipamushi said with the FTA, there would be need to harmonise procedures for documentations and other formalities to facilitate free movement of individuals.
By JERRY MUNTHALI and BRIAN KAYAYA
UNITED States ambassador to Zambia Donald Booth says the election of Democratic Senator Barack Obama as President will promote continuity of the USA’s partnership with African states.
Mr Booth, who was speaking at a post USA election press briefing in Lusaka yesterday, said Mr Obama had reiterated his commitment to further strengthen the USA’s partnership and engagement with Africa.
“During his campaigns, Mr Obama reiterated his commitment to strengthening ties with Africa in areas such as health, education and poverty eradication,” he said.
Mr Booth said although policy changes may occur, continuity of the USA’s engagement in Africa’s development was assured.
He said other global issues such as the global financial crisis were likely to be top of the agenda for Mr Obama’s administration.
He said his office also looked forward to working with President Banda’s government in fostering socio-economic development in Zambia.
Mr Obama emerged winner in Tuesday’s election after garnering 51 per cent of the popular vote against 49 for his republican rival John McCain.
The historic elections are the 56th in which USA citizens have participated to elect their national leader.
Mr Obama won in at least 25 state, representing 338 electoral votes, surpassing the 270 electoral votes needed to secure victory.
The President-elect is expected to be inaugurated on January 20 next year and will use the next two months to put in place his cabinet and team of officials.
And Mr Booth says Zambia has once again proved that she is a nation that fervently and successfully clings to democratic ideals despite being a relatively young democracy.
Mr Booth who is newly appointed ambassador to Zambia said this on Tuesday during the US election night celebrations.
“Last week and throughout this past weekend, people watched closely as Zambia elected its fourth President. Zambia has proved once again, that despite being a young democracy, it is a nation that fervently and successfully clings to democratic ideals,” Mr Booth said.
He was referring to Zambia’s presidential election last Thursday, which was won by MMD candidate, Rupiah Banda.
Mr Booth congratulated President Banda and the people of Zambia for the successful election.
Mr Banda beat three other contestants to get the State House job.
Others in the contest were Patriotic Front president, Michael Sata, his United Party for National Development counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema and Heritage Party’s Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda.
Mr Booth said the US had come a long way from the days when women and African Americans could not vote.
He said he was happy that during the close primaries and throughout the tight general election campaign, the candidates travelled all around the US answering questions from Americans.
Mr Booth said the candidates articulated their positions on all the issues and tried to define how they could be the best President of the US.
He said this process, though long and expensive, forced the candidates to confront difficult issues head-on and to answer the American people face to face.
“It is a system that forces candidates to take stands on specific issues so that they can be held accountable by the voters,” Mr Booth said.
He said he looked forward to meeting the people of Zambia and hearing about ways the US and Zambia could continue working together.
Mr Booth said he was happy that America had made generous commitments to Zambia in good governance, the fight against corruption, education, HIV/AIDS, malaria, strengthening Zambia’s peace keeping capabilities and in the fight for gender equality.
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
Thursday, November 06, 2008 5:00:18 PM
FOREIGN affairs deputy minister Professor Fashion Phiri has said the government will soon send a delegation to Mozambique to discuss land wrangles between some Mozambicans and people in chieftainess Nyanje and Mwanjabanthu areas in Petauke.
Commenting on reports that Mozambicans would not allow Zambians to farm in that country during this rain season, Prof Phiri who is also Kapoche MMD member of parliament, said the government was concerned about the land problems.
“This issue is of big concern to us so we will travel to Mozambique in a short period from now to discuss the matter and we have asked the people not to go there (Mozambique) but to leave that to us so that we can solve it administratively. There are so many families in chieftainess Nyanje and Mwanjabanthu that are involved in this issue,” he said.
Prof Phiri advised Zambians not take the law into their hands but to wait for the outcome of the discussions.
“Zambia is a government of laws and we advised the people not to take the law into their hands by doing anything to the Mozambicans,” said Prof Phiri.
And Eastern Province minister Charles Shawa said the government would continue to dialogue with their Mozambican counterparts on land problems.
Shawa said he went to Malawi in May to discuss border matters between Malawi and Zambia.
He said there were some Zambians who were living in Malawi and Malawians who are also living in Zambia unknowingly.
“ Zambia and Mozambique are people of one family so we will continue discussing these things because we don’t want problems. I am aware that some Mozambicans were accessing medical services in Zambia and in Feira, some Mozambicans will be accessing electricity from our generators,” said Shawa.
Written by George Chellah in Harare in Zimbabwe
Thursday, November 06, 2008 4:58:31 PM
RULING ZANU-PF lead negotiator in the current power-sharing talks Patrick Chinamasa has accused Botswana President Major General Ian Khama of having an unholy alliance with MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chinamasa said President Khama's statement that there should be a re-run of the election in Zimbabwe under international funding and supervision was an act of extreme provocation to Zimbabwe.
Chinamasa told the state media yesterday that President Khama's recent remarks on Zimbabwe were regrettable.
He accused Botswana of adopting a position based on a "heap of lies" that have been given by the opposition MDC.
"The statement is un-statesman-like, unwarranted and unjustified interference in Zimbabwe’s domestic affairs," Chinamasa said.
Chinamasa further alleged that it was becoming evident to all that an unholy alliance exists between President Khama on one hand and Tsvangirai on the other hand.
"It is also clear that he is acting proxy in picking a quarrel with Zimbabwe. In his statement he says we orchestrated political violence to win the June 27 presidential election run-off. He does not tell us the truth, which is that the violence was orchestrated by MDC-T against ZANU-PF supporters," Chinamasa said. "And President Khama, of all the people in the world, has the evidence and is privy to vital information to the effect that it was MDC-T fomenting and perpetrating acts of violence against ZANU-PF."
He said Zimbabwe would go to the bottom of the matter to find out the motivation behind the unholy alliance between President Khama and Tsvangirai.
He said President Khama had no right under international law as an individual or country to interfere in Zimbabwe's domestic affairs.
"Elections are the prerogative of Zimbabweans and when they are ready to be held is a matter of our Constitution. Similarly, whether elections are validly conducted it's the matter which will be determined by our judiciary in accordance with the Constitution and electoral laws," Chinamasa said.
On Monday, President Khama called for an internationally supervised re-run of the presidential election in Zimbabwe.
"We strongly believe that the one viable way forward in Zimbabwe is to have a re-run of the presidential election under full international sponsorship and supervision," President Khama said in his 2008 State of the Nation address. "That way, a repeat of the past run-off presidential election, which was declared by regional and international observers to be neither free nor fair and was characterised by intimidation and violence, can be avoided.
"It should be unacceptable for ruling parties to seek to manipulate election outcomes to extend their stay in power, as this is bad for democracy on our continent."
President Khama and the late Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa were the only southern African leaders that openly criticised the last Zimbabwean elections.