Saturday, December 27, 2008

(NYASATIMES) Political fragments

Political fragments
27 December, 2008 03:40:00

Coalition is perhaps the one thing that every political party is in favour of. In fact, you rarely, if ever, hear anyone speaking against it.

Furthermore, coalition has been something of a ‘hot’ topic in Malawian politics for many years, MCP/AFORD, UDF/AFORD; these strong coalitions have existed in the past.

For the May, 2009 General and Presidential elections, UDF is in coalition with the New Republican Party (NRP), Malawi Democratic Party (MDP), Malawi Democratic Union (MDU), Maravi Peoples Party (MPP) and CODE.

What is the rationale for the UDF going into partnership with these parties? Makosana, let us be serious, this is our country, any mishap because of these coalitions will affect us as citizens of Malawi. Who is riding on whose back in this UDF alliance?

“You don’t go into a coalition without making a concession yourself, there are things you lose by going into a coalition and there are things you gain in retain for the things you have lost”, Samson Lembani, a Lilongwe based political analysts once told Capital Radio FM.

As Malawians, we, the Timau Crew, would like to hear from the UDF leadership, if according to Lembani, UDF did make a concession and know what they will gain from the said coalition.

Is UDF not breeding problems for itself? How many people will they appease in case they win in the May, 2009 elections? We can foresee a problem here.

Look at the constituencies, Who will give space to who, MDU/MDP/MPP/CODE or a UDF candidate?

Will Brown Mpinganjira, George Mtafu, Friday Jumbe, sacrifice a constituency for an MDP/MDU/MPP/CODE candidate?

The truth here is, the Presidential candidate is Acheya, and UDF MPs will automatically qualify, why the coalition? Breeding trouble?

“Coalitions are very costly, at least experience of Malawi, is that they have not brought about the envied and desired out come”, adds Samson Lembani.

The Timau Crew feels that, some coalitions do not add value to a political party’s life.


Kamlepo Kalua is a very courageous man. He is the President of the Malawi Democratic Party, coalition partners with UDF.

It will be very unfortunate, for Malawians not to mention Kamlepo Kalua, when talking about change from one party dictatorship.

The one thing that has forced us to remember him today, is his loss of direction.

Up until when will Kalua remain “ntchire” (bush)?

During the Kamuzu Banda regime, Kamlepo was in the ‘bush’. Come Bakili Muluzi, analowa “ntchire”

Now, there is Bingu, Kamlepo is still in the "bush".

He castigates every government that comes in power, and has secrets to reveal for all controlling officers including the President, but he never tells us. What nonsense!

If UDF wins in May, 2009, and Kamlepo sidelined, expect nothing short of Kamlepo Kalua going into the ‘bush’ again.

Its high time Kamlepo made up his mind. Political issues look small but can cause many problems; do you remember the Rwanda genocide? You never know what a frustrated kamlepo will do; bearing in mind that he likes mentioning the word “bush”. "Ndilowa ntchire", that is his language.

The Timau Crew is appealing to some wise Malawians, to counsel comrade Kalua, “achokemo ntchire pulizi!” (Help him to get out of the bush please).


The Crew is appealing to all those who defected from UDF to DPP to practice politics of maturity.

We are looking at eventualities here. In case of a DPP loss in the May, 2009 elections, we want DPP gurus to do two things, Get out of politics and keep quite like, “the great” Robson Watayachanga Chirwa,former MCP administrative secretary, who waved bye bye to politics when MCP lost on 17 May, 1994.

Alternatively, remain with DPP in the opposition. Not Mitu Biiiiii (to borrow Kamuzu Banda's phrase) in UDF again. We, Malawians, want mature politics in our country.

The following should be exemplary and we know they will be; Dr. Ken Lipenga, Henry Dama Phoya, Joyce Banda, Henry Mussa, Chimunthu Banda, Patricia Annie Kaliati, Dr. George Chaponda, Clement Khembo, Annie kachikho,Malenga and the list goes on and on.

Tilipasi kuno, tikuti (we are on our knees saying), “we want real politicians, and not fortune seekers”.


To learn that no ruling DPP officials were present at Mary Kaphwereza Banda's funeral, raises some questions. What tolerance levels do we have in our democracy?

It seems, in Malawi, multiparty politics has another meaning.

People of opposing views are perceived as enemies.

We, The Timau Crew, believe that government and the opposition are partners in development.

Moreover, Mary Kaphwereza Banda was not only a senior politician but one of the very few women who advocated for change in Malawi, above all, she was an education driver as well. She complimented government’s efforts in promoting good quality education through the schools she owned.

Once again, this is the type of a person Malawi Government decided to shun her funeral because she belonged to the opposition.

What a shame!!!

Sembegondwe ***

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(NYASATIMES) Malawi still in forex scarcity

Malawi still in forex scarcity
Nyasa Times
27 December, 2008 04:35:00

Malawi continues to face an acute shortage of foreign currency, Nyasa Times has learnt commercial banks and money exchange bureaues.

A commercial bank manager told Nyasa Times that is US Dollar and British Pound liquidity shortage for local banks.

Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) recently announced the introduction of an electronic system for tracking export proceeds known as the Foreign Exchange Statistical Database System (FESDS) to help amass foreign exchange.

In a statement issued by the central bank, it said the system which was introduced October 27 will facilitate speedy data capture and interchange between exporters, banks, Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and the central bank.

"Exchange Control (Forex Bureaux and Foreign Exchange Fixing Sessions regulations, 1994 issued under the Exchange Control Act (Cap. 45:01), 1984 requires that export proceeds be repatriated to Malawi. The proceeds are to be received in Malawi within 180 days of exportation,” RBM deputy governor Mary Nkosi said.

“Accordingly, exporters are required to advise their customers to quote the CD1 form unique reference number when remitting export proceeds to enable ADBs identify the proceeds with a particular CD1 form for purposes of reconciliation," the deputy central bank governor said in the statement.

Bank officials said the introduction of the new system followed the shortage of foreign currency but the situation remains “dire”.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s leading ISP hacked

Zambia’s leading ISP hacked
December 27, 2008

ZAMNET- Zambia’s leading Internet Service Provider, has been Hacked. The site was hacked Saturday afternoon and at the time of writing the site had not been fixed. The Hackers who are calling themselves 3RqU (Turkish) have changed ZAMNETs landing page. 3RqU Turkish are a known notorious group of hackers.

The hackers have gained unauthorised access to ZAMNET servers. According to the new landing page that has been put on ZAMNET, the hackers claim to have root access. Root access grants someone the ability to control all the resources on a server.With this access hackers can for example delete the whole server, read all confidential information on the server or make alterations to site.

Most of the websites hosted by ZAMNET have been affected by this security breach and these include sites like Times of Zambia, Daily mail, ZNBC.

A request for a random page that does not exist on the ZAMNET server showed that ZAMNET runs an old version of Apache web server(1.3.26). A web server is a computer program that accepts internet requests.

The Apache website shows that the up to date version is Apache 1.3.41 which is more secure.

According to some experts the old Apache server ZAMNET uses might not necessarily be the cause of the breach but it points to the lax in ZAMNETs policy on applying security updates to the software on their servers.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Police file appeal against Mukoko's release

Police file appeal against Mukoko's release
Our reporter
Sat, 27 Dec 2008 04:19:00 +0000

POLICE in Harare have denied media reports that they defied a High Court order to release MDC supporters held on allegations that they were involved in the training of bandits to topple the Government of President Robert Mugabe. Police say they immediately filed a notice of appeal to the Attorney-General’s Office.

The matter will now have to be determined by the Supreme Court – a higher appellate court.

A report in the Herald newspaper said until a determination on the appeal is made by this court, the detainees which include former ZBC broadcaster, Jestina Mukoko, remain in custody.

Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena said the High Court confirmed receipt of the appeal. “We are … advised that the noting of the appeal has an effect of suspending the High Court order. We are still holding them in custody until the appeal is heard,” he said.

Mukoko, who is now director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, and eight others were to be released to the Avenues Clinic after the High Court ruled Wednesday.

They would have been kept under police guard until December 29 when they would appear at the magistrates’ court for a ruling on their application for refusal of remand.

The other eight people held who are all members of the opposition MDC party are Broderick Takawira, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Andrison Shadreck Manyere, Zacharia Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutse, Chinoto Zulu, Regis Mujeyi and Chris Dhlamini.



(LUSAKATIMES) Price of Maize in Mazabuka doubled

Price of Maize in Mazabuka doubled
December 27, 2008

Mazabuka Mayor, Edmund Cheelo, has called on the Office of the Vice President to immediately send relief food supplies to the district to mitigate the effects of hunger ravaging the area.

Mr. Cheelo complained to ZANIS in Mazabuka today that a 50 Kilogramme bag of maize has been increased in most villages from K 50,000 to K 100,000.

He said the high cost of maize which stems from the shortage of the commodity has now forced most families to survive on mangoes which have also become scarce due to high demand by starving villagers.

Mr. Cheelo said government should also consider sending relief food for sale in villages to enable poor families who cannot afford to meet high transport costs to town buy food locally.

However, Mazabuka District Commissioner, Tyson Hamaamba, has assured the Mayor and starving villagers in the district that government is aware of the hunger situation and is seriously considering sending relief food to the district.

Mr Hamaamba said the Office of the Vice President phoned him and assured him that a truck load of relief Maize was on the way to Mazabuka from Chipata.

He said the food aid would be distributed to the beneficiary communities immediately it arrives in Mazabuka.

Mr. Hamaamba said the dispatch of officers from the Office of the Vice President to conduct a rapid food assessment exercise is testimony enough to show government commitment in mitigating the effects of hunger in the district.

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Cut down on costs, HH asks govt

Cut down on costs, HH asks govt
Written by Macheu Matenga-Chiwawa
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:39:19 PM

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has asked the government to cut costs in order to address Zambia's problems.Speaking on Radio Phoenix's Let the People Talk programme yesterday, Hichilema said the government must have the political will to institute measures that would cut unnecessary costs being accrued.

"When faced with a problem, before you ask others to bail you out, institute something that will bail you out," he advised.

Hichilema said large entourages should be done away with and the government should instead put in place an economic stimulus plan that would have all stakeholders involved.

"Don't focus on delegation travel and dance. Government officers should reduce on travelling outside the country and instead travel more to rural areas. Some ministers don't even know Kaputa. Take time to go round the rural areas and see where development is needed. This will greatly cut on costs because it is cheaper than travelling outside," he said.

Hichilema further advised that the number of political office holders should be trimmed.

"Don't lay off civil servants because these contribute to development. Cut the number of politicians, reduce the number of ministers. The public sector is there to run the government so there's no need for many ministers. Directors can do the work," he said.

Hichilema said such robust measures should include cutting salaries for the Cabinet ministers too.

"Going into government is not to earn a big salary. If you want a big salary, join the private sector," he advised.

"You'll find one minister has access to two vehicles, what for? That's extravagance! Government should cut on that."

Asked on the flamboyance that characterise most African leaders, Hichilema said flamboyance should be judged on the country’s ability to produce.

Hichilema further advised the government to target job creation in order to address Zambia's problems.

"Government should start with agriculture to create jobs. Government must invest in irrigation, both small-scale and large-scale. Irrigation, for small-scale farmers will help sustain the farmers. And large-scale irrigation will create jobs and help in having food security," said Hichilema.

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Protect your children, Masebo urges parents

Protect your children, Masebo urges parents
Written by Allan Mulenga in Chongwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:38:10 PM

CHONGWE MMD member of parliament Sylvia Masebo has urged parents to fight all the vices that affect children.And Masebo has expressed concern at the high number of children suffering from malnutrition in the district.

During a children’s Christmas party held at council chambers in Chongwe on Thursday, Masebo noted that child labour and child defilement were on the increase in the area.

“A collective effort is required by all of us to fight the vices that affect our children. Vices such as child defilement, child labour and many others should be monitored and fought with every inch of effort,” she said.

Masebo urged parents to support their children morally, socially and economically.

“I am aware that sexual abuse and child labour are on the increase. You will see that parents are engaging children in child labour by allowing them to sell things on the streets,” she said. “I know that this is not only happening in Chongwe but the vices are common in all other areas.”

Masebo said it was refreshing for her to be associated with the children in the constituency during Christmas celebrations.

“You see I have just come here to spend time with the children. It is so refreshing to be with the children on Christmas as area member of parliament. I have done this to show genuine love for the children in my area. We started by going to church and later we started enjoying ourselves,” she said.

Masebo commended well-wishers who helped her raise K10 million for the party which catered for over 500 children in the area.

“It is very nice dancing with the children. I have seen a lot of skills in them and generally there is really potential in children of Chongwe. I wish to take this opportunity to thank all the people who contributed to the children’s party,” she said.

And earlier during the tour of Chongwe district heath centre, where she distributed Christmas gifts to patients, Masebo expressed worry at the ever-increasing number of children suffering from malnutrition at the clinic.

“As the area member of parliament I am very worried about the number of children suffering from malnutrition in the area, as you can see from the tour of the clinic,” she said. “Sometimes there is even an element of negligence on the mothers as you heard from one of the mothers in the ward that the child is refusing to eat.”

Masebo however attributed the high incidents of child malnutrition to poverty.

“You see the reason why we have so many children suffering from malnutrition is that the living standards in Chongwe are very low,” said Masebo.



Kapita counsels UPND to focus on 2011 elections

Kapita counsels UPND to focus on 2011 elections
Written by Gloria Siwisha and Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:36:30 PM

OPPOSITION UPND vice-president Richard Kapita has advised party members to direct their energies towards strengthening the party organs in readiness for the 2011 general elections as opposed to calling for a pact.

And former Milanzi member of parliament and UPND member Chimwala Phiri has supported calls for a pact between the UPND and PF.

Reacting to UPND Southern Province vice- chairperson John Chidyaka who called on the party’s National Management and Committee (NMC) to revive discussions for a pact with stronger political parties before the 2011 general elections, Kapita said such talks were not a priority at the moment.

He said the party’s top leadership was not afraid to revive talks for a possible pact with Patriotic Front (PF) but that now was a time for organising, mobilising and strengthening party organs in readiness for 2011.

“It is a policy matter and our members are entitled to their own opinion as we are a democratic party. We are not scared to talk to any stronger political party for possibilities of a pact but such talks are not a priority right now,” Kapita said.

He said the party had already started a membership recruitment exercise.

“UPND is a listening party and we will listen to everyone and if a pact is what people want, we will later sit down as National Executive Committee and NMC and table it,” Kapita said.

And Kapita expressed regret that President Rupiah Banda had gone to enjoy himself in Mfuwe while many Zambians had nothing to celebrate about during this festive season.

And supporting calls by Chidyaka, Phiri said the majority of UPND members in Eastern Province were in favour of UPND and PF coming together to form a pact.

Phiri, who was also the UPND candidate in the last Milanzi by election, said they felt Zambia needed a strong opposition to enhance democracy and this could only be done by the party coming with PF to form a strong alliance to strengthen the opposition.

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2008 has been a disaster – Sata

2008 has been a disaster – Sata
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:33:15 PM

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday said the year 2008 has been a disaster and Zambians survived by the will of God.In an interview, Sata hoped there would be change next year in the way the country was being run. "Maybe when they stop being on holiday and start working will we see some change," Sata said.

And commenting on the decision by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to reduce the price of maize from K63,000 to K55,000, Sata said the price of mealie-meal should be within the reach of the people.

He said the government should not play with people by reverting to the original price of maize and say they had reduced it and expect the millers to implement a reduction in food prices.

"The government before elections increased the floor price of maize to hoodwink the farmers so that they vote for the MMD. Then they saw that this had not worked. Then they think by reducing the price of maize, millers are going to play ball and reduce the price of mealie-meal," he said.

Sata said the reduction of mealie-meal prices by K10,000 by some millers would have very little impact. He said the government had a lot of work to do, to remove excess value added tax as the importation of maize would be more expensive than reducing the price of maize.

"Why is FRA not buying the thousands of metric tonnes of maize which is there in the country. Why are they only interested in importing. A lot more needs to be done other than changing the price of maize when there is no maize in the country," he said.

Sata said the government must do a lot more to remove the unnecessary expenditures.

He said Zambia was having problems because of spending money on unnecessary things like the National Constitutional Conference.

On Wednesday, FRA reduced the price of maize and said a 50 kilogramme bag of maize would now cost K55,000 from the previous K63,000.

FRA board chairperson Costain Chilala said the decision was made in consultation with the government to further bring down the price of mealie-meal.

He said all willing millers would be supplied FRA maize at 100 per cent mill requirements.

And agriculture and cooperatives minister Dr Brain Chituwo on Thursday said the government expected the millers to respond to the FRA decision to reduce the prices of maize to benefit consumers.

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PF sets conditions for dialogue with MMD

PF sets conditions for dialogue with MMD
Written by Margaret Mtonga
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:31:46 PM

PATROITIC Front spokesperson Given Lubinda has said PF can only dialogue with the MMD if the party is convinced that the advice given to the ruling MMD will be implemented.

In an interview yesterday, Lubinda said PF would not accept dialogue with the MMD government without being assured that they would implement the advice that is given to them.

“It will be imprudent for the Patriotic Front to rush into dialogue with the Rupiah-led government if we are not given any green light that they will incorporate whatever we advise them,” he said.

Lubinda said President Banda’s government had a tendency of not adhering to advice that is given to them which makes it difficult for the PF to dialogue with them as soon as possible.

“We don’t want a precedent of failing to achieve our intended goals like the indaba that did not work out in the Mwanawasa government. As PF, we are not ready for window dressing and widow shopping. The MMD should show us that they are serious with serving the Zambian people. That is when the party will be interested to dialogue,” said Lubinda.

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BoZ cuts down open market operations

BoZ cuts down open market operations
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:28:27 PM

THE Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has in the last one month cut down on its Open Market Operations, the Standard Chartered Bank has revealed.
The Open Market Operations is a window, which is a channel BoZ uses to control money supply in the market.

However, the bank says BoZ had been forced to take the decision due to lack of appetite for government securities caused by lack of confidence in the financial markets.

According to Standard Chartered Bank, previously, BoZ’s objective was to control inflation but with the lack of appetite by investors in treasury bills and government bonds they have dropped the amounts that were being offered on the Open Market Operations.

“Previously, BoZ would mop up overnight liquidity even as high as K70 billion but has since stopped offering this tenor. All the other tenors have been more than halved and as a result, we have seen a significant cut in interest rates on the short end of the curve. Overnight rates had peaked to highs of 16 per cent last month and are now down to 11.5 per cent,” stated the market update.

And Standard Chartered Bank has stated that the continued higher inflation rates in the country and the persistent depreciation of kwacha against major convertible currencies was being caused by very high kwacha liquidity in the market.

“Accessibility to kwacha is currently very high, leading to fewer players needing to convert United States dollar to meet their local obligations. This excess liquidity has further enhanced kwacha’s weakness and the United States dollar strength. Further, the excess liquidity has also led to higher inflation rates currently sitting at 15.3 per cent,” Standard Chartered Bank noted.

Meanwhile, the kwacha has continued to hold around K4, 830 and K4, 850 characterised by mild interbank and corporate activity.

“K4, 900 clearly is an important level for the Central Bank as they are now intervening timely and consistently in the market. Today we expect a fairly quiet day trading in the range of 4800-4900,” stated Standard Chartered Bank.

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Albidon earns from first sale of concentrate

Albidon earns from first sale of concentrate
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:15:41 PM

ALBIDON has recorded its first revenue from the sale of concentrate from its Munali Nickel Project in Mazabuka.

According to a statement, Australian-based Albidon Limited described the development as a significant step in the transition from development to producer. The company did not, however, state the revenue realised from the transaction.

“In addition, Albidon is actively seeking to sell a parcel of low grade out of specification concentrate, produced during the beginning of commissioning of the concentrator, when mineralised waste was being fed into the concentrator,” the statement read in part.

It also stated that commissioning was progressing well, with the nameplate capacity of 900 000 tonnes per year being achieved on a number of occasions.

“Focus at Munali remained on increasing the processing facility throughout to nameplate capacity and once this was reached, it aimed to expand its targets to 1.2 million tonnes a year of ore mined, which would generate between 10,000 tonnes per year of nickel, in a high quality nickel copper cobalt platinum group metals concentrate,” further read the statement.

Demand from China for nickel and stainless steel has been relatively robust, with China expected to maintain a minimum growth rate of 7 to 8 per cent annually as compared to the recent 11 per cent.

Munali Nickel mine in Mazabuka is the country's first and sole nickel mine.

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KCM cuts down on workforce

COMMENT - What an utter waste of resources. The government allowed the mining companies to just expand and expand, and they justified not taxing them because they would not build new projects. Better to have one bird in the hand, than ten in the sky, as the saying goes. They should have taxed the mines and invested in agriculture and infrastructure.

KCM cuts down on workforce
Written by Kabanda Chulu and Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:12:02 PM

SOME copper mining investments were largely driven by the windfall prices and not to establish long-term developments, University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Mines dean Stephens Kambani has observed.

And Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has confirmed it is downsizing its workforce in line with declining international copper prices, but says the country’s largest copper miner will not suspend any of the expansion projects as it is on course to producing the targeted 5,000 tonnes of finished copper by 2010.

Commenting on the challenges facing the mining industry due to declining copper and cobalt prices, Dr Kambani said there was need to consider several factors when designing, constructing or buying a mine.

“When investing in the mining sector, special consideration should be given to long-term planning and factors like designing, constructing or buying a mine should be taken into consideration and also investors should outline how to operate effectively at normal prices but some investors in the mining sector were just driven to Zambia because of the windfall prices but prices cannot be sustained at that level,” Dr Kambani said.

He explained that current prices at below US $ 4,000 per metric tonne were historically good because efficient companies could still operate profitably.

“The windfalls resulted in some companies to apply high costs of production because they were able to afford it but companies like KCM and Mopani had projected to operate effectively at a price of US $ 3,000 per metric tonne hence they are somehow okay and the windfall was just like a bonus,” Dr Kambani said. “And historically, the current price is good because we have been operating like this for many years, maybe there are some under currents resulting in the mines to take these decisions but also it is not feasible to form cartels in the copper mining industry.”

He said the decision to place Luanshya Copper mines under care and maintenance meant that government would lose out and there was very little it could do about it.

“Investors cannot keep their money when there is uncertainties especially about price issues and government is equally concerned because if there is no production, the mine will not pay royalties and other tax obligations and it is difficult for government because this is a free market economy and these are private business decisions being taken as a result of market failures,” said Dr Kambani. “Also in the mining industry, whenever there is a windfall, measures should have been put in place to establish a stabilisation fund which could have been helpful at this time.”

Luanshya Copper Mine was last week put on care and maintenance because the owners have claimed that current copper prices at less than US $ 4,000 per tonne were not profitable, hence over 1,600 miners had been declared redundant.

And KCM communications manager Sam Equamo stated that the mine had continued to review its operations with a priority of improving on production and productivity and examining areas where it could cut costs.

Last week, Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) disclosed that it had received notices that KCM would prune about 800 employees as part of the cost-cutting measures the mine was putting in place to deal with the plummeting copper prices.

“KCM is reviewing its operations in order to improve on production and productivity and examining areas where it can cut costs,” Equamo stated in response to a press query. “Some of these are in stores and materials purchasing, value engineering, adopting more cost efficient methods of operations, reduction in energy usage etc. Restructuring is an ongoing exercise.”

And Equamo, who stated that KCM was fully committed to the completion of its major projects, also disclosed that the US $400 million Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP) was on schedule and the first phase of the New Konkola Concentrator was undergoing commissioning.

KDMP is the second largest single investment in Zambian mining which will extend Konkola’s mine life to 2035.

“KCM remains geared to achieve its goal of producing 500,000 tonnes of finished copper per annum by the year 2010 when the KDMP will come on stream,” stated Equamo. “ Konkola Copper Mines is fully committed to the completion of its major projects. The Nchanga Smelter, along with the New Sulphuric Acid Plant, has been completed and is running. The Konkola Deep Mining Project is on schedule and the first phase of the New Konkola Concentrator is undergoing commissioning. These projects will help KCM reduce costs because they use state-of-the-art technology and therefore are more efficient.

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The usual nonsense of Chiluba

The usual nonsense of Chiluba
Written by Editor

FREDERICK Chiluba is accusing The Post and the Task Force on Corruption of conniving to push propaganda to cause public hostility against him.Chiluba claims this is all in a bid to protect the Task Force’s collapsed image. This is the usual nonsense of Chiluba.

Unlike him, we have no problem telling the truth. Chiluba is trying to misrepresent facts on the appeal by Meer Care and Desai. He claims that in his view, the London judgment obtained by the Attorney General of Zambia on behalf of the Zambian people collapsed following a successful appeal by Meer Care and Desai who have won this case with costs. And he goes on to say that judge Peter Smith who handed down the London High Court judgment was severely criticised by the House of Lords concerning the manner he conducted the matter. Again, this is the usual nonsense and lies of Chiluba.

What Chiluba should explain, in this case, is why Attan Shansonga was denied leave of appeal against the London High Court judgment. The truth of the matter is that the appeal of Meer Care and Desai had nothing to do with Chiluba and the other Zambian corrupt elements he was dealing with who were sued by the Zambian government in the London High Court. The court only allowed Meer’s appeal because it found that he had been tricked by Xavier Chungu. The court actually called Meer a fool and not a dishonest man who was tricked by Chungu and his crooked friends. And the rest of the issues of the judgment that found Chiluba and his tandem of thieves to have defrauded the Zambian government and its people remain unchanged. That is the truth of the matter. And this is how things stand in regard to the London case against Chiluba and his crooked and corrupt friends. We challenge Chiluba to bring facts to the contrary.

And Chiluba goes on to try and play down the consent judgment of his Swiss tailor, Antonio Basile, in which this man was tricked or misled and accepted to be used by Chiluba and his friends to steal US$ 1.2 million from the Zambian people and use it on very expensive tailor-made personal suits, shirts, pyjamas and shoes. He says: “I recognise the fresh judgment published today [in The Post ] is a consent judgment and I will be pleased to understand the circumstances under which it was obtained as consent judgments are agreement judgments.” What is Chiluba trying to say? Is he trying to say a consent judgment is not a judgment of the court? Does he know how a consent judgment is obtained and what its legal status is? A consent judgment is as good as any other judgment made by the court. Basile told a number of lies about his dealings with Chiluba. He tried to falsify the truth and protect himself and Chiluba from liability. Basile even went as far as forging receipts and other documents. When all these attempts to falsify things were exposed in court, Basile had no other defence and instead of wasting court’s time, opted for a consent judgment. He showed remorse for his actions and broke down in court several times. We know it is very difficult for Chiluba and his friends to do the same because they are hardcore thieves. To this very day, Chiluba has not accepted any wrongdoing over his thefts and abuse of public resources despite overwhelming evidence against him.

And today, because of this lack of contrition on his part, Chiluba is going round smearing innocent people with all sorts of filth. It is not The Post that sent Chiluba to steal. The Post never connived with Chiluba in his stealing and there is no reason for The Post to connive with anybody over litigation against him to recover what he stole from the people of Zambia and probably send him to jail for doing so. We started fighting Chiluba’s corruption long before the Task Force was even conceived. If Chiluba had listened to our advice, he wouldn’t be in the mess he is in today. Instead of heeding our advice on corruption, Chiluba tried to silence us in all sorts of ways, including jailing us. It is not the Task Force that sent Chiluba and his friends to steal. The Task Force was only created to help investigate and prosecute his complicated web of corruption that would have been otherwise difficult to investigate and prosecute. And it’s not true that the Task Force collapsed with Meer’s appeal in London. How? This is a very stupid argument that can only come from a very desperate soul with an empty but evil mind. Whatever ill-will Chiluba may harbour for the Task Force, it will not help him. Even if the Task Force was to be dissolved today the cases against Chiluba and his friends will not be affected in any way. And so far, any honest person will admit that the Task Force has done a commendable job. Every accused person has been given a fair trial and the due process of the law has been respected. Even Kashiwa Bulaya has had a very fair trial all the way up to the Supreme Court despite many gimmicks, political and otherwise, to get him off the hook. Today, Bulaya is serving a five-year jail sentence handed to him by our Supreme Court. What has Chiluba got to say about this?

Chiluba should stop engaging in self-deception and face the truth. And the truth is he stole; he is a thief. And the London High Court has justly found him to be a thief, a fraudster, a crook that has robbed the Zambian people of their meagre financial resources.

As for us, the things we are saying about Chiluba today, we said them even when he was in power. We called him a thief when he was in State House. And at that time, what is known about his deeds was unknown to the great majority of our people. We have no other better words to describe Chiluba’s misdeeds other than the words we are using. What alternative words can we use for a man who has stolen public funds? What better words can one have for a man who takes US$ 1.2 million from a very poor country he is elected to govern and goes and spends it on very expensive 206 suits, shirts, pyjamas and shoes? To us, such a man, no matter how much we may like him or how closely he may be related to us, is a fool; he is an idiot, a rat. If saying this is insulting Chiluba, let him go to court and sue us on Monday. We will be more than ready to justify whatever we have called him because it is based on facts, on truth.

Chiluba says he has human rights, integrity and dignity and these would not be stripped away by The Post or the Task Force on Corruption. Truly, Chiluba has human rights and these can never be stripped away by The Post or the Task Force. But he has no integrity and dignity and this has not been stripped away by The Post or the Task Force. They have been stripped away by his corruption, his abuse of public funds, his crookedness. We have always said that even the criminals in our prisons have human rights which should be defended and protected because even criminals are human beings. But they still remain criminals and that’s why they are in jail. And there is nothing wrong to call them criminals because that is what they are. We will always defend Chiluba’s human rights not because we think he is innocent or is a nice man. But simply because human rights don’t need to be earned by good conduct - they are God-given to all human beings, be they bad or good, be they crooks, thieves or decent human beings.

Probably Chiluba should talk to his friend Basile and follow his example and accept wrongdoing.

We are concerned about all these things not because we hate Chiluba or anyone else for that matter. It is simply because we believe that a country begins its decline when its politicians and leaders begin to lose respect for integrity, competence, performance of duty and serving people. These are issues that can break down any country. No country can survive without integrity of its leaders. No nation would survive when its leaders do not have lasting commitment for serving the people and creating conditions in which the masses feel that their leaders are in an honest way trying to get their lives better and better everyday instead of raping them, of stealing from them. No nation can survive if stealing public funds and abusing public office becomes the routine of the day with a sense of impunity in those who do so.

It cannot be denied that Chiluba came to power with grace and he has gone in disgrace. Chiluba might have come into power with people thinking he had dignity but he has gone out with most of our people believing he doesn’t have any dignity.

We hope and pray that our leaders will try to maintain personal integrity and stay away from corruption or face the full consequences of the law at the end of their term of office. What the Zambian people need is a clean, incorruptible, efficient, people-oriented and trustworthy government which wants to hear the truth from the people. We should give top priority to integrity, making clear that the masses of our people will not tolerate or protect the corrupt and the indolent. Our politicians, especially those in government, should be corruption-free with no conflict of interest with business ventures to promote a clean, trustworthy and efficient government. They should be exemplars of an integrity administration by proactively promoting a culture of political integrity with zero-tolerance for corruption.

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Chiluba shows no remorse

Chiluba shows no remorse
Written by Staff Reporter
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:05:59 PM

“The Task Force and The Post are engaging in propaganda to shore up the collapsed public image of the Task Force,” Chiluba claimed. “In my view, the London judgment obtained by the Attorney General on behalf of the Zambian government has collapsed following a successful appeal by Meer Care & Desai who have won this case with costs.”

Chiluba said judge Peter Smith, who handed down the London judgment, was severely criticised by the House of Lords concerning the manner in which he conducted the matter.

“I recognise that the fresh judgment published today [yesterday] is a consent judgment and I will be pleased to understand the circumstances under which it was obtained as consent judgments are agreement judgments,” Chiluba said. “I say the Task Force and The Post are engaged in propaganda because the Attorney General recently lost this case and the Task Force have chosen to hide this from Zambians. I urge the Task Force to conduct its business in an honest and transparent manner and provide Zambians with all facts; whether those facts are favourable or not.”

Chiluba said Zambians had invested millions of United States dollars in the Task Force and therefore did not deserve propaganda and half-truths.

“As for The Post, the insults they pedal against me through their numerous editorials are in black and white,” Chiluba said. “These insults will not go unchallenged, they will not go without me seeking recourse because the truth will emerge one day. I will not justify my case before The Post and its editor. I am not even obliged to do that. The last seven years, I have been subjected to several cases in the courts of law and so far I believe my case lies there; not in the pages of newspapers, even when I am provoked by The Post and Task Force and public hostility is raised against me.”

Chiluba said he had human rights, integrity and dignity and these would not be striped away by The Post or Task Force on Corruption. He said at an appropriate time, appropriate legal action would be taken against The Post.

But Task Force chairman Max Nkole referred all queries to the Attorney General Mumba Malila. He said they had welcomed the consent judgment between the Zambian government and the Swiss tailor Antonio Basile. He said it was possible for the consent judgment to be entered because Basile was remorseful.

“He showed integrity and honesty by acknowledging and admitting the wrongs, he apologised,” Nkole said. “I am on record that similar cases here [in Zambia] could be concluded in a similar way if these Zambians who find themselves in these cases had the integrity to admit and apologise for their weaknesses, for things they did wrong. But we don't see from our Zambian colleagues. Antonio Basile was remorseful and so the case has ended. Anyway, for the rest of the details contact the Attorney General.”

However, Malila was unreachable by press time.

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Task Force explains insistence on arresting Chungu, Kabwe

Task Force explains insistence on arresting Chungu, Kabwe
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:03:20 PM

TASK Force on Corruption public relations officer Victor Makai yesterday dismissed assertions that the institution does not respect the judiciary following its insistence on arresting Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe when the duo had a court order.

Former Access Financial Services directors Chungu and Kabwe, who are facing corruption and theft charges, had sought a court order to question the legitimacy of the Task Force on Corruption to investigate and prosecute corruption cases.

Explaining the developments that led to Chungu and Kabwe’s refusal to be arrested on Wednesday in Lusaka, Makai said the duo only made an application indicating that they wanted the court to restrain the Task Force from arresting them.

“We were not served with the court order to restrain us from arresting the duo and this is why we decided to move in and arrest them because they only served us with an application indicating their intentions to seek the court’s assistance,” Makai said.

“And our decision to arrest Chungu and Kabwe does not mean that we do not respect the decision of the judicial system in this country, it is just that we were not served with the court order on time.”

Makai said the Attorney General’s office had now received the court order to restrain the Task Force from arresting Chungu and Kabwe until the matter was resolved in court.

“We act through the Attorney General’s office and these people only served the court order later and this is why we wanted to follow the law since we were not informed about what has transpired,” he said.

On Wednesday, there was a ‘mini drama’ at the magistrates’ court complex in Lusaka when Chungu and Kabwe refused to be arrested and jumped into their lawyers’ car John Sangwa.

But officers from the Task Force on Corruption decided to surround and close the gates for about four hours to prevent Chungu and Kabwe from leaving the complex.

On 23rd December 2008, Lusaka High Court Judge Christine Phiri granted Chungu and Kabwe leave to apply for judicial review over the decision by the Task Force on Corruption requesting the duo to attend interviews at Woodlands Police station in connection with allegations of theft and corruption.

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Xavier pleads not guilty to forgery

Xavier pleads not guilty to forgery
Written by Laura Hamusute
Saturday, December 27, 2008 1:01:31 PM

FORMER Zambia Security Intelligence Services director general Xavier Chungu yesterday pleaded not guilty to charges of forgery and uttery of false documents.

This is in a case before magistrate Joshua Banda where Chungu is indicted for forgery relating to his passport and uttery of false documents. Chungu denied both counts of forgery and uttery of false documents.

The matter comes up on December 29, 2008 for mention and fixing of trial dates.

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Bulaya gets 5-year jail sentence

Bulaya gets 5-year jail sentence
Written by Laura Hamusute
Saturday, December 27, 2008 12:59:31 PM

FORMER Ministry of Health permanent secretary Kashiwa Bulaya yesterday went to jail for five years after losing his appeal in the High Court against conviction by the magistrates’ court last year.

And Supreme Court judge Marvin Mwanamwambwa, sitting as High Court judge, castigated Bulaya's lawyer Frank Tembo for using disrespectful language when referring to court judgments.

Earlier, judge Mwanamwambwa dismissed Bulaya's appeal on grounds that it had no merit and upheld the lower court's order on the seizure of Bulaya's assets.

This is in a case in which Bulaya appealed to the High Court against his conviction by Lusaka High Court deputy registrar Edward Musona who was then principal resident magistrate after he found him guilty of abuse of authority of office and corruption.

Bulaya was charged with abuse of authority of office contrary to Section 37 (2) a of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act number 42 of 1996. Particulars of the offence were that Bulaya on dates unknown but between August 17, 2001 and October 31, 2001, being a public officer, namely permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, abused his authority of office by disregarding laid down tender procedures through the engagement of Butico A1 to supply Elixir Nine, a drug for people living with HIV/AIDS to the Ministry of Health, thereby gaining advantage.

On the second count, Bulaya was charged with corrupt practices by public officer between August 17, 2001 and March 15, 2001.

Bulaya is said to have received about K115 million when he served as permanent secretary from Butico A1 as an inducement to himself for engaging the company to supply drugs to the Ministry of Health. He also received about K890 million cash gratification between October 11, 2001 and June 17, 2003.

The state called 21 witnesses but when Bulaya was put on his defence and given a chance to defend himself, he elected to remain silent, contending that he was not going to have a fair hearing.

On February 21, 2007, magistrate Musona sentenced Bulaya to five years imprisonment with hard labour and ordered the forfeiture of his assets.

But Bulaya, being dissatisfied with the judgment, decided to appeal to the High Court against his conviction and even applied for bail pending his appeal.

Consequently, he was granted bail of K40 million with two working sureties.

Later, Bulaya was deserted by his lawyer Mumba Kapumpa after he failed to settle legal fees. Bulaya then engaged Frank Tembo as his new lawyer.

Tembo advanced four grounds of appeal, some of which related to conflict of interest.

Tembo, in his heads of argument, argued that there was no need for Bulaya to declare interest as he was not a shareholder while state prosecutions lawyer Mutembo Nchito argued that there was need for Bulaya to declare interest in his dealings with Butico A1.

Judge Mwanamwambwa ruled that there was need for Bulaya to declare his interest in the transaction and that his decision not to declare interest was a clear breach of the Zambia National Tender Board (ZNTB) Act.

He established that Bulaya was a close associate of Dr Angel Yostov who was the chief executive officer of Butico A1 and that despite the tender board's refusal to engage Butico to supply drugs, Bulaya made the approval alone and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Ministry of Health.

Judge Mwanamwambwa also established that Bulaya was instrumental in the supply of Elixir Nine and he received a total of about K511 million from Butico.

He noted that Bulaya had an interest in the supply of Elixir Nine and that he directly or indirectly benefited from the transaction.

Judge Mwanamwambwa observed that Elixir Nine was given to the public without being subjected to clinical trials for toxicity and efficacy. He further established that the Ministry of Health paid about K3 billion to Butico for the supply of Elixir Nine.

Judge Mwanamwambwa dismissed the assertion by the defence that Elixir Nine was requested for by the then State House press aide Richard Sakala for clinical trials ruling that it was indeed Bulaya who orchestrated the supply of the drug.

He threw out all of Bulaya's grounds of appeal upholding the decision by the magistrate's court.

On lawyer Tembo's language, judge Mwanamwambwa rebuked him for using the word contrite when referring to an action by the trial magistrate. He also told Tembo to be systematic when presenting his arguments before court.

It is against this background that judge Mwanamwambwa threw out Bulaya's appeal and Bulaya was taken to jail upon judgment. The five-year sentence was effective from yesterday.

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(NYTIMES) The Reckoning - White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire

The Reckoning - White House Philosophy Stoked Mortgage Bonfire
Published: December 20, 2008

“We can put light where there’s darkness, and hope where there’s despondency in this country. And part of it is working together as a nation to encourage folks to own their own home.” — President Bush, Oct. 15, 2002

Larry Downing/Reuters
HANDS-OFF REGULATORS President Bush and his economic team, Ben S. Bernanke, left, Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Christopher Cox, right, in September.

WASHINGTON — The global financial system was teetering on the edge of collapse when President Bush and his economics team huddled in the Roosevelt Room of the White House for a briefing that, in the words of one participant, “scared the hell out of everybody.”

It was Sept. 18. Lehman Brothers had just gone belly-up, overwhelmed by toxic mortgages. Bank of America had swallowed Merrill Lynch in a hastily arranged sale. Two days earlier, Mr. Bush had agreed to pump $85 billion into the failing insurance giant American International Group.

The president listened as Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, laid out the latest terrifying news: The credit markets, gripped by panic, had frozen overnight, and banks were refusing to lend money.

Then his Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., told him that to stave off disaster, he would have to sign off on the biggest government bailout in history.

Mr. Bush, according to several people in the room, paused for a single, stunned moment to take it all in.

“How,” he wondered aloud, “did we get here?”

Eight years after arriving in Washington vowing to spread the dream of homeownership, Mr. Bush is leaving office, as he himself said recently, “faced with the prospect of a global meltdown” with roots in the housing sector he so ardently championed.

There are plenty of culprits, like lenders who peddled easy credit, consumers who took on mortgages they could not afford and Wall Street chieftains who loaded up on mortgage-backed securities without regard to the risk.

But the story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush’s own making, according to a review of his tenure that included interviews with dozens of current and former administration officials.

From his earliest days in office, Mr. Bush paired his belief that Americans do best when they own their own home with his conviction that markets do best when let alone.

He pushed hard to expand homeownership, especially among minorities, an initiative that dovetailed with his ambition to expand the Republican tent — and with the business interests of some of his biggest donors. But his housing policies and hands-off approach to regulation encouraged lax lending standards.

Mr. Bush did foresee the danger posed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-sponsored mortgage finance giants. The president spent years pushing a recalcitrant Congress to toughen regulation of the companies, but was unwilling to compromise when his former Treasury secretary wanted to cut a deal. And the regulator Mr. Bush chose to oversee them — an old prep school buddy — pronounced the companies sound even as they headed toward insolvency.

As early as 2006, top advisers to Mr. Bush dismissed warnings from people inside and outside the White House that housing prices were inflated and that a foreclosure crisis was looming. And when the economy deteriorated, Mr. Bush and his team misdiagnosed the reasons and scope of the downturn; as recently as February, for example, Mr. Bush was still calling it a “rough patch.”

The result was a series of piecemeal policy prescriptions that lagged behind the escalating crisis.

“There is no question we did not recognize the severity of the problems,” said Al Hubbard, Mr. Bush’s former chief economics adviser, who left the White House in December 2007. “Had we, we would have attacked them.”

Looking back, Keith B. Hennessey, Mr. Bush’s current chief economics adviser, says he and his colleagues did the best they could “with the information we had at the time.” But Mr. Hennessey did say he regretted that the administration did not pay more heed to the dangers of easy lending practices. And both Mr. Paulson and his predecessor, John W. Snow, say the housing push went too far.

“The Bush administration took a lot of pride that homeownership had reached historic highs,” Mr. Snow said in an interview. “But what we forgot in the process was that it has to be done in the context of people being able to afford their house. We now realize there was a high cost.”

For much of the Bush presidency, the White House was preoccupied by terrorism and war; on the economic front, its pressing concerns were cutting taxes and privatizing Social Security. The housing market was a bright spot: ever-rising home values kept the economy humming, as owners drew down on their equity to buy consumer goods and pack their children off to college.

Lawrence B. Lindsey, Mr. Bush’s first chief economics adviser, said there was little impetus to raise alarms about the proliferation of easy credit that was helping Mr. Bush meet housing goals.

“No one wanted to stop that bubble,” Mr. Lindsey said. “It would have conflicted with the president’s own policies.”


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Friday, December 26, 2008

(NYASATIMES) Mutharika has failed to develop Malawi, claims former AG

Mutharika has failed to develop Malawi, claims former AG
By Praise Liomba 26 December, 2008 05:23:00

Kasambara: Malawians should not be cheated, Mutharika has failed to develop the country

Malawi's former Attorney General, Ralph Kasambara has said President Bingu wa Mutharika has failed to develop the country in various aspects for him to warrant a credit.

Featuring in a phone - in radio programme on Capital Fm in his capacity as interim President of the Congress for Democrats (CODE), Kasambara, said contrary to claims that the country has witnessed what is called unprecedented development during the time of Mutharika, human development was going down during his administration.

“Malawians should not be cheated. This man (Mutharika) has not developed the country. He has failed to meet the expectations of the people in the country,” said Kasambara.

“Am yet to be shown any meaningful development that he has made ever since he came to power in 2004. He has failed in various aspects to develop the country and Malawians should be aware of this. I wonder where the credit is coming from,” said Kasambara, attracting a number of calls from across the country.

The former Attorney General said during the time Mutharika has been at the helm of leadership, the country has not seen any change in terms of better livelihood among Malawians.

“There is mass poverty among Malawians. People are dying of hunger in this country. But he claims that the nation has enough maize. Where is it? “said the private practise lawyer.

“Mutharika has to be honest that he has failed to deliver. We don't want to be fooled,” he said.

The former Attorney General also highlighted that Mutharika's government has failed to respect the rule of law.

However, government spokesperson, Patricia Kaliati dismissed Kasambara's remarks as “baseless'”.

“Kasambara is very aggrieved that he was forced out of government. His reaction is normal. But what he is saying is baseless and lack substance. He has to be truthful and talks things above politics,” said Kaliati.

Many commentators have faulted the Mutharika government on the observance on the rule of law, respect for constititution and that the economic gains being touted have not trickled down to the poor people.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Support RB, don’t blame him - Siame

Support RB, don’t blame him - Siame
December 25, 2008

Luapula Province Acting Permanent Secretary, Clement Siame, has implored the public to give support to President Rupiah Banda in his quest to address economic challenges that the country was facing.

Mr. Siame said the current economic challenges Zambia and the rest of the world were going through needed concerted efforts and not blame it as a failure on the part of government.

He said there was no need to blame the current escalating mealie meal and other food prices on President Banda but on the global economic down turn which had affected even bigger economies than Zambia’s.

Mr. Siame said this during the 4th Quarter Provincial Development Coordinating Committee Meeting (PDCC) in Mansa.

Meanwhile Mr Siame has called on Heads of Government Departments in Luapula Province to ensure that they implemented government programmes to cushion the effects of the recent economic crisis that was obtaining in the country.

He said the failure to effectively execute government projects would further worsen the livelihood of the people on the ground and would be costly to the development of the country during the current economic meltdown.

“let us effect government programmes so that we mitigate some of the impacts of this economic recession. If we don nott implement these programmes we will be adding more salt to the wound,” Mr. Siame said.

And Mr Siame has warned that his office would next year not approve any payments for departments to implement projects without a work plan.

He said work plans were necessary because they helped in supervision and evaluation of the works being done on projects but some government departments did not see the essence of submitting the work plans to his office.

The PS noted that in the past, government had released huge sums of funds for project implementation by various departments in Luapula Province, but some departments had failed to implement the projects effectively.

He advised heads of government departments to be serious and committed when implementing government programmes for the people to benefit as intended.

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(LUSAKATIMES) UPND tips govt. on steps to development

UPND tips govt. on steps to development
December 26, 2008

The opposition United Party for National Development (UPND) has implored government to step up its efforts which are aimed at alleviating poverty among Zambians in 2009.

UPND chairman for information and publicity, Charles Kakoma told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka that Zambians had been challenged with a lot of hardships during the year 2008, hence the need for government to cushion their sufferings by easing the impact of poverty in their lives.

Mr. Kakoma said government should devote most of its efforts towards poverty reduction, lowering of inflation rates and exchange rates, increasing employment opportunities and gross domestic product (GDP) growth.

He observed that although there were job losses in the mining industry, Zambia still had a window of hope especially in the agriculture sector.

Mr. Kakoma, who is also Member of Parliament for Zambezi East, expressed optimism that Zambia could still thrive amidst global economic meltdown.

He said the country could prevail over the world’s economic crisis through seizing every opportunity in the agriculture sector at both subsistence and commercial levels.

He pointed out that even in the face of the world’s economic crunch, Zambians still has a lot of sectors that could redeem her from challenges of poverty.

Mr. Kakoma cited the rural economic potential and small scale agricultural activities as some of the areas which could be effectives in developing the country’s economic base.

The MP explained that Zambia had a good rain pattern and a favourable dry weather that could support agricultural activities all year round.

And Mr. Kakoma has, on behalf of the UPND, wished Zambians a prosperous 2009 and urged them to work hard for their individual development, which would subsequently promote national development.

Recently, Zambia experienced among other economic challenges, a rise in food prices, job losses in the mines which closed due to plummeting copper prices on the world market. The country also experienced high exchange rates against the United States dollar and other foreign currencies.

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Sichinga calls for task force on global financial crisis

Sichinga calls for task force on global financial crisis
Written by Florence Bupe
Friday, December 26, 2008 12:08:06 PM

ECONOMIC analyst Bob Sichinga has advised the government to urgently institute a task force to address the challenges of the global financial crisis in order to save the country from plunging into further vulnerability during the 2009 economic year.

In an interview, Sichinga said unless the country put in place effective measures to avert the effects of the ongoing global financial crisis, the country risked facing greater economic challenges than it currently is.

“My suggestion is that government should immediately set up a task force to look at the issues connected to the global financial crisis immediately. We are ending the year on a negative note, and unless Zambia institutes serious measures to address the effects of the global financial crisis, we will not get out of the economic turmoil that has affected not only Zambia, but also the rest of the world,” he said.

Sichinga said there was need for various stakeholders to work together to effectively establish and implement measures that would benefit the economy.

“We need to adopt a holistic approach to this problem. The Ministry of Finance should work collectively with other agencies to find solutions to this challenge that has affected us as a country,” he said.

Sichinga said as the government prepares the 2009 national budget, it would be vital to look at the country’s areas of strength and concentrate on these areas to help move the economy forward.

He said once the country puts in place appropriate measures to mitigate the effects of the financial crisis, the negative effects were expected to ease by the end of 2009.

“Depending on the measures we take now, I am sure that by the second half of 2009, we will start to see the effects of the global economic meltdown ease,” he said.

Sichinga observed that 2008 had proved to be a challenging year for Zambia, both on the political and economic platform.

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LCM workers vow to continue reporting for work

LCM workers vow to continue reporting for work
Written by Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Friday, December 26, 2008 12:04:14 PM

LUANSHYA Copper Mine (LCM) workers on the verge of being declared redundant have vowed to continue reporting for work until they are paid all their accrued terminal benefits.

Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) Roan branch chairman Boniface Kabwe yesterday said that the decision was arrived at after a meeting union officials had with LCM management on Wednesday.

“We are going to continue reporting for work until the last shift and until we are paid our accrued terminal benefits. The idea is also for security measure, we cannot leave the equipments unattended to. We want every one to be accountable to his section,” he said.

He said the workers had also demanded to know the detailed departure of the Chief Executive Officer Derrick Webbstock and other senior managers from LCM.

Kabwe said today, LCM chief operations manager James Bethel would address the workers regarding the payment of their terminal benefits.

He also said that police in riot gear were still guarding the company premises.

“It is a good thing. They thought we were going to riot, but so far everything is okay. This is our mine, we are used to investors leaving this mine every five years. There is nothing we can do This is our mine,” he said.

Last week LCM was shut down, throwing over 1,500 workers out of employment. The mining firm has since been placed under care and maintenance.

During a recent meeting with President Rupiah Banda, LCM management made it clear that it did not have money to pay terminal benefits.

But sources at the mine indicated that there had been a quick movement of funds from LCM in the last two months.

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Chiluba is a disgrace

Chiluba is a disgrace
Written by Editor

FREDERICK Chiluba has disgraced Zambian politics. Chiluba's conduct has brought the presidency of this country down. Reading the proceedings of the London High Court makes one feel very sad that a person who was given the privilege and trust to hold such a high office of our country could behave in such a dishonourable and reckless manner.

Antonio Basile, a Swiss tailor whom Chiluba was buying clothes from in Geneva, told the London High Court that 206 suits of the rarest and most prestigious cloth were made by Italian fashion designers, for the former president. He added that he sold Chiluba 64 pairs of hand-made shoes, 185 designer shirts, numerous silk pyjamas, dressing gowns and ties as well as many tailor-made jackets and trousers.

One would wonder: what were all these for? This may be a simple question to answer if Chiluba was using his own money. But he used over US$ 1.2 million of Zambian taxpayers' money.

And both Chiluba and his agent, Xavier Chungu, knew very well that what they were doing was wrong. That's why Xavier told Basile a lie that Chiluba was a very wealthy man from a very rich family. Chiluba has never been a wealthy man before he stole Zambian taxpayers' money.

And Chiluba doesn't come from a rich family. To the contrary, he comes from a very poor family. Even after stealing, most members of Chiluba's family are still poor and are wallowing in abject poverty in Musangu village. This is because the money he was stealing, he was not sharing it with them; he was squandering it on clothes and on women - buying them all sorts of things, including houses. In saying this, we are not being malicious. There is adequate evidence in the public domain to this effect.

This is the rat the Zambian people had for a president for 10 years. Whoever attempted to question Chiluba's integrity was harassed by all sorts of people. We were accused by all sorts of characters for not respecting the president by calling him a thief, a crook, a senseless person. But hasn't time proved us right? Isn't Chiluba a thief? Isn't Chiluba crooked? Isn't Chiluba senseless? How can a person who spends taxpayers' money in this manner be said to be sensible?

There are great lessons we should learn from all this: trust but verify. There has to be a turn of vigilance or else we will be crooked by one unscrupulous character who wins the presidency after another.

The signs of Rupiah Banda falling in the same pit are visible. And they are starting to manifest themselves in many ways.

We shouldn't forget that Rupiah became President on the back of the electoral corruption and bribery. Rupiah abused public resources and facilities to make himself president.

Even well-known corrupt elements like Chiluba were embraced by Rupiah's campaign. Chiluba campaigned for Rupiah. He was well funded to go to Luapula and ask the people of that province to vote for Rupiah. Again, why? There is definitely something in common between Chiluba and Rupiah.

These issues were raised by many people during the election campaign, but Rupiah turned a deaf ear to all that was being said. His eyes were set on nothing but the presidency at all costs.

The potential, and the temptation, for Rupiah to end up the Chiluba way is very high. It should not surprise Zambians to wake up one day and find that all the key government contracts have been granted to Rupiah's family members, relatives and other associates. We shouldn't be surprised to wake up one day and discover that the main suppliers of fertilisers to our farmers are connected to Rupiah. And we shouldn't be surprised to one day realise that the importation of maize is also being handled by people with connections to Rupiah and his family.

Chiluba enjoyed himself in State House for 10 years - it was an endless party. And everything they needed was there for them. There was no shortage of anything. We can see the signs of this in Rupiah's conduct. Today the Zambian people are complaining of Rupiah taking his entire clan on Christmas holiday in Mfuwe at their expense. Tomorrow it will be on much bigger things and with a much higher expense.

But as we saw under the Chiluba regime, when the head is rotten, all the other parts also go bad. When Chiluba started stealing, corruption in his government became the order of the day. Xavier and others who were at his service also started stealing for themselves; even people who were outside government started joining in the stealing of public funds and abuse of public resources.

There is need to scrutinise every decision and act of Rupiah and his sponsors to ensure that it is done in the most honest manner and in the best interest of the Zambian people. This is much more so because Rupiah has already shown tendencies for corruption, for abuse and extravagance. He should be made to realise very early that public funds are not his, it's not personal money. Rupiah should be made to realise quite early that there is a limit to what he can do for himself, his family and friends with public funds. No one has a blank cheque in this country when it comes to spending taxpayers' money. Everything has to be done in an honest and prudent manner.

Thrift should be the guiding principle in all our government expenditure. It should be made very clear to Rupiah, his sponsors, family and friends that corruption and waste will not be tolerated from them and that these are great crimes.

And we invite every Zambian of goodwill to do everything possible to ensure that Rupiah and his associates do not rape our country the way Chiluba and his tandem of thieves did. We invite the entire nation to take part in the fight against corruption, whether petty thievery or grand larceny, in any place. In this battle against corruption, there should be no quarter given anyone, and we should be prepared to call a spade a spade.

We don't have much money to waste because we are a very poor country. If rich countries are so careful, are so thrift with public resources, what more us who have so little?

One thing we should realise is that our presidents try to live on the moon when our people have no food. The conditions our presidents operate under can be said to be far more superior to most of those of rich European countries. For instance, compare our presidential motorcades and other trappings of power to those of our European friends. If someone came from another planet and was asked to point at which president came from a rich country, our presidents would be on top.

Probably, this is why even Chiluba is dreaming of coming from a wealthy family in Musangu village! This is not only embarrassing, it is actually stupid behaviour. This is why they say it is what we make of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.

We need to learn and understand the importance of incorruptibility as part of the essence of self-respect. While appreciating opportunities to enjoy the good life, we should always refuse to use our positions to get ourselves, or members of our families and friends, anything that isn't our due.

Corruption in government is a plague that we must erase from every regime that governs our country.

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Written by Sam Mujuda
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:50:22 AM

The London High Court last week heard how former president Frederick Chiluba (left) acquired expensive clothes and shoes from Swiss tailor, Antonio Basile who traded as Boutique Basile in Geneva.

In this case, judgment has since been entered in favour of the Republic of Zambia against Basile for more than US $1.2 million plus costs for money received.

Basile told the London court under cross examination by Michael Sullivan, the lawyer representing the Zambian government, that 206 suits of the rarest and most prestigious cloth were made by Italian fashion designers for Chiluba. He told the court how he took Chiluba's measurements at Hotel Intercontinental in Geneva, describing Chiluba as a man of small stature for whom clothes had to be specially made.

In addition to the suits, Basile said that he sold to Chiluba 64 pairs of hand made shoes, 185 designer shirts, numerous silk pajamas, dressing gowns and ties as well as many tailor made jackets and trousers.

Basile further told the court that former director general of the Zambia Security Intelligence Service, Xavier Chungu, informed him that Chiluba was a very wealthy man from a very rich family.

He said that he received large sums of money from the Zamtrop account and that Chungu would bring large suitcases filled with United States dollar notes, sometimes as much as US $60,000, into his shop for him. Basile consented to judgment being entered against him in favour of the Zambian government when it was revealed that he had allowed his private bank account to be used for the receipt of Zambian government money, which was then withdrawn in cash.

Basile tried to cover up the receipt of these monies by producing invoices, but these were revealed in cross-examination to be forgeries.

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Mulongoti denounces govt critics

Mulongoti denounces govt critics
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:48:03 AM

WORKS and supply minister Mike Mulongoti on Tuesday denounced those accusing the government of mishandling the current economic crisis, saying the problems are too complex to be understood by someone with grade four education.

And Mulongoti jokingly said he was having difficulties to adapt in the new ministry as he was used to the ministry of defending government policies.

Meanwhile, National Construction Council (NCC) board chairperson Dr Francis Ndilila said the current economic problems in the country require more positive statements than creating an impression that Zambia is a total disaster.

Officiating at the NCC end of the year cocktail, Mulongoti observed that most of the people accusing the government of failing to handle the current economic crisis in the country were those with less understanding of economic issues than people in the current regime.

Mulongoti said although the ruling party made a lot of promises for developing the country, no time frame had been given but that the government would deliver within a reasonable period.

He accused people criticising the government for the current economic malaise of being indecent.

“So, we are hearing a lot of our competitors accusing us that we have not delivered. Surely, in 60 days, how many bridges can you build? How many houses can you construct? We are being accused about the difficulties the world economy is having. I even find people with grade four education saying they have got solutions to the problem of the economy,” Mulongoti said.

He described the continued declining fortunes for the ruling party in urban areas as victim of their own success.

“I personally want to take this opportunity to say that the fact that we don’t pass judgment on their capacities and abilities does not mean we don’t know where they are coming from. We are just being decent and we know they are being indecent. This country can’t be built by us alone,” Mulongoti said.

He said the ruling party was determined to fulfill its social contracts and the “reasonable” commitment it made to the people of Zambia.

And Mulongoti said although he was having difficulties settling in the new ministry, he was getting a lot of help from the people at the ministry and in the industry.

“I am coming from a ministry where we talked in defence of government and sometimes when I am asked a question, I am forgetting whether I should answer defending the government or answer as a person to deliver on behalf of the government…and when journalists come to me and questions about the bridges or contractors, I sometimes ask them, go and ask the Minister of Works and Supply and then I realise I am the minister,” said Mulongoti. “So you can see my difficulties but I found very supportive people in the ministry and in the industry.”

And Dr Ndilila said not all hope was lost for the local economy despite the current economic challenges.

“We should not preach doom’s day. In every dark cloud, there is a silver lining and that is what we should be concentrating on,” said Dr Ndilila.

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Zim judge orders release of 32 treason detainees

Zim judge orders release of 32 treason detainees
Written by George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:46:28 AM

ZIMBABWE High Court judge Yunus Omerjee on Wednesday evening ordered the immediate release of Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director Jestina Mukoko and 31 opposition MDC activists.

Mukoko and the MDC activists are accused by the state of recruiting people for military training in neighbouring Botswana.

But delivering his ruling, justice Omerjee declared the detention of Mukoko and the MDC activists illegal.

He ruled that Mukoko and eight others were to be released to Harare's Avenues Clinic under police guard.

The other eight suspects are Broderick Takawira, Gandhi Mudzingwa, Andrison Shadreck Manyere, Zacharia Nkomo, Mapfumo Garutse, Chinoto Zulu, Regis Mujeyi and Chris Dhlamini.

The court ruled that while in hospital, the accused will have access to their lawyers and relatives and they are to be released to the Avenues Clinic, which was their choice, after they claimed that they had been mistreated whilst in detention.

Justice Omerjee further ruled that the accused persons would be under guard until December 29, 2008 when they are expected to appear at the magistrate's court for a ruling on their application for refusal of remand.

The accused were released on the ruling of a previous High Court order, which declared their detention as illegal because they had been held for more than the stipulated 48 hours before being taken to court.

Meanwhile, 12 other suspected MDC activists that were to be released immediately after the High Court ruling are Violet Mupfuranhewe, Fidelis Chiramba, Collen Mutemagau, Concilia Chinanzvavana, Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, Fanwell Tembo, Larry Gaka, Pieta Kaseke, Terry Musoni, Agrippa Kakonda, Nigel Mutemagau and Lloyd Tarumbwa.

The High Court also ruled that the detention of 11 others, who were yet to be brought to court, was illegal as previously ruled, hence they should equally be released immediately.

The other 11 accused persons are Pascal Gonzo, Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokota, Charles Muza, Tawanda Bvumo, Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirai, Peter Munyanyi, Bothwell Pasipamire, Graham Matehwa and a Makwedzadzimba.

According to the state's submissions, Mukoko and eight others are accused of recruiting people for military training in Botswana.

The state alleges that they were recruiting people to undergo military training in Botswana with a view of forcibly deposing the present government and replacing it with the Morgan Tsvangirai led government.

The charge has been denied by their defence team.

It is being alleged that in April 2008, a Mr. Manuel recruited Ricardo Hwasheni, a police constable based at Waterfalls in Harare to undergo military training in Botswana with a view to forcibly deposing the government.

Manuel allegedly tasked Hwasheni to recruit four other policemen, promising them US$2,000 each.

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Court closes Katele’s corruption case

Court closes Katele’s corruption case
Written by Laura Mushaukwa-Hamusute
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:41:31 AM

LUSAKA High Court deputy registrar Edward Musona, sitting as magistrate, has closed the corruption case of former finance minister Katele Kalumba and others.
This followed an application by prosecutions lawyer Mutembo Nchito to close the matter after all the state witnesses had adduced evidence before the court.

Magistrate Musona then set April 15, 2009 as date of ruling on whether or not Katele, former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda and others have a case to answer.

He set February 16, 2009 as the date on which the defence is supposed to file their submissions while March 31, 2009 has been set for the state to file their submissions.

This is in a matter where Katele, Chibanda, former Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu are facing corruption charges.

Others in the matter are former Secretary to the Treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene, former director of budget Boniface Nonde and former chief economist Bede Mphande.

The matter comes up next year.

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Task Force arrests Funjika’s fugitive co-accused

Task Force arrests Funjika’s fugitive co-accused
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Friday, December 26, 2008 11:40:00 AM

THE Task Force on Corruption has arrested and detained Anuj Kumar Rathi who was a co-accused in the case involving the convicted former Zambia National Service commander General Wilfred Funjika.

Rathi was indicted and appeared in court for corrupt practices jointly with Gen Funjika in June 2004 and during the same time, Rathi was granted bail to seek medical attention but the co-accused (Rathi) fled the country and has been on the run until December 22, 2008, when he was arrested in Lusaka.

Confirming the arrest and detention of Rathi at Woodlands Police station yesterday, Task Force on Corruption public relations officer Victor Makai said officers have been tracking Rathi during the past four years.

However, Makai refused to explain exactly when Rathi came back into the country or which country, Rathi had fled to.

“We confronted and apprehended him at Pamodzi Hotel in Lusaka on 22nd December 2008 and he went into a state of shock and was rushed to Coptic Orthodox Hospital where he received medical attention,” Makai said. “Upon discharge from hospital, Rathi was detained at Woodlands Police Station and yesterday, he underwent formal arrest procedures but it is immaterial for now to state how he came back or which country he fled to.”

The arrest of Rathi, whose co-accused Gen Funjika has been jailed, comes barely a month after another fugitive Xavier Chungu came back into the country and was formally arrested and he is currently being detained in prison facing several charges.

Rathi is represented by Chifumu Banda and would appear in court as soon as possible on contempt charges first and later on the original charges of corruption.

Initially, Rathi and Gen Fungika were arrested in March 2004 and the pair was charged with corrupt practices.

It was alleged that between December 3 and 5, 2001, Gen Funjika received 15,000 pounds as gratification for awarding Seymon Holdings, a company owned by Rathi, a contract worth 72,000 pounds, to supply berets, jerseys and raincoats to the Zambia National Service, without following tender procedures.

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Thursday, December 25, 2008

Investor to produce biodiesel in Luapula
December 25, 2008

An investor has expressed interest to venture into biodiesel production from palm oil in Luapula Province next year.

BIOMAX Company Limited is willing to invest over US $50 million (50 million United States Dollars) for the establishment of a biodiesel processing plant in Nchelenge district.

The company would set up a processing plant in the district for initial processing of crude palm oil after procurement of oil palm from local farmers.

Luapula Province Acting Permanent Secretary, Clement Siame, disclosed this to ZANIS in Mansa.

Mr Siame explanied that once processed at first stage at the plant in Nchelenge, the crude palm oil would be taken to Ndola for refining where it would be processed into biodiesel which would be distributed to a named oil marketing company.

He revealed that BIOMAX had set up a processing plant in Ndola at the total cost of US $30 (30 million United States Dollars) to refine the crude palm oil from Luapula Province into biodiesel.

He said another company, Gurock Ropes, has expressed interest in investing in the plantation of palm oil in Luapula Province.

The acting PS said Gurock Ropes had the capacity to refine edible oils such as cooking oil and other products that came from palm oil.

Mr. Siame said that once the two companies start operating they would create employment and strengthen the local palm oil farmers in the province.

Many farmers are engaged in palm oil farming on an out grower basis.

About three years ago, government initiated the palm oil farming project in Luapula Province after it procured thousands of palm oil seedlings from Costarica to support local farmers’ out grower schemes in Nchelenge, Mwense and Kawambwa districts.

This was from a realization that Luapula Province had suitable conditions for palm oil production and that the industry could become one of the major industries to contribute to the economic well-being of the country.

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(GOWANS) Jestina Mukoko

Jestina Mukoko
By Stephen Gowans
December 25, 2008

Western media have recently raised alarm over the arrest of anti-Mugabe activist Jestina Mukoko, leader of the Zimbabwe Peace Project. Mukoko has been accused of trying to recruit government opponents for military training to overthrow the Mugabe government. [1] Mukoko’s arrest has been condemned as illegitimate by the Western media, and the Zimbabwe government’s accusations against Mukoko have been dismissed as unfounded.

Anti-Mugabe activist Jestina Mukoko has been accused of trying to recruit a militia to overthrow the Mugabe government.

Unlike the Western media, which is certain that any charge by Mugabe against his opponents is false, (and that any charge by Mugabe opponents against Mugabe is true), I have no idea whether Mukoko has been involved in a plot to recruit government adversaries for military training or not.

I do believe, however, that the accusation can’t be dismissed out of hand. There is sufficient evidence to tie Mukoko to efforts to overthrow the Mugabe government. The accusation must, therefore, be regarded as credible on the surface. At the same time, however, it must be acknowledged that plausibility does not equal proof, and that Mukoko may indeed be innocent.

Let’s place the accusation in context.

Mugabe’s government is trying to free Zimbabwe from neo-colonialism. Neo-colonialism is the condition in which a former colony, while winning a nominal political independence, has failed to achieve economic independence. Under neo-colonialism, the pattern of ownership of a country’s productive assets remains largely unchanged from colonial times. The newly “independent” government takes over the country’s administrative tasks, while settlers and the former colonial masters continue to reap the benefits of owning the country’s productive assets and natural resources. Since challenging the pattern of ownership threatens to touch off an economic crisis and invite intervention from outside, newly independent governments typically shy away from anti-neo-colonial measures, seeking to accommodate, rather than antagonize, settlers and outside owners. This has not been the Mugabe government’s approach since the late 1990s.

After independence, a tiny minority of people of European descent continued to own the most productive farmland, while ownership of the country’s mineral wealth remained largely in the hands of outsiders. Access to credit and development aid from international lending institutions was made contingent on adopting economic policies that favored the economic elite of donor countries, i.e., the same outsiders who already dominated the economy. The prospect for the indigenous population, then, was one of continued life as either landless peasants or employees of companies controlled from afar. This, in fact, was the same condition most people lived under, under colonial rule.

Mugabe’s government began to challenge Zimbabwe’s neo-colonial status around 2000, with the predictable consequence of economic backlash, as the US, Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions and blocked Zimbabwe’s access to international lines of credit, and built up an internal opposition to destabilize the country. The Mugabe government’s challenge to neo-colonialism came in the form of a fast track land reform program to redistribute land owned by 4,000 famers of European descent to 300,000 landless families [2] and indigenization laws that would see either the government or indigenous Zimbabweans take controlling stakes in all foreign-owned banks and companies.” [3]

To derail the Mugabe government’s efforts, Western powers, whose banks and corporations benefit from neo-colonialism, created a new political party out of Zimbabwe’s civil society. The MDC, the Movement for Democratic Change, would seek to remove Mugabe’s government and reverse its offending anti-neo-colonial policies, through electoral challenges, and by crying foul whenever electoral challenges failed. Mugabe would be accused of rigging elections (long before they had been held), and supporters of the MDC would be called into the streets whenever their party lost, in an effort to recreate the color-coded revolutions that Western governments had promoted to topple governments elsewhere. Like the parties that had benefited from Western-guided color revolutions in other countries, Zimbabwe’s MDC was in favour of keeping the levers of the economy firmly in the hands of outsiders (which is to say, in the hands of the same forces that back the party and shape its policies. [4])

At the same time, the US Congress, through its National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the US State Department, through its United States Agency for International Development (USAID), took a hand in nurturing and strengthening Zimbabwe’s civil society as a pole of opposition to the Mugabe government. This is where Mukoko comes in. While anti-Mugabe activists are depicted as independents who challenge the government through grassroots efforts, they are almost invariably funded, aided, advised and mentored by Western governments working through foundations and agencies. There is very little that is independent or spontaneous about them.

Mukoko is a member of the board of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), an organization which is interlocked with a number of other Western-funded anti-Mugabe groups, and which receives its funding from the NED and USAID. The NED was established after the CIA was implicated in the covert funding of foreign political parties, trade unions, journals, newspapers, church groups and in the publication of anti-Communist literature, including George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Rather than getting out of the illegitimate business of nurturing foreign organizations to advance US financial and corporate interests abroad, Washington decided that the taint of covert CIA backing could be avoided by separating these activities from the CIA and bringing them out into the open. And so the NED was born. [5] Mukoko, then, is a senior member of an organization whose funding comes from the successor to a CIA program which shares the same mandate – to nurture organizations which operate, whether consciously or not, to advance the interests of US banks and corporations overseas. The ZESN’s other funder, USAID, boasts that it is the undisputed leader in nurturing anti-government civil society opposition in Zimbabwe. It operates through a CIA-interlocked organization led by former New York investment banker and Michael Milken right-hand man, Peter Ackerman. [6] Revealing the organization’s true mandate, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, Katherine Almquist, says her agency is prepared to re-engage with Zimbabwe (in a friendly way) once Zimbabwe shows “respect for property rights” [7] – that is, once the Mugabe government’s challenges to the patterns of ownership established under colonialism are reversed.

Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who has called for military intervention to topple the Mugabe government, with another bogus advocate of peace, the Dalai Lama.

The Mugabe government has gone beyond simply accusing Mukoko of wanting to overthrow the government – it has accused her of wanting to do so violently by recruiting government opponents for military training. Is this credible? The Western media dismiss the accusation out of hand, as if violence is the farthest thing from the minds of Mugabe’s opponents, and could hardly be embraced by the leader of a “peace project.” But is it? A Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and men of the cloth have been among the most bloodthirsty proponents of military intervention in Zimbabwe. And one in particular, South African Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is among the most ardent advocates of the use of violence to topple the Mugabe government. On June 27, Tutu announced that “the world had the right to intervene in Zimbabwe and that African countries should blockade landlocked Zimbabwe.” [8] Earlier this month he “said on Dutch TV that Mugabe must stand down or be removed ‘by force’.” [9] A few days later he told BBC radio that the African Union should launch a military assault to oust the Zimbabwean president. [10] But when the MDC warned before the last elections that a Mugabe victory would spark violence, Tutu’s lust for violence was nowhere in evidence. Instead, he urged Mugabe to step down to avert the threat of bloodshed. “Anything that would save the possibilities of bloodshed, of conflict, I am quite willing to support,” he said, adding that “the people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough, and we don’t…want any more possibilities of bloodshed.” [11] And yet today Tutu calls for the bloodshed and violence of a military invasion and wishes a blockade upon the people of Zimbabwe who “have suffered enough.” He’s for peace, when peace means Mugabe stepping down, and for war, when war means Mugabe being toppled. In other words, he’s for Mugabe’s ouster, whether brought about peacefully or not. In July, 2007, the now discredited Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, one of Tutu’s fellow clergymen, urged Zimbabweans to take up arms against their government, claiming he was “ready to lead the people, guns blazing.” [12] When he realized his charge, guns blazing, would be a lonely one, he urged “Britain to raid Zimbabwe and remove Mugabe.” [13] For his part, the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, a black Ugandan, has urged Britain to bury its “colonial guilt” and lead a charge to remove Mugabe by violence. [14] The strategy is clear: Recruit black Africans to demand a military assault to grant the West permission (more than that, to beseech the West) to oust Mugabe by force. And so, we can ask: If black African Churchmen acting on behalf of Western masters can advocate violence to topple the Mugabe government, is the idea of a black African civil society activist bound up with the NED and USAID acting to do the same really so absurd?

Of course, what’s credible is not always what is. Mukoko may indeed be innocent of the charge of participating in the recruitment of a militia. But we shouldn’t be prepared to dismiss the accusation as unfounded, simply because the Western media has. We can be clear on a few points: Mukoko is an adversary of the Zimbabwe government — she would like to see it toppled; the successor to the Mugabe government, if it is brought down, will be the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC; the MDC will immediately move to reverse the Mugabe government’s anti-neo-colonial policies; land reform will be halted, if not reversed, pro-foreign investment policies will be implemented to secure IMF and World Bank loans, and foreign ownership controls will be abandoned; black Zimbabweans will return to the colonial condition of being landless peasants and employees of companies controlled from outside.

Zimbabweans, then, face a choice: between breaking free from neo-colonialism or giving free reign to civil society activists, like Mukoko, to bring down the only government that, at this point, will realistically pursue anti-neo-colonial policies. If Mukoko is guilty of recruiting a militia, she should be jailed. At this point, the idea that the accusation against her is a preposterous one carries no weight.

1. Associated Press, December 24, 2008.
2. Robert Mugabe. Address to the FAO, June 3, 2008.
3. Ranganai Chidemo, “Mugabe warns industry and the financial sector,”, December 21, 2008.
4. Stephen Gowans, “US Government Report Undermines Opposition’s Claim of Independence,” What’s Left, October 4, 2008,
5. Michael Barker, “The New York Times “Reports”
On The National Endowment For Democracy,”, October 20, 2008.
6. Stephen Gowans, “US Government Report Undermines Opposition’s Claim of Independence,” What’s Left, October 4, 2008,
7. Testimony of Katherine Almquist, USAID Assistant Administrator for Africa, “The Crisis in Zimbabwe and Prospects for Resolution.” Subcommittee on African Affairs, Committee on Foreign Relations, United States Senate, July 15, 2008.
8. Reuters, June 27, 2008.
9. Tracy McVeigh, “Mugabe must be toppled now - Archbishop of York,” The Guardian (UK), December 7, 2008.
10. “Tutu calls for threat of force to deal with Mugabe,” Associated Press, December 14, 2008.
11. “Mugabe must step down with dignity,” The Times (London) April 2, 2008.
12. Sunday Times (UK), July 1, 2007.
13. Ibid.
14. Observer (UK), September 16, 2007.

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