Saturday, April 18, 2009

(FINANCIAL 24) Foreign copper miners in Zambia should build more secondary processing plants

Foreign copper miners in Zambia should build more secondary processing plants

President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, Africa's biggest copper producer, said on Friday foreign mining firms should set up copper processing facilities to process finished products for export.

Banda was speaking in Solwezi, 700 km northwest of the capital Lusaka, where he commissioned the Lumwana copper mine, a unit of Australia's Equinox Minerals Ltd (EQN.TO: ) (EQN.AX: ).

Copper production is expected to peak at 170,000 tonnes at the mine this year.
What the government expects is for investors in the mining sector to consider investing in metal processing facilities that add value to your metal, the state-run Zanis news agency quoted Banda as saying.

Time is ripe for investors to consider processing the copper and add more value by selling finished products made in Zambia to the international market.

Banda said his government would provide the necessary support to investors seeking to process copper in a bid to raise more revenue and create jobs.

Zambia has previously provided tax relief on imported equipment and machinery and also waived a 16 percent value added tax to investors in the mining sector to woo more foreign investments.

Banda hailed Equinox Minerals for continuing to develop the Lumwana copper mine even when the global financial crisis was affecting the operations of the industry following a slump in world metals prices.

Banda said Equinox Minerals had spent $1 billion developing the Lumwana mine in 12 years, including a new town in the area.

This shows the trust (Equinox Minerals) has in our mining industry regardless of the ups and downs, Banda said.

Copper mining is Zambia's economic lifeblood and the mines are a major employer in this country of 12 million people.

(Reporting By Shapi Shacinda)

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Do the right thing

Do the right thing
Written by Editor

It is The Post that brought to the attention of the public Dora Siliya’s breach of the Constitution in the manner that she dealt with the deal of RP Capital Partners Limited. And the Law Association of Zambia agreed with us that it was wrong for Dora to deal with the issue of RP Capital in the manner she had done.

Dora had stubbornly and pompously ignored the advice of the Attorney General. The Law Association of Zambia categorically stated that the advice of the Attorney General was mandatory and could not be ignored by Dora, or any other minister for that matter, with impunity.

We have always maintained that whatever we do and whatever is done on behalf of the people should be done in an honest and selfless manner. We have stated before that there are, in the body politic, economic and social, many grave ills, and there is urgent necessity for the sternest war upon them.

And that there should be relentless exposure of and attack upon every evil person whether politician or businessman, every evil practice, whether in politics, in business or in social life. We have also stated that we hail as benefactors every person who with merciless severity makes such attack, provided that he in his turn remembers that the attack is of use only if it is absolutely truthful. The liar is no whit better than the thief, and if his mendacity takes the form of slander, he may be worse than most thieves.

It puts a premium upon knavery untruthfully to attack an honest person, or even with hysterical exaggeration to assail a bad person with untruth. An epidemic of indiscriminate assault upon character does not good, but very great harm. The soul of every scoundrel is gladdened whenever an honest person is assailed, or even when a scoundrel is untruthfully assailed.

We have also gone on further to say that our plea is, not for immunity to but for the most unsparing exposure of every politician who betrays his or her trust. There should be a resolute effort to hound every such person out of the position he or she has disgraced. Expose the crime and hunt down the criminal; but remember that even in the case of crime, if it is attacked in sensational, lurid and untruthful fashion, the attack may do more damage to the public than the crime itself. It is because we feel that there should be no rest in the endless war against the forces of evil that we ask that this war be conducted with sanity as well as with resolution. This has been our message in the fight against corruption and abuse of power or public office.

It was in this spirit that we brought to the public attention the issue of RP Capital, and connected to it that of Selex. But what was the reaction of the President and the Vice-President of our Republic to this honest and humble exposure of Dora’s dealings? We were denounced by Rupiah Banda and George Kunda and called all sorts of names.

We take no pride in exposing crime and other abuses. It saddens us to see the leaders of our people abuse public trust and engage in criminal and dishonest activities. We will be a million times happier to live in a country where there are no exposes of wrongdoing by those in leadership positions, a country where there are no stories in the newspapers of ministers abusing their offices, of the President and the Vice-President defending wrong doing, telling lies.

This is the world we dream about, this is the type of country we yearn for. And we believe it is our duty to struggle for such a country, for such a world. It is not possible to build such a country on lies, on malice against other people, especially those in leadership positions.

What we are seeing today is not the Zambia we dream about. It is the Zambia of our nightmares. We cannot understand how people can say Dora has been cleared when the tribunal has told the nation that she breached the supreme law of the land – the Constitution. A minister, who on behalf of all of us, has a responsibility to make decisions that advance our collective interests has tried to do so by breaching the Constitution.

It is not only the Constitution that Dora breached. The tribunal seems to agree that Dora has breached section 75 of the public procurement Act, which creates an offence. But also the tribunal goes on to state that a commission of that offence does not amount to breach under Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act in its present form. But this is still a breach of the law. So Dora has not only breached the Constitution, she has also breached another act of Parliament.

And this same tribunal also made it very clear that this breach by Dora of the Constitution, if it was carried out by the President – by Rupiah himself – he would be impeached.

It will be very difficult for our people to understand and appreciate why someone who breaches the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, the highest law of our country goes scot-free, but one who breaches a smaller law, a sub-law or subordinate law is punished.

It will also be very difficult to see how Dora will get away with the tribunal’s finding that she breached the Constitution when every member of parliament, every minister and every person in this country who holds a constitutional office takes oath to uphold and defend the Constitution at all times.

The tribunal also observed that allowing breach of the Constitution and the laws made there under by government ministers and officials contaminates the government as it sends wrong signals to the general citizenry. This is a very important observation which Rupiah should not take lightly. If government ministers can breach the Constitution and still keep their constitutional offices, then there is no rule of law this country or this government can talk about.

There is no one who occupies a constitutional office in this country who is allowed to breach the Constitution and still hold his constitutional office. Even a lawyer in this country cannot breach the Constitution and continue to practice law. This is because every lawyer in this country has taken oath, as an officer of the court, to uphold and defend the Constitution at all times. This is the same oath that Dora has taken as a member of parliament and as a Cabinet minister. And this is the same oath and obligation that Rupiah has taken as a head of state.

The issue that Rupiah has to deal with in deciding how to implement, or rather how to act on, the findings of the tribunal is a straightforward one: is he going to uphold the oath he has made to defend the Constitution or is he going to ignore it? We say this because there is no way Rupiah will be upholding the Constitution by protecting and defending those that breach it.

And in this respect, we find the decision of the tribunal not to recommend the removal of Dora from Parliament very strange. We feel the tribunal has not been very fair with Rupiah on this score. The tribunal has ducked its responsibility to recommend the removal of Dora from Parliament. Equally, the tribunal has failed to defend the upholding of the Constitution by Dora.

Dora has taken oath to uphold and defend the Constitution. And the tribunal knows this very well. The tribunal also knows very well that the Constitution is a much higher law – the supreme law of the land, the law on which all other laws depend and are subordinate to – but goes on to say it cannot recommend the removal of Dora from her parliamentary seat because she has not violated the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act but has only breached the Constitution, as if this was a small law, something subordinate to the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.

The tribunal suggests that Dora did not breach the Code of Conduct Act supposedly because according to them, there is no evidence that she got a benefit. But no one will deny that RP Capital got a benefit by receiving an award of a US $2 million contract in breach of the tender processes. On the face of it, Dora did not only breach the Constitution, she also breached the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act.

Anyway, we cannot claim to know the law more than the tribunal, we just know a little. However, we find this to be a classical case of wrong conclusions from correct premises.

As we said earlier, the tribunal simply ducked the responsibility of being the ones to say that Dora should no longer be a member of parliament. This is coming against a background where the President and the Vice-President publicly stated that Dora had done nothing wrong.

But this is not the end of this matter. Of course, a lot of responsibility – as it should be – has been put on Rupiah’s shoulders to deal with this matter in the way it should have been dealt with. If it is not concluded in the way it should have been, it will come to haunt all those involved in it once again. We see no reason why those involved in it, the complainants should not push it through the High Court under judicial review.

We hope Rupiah will save himself and the judiciary further embarrassment over this issue and do the right thing. Lies, propaganda, scheming, deceit and all sorts of falsehoods will not clear this issue away. The only thing that will put this issue permanently to rest is doing the right thing.

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Harrington eager to see Rupiah’s action on Dora

Harrington eager to see Rupiah’s action on Dora
Written by George Chellah and Patson Chilemba
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:51:28 PM

DORA Siliya has even been engaged in a more serious offence of violating the Republican Constitution, former communications and transport minister William Harrington said yesterday.

And one of the petitioners' lawyers Wynter Kabimba has said Siliya can no longer continue to be a Cabinet minister.

Meanwhile, the tribunal report has stated that Siliya's involvement in the issue of the radar tender is against the guidelines in the Cabinet Handbook.

Commenting on the judge Dennis Chirwa chaired tribunal, which found that communications and transport minister Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution when she selected RP Capital Partners Limited to valuate the assets of Zamtel without following legal advice from the Attorney General, Harrington saluted the tribunal for the report.

"Firstly, it will be premature for me to make a comment right now because I’m not privy to the details of the tribunal report and the recommendations. But going by today's press report, I want to say firstly, I salute the tribunal for the report and the recommendations and I want to say these judges are learned and honourable persons who have been given the assignment to investigate the allegations against the honourable Minister of Communications and Transport," Harrington said. "So having said that I want to say fact what pleases me about the report so far is that what has come out through the investigations is that the honourable minister has even been engaged in a more serious issue, which has been established by the tribunal. And that is the violation of the Constitution, which is a supreme law of the land in the way she conducted herself in the matter of the RP Capital Partners of Cayman islands in the valuation of the Zamtel assets prior to privatisation."

He said Siliya conducted herself in violation of the Constitution in that she disregarded the recommendations of the learned Attorney General.

"Now this is a very serious offence in as far as the Constitution is concerned because anybody, any public officer who takes oath of office and swears to defend the Constitution not only in front of the Republican President when she is sworn in or he is sworn in as a minister, but in front of the Speaker of the National Assembly when being sworn in as MP in the House. It is a serious offence," Harrington said.

He said he looked forward to see how President Rupiah Banda, who initially supported Siliya’s actions over this issue, would handle the matter in view of the tribunal's findings.

"I will be interested to see because I noticed from the report that the tribunal have left that matter that is the violation of the Constitution to the discretion or discretionary powers of the Republican President," Harrington said. "I will be very interested to see and to learn how the President is going to handle this matter of violation of the Constitution by his Minister of Communications and Transport because after all it's interesting also that the President himself supported her actions. If you recall, both the President and the Vice-President supported the minister and even referred to her as a very smart person. So now it remains for us to be seen."

He commended The Post for carrying a verbatim report of the tribunal sittings.

"I want to commend The Post for carrying a verbatim report on the sittings because this will give the opportunity to us laymen and those interested Zambians out there who want to make their own judgment not withstanding the judgment of the tribunal or the ruling of the tribunal. Other persons who may have their own opinion will be able to make it through the verbatim reports as stated by The Post newspaper, but let us wait and see," Harrington said. "It's premature for me and I’m sure that the complainant and the first are aware that there is a consortium of ten non-governmental organizations or civil society who have also petitioned. So I hope that I expect them...I have not consulted my lawyers to find out their views but let's wait and see. I’m sure that at an opportune time there will be a joint response to the findings of the tribunal. But so far in principle, I respect what the tribunal has done."

And Kabimba said the Constitution should be invoked on Siliya, following the findings of the tribunal which was set up to probe her.

"I’m not sure whether or not the President has any discretion with somebody or anybody who breaches the Constitution of our land. There is nothing to study because the findings of the tribunal are clear and the fact is that she breached the Constitution, which she swore to uphold," Kabimba said. "So the Constitution should be invoked and that means that she can no longer continue to be a Cabinet minister because she has breached the Constitution."

The tribunal, which presented its report to President Banda at State House on Thursday, found that Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution when she selected RP Capital Partners Limited to valuate the assets of Zamtel without following legal advice from the Attorney General.

The tribunal stated that: "if a sitting President breaches the Constitution, he is liable to impeachment under Article 37 of the Constitution. In this case, by ignoring the legal advice of the Attorney General, Hon Dora Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution".

In conclusion, the tribunal stated that: "in the present case we leave Hon Dora Siliya's breaches to His Excellency the President to deal with".

The RP Capital allegation against Siliya was heavily defended by President Banda and Vice-President George Kunda who respectively said she was smart and more intelligent than those criticising her and that she followed the Arttoney General’s advice which was given through the Solicitor General.

And according to the tribunal report on the airport radar systems allegations, Siliya's attempts to have the tender awarded to Thales Airs Systems cancelled was rejected by the Zambia National Tender Board because it had no basis.

The tribunal stated that they accepted that when Siliya was appointed communications minister, the process of acquiring the new radars for Livingstone and Lusaka international airports were in progress and that she only got involved after she received a letter from a concerned taxpayer.

"From the evidence, it is clear that she wanted the tender process re-done and asked the Zambia National Tender Board to suspend the process. There was no evidence led to show that she cancelled the contract with Thales Air Systems S.A. In fact, to date no contract has been executed with Thales Air Systems S.A. What is in place and which was refused to be cancelled was the offer of the tender to Thales Air System S.A. Her attempts to have this offer cancelled was rejected by the Zambia National Tender Board because it found no basis to do so as the whole tender process followed the laid down procedures and regulations...," the tribunal reported.

The report further stated that Siliya's attempt to suspend the tender process was not successful.

"The allegation is not attempting to cancel the contract but that she cancelled the contract. Reference was made by Counsel for the Consortium of Civil Societies to Section 75 of Public Procurement Act, which creates an offence. But a commission of that offence does not amount to breach under Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act in its present form. If the Civil Societies wanted to complain against the breach of the section, the complaint should have been directed to the appropriate authority to investigate," stated the report. "However we do agree that the manner of Hon. Dora Siliya's involvement in the issue of radar tender is against the guidelines in the Cabinet Handbook, especially clauses 8. 2. and 8. 4. But breach of Cabinet Handbook does not amount to a breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act, which is the Jurisdiction of the Tribunal. All in all, we find no evidence to support this allegation."

Siliya was being probed for abuse of office for cancelling a tender awarded to Thales Airs Systems for the supply, delivery, installation and commissioning of a Zambia Air Traffic Management Surveillance Radar System (ZATM-RADAR) at Lusaka and Livingstone international airports. She was also alleged to have defrauded Petauke District Council over her claim of a refund of K12.5 million for two hand pumps for two boreholes that were sunk in Nyika ward when the actual cost of the pumps was K5 million. However, the tribunal did not find Siliya wanting on both allegations.

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Zimbabwe farmers say Mugabe allies invading farms

[The economy was destroyed by financial sanctions, which forced the Zimabwean government to operate on a cash only basis, which lead to hyperinflation. Read Sec4C of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001; land reform has nothing to do with food shortages, because these white farmers did not grow food, they grew tobacco. - MrK]

Zimbabwe farmers say Mugabe allies invading farms
Written by MacDonald Dzirutwe
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:45:58 PM

CHEGUTU, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwean white farmers on Friday accused President Robert Mugabe's allies of leading a fresh wave of invasions that could cost the country millions in exports and undermine a new unity government.

The unity government between Mugabe and former rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now Prime Minister, is trying to convince reluctant Western donors to pledge financial support that is critical to ending the country's devastating economic crisis.

Zimbabwe's commercial agriculture sector has plummeted since Mugabe's war veterans supporters occupied white-owned farms in 2000, and the country has had to rely on aid to feed its people. More farm invasions will likely stoke donor and investor fears.

A government team lead by deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara on Friday visited farms in Chegutu, a rich farming district west of Harare where farmers' groups say 17 farms and 2,000 workers have been affected by new occupations.

James Etheredge told reporters that his $3.5 million farm was occupied in February by Edna Madzongwe, President of the Senate and a senior official in Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

"We were forced to leave our farm under cover of darkness by armed thugs," Etheredge, who lived with his wife and his son's family at Stockdale Citrus Estate, some 100 km west of Harare told Reuters. Local media says Madzongwe owns three other farms.

The farm invasions have intensified in the Chegutu farming district and appear to target white farmers who successfully challenged Mugabe's land reforms at a regional Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) tribunal last year.

Mugabe, the country's only ruler since independence from Britain in 1980, has vowed not to reverse his controversial land policy and accuses the former coloniser of rallying Western sanctions to punish his government for the seizures.

Madzongwe's daughter Farai said her mother had given up a previous property so the government could resettle more black farmers and that she had a government offer letter dated September 2007 when she first tried to occupy Etheredge's farm.

Madzongwe in February moved onto the 100 hectare farm which exports 400,000 boxes of oranges per year among other citrus.

"We are just making assessments of operations in the eventuality that we take the farm when all the court issues are resolved," Farai said, as an armed police officer paced nearby.

Mutumbara told reported "problems" on Zimbabwe's farms should not be allowed to undermine the unity government and said illegal occupations would not be tolerated.

"Our country right now is trying to attract investment, attract aid, we can't afford to be damaging business confidence," he said. "We will not tolerate any government official who is promoting lawlessness in our country."

Mutambara said his team would present its findings to cabinet next week, saying some blacks were using fake land offer letters as an excuse to occupy farms

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US ends Zimbabwe travel warning, sanctions stay

US ends Zimbabwe travel warning, sanctions stay
Written by Sue Pleming
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:44:26 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States has scrapped an advisory warning Americans against travel to Zimbabwe but this does not signal a shift in U.S. policy toward
the unity government, the State Department said on Friday.

U.S. officials said there were no immediate plans to lift targeted sanctions or give any substantial aid to help rebuild Zimbabwe until there is firm evidence that President Robert Mugabe is serious about sharing power with opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

"We can't seriously decide to take decisions on aid or lifting sanctions until much, much more is done," said a State Department official, who declined to be named as the issue is under review and his comments were sensitive.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood told reporters the travel warning was canceled on April 8 because of a return of "basic" medical, food and fuel services to Zimbabwe, whose economy is in shambles and infrastructure in ruins.

"We're obviously going to continue to monitor the situation. And if we feel we need to provide another travel advisory or warning, we'll certainly do so," Wood said, adding there was no "political dynamic" to scrapping the warning.

The other State Department official said the decision to lift the warning, which was issued on December 8 last year, did not indicate a policy change towards Zimbabwe.

"Absolutely not," said the official when asked if this represented a softening towards Harare, adding that there were still a lot of concerns about Americans traveling to Zimbabwe.

Current advice on the State Department's website described a "fluid" political situation in Zimbabwe and urged Americans to "carefully evaluate" their decision to go there.

Zimbabwe was once the breadbasket of southern Africa and has many tourist attractions, with sights such as the majestic Victoria Falls and wild animal reserves.


The Obama administration is assessing the performance of the nascent unity government that brings together Mugabe and opposition leader Tsvangirai, who is prime minister.

The State Department official said there were some positive signs, particularly from Zimbabwe's new finance minister, who is set to attend meetings in Washington next week of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

"The finance minister is making very commendable efforts and we want to support him," the official said. "But they take one step forward and then one step backwards," he added of the government's performance overall.

He said Washington had concerns, for example, about the head of the central bank, a Mugabe ally, and about the actions of the security forces.

Mugabe has blamed his country's economic collapse on Western sanctions but the United States and others counter that the cause of hyperinflation and financial decline was his own mismanagement and authoritarian rule.

The targeted sanctions include financial and visa restrictions against selected individuals, a ban on transfers of military items and a suspension of non-humanitarian aid.

Western donors and foreign investors want to see political and economic reforms, such as reversing nationalization plans, before pumping in large amounts of cash.

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Congo rebel Nkunda sues Rwanda for wrongful arrest

Congo rebel Nkunda sues Rwanda for wrongful arrest
Written by Kenny Batonga
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:42:31 PM

GISENYI, Rwanda (Reuters) - Congo's rebel general Laurent Nkunda is suing Rwanda for wrongful arrest but he will ultimately be extradited back to Congo where he is wanted for war crimes, a Rwandan presidential official said on Friday.

Rwandan authorities put Nkunda under house arrest in January. He is wanted by officials in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, where he is accused of crimes committed during his five year eastern rebellion.

"His application is being heard in court in Gisenyi today. It has nothing to do with extradition," Yoland Makolo, press secretary for Rwandan President Paul Kagame, told Reuters.

"He was detained under conditions of war ... ultimately, he will be extradited," Makolo added.

Rwanda has fought two wars with its much larger neighbour under the pretext of rooting out Congo-based rebels. The 1998-2003 conflict triggered a humanitarian disaster that still simmers today and is thought to have killed 5.4 million people.

But in an abrupt turnaround in relations between the two Great Lakes states, which previously traded accusations of backing the other's rebels, Rwanda arrested Nkunda sent more than 3,500 soldiers across the border in January.

Nkunda's arrest was seen as part of the deal that let Rwanda take part in a joint mission against the Hutu rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which have been at the heart of 15 years of conflict in the region.

Tharcisse Karugarama, Rwanda's justice minister, said Nkunda's situation was unusual and must be handled carefully.

"It's not a very common occurrence for a major-general from one state to find himself in the court of another," he said.

"What happens to Nkunda either in Rwanda or Congo would impact either positively or negatively on peace developments in the region," Karugarama told Reuters.

"On one hand, you have the political scenery that has to be looked at, and on the other hand you have legal issues that have developed."

Kinshasa wants to put Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi rebel, on trial for massacres, rapes and recruitment of child soldiers. He has not yet faced formal charges from the Rwandan authorities.

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Obama reaches out to Cuba in new era

Obama reaches out to Cuba in new era
Written by Jeff Mason and David Alexander
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:41:32 PM

PORT OF SPAIN (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama pledged on Friday to seek a "new beginning" in ties with communist-ruled Cuba as part of a new era of U.S. partnership and engagement with Latin America and the Caribbean.

Before addressing his counterparts in the hemisphere at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, Obama also initiated a handshake with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, one of Washington's most virulent critics in the region.

"We cannot let ourselves be prisoners of past disagreements," Obama told the opening session of the summit after entering the conference centre to warm applause.

Obama promised U.S. cooperation to help the region fight the effects of the global economic crisis and confront the challenges of climate change and insecurity posed by drug-trafficking and kidnapping.

But he made a point of referring to Cuba, whose government has been at ideological odds with Washington for half a century following Fidel Castro's 1959 revolution.

"The United States seeks a new beginning with Cuba. I know there is a longer journey that must be travelled in overcoming decades of mistrust, but there are critical steps we can take towards a new day," Obama said in his address.

"Over the past two years, I have indicated -- and I repeat today -- that I am prepared to have my administration engage with the Cuban government on a wide range of issues -- from human rights, free speech and democratic reform to drugs, migration and economic issues," he added.

His speech before 33 other leaders from the hemisphere came a day after Cuban President Raul Castro had said his government was ready to talk about "everything" with the United States, including political prisoners and press freedom.

Earlier this week, Obama relaxed parts of the 47-year-old U.S. trade embargo against Cuba, and the conciliatory signals from both sides have raised hopes across the hemisphere of a historic rapprochement between Washington and Havana.

Cuba is excluded from the Trinidad meeting of 34 leaders, and in the past has angrily rejected any attempt to link an improvement in ties with Washington with internal reform.

Regional heads of state, from Brazil's Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, have called on Obama to end the long-standing U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Obama's handshake with Chavez also heralded a possible improvement in ties with one of the most important oil suppliers to the United States. Under conservative President George W. Bush, Chavez emerged as a voluble leader of pro-Cuba left-wing presidents and critics of Washington's policies.

"I want to be your friend," a beaming Chavez told the U.S. president, and photographs of the encounter were quickly distributed by the Venezuelan presidency.

"We shook hands like gentlemen; it was obvious it was going to happen," Chavez told reporters later. "President Obama is an intelligent man, different from the previous one."

A senior U.S. official said Obama went over to Chavez to introduce himself and they shook hands.

Asked later by reporters what he had said to Chavez, Obama replied: "I said, 'Como estas?'" -- Spanish for "How are you?"

Before he spoke at the opening session, Obama heard other speakers at the session, including Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega, call forcefully for an end to the U.S. embargo on Cuba.

In his rambling speech to the opening session, former guerrilla leader Ortega said he was "ashamed" to be attending a summit at which Cuba was not present.

In response, Obama, who earlier also shook hands with Ortega, departed from his prepared remarks to say: "I think it is important to recognise, given the historic suspicions, that the United States policy should not be interference in other countries."

"But that also means that we can't blame the United States for every problem that arises in the hemisphere ... That is the old way, we need a new way," he added.

In his address, Obama also promised to work with countries in the hemisphere to help the region confront the recession, stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

He also announced a new initiative to invest $30 million (20 million pounds) to strengthen cooperation on security in the Caribbean.

Before Obama landed in Port of Spain, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called on Cuba to free political prisoners.

Hours before the start of the Americas summit, Venezuela's Chavez and a group of like-minded leftist leaders, including Cuba's Raul Castro and Ortega, rejected the proposed draft declaration of the meeting.

They said the meeting offered no solutions to the economic crisis and "unjustifiably excluded Cuba."

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I’m the most cheated person, says Rupiah

I’m the most cheated person, says Rupiah
Written by Mutuna Chanda in Solwezi
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:40:14 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda on Thursday evening told MMD members that he is the most cheated person in the country. And President Banda revealed that some people gave him three bags full of money to kick-start his campaigns for the presidency last year.

Meanwhile, North Western Province minister Joseph Mulyata assured President Banda that people in the area would vote for him as head of state and the MMD in 2011.

Addressing MMD members at Royal Solwezi Hotel at a party officials' meeting that comprised members mainly from North Western Province and a few from Copperbelt Province, President Banda said people who wanted to get favours from him spoke ill of each other and went to report to him.

Sources who were in the meeting said President Banda said he was able to tell who was lying to him by virtue of being experienced.

"The President made reference to one civil servant who used to ignore him before he was Republican President but that after he became President he said 'you fit in well as a President, unlike [late president Levy] Mwanawasa; he was very bad'," the sources disclosed. "Then he also said there are people who have some sort of a register; it's like they mark that whoever goes on a trip with the President and those people who are usually with the President on a trip become a target of ill talk. He even gave an example that some people would even go to the extent of concocting lies about a person whom he was probably with at the time, that that person was reportedly holding dark corner meetings with the opposition. But he said he was able to tell that those were just lies."

The sources disclosed that the MMD members demanded before President Banda that they be helped in accessing Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) funds.

The sources said President Banda directed commerce minister Felix Mutati to explain to them how they could access the CEE funds.

"President Banda told us that since not everyone can access these funds, they should choose capable people who can access these funds and do business that would succeed such that when cadres are in need of help they could access it from these people," the source disclosed. "He also urged us not to find extra wives when we access CEE funds."

The sources said the MMD members also petitioned President Banda that they be recognised at official government functions.

"Rupiah told us that it's not possible that all of us in our large numbers could attend a government function but he advised that whenever there was a government function, they could choose say at least 10 people to represent the party and this could be done on a rotational basis to allow as many people attend government functions," the sources disclosed. "The President told us that we should feel free to attend these functions because they belong to the ruling party."

The sources said President Banda said when he was adopted as MMD presidential candidate during the 2008 by-election, the party did not have sufficient campaign funds such that he even wondered why he accepted to be adopted as candidate.

"He said of the K400 million which the MMD had in its ZANACO account, K200 million was supposed to be payment for work that some people had done for the party, so only K200 million was remaining," the sources disclosed. "So he said that he conferred with his wife [Thandiwe Banda] and wondered why he had accepted to be adopted as candidate because there was no money for campaigns. He explained that the wife said 'don't worry, God will bless'. He then said the following day some people brought to him three bags full of money and that that's how they kicked off for the campaigns. He then said that they would go for campaigns for maybe four days and when the money finished, he would call off the campaigns but that he would be surprised that whenever they got back to Lusaka the following day, more money would be given to them in bags by wellwishers who were encouraging him that 'go and do the campaign so that when you win you would look after us well'."

The sources said President Banda said people could only give money to a party that had a following.

"The President said that even if some papers were portraying pictures as if a certain party had a lot of people and he said that he couldn't even mention this paper because the MMD cadres knew it but that it was good enough because business people knew where to take the money; they were taking money to a party which had a following which was MMD," the sources said.

Another source disclosed that President Banda told MMD cadres to know the programmes of the party if they wanted to perpetuate the MMD's rule in power.

The source said President Banda urged the MMD cadres to learn from the Communist Party of China and UNIP whose cadres knew the programmes of the parties, hence their respective long stays in power.

"He said the Communist Party in China would continue ruling the 1.4 billion people of China because the members understand the party's programmes," the source disclosed. "He also said that UNIP was able to rule for a long time because the members knew the programmes of the party which they were able to explain to people. So if the MMD wanted to rule many years beyond 2011, the members also need to know the programmes of the party and explain them to the people."

The source disclosed that President Banda also said this year's MMD card renewal exercise would be held and that when party elections were held, all members were free to contest any position.

"On elections for the MMD presidency, he said anyone was free to contest but that people should be careful not to say nasty things when campaigning because if they lost, they would still be needed to work together with the President and the party," the source said.

The source disclosed that President Banda also made the Copperbelt MMD choir repeat a song which was denouncing PF leader Michael Sata that he would never rule Zambia.

"The President made the choir sing the song that was sang at the airport again and even danced to it together with the women. The song was saying that Sata would never rule Zambia," the source disclosed.

According to the source, President Banda repeatedly referred to Sata as a serpent.

The source disclosed that President Banda turned down an invitation to officiate at an MMD fundraising dinner dance, which was scheduled for Friday evening in Solwezi.

The source said President Banda explained that his doctors could not allow that as he would be strained due to his tight schedule.

The source said President Banda also said the teeth he had were not only for eating and laughing but for biting.

The source said President Banda said he could bite to instil discipline in the party.

"The President also said when he appointed [former science deputy minister Jonas] Shakafuswa some people said 'how can you reappoint Shakafuswa?' Then I said 'azapunzila ni mwana' [translated he will learn, he is still young], then he continued misbehaving'," the source said. "He also said [former energy deputy minister Lameck] Chibombamilimo was quarrelling with civil servants and threatening them that they would feel his weight. He said he expected Shakafuswa and Chibombamilimo to be remorseful but that they were not."

And sources disclosed that local government minister Benny Tetamshimba assured the MMD cadres that their financial empowerment was being addressed.

The sources said Tetamashimba bragged that President Banda's leadership had done more and was the only one that had managed to deliver 10 bales of MMD chitenge materials in each of all the 150 constituencies, 30 days after the 2008 presidential election.

Meanwhile, addressing MMD cadres who had gone to welcome him at Solwezi Airport on Thursday afternoon, President Banda said the purpose of democracy was not to fight or insult each other.

"We the Zambian people opted for democracy; we decided that we'll have democracy where everybody can express their political views by joining the parties of their choice," President Banda said. "We did not change that the purpose of this democracy should be to insult each other or to fight each other or to call each other bad names. That's why I myself, as the President I understand why those others are very much pained by the victory that I acquired. They don't like it; they wish it was them, unfortunately it is you who decides who is going to be your next President."

In an apparent reference to Sata, President Banda said the opposition leader "fell so badly" that he was targeting him through criticisim.

He said this in response to a song that the MMD Copperbelt women's choir sang which was asking detractors to let President Banda work and rule the country.

"Mulekeni Banda abombe mwamutenya tenya eh! Mwamutenya tenya eh! Mwamutenya tenya mwefipuba! [Translated let Banda work; you fools have disturbed him!]," the women sang as President Banda sang along briefly through the chorus, though in a low tone that was barely audible.

President Banda also praised Lumwana and Kansanshi mines as well as Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) for being the only copper mining companies that were operating fully despite the economic downturn.

He said though the government was a target of criticism that it had not done anything, it had only been in power for a few months with a national budget that was approved in Parliament in the last few weeks.

President Banda said no one could perform magic in implementing things immediately because it took time to implement some of the projects.

However, he promised to deliver within the means of the government and that his administration would work.

He said his administration was mandated by Zambians to work for them and that he would ensure delivery.

He urged Zambians to work with civil servants on the ground in delivering development projects.

He also called for investors to exploit mineral extraction in North Western Province.

He said the province was endowed with so many minerals.

President Banda thanked the people of North Western Province for having voted for him and that his administration would work to deliver as mandated.

And Mulyata assured President Banda that people in the districts of North Western Province had told him that they would vote for the MMD and President Banda in 2011.

He said North Western Province was peaceful and that the people only desired development.

President Banda was accompanied by mines minister Maxwell Mwale, Felix Mutati [commerce], Dr Brian Chituwo [agriculture], Peter Daka [lands], Sarah Sayifwanda [gender], Tetamashimba [local government], aides and other top government officials.

Meanwhile, a group of drunk Solwezi youths mobbed President Banda's motorcade at Solwezi market as he was being driven from the airport to Royal Solwezi Hotel where he was due to meet MMD cadres.

This happened as President Banda's Toyota Landcruiser VX, which was among the vehicles in the entourage slowed down at the humps at the market.

The youths, many of whom flocked from nearby bars lifted their bottles of beer and mobbed President Banda's vehicle.

President Banda waved at the youths while they blocked the vehicle for close to three minutes.

Police and other security officers panicked as they jumped out of their vehicles trying to keep the drunk youths away from President Banda's vehicle.

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PF cadres denounce Chiluba as a thief at Sampa’s burial

PF cadres denounce Chiluba as a thief at Sampa’s burial
Written by Patson Chilemba and George Chellah
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:39:04 PM

SEVERAL mourners mostly PF cadres yesterday called former president Frederick Chiluba a thief and constantly interrupted his tribute speech during late PF national chairman Chitalu Sampa's burial at Lusaka's Leopards Hill Cemetery.

Chiluba commenced his speech by first recognising former president Dr Kenneth Kaunda before he went on to speak about democracy and other issues, which infuriated the Patriotic Front (PF) cadres.

During the initial phases of the speech, Chiluba said democracy was not a revolution but an evolution and that things took time to change although they finally changed.

"Who could have thought president Kaunda and I would be in the same place rubbing shoulders?" Chiluba asked as he looked where Dr Kaunda was seated. "We couldn't achieve it but we thank President Rupiah Banda that we are achieving it now."

Chiluba then went on to say that even Dr Kaunda made mistakes during his 27 years reign but that people should focus on the good that the first Republican president achieved.

At this point several mourners responded by saying; "Ulelanda pali Ba Kaunda, nga iwe? [You are talking about Dr Kaunda, what about yourself?] Nga corruption yamu government yobe? [What about the corruption in your government?] Kabolala iwe [you thief]," the mourners shouted, as Chiluba responded: "Democracy is not an amorphous kind of thing. It is an organised system of government. In democracy, the character of a political party takes after the character of their leader. If the supporters are beating people, they might have taken that from their leader."

Chiluba said in countries like Britain, politics of insults were long gone and that Zambia should move towards the same direction.

He said he and late Sampa started industrial politics on the Copperbelt Province and together opposed the UNIP policies.

"We brought changes," Chiluba said, as the people responded: "Dr Kaunda is the one who brought development. What changes did you bring? Corruption, Kabolala iwe [you thief], mwaikalilefye ukwiba [you just kept on stealing]."

In response, Chiluba said: "Nobody enjoys that [stealing]. That's why we have got courts and everything."

Chiluba said if leaders did not control their language, they risked poisoning their followers.

"So my dear brothers, I have deliberately chosen to speak about it because when you go home you shall go through what we are discussing," Chiluba said, attracting a responses of "awe, awe [no, no]" from the cadres.

But Chiluba said he was the only one with a microphone and those who were making noise would end up choking themselves while other people would listen to him from afar.

He urged people not to be populist but embrace unity.

Chiluba said he had opened wealth in the country.

But the people asked him what wealth he had brought into the country because things seemed not to be improving as prices of essential commodities such as mealie-meal were exhorbitantly high.

Chiluba responded by saying he had brought several developments such as the introduction of mobile phones.

However, the cadres said: "Are we going to eat cell phones? Why aren't you talking about other issues like mealie-meal?"

As the heckling continued, Chiluba briefly changed the topic by saying there were no permanent enemies in politics but just permanent interests.

"Namilasa [I have hit you]," Chiluba said, as the cadres responded: "Finshi ulelanda iwe kabolala [what are you saying you thief]?"

Chiluba responded that allegations that he had stolen were a lie because they had not been proved.

He said countries which did not respect their leaders brought a curse upon themselves.

He reminded those who were passing running commentaries that he also had support elsewhere. Chiluba said it defeated the purpose of democracy when people insulted each other.

He said he brought development such that the Jehovah's Witnesses who never used to vote benefited from the sale of houses.

But the people asked Chiluba to shut up because he sold several companies which had resulted in poverty and loss of jobs.

In response, Chiluba said: "They [companies] will be coming. Tafisa ngameno yamukanwa [progress does not come as easy as a child cutting teeth]," Chiluba said attracting angry reactions from some mourners: "Iwe wilenga tulufyanye [please do not lead us to misbehave]."

At some point during the arguments, Reverend Edith Mutale tried to rescue the situation by getting a microphone from Chiluba but the former president continued speaking.

Later after Chiluba had concluded his speech, Rev Mutale said funerals should be above partisan politics.

She said making running commentaries when people were speaking was not good.

Rev Mutale said Sampa was a distinguished son of Africa and his funeral was not an ordinary one.

Earlier, Peter Machungwa was booed when he went to lay wreaths on Sampa's grave.

The cadres shouted "rebel, rebel, rebel leader" when Machungwa made his way to and from the grave. However, Chiluba's wife Regina clapped in solidarity with Machungwa.

During the funeral, PF president Michael Sata said Sampa was appointed to serve in several tempting positions but he came out clean.

He said Sampa served as defence minister but was not like other former defence ministers who engaged themselves in supplying uniforms.

Sata also said Sampa served as home affairs minister but was not like other formers home affairs ministers who irregularly awarded visas to foreigners.

He also paid gratitude to the former presidents for attending the funeral as well as the contribution from government and those who mourned Sampa.

Sata said the decision to grant state funerals to former ministers was agreed upon during Chiluba's regime.

Information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha said Sampa was a principled father and leader who refused to engage in populist politics of insults.

He said Sampa was a man who understood democratic politics.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha thanked Dr Kaunda and Chiluba for having used Sampa to benefit the nation.

Earlier at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Chiluba was the last dignitary to arrive for the funeral service.

Before Chiluba arrived, Sata, Lt Gen Shikapwasha and other dignitaries lined up to wait for Sampa's body.

During this period, Chiluba's spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba, who had come earlier, was seen talking constantly on his mobile phone.

A while after Sampa's body arrived and was about to be carried into the church by the defence forces, Chiluba and his entourage also arrived.

Chiluba, who was in the company of his wife Regina, got out of his official vehicle and immediately walked into the church.

Just when the funeral service finished, Chiluba was the first one to walk out of the church to view Sampa's body before proceeding to his official vehicle.

Sata and other dignitaries followed in viewing the body of the deceased after which they were seen mingling with other mourners as they waited for the procession to finish.

Chiluba only interacted with a few mourners that followed him.

Chiluba and Sata never interacted.

However, Dr Kaunda arrived during the body viewing procession before mingling with other mourners.

During the service, Reverend Matongo Mukelabai urged people to be obedient and faithful in life.

Other dignitaries who attended the service included Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda, NDF president Ben Mwila, All People's Congress president Kenny Ngondo and some Cabinet and deputy ministers.

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Congo MPs vote Kabila ally National Assembly speaker

Congo MPs vote Kabila ally National Assembly speaker
Written by Joe Bavier
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:37:29 PM

KINSHASA (Reuters) -- Congolese lawmakers voted in Evariste Boshab, a close ally of President Joseph Kabila, as speaker of the National Assembly early on Saturday, reasserting presidential supporters' hold on the lower house of parliament.

Boshab, once Kabila's private secretary and a co-founder of his political party, replaces Vital Kamerhe, who resigned last month after criticising the president's decision to allow Rwandan troops into eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

"In the name of the leadership of the National Assembly and its members present here, we sincerely congratulate our colleague Evariste Boshab for his election by a crushing majority," said Kamerhe, who presided over the ceremony.

Kabila's Alliance of the Presidential Majority (AMP) political coalition has dominated both houses of Democratic Republic of Congo's parliament since landmark 2006 polls.

The same elections, meant to draw a line under a devastating 1998-2003 war, confirmed Kabila as president of the vast mineral-rich but cash-strapped central African nation.

Congo's five-year conflict sucked in a half dozen African nations and eastern neighbours Uganda and Rwanda backed rebels attempting to overthrow the government in Kinshasa. The war and the humanitarian disaster it sparked have killed an estimated 5.4 million people.

Kamerhe, one of the principle architects of Kabila's 2006 election victory, criticised the president's decision to allow thousands of Rwandan troops to enter Congo in January to stamp out Rwandan Hutu rebel groups.

The move was viewed as a direct affront to Kabila by AMP leaders, who pressured Kamerhe to step down as speaker.

While he has remained within the AMP despite the growing rift with the president, many now expect Kamerhe to be Kabila's chief rival in the next election in 2011.

Last week, he launched a non-partisan movement within parliament in an apparent first step towards creating a political base.

Baudouin Idambituo, a former government minister under Congo's former dictator Mobutu Sese Seko and a political ally of Kamerhe, challenged Boshab in Saturday's vote. Some observers believed his candidacy could have capitalised on perceived splits within the AMP.

However Idambituo finished third and Boshab comfortably won the speakership in a first round of voting with 329 out of a total of 484 votes cast.

His closest rival, Francois Mwamba from the Congolese Liberation Movement (MLC) -- whose leader Jean-Pierre Bemba was Kabila's closest rival in the 2006 election -- won 75 votes. Bemba is on trial in The Hague for suspected war crimes.

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NATO forces free 20 hostages from Somali pirates

NATO forces free 20 hostages from Somali pirates
Written by Alison Bevege
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:36:16 PM

ON BOARD CORTE-REAL (Reuters) - Dutch commandos freed 20 Yemeni hostages on Saturday and briefly detained seven pirates who had forced their captives to sail a "mother ship" attacking vessels in the Gulf of Aden, NATO officials said.

The sea gangs have captured dozens of ships, taken hundreds of sailors prisoner and made off with millions of dollars in ransoms in recent months despite an unprecedented deployment by foreign navies off the east African coast.

NATO Lieutenant Commander Alexandre Fernandes, speaking on board the Portuguese warship Corte-Real, said the 20 fishermen were rescued after a Dutch navy frigate, on NATO patrol, responded to an assault on a Greek-managed tanker by pirates firing assault rifles and grenades.

The Dutch ship, the HNLMS De Zeven Provincien, chased the pirates, who were on a skiff, back to their "mother ship" -- a hijacked Yemeni fishing dhow.

"We have freed the hostages, we have freed the dhow and we have seized the weapons," Fernandes said. The Corte-Real is also on a NATO mission.

He said the hostages had been held since last week. The commandos briefly detained and questioned the seven gunmen, he told Reuters, but had no legal power to arrest them.

"They can only arrest them if the pirates are from the Netherlands, the victims are from the Netherlands, or if they are in Netherlands waters," Fernandes said.

He said an unexploded rocket-propelled grenade was later found on board the tanker, the Marshall Islands-flagged MT Handytankers Magic managed by Roxana Shipping SA of Greece.

On Friday five gunmen in a skiff neared a Danish cargo vessel, the MV Puma, in the Gulf of Aden, prompting U.S. and South Korean warships to send aircraft to the scene.

Last week, Somali pirates captured two more ships and opened fire on two others. A French naval frigate seized 11 gunmen on Wednesday, foiling yet another attack.

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Promote other sectors of the economy, urges Morgan

COMMENT - Tourism? How about agriculture and manufacturing?

Promote other sectors of the economy, urges Morgan
Written by Moses Kuwema in Kasama
Saturday, April 18, 2009 4:34:27 PM

UNITED Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director Viola Morgan has said there is need for Zambia to scale up its efforts in promoting other sectors of the economy such as tourism in order to develop.

Speaking when she paid a courtesy call on Northern Province minister Charles Shawa on Thursday, Morgan said Zambia was blessed with a lot of natural resources which need to be exploited.

“As a country, I think there is need to move to other areas like tourism. I was in Mpulungu the other day where I saw the Lake Tanganyika and I think it remains to be a potential for development,” she said.

Morgan said there was need to improve infrastructure such as roads for tourists to easily find their way to tourist destinations.

Morgan also said the UNDP was concerned about the livelihood of Zambians, noting the need for the organisation to strengthen its ties with the government to foster social and economic development and an exchange of ideas.

And Shawa said there was need to look at sustainable management of resources.

Shawa said Northern Province had many waterfalls which needed to be exploited.

“We need to see how animals should be preserved. Most people here depend on farming not in a commercial line and we are looking at how they can diversify in keeping animals. And people from the new ministry of fisheries are here to see how it can be improved,” said Shawa.

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Friday, April 17, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE FORUMS) Zuma has duty to ‘Africanise’ South Africa

Zuma has duty to ‘Africanise’ South Africa
Posted By Joram Nyathi
17 Apr, 2009 at 11:11 am

LAST week, I watched on TV a debate on land reform between South Africa’s four main political parties contesting next week’s presidential and parliamentary elections. Those represented were the Democratic Alliance, Freedom Front Plus, the Pan African Congress and Congress of the People.

Listening to the DA and the FFP’s arguments, I was dismayed that they reject even the principle, not just the methodology, of land reform. They believe they represent the chosen race to save the continent as farm owners. To them, land reform means Zimbabwe, another word for disaster.

They cannot draw positive lessons from Zimbabwe’s failure to plan, and adopt a full spectrum response infused with a creative empathy. This would entail a programme of gradual skills transfer and training, provision of capital and infrastructure and abundance of inputs such as seed and fertiliser.

Instead, they are stonewalling and raising the bogey of investor flight, reduced productivity and hunger. One can’t miss the implied racial slur about Africans’ innate “unfitness” to govern. That is why poor “Africans” can see a Moses in a badly flawed character like Zuma.

Many whites in South Africa own land by right of colonial conquest. The government seeking restitution must pay full market prices.

The debate exposed one thing: away from his personal legal woes about corruption, money-laundering and racketeering, a Jacob Zuma presidency faces resistance from resurgent, combative right wing forces; the same forces which last year celebrated the removal of Thabo Mbeki for “abusing power” and undermining state institutions. This was despite Mbeki, for all his black economic empowerment drive, leaving white capital’s enclave economy virtually intact since 1994.

These forces remain rooted in the colonial mould. It is possible Zuma misread their motive in his battles with Mbeki; they had their own bigger war with Mbeki for not dislodging President Robert Mugabe. He either feared or actively protected Mugabe, they charged, and Mugabe was setting a bad example by seizing white farms.

The truth must be dawning on Zuma. Whatever other grievances they had against Mbeki, this had nothing to do with love for Zuma or poor blacks.

But now that Mbeki is out of the way, they must confront Zuma and his leftist alliance partners, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party. The alliance poses two threats for whites: land seizure and a destabilising encroachment into the enclave white economy whose architecture qualifies South Africa as a democracy under Western eyes.

It is these fears which now feed the virulent attacks against Zuma. This is the real war for Zuma and South Africa, not tribal animosities being fomented to undermine the ANC’s focus on land reform.

To remain friends with the neo-liberal, Zuma would have to jettison the ANC’s alliance partners and, by extension, the foundation of his political legitimacy — poor South Africans for whom the 15 years of “majority” rule have been a “dream deferred”. That option is not only suicidal but almost impossible given the cross-party leadership linkages of the alliance.

As happened in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, South Africa today faces the dilemma of political liberation — failing to amicably resolve the colonial property ownership conundrum because of the hypocrisy of those who preach property rights only after they finish looting.

Rights derived from colonial conquest are elevated to the level of inalienable rights even as we are being told to forget about the past. Nobody deigns to explain just how white farmers came by this disproportionate land ownership to which liberation veterans like Zuma are a constant bugbear. Should I ascribe this to the “native intelligence” of colonists?

Whites seized land by conquest. The principle is that possession is 90% ownership. Let it not be forgotten that it took the force of arms for the colonialists to acknowledge black political rights in the teeth of red-clawed resistance. But the new ideology is to disparage those who provided the guns and promote the fantasy that many of those who opposed our political independence are the selfless custodians of our human rights. That is why we are being made to feel that the concept of national sovereignty is anathema in a global village.

We have had a lot of crocodile tears shed here in Zimbabwe about the rights of farm workers. Yet not all white farmers wanted to share land or any of their fabulous wealth with those who produced it. The black person, it may be argued, is still viewed exclusively as a provider of labour just as in the poor southern states of the United States before 1865, and never as a potential entrepreneur on the land.

A British journalist wistfully summed up the anxiety of whites after Zuma won the ANC presidency in Polokwane in December 2007. He said the cheap lifestyle British tourists were used to in South Africa “was under threat”. Zuma was a communist and going to “Africanise the country”, wailed the journalist. What’s the reverse of Africanise?

Will Zuma have the courage to give to the poor 30% of the land by 2014 as promised by the ANC? I hope he does.

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(NYASATIMES) Bingu says uranium to be Malawi’s top foreign earner

Bingu says uranium to be Malawi’s top foreign earner
Nyasa Times 17 April, 2009 03:11:00

President Bingu wa Mutharika has officially commission the US$200 million Kayelekera Uranium Mining Project run by an Australian firm, Paladin Africa Limited, in the northern district of Karonga saying the project will become Malawi’s top foreign earner.

Launching the project on Friday, President Mutharika said the mining will contribute about 10 percent to Malawi’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of about US$2 billion.

"Malawi is expected to earn over $100 million in export earnings per annum from royalties, taxes and offer 300 people direct employment and 1,000 (people) additional employment in other related industries," Mutharika and economist said.

"I call upon investors to come to Malawi and mine other minerals that have been discovered in the country like gold, bauxite and emeralds," he said.

Malawi's government has a 15 percent stake in the mine, which has a lifespan of 12 years, and Paladin Africa holds the rest.

President Mutharika’s Press Officer, Chikumbutso Mtumodzi has described the project as high achievement of the President in his five-year rule.

"This is a high achievement of the Mutharika administration because the mining project will bring changes by providing infrastructural development which will include a health facility, school and water supply to the surrounding community," Mtumodzi told APA.

He added that government will also receive a free equity of 15 percent of the proceedings in the production of the uranium.

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(NYASATIMES) More parties to join MCP, UDF alliance

More parties to join MCP, UDF alliance
Nyasa Times 17 April, 2009 01:04:00

About seven opposition parties are set to be part of the Grand Coalition on MCP and UDF which political analysts have said will present a heavy challenge to President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Officals of the two parties have indicated that others parties which will support the electoral block includes NRP of Gwanda Chakuamba, Code of Ralph Kasambara, MPP of Uladi Mussa and MDP of Kamlepo Kalua.

However, reports indicate also that Aford officials are also consulting party membership on possibility of joining the Grand Coalition.

The parties will back presidential candidature of John Tembo and his running mate Brown Mpinganjira and that former president Bakili Muluzi’s stake in the whole equation will be unveiled during a mass rally organised for Saturday in Blantyre.

MCP spokesman Ishmael Chafukila assured that the alliance agreement will be unveiled and asked "MCP and UDF supporters to exercise patience".

Mzuzu University political analyst, Noel Mbowela told VOA that parties in opposition alliance have got a large following and also in the most populous areas of the country that is the Southern region and the Central region which poses threat to President Mutharika.

"Looking at these facts, what we are saying is that it is no prediction at this moment in time who is going to be the outright winner of the election," he said.

Mbowela said the pendulum of political opinion is changing in favour of the opposition since alliance was announced that that survey which favoured Mutharika to win by 60 percent are no longer in tune.

"The figures that people were quoting could make sense or were valid before the coalition that we are talking about. I think about a month or so ago, the president was indeed enjoying popular support. But soon after one of the aspirants who is the former president was stopped from contesting by the Malawi Electoral Commission and now looking at this coalition, I think those statistics have been greatly compromised. I think no one can now safely say with a lot of confidence that the president is going to enjoy that kind of support in terms of winning the elections of 60 percent," Mbowela pointed out.

He said the opposition coalition could undermine the expected strong performance of the ruling party.

"The coalition that we are talking about is quite massive and no one knows really what the outcome of the election would be like. You would agree with me that these two opposition parties have great support in many areas and coming together significantly improves their chances in the general election," he said.

Mbowela said the coalition risks implosion if it wins the elections since the two parties are ideologically different.

"It is very interesting and maybe we can even say that the future is not as bright as it looks now. The sharing of power indeed is one of the aspects that would also I think bring this coalition to a very unpredictable end. Why? Because you see the two parties that we are talking about have got two different policies. The other one is conservative and the other I liberal and also despite the differences in terms of political ideologies, the two parties have been enemies so to speak. And they have been operating like cats and dogs since the dawn of democratic dispensation. So, the sharing of power in this case is something that is going to reopen the kind of fighting and suspicion that has been there between the two parties," Mbowela noted .--(Additional reporting VOA)

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(NYASATIMES) Gwanda backs MCP, UDF alliance

Gwanda backs MCP, UDF alliance
Nyasa Times
16 April, 2009 11:47:00

New Republican Party (NRP) president Gwanda Chakuamba has thrown his political heavyweight to the electoral alliance of Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF).

Chakuamba said he was the first person to call for MCP leader John Tembo to work together with UDF and former president Bakili Muluzi to form the next government. The veteran politician said he was happy that MCP and UDF have reached an agreement to work together and he said the agenda is not only to remove incumbent from power.

“I am supporting the alliance and will go flat out to campaign for it. I will camp in Lower Shire to sell this ticket and go all over to campaign for the alliance with all my energies,” said Chakuamba.

He said the agenda of the alliance is to “uphold the constitution, restore democracy and enhance good governance.”

“The law has been applied selectively during the rule of the current administration,” said Chakuamba citing suffocation of anti-defection law, Section 65.

He also said failure to call parliament in time and appointing people in public positions without the authority of parliament thereby violating the constitution.

Chakuamba said the Grand Alliance will ensure to develop Malawi and share the development cake equally to all parts of the country.

NRP leader said there were many ills in the country that need to be reversed by change of leadership.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Government to announce maize floor price next month

Government to announce maize floor price next month.
Friday, April 17, 2009

Government will early next month announce the floor price of maize for this year. Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Brian Chituwo said government has been under pressure from the public hence the need to announce the floor price of maize as soon as possible.

Dr. Chituwo said this when he opened a joint crop production exercise data collection workshop which is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperative (MACO), Central Statistics Office (CSO) and Food Security Research Project (FSRP) in Lusaka yesterday.

He advised members of the public not to panic but wait for a little while for the floor price of the staple food to be announced.

He indicated that government does not want to rush in announcing the floor price of maize because it would want to come up with a price that would make people happy.

Dr. Chituwo explained that has to make consultations before announcing the floor price of maize in the country.

The minister also pointed out that it was not only Zambians who want to know what the floor price of maize would be but the whole Southern African region because it would want to buy the commodity.

He said people need to understand that government has been doing its best in trying to have the floor price of maize announced in the country.

Dr. Chituwo however commended MACO, CSO and the FSRP for doing a commendable job of conducting crop production exercise of data collection in the country.

He said the crop production data collection exercise was very important.

He also emphasized the need for farmers in the country to grow more of other crops such as cassava, rice and Irish potatoes.

Meanwhile, CSO Director Elfridah Chulu said at the same function that the crop production exercise data collection was very important.

She said CSO would provide government and the public with all information once the crop production exercise data collection on crop production.

Of late, there has been pressure from some sectors of society pushing government to announce the flow price of maize in the country.


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(DAILY MAIL) State scraps maize subsidy

State scraps maize subsidy

GOVERNMENT has spent an estimated K350 billion on maize subsidies and has since stopped the exercise citing the impact it will have on the price of the new crop.

Government introduced 50 per cent subsidy to stabilize the price, but because of the pressure of demand on maize, the subsidy was increased to 100 per cent as in December last year and ended last month.

Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Brian Chituwo, says considering the new crop will soon be on the market, it was decided to stop the subsidy so that the price for the new harvest was not affected.

Dr Chituwo said if Government continued with the subsidies, the biggest losers would be the farmers.
In an interview in Lusaka yesterday, he said Government’s policy was to look after people in time of need.

Therefore, it had created the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), whose mandate is to administer strategic food reserves.

Dr Chituwo said FRA had spent K350 billion on maize subsidies, which was a lot of money.

“The most sustainable subsidies must be on production; not consumption. As Government, we are aware that from about October to March we have food pressures as a country,” he said.

Dr Chituwo said there was a lot of demand for maize from households and industries.

He said 60,000 tonnes was the monthly maize consumption and households consumed 50,000 tonnes.
Industries’ demand was 10,000 tonnes.

He said for industries, there was higher demand for maize arising from stockfeed and the brewing companies, which resulted in the shortage of roller meal at some point.

Dr Chituwo said it was important that companies consuming a lot of maize entered into out-grower programmes to reduce demand on maize.

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A bewitched Constitution

A bewitched Constitution
Written by Editor

We will only have good governance when we have intelligent, honest and humble people who see politics as a vocation to serve the people. And central to good governance in our country is a good Constitution, one that is really owned by the people and contains all the rights and desires of the people. In addition to this, there is need for all the citizens to know what is or should be in their country’s Constitution so that they can hold their political leaders to follow it.

It was for this reason that the Constitution Review Commission led by Wila Mung’omba went around the country, travelled the width and breadth of our country to collect the views of our people on what they would like to see in their Constitution. After collecting these views, Wila and his colleagues systematically analysed these views, synthesised them and came up with a draft Constitution.

But before Wila’s commission was put up, many Zambians objected to it, saying there was no need for it and that it was just going to be another waste of billions of public funds. Levy Mwanawasa and George Kunda strongly defended the need for Wila’s commission and called those who were expressing opposition to it all sorts of names. Wila and his colleagues proceeded to do the work despite the opposition.

And to the surprise of many people who were critical of their work, Wila and his colleagues came up with very good recommendations in their draft Constitution. Following this, those who had appointed them, those who had supported and defended their work started to shun them, started to distance themselves from their draft Constitution. And eventually, the infamous National Constitutional Conference (NCC) was put together by Levy with George as its overseer and guardian.

Again, as would be expected, many citizens questioned the purpose and agenda of the NCC. Many civil society organisations, like the Zambia Episcopal Conference and the opposition Patriotic Front, officially refused to participate in it.

The NCC is costing the taxpayer billions of kwacha every week just to undo or redo what Wila and his colleagues had done. And very little attention seems to be paid to the views that were gathered by Wila’s commission from all the parts of our country.

And today, it seems a handpicked group that in many respects represents no one other than themselves and those who appointed them to sit on the NCC are butchering the recommendations of Wila’s commission and are about to give us a Constitution.

We understand and appreciate the anger of Bishop John Mambo, a member of Wila’s commission when he says: “Out of the way they have directed themselves, there is nothing good to expect. What they came up with yesterday, bena Mabenga behaving like a star, is not helping us in any way. I don’t mind them getting allowances, it’s their entitlement but they should do a good job. But as things stand, they seem to be more obsessed with their pockets than the needs of Zambians.

And they seem to have people they are fighting through a new constitution. This is very retrogressive. And I have said I am not a prophet. Whoever wins the next election whether MMD, PF or UPND, this Constitution will be subjected to another review. And that will be another cost for this country which the NCC should have avoided.

But they are busy treating the Mung’omba recommendations like scrambled eggs. They are treating the Constitution as if it’s a personal document or an MMD document. I am aggrieved as a former commissioner and I wish there could be someone with moral principles in that NCC who could reverse the situation and uphold the people’s wishes. We are not opposed to the men and women who are in the NCC, no, but we are opposed to the way they are directing themselves. They are totally disregarding the Mung’omba report. And one cannot be a member of the NCC and fail to read through this report. This is the report that the people of Zambia brought from all the nine provinces. And when I hear recommendations from the NCC, I’m wondering whether our men and women there have read the Mung’omba report.”

This is truly what is happening at the NCC. And this being the case, a Constitution that is owned by the people will continue to be elusive. It seems political expediencies of the moment have taken over the whole exercise. What will prevail, what will find its way in the new constitution will only be matters that those who are in control of government want or are comfortable with. This is not the way to deal with such an important issue. The Constitution is the rock upon which a democratic government rests – the formal statement of its fundamental obligations, limitations, procedures and institutions. The Constitution of the country is a supreme law of the land and all citizens are subject to its provisions. And it is this document that established the authority of the government, provides guarantees for fundamental human rights and sets forth the government’s operating procedures.

It seems in this country we are consumed by interests of the present and the future seems to owe us nothing. People act as if there will be no tomorrow, as if they don’t have children who will live in the Zambia of tomorrow. Everything is decided on the basis of their immediate interests. This is dangerous. This is not a wise way to live because the Zambia of tomorrow is not built tomorrow. It is built today, on the threshold of today. It is the decisions we make today that will determine our tomorrow. And with the Constitution we are making, we are not only deciding our today, we are making decisions about our future, the future of our children and their children. This being the case, there is need for selflessness and foresight in the constitution-making process. This is an exercise for visionaries who are able to take a deep look into the future and put in place a constitution that will not only be able to meet the demands or needs of today but also those of tomorrow, of the future.

It is not difficult to see and appreciate why many decent people and institutions stayed away from this process, refused to participate in the NCC but wished those involved in it well. The things they are doing will be very difficult to justify and defend tomorrow.

Some of the things that are coming from the NCC are embarrassing. For instance, how can a Cabinet minister go to the NCC and say he doesn’t want an elected Vice-President because the Vice-President could bewitch the President so that he takes over? Is this really an argument that can be used to object to an elected Vice-President, especially in a country whose laws do not recognise witchcraft? If such things could come from the mouth of a Cabinet minister, what can one expect from those of the low-ranking party cadres who are also delegates to the NCC?

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Dora breached Constitution over RP Capital – tribunal

Dora breached Constitution over RP Capital – tribunal
Written by Chibaula Silwamba and Patson Chilemba
Friday, April 17, 2009 2:38:09 PM

THE judge Dennis Chirwa chaired tribunal has found that communications and transport minister Dora Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution when she selected RP Capital Partners Limited to valuate the assets of Zamtel without following legal advice from the Attorney-General.

And the tribunal stated that "if a sitting President breaches the Constitution he is liable to impeachment under Article 37 of the Constitution. In this case by ignoring the legal advice of the Attorney-General, Hon Dora Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution".

In conclusion, the tribunal stated that "in the present case we leave Hon Dora Siliya's breaches to His Excellency the President to deal with".

The RP Capital allegation was the allegation against Siliya that was heavily defended by President Rupiah Banda and Vice-President George Kunda.

In defending Siliya, President Banda said she was smart and more intelligent than those criticising her on this matter. President Banda said Siliya was right in this matter and she knew what she was doing and she should be given the opportunity to finish what she was doing.

President Banda insisted that Siliya had followed the Attorney-General's legal advice, which was given through the Solicitor-General.

And Vice-President Kunda also maintained that Siliya did not ignore the Attorney-General's advice in this matter and went to great length explaining how the Solicitor-General, on behalf of the Attorney-General, had authorised Siliya's decision and action.

The tribunal only released to the media and the parties involved the last three and half pages (pages 104 to 107) of its 107-paged report. And below is the reproduction of the three and half pages released to the press:

"Mboyi like the transaction between Mr Moosa and Mr Mboyi is evidence of laxity in the application of financial regulations by council officials at Petauke District Council and not evidence of fraud, let alone corrupt practices on the part of Hon. Dora Siliya. The proper application or otherwise of financial regulations at Petauke District Council is not within our terms of reference. All in all, the evidence before us does not prove the third allegation and, consequently, we find that Hon. Dora Siliya did not breach section 4 of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act as alleged. The result is that we decline to make the recommendations we have been asked to make in relation to this allegation.

"After considering all the evidence, we have found that allegation number two and three have not been proved against Hon. Dora Siliya. But we have found that the first allegation relating to the failure to comply with the legal advice of the Attorney-General and failure to observe tender procedures has been proved. The critical issue is whether failure to comply with the legal advice of the Attorney-General and failure to observe tender procedures amount to a breach of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct.

"The complaint is brought under Part II of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act. The complainants allege that Hon. Dora Siliya has breached section 4(a) (b) and (d). And in his submissions Mr. Mwitwa also alleged breach of section 4(e).

"The Section relied upon read us follows; - "section 4. A member shall be considered to have breached the Code of Conduct if he knowingly acquires any significant pecuniary advantage or assists in the acquisition of pecuniary advantage by other person, by - (a) improperly using or benefiting from information which is obtained in the course of his official duties and which is not generally available to the public: or (b) disclosing any official information to unauthorised persons; or (c).........(d) directly or indirectly converting government property for personal or any other unauthorised use; or (e) soliciting or accepting transfers of economic benefit, other than - (i) benefits of nominal value, including customary hospitality and token gifts. (ii) gifts from close family members, or (iii) transfers pursuant to an enforcement property right of a Member or pursuant to a contract for which full value is given.

"But not withstanding that the complainants have been specific in the provision which they think have been breached, in our consideration of this matter, we have looked at all the prohibition under Part II. On the evidence we find that what Hon. Dora Siliya did under allegation one which has been proved does not fall under Part II of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code Conduct Act.

"However, we think that it is within our mandate under Section 14 (8) of the Parliamentary and Ministerial Code of Conduct Act to make these observations for consideration by the President who appoints ministers. It is a notorious fact that before ministers assume their responsibilities they take official oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitution of Zambia and the Laws of Zambia.

"Breach of the Constitution is a serious matter. If a sitting President breaches the Constitution he is liable to impeachment under Article 37 of the Constitution. In this case, by ignoring the legal advice of the Attorney-General, Hon. Dora Siliya breached Article 54 sub Article 3 of the Constitution. The observance of the legal advice of the Attorney-General is also clearly spelt in Chapter 8 Paragraph 8.13 of the Cabinet hand book. We are not idle to think that Hon. Dora Siliya is not acquainted with constitutional provisions and the provisions of the Cabinet hand book.

"With regard to the general law we have already said that in the first place Hon. Dora Siliya should not have been involved in the selection of R.P Capital Partners Limited and valuation of ZAMTEL assets which we were told RP Capital Partners Limited are already doing.

"Under the Zambia Development Agency Act the responsibility to secure and appoint valuers after Cabinet has approved lies in the hands of Zambia Development Agency.

"It is the strong view of the tribunal that government ministers must strictly observe the Constitution and the laws made there under and the government. Breach of the Constitution and the Laws made there under by government ministers and officials undermines the rule of law and contaminates the government system as it sends wrong signals to the general citizenry. In the present case we leave Hon. Dora Siliya's breaches to His Excellency the President to deal with."

And earlier when he received the report on the findings of the judge Chirwa Tribunal at State House, President Banda said the government would soon react to the findings.

President Banda said Zambia was fortunate as a country to have a judiciary of men and women who had assured the people of justice.

He said the government would straight away study the documents and come up with a reaction to the nation as soon as possible.

President Banda thanked judge Chirwa for presenting the report of the tribunal which started sittings 45 days ago. He paid tribute to judge Chirwa and his colleagues for the hard work.

"We will straight on study the documents and come back with a reaction to the nation as soon as possible," said President Banda.

Earlier, judge Chirwa said the tribunal had done its best on the task that was handed to it.

Judge Chirwa presented three documents to President Banda, which included a summary report, transcript of the verbatim and the exhibits.

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World Bank willing to aid Zimbabwe, democracy key

World Bank willing to aid Zimbabwe, democracy key
Written by Lucia Mutikani
Friday, April 17, 2009 2:36:20 PM

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The World Bank is willing to help Zimbabwe recover from a devastating economic crisis, but it is critical for the country's institutions to restore democracy and human rights, the bank said on Thursday.

World Bank President Robert Zoellick told reporters Zimbabwe's new finance minister, Tendai Biti, would attend the the Spring meetings of the bank and the International Monetary Fund next week.

"One, we would certainly like to (assist Zimbabwe). We had early missions with the African Development Bank to try and better understand the economic challenges in Zimbabwe," said Zoellick.

"At the Spring meetings next week, the new Zimbabwe minister of finance, he will be coming and meeting with colleagues to review the overall situation. Part of it would have to develop the economic reform plan that can get the support of donors."

Zimbabwe's economy is in ruins with unemployment at around 90 percent and millions in need of food aid. After years of hyperinflation, prices are falling after the government allowed the use of hard currency and abandoned the Zimbabwe dollar.

Zimbabwe defaulted on its foreign debt, and policy differences with President Robert Mugabe's government, including the often violent seizure of white-owned farms for the resettlement of landless blacks, forced the IMF and foreign donors to withhold vital aid.

Action by the World Bank could provide a major boost to help Zimbabwe restore its economy.

Zoellick earlier announced a $1.2 billion debt buyback program for Liberia that has allowed the West African nation to cut its foreign debt to $1.7 billion, a major step toward normalizing relations with the investment community.

The debt that Liberia bought back had been in default since the mid-1980s.

The IMF suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights in June 2003. The formation early this year of a new unity government with political rival Morgan Tsvangirai has raised cautious hope of a change in the collapsed economy's fortunes.

Zoellick said any initiatives to help Zimbabwe depended on the success of the new unity government.

"What we hope to see will be continued progress on that front ... to take the country that has great natural wealth and opportunity forward. The people have suffered," he said, adding the World Bank would work with Zimbabwe's neighbors, including South Africa.

At the end of February, Zimbabwe owed the IMF $89 million, while the country's arrears with the World Bank totaled $600 million. The African Development Bank was owed $429 million as of the end of June last year.

The Zimbabwe government has blamed the economy's collapse on targeted sanctions against Mugabe's inner circle, imposed by the European Union and countries such as the United States, in protest against violations of human rights, the rule of law and property rights.

The South African Development Community and some countries including regional giant South Africa have called for the lifting of the targeted sanctions. The United States said last month it was not ready to lift the punitive measures.

"I think it's the decision of individual countries about what steps have to be taken to restore human rights and the democratic process," said Zoellick, in response to a question whether the World Bank supported calls to lift the sanctions.

"Zimbabwe is at a very sensitive point and we want it succeed. But that is going to require steps by all of the members of the Zimbabwe's institutions to restore democracy, restore human rights."

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Zambian judiciary is second to none, says Rupiah

Zambian judiciary is second to none, says Rupiah
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Friday, April 17, 2009 2:34:56 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda yesterday swore in his cousin Agness Ngoma and MMD chairperson for agriculture Maybin Mubanga as Zambia's High Commissioner to Mozambique and Ambassador to the DRC respectively.

And President Banda said the Zambian Judiciary is second to none because it is fair, protects the rights of every citizen and ensures that governance takes place in a democratic manner.

Advising Ngoma and Mubanga after he swore them into the diplomatic service at State House in Lusaka, President Banda told them to avoid temptations from people that would want to penetrate the Zambian government through them by ensuring their loyalty to Zambians and the President.

"I want to say a few words about my colleagues who are going to the foreign service. I usually have a few more words than all the other professions because I myself come from the diplomatic background," said President Banda who once served as Zambia's ambassador to the United Nations and foreign affairs minister. "Our country expects a lot from you because you have been chosen among many, many people to go and represent us at various stations where you are going in order that we are well represented.”

He urged Mubanga and Ngoma to explain to the countries they would work in about the problems Zambia was facing.

"You know the problems that our country is facing. While you are there, explain why certain things are happening the way they are happening," he said. "There will also be a lot of temptations where you are going; people wanting to penetrate our government through you by offering you all kinds of incentives and talking to you in all kinds of sweet tongues. I would just like to ask that your loyalty is to the people of Zambia and to the President who has appointed you. I have no doubt that you are capable of doing that, otherwise I would not have chosen you."

He told Mubanga that Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shared a long border hence many sensitive issues might arise between the two countries that would need to be resolved.

"As you go to Kinshasa, our neighbour and brother country with whom [which] we have a long border and therefore many sensitive issues will arise, which will have to be settled. I am sure the President of that country is looking forward to your coming so that you can help to ensure that our two countries live in peace as they have always done," President Banda guided Mubanga.

President Banda also told Ngoma to maintain the cordial relationship between Zambia and Mozambique.

"You are going to Mozambique our neighbouring country and our brother country with whom we have a long history together leading to their independence. The freedom fighters of that country were in this country including President [Armando] Guebuza himself, we knew each other during that time of the struggle," he said. "I am sure they are looking forward to our ambassador there. Please assist us, explain to them what is happening in our country and encourage them to stand by us as we stand by them at all fora; United Nations, SADC, AU etc. I just want to express my gratitude that I am able to see you off this morning."

Before her appointment, Ngoma was practicing as a lawyer in Lusaka.

And President Banda swore in Nigel Mutuna as a judge and bestowed the title of State Counsel on Dr Patrick Matibini and Michael Musonda Mundashi.

President Banda said the Judiciary had led to the continued peace and unity that Zambia enjoyed.

"All I want to say is that our country is what it is because of you ladies and gentlemen and the work that you do on a daily basis to ensure that justice in our country prevails. Many times as we travel around Africa and the world they ask: 'why is Zambia so different from the other countries?' I think the answer lies in the work that you do every day," President Banda said. "So for me I am greatly honoured as President to be able to this morning swear you in; for Mr Mutuna as a judge and the two state counsels."

He said Zambians were safe in the hands of Mutuna, Mundashi and Dr Matibini.

"All of us know that we have the peace, the unity that we have in our country because the Judiciary of our country is second to none; they are fair, they protect the rights of every citizen, they ensure that governance takes place in a democratic manner," President Banda said. "So I just want to say I am greatly honoured to have this opportunity to swear you in and wish you all the best as you go forward with your work. I have no doubt whatsoever that we are in safe hands all of us as Zambians under your work and leadership."

And speaking after he swore in his new chief analyst-economic and development, Ngoza Munthali, President Banda said some of the most difficult problems Zambia was facing were economic.

President Banda caused laughter when he joked about Munthali's small stature.

"I would like to welcome the young lady to State House Ms Ngoza Munthali. They say, 'dynamite is packed in very small package,'" said President Banda as everyone in the room laughed. "I, myself, like all of you who are looking at her, wondered: 'is this young lady coming here.' I looked at her papers and talked to people, they said: 'you can't get one better than this [one].'"

He said he was very happy to welcome Munthali to join his team at State House.

"You know that some of the most difficult problems that we are facing are economic. So we will depend on your experience and your education to assist us to consolidate what we have already and to build on that so that Zambians can continue live a decent life. I would want to welcome you to State House," said President Banda.

Among those who witnessed the swearing in ceremony were, Chief Justice Ernest Sakala, justice minister George Kunda, who is also Republican Vice-President, acting secretary to the Cabinet Robert Mataka and information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha.

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