Saturday, May 16, 2009

(LUSAKATIMES) Food Reserve Agency announces Maize floor price

Food Reserve Agency announces Maize floor price
Saturday, May 16, 2009, 17:23

The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has announced K65 000 as the maize floor price for a 50 kilogramme bag of maize for the 2009/2010 marketing season.

The agency has also announced K60 thousand as the rice floor price for a 40 kilogramme bag for this year’s marketing season.

FRA Board Chairman, Costain Chilala says this represents an increase of 18 percent for maize and 15 percent for rice.

Mr. Chilala announced at a press briefing in Lusaka that the FRA will this year buy 110 000 metric tonnes of maize an 1200 metric tonnes rice at a cost of K200 billion.

He also said the rice and maize price for this year’s marketing season are as a result of consultations with various stakeholders on grounds of production, supply and demand factors affecting the food balance sheet.

Mr. Chilala also said FRA will buy most of its maize from outlaying ares as directed by president Rupiah Banda early this year.

He however said farmers should use the floor prices as guidelines when negotiating with buyers.

Meanwhile, the agency has announced that it will only buy maize and rice from farmers this year.

Mr. Chilala said the withdrawal from buying other crops such as cassava is as a result of non availability of a market and processing plants for the crops.

He said the agency has embarked on a country wide rehabilitating its silos in Kitwe, Chisamba, Monze, Ndola, Lusaka and Kabwe which have beeen vandalised over time.

The FRA Board Chairman said the first rehabilitated silos will soon be commissioned in Lusaka.


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(LUSAKATIMES) First Lady calls for active involvement of women in develpment programmes

First Lady calls for active involvement of women in develpment programmes
Saturday, May 16, 2009, 17:04

First Lady, Thandiwe Banda, has called on Women in the country to actively participate in programmes aimed at promoting economic growth and alleviating poverty.

Mrs Banda said women have the potential to contribute meaningfully to the development of key sectors of the economy, such as education and health, hence the need for their active participation in the implementation of programmes.

Mrs Banda was speaking during a fundraising luncheon for the Ministers’ Spouses Club at hotel Intercontinental in Lusaka today.

She challenged women to consider working towards making positive contributions to government efforts of improving the economic livelihood of the people in the country.

She said the Minister’s Spouse club remains committed to empower women in economic viable projects so as to enable them achieve economic independence.

She said the ministers’ spouses club would focus at supporting initiatives that will empower women with skills and tools for their involvement in economic viable projects.

The First Lady said the concept of empowering women with skills and tools would enable communities identify sustainable solutions to economic problems at local levels without relying on handouts.

Mrs. Banda also called on the business community to assist the ministers’ spouses club with its mandate of helping vulnerable people in various parts of the country.


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(NYASATIMES, BBC) John Tembo: Poised for power --BBC

COMMENT - At age 77, I am surprised the BBC doesn't demand that 'John Tembo must go', because he is 'too old'. In fact, The Sun (one of Rupert Murdoch's papers) even ran an article on the 'corruption' of Bingu wa Mutharika and his 22 Mercedes Bentz acquisition for ministers. I would like to like the man, but I know I don't like his friends. "The Malawi Congress Party is well-experienced, well-geared and determined to bring genuine socio-economic development to Malawi" - let's hope that means more than attracting foreign businesses to Malawi.

John Tembo: Poised for power --BBC
Raphael Tenthani, BBC 14 May, 2009 07:27:00

Will 2009 finally be the year of veteran Malawian politician John Zenus Ungapake Tembo after 15 years in opposition?

Mr Tembo, presidential candidate for the Malawi Congress Party, is banking on his long experience in government and the private sector during the MCP's uninterrupted 30 years under the late dictator, Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda, and a loyal vote from his stronghold - the tobacco heartland of Central region - to make it to State House.

"The Malawi Congress Party is well-experienced, well-geared and determined to bring genuine socio-economic development to Malawi," Mr Tembo told BBC News Online.

"And I am confident to win because I belong to the past, to the present and to the future."

At 77, Mr Tembo is the oldest among the seven Malawians vying for the southern African country's top job. His MCP has always come second best during the past three elections.

Old timer

JZU, as Mr Tembo is popularly known, is Malawi's longest-serving politician having been Dr Banda's right-hand man during all the three decades he was at the helm.

The MCP fought Britain's 70-year colonial rule and governed Malawi from 1964 to 1994, when Dr Banda's former protege, Bakili Muluzi, won power during the country's first multi-party elections.

Mr Tembo obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in political philosophy at Roma University in Lesotho 51 years ago.

He then taught at various secondary schools back home before entering politics as an MP for the Central Highland district of Dedza in the 1960s.

He was appointed finance minister in 1966 and later became the longest-serving central bank chief after being governor for the Reserve Bank of Malawi for a record 13 years.

In between he chaired many private and public institutions, including Malawi's largest conglomerate, Press Corporation Limited, as well as Blantyre Print and Packaging, the University of Malawi, the New Building Society and several banks.

During the 1990s, he became the all-powerful Treasurer General of the Malawi Congress Party.

He later became minister of state in the president's office during the twilight of the MCP stranglehold on power when exiled Malawian politicians started agitating for political change around 1992.

Power struggle

Following the death of Dr Banda in 1997, Mr Tembo wrestled power from his life-long political rival Gwanda Chakuamba, who had been anointed MCP leader by the late dictator.

Mr Tembo became leader of opposition in parliament in 2004.

"The MCP wants to develop a sustainable economy and state infrastructure that grow, provide jobs and make life better for all Malawians," he said.

He added that this will be achieved by reducing government expenditure, economic mismanagement and initiating projects and programmes aimed at growth and development.

Mr Tembo also said he wants to bring corruption down at all levels and "create a feeling and the spirit of loyalty, patriotism and pride to be a Malawian".

On democracy, he says his party will be committed to the propagation of a vibrant Malawi by nurturing the development of a robust democratic culture and fostering the enjoyment of human rights and freedoms.

"The MCP will consolidate the gains in the cultural and political field.

"The MCP is well equipped with the necessary sound insights, strategies and policies to make Malawi a better nation once again," he said.

Mr Tembo's chances of winning power next Tuesday were boosted when the second opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) of former President Bakili Muluzi endorsed him as a joint MCP/UDF coalition presidential candidate.

Mr Muluzi had been stopped from contesting the presidency by the Malawi Electoral Commission on the premise that he has already served his constitutional two five-year terms.


The UDF is strong in the populous southern region from where hails Mr Tembo's main challenger, the incumbent President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Mr Tembo has Brown Mpinganjira, a senior UDF member, as his vice-presidential running mate.

Mr Mpinganjira, who contested the 2004 elections as candidate for the UDF break-away National Democratic alliance, is also a southerner.

Mr Tembo is married to Ruth and has three grown-up children.

Asked to confirm that he is fabulously rich, the veteran politician laughs off, chuckling: "I cannot say I am rich but I thank God that at least I can afford a glass of wine every day and at least a glass of whisky every week."

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(NYASATIMES) Bingu shamed in UK’s The Sun for blowing £3m on new Mercs

Bingu shamed in UK’s The Sun for blowing £3m on new Mercs
Thom Chiumia 15 May, 2009 10:28:00

Extravagant! Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has been exposed in an exclusive report in Friday edition of Britain’s highly circulating tabloid, The Sun that his administration has blown £3million on a fleet of Mercedes Benz cars from Britain.

“Malawi’s rulers ordered 22 motors to help them campaign for Tuesday’s general election — as millions of citizens live in poverty,” The Sun reported in its edition.

The newspaper said it has papers which show that Malawi’s finance ministry paid a British dealer to dispatch the £140,000 cars to the country.

According to The Sun, London-based Crown Agents Bank Ltd is said to have brokered the deal.

The vehicles, sources at Kamuzu International Airport in the capital Lilongwe told Nyasa Times that they arrived on Tuesday.

State House sources said some Mercedes Benz cars will be used by international foreign Heads of State during the inauguration of a new Malawi President after May 19 polls.

The Sun of UK quoted a Malawian political source who said: “If you guys in Britain think you’ve got it bad with your MPs’ noses in the trough, check out our lot.

“Thousands are starving but our government just wants to drive around in style.”

Mutharika who face stiff challenge from opposition MCP-UDF coalition joint presidential candidate John Tembo has been subject of criticism of expenditure after he recently drew ire of the opposition when his government purchase a fleet of top-of-the-range Hummers for his motorcade.

He also purchased buses for campaign and use one of them in which he becomes the only passenger waving at people in what his foes say he acts like “wipers”.

Tembo who is tipped to win the Tuesday polls promised that his government will investigate Mutharika has accumulated his wealth and how his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government purchased the expensive vehicles.

Tembo said Mutharika has to account for his wealth and flotilla of Hummer vehicles and buses. He has also claimed Mutharika’s has been on wrongful-self enrichment crusade in which he is constructing houses in Portugal, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

"Malawi cannot afford to buy such expensive and luxurious Hummers, coaches and buses and roll them on a presidential convoy without passengers," Tembo said.

"If he cannot explain now, he will have to explain when we get in government," said Tembo.

Mutharika who dumped the UDF which sponsored his 2004 election to found his own Democratic Progressive party (DPP) is also embroiled in another allegation that he is responsible in the missing of US$10 million World Bank money at Finance Ministry meant for m input subsidy programme

The President has been holding the agriculture ministry and has been responsible for fertiliser subsidy programme.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Interview: Deputy Information Minister James Timba

Interview: Deputy Information Minister James Timba

SW Radio's Lance Guma speaks to the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Publicity Jameson Timba about the pace of planned media reforms and his working relationship with Minister Webster Shamu:
Posted to the web: 15/05/2009 20:12:34
Broadcast May 14, 2009

Lance Guma: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to another edition of Behind the Headlines. This week we are privileged to have the deputy minister of Information, Media and Publicity Mr Jameson Timba. Mr Timba, thank you for joining us on the programme.

Jameson Timba: Thanks Lance.

Lance: Recently the government hosted the media conference in Kariba. There was of course a lot of controversy surrounding it, we?ll get to that but how did the conference go?

Timba: I think the conference went very well in that the stakeholders, who did manage to attend, participated fully in the deliberations and came up with specific recommendations as to how they want to see the media landscape in Zimbabwe changing.

Lance: Do you think the boycott of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe took a significant chunk of relevance from the conference? What is your assessment?

Timba: Let me say that we are involved in a process of removing the polarisation that has bedevilled both the country at national level in various industries including the media itself. It is the intention of the ministry to ensure that every stakeholder in the media is involved in the process of reviewing the policies and the laws governing media. The Media Alliance did not attend the conference. I understand and respect their decision not to do so but we have since engaged with the Media Alliance and asked them to make written submissions in terms of their own recommendations which they have since done and we appreciate that.

Lance: Mr Timba, I saw a report of something that took place, or one incident that took place during the conference where a state media journalist had a slanging match with the former chairperson of the Media and Information Commission, Dr Tafataona Mahoso. It does look from the reports that Mahoso was actually speaking out against any form of media reforms, going by the reports. Are these attitudes still prevalent where you still have people who are rather worried about opening up the media?

Timba: People's perception of the media, either in Zimbabwe or anywhere else in the world will never be the same. It is my view that if we are to change the media environment in Zimbabwe it cannot apply the same thinking that created those problems and one of the key, in my view, central problems within the media industry is being intolerant, so my thinking is that if we revisit intolerance we'll not be able to resolve the problem that the media is facing. So not withstanding what other people might think there was a general understanding and more recommendations from that conference of the need to reform our media environment.

Lance: Now in the last interview that I had with you I did point out that there was general criticism of the new coalition government for being too slow in terms of enacting its legislative agenda. One point that has been pointed out by several journalists is the MDC has a simple majority in parliament, the MDC has a majority in parliament and repressive legislation like AIPPA and POSA could be removed by a simple majority. You don't require a two-thirds majority, so why has there been no striking down of those repressive laws?

Timba: There are two ways Lance, in which laws can be amended and or made in this country. The most prevalent one is proposals for amending laws and or repealing them coming from the executive and being submitted to parliament through the leader of the house of parliament. The other method is the one of the private member's bill. In our history, the history of our country, the only other time that there was an attempted private member's bill was when Honourable Jonathan Moyo came up with a Gukurahundi Bill.

I believe that there is so much commitment within the inclusive government for repealing and or amending any legislation that has affected people's basic freedoms. With respect to AIPPA there was a specific unanimous recommendation at Kariba that AIPPA be repealed and be replaced by Freedom of Information Act and the Media Practitioners Act.

Lance: So in this particular case, what are you saying in terms of the reforms ? they are coming via which route?

Timba: Reforms are coming via the executive which means that the media reforms will be spearheaded by the minister of information with full consultation with the stakeholders in the media itself. Legislation or a law Lance, is a translation of public policy into law, that's all it is and we believe that before we go to the end game which is the laws themselves we need to be able to understand and come up with a new media policy. It is that new media policy which must then inform the law that governs the industry.

Lance: I suppose the frustration that a lot of people face is when the new unity government came into power, people thought things would happen immediately, journalists would be allowed to come back into the country, set up newspapers. What they are seeing is just a dragging of feet. Would you understand those frustrations?

Timba: Yes it is expected Lance, it's always a crisis of expectation after the change of a government, but this government that is there Lance, is less than a 100 days old in office and it is a government which is has been established by two former protagonists who are going through processes of trying to establish that government.

In my view to expect that the government that is formed today and in two weeks time that government is appealing or amending laws without a clearly defined process of doing so I think it's dangerous. I think that the process that is taking place now where everyone who is affected and concerned with specific laws not withstanding what has been said before is actually involved in a process dealing with those policies and laws is a much more organised way of doing it in my view.

Lance: Recently we just had the two journalists from the Zimbabwe Independent arrested by police over a story which authorities are saying contained false information. That obviously generated a lot of headlines internationally, does is not harm the attempts that you as a government are trying to push through?

Timba: Lance, my position on the issue of the arrest of journalists is public knowledge. I condemn unreservedly the arrest of journalists when they are conducting their work. That incident was unfortunate and is something that should not have happened. Most particularly when these journalists were arrested for having published what was already in the public domain.

Lance: What is happening here Mr Timba from your assessment, just today (Thursday, May 14, 2009) we are covering the arrest of human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama, he is currently as I'm interviewing you, at Harare Central police station. A lot of people don't get what is happening because it looks like one part of government is pulling in one direction and another part is pulling in another. Can you make sense on our behalf, what is happening?

Timba: My assessment Lance is that generally there is commitment by the various parties in this government to make this project work, but you must also appreciate that there are and will still remain, individuals OK who will have their own agendas and their own objective vis-à-vis this inclusive government. And such teething problems are expected in the formative stages of a coalition government but should not be condoned.

Lance: Let me slightly shift to another separate issue in terms of media plurality opening up for new players. A lot of the talk has centred mainly on the print media, there's a general feeling broadcasting isn't really being talked about a lot and that there does seem to be a reluctance, particularly from Zanu PF to a opening up of the airwaves. They will be comfortable having several daily newspapers but it looks like there is this holding on to the broadcasting spectrum, is this true?

Timba: No. The Global Political Agreement is very specific. The principals have agreed and committed themselves but new media houses or the re-registration of existing ones must take place under the existing legislation. That is the registration of other newspapers etc. They've also made a specific commitment on the opening up of the airwaves. That decision is irreversible Lance.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), once their new board is put in place, hopefully within the next 30 days or so, they are obliged to invite applications for various licences -- television, national radio, local commercial radios and community radios as per available, as per the frequency allocation plan and newspapers whoever is intending to run a newspaper in Zimbabwe will be able to do so without a problem.

Lance: The thing is Mr. Timba, speaking to you as the deputy minister in that particular ministry, obviously with your background you will obviously be in a sense progressive and pull in the right direction. What people would want to understand is your working relationship with the minister who is from Zanu PF, Mr Webster Shamu. Is that not what is failing to inspire confidence in a lot of people in the sense that the deputy minister who is yourself will say the right thing but not much is coming from Mr Shamu in terms of progressive talk?

Timba: Mr Shamu is a journalist and currently I am working with him very well and he understands the issues and concerns within the media industry and at this juncture, I can safely say to you Lance, we are pulling in the same direction to implement the media reform agenda.

Lance: In general of course Mr Timba, just a general question obviously to close the programme since we are running out of time, this new government has gone through the first 100 days, on Wednesday prime minister Tsvangirai launched a new hundred day plan. In general what is your assessment of the first 100 days of your government in power? How would you characterise how it has gone?

Timba: In December last year, December, even up to as early as January Lance, OK, this country was unable to produce one loaf of bread, inflation was skyrocketing, no products in supermarkets, absolutely nothing, there was no life, schools had shut down, all hospitals had shut down. In less than 100 days, this government has brought hope back into the country. Civil servants coming to work, being paid an allowance above any other previous salaries that they've earned before. Teachers going back and recommitting themselves to education in this country, hospitals opening up and beginning to provide services to patients, an economy starting now to function when in actual fact it had effectively collapsed by the end of the year. So my view is that in less than a 100 days, this government more than anything else has brought hope and signs of clear economic stabilisation.

Lance: That's the deputy minister of Information, Media and Publicity, Mr. Jameson Timba joining us on Behind the Headlines. Mr. Timba, thank you for joining us.

Timba: Thank you Lance.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Full Transcript -- Morgan Tsvangirai interview with Foreign Policy magazine

Full Transcript -- Morgan Tsvangirai interview with Foreign Policy magazine
Sat, 16 May 2009 09:11:00 +0000

THE following is a full transcript of the interview between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Elizabeth Dickinson of FOREIGN POLICY - a magazine on global politics, economics, and ideas. The PM talks about the appointment of ministers, the arrest of activists and journalists, and basic day to day operations of the inclusive Government, among other issues.

Full transcript

Foreign Policy: How did it feel on day one, walking into the position of prime minister knowing all the challenges before you? What did it feel like?

Morgan Tsvangirai: It is obvious the level of economic degeneration that just hit us in the face when we went into government. There was a sense of euphoria, which was very short-lived because the decision to go in was influenced by a number of factors, one of which was that we could not be authors of chaos, and that if there was chaos in the country the outcome would be unpredictable; it would engulf us all. So, yes, there was a sense that we have made the right decision, but we didn't know what we were going into.

FP: You said yesterday that elements of ZANU-PF are holding up the progress of the unity government. Can you update us on the status of talks to resolve these remaining issues -- for example, the position of the Central Bank governor?

MT: The discussions amongst the principles are going very well; we certainly hope that tomorrow we'll be making an announcement on the outstanding issues. You must be conscious that this is a coalition government. There are sensitivities and emotions that need to be navigated and negotiated. One would be a bit overambitious to expect everything we're grappling with to be resolved within three months.

It's frustratingly slow, in our assessment, that we have gone this far without at least indicating how the outstanding issues will be resolved. But I'm glad to say that we have made progress. The issues that we have agreed upon -- and those we are still in disagreement about -- will be announced to the nation so that the nation is able to make an assessment as to if there has been progress or not.

FP: You have shown an incredible spirit of reconciliation -- saying on Friday, "Robert Mugabe was part of the problem but he is also part of the solution, whether you like it or not." But are Zimbabweans ready for that kind of reconciliation?

MT: There is a sense of cautious optimism that this inclusive government will be a successful experiment because no one wants to go back to the November, December, January, situation. So therefore, when you present national union as one of the democratic challenges, people accept that there is need for national healing for progress. But of course, there has to be a process of that national healing, otherwise people will continue to [have] that frustration.

FP: President Robert Mugabe has a sinister reputation in the United States and elsewhere. But are there things that the West is failing to understand about Mugabe?

MT: I'm sure this perception is what has been built up over the years -- some of which is a reality. But one of the underlying things is that I am prepared to work with President Robert Mugabe -- not because he's right but because of the national interest: We would work with anybody who wants to push the national agenda forward. But instead of [the international community] taking a cue from us as to how to proceed, it would appear that people have made this judgment [not to help], and they have thrown out the baby with the bath water.

FP: How do you react to donors when they tell you that they can't give aid to Zimbabwe yet, until more democratic progress is made?

MT: My beef with all the international community and diplomats is that, look, those of us who are pushing the democratic reform agenda should be supported so that we can sustain this experiment.

I was saying to somebody this morning that it would appear that by raising the bar every time there is progress -- or every time there is an attempt [by the international community] to ignore the progress that has taken place because of one or two [outstanding] issues [unresolved in the coalitional government], you are invariably becoming a part of the [internal government] negotiations. And for the negotiating parties who are actually on the field, who are negotiating with ZANU-PF, you actually go to the extent of undermining the influence that we are trying to build among those skeptics [of international aid] inside the country.

FP: You've announced a new 100-day economic recovery plan. Can you tell us some of the things that will be happening as part of that plan?

MT: I'm sure that you know that we've just completed the first three months of this inclusive government, and the first phase was to try and consolidate the government, which I believe has now been achieved.

Now we go to the second phase in the next three months. It's a short-term program to try to intervene in various areas of our economy. And there are really five clusters: economic, social, infrastructure, rights, and security. We have done [this division] in order to build the priority programs in each ministry with the key results areas in target -- the milestones. So I would say that the next 100 days, the key priorities are to set the policy framework in various ministries; to ensure that we are able to rehabilitate some of the dilapidated infrastructure; and to ensure that the education and health delivery systems are on their feet. But above all, we need to mobilize the resources so that we can support these programs. So the 100-day plan is a test of the synergies within ministries -- across ministries -- to ensure that the whole government is working as a cohesive team.

FP: Where does land reform fit into this plan?

MT: In the 100 days, what we would expect from the Ministry of Land is first and foremost to do an assessment -- a country-wide assessment on the so-called land invasions [that occurred under Mugabe's previous government] -- if there are still any. The second part is to set up a land audit in terms of the global political agreement, a land audit that is meant to reveal whether the independent land commission is the basis to do proper land reform. We've got a plan on the land, and I think this is the only way that this issue will be finalized.

FP: In spite of your own resolve, is it difficult to motivate other members of the MDC in light of so many challenges?

MT: We have to keep focused. We know that from time to time, some of the old habits of violence will remain. But we don't lose focus on the need to create a democratic playing field so that when the new constitutional dispensation is created -- we can hold free and fair elections down the line. That's still the objective.

In other words, ours is the transformative challenge: to transform old habits and introduce a new governance culture, and you know it's difficult in a coalition government. But we know that within the transitional phase, it is important to unlock some of these mindsets that have taken us this far down. So how do I motivate our people? Our people know that we have not yet arrived as a full democratic Zimbabwe. But we are on the journey.

Morgan Tsvangirai is prime minister of Zimbabwe.

Source: Foreign Policy magazine

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(TALKZIMBABWE) 100-day action plan. What action plan?

100-day action plan. What action plan?
Jonathan Moyo, MP
Sat, 16 May 2009 09:01:00 +0000

IF there is one development that has raised troubling questions about the seriousness of the coalition government which completes its critical 100 days in office on Saturday next week, it is Wednesday’s launch by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Vice-President Joice Mujuru of what they unconvincingly presented as the government’s 100-day action plan. What action plan?

Curiously, Wednesday’s launch of the purported 100-day action plan came 90 days since the formation of the coalition government and 45 days since the launch of Sterp, which some in the government say is an economic recovery plan while others in the same government say is an emergency recovery plan, as if the words economic and emergency mean one and the same thing.

Even more curiously, the latest launch was done 38 days since the wasteful Victoria Falls cabinet retreat during which the 100-day action plan was crafted while the prime minister, his two deputy prime ministers, ministers, their deputies along with permanent secretaries, sought to get to know each other through horse and helicopter riding and boat cruising when most Zimbabweans were failing to make ends meet.

If the coalition government wants Zimbabweans to believe that it is in an emergency mode and its Victoria Falls retreat produced an action plan with ministerial targets to be met within 100 days, why did it take the same cabinet that produced the 100-day action plan in Victoria Falls 22 days to approve its own plan? And why did it take the coalition government 16 days to launch that action plan following its approval by cabinet on April 28?

It is hard if not impossible to avoid the inevitable conclusion that, while its formation on February 13 was without doubt most welcome in the interest of reducing political tension in the country, the performance of the coalition government has been utterly delinquent.

What has compounded the government’s manifestly delinquent performance is that, like a truant juvenile, it has gotten itself entangled into a maze of meaningless “100 days” mumbo jumbo and is now trapped by that hogwash like a hopeless spider ensnared by its own web.

The time has come for someone to tell Prime Minister Tsvangirai to free himself from the 100 days nonsense. The Prime Minister and his unimaginative inner circle have obviously tried but failed to understand the notion of the first 100 days in office which they’ve stolen from American presidential politics. Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first American president to frame his assumption of office around the notion of the first 100 days.

After his landslide electoral victory in 1932 when the United States was under a devastating economic crisis, the so-called Great Depression, Roosevelt gave himself a tight timeline to come up with politically creative and policy meaningful ways to get the United States out of the crisis.

Following his inauguration on March 4, 1933 Roosevelt put in place a radical 100-day action plan on the strength of the unprecedented political capital he had received from the electorate. His first 100-day action plan became the basis of what Roosevelt called “the new deal” which was the essence of his policy programme that transformed the American economy and got that country out of its economic depression from 1933 to 1935.

Roosevelt’s 100-day action plan was not crafted after he was sworn in but well before he was elected in November 1932 and it was refined after his election but prior to his inauguration.

This enabled him and his administration to hit the ground running because, once they assumed office, they had a bankable plan from day one which they used to engage Congress to secure the funding they needed to make things happen.

Since Roosevelt’s time, successive American presidents and the general American public, especially the media, have sought to define and understand their administrations by what they do within their first 100 days in office not only in terms of the implementation of prior plans but also in terms of how they respond to previously unforeseen emergencies.

The vain attempt by Tsvangirai to model himself on the American presidential experience is understandable given the close relations between his MDC-T and the American political establishment. But commonsense dictates that folks in the Prime Minister’s office should not get carried away to the point of comparing oranges with apples or uncritically mimicking Americans.

Tsvangirai is not a president in the mould of Roosevelt or any other American president for that matter. No, he’s not. And, besides, he’s not a Prime Minister as is Gordon Brown or as was Robert Mugabe in 1980 under the Lancaster Constitution. Things have changed. Tsvangirai is an Honourable but not a Rt Honourable Prime Minister.

This is because he is not the head of government. In terms of the so-called Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations on September 15 2008, Prime Minister Tsvangirai is only the deputy head of government regarding the chairing of cabinet and that is quite a long way from chairing cabinet because the organogram of the coalition government clearly shows that he is number four in the hierarchy of the leadership of the government after President Mugabe, Vice-President Joseph Msika and Vice-President Mujuru who will have to chair before he does.

Although it is true that if you go to Munhumutapa offices, most of the human traffic you’ll find there heads to the Prime Minister’s office or his deputies, the truth is that it’s all symbolic because the real power is not there at all since it is shared in terms of the Constitution. The sharing of power is the essence of a coalition government.

Roosevelt was able to do big things within the first 100 days of his tenure, and to lay the foundation for his “new deal” because he was not part of a coalition government and also because the American Congress approved budgetary allocations to fund his policy programmes.

The 100-day action plan launched on Wednesday by Tsvangirai and Mujuru, who seem to be forging a parliamentary partnership apparently designed to manage and control Mugabe’s succession, is unique by its lack of funding. Anyone who thinks they can implement a plan in a battered economy such as ours without funding is joking and their joke is not funny.

Against this backdrop, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his cronies must come to terms with the fact that the first 100 days of the coalition government will be completed next week on Saturday. After that any talk of 100 days of this or that will be just idle or even dangerous.

In the same vein, the Prime Minister and his team must be aware that there are only four months to go before the first anniversary of the much touted GPA. Yes, eight months have gone by since September 15, 2008!

While the likes of Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, have been confusing themselves and asking Zimbabweans not to criticise the coalition government but to support it by giving it more time, the government itself has been taking the time it is being given to indulge in endless rhetoric about 100 days that never start or finish and about unbudgeted plans that have no chance of seeing the light of day.

The record will show that with one week to go before completing its first 100 days in office, and with nothing to show for its performance in real terms, the coalition government has thus far only preoccupied itself with the following three issues that will not help the nation to get out of its economic meltdown that is getting worse:

The pursuit of the so-called outstanding issues about provincial governors, the appointments of the Attorney-General and the governor of the central bank, permanent secretaries and ambassadors; and the confusion of the real mandate of the new and the curiously named Ministry of Information Communication Technology;

The persistent false and embarrassing claims of credit for the current impacts, mixed as they are, of fiscal and monetary policies respectively, implemented on January 29 by Patrick Chinamasa as Acting Minister of Finance and on February 2 by Gideon Gono before the formation of the coalition government;

The shameless turning of Zimbabweans into hunter-gatherers by officially declaring, as did the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti in his revised national budget statement, the illegal death of the Zimbabwe dollar with the consequence of rendering ordinary people unable to participate or even exist in the formal economy all in order for the minister to settle personal scores with the governor of the central bank.

If one thing can be said about the coalition government one week before its first 100 days in office, it is that its future is very bleak.

* Moyo is an independent MP for Tsholotsho North. This article first appeared in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Dangers of bypassing imperial authority

Dangers of bypassing imperial authority
Reason Wafawarova - Opinion
Sat, 16 May 2009 08:14:00 +0000

THE greatest threat to the success of Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government is not the much publicised delays in resolving what the invectives by the hostile media houses have described as “outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement”.

There are fundamental assumptions in the West that both Sadc and the African Union did not observe when they secured the current governance arrangement in Zimbabwe. Essentially, it was an arrogant gesture for the AU and Sadc to go it alone in the negotiations that led to the Zimbabwean inclusive Government.

When Kenya adopted a similar kind of arrangement in February 2008 the script was different in that the foundations of the negotiations were set up by the then US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Jendayi Frazer who literally bundled President Mwai Kibaki and then opposition leader Raila Odinga into a room and instructed them to form a power-sharing arrangement before directing, or is it recommending, Kofi Annan, the former Secretary General to the UN to polish up the modalities of this arrangement.

The fact that this Kenyan project is seriously threatening to collapse with each passing day is not much an issue in the West as is the story that Jestina Mukoko continues to appear before Zimbabwean courts or that Roy Bennet has not yet been sworn in as a deputy Minister in the Zimbabwe government.

The problems in Kenya can be sanitised by the comical cover of Kenyan women organising a sex ban so the Kenyan males can stop bickering and start governing the country while Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government is no comical matter at all – it is an arrangement that needs to go through Western benchmark-ratings before anyone can be allowed to respect it.

The assumptions that have been violated in the Zimbabwean case are that the West in general and the United States in particular, have a perfect right to oversee the political processes of every country in order to realise the goals of their foreign policies.

It is like the assumption that the United States has an inalienable right to use force and violence to achieve its ends anywhere in the world. Anyone who refused to accept this and to obey American wishes during the Cold War was a “communist” by definition, and anyone who refuses to accept such American wishes as the murderous Afghani war today is by definition a “terrorist.” It is therefore legitimate to destroy them in “self defence”.

By the logic of this assumption, we are supposed to solemnly accept that the 150 civilians massacred ruthlessly in Western Afghanistan by US forces two weeks ago all died in the process of the US’s marvellous intentions of eradicating “terrorism” from the face of this planet.

This is the logic that is supposed to convince us that Zimbabweans can suffer a continued embargo until the West is satisfied that there is the “rule of law” and respect for “property rights” in the country.

The West regards property rights as the returning of farm lands to white settler-farmers who were moved to make way for landless indigenous Zimbabweans in the last decade. They regard The Rule of Law as a slogan to be used for three purposes.

Firstly the rule of law in the West is a tool to pacify the domestic population, much the same way it is in most of the countries anywhere else.

Secondly, it is a slogan used to denounce official enemies of the West. In this regard Miami based Cubans are victims of a lack of rule of law in their country, the Taliban are being hunted for lack of the rule of law and abuse of women (when we are not being told they are harbouring Osama bin Laden), the Iranian leaders are ruthless human rights violators, Zimbabweans are a hopelessly oppressed people living in a lawless country and the North Korean leaders are Devil incarnates.

Lastly the Rule of Law slogan may be used to deal with problems where other means may prove ineffective, as a last resort. Apart from these concerns, the West, like every other imperial power that has ever existed, are committed to the Rule of Force, be it military force or economic force.
This assumption that the West has a perfect right to run the affairs of the world and to influence the political processes of all else as well as to use force and violence at will is shared by just about everybody in the political culture of the West.

It may hardly be shared by the majority of Western populations but it is certainly shared by the political classes: by the articulate intelligentsia, the corporate elite that control Western governments and the military. These people share the assumption that the US-led Western alliance is global judge and executioner. The West has a moral right to use force and violence to attain their ends anywhere; they can strangle the economy of whoever they may to protect their own interest.

When Zimbabwean politicians and their allies in Sadc and the AU appeal for a change of policy in the West they are basically asking for something that has never changed before, not since the end of the World War 11. That could never change. There is no change among the Western elites just like there is hardly any change with any other elite elsewhere.

While there can be some minor changes in a few individuals like President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, the basic understanding of the pillars of Western hegemony is largely accepted as is.

The only questions debated in Western Parliaments and by the planners at western think-tanks are, “can we get away with it?” or “is it tactically advisable?” or “would it be too costly?”

In rare moments of morality there is the question of whether it would be too bloody; so some would draw the line at some point, say, no humanitarian aid to save dying children during a ruthless sanctions regime, or napalm attacks that kill too many children in war zone like Afghanistan.

That would be too much. However a smaller amount would be just fine, enough to punish those deemed to be in defiance of imperial authority.

Surely it cannot be put that bluntly. The way it is put is that the West has a right to stop human rights abuses in Zimbabwe or anywhere else in the world. It is like the Cold War rhetoric that said the West had a right to stop the Russians anywhere in the world.

It never mattered whether the Russians were there or not, it was still always a defensive act to stop the Russians – in Angola, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Cuba, Nicaragua and in Vietnam.

These days it does not matter whether the terrorists are there or not, it is still always an act of defence against the scourge of terrorism – in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and in Somalia.

It does not matter that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the inclusive government in Zimbabwe is progressing well, sanctions are still always an act of defending the human rights of Zimbabweans, an act of creating democracy in Zimbabwe – yes because the inclusive government that carters for all the three parties in the Zimbabwean Parliament is not democratic enough.

It cannot be democratic because it is an illegitimate child born to the parenthood of the “unpeople” of this world. This inclusive government is a child born out of that unwelcome mantra of “African solutions to African problems”, an arrogant slogan that foolishly violates the right of the United States and the West to rule the world.

The West cannot, does not and will not fund African solutions to African problems. They fund Western solutions to Western created problems.

Zimbabwe may have eradicated the conflict between its politicians and their respective constituencies but this new sense of peace and tranquillity is not going to be interpreted as good enough for investment.

Zimbabwe is supposed to adopt Western policies and benchmarks in the economic sphere of its governance and only that adherence to the unwritten assumption will unlock Western investment.

The most unfortunate part of Western hegemony is that whatever they pretend to be fighting for or against is widely accepted and believed both at home and abroad. The world has become a well-indoctrinated society with very effective systems of thought control.

When the US tell the world today that ZIDERA is about bringing democracy to Zimbabwe people in and outside Zimbabwe actually believe this kind of nonsense. When the US says they killed 150 innocent civilians in Afghanistan because they were bombing the untraceable Taliban troops among the villagers people actually believe this nonsense.

When the US invaded Grenada in 1982, people in the United States literally discussed the claim that Grenada was a military threat that was about to obliterate the US. The discussions were quite serious on radio and television that one would have thought they were serious allegations, not mere black comedy.

The position taken on Zimbabwe by the West is a theological one, not one based on rational discourse. In theology facts are rarely relevant and predetermined outcomes often rule.

The pre-determined outcome in Zimbabwe is that Zanu PF and President Mugabe must be out of government and the political classes in the West are theological fanatics to this regime change doctrine.

These elites are of the opinion that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must not be in this inclusive government to help end Zimbabwe’s economic crisis but to position himself to push out the Zimbabwean President from inside.

To this end Western aid is not an act of goodwill to alleviate the suffering of common Zimbabweans but a tool to give leverage to the political aspirations of certain politicians in the inclusive government so they can oust their rivals with ease.

This is why it must make perfect sense that the West want to endorse ambassadors and senior civil servants for Zimbabwe before they can think of giving what we are supposed to believe is aid.

The level of thought control that comes with Western aid and donations is very difficult to imagine, but one can only measure it fairly well when they come across the grip of a fanatical delusional system that drives the Western sponsored civic society in Zimbabwe.

The majority if not all of these organisations have a burning desire to set fires on the inclusive government. They thrive not on peace and development but on crisis and this tranquillity is a serious threat to the well being of these organisations.

Can anyone imagine the relevance of WOZA, Crisis in Zimbabwe, SW Radio Africa or even Madhuku’s NCA in a peaceful and well fed Zimbabwe?

These organisations are the foot-soldiers that will fight to remind Sadc and the AU that they have no right whatsoever to preach this African solutions for African problems gospel. They will fight to remind Morgan Tsvangirai that he has no right whatsoever to tell the world that President Robert Mugabe is “part of the solution” to the problems facing Zimbabwe.

This is the dilemma that we face as a country. We are pretty much asking for food that is between the jaws of predators and in our hunger we pray and hope that we may not be devoured.

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

*Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on or or visit

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(TALKZIMBABWE) AfDB promises to help Zimbabwe

COMMENT - The African Development Bank is one of the 9 multilateral financial institutions to whom the US Secretary of the Treasury was directed to order a veto on the rescheduling or extension of any loans to the government of Zimbabwe. (See ZDERA section 3 - ZDERA is still law and has not been retracted).

AfDB promises to help Zimbabwe
Business Day/TZG reporters
Sat, 16 May 2009 08:06:00 +0000

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) is prepared to give budgetary support to Zimbabwe, which has mainly relied on SA for financial assistance.

Donald Kaberuka, the bank's president, has urged the international community also to come to Zimbabwe's aid to help it to rebuild its economy.

Speaking at the AfDB's annual meeting in Dakar, Senegal, Kaberuka was emphatic that assistance would only be forthcoming if Zimbabwe honoured its
commitments to persist with the inclusive Government.

The bank "welcomed the recent evolution in Zimbabwe" and was encouraged by the global political agreement reached there, Kaberuka said. He also said
the parties should stick to it and implement it.

The AfDB already has a delegation in Harare and has started providing technical support and humanitarian aid to the country.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who also attended the bank's meeting , said Zimbabwe's budget deficit could have disastrous consequences
for the inclusive Government.

Biti said Zimbabwe could become a second Somalia if the country did not get financial assistance.

Zimbabwe needed $100m a month to meet its budgetary commitments, but collected only 20% of its requirements through the fiscus.

So far, the only budgetary assistance has come from SA, though other countries in the Southern African Development Community have made verbal

Lesetja Kganyago, the director-general of SA's Treasury, said there had been discussions on helping Zimbabwe, with encouraging calls from the bank's governors . But Zimbabwe still needed to regularise its affairs with the International Monetary Fund.

--Business Day/TZG

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Bankrupt politics

Bankrupt politics
Written by Editor

We have deep convictions about the course our country is taking.We have stated before that this democracy we talk about so eloquently every day in itself guarantees us nothing. It offers us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. And we think we are moving much faster in the direction of failure instead of success.

We have also stated that this democracy we sloganeer about in our country is both a promise and a challenge. It is a promise in the sense that if we all work together, we can collectively govern ourselves in a manner that will serve the aspirations of all our people for personal freedom, economic opportunity and social justice.

And we say this is a challenge because the success of all that we want to do, all that we aspire to rests upon our shoulders as citizens of this country and no one else. And we have reminded ourselves of the fact that a government of the people by the people means that the citizens of this country must share in its benefits and burdens. We must all take responsibility for the fate of our country. And when we fail, we should blame no one but ourselves. As it is said, in the end we will get a government we deserve.

We have exhorted our readers to delve deeply into these issues; help find solutions to our problems, advise those in politics, disseminate, as an essential thing, truthfully, without any dogmas and with broadmindedness, listening to everyone, without thinking that we are the owners of absolute truth.

There will no longer be one single thinker in this country. Hundreds of thousands of thinkers can make up the thinker our times need.

The system we are running is not benefitting the great majority of our people. It is just benefitting a small group of people in government and those connected or associated with them. Poverty is deepening by the day. And despair can be seen everywhere. And it is not difficult to understand and appreciate why the Catholics’ Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection are saying that they would like to see political ethics and governance standards promoted more in Zambia if democracy was to be seen growing. They are telling us that “politics is not just about getting the most votes or jostling each other around. It is about serving the needs of all people and bringing about full human and sustainable development”. They are also warning us that if Zambia continues along the lines of politics of personality and self interest, the poor and the marginalised will continue to suffer and democracy and good governance will forever be unattainable.

These views are coming from a Catholic Church organisation, a church that has been subjected to a lot of political attacks by those in government today; a church that has been told to stay away from politics and concentrate on preaching the word of God. But which word? We ask this question because Christ’s entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; His doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings. It is our fellow human being, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified. Therefore, there is no contradiction between the struggle for justice and the fulfillment of God’s will. One demands the other. All who work along that line of God’s scheme for life are considered Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35). This is the best way to follow Jesus, especially in Zambia’s present situation. We are told that the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of the women and men of our time, especially those who are poor or afflicted in any way, are the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of the followers of Jesus Christ.

If the political participation of Christians in political life is to be guided by the gospel values, no one would question what the Catholic Church is today doing in our country and label it ‘political’. Politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. And for this reason, all should be called to participate in it regardless of their other activities in life. And Christians should regard politics as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.

The challenges that our people face today are very complex and our politics do not match up to them. In fact, one can say the current politics in our country are bankrupt in terms of ideas and there is need for urgent change.

New ideas to prepare the people for the future are needed and we must start struggling right now. Beginning today, we must start building awareness – a new awareness. It is not that the country lacks awareness today; but such a new and complex era as this one requires principles more than ever. It requires a lot more awareness, and that awareness will be built, by adding together, we might say, the awareness of what is happening and the awareness of what is going to happen. It has to be built by adding together more than just one progressive thought and the best ethical and humane ideas of more than one religion, of all authentic religions, we would say – we are not thinking of sects, which of course are created for political ends and for the purpose of creating confusion and division – the sum total of the preaching of many political thinkers, of many schools and many religions.

We have a collective duty to make this country a good place for all of us to live in. And we should all understand that this country will not be good place for any of us to live in unless it’s a good place for all of us to live in. We therefore need to build a nation based on strong principles and high standards. As we have stated before, the individual does best in a strong and decent community of people with principles and standards and common aims and values. An individual does very badly in a weak, greedy, selfish and indecent community of vultures, hyenas and jackals. In such a society, goodness is fought and corruption reigns. Goodness is fought in such a society because genuine goodness is threatening to those at the opposite end of the moral spectrum.

We should therefore not allow the politics of our country to be relegated to trivialities chosen precisely because they salve the consciences of those in politics, of those in government, and conceal the plight of the poor and the marginalised.

We therefore encourage the church to take a keen interest in the way our country is governed and ensure that those who govern do not govern against the poor. And we feel the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection deserves much credit for its work in trying to foster from a faith-inspired perspective a critical understanding of current issues. And guided by the Catholic Church’s social teaching that emphasises human dignity in community, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection has been able to generate activities for the promotion of the fullness of human life through research, education, advocacy and consultation. And in this spirit, we urge all Christians, all religious people in our country to dare to speak out, to dare to struggle for a more just, fair and humane society.

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Corruption has worsened in Rupiah’s govt – Hakainde

Corruption has worsened in Rupiah’s govt – Hakainde
Written by Chibaula Silwamba and Masuzyo Chakwe
Saturday, May 16, 2009 1:52:35 AM

UPND president Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said he misses late Levy Mwanawasa because corruption has worsened in President Rupiah Banda's government. And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Rueben Lifuka has observed that political will to fight corruption in President Banda's administration is not as strong as it used to be with president Mwanawasa.

Addressing a press briefing in Lusaka, Hichilema said the MMD was inherently and endemically corrupt.

"All these changes to the public procurement Act were purely to camouflage, the intention was ultimately that will allow them to procure government [goods and services] in a corrupt manner," Hichilema said.

"If you allow a government in your country during daylight to make such changes and you are quiet, then you are an accomplice to corruption. That is why you have seen the perpetuation of scandals. I think as an opposition leader I used to criticise Levy Mwanawasa; I miss Levy Mwanawasa as I stand here today. Corruption has worsened and it has become institutionalised through various forms."

Hichilema charged that the MMD government changed the public procurement Act in preparation to run a corrupt government.

He explained that the draft public procurement bill, which was agreed upon by all stakeholders had safeguard measures to prevent corruption but the government last year changed it.

"They decided amongst the things they wanted to do; I want to show you how this government crafts a change and sometimes goes to Parliament using the arrogance of numbers to pass an Act preparing for corrupt activities. They decided to change the governing board; stakeholders had said they would want a board of nine and a third of the board members coming from the private sector - independent citizens of different professions," Hichilema said.

"The MMD decided to increase the number phenomenon and brought about a governing board consisting of the minister of finance as chairperson, four ministers appointed by the President, one of whom shall be the vice board chairperson, preparing to run a corrupt government. Only two people from the private sector and the rest are from within the government. It's a huge mistake and it went through."

Hichilema urged members of parliament to repeal the public procurement Act of 2008 and replace it with one, which would uphold acceptable standards and principles of public procurement.

Hichilema cited the RP Capital and Zamtel saga in which former communications and transport minister Dora Siliya was involved as one of cases of bad procurement process.

"It was done because of corruption; it was because of an intention to get a cut that is why it was done. I ask Dora Siliya, I ask the Vice-President [George] Kunda who protected Dora Siliya and President Rupiah Banda to pay back the US $ 2 million that they authorized the RP Capital deal," Hichilema said.

On the Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) maize, Hichilema said President Rupiah Banda suggested that Zambians reconsider GMO food because of his relatives who were involved in the deal.

"[The late president] Levy Mwanawasa and the country had agreed that we are not ready to consume GMO maize for health reasons and when this matter came, who answered to support GMO maize? It is the President [Banda]. The President said let us review the consumption of GMO maize when the maize was already in the country and he went to suggest that can we create milling companies at the borders so that we can mill the maize at the borders," Hichilema said.

"That is why I said the President comments on maters where he has personal interests and possible gain."

He also said politicians in the government had no moral right to stop corruption because they were corrupt themselves.

"Reported theft of public funds in the Ministry of Health, yesterday's Post. Thefts of public funds are becoming a daily occurrence because the civil servants are seeing what the politicians are doing at the top," Hichilema said. "The politicians have no moral right to tell civil servants not to steal because the politicians are the ones perpetuating corruption. "

And responding to a question on the fight against corruption in President Banda's administration during a press briefing on the Anti- Corruption Commission's (ACC) uncovering of a K10 billion scam involving senior Ministry of Health officials yesterday, Lifuka asked President Banda to provide political leadership in the fight against corruption.

"To some extent we have seen that it is not as strong as it used to be with the late president Levy Mwanwasa and we strongly believe President Banda has an occasion in the next three years in his leadership to essentially lead the fight against corruption and ensure that the corrupt activities being reported are dealt with correctly," Lifuka said.

"I think there are occasions for him to start, one of them being active response to what is being raised by the Auditor General. We want to see him and his administration respond to cases raised in the Auditor General's report with timely action and ensure that those that are found wanting are not allowed to continue to the public sector."

He urged President Banda to equally deal with the situation where people were giving themselves loans through unretired imprest.

Lifuka said President Banda needed to develop that discipline or inculcate the sense of discipline in the public sector.

He said President Banda was in an advantageous situation to lead the fight against corruption by using his presidency and people would be able to judge him by the stance that he would take at the end of his term of office.

Lifuka said TIZ greatly appreciated the timely action by the ACC in unearthing a scam involving over K10 billion in which officials in the ministries of health and local government were implicated.

He said the scam was symptomatic of how entrenched corruption had become in the fabric of society.

"If ever Zambia needed evidence that corruption has become systemic and endemic, the reported scam should serve as a vivid reminder. The callousness and recklessness exhibited in this scam is shocking as it is worrying," he said.

Lifuka said the mandate of the Ministry of Health was such an important one particularly that this involves saving human lives - people in desperate situations and yearning for treatment or medical help of one kind or another.

He said it was amazing and unwarranted how some public officials entrusted with the affairs of the nation embezzle even the little public resources available for national development.

Lifuka called on the ACC to thoroughly investigate this issue and ensure that it succeeds in the courts of law.

He said the culture of impunity among some public servants was worrisome, as it would seem as if some public servants had allowed the greediness of heart to steal from the poor people - some of whom were relatives of these same unscrupulous people.

Lifuka said additionally, it came as a surprise that such acts took place without the detection by senior officials like the controlling officer in the Ministry of Health.

"The sums involved are too big to go unnoticed and this clearly points to weaknesses in internal controls. The question that needs to be asked is how much more has been stolen, not just in the Ministry of Health but possibly other ministries and government agencies? It is frustrating to note that only this week, the government proudly announced the release of significant amounts of resources from the cooperating partners and yet we continue to witness scams of this magnitude which indicate that as a people, we are doing little to guard jealously public resources,' he said.

He said it seems the Auditor General's reports had little effect in curbing incidences of embezzlement of public resources and it was time that the government in particular asked itself tough questions on this inglorious state of affairs.

Lifuka said the government should not shield alleged plunderers and corrupt persons by simply moving them from one ministry to the next, as these had no place in the public sector.

"There should also be no selective approach of creating sacred cows in this fight. The rate of exposure of corrupt dealings and activities in the public sector is gradually reaching alarming proportions and it is time that the leadership did something about this," he said.

He said corruption would not be fought through mere public pronouncements and political rhetoric.

Lifuka said corruption required a firm approach.

"Any person alleged to have obtained even a one ngwee which belongs to the public, should feel the full weight of the law. We want to remind not only the government led by President Rupiah Banda but the church, the NGOs, trade unions, media, political parties, farmers, private sector, students and every Zambian - young or old - to join and help deal with this cancer - which is insidiously eating away the future of this nation," he said.

He said as TIZ, they considered the move by ACC to uncover K10 billion scam to be important and threw a challenge to the general public to remain alert and vigilant and report all suspected acts of corruption to the relevant authorities.

Lifuka said TIZ wanted to believe that this K10 billion scam involving officials from the Ministry of Health could be one of the many financial scams involving public officials holding different portfolios in government.

"Therefore, we challenge the ACC to do more to probe further in the operations of various ministries in government to ensure transparency and accountability. We also challenge President Rupiah Banda to institute a forensic audit of not only the Ministry of Health but also all other ministries that are corruption -prone," he said "His predecessor - the late president Mwanawasa did at one point take pragmatic action which included the closure of the Ministry of Lands to investigate allegations of corruption- we would to urge President Banda to equally take whatever steps necessary to get to the bottom of these scams. The time to act is now. This fight should not have sacred cows."

ACC public relations manager Timothy Moono on Wednesday disclosed that the commission had unearthed a corruption scam in which over K10 billion government funds suspected to have been corruptly obtained from the Ministry of Health.

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Passenger traffic has greatly reduced at all Zambia’s 4 airports - NACL

Passenger traffic has greatly reduced at all Zambia’s 4 airports - NACL
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday, May 16, 2009 1:51:17 AM

NATIONAL Airports Corporation Limited (NACL) managing director Robinson Misitala has observed that the company is passing through difficult times as the passenger traffic has greatly reduced on all the four airports, with estimates indicating a 12 per cent revenue downturn. And Misitala has said following a court order against Zambian Airways, NACL believes that it is going to recover some of the money it has lost.

Misitala said in Lusaka that the reduction in passenger traffic, which had mostly hit Mfuwe Airport, had been experienced for the first time after the corporation's firm growth registered in the last seven years.

"With regards to the losses that we have incurred one of the cases is right now in court and an order has since been issued and we are now in the process of now trying to recover the losses," Misitala said. "And also it is important to mention that we are now passing through difficult times... our passenger traffic has greatly reduced. This is on all the four airports but the airport that has been badly hit is Mfuwe Airport. As you are aware that is a tourist destination in that most of our travellers are from Europe and the America and this is where the global recession has hit."

However, Misitala said of late, NACL had started seeing some improvements in the numbers of the passengers that were coming through and also the number of aircrafts that are landing at the four airports.

"And with this, we are optimistic that we are going to see the steady growth that we have since registered in the last seven years," he said.

Misitala also said some sources of revenue losses last year were as a result of two international aircraft that stopped servicing the Zambia-South Africa routes while the domestically owned Zambian Airways also suspended operations.

"In terms of the reduction of the passengers, we are now almost 12 per cent of our revenue and with regards to the loss, we have got only one airline that has since defaulted and this ... matter is now in court and we believe we are going to recover some of the money we have lost," he said. "In the last financial year, we also lost, two airlines stopped coming, one from South Africa into Ndola and the other one also from South Africa into Livingstone. But we have since had some inquiries with two carriers that would start operating. As you are aware also on the local scene, Zambezi Airlines will be bringing their two [Boeing] 737-500 that will also start domestic and regional flights. With these big airlines coming, we are hopeful that we will at least start registering an increase in passengers and aircraft movement."

Misitala also announced that NACL would this year spend K37 billion to improve infrastructure at the country's four main airports.

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Zim to remain mired in debt for 10 years – IMF

Zim to remain mired in debt for 10 years – IMF
Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare
Saturday, May 16, 2009 1:50:01 AM

ZIMBABWE'S economy may this year grow by 2.8 per cent if the country can access at least US$200 million in balance of payment support, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said. A detailed report entitled Staff Report: Public Information Notice on the Executive Board Discussion released on Tuesday, however, says Zimbabwe will remain mired in debt for another 10 years, even as the economy returns to growth.

It estimates that Zimbabwe, which shrank by 14.1 per cent last year, would grow by as much as 2.8 per cent this year and by at least six per cent in subsequent years if it can receive a minimum of US$200 million in budgetary aid.

The report says Zimbabwe's economic turnaround would not be possible without foreign assistance and private capital inflows, even assuming sound policy implementation.

It says for real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to turn positive in 2009, official budget support of at least US$200 million [six per cent of GDP] would need to be mobilized in addition to sound policies.

“Furthermore, humanitarian assistance in the areas of food relief, health, and education may need to increase by US$200, US$300 million in 2009,” it says.

However, the IMF notes that despite a brighter short-term macroeconomic outlook, Zimbabwe will not be able to discharge its external debt service obligations in 2009.

"The Zimbabwe authorities have expressed their commitment to improve cooperation on payments to the Fund. Zimbabwe's cooperation on payments has remained poor...In light of Zimbabwe's very limited payment capacity, it would be difficult for the country to make significant payments to the Fund under the current circumstances," it states.

However, Zimbabwe has committed to regular payments to the IMF of about US $100,000 per quarter starting with the next Fund financial quarter.

Last week, the IMF resumed its technical assistance to Zimbabwe, which is likely to help in strengthening the country's capacity in resolving its arrears to the IMF.

"Assuming relatively optimistic assumptions on policies and the external environment, the present value of external debt-to-exports ratio is expected to persist above 250 per cent for almost a decade," the report says.

Debt will decline from a peak of more than 200 per cent of gross domestic product in 2010 to about 150 per cent a decade later, it adds.

Zimbabwe has so far raised about US $1 billion in credit lines from African countries that will be used to restore productivity in private and state-owned companies.

These include US$428 million from Afreximbank and the PTA Bank and about US$400 million from SADC and COMESA countries.

In April, finance minister Tendai Biti said the country needed about US $8.3 billion to restore the economy to 1998 levels.

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Friday, May 15, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe shows off martial arts black belt

Mugabe shows off martial arts black belt
By Lebo Nkatazo
Posted to the web: 14/05/2009 17:39:19

THE next time you criticise Robert Mugabe, watch out because the Zimbabwean President now has a BLACK BELT in taekwondo.

The 85-year-old veteran leader showed off his 6th Dan black belt after meeting officials from South Korea in Harare on Wednesday.

Mugabe slipped into his taekwondo uniform, strapped his black belt and clenched his fists in a fight stance with his Korean guests – delegation leader Tiger Kwon and Colonel Kab-Shik Shin at Zimbabwe House.

The state-run Herald newspaper published a front page picture of the President in taekwondo gear on Thursday. But if anyone feared the Zimbabwean strongman still had some fight left in him, those worries soon eased as the paper reports that the black belt is only HONORARY.

Mugabe’s black belt is a sixth degree rokudan. A Dan is used to mark the level of black belt holders. In Asia, many arts use between one and ten Dan ranks.

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(DAILY MAIL) Zambia records maize surplus

Zambia records maize surplus

THE country has recorded a maize surplus of 203,271 metric tonnes, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Brian Chituwo has disclosed.

The total maize production forecast in the 2008/2009 season is estimated at 1,888,773 metric tonnes.

Dr Chituwo said the national food balance sheet for the 2009/2010 marketing season based on the Crop Forecasting Survey for the 2008/2009 agricultural production season, shows that the country has produced sufficient maize for both human consumption and industrial utilisation.

Dr Chituwo said this at a press briefing yesterday where he announced the crop forecasting survey for 2008/2009 agricultural season and the food balance status for the 2009/2010 marketing season.

He said in light of the surplus reflected in the food balance sheet, government is ready to review the issue of maize exports.

Dr Chituwo said the total maize requirements take into account government strategic reserve stock of 110,000 mt for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).

He said the 110,000 mt that FRA will procure for the strategic reserves will be strictly from outlying areas where it is uneconomical for the private sector to reach.

Dr Chituwo appealed to the private sector to immediately start participating in the market to purchase maize from farmers.

He said for an estimated population of 12.9 million people, the food balance sheet shows that the total maize required for human consumption amounts to 1,263,098 metric tonnes (MT).

He said the estimated maize requirement for industrial use, specifically the stock-feed and breweries is 200,000 mt.

Dr Chituwo said maize grain retained for planting and post harvest losses are estimated at 114,439 mt, while provisions for informal cross border trade are estimated at 60,000 mt.

He said the total national maize requirements are estimated at 1,747,537 mt.

Dr Chituwo said due to unfavourable weather conditions experienced in the previous season, which resulted in relatively low production, the country has a modest maize carry-over stock of 62,035 mt.

He said the maize carry-over stocks from last season to the maize production for the 2008/2009 agricultural season brings the total available maize for the 2009/2010 marketing season to 1,950,808 mt.

Dr Chituwo said total maize production this season has increased by 443,118 mt, approximately 31 per cent in comparison to the previous season.

He said the area which was planted with maize marginally increased by 0.07 per cent to 1,125,849 hectares from 1,125,024 hectares.

Dr Chituwo said the increase in maize production this year is attributed largely to the good rains experienced in most parts of the country.

He also said the number of beneficiaries under the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) also increased significantly to 200,000 from 125,000 last season.

Dr Chituwo said the relatively attractive price offered to farmers last marketing season may have also contributed to the increase in production this season

He said the production of maize by large scale farmers has increased from 218,000 mt last season, to 231,656 mt this season.

The percentage contribution by small and medium scale farmers to national maize production in the 2008/2009 season is 1,657,117 mt or 88 per cent.

And according to the crop forecasting survey, the national cassava production has been estimated at 1,151,700 mt of cassava flour equivalent.

Total national requirement for cassava is estimated at 687,067 mt. The country remains with a surplus of 464,632 mt.

Dr Chituwo said rice production has been estimated at 41,929 mt, representing a 39 per cent increase over the previous season’s production of approximately 30,258 mt.

The food balance sheet shows that the country has a rice carry-over stock amounting to 178 mt bringing the total rice supply to 42,107 mt against a total requirement of 54,107 mt.

The country faces a rice deficit of 12,000 mt that is expected to be met by private sector imports.

Wheat production has been projected at 195,000 mt for the 2008/2009 season, representing a marginal production increase from 185,000 mt recorded last season.

The country has wheat carry-over stocks amounting to 65,000 mt, bringing the total wheat available to 260,516 against the national requirement of 210,000 mt.

An estimated surplus of wheat amounting to 50,516 mt has been projected.

Dr Chituwo said there had been a general increase in the production of key cash crops such as Soya-bean which increased from 59,000 mt to 118,799 mt.

Sunflower production increased by 118 per cent from 15,405 mt to 33,657 mt, while production of groundnuts increased by 42 per cent from 84,598 mt to 120,564 mt.

The production of mixed beans decreased from 50,488mt last year to 46,735 mt this year, while the production of burley tobacco is anticipated to increase from 15,000,000 kilogramme (kg) to 16,000,000 kg this year.

The production of Virginia tobacco is anticipated to decrease from 15,400,000 kg to 12,000,000 kg this year.

Dr Chituwo said notwithstanding the reported national food security situation, there will be some communities and households that will require support from the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) under the office of the Vice President.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Media fabrications on land reform impede economic recovery

Media fabrications on land reform impede economic recovery
Dambudzo Mapuranga - Opinion
Thu, 14 May 2009 03:27:00 +0000

ONE can make out a pattern when it comes to the popularity of the Zimbabwe Government in the West before the Land Reform Program and after its inception.

The reason for this is not because the government did something out of this world, the Government in fact all things considered did a good thing for its people. The only unfortunate thing is that in today’s world those with the money control the flow of information and if anyone crosses their path the wolves are released within seconds. Such is the case with Zimbabwe.

The history of land in Zimbabwe has never been seriously discussed by any of the prominent broadcasts and newspapers across the globe and this is not by coincidence.

Watching BBC, CNN and the rest one would think that from no where black people in Zimbabwe woke up one day and decided to take over white owned farms violently.

The truth is however very sad. A close scrutiny of who owns what in the media world will prove quite revealing. There are but a handful of media groups in the West that control just about everything their audiences’ and those across the globe see or read.

The biggest media group in the world is based in New York City-the News Corporation, which is owned by the right-winger Republican Rupert Murdock. Time Warner another American corporation is considered the world’s second largest media company. Close behind these two comes the German based Bertelsmann AG, which operates in 63 countries; Hearst Communications, which is also based in New York City, is the largest group when it comes to print media and forth in line.

These four companies control the flow of information on the Internet, newsprint, film, publishing, telecommunications and television across the globe. These companies are privately owned and in such circumstances there is no impartiality to talk about. For instance, the Foundation, which the Mohn family set up to run its 76% stake of Bertelsmann, is a political think tank.

News Corporation owned by the republican Mudorch holds an annual conference to discuss media issues related to geopolitics open only to selected politicians, senior journalists and celebrities. Notable attendees have included loosing American presidential candidate Senator John McCain, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tony Blair and Israeli vice Premier Shimon Peres. One only needs to add one and one to make two. There is no way these media groups will ever give a balanced view of global political issues when their owners are major players in politics.

The British Government appoints the BBC’s entire top management. In fact one can safely say the BBC is a mouthpiece of the British government. This being said how then could the BBC be expected to report objectively concerning Zimbabwe. CNN while privately owned is known to first check with the US State Department to ensure that any reports they might flight are in line with the US’s foreign policy.

The monopoly of global media houses is very impressive. They have managed to deceive their audience that it has a choice and yet all they are getting is the same witch on a different broom. Looking at our own region of Southern Africa one can get this choice through satellite channels. A run down of these channels will prove that the majority of these channels are divided between these companies.

BBC, CNN, know their loyalties are with their respective governments. Sky News is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp; AlJezzera has become a BBC clone, which is run by David Frost the white haired guy formerly of BBC. Bloomberg news is of course the baby of billionaire mayor of New York City the Republican Michael Bloomberg. Apart from these conglomerates, the US government has established a plethora of pirate radio stations that churn vitriolic against nations perceived to be threats against the US foreign policy.

Our own regional media has not legged behind when it comes to spreading capitalistic opinions and strategic US foreign policies disguised as news. In a bid to be seen as being on top of things in gathering news many have picked up stories from the major news media and have run then without any research or verification of their own. This is a common practice in the media fraternity; I recall last year the internationally acclaimed New York Times was forced to make a retraction after splashing pictures of a child with rickets claiming he was a victim of political violence in Zimbabwe. It turned out this was false and the mother admitted that she had been urged by some “political activists” to do this so she could get money for her child’s treatment.

From all this it goes without saying that there is no way the global media would have embraced Zimbabwe’s Land Reform Program when it goes against the institutions of capitalism.

The British Government which was the other party involved in the Land Issue was able to exploit the mechanisms within the media establishment to demonize a move the Government of Zimbabwe made which when objectively scrutinized is decent and legitimate. What we got from the media and still continue to get are sensationalist pictures, deceiving information that portrayed a totally wrong picture of what the Land Reform Program is all about.

That Zimbabwe’s heroes. Ambuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi were hanged because of the violent resistance they marshaled against the parceling of land to colonial settlers is conveniently ignored by the likes of Peta Thorncraft and company, BBC, Sky News and even our neighbours at SABC who should know better.

It is like discussing American history leaving out Abraham Lincoln, or British history without Queen Elizabeth or even South African history without Nelson Mandela. Most importantly these media houses conveniently ignore to explain why thousands of Zimbabweans perished in the two wars they conveniently describe as Rhodesian Bush War. When the history of the war of Zimbabwe’s liberation is shown on ZTV it becomes propaganda but no one thinks its propaganda when the BBC goes to great lengths in support of its annexation war on the Falklands war with Argentina.

The classification of Cecil John Rhodes as a pioneer of great standing demonstrates just how far apart Zimbabweans are from the British establishment and its media magnates.

Despite being called all forms of vile words ranging from “cowards” to others that cannot be mentioned in polite society, the support of the AU to Zimbabwe is unquestionable. The reason that no African leader worth his salt would discredit the work the Government of Zimbabwe did in restoring a vital resource to its rightful people is because Zimbabwe is just but an example of the disparities left by colonialism.

The wave of attention and applause that President Mugabe received at the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma came as a surprise to most of our media friends who were expecting President Mugabe to ignored like a poor cousin. President Mugabe is a hero among his African brothers who acknowledge the sacrifices he has made fighting white oppression.

It was not cowardice that made the AU support Zimbabwe but it was the fact that as Africans they understood where President Mugabe was coming from and knew how it felt like to be in his shoes. The global media failed to understand this because to them the Zimbabwe case was judged by western standards, which were in fact a major cause of the problem in Zimbabwe.

Right at the beginning the AU made its position clear by stating that the inequitable colonial distribution of land where 1% of the population owned over 70% of the best arable land in Zimbabwe was the core of the political, economic and social struggle. Recognition was given to the fact that the British Government was frustrating the Land Reform Program by not only refusing to meet the commitments it made at the Lancaster House Conference but it was introducing extraneous political issues into the Land Question and by also attempting to internationalize a bilateral dispute between itself and Zimbabwe. Such bare facts have never seen the light of day in any western newspaper.

The AU also applauded Zimbabwe for its determination to engage Britain to resolve once and for all the land question and urged Britain to respond positively to Zimbabwe’s readiness to engage in dialogue. It condemned Britain’s move to mobilize European and North American countries to isolate and vilify Zimbabwe leading to the imposition of formal and informal sanctions. Again such bold facts and statements are never interrogated on any western TV channel. It seems as if they such facts do not exit.

If media reports from the western world were to be believed; the beneficiaries of the land reform have been largely political cronies. By focusing on a few individuals within Zanu PF structures who have benefited from the land reform program the media creates an illusion and yet people from all walks of life benefited from the Land Reform Program. Even those in the two MDCs have been allocated land through the reform process. MDC chief whip in the Senate, Senator Orbert Gutu was in fact one of the first beneficiaries of the Land Reform Program. He was allocated a farm in the Chinhoyi area where he tried among other things cattle ranching. Even now as the Inclusive Government makes strides many of his colleagues are clamoring to have land allocated to them as they have realized that agriculture is the way to go.

Almost all investments made in farming since the inception of the Land Reform Program in Zimbabwe have been through private individual efforts. Global media has chosen not to recognize and articulate these investments and opportunities. The truth is that land is key to economic development and for so long black Zimbabweans have been denied access to this resource and unless they fight for it, land will never be given back willingly.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Beware of naked capitalism!

Beware of naked capitalism!
Obert Gutu - Opinion
Thu, 14 May 2009 03:18:00 +0000

GLOBALLY, the inevitable demise of capitalism has been witnessed. It is not an accident that capitalism collapsed. Capitalism had fatal and life-threatening defects right from its birth as a refined version of feudalism. Its collapse, therefore, was a matter of when and not whether it would come tumbling down.

Any mode of production that slavishly advocates the maximisation of profit at whatever cost is inherently primitive, immoral and not sustainable in the long run. Put differently, the fanatical pursuit of profit as an end in itself became the greatest Achilles’ heel of naked capitalism.

Thus, for relatively new and emerging nation states such as Zimbabwe there are a number of valuable lessons to be learnt from the recent collapse of capitalism.

Capitalism was essentially put in place in order to benefit very few people at the perpetual expense of the majority.

This is the main reason why naked capitalism will invariably create a few super-rich billionaires amidst millions of toiling and struggling working class people.

Even in those countries where naked capitalism held sway; such as in North America and large parts of Europe, the majority of the people are destined to remain as workers whose whole lives revolve around the incurring of debts and the payment of bills.

Though apparently comfortable from the outside, the lives of these people are in reality a misery because they are eternally burdened to serving both long-term and short-term financial obligations such as house mortgages, utility bills and credit card debts.

No doubt, millions of the inhabitants of the so-called First World are virtual slaves to the system called naked capitalism.

They are mercilessly caught up in a system whereby only very few of them can liberate themselves from the agony of debt during the greater part of their productive lives.

This is the main fallacy of capitalism.

It will exude a semblance of affluence and prosperity from the outside but if one cares to look more closely, you will realise that this is fake because naked capitalism actually produces very few genuinely wealthy people and millions of patently poor people who are misled into believing that they are affluent because capitalism gives them access to loans, and in the process enslaves them for life.

Zimbabwe abounds with both natural and human resources.

I am reliably informed that we have, around the Bikita area, the world's second largest reserves of lithium; a very strategic natural resource especially taken into account the need for the world to look for renewable and more sustainable energy resources.

We have platinum that is currently worth more than gold in terms of value.

We have gold, diamonds and several other very strategic minerals. We have excellent soils suitable for agriculture combined with a beautiful tropical climate.

If we efficiently harness all our resources, ensure good governance and respect for private property rights, Zimbabwe will no doubt scale dizzy heights in the next decade or two.

But then we have to learn some very tough lessons from the demise of capitalism.

We should not structure our economic policies in a manner that will give rise to the emergence of a few billionaires in a sea of indigent peasants and workers.

In other words, Zimbabwe should not seek to re-invent capitalism in the sense that we knew it prior to its global collapse.

It is not in dispute that the United States of America epitomised capitalism in its most robust form.

For all its rabid demonisation of communism and socialism, America has not yet publicly acknowledged that capitalism has also collapsed.

We have also not been given a concise and honest explanation as to what exactly caused the collapse of naked capitalism.

The symptoms of the collapse of capitalism in the United States are chilling.

So far this year alone, more than 500 000 workers have lost their jobs.

Thousands of laid-off workers have failed to service their mortgages and as a result, many mortgages have been foreclosed rendering thousands of people homeless.

Long-awaited results of the US government’s stress test of 19 major banks show that nearly all of them are not in very good financial health. In fact, some of these banks are on the verge of collapse. Most of these banks will require additional capital in order for them to remain afloat. And we are talking of big banks here.

Although Bank of America and Wells Fargo do not need more money, they will be required to strengthen their reserves by converting tens of billions of dollars of other forms of capital to common equity.

Bank of America will need to increase these capital holdings by about US$34 billion and Wells Fargo by US$15 billion. Citigroup is the weakest of America’s banking giants and it requires US$5 billion in new capital. The only financially healthy bank so far in the United States is JP Morgan Chase; who will not require additional capital, thus paving the way for the bank to repay the government’s investment.

This clearly proves that even in America, the world’s largest economy worth about US$15 trillion dollars, naked capitalism has been fatally wounded.

It is worth noting that the world’s second largest economy, Japan, with a net worth of about $5 trillion, has also not been spared by the collapse of capitalism.

The American economy is in severe recession.

On Wednesday May 6, 2009, the American Senate approved a Housing Bill aimed at addressing the country’s growing foreclosure problem, including revamping a troubled government programme to prevent foreclosures.

The motor vehicle manufacturing industry is also in turmoil.

General Motors is on the verge of filing for bankruptcy although it has borrowed US$15,4 billion from the US government in the past six months.

Besides presently operating on a tax-payer funded lifeline, General Motors says it still needs up to US$30 billion to prevent collapse.

Such are the chilling statistics of the collapse of capitalism in corporate America.

But then some die-hard capitalists never learn.

Amidst all this financial mayhem and the laying off of thousands of workers in the US automobile manufacturing industry, General Motors, Chrysler and Ford executives flew on private jets to Washington to ask for government aid last year! And as if this was not enough, General Motors entertained 500 of its biggest customers at a luxury spa and golf course in Arizona last week.

General Motors shipped 150 cars and trucks to the event at the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spa and paid for airfare and hotel lodging for 90 percent of the guests.

This just goes to show that die-hard capitalists do not particularly care about the suffering of the majority of the retrenched workers.

Zimbabwe should avoid adopting an economic blue-print that will inevitably create two classes of people; a few super-rich individuals and a majority of indigent and debt-cripplled citizens.

After perusing the Short-term Emergency Recovery Programme document, I was left convinced that the Minister of Finance and his team have started on a correct footing and here is hoping that the long-term economic blueprint will also take note of the vagaries of pursuing naked capitalism.

I am not anti-business. All I am stating is that business without a sense of morality, humanity and fairness is inherently unsustainable.

I am not mourning the death of naked capitalism.

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite, Harare.