Saturday, June 06, 2009

(PROGRESS) Landmark court ruling could help tribes stop deforestation

Landmark court ruling could help tribes stop deforestation
Indigenous Malaysians Empowered to Protect Land

A landmark ruling by the Malaysian courts has granted indigenous tribes land rights that could help them stop deforestation and the expansion of oil palm plantations on their traditional terrains. This 2009 article is circulated by OneWorld, May 13, and is from Survival International, May 8.
by Survival International

A landmark ruling made by the Malaysian courts this week could allow tribes on the island of Borneo to stop logging and oil palm plantations destroying their forests.
The Malaysian Federal Court ruled that indigenous people in Sarawak, in the Malaysian part of Borneo, have rights to land they use for hunting and gathering as well as land they use for growing food.

Previously, the Sarawak government did not recognize tribal peoples' rights over their traditional land unless they could show that they had grown crops there.

The Penan and other tribes in Sarawak are desperately trying to stop logging and oil palm companies razing the forests they rely on for their survival.

The Sarawak government has, until now, required indigenous people to provide evidence that they have cultivated their land for many years before it will recognize their rights. This has made it impossible for the Penan, who are hunter-gatherers and grow very little of their food, to protect their land.

The Sarawak state government has leased the Penan's land out to logging and oil palm companies without consulting the tribe. The destruction of their forests scares away the animals they hunt, pollutes the rivers and kills the fish, so that many Penan have real difficulty finding food.

Tribes in Sarawak have filed around 200 land rights cases, but most are facing long delays in the court system.

OneWorld: According to the Borneo Resources Institute of Malaysia and the World Wildlife Fund in Indonesia, "land disputes [are] emerging as one of the biggest problems associated with palm oil," says the Associated Press (AP).

Reporting on a two-day environmental summit on palm oil, AP notes, "Indonesia and Malaysia, the world's top two palm oil producers, have aggressively pushed to expand plantations amid a rising demand for biofuels, which are considered cleaner burning and cheaper than petrol."

Palm oil is also used as a "vegetable oil" in consumer goods such as frozen fried foods and shampoo.

Corporations have long been razing forests on the Southeast Asian island nations to make way for large plantations of the resource.

"The situation is getting critical at the moment," said Kalyana Bujang, director of the Borneo Resources Institute of Malaysia, referring to the displacement of local communities at the hands of palm oil producers. "The communities are caught unaware. They don't know what to do, or where to go."

Palm oil plantations are increasingly replacing some of the Earth's most biodiverse ecosystems, including rainforests, grasslands, and peat swamps in South America, Southeast Asia, the Pacific, and Africa.

Clearing these lands releases enormous amounts of greenhouse gases and poses a huge threat to dwindling plant and animal biodiversity. The establishment of palm oil plantations also forces small farmers and indigenous communities off of their traditional land, violating traditional and Indigenous land rights.

The workers employed on palm oil plantations face abuse, harsh working conditions, unfair pay, and exposure to toxic pesticides.

To learn more about the harmful effects of palm oil plantations, visit the Rainforest Action Network's campaign site. click here

JJS: The geoist ethic requires us to share the surplus annual rental value of sites and resources. So, if corporations knew they could no longer hog the lion’s share of palm oil, would they still be so eager to extract it?

The geoist ethic also requires us to use Earth sparingly, and to pay not just land dues but also Ecology Security Deposits and premiums for Restoration Insurance. Having to bear the full costs, again, would corporations be so bent upon extraction?

The geoist ethic, besides expecting us to pay land dues, also grants us Earthlings full title over our labor and capital, meaning we should not have to pay taxes on either. Besides extraction, there are other remunerative uses of forests, such as eco-tourism. If tourists were not taxed at home, they’d have more money to visit the jungles at Borneo.

Finally, if we followed the geoist ethic, and paid our society not for the values we create but for the values we take, and if our society did not subsidize special interests but disbursed rent dividends to us all equitably (a la Alaska’s oil dividend), then the pace of techno-progress would be so fast that pretty quickly we’d come up with an eco-friendly substitute to logging jungles for palm oil.

Because the world was designed to work right for everyone.


Jeffery J. Smith runs the Forum on Geonomics.

Also see:
Same old story -- less habitat, more pollution

It's a dirty job but somebody's got to do it

A cost benefit analysis of trees vs logs

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Rupiah’s propensity for leisure, pleasure

Rupiah’s propensity for leisure, pleasure
Written by Editor

A president of a country must take the plight of the people seriously. Presidents are employed every five years to look after our common interests. It is their job to ensure that this nation that we call our home is functioning properly. The interests of citizens cannot always be the same. But there must be things that qualify to be our common interest. Issues about which there should be no frivolous disagreement.

A president should take such matters seriously. This is what one would expect of Rupiah Banda. But it seems even expecting the basic minimum from Rupiah is expecting too much.

Rupiah’s propensity for leisure and pleasure is so blinding that he fails to appreciate very simple things. It seems his imagination and creativity is at its best when he is planning to engage in one pleasure or the other. This man does not seem to have the time to worry about the many problems that our country is facing.

This is why Rupiah is ready to leave State House on a trip to almost anywhere on any day. He seems to enjoy travelling and he will create every excuse to abandon his post for the jaunt to some destination. This lack of seriousness is blinding Rupiah from seeing the problems that have engulfed him. He is behaving like an addict looking for the next fix – the next pleasure. This is not the psychology of a man who does great things. This is the psychology of a parasite.

Rupiah will enjoy all that the state has to offer and give back nothing. In fact, we can almost bet our last ngwee on it. Rupiah will leave Zambia poorer than he found it. His behaviour is not the behaviour of a president ready to move the country forward.

We are not just being critical of Rupiah for nothing. His has the most important job in our country. The aspirations and prosperity of our people to a significant extent rest on his shoulders. We are not saying that Rupiah on his own can develop Zambia. No. We are simply saying his office has put him in a position where he should be able to make very significant contributions to the development of our country.

But Rupiah is not in the mood for hard work. We really wonder how many hours he spends actually working. At the moment, the country is going through some very serious problems. Just yesterday, we were highlighting the crisis that has emerged in the public sector with the many strikes and industrial action currently underway. These strikes mean that some people somewhere are dying because there are no medical personnel to attend to them and yet as we said yesterday, Rupiah is quiet. We don’t get the impression that this problem is being treated as a matter of great importance.

If Rupiah just kept quiet and did nothing strange, somebody might believe that maybe he is working on it. But this is not the impression we are getting.

Rupiah is at it again, very true to form and character. At a time when he is not saying anything meaningful about the crisis that has engulfed our medical sector, he has the energy and presence of mind to leave State House and head to the Copperbelt, Chililabombwe in particular, to go and watch football, bola, leisure!

This is Rupiah for you. When people are dying in hospitals because his government is failing to deal with the crippling strike in the medical sector, Rupiah is headed for the grandstand at Konkola Stadium. This is mockery to our people. Rupiah is not serious. This is why we say he thinks he is in State House for leisure and pleasure.

One would expect that Rupiah would be spending some time thinking about the many challenges that our country has. He is behaving like a guest who arrives in a home and immediately asks for the kitchen so that he can eat before he even understands the geography of the house.

Rupiah is in a hurry to enjoy every pleasure that State House can afford. That is why he needs to go for a holiday twice in five months. What kind of President is this? What kind of leader do we have?

This is why although Rupiah has done nothing to convince anybody sincere that he is fit to run the country, he is already declaring his interest in standing in 2011. At a time when our country is going through many difficulties, we would expect that Rupiah would work very hard to address these difficulties. And on the back of such delivery ask people to elect him in 2011.

There is something wrong in a person who has been running a scandal-ridden government for nine months, begins to campaign for the presidency which is not due until 2011. What is the rush? When is he going to deliver to the people if he is going to be in constant campaign mode? Indeed, when is Rupiah going to deal with the many questions that people are asking?

For a while now, we have been talking about the corruption and systematic theft of public resources that has been exposed over the last few weeks. We don’t get the impression that Rupiah is prepared to deal with these matters in an impartial, honest and professional manner. His reaction is all part of the campaign mode in which he is thrusting himself. It is mere cheap politicking.

We say this because apart from the Ministry of Health scandal, there are other scandals that we have exposed. But none of those has been handed over to the law enforcement agencies for investigations. We are still waiting with keen interest to see what Rupiah is going to do about the hearses story. Sylvia Masebo has asked for permission to talk. But does Rupiah have the time to deal with such issues? To him these are not important matters. According to him, our people don’t deserve to know.

If Rupiah is genuine about fighting corruption, let him give Masebo the permission to talk because as Charles Milupi correctly observed, Benny Tetamashimba is suggesting that there was corruption or even worse, there was theft of public resources in the procurement of the hearses. The people deserve to know. These are public matters and public resources.

With all these serious matters going on, particularly the strikes in the hospitals, it is tasteless and ill-advised for Rupiah to spend public resources going to watch a soccer match. He would have done well to allow our people to enjoy the match without being reminded of the crisis we are in.

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Friday, June 05, 2009

MMD needs a winnable candidate, says Katele

MMD needs a winnable candidate, says Katele
Written by Katwishi Bwalya and Patson Chilemba
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:17:44 PM

MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba has said the party needs to adopt a winnable candidate at the party's national convention in view of the political pact between the PF and the UPND. And Chisamba MMD member of parliament Moses Muteteka has said the pact between the PF and the UPND is a wake-up call to the ruling party.

Commenting on the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) whose focus is to remove the MMD from power, Kalumba yesterday said the party was not threatened by the pact between the two opposition parties.

However, he said the MMD members needed to maintain unity and remain focussed.

"The most important thing is unity within the party. Once we are united as a party we will achieve something. And unity comes from a shared sense of purpose [and] focus on a common goal. The more divided in terms of our leadership the less chance we have," Kalumba said.

"We need to fight for our common good, and that is putting up a winnable candidate. And I am happy that our members throughout the country seem to be reaching some consensus that we can have the unity at the convention."

He said the political pact between PF and UPND was based on regional politics coming as a result of cracks in their political parties. Kalumba said the pact should not be measured as a sign of strength for the two parties.

"In fact as national secretary for MMD I anticipated this a long time ago because I saw their cracks within their ranks and when people have serious cracks it is the only way out for them," Kalumba said.

"It is not the measure of their strength but in fact it is a measure of their weakness and the thesis behind this kind of pact is regionalism that UPND has a base in the south and Mr Sata has a base somewhere in the north. Regional politics is not a foundation for ruling Zambia, that is why we beat them last time on the basis of the same principal that they were being regional."

And Muteteka said the pact between PF and the UPND was just a political joke because the two parties never consulted their grass roots.

"Politically, it is an issue already because you are playing with the minds of the people. The pact is a wake up call to the ruling party because we have seen that the enemies are multiplying to remove us from power and we must defend this because the country risks going backwards," Muteteka said.

"We cannot have presidents like Sata to lead the country; I think he has had his life in politics, we have to go for a new generation [and] Hakainde is young and brilliant but I think he must put his house in order."

He wondered how a Bemba president and a Tonga president would work together.

"I am wondering if at all they had carried out very extensive consultations because PF should be mindful of their members and equally UPND should be mindful of their members and I don't think these two leaders consulted the grass root for them to go into that because for me this is a political joke they are trying to attempt," Muteteka observed.

"And it is not the best solution to remove MMD from power. I am a member of parliament from Chisamba and I am MMD and I know how strong I am with my party in Chisamba so I don't have members of PF and I don't have members of UPND."

He said PF and UPND were just trying to create political confusion in the country because they were playing to the gallery.

"This is just political confusion they are bringing in this country [because] the two don't mean well to each other to start with it is not going to work out there. A Bemba president and Tonga president wouldn't agree to look after the affairs of the majority of this country. They are just playing to the gallery," Muteteka claimed.

"I don't think this is a right time to go into such. Let them study the political mood in the country and let them consult and if they have the capacity let them engage a political consultant to analyse the issues in this country otherwise they are just giving us an upper hand. And they are just promoting MMD to grow bigger because most of their members would be coming to MMD."

Chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha charged that PF president Michael Sata and UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema had entered into a 'marriage of convenience' because they were under pressure from their cadres for losing popularity in the country.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the pact between the two parties would not succeed.

He said both Sata and Hichilema had been involved in electoral pacts in the past, which had failed to work.

"Mr Hichilema made a pact before with [late] president [Levy] Mwanawasa when he went to State House and shook hands, saying he would support president Mwanawasa. But when he left the house he changed his mind. He entered into an alliance called UDA but that did not work. And what happened with Mr Sata's electoral pact with [ULP leader] Sakwiba Sikota?" Lt Gen Shikapwasha asked.

"It is one of those under pressure marriages. They are having pressure from their cadres to unite because they are losing popularity. This is a face-saver."

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the MMD was not threatened and would continue with the good work it was doing.

He said MMD had a capable team of hard workers to ensure money in people's pockets.

"And they [people] are having money in their pockets," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "You think this is a pact that can threaten MMD? You will see when elections come, they will split. Mr Sata was saying that Mr Hichilema is under-five, and do you think he has graduated from being under-five now?"

He said the PF were just politicking when their councils had failed to perform.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha claimed that even pictures of Sata and Hichilema in yesterday's Post edition showed that the two leaders were not happy to enter into a pact.

MMD chairperson for elections Mike Mulongoti said the PF and UPND's electoral pact was not supported by any ideological reasons because both Sata and Hichilema wanted the Republican presidency so much that it hurt.

Mulongoti said there was more that divided PF and UPND than what united them. He said the only thing that were common between Sata and Hichilema was the fact that they were both losing presidential candidates. Mulongoti said both had lost their secretary generals and were known to support tribal inclinations in politics.

"What divides them is that they belong to what I call desperate united. They all want the presidency so much that it hurts. So it will be difficult for them to decide who becomes president ultimately," he said.

Mulongoti echoed Lt Gen Shikapwasha's sentiments that President Rupiah Banda's government was performing and those who were speaking ill were opposition voices. He said those in opposition wanted to say that the current regime had done nothing during the elections in 2011.

Mulongoti said he knew party members in PF and UPND who had expressed hopelessness in the two parties, saying this was the time to join the MMD.

"In my father's house there are many rooms," said Mulongoti.

PF and UPND on Thursday signed an MoU whose focus is to remove the ruling MMD from power. According to the joint communiqué signed by Sata and Hichilema, the two parties would work together on all matters of national importance.

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Milupi asks Teta to explain abuse of funds

Milupi asks Teta to explain abuse of funds
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:15:31 PM

PARLIAMENTARY Public Accounts Committee chairperson Charles Milupi has asked Benny Tetamashimba to explain the abuse of funds which he implied to have been committed during former local government minister Sylvia Masebo's administration.

Commenting on local government minister Tetamashimba's challenge to his predecessor Masebo to explain to Zambians what transpired in the purchase of hearses, speedboats, Keep Zambia Clean campaign vehicles and other projects during her tenure, Milupi said it was the responsibility of those in government to explain any wrongdoing, which could have been committed by government officials.

"When honourable Tetamashimba writes a letter in the manner he has written, especially asking his predecessor to explain a number of issues on hearses, Keep Zambia Clean and speedboats, the Lusaka Girls plot, it's a clear indication that Tetamashimba is implying that there was something wrong. He is implying that public funds have been abused by officials in government including the former minister," Milupi said.

"We are concerned as citizens because we are saying that there is gross abuse of the government system and because of that, it disadvantages Zambians especially that he is saying that the speedboats which were bought are not fit. It also implies that Tetamashimba has answers. He has access to documents. He knows exactly what has happened."

Milupi said where there was abuse of public resources, government should provide answers. He said government, through Tetamashimba should therefore explain what transpired rather than asking Masebo to do so.

Milupi said Tetamashimba should explain the transaction on the hearses, since people like Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata had raised observations that US$20,000 was pocketed on each of the 100 hearses that were purchased by government.

"Tetamashimba says he paid for those things in December, and December was long after Masebo had left office. So we want to know, is Sata right when he says they cost US $9,000? And who authorized the payment? Who was corrupt, is it the one who ordered or initiated or the one who varied the price?" Milupi asked.

"So, the Ministry of Local Government, through Tetamashimba has got all the answers. Records are kept, rather than telling Masebo to explain, he should give us answers himself."

Milupi said if Masebo did something wrong, then it was up to government to instruct law enforcement agencies to take action.

He said Tetamashimba should explain the wrong that Masebo might have committed, saying his assertions were not just mere political matters but something to do with public funds.

"On the Lusaka Girls land, what happened? We noticed that real construction began to take shape when the new administration took place. If they have chosen that, that is how government operates by writing letters to The Post then they need to provide real answers, not leaving Zambians in suspense," Milupi said.

He said even on the Keep Zambia Clean campaign vehicles, Tetamashimba should explain and not take the Zambian people for granted, saying both he and President Rupiah Banda served in late president Levy Mwanawasa's administration.

"So, we should not be implying that these things were happening in Levy Mwanawasa's time. Where is collective responsibility?" asked Milupi. "He has raised implications that there is corruption, he is the one who should give us answers. If there is abuse of authority, then they should tell us answers."

Tetamashimba recently challenged his predecessor Masebo to explain to Zambians what transpired in the purchase of hearses, speedboats, Keep Zambia Clean campaign vehicles and other projects during her tenure.

In his letter dated May 31, 2009 to Masebo and copied to Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kanganja, Post editor Fred M'membe and his permanent secretary Coillard Chibbonta, Tetamashimba stated that Masebo bought 150 vehicles for the Keep Zambia Clean campaign, hearses and unfit speedboats without involving him as her deputy then.

"RE: Hearses, Speedboats, Keep Zambia clean vehicles and plot at Lusaka Girls. There is no doubt that when you decided to buy the above-named, I did not know as it was all between you, your permanent secretary Mr Joe Ngo, director Z. Zulu and head of procurement. I was never part to any but as current minister, all falls under me," Tetamashimba stated.

Tetamashimba stated that Masebo confessed to Vice-President George Kunda that she was the architect of the project to buy hearses.

"You never involved me in your decision to purchase the hearses. Even the tender procedures as per records at this ministry were only privy to you and not to me," Tetamashimba stated.

But Masebo revealed that in line with the Cabinet handbook, she has applied for clearance from President Rupiah Banda to allow her as a former minister to divulge information on the transactions that took place during her tenure. Masebo said it was clear that there was a deliberate ploy to malign and dent her image.

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Lubinda warns Rupiah over MoH investigations

Lubinda warns Rupiah over MoH investigations
Written by George Chellah
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:13:38 PM

PATRIOTIC FRONT (PF) spokesperson Given Lubinda yesterday warned that President Rupiah Banda will face the wrath of Zambians if the investigations and prosecution over the K27 billion Ministry of Health scam is bungled. And Lubinda accused President Banda of interfering with the investigations, warning the investigative agencies involved to be careful and not mishandle the matter because they were answerable to taxpayers and not President Banda.

In an interview, Lubinda, who is also Kabwata member of parliament, said Zambians were waiting for the successful investigation and prosecutions over the K27 billion scam at the Ministry of Health.

"This is a matter of great concern for all Zambians and all Zambians are awaiting for successful prosecutions and handling of this matter. Bungling this matter shall be blamed on Rupiah Banda as President," Lubinda said.

"Rupiah Banda and all the people involved in these investigations will face the wrath of Zambians if they bungle these matters. The future generation will judge them harshly."

He accused President Banda of interfering with the on-going investigations in the K27 billion scam.

"The police and all those involved who have been receiving instructions from Rupiah Banda must be careful and not mishandle this matter. All of those involved in investigating and prosecuting this matter are on public trial," Lubinda said.

"If they don't handle this matter to the satisfaction of society they will be condemned collectively and individually. There is no room for any disgruntlement amongst the players. They are not answerable to Rupiah Banda but taxpayers."

Lubinda called for unity amongst the investigative agencies.

"All those involved must work together with one purpose to bring out the truth and for this to be our landmark case which shall be used to deter future corrupt incidents," he said.

He said Zambians did not want the matter to be investigated quietly.

"We are disappointed with the threat from Rupiah Banda and works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti urging the public to keep quiet on this matter," he said.

On local government minister Benny Tetamashimba's letter to his predecessor, Lubinda called for Tetamashimba's resignation.

"It's uncalled for, for a minister to be making accusations on colleagues in his own government of inappropriate. Irrespective of whether these people are still serving or are no longer ministers. What Tetamashimba is forgetting is that government like anybody or company operates on the basis of perpetual continuity," Lubinda said.

"What one minister does is taken over by the successor. If the new minister is convinced that his predecessor conducted himself in a corrupt manner it's the duty of that minister to institute forensic investigations. Tetamashimba is acting like a clown who survives on the gallery."

He challenged Tetamashimba to disclose the circumstances under which the hearses and boats were procured.

"The people are not interested whether or not Tetamashimba was consulted by Sylvia as deputy minister or not. Let him make a full disclosure on the circumstances under which this government went to procure the hearses and the speedboats. He must not run away from responsibility," Lubinda said.

"In the same way Rupiah mentioned that he had evidence against former finance minister Ng'andu Magande. What we are interested in is for Rupiah Banda to explain to Zambians who pocketed the US$ 2 million."

He advised Tetamashimba to separate personal hatred from national matters.

"Tetamashimba must own up and be honest with Zambians and remove personal hatred with others from the governance of this country. Tetamashimba has a personal agenda he must not use the public to advance that," said Lubinda.

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‘Involve traditional leaders, councils in securing land for ex-miners

‘Involve traditional leaders, councils in securing land for ex-miners
Written by Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:11:57 PM

MINE Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Rayford Mbulu has urged mining firms and the government to engage traditional leaders and councils in securing land for retrenched miners to pursue alternative livelihoods.

Officially opening the MUZ supreme council at Katilungu House in Kitwe yesterday, Mbulu noted that the prevailing economic situation may not guarantee immediate new jobs for those that had been retrenched and that this therefore entailed the need for former miners to be resettled and empowered with land.

He said empowering ex-miners with land could also assist them in accessing finances from institutions such as the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to enable them become entrepreneurs.

And Mbulu urged political leaders to regularly visit mine operations and communities for them to appreciate the challenges miners were facing.

He lamented that miners were subjected to poverty, disease and squalor in addition to facing serious occupational health and safety problems.

"We have lost too many lives in mine accidents that we need to put our heads together to compel our investors to put health and safety issues on the mines, and casualisation as primary concerns and profits as a secondary pursuit," he said.

"In line with the promises that were made at the height of elections, we expect our leaders to be accountable to the people and to consult the people on issues and their priority areas of development for good roads, good schools, good hospitals, clean and affordable water, good sanitation and electricity."

Mbulu also called for unity among the MUZ membership saying there could only be one president at a time. He advised members to approach the union whenever they felt it had erred instead of subjecting it to great embarrassment through rumours and gossip.

"Opportunism can be a harzard. You can have zeal but zeal without knowledge can make you burn the whole village," observed Mbulu.

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Namugala urges sustainable management of environment

Namugala urges sustainable management of environment
Written by Kabanda Chulu, Margaret Habbuno and Mutuna Chanda
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:10:38 PM

ENVIRONMENT and natural resources minister Catherine Namugala yesterday said there was need to give a human face to environmental issues through empowering people to take active roles in sustainable and equitable management of the environment. And United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the economic and financial turmoil sweeping the world is a true wake-up call about the need to make a new transition towards a greener and cleaner development.

During commemorations to mark the 2009 World Environment Day, Namugala said climate change was a major challenge to sustainable development.

"Zambia has not been spared from the adverse effects of climate change. It has devastating effects on the country's economy and is a serious threat to the implementation of the fifth National Development Plan and the vision 2030," said Namugala.

"Specifically, the objective of this year's theme is to give a human face to environmental issues by empowering people to take active roles in the sustainable and equitable management of the environment, promoting an understanding that communities are pivotal to changing attitudes towards environmental issues and advocating partnerships which will ensure all nations and peoples enjoy safer and more prosperous future."

And his message to mark the environment day, Ki-moon stated that the earth was facing the grave threat of climate change.

And United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner said there was need for togetherness in sending a request titled ‘seal the deal’ to world leaders when they meet in Denmark later this year.

"We need to unite and send a simple request, in doing so, world leaders will be delivering perhaps the most transformational and far-reaching stimulus package of them all, now and for the coming decades," stated Steiner.

Citizens for a Better Environment (CBE) executive director Peter Sinkamba said it seemed that the battle against climate change was being lost.

Sinkamba said this was evidenced by the mounting challenges that the world faced such as droughts, storms and distorted weather patterns resulting from climate change.

"Our biggest problem has been climate change and the hottest years have been 1980 to date," said Sinkamba. "The problems are becoming huge and the United Nations and member countries believe that the only way we can probably reverse the impact of climate change is to raise awareness among our industries and our children."

He said the world had also seen various disasters including floods in Africa resulting from the change in climatic conditions.

He said Southern Province which used to be Zambia's breadbasket no longer fed the country owing to adverse climatic conditions.

He said the adverse climatic conditions that had distorted Zambia's weather patterns had affected the country so much that whenever it experienced a drought, it was termed as an emergency owing to its depleted maize stocks.

And Zambia Forestry College acting vice principal Richard Banda said many crop fields and houses were lost resulting from adverse weather conditions owing to climate change.

"A memorable example of the havoc climate change can wreck are the floods experienced in Mazabuka and Sinazongwe districts of Southern Province and Western Province where over 580 families were reported displaced by flash floods during the 2007 to 2008 and 2008 to 2009 rain seasons," said Banda.

And Patriotic Front Nkana member of parliament Mwenya Musenge called on government to include topics on climate change in science related subjects in primary and secondary schools.

He said this would make young people responsible irrespective of the careers they pursued.

And Youth Environment Network (YEN) Zambia executive director Billy Mwansa urged parliamentarians to push towards the direction of policy that protected the environment.



Mwale is abrogating the law, claims mining company

Mwale is abrogating the law, claims mining company
Written by Staff Reporters
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:08:21 PM

SW & GVA Mining Company Limited has accused mines and minerals development minister Maxwell Mwale of abrogating the law when he allegedly contributed to the rejection of its application for a prospecting permit in Mumbwa district in favour of another firm believed to belong to a senior government official.

But Mwale argued that SW & GVA Mining Company Limited has a right to seek recourse on the matter to any legally established institution in Zambia.

In a letter dated May 15, 2009 addressed to Mwale and copied to his director of mines and Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) director general, SW & GVA Company Limited director and company secretary Sahani Nkhoma stated that Mwale's action was tantamount to abuse of his office when he allegedly linked PATKAT, which belongs to a daughter and son-in-law of a senior government official, to take over a site which was supposed to be given to SW & GVA Mining Company Limited for mining activities.

"...Appeal against the rejection of our application for small scale prospecting permit and approval of the same in favour of PATKAT Mining and Construction over our area of application due to misrepresentation of facts by MAC secretariat to the 10th MAC sitting: Reference is made to your minute dated 24th February, 2009 in which you are trying to throw me in the air by pretending not to attend to issues raised in my appeal letter dated 30th December, 2008 despite your promises to call for a round table meeting between ourselves and Mr Hary Sibbenga the country manager for Luiri Gold Mines when I called on you on two occasions, unfortunately you have chosen not to do so but instead put your wrong acts on record," Nkhoma stated.

"With my layman's knowledge I have difficulties to accept that as Hon. minister of mines you have a legal right in accordance with the mines and minerals development Act No. 7 of 2008 to link a would be investor to an incumbent licence holder as per paragraph three of your letter dated 24th February, 2009 addressed to me. Section 10 of the same Act is very clear on the procedure of obtaining a consent letter by an applicant unless you are an applicant or you have expressed interests in the same application. Otherwise my humble understanding is that you play the role of an appeal body. And that should an investor call upon your office, your portfolio is that of acting through your technocrats for appropriate advice and necessary information. How come you happen to know this same investor by the name of his child?"

He stated that Mwale's action in the whole process on the matter had created a serious conflict of interest.

"I wonder how you would play the role of an appeal body on this matter without being impartial. I have now confirmed that what some members of the MAC secretariat told me that they acted under undue pressure from the 'higher authority' is true and your statement to me in our first meeting in your office on the 2nd of January, 2009 that the Cadastre office stinks, now I know who contributes this stinking to the Cadastre office," Nkhoma stated.

"Your action on this case Hon. minister is tantamount to abuse of office and I don't know why other relevant wings of government would not be informed about it especially that you are trying to throw me in the air."

He stated that the country manager of Sibbenga had contradicted himself in his correspondence with him [Nkhoma].

"Nevertheless may I also confirm that I received the letters from the country manager for Luiri Gold Mines addressed to the director of mines dated 27th January, 2009 via an e-mail dated 20th February, 2009 to which I responded via an e-mail too on the 25th February, 2009 with a copy to the acting director of mines where I informed him about his inconsistence. I also advised him to stop acting under external pressure as he was conflicting with himself because my investigation had revealed that the true promoter of PATKAT is a very senior and sensitive government official," stated Nkhoma.

"By copy of this minute the director general of Anti Corruption Commission is informed to follow up this case and I attach your letter dated 24th February, 2009 together with my appeal letter for their appropriate action."

But in response, Mwale in his letter dated June 1, 2009 stated that SW & GVA Mining Company Limited had a right to seek recourse to any legall- established institution in Zambia.

"... Appeal against the rejection of your application for small scale prospecting permit and approval of the same in favour of PATKAT Mining and Construction over your area of application due to misrepresentation of facts by MAC secretariat to the 10th MAC sitting: I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 15th May, 2009 on the above said subject and have taken note of the contents therein," stated Mwale in his letter which was copied to his permanent secretary Dr Godwin Beene and ACC director general.

"May I underscore the fact that it is your right to seek recourse to any legally-established institution in the land. I pray that Mr Kaluba Musenda Simuyemba, executive director of Anti-Rigging (Z) Lt correctly reported my discussions with him to you."

In another letter dated February 24, 2009 to Nkhoma copied to Sibbenga and the director of mines in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, Mwale advised Nkhoma, if he had any queries to direct them to Liuri Gold Mines Limited.

"... Appeal against the rejection of your application for small scale prospecting permit and approval of the same in favour of PATKAT Mining and Construction over your area of application due to misrepresentation of facts by MAC secretariat to the 10th MAC sitting: I write to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 30th December, 2008 on the above said subject. This was followed up by your personal calls at the office at two different occasions," stated Mwale.

"Find attached hereto an e-mail correspondence between Luiri Gold and yourselves which should settle the matter. May I put it on record that the only role my office played just like on a number of occasions is to link up a could be prospective investor who desires a consent to an incumbent mining right area holder. With the foregoing, if you have any further queries, you follow them up with Luiri Gold Mines Ltd."

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MMD suspends youth chairman for urging Rupiah to curb corruption

MMD suspends youth chairman for urging Rupiah to curb corruption
Written by Mulimbi Mulaliki in Solwezi
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:07:15 PM

THE MMD in Solwezi has suspended provincial youth chairman Newton Malwa for urging President Rupiah Banda to curb corruption in the party. In a letter of suspension addressed to Malwa, North Western province vice chairman Pinakin Patel stated that Malwa had been suspended for three months.

"You have repeatedly stated that some provincial executive committee and district committee members have been receiving monies from Hon Magande for campaigns in Solwezi through Western Union," read the suspension letter in part.

"You gave information to the print media - Times of Zambia on June 2, 2009 in particular where you were quoted as having information on the conduct of certain NEC members, whom you have alleged of funding campaigns during the run-up to Solwezi district elections. You also through the same statement alleged that the same NEC members were dividing the party in the province which you have failed to substantiate."

Patel who is also chairman for the disciplinary committee charged that Malwa using his own authority had issued press statements at random without getting clearance from either the provincial chairman or the provincial secretary.

"You and your provincial youth secretary Felix Mwenze have openly aligned yourselves and campaigned for your preferred candidates in the district. You have been informing members that both Solwezi district executive committee and provincial executive committee are going to be dissolved," stated Patel.

But when contacted for a comment Malwa refused to comment saying he would leave it to the NEC to deal with his suspension.

MMD members in North Western Province are divided with one camp supporting President Banda while another camp is campaigning for N'gandu Magande as president and Katele Kalumba as his vice.

Sources within the party said this led to President Banda to cancel the district lections which were supposed to be held because it seems most members were not for him but Magande to be adopted in 2011 as presidential candidate.

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Muchima gives Chinyama ultimatum to withdraw attacks against him

Muchima gives Chinyama ultimatum to withdraw attacks against him
Written by Moses Kuwema
Friday, June 05, 2009 11:04:52 PM

MWINILUNGA West MMD member of parliament Elijah Muchima has given Rodwell Chinyama a seven-day ultimatum to withdraw the attack on his character failure to which he would take legal action.

Chinyama who claims to be the MMD branch chairman for Mwinilunga West accused Muchima of manipulating the party elections by ferrying most of his cadres from rural places to contest district elections.

However, in a statement, Muchima challenged Chinyama to tell the nation about his position in the MMD and when he was elected as Mwinilunga West branch chairman, and his party card number.

“Chinyama has never resigned from All People’s Congress party where he is a chairman. MMD has never changed rules and regulation for dual membership,” Muchima stated.

He urged Chinyama to resign from his party and join the MMD and be a member who should follow the party’s rules and regulations, not bringing confusion.

Muchima stated that the village where he comes from, Chinyama is not even known adding that instead people know him as a crook.

“Mr Chinyama has no reputation to talk about, he is my dependant and I support him financially and materially, he is just biting the finger that feeds him,” he stated.

Muchima charged that Chinyama was being used by three constituency officials who were scared of elections because of their malpractices during the last elections where they did not account for the money given to them.

“They are also scared of the youth empowerment fund which some of them are implicated and I am an advocate of transparency and accountability,” he added.

Muchima stated that Chinyama should be charged for impersonating as MMD branch chairman adding that he also trespassed at his house.

He stated that it was necessary to involve all the wards to elect their leaders because that was what the party constitution stated.

Meanwhile, some MMD officials in Mwinilunga district have refuted allegations by Chinyama that he was a branch chairman for Mwinilunga West Constituency.

This was contained in a letter signed by Jackson Chilengi (MMD district secretary), Edwin Sawomba (Mwinilunga West chairman), Goodson Kapaku(Mwinilunga West secretary), Jameson Kalilombe (MMD district treasurer), Alex Moyela (district vice secretary), Daniel Manjomba (MMD district youth chairperson), Francis Mubambe (youth vice chairman) and Rodgers Lukwesa (youth publicity)

During a joint meeting held on Tuesday, the members discovered that Chinyama was not a member of the MMD but the All People’s Congress party.

The members stated that allegations labelled against Muchima were not true because he only came to the aid of the district party leadership by contributing towards the constituency elections after it was discovered that the party had no capacity to carry out the elections.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Party cadres responsible for journalist harassment by the public-MISA

Party cadres responsible for journalist harassment by the public-MISA
Friday, June 5, 2009, 11:53

Henry Kapoko's sister Angela harrassing Zambia Daily mail photojournalist John Ngoma at the Lusaka magistrate court

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says lack of action on cadres that are bent on harassing journalists has led to some members of the public to emulate them in harassing journalists.

MISA Zambia Chapter Chairperson Henry Kabwe says it is sad that the violence against journalists in the country by some political party cadres is being emulated by some members of the public.

Mr. Kabwe’s sentiments come in the wake of reports that on Wednesday, this week, relatives of the former Human Resource Officer in the Ministry of Health Henry Kapoko harassed journalists who had gone to cover his case at the Lusaka Magistrates’ Court complex.

He called for decisive steps to be taken against the cadres in order to put an end to the harassment of journalists by cadres as other members of the general public might to be inclined to emulate the actions of the cadres.

Mr. Kabwe urged both the ruling and opposition political party leadership to order their cadres to stop the violence and harassment of journalists.

“We are calling upon presidents of both the ruling and opposition parties to ensure that they order party cadres of their respective political parties to stop violence against journalists. We are also urging them to make responsible statements that can not spark violence,” Mr. Kabwe stated.

He told ZANIS in Lusaka today that MISA is concerned that grievances against journalists have not been dealt with promptly and conclusively. Mr. Kabwe further noted that it is unfortunate that the harassment of journalists in the country is beginning to attract regional and international attention. The Post has since written to SADC requesting the regional bloc to intervene in the harassment of its journalists.

And the MISA Chairperson has accused cadres from a named political party of having created an impression that journalists in the country discharge their duties unprofessionally. He said journalists in the country have always striven to discharge their duties professionally amid a working environment which has at times not been conducive.

Mr. Kabwe said there is need for politicians and other stakeholders in the country to support existing media institutions. He however, also urged media institutions in the country to unite and support one another in order to win public confidence.

“We are urging journalists to support their colleagues that are being harassed and not detach themselves. The media must streamline their operations and work towards getting public confidence,” he said.

Of late some journalists have been physically harassed and expelled from meetings where public officers had been officiating.


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A government in crisis

A government in crisis
Written by Editor

One cannot call others to virtues that he or she is not prepared to live by. Hypocrisy is giving the impression that one is something, or does something which is not the case. Hypocrites tell others to do what they say and not what they do.

Every leader, in whatever organisation or formation, needs to watch against the danger of hypocrisy. The best way to lead is to do as the word itself suggests – lead, be in front. It is not possible to be a principled leader by leading from behind. A principled leader leads by example. A good leader is careful to ensure that whatever they do helps them in the course of their leadership.

He or she is always questioning themselves, checking to see whether what they are doing is consistent and helpful to the cause that they lead.

This kind of leadership far from being an exercise in self-aggrandisement is about sacrifice. In many instances, such leadership demands denying oneself things that you might legitimately be entitled to.

We see examples of this kind of leadership in many everyday circumstances. Sometimes we do not even recognise it as leadership because such leadership can be so self-effacing.

Our mothers, and many of our womenfolk exercise this kind of leadership in a quiet but effective way. They raise families in many instances by denying themselves many legitimate pleasures of life to make it possible for their children to have a better life. We wish things were different, and we hope that one day they will. But what we are saying is reflective of what actually happens.

Anyone who has ever studied any amount of human psychology will agree with us that although many of our womenfolk exercise a lot of sacrifice in the leadership that they provide in the home setting, their leadership is very effective. There are few organisations that are run as efficiently as a home run by a humble mother trying to meet the needs of her family with very limited resources. There is almost no limit to the ingenuity that they employ to ensure that their children are provided for.

This is true leadership. Humble leadership, sacrificial leadership.

We know that we will be expecting too much of Rupiah Banda and his friends to ask them to give us the leadership that we have just described above. We have come to accept that we cannot expect Rupiah and his friends to know anything about leading from the front. Asking them to be humble leaders, to be caring and humane is asking for too much according to them. When we remind them that they are running an uninspiring government full of opinionated characters, they say we are insulting them. But this is the truth. Rupiah and his friends have proved to the nation in a very short time that they did not come to work for the people. They came to work for themselves. In fact, if they had a way, the party and its government would be called Rupiah & Sons. They have come into town to look after themselves. We can’t expect them to listen to the cries of the people. They did not come to feed the people, to make sure that their needs are met. The best description that we have heard of what Rupiah stands for is what old man Daniel Munkombwe said; ‘This is politics of benefits.’

Against this background, we are not surprised that there is deafening silence from the senior leadership in government about the growing crisis of the strikes and industrial actions in the country. Many hospitals and clinics, we are not talking about mobile hospitals, have been paralysed due to industrial action and yet Rupiah and his friends do not seem concerned at all.

For a very long time, our government has had many challenges in delivering medical services to our people. Our brothers and sisters who work in this sector have endured quite a lot. It would help if Rupiah and his friends dealt with them with sensitivity and respect.

Very few problems between any two people cannot be solved when both parties approach an issue and one another with sincerity and respect. But this is something that Rupiah is going to find very difficult in his presidency. He is failing to approach our people with sincerity and respect on almost all the issues that we are having to deal with as a nation.

How is Rupiah going to tell the health workers that he cannot meet their demands when the government is busy pushing and defending senseless projects such as the US $53 million container hospitals that they want to buy from China. How can they convince the health workers that they do not have the money when at the first opportunity they seem prepared to waste whatever little money the Zambian people have?

It will be difficult for Rupiah to ask the health workers to act sacrificially when he does not behave like a President who is ready to sacrifice anything in preference of the people.

As we stated earlier, good leadership knows how to sacrifice for the people it leads. Good leadership knows how to inspire. A humble leader inspires loyalty. A pompous and self-aggrandising leader may inspire fear but he cannot elicit true loyalty.

Since Rupiah was elected, he has done very little to show our people that he is truly interested in their welfare. And because of this, his every move causes suspicion.

As a President, Rupiah is entitled to travel and go away as often as he may like. But at a time when our people and country are facing many problems, Rupiah should have tried to exercise restraint.

How can he tell the health workers and other government employees who are striking that there is no money when he is always in the air spending what little money the government may have. It was only last month when Rupiah took a huge delegation, including his own grown-up children to Zimbabwe in what turned out to be a family outing to his birthplace in Gwanda. A delegation of almost 50 people to Zimbabwe!

What about his family jaunt to Mfuwe last December? All these things are playing out in full view of the public. Rupiah seems to be spending more time enjoying himself than working for the Zambian people. How is he going to ask the Zambian people to sacrifice when he does not seem ready to sacrifice anything?

Unless Rupiah changes the way he is carrying himself and begin to concentrate on honest measures that are going to inspire confidence in our people, the problems that we are seeing with the public sector strikes are just the beginning of many problems to come. Rupiah’s government is a government in crisis. Unfortunately for him, it is a self-made crisis born out of a refusal to lead by example.



PF, UPND team up

PF, UPND team up
Written by Patson Chilemba
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:56:54 PM

THE Patriotic Front (PF) and United Party for National Development (UPND) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) whose focus is to remove the ruling MMD from power.

According to a joint communiqué signed by PF president Michael Sata and UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, the two parties would work together on all matters of national importance.

"The Patriotic Front and the United Party for National Development this morning the 4th of June 2009 made the following landmark agreement.

Recognizing that:

(I) our two parties are the only representatives of the majority suffering masses of Zambia;

(II) The MMD has in the past taken advantage of the differences within the opposition to entrench corruption, massive inefficiency;

(III) the suffering of the Zambian people shall not end under the prevailing rule of the corrupt MMD; and

(IV) responding to the loud and growing appeal from our party members and the general public," the communiqué read in part.

The two parties stated that they had therefore started a long and difficult march in the same direction, not as one organisation but as two giants in Zambian politics.

"We do hereby commit ourselves to the following:

(1) our parties will work together at all levels on all matters of national importance;

(2) our parties will jointly provide more effective checks and balances on Rupiah Banda's corrupt MMD administration with immediate effect;

(3) we will provide an effective, formidable and unbeatable electoral challenge to the corrupt MMD in all elections and we demand early Presidential and Parliamentary elections," read the communiqué in part.

"We will lay the groundwork for an effective, accountable, efficient and pro-poor government to replace this most notorious, scandalous and corrupt MMD regime."

And addressing the media after signing the communiqué, Sata said he was confident that the MoU would succeed.

He said in the past such undertakings had not been successful because they were made during election time.

Sata said the PF and UPND were the only parties that could liberate the country.

He said the parties had agreed not to attack each other both inside and outside Parliament.

Sata said there were several people even in the MMD that would want to join PF or UPND but they were discouraged because of fragmentation in the opposition.

He said the two parties would go to all the parts of the country to liberate Zambians.

"UPND must recover their initial 49 seats," said Sata.

He said even when contesting possible by-elections in Katuba and Mpulungu or the upcoming by-election in Chitambo, the two parties would consider their geographical strengths.

Asked on who the two parties would adopt to contest presidential elections in 2011, Sata said the parties had just started working and there was need to first inculcate trust in each other.

Sata said between now and 2011, there would be attempts by MMD to destabilise the MoU but that PF and UPND were ready for such a challenge.

Hichilema said the MMD had miserably failed and people could attest to this even in their dreams.

He said the failed alliances of the past would be used as a stepping stone to achieve greater things.

"The milestone is to take MMD out," he said.

Hichilema said people shall not see fragmentation in the opposition anymore and that the parties would accelerate the pressure President Banda's government had exerted on itself.

He urged all Zambians of goodwill to join and support the MoU.

"The message I am giving you is, this process is meant to take away hyenas that are eating Zambians every day," said Hichilema.

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South Africa's Zuma to serve two terms - union

South Africa's Zuma to serve two terms - union
Written by Reuters
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:54:44 PM

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - New South African President Jacob Zuma will serve more than one term despite having previously said he planned to step down after five years, a union ally said on Friday. Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of trade union federation COSATU, said the union had discussed the matter with the president.

"He is not going to be a one-term president. And there's no discussions about it," Vavi said in comments broadcast on South Africa's Talk Radio 702 on Friday.

The presidency was not immediately available for comment, but local media quoted a ruling party spokeswoman as saying the matter had not been discussed by the African National Congress. The constitution allows presidents to serve two five-year terms.

South Africa's unions were instrumental in Zuma's rise to power within the African National Congress, which won a general election in April to maintain its dominance since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

The unions have become increasingly vocal in pushing Zuma for a policy shift to the left, but the government has said there can be no dramatic change while South Africa suffers its first recession in 17 years.

"The relationship with the ANC remains very, very strong," said Vavi

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Uganda sets ambitious energy projects by 2010 end

Uganda sets ambitious energy projects by 2010 end
Written by Jack Kimball
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:53:40 PM

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on Thursday that his east African nation would more than double its energy capacity by exploiting two gas deposits and completing two hydropower dams by the end of 2010. The ambitious targets were set to come to fruition as Uganda gears up for a national election in 2011, expected to be a hotly contested poll in which Museveni is likely to stand for another term.

Museveni is expected again to face opposition leader Kizza Besigye who hopes to unseat one of Africa's longest serving leaders.

"Cheap energy and transport will lower the costs of doing business in Africa and increase competitiveness," the former guerrilla leader told parliament.

Museveni said Uganda hoped to harness two gas fields for power generation. The Bujagali dam of 250 MW would come into operation at the end of next year, and the government would fund the 700 MW Karuma Falls -- delayed after a European contractor pulled out -- at a cost of $1 billion.

"We shall fund (Karuma) by ourselves. If other friends come in, they are welcome, but they must follow our plan," he said to cheers from lawmakers. Uganda currently generates some 550 MW, and power shortages remain a hindrance to growth, analysts say.

Investor interest is heating up for Uganda's hydrocarbon finds -- estimated at more than one billion barrels -- in Lake Albert where oil companies continue to announce new discoveries.

"The government is now focusing on development of a refinery," Museveni said. He also told parliament he wanted an oil pipeline that originates in Kenya to be "reverse flow" to allow Uganda to export crude.

Museveni said the economy had so far proven resilient in the face of a global economic slowdown. The average of a Reuters poll showed the nation would grow 5.5 percent in 2009.

Speaking at the opening of a new session of parliament, Museveni said his ruling party would continue to fight corruption, bringing jeers of derision from the opposition.

Uganda's ruling party has been rocked by graft scandals that have implicated some top ministers -- something the opposition hopes to exploit in the run-up to the 2011 poll.

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Kenya Airways posts US $73m loss

Kenya Airways posts US $73m loss
Written by Correspondent
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:52:21 PM

Kenya Airways (KQ) reported a loss of $73 million in the year to end March on Friday due to fuel hedge costs, after a revised pre-tax profit of $78 million a year earlier. The airline's Finance Director Alex Mbugua blamed the performance on the collapse of the oil price: "In September 2008, all hell broke loose, it fell like the Titanic."

One of Africa's leading carriers, Kenya Airways has a fuel hedge policy where it has fixed the price it will buy jet fuel until December 2010.

During the year to March, it reported a loss of $12 million from fuel derivatives after a 13 million gain the previous year. It also included an unrealised fuel hedging loss of 97 million for the period to the end of next year.

Kenya's post-election violence in the first quarter of 2008, last year's high oil prices and the effects of the global downturn also contributed to the loss.

Despite the difficult climate passenger traffic rose 2.3 percent, with strong growth of 15.7 percent in West and Central Africa. Passenger yields were up 6 percent.

The carrier declared a dividend of 1 shilling from its cash reserves, he told an investment briefing.

Like other airlines across the world, Kenya Airways was hit hard by last year's record high prices of crude oil, which peaked at $147 per barrel in July, before retreating this year on the global financial crisis. - Nation

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There’s no division over MoH probe, claims Wandi

There’s no division over MoH probe, claims Wandi
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe

THERE is no division among law enforcement organs in the manner the inquiry on the Ministry of Health is being handled, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) acting director general Rosewin Wandi has claimed. And Commissioner of Police Graphael Musamba said additional suspects in the K27 billion Ministry of Health corruption scam will be announced later.

During a joint press briefing by Zambia Police, Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) and the ACC, Wandi said the management of the joint inquiry was saddened by a report contained in The Post regarding assertions of frustrations among ACC officers in the manner the inquiry at the Ministry of Health had been progressing of late.

"A joint team of officers comprising officers from the Zambia Police Service, the Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission are working together on this matter. The magnitude of the investigation is complex with multiplicity of offences and extremely demanding," she said.

Wandi said it was incorrect to suggest that the inquiry had been hijacked because all law enforcement agencies had responsibilities within their mandate and no single agency could lay claim to the inquiry.

She said it was not correct to state that 'officers' from the ACC were unhappy when it was just one or two disgruntled individuals.

Wandi said all officers who were working on the investigation had taken part in the joint briefings and would continue to operate in that manner.

She said nothing would divert attention from the inquiry which had so far made substantial progress, and more arrests and additional charges would be brought.

Wandi warned officers on the inquiry to observe standing instructions on communication of information through the established channel and any information would be released through the joint command post.

"The command is taking firm measures to get to the root of the matter on the 'alleged frustration' and ensure that the person behind such irresponsible statements are dealt with firmly," she said "The command is confident that with the input of all the law enforcement agencies, the inquiry will be handled professionally to the logical conclusion."

Officers at the ACC on Thursday complained that the Zambia Police had hijacked the investigations and prosecution of former human resource manager in the Ministry of Health Henry Kapoko.

Well-placed sources within ACC revealed that the officers were frustrated with the engagement of the Zambia Police to take over the investigations and prosecution of Kapoko.

And Musamba said the joint command post had chosen the Zambia police to chair the investigations team and would issue statements after consulting with the other members.

He said arrests would be done by all the members of the joint investigative bodies as this was not the jurisdiction of one body.

Musamba said other arrests would follow but he was not in a position to say who and when as they relied on reports from people on the ground.

"In due course, we will release the information, at the moment we are not in a position to say that, let me just say that there will be additional suspects in due course. At an appropriate time, you will be told but we are not going to speculate that such and such a person will be arrested. As soon as the evidence yields in the investigations, we will be able to tell you what you want," he said.

On former Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr Simon Miti, Musamba said Dr Miti had not been arrested by the joint investigations team and that the public would know as soon as there was a new development.

He also said all dockets that would arise from the investigations would be availed to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

On calls for the investigations to be extended to other government departments, Musamba said the focus for now was on Ministry of Health and when time comes to investigate other government wings, they would progress accordingly.

He said there would be a second phase where everything pertaining to the recovery of other properties would be made public as people on the ground were still gathering information.

The ACC recently unearthed a scam at the Ministry of Health involving some officials where over K10 billion is allegedly to have been corruptly obtained.

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ACC officer testifies in ex-DEC officials case

ACC officer testifies in ex-DEC officials case
Written by Maluba Jere
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:48:41 PM

THE Lusaka Magistrates Court yesterday heard that warn and caution statements were recorded from former DEC commissioner Ryan Chitoba and his co-accused persons because they failed to give satisfactory explanations over the use of funds from the forfeiture and operations accounts.

Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) senior investigations officer Foster Hamuyube told Chief Resident Magistrate Charles Kafunda that when he recorded warn and caution statements, he also discovered that the two accounts were very active with K500m being deposited every month by the government but that there was no proper documentation to show how it was being spent.

This is in a case where Chitoba, his deputy Jacob Koyi and his assistant Charles Ndulumina are charged with theft of public funds amounting to about K344.8 million.

Particulars of the offence are that Chitoba, 53 of house number 6857 in Olympia Extension, Koyi, 53 of Plot 483/40A Linda Road in Makeni and Ndulumina, 37, of Plot 220 Chainama, stole K344,878,420 cash belonging to the Republic of Zambia between May 17, 2006 and April 30, 2007.

Hamuyuba told the court that Chitoba actually confirmed having given undisclosed amounts of millions to his assistant Charles Ndulumina but failed to give documentation or reasons to justify his actions.

He also said when Ndulumina was cautioned, he opted to remain silent.

“After it became clear that Koyi who was in charge of documentation of the accounts activities could not provide any further documents backing the various withdrawal of monies at the forfeiture and operations accounts with blessings from Chitoba, I decided to record warn and caution statements from them so that they could exculpate themselves,” he said.

Hamuyube said after investigations he also observed that the said accounts were opened using different forms obtained from the bank other than the ones government institutions used provided by the government itself and had Koyi and Chitoba’s signatures.

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Tighten up financial regulatory framework, ZACCI urges govt

Tighten up financial regulatory framework, ZACCI urges govt
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Friday, June 05, 2009 2:46:36 PM

ZAMBIA Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has challenged the government through the Bank of Zambia to tighten up financial market regulation framework to avoid speculative investment behaviour.

And ZACCI chief executive officer Justin Chisulo has said there is need to set up mechanisms to monitor the inflows of all remittances by Zambian nationals living abroad.

Making submissions to the parliamentary committee on economic and labour affairs on the impact of the global economic crisis on Zambia’s economy and stability of the financial markets, Chisulo said there was a direct link between the global economic downturn and the fall in the kwacha.

Chisulo explained that the economic downturn meant that demand for copper had reduced, resulting in reduced US dollar earnings.

“There were other factors that contributed to the fall but the predominant one is the fall in the price of copper. Unfortunately, those short-term investors also felt unsafe to continue investing in monetary instruments and thus pulled out their investments and the end result is a shortage of the hard currency and yet more and more demand on the US dollar is increasing, therefore exerting pressure on the treasury leading to instability of the exchange rate,” Chisulo said.

“So there is no doubt that the depreciation of the kwacha is partly attributable to the withdrawal of speculative investments and the current regulatory environment allowed this to take place hence the urgent need to tighten it up especially on this matter.”

He urged the government to act and not just talk about economic diversification.

“Dependence on one commodity [copper] for export earnings is a huge risk that the country shoulders on and it is time we diversify and not just talk about it and Zambia should borrow money from the IMF or the World Bank to assist in the stabilisation of the kwacha since a facility does exist and all we need to do is apply for it,” said Chisulo.

“And we should set up a committee to be making rational recommendations on a month-by-month basis on what is to be done to mitigate the effects of the downturn on the economy of the country and it should also set mechanisms to monitor the inflows of all remittances from our nationals working outside of Zambia.”

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Zuma to continue supporting Zimbabwe

Zuma to continue supporting Zimbabwe
Nancy Pasipanodya
Thu, 04 Jun 2009 03:49:00 +0000

SOUTH AFRICAN President Jacob Zuma has vowed to continue with efforts to support Zimbabwe in its economic recovery efforts under the banner of the Southern African Development Community.

The newly elected president, currently chairman of Sadc, said Wednesday that the regional grouping will continue to support Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government until the next general elections are held in the country.

In a state of the union address Zuma urged “all peace-loving countries of the world” to support the inclusive Government in Harare to help resolve the current political and economic problems confronting it.

"The plight of the Zimbabwean people has had a negative impact on the Sadc region, especially South Africa. We call upon all peace-loving countries in the world to support the inclusive Government to achieve economic recovery."

Zuma said problems in Africa, and Zimbabwe in particular, will impact on every nation in the region adding that it was important that neighbouring help Zimbabwe in its recovery efforts.

"We will support the peace efforts of the African Union and the United Nations on the African continent, including in the Saharawi Arab Republic and Darfur in Sudan.

"As the Chairperson of Sadc and Facilitator, we will participate in promoting inclusive Government until free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe," he said.

The South African president also vowed to continue with efforts to resolve the situation in Madagascar in his capacity as Sadc president.

"We will support efforts of the Sadc region to resolve the situation in Madagascar."

Zuma's statement is a blow to critics who expected President Zuma to take a hardline stance on Zimbabwe, especially after his predecessor Thabo Mbeki was criticized for his "quiet diplomatic" approach in resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe.

Former president Mbeki was the Sadc appointed facilitator in the power-sharing negotiations between Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.

Critics had expected the new president, who has close ties to the country's trade unions, to favour a shift away from former President Mbeki's policy.

MDC request for Sadc Extraordinary Summit

Sadc Executive Secretary Tomaz Salamao said the organization has not decided whether to hold yet another a extraordinary summit to help resolve the "outstanding issues" troubling the inclusive Government.

The MDC-T party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai referred the "outstanding issues" to the regional body which is the guarantor of the Global Political Agreement.

The agreement, signed by President Mugabe and the two MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara on September 15, paved the way for the formation of the inclusive Government.

The outstanding issues relate to the tenure of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

The MDC-T demands that the two be replaced as they say they were appointed unilaterally by President Mugabe.

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No need for another Sadc summit on Zim: Mutambara

No need for another Sadc summit on Zim: Mutambara
Ralph Mutema
Thu, 04 Jun 2009 03:26:00 +0000

DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER Arthur Mutambara says the country’s three principals to the Global Political Agreement and leaders of the major political parties have the capacity to resolve Zimbabwe inclusive Government's outstanding political issues without the assistance of Sadc.

The outstanding issues involve the appointments of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana

Speaking on the sidelines of an indigenisation workshop in Harare yesterday, he said the issue of Dr Gono and Mr Tomana’s appointments could be resolved internally without resorting to the guarantors of the GPA.

"Dr Gono and the Attorney-General Mr Tomana have the highest qualifications for the office, but what is only needed is the three-principals to agree on the appointments since they were appointed by President Robert Mugabe alone without the other two principals," he said.

The MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai resolved that the outstanding issues should be referred to Sadc and a special summit should be convened to find ways of resolving the sticking points.

Mutambara said debate around the appointments should not discourage potential foreign investors adding that there were more pressing issues confronting the country than these two appointments.

"We need to see Zimbabwe working again," DPM Mutambara said.

Mutambara's statement comes a few days after President Mugabe reiterated that the issue of Dr Gono’s appointment was not up for debate.

The President said the country would not have survived the West’s illegal sanctions had Dr Gono not done what he did.

Service chiefs, war veterans, senior Zanu PF officials and a number of non-governmental organisations as well as students’ representative bodies have also come out in support of Dr Gono and Mr Tomana.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) The Gordon Brown cookie crumbles

The Gordon Brown cookie crumbles
Thu, 04 Jun 2009 03:08:00 +0000

FIGHTING FOR POLITICAL SURVIVAL: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is set to reshuffle Cabinet to ensure political survival

NO doubt, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown's political cookie is crumbling. Resignations of Cabinet members are coming on the eve of a major election test for the British PM. He has been stabbed in the front at a moment of maximum vulnerability.

Hazel Blears and Jacqui Smith have resigned from Mr Brown's Labour cabinet over an "expenses scandal".

Europe Minister Caroline Flint is said to be following these two "Blair babes". This is a blow to Mr Brown whose shamed former spin doctor Damian McBride, also resigned after spreading smears about senior Tories.

We now know that it takes a lot to get rid of Mr Brown who only a few months ago was singing high notes about corruption in Zimbabwe and lobbying the United Nations to impose more illegal santions on the tiny landlocked country.

Many of us are very naive. We view these senior Labour party resignations as something other than corruption.

Corruption is only viewed as a characteristic of African politicians and African governments.

In Whitehall, corruption is masked as "misappropriation", "misuse of public funds", "unapproved expenses", "row over MPs' expenses", etc.

The political comedy in Whitehall is dealing a huge blow to one of the institutions widely viewed as the centre of democracy and accountability.

No-one is spared: from the Speaker of the House of Commons to the Mayor of London.

The million dollar question is: Who is not corrupt in this seemingly infallible system?

Mr Brown is still locked away in Downing Street. He won't resign even though his Cabinet is shwoing signs of disapproval. He is simply refusing to budge.

Although he has, time and again, asked for the resignation, to put it mildly, of President Robert Mugabe, he has no intentions of walking away himself.

His Cabinet is crumbling, unless he reshuffles it and place loyalists in strategic posts.

Hazel Blears resignation is the first crucial step in that crumble.

In her resignation statement, there was no single word of praise for Mr Brown or his government.

She barely concealed her contempt for the unelected British Prime Minister.

Soon, many Cabinet members in the Labour government will be trading blows with Mr Brown. The signs are there.

The Labour government has completely lost the plot, its direction, and moral purpose, and almost certainly the next general election.

For a man who so wilfully plotted the downfall of other leaders; including President Mugabe and his own 'political friend', Tony Blair, Mr Brown is finding out what political karma is all about.

The chickens are now finally coming home to roost.

Philip Murombedzi
Editor of the Zimbabwe Guardian
philipmurombedzi **AT**

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Zambians must kick out MMD, says Sata

Zambians must kick out MMD, says Sata
Written by George Chellah and Patson Chilemba
Thursday, June 04, 2009 11:43:50 PM

ZAMBIANS must wake up and kick out the MMD now, Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata said on Thursday. And Sata said the Central Board of Health (CBoH) was abolished to facilitate the diversion of money meant for the health sector to the ruling MMD. During a Hot FM Radio programme, Sata said currently Zambia had no leadership or direction.

"It is the worst sangwapo we have ever come across. Whilst the rest of the world is taking care of the global economic crisis, here we are taking care of the global economic crisis in our pockets. You have a government that has come here to enjoy themselves," Sata said.

"To them it is honeymoon they must enjoy themselves. You remember I released a letter on [MMD deputy national secretary] Jeff Kaande where he wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs collecting money for people who never supplied anything. That matter has died because it was MMD."

Sata said the current government was only interested in money.

"All they want is to take money, they take money from NCC, they take money from per diem and what we need at the moment...the people of Zambia must kick out MMD now because by the time you get up there will be nothing. We will be worse than one party state," Sata said.

"People of Zambia should stop complaining, kick out MMD. We have had enough of this MMD. The stealing has reduced Zambia to be the poorest and we have reduced ourselves. We were 18 and now we are very high ranking in corruption but I think we as a people must wake up and say enough is enough."

Sata said it was not impossible to remove a sitting government as long as there was truth. On the K27 billion Ministry of Health scam, Sata said CBoH was abolished to facilitate the diversion of money meant for the health sector to MMD.

"I created CBoH as Minister of Health, CBoH survived during the tenure of Levison Mumba as Minister of Health... The reason for dissolving CBoH was for the money to be controlled directly by the permanent secretary so that the money can be going to MMD and now we have seen," Sata said.

"When I was minister of health with CBoH my ministry did not get in touch with so much money as they are doing now. But when they abolished CBoH all the money, which was coming from the donors, for example is it not surprising for a country like Zambia to say we have US$ 53 million to go and buy mobile hospitals?

"Like if that is not enough, Tetamashimba says 'am going to buy hearses'. Last year's elections the Chinese put in lots of money in the MMD pocket, they have to fulfil the undertaking of what they are going to give to the Chinese. That's why Vice-President George Kunda went to Serenje to look for land to give to the Chinese."

He said the whole hearse and mobile hospital deal stinks. Sata insisted that local government minister Benny Tetamashimba must tell the truth on hearses.

"I went to Chirundu and I saw the clearing certificate, on the clearing certificate each manda manda [hearse] was US$ 9000. Tetamashimba is saying no, no, no! It's not me who bought, it was Sylvia Masebo and [late president Levy] Mwanawasa so it's not Banda. But we know he is Benny Tetamaboza," he said.

Sata said there was rampant stealing in all government ministries.

"There is far much bigger corruption in the Ministry of Works and Supply," he said.

He said the MMD was trying to link him to former human resource manager in the Ministry of Health Henry Kapoko to divert attention of the people.

"I blame the so-called opposition because they marketed Rupiah Banda. Today we say thank you for plunging us in this," Sata said.

He said President Banda and the MMD had been caught pants down in their own web of deceit and corruption. He said it was in fact the MMD who engaged in corrupt dealings.

He charged that several MMD cadres and officials were booked at Kapoko's Best Home Lodge and the bills were paid for by several government ministries and the Central Statistical Office (CSO). Sata said MMD would want to shift the blame to PF because they were heavily involved in corruption.

"They have been caught pants down in their corruption," he said.

On Lusaka Province minister Lameck Mangani's statement that MMD had proof that the PF owed Best Home Lodge K11.6 million for beverages and K8.7 million for lodging, Sata said PF paid for their services unlike MMD who used public money.

On Mangani's statement that K8.7 million had been cancelled by Kapoko through his uncle, Robert Kalimi, Sata said MMD were using former PF secretary general Edward Mumbi to peddle lies against the party, saying there was no debt which could be cancelled in less than one year.

"I have never seen a debt, which is written off in less than one year. I am grateful for the contradictions coming from MMD. We have a list where MMD were booked by various ministries and the CSO. It's them and Rupiah Banda who have been caught in their own web of deceit and corruption," said Sata. "The fact is that PF paid for the services, and they [MMD] were paid for by government ministries."

Addressing the media on Wednesday, Mangani, who was MMD elections national coordinator in last year's presidential election, said MMD and President Banda did not, at any time, deal with Kapoko.

Mangani said preliminary investigations by the party revealed that it was instead PF that allegedly had dealings with Kapoko.

Mangani said the MMD had overwhelming evidence, including invoices, indicating the PF had accommodated its cadres and other party officials at the infamous Best Home Lodge where it accrued a bill of K11.6 million for beverages.

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Operations at Coopperbelt hospitals, clinics ground to a halt

Operations at Coopperbelt hospitals, clinics ground to a halt
Written by Mutuna Chanda, Mwila Chansa in Kitwe and Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Thursday, June 04, 2009 11:42:08 PM

OPERATIONS in most clinics in Kitwe and Ndola on the Copperbelt Province have ground to a halt following the strike by health workers. And Kitwe Central Hospital chaplain Reverend Kabwe Chikolwa has said the government should come to its senses and offer the striking health workers their demands.

During a check on Thursday, some clinics were completely closed while others were only attending to emergency cases with many patients being turned away. Ndeke Clinic in Kitwe and Kawama Clinic in Ndola were completely closed.

At Buchi clinic in Kitwe, patients were being turned away, piling pressure on Kitwe Central Hospital which was being manned by a few student nurses and doctors.

Kawama clinic in Kitwe and Chipulukusu clinic in Ndola were only attending to emergencies.

Kitwe Central Hospital had closed Machili and Lunsemfwa wards for children.

The children in Machili ward were taken to Lukusushi female ward while those in Lunsemfwa were integrated with those in Luntembwe children's ward.

And Rev Chikolwa described the situation as sad.

"The government should sit down and offer them what they need," Rev Chikolwa said. "Other than bickering while people are dying and people are being sent away because there is no one to attend to them. In such a situation government must at all costs come up with a solution."

Rev Chikolwa wondered why the government could spend money on unnecessary things such as hearses when they had neglected priority areas such as providing proper medical and health care.

The health workers on the Copperbelt have been on strike for over a week now. The workers are demanding an increment in housing allowance and salaries.

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Sichilindi warns Monze farmers against forming illegal bodies

Sichilindi warns Monze farmers against forming illegal bodies
Written by Pride Bwalya in Monze
Thursday, June 04, 2009 11:40:06 PM

FARMERS in Monze district have been warned against forming illegal cooperative societies to dubiously obtain fertiliser under the government’s fertiliser support programme (FSP).

Addressing small-scale farmers from different cooperative societies at farmers training centre in Monze on Wednesday, district cooperatives inspector Godfrey Sichilindi said farmers that would be found wanting during the 2009/2010 farming season would be prosecuted.

Sichilindi said during the 2008/2009 farming season, a number of illegal cooperative societies were discovered and had brought up a lot of confusions in the FSP exercise in Monze district.

He said there were situations where some illegal cooperatives were registered under the same name of genuine ones and managed to swindle the genuine cooperatives by accessing the inputs.

Sichilindi said this season, distribution of farming inputs under the FSP could begin much earlier compared to last year, adding that fertiliser could be delivered to the district very soon.

And Zambia Police Service sub-inspector under the Criminal Investigation Department, Dickson Sumpa, told the farmers that there were a number of cases reported to the police on matters of malpractices concerning the FSP.

Sumpa said it had been observed that problems were actually emanating from the executive members of some cooperative societies who were not being honest in their dealings.

He said cooperative societies did not belong to chairpersons but to members that came together for a particular purpose and that they all needed to benefit from the initiative.

Sumpa said some chairpersons were collecting a lot of money from members exceeding the amount of fertiliser allocated to their cooperatives which was against the guidelines.

He said executive members were supposed to ensure that cooperatives were managed in line with the guidelines and the cooperatives constitution provided.

Sumpa said executive members needed to handle the responsibility of collecting the inputs under FSP during the distribution exercise, adding that police would not hesitate to take action against those who would be reported for any illegal act in the distribution of the FSP inputs.

Meanwhile, co-operative societies in Monze have been called upon to uphold integrity and high moral standards that would contribute effectively to the social economic development of the country.

District agriculture coordinator Justine Ngosa said this when he officially opened a two-day mushroom production training workshop for cooperative societies at Monze farmers training centre (FTC) on Wednesday.

Ngosa said a number of cooperatives could not uphold integrity and high moral standards due to lack of transparency and accountability.

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Press Freedom Committee

Press Freedom Committee
Written by PFC
Thursday, June 04, 2009 11:38:54 PM

THE Press Freedom Committee (PFC) of The Post is a public/community outreach programme, which was formed in 2000 with a view of promoting and protecting press freedom and freedom of expression by providing a public platform for expression of all shades of opinions without any form of discrimination. The Committee also facilitates training programmes on various issues such as HIV and AIDS.

Objectives of PFC: 1. To promote press freedom and freedom of expression in order to enhance participatory democracy, good governance, transparency, accountability, individual and national development. 2. To advocate and lobby for media reforms and the promotion and protection of the professional interest and ethics of journalists both in Zambia and in the sub region. 3. To provide a forum called “News Makers’ Forum” to various interest groups such as political parties, church leaders, women and youths, NGOs, unions etc in order to express their views, opinions and ideas on various national issues. 4. To collect new and views from various stakeholders in the process of national development and democracy building for dissemination to a wider audience through newspaper articles and; 5. To undertake any incidental activities that are compatible with The Post Newspaper’s editorial policy, and with the spirit of building a vibrant, independent and well informed citizenry willing and actively participating in defending and promoting democratic principles and values. With regards the training of reporters on TB, it is this objective that provides us the guidelines. As PFC, we believe in having well trained reporters that report accurately on issues.

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SADC studying Post’s harassment complaint, confirms Dr Salomao

SADC studying Post’s harassment complaint, confirms Dr Salomao
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday, June 04, 2009 11:37:29 PM

SADC legal team is analysing The Post's request for the regional bloc's intervention in the harassment of its journalists by MMD cadres, executive secretary Dr Tomaz Augusto Salomao confirmed yesterday.

In a telephone interview from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) headquarters in Gaborone, Botswana, Dr Salomao confirmed receiving the letter from the Press Freedom Committee (PFC) of The Post over the harassments of journalists and that the SADC legal people were looking into the matter.

"Yes we did receive the letter," Dr Salomao said.

Asked if SADC would take action on the matter, Dr Salomao responded: "Yes, I sent it to my legal people for advice."

In a letter dated May 18, 2009 addressed to the SADC executive secretary and copied to the International Press Institute, Human Rights Commission Zambia, World Association of Newspapers (WAN), the Zambian government spokesperson and several foreign missions in Zambia, PFC chairperson Chansa Kabwela stated that of late, journalists from The Post had experienced expulsions from meetings where public officers had been officiating, as well as physical harassment and confiscations of their equipment while on duty.

"The beating has been justified by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services - Reverend Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha as follows, 'The Post newspaper is reaping what it sowed because you cannot have a newspaper that reports negatively about the Republican President most of the time. If you plant mangoes, you will harvest mangoes. That is how the principle goes'," she stated. "If the government supports the violence in a bid to make our reporters submissive and afraid to perform their duties, we will be infringing the people's right to know and also to exchange their opinion freely."

Kabwela, who is also Post news editor, noted that it was the PFC's understanding that Article 20 of the SADC Protocol on Culture, Information and Sport stated that 'state parties shall take necessary measures to ensure the freedom and independence of the media'.

However, she observed that this SADC protocol had seriously been disregarded by the Zambian government by justifying and supporting the harassment and abuse of journalists working for The Post newspaper.

"We have in the past managed to overcome such turbulences in one way or the other and one of these ways has been to involve groupings such as Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the United Nations (UN), to which Zambia is a member..." stated Kabwela.

Post journalists have continued to suffer at the hands of MMD cadres who have vowed to continue meting out physical punishment on them as long as the newspaper continues being critical of President Banda and his MMD government.

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