Saturday, June 20, 2009
Jonathan Clayton in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, From Times Online
April 16, 2009
An armed mob, angered over the slow pace of land reform benefits, has launched a Zimbabwean-style invasion of one of South Africa’s new multi-million pound showpiece agricultural reform projects, the biggest yet in value instituted by the post-apartheid government.
Government sources said a mob, armed with knives and machetes, had seized control of Forana farm in the rich farming area of Mpumalanga province over the Easter weekend after threatening and driving off local managers and staff employed by the new owners, a black-run farming cooperative.
The 3200 hectare farm is part of Tenbosch estate, a Rand 10 billion (£740 million) land-restitution project. It is made up of several farms handed back to four local communities who progressively lost their historic land under apartheid legislation since 1923.
Invaders, mirroring complaints in rural communities across the country, are angry over the few benefits they have seen from the much-heralded land transfer although the new owners made clear it would take several years to turn around land which although originally seized from locals, has been abandoned and neglected for years.
Agribusiness Umlimi, which controls the joint-venture farm management company Makhombo for the Lugedlane community condemned the action as irresponsible and said it compromised farming operations and jeopardised the ultimate flow of benefits to the community.
Fifteen years after the end of apartheid, land reform remains one of the country’s most sensitive issues. Government attempts to redress an imbalance which saw whites holding some 83 percent of all land, have largely failed, angering all sides.
Critics say the programme has simply contributed to destroying viable commercial farming sector by drastically reducing the amount of land available for commercial agriculture without bringing any benefit to rural communities.
“I would say that 95 percent of land transferred under the scheme so far has simply resulted in once productive farms being turned over to subsistence farming,” Chris van Zyl, deputy general manager of the Transvaal Agricultural Union told The Times.
He said the situation had not been helped because the new owners were frequently denied title deeds without which they found it difficult to raise the necessary investment. In addition, white farmers who are keen to sell sometimes have to wait more than two years to receive promised funds from the government. In the meantime they make no investment on the land.
The land bank which organizes such purchases under the current “willing buyer, willing seller” scheme is bankrupt after successive corruption scandals.
“All this has led to a decrease in production and a crisis of food security,” Mr van Zyl added. “You can’t just take land away from one group and hand it to others and expect it to stay productive. The issue is far more complex. Unfortunately it is a very sensitive issue and needs to be handled with care but politicians take advantage of that and whip up expectations which cannot be met.” Emotions are currently running high in South Africa as the country is in the midst of the most closely contested election campaign since democracy in 1994. Opposition parties are highlighting the failure of the ANC to deliver on previous pledges to end poverty and improve life for the black majority - some 85 percent of the population.
Land, land reform and agricultural production are some of the areas where the current government has failed most dramatically to the extent it recently warned black farmers they risked losing the land again under a new “use it or lose it” policy.
Farm invasions stoke fears that South Africa could go the same way as Zimbabwe where a “fast track” programme, aimed at meeting local people’s frustrations, saw white farmers losing farms violently without compensation with disastrous consequences for the broader economy.
Attorney Richard Spoor, who acted for a group of concerned members of the Tenbosch beneficiary community, told the Business Day newspaper the Tenbosch project was a shambles because certain of the new trustees had abused the trust of the community.
Through Makhombo, Umlimi has disbursed hundreds of thousands of pounds to the Lugedlane community in the past three years, but none of the income was passed on to the community, according to the group behind the “invasion”.
BRITAIN will support Zimbabwe's inclusive government despite its concerns about President Robert Mugabe, but will not lift sanctions until Harare proves it is on a path to democracy.
Ahead of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's visit to Britain this weekend, junior foreign minister Mark Malloch-Brown wrote in the Times newspaper that it was time to "show a little faith" in efforts to build a new Zimbabwe.
But he said Britain would only lift its sanctions when the former British colony's transition to democracy "has reached a point of no return".
Tsvangirai is due to arrive in London on Friday night as part of an international tour looking for assistance to help Zimbabwe emerge from years of chaos, which has seen rampant inflation and forced many Zimbabweans to flee.
He will hold talks with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday and also meet with business leaders, according to Zimbabwe's embassy in the UK.
"We are clear that we must support the new inclusive government, whatever our strong doubts about Mr Mugabe," Malloch-Brown wrote.
"The reformers who have faced torture and death in pursuit of democracy have chosen to make this government work. We must find ways to support them," he added.
But he warned Tsvangirai and Mugabe must adhere to the commitments made when they formed a power-sharing government in February aimed at steering Zimbabwe back to stability after the crisis caused by disputed elections last year.
"Our assistance depends on it meeting its commitments. This in turn depends on Mr Mugabe honouring the agreements he has made with Mr Tsvangirai and the Zimbabwean people. There is still much to do on this," Malloch-Brown wrote.
He said his government had shown some "flexibility" on sanctions, such as allowing Mugabe's ministers covered by a European Union travel ban to accompany Tsvangirai to Britain.
But Britain "will not lift the bulk of these measures until we are convinced that Zimbabwe's transition to democracy has reached a point of no return." - AFP
Friday, June 19, 2009
SNUB: Obama speaks to reporters after meeting with Tsvangirai at Oval Office
by Lebo Nkatazo
MORGAN Tsvangirai was monstered by an MP last night over his performance on a world tour for failing to stand up for his government in front of western leaders.
“Where we expected dialogue among equals, he has not shown that he is an equal, he continues to behave like he is there as a faction political leader, or unfortunately a slave,” said Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo (Indep).
The astonishing attack came as the Prime Minister continued to meet sceptical western leaders who are refusing to commit direct financial aid to the government, or lift sanctions which the government says are hindering efforts to turn around the economy.
The Prime Minister met US President Barack Obama at the White House last Friday and was arriving in Britain on Friday for a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Obama said the US would not be restoring direct support to the Zimbabwe government until certain benchmarks were met. He committed US$73 million in humanitarian aid.
“It will not be going to the government directly because we continue to be concerned about consolidating democracy, human rights, and rule of law. It will be going to the people of Zimbabwe,” Obama said after his meeting with Tsvangirai at the Oval Office.
The aid would be disbursed by American NGOs and the World Bank, Obama said.
Moyo blasted: “Obama treated him as if he were an envoy of American NGOs in Zimbabwe, and gave the impression American NGOs are in a better position to assist the people of Zimbabwe, more than the government of Zimbabwe of which Tsvangirai is Prime Minister.
“It was a personal disaster for Tsvangirai, and at the national level a complete waste of time. He cut a pathetic figure of a grateful slave.”
Moyo charged that most of the US$73 million “would remain in American pockets, paying Americans working in the governance and democracy field. A tiny bit of it will end in a Zimbabwean stomach, but the bulk of it has nothing to do with Zimbabweans.”
He added: “Time has come for us to be honourable enough to tell the truth, it is nothing, a mere trinket for a country which needs US$8,3 billion. Tsvangirai left this country knowing we need that money.”
Moyo, a former government minister, said “Tsvangirai should have understood he was being insulted personally, and that the people of Zimbabwe through him were also being insulted.”
“If an American President behaved the way the Prime Minister behaved overseas, he would be impeached,” he said in an interview with New Zimbabwe.com.
Tsvangirai, who formed a unity government with President Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara in February, says the country needs US$8,3 million to get out of the economic woods after a decade-long crisis.
Only Denmark has said it will provide direct financial support to the government, but it committed only US$18 million – not enough to pay the government’s civil service wage bill for a month.
Sweden, Norway, the Netherlands and Germany have all said they will support the government through “humanitarian aid” to be channelled through western NGOs and financial institutions.
But it was the snub by the United States which Moyo says doomed the Prime Minister’s mission. And he says far from being the reformer he projected during his election campaign, Obama is using an old template in US-Africa relations.
He said: “Zimbabweans here were hoping Tsvangirai would make their case, he was there at the Oval Office on behalf of the government of Zimbabwe and failed to acquit himself as such.
“His host told him he would rather deal with people of Zimbabwe as if Tsvangirai was not aware he was there on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. Why did he forget he presided over a planning process which has concluded US$8,3 billion is urgently and desperately needed to get this country working again?
“There is a simple issue these guys are forgetting. The only interest that Obama can have is whether or not Zimbabwe has a legitimate government, and of course we have a government. As to what policy that government implements is none of Obama’s business, Gordon Brown’s business, it’s our business.
“We are entitled to elect nincompoops and suffer them for the duration of their tenure, but cannot allow presidents and prime ministers of other countries to say ‘these are the policies we want you to implement’. That’s absolutely preposterous.”
Moyo said Tsvangirai should have pressed Obama to realise there is a gap between idealism and the practicalities of exercising political power – as his short reign as US President has demonstrated.
He added: “Obama ran a campaign promising to close Guantanamo, investigate and prosecute CIA agents who used water boarding. He is reneging on those promises, has anyone put benchmarks on that?
“Obama has changed his promise on practicalities on the ground as president, why should he expect that others like Tsvangirai, now in government, will not encounter practicalities which dictate a change?
“Why shove a reform agenda written by donors?”
The Prime Minister “should understand Europeans and their allies put the country on fire through sanctions, they must not be congratulated for that, they must be condemned”, said the former university lecturer and political scientist.
Moyo was also scathing over Tsvangirai’s failure to stand up for Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi who was barred from the Obama meeting – because he is from President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
Moyo said: “It was disgraceful for Tsvangirai to allow Americans to divide his delegation. How can you lead a delegation, and be told some members of your delegation are not allowed? It is yet another glaring example of the behaviour of a grateful slave.
“While is clear that Zimbabwe has problems, and we need to solve them, this was the worst show of leadership by Tsvangirai. His conduct during his trip so far has been less than satisfactory, but his conduct in the Oval Office was scandalous.
“The White House was built by slaves, he should have felt proud in that place -- a product of the forced labour of his ancestors, but he became worse than the people who built it.”
Moyo said a “shameful dimension” of the PM’s trip played out in Harare this week when the United States Development Agency (USAID) distributed a glossy free newsletter with “embarrassing pictures of Tsvangirai posing separately with Hillary Clinton and Obama to whom he deferred”.
He claimed the USAID pamphlet was presented as a newsletter from the Prime Minister’s Office “when it is clearly an American propaganda sheet”.
He added: “What is shameful is that while civil servants are going without salaries, while the UZ remains closed, while farmers struggle to plant wheat, and while peasants have been reduced to the life of hunter gatherers, Americans are showering Tsvangirai’s Office with previous US dollars to print and distribute neo-colonial propaganda on glossy paper in the streets of Harare and Bulawayo.”
The Prime Minister’s Office said the newsletter was printed in response to a state media blackout and misrepresentations of the PM’s overseas visit.
WORLD leaders should drop sanctions against Zimabbwe and open lines of credit to the southern African country, South Africa's International Relations and Co-operation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane said on Thursday.
"We want to urge the leaders of the world to leave sanctions and open up the lines of credit and let the people of Zimbabwe take full control of their lives," she said at a press briefing in Cape Town.
"We need to give peace and development a chance in Zimbabwe."
A recent trip by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to the United States and Europe showed the commitment of the Zimbabweans to work together to "come out of this".
The US, which initially wanted to do nothing about Zimbabwe, was now listening to the pleas of Tsvangirai.
"We think this is a good start," she said.
"Several countries have come back to help Zimbabwe. We continue to encourage the international community to come to the party."
Tsvangirai met US President Barack Obama in Washington last week and was given $73-million in aid. Western countries are concerned that Tsvangirai's rival, President Robert Mugabe, is not committed enough to political reforms.
Tsvangirai wants US$8.3 billion in aid to revive the economy and the civil service. Norway and Germany have both promised to grant millions of dollars in aid to Zimbabwe, but only Denmark is promising direct financial support.
Nkoana-Mashabane said she would "reiterate" Tsvangirai's pleas for aid when she meets with the United States' Secretary of State Hillary Clinton next week.
"I hope to reiterate the message of Prime Minister Tsvangirai in that meeting," she said. - Sapa
THE European Union and Zimbabwe launched Thursday a new era in relations with their first official talks in seven years, with the EU vowing to fully restore ties once "sticking points" are overcome.
"Today's meeting lays the foundation for a renewed relationship between the European Union and Zimbabwe," EU Humanitarian Aid Commissioner Louis Michel told reporters after talks with Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Brussels, Belgium.
"Your new government offers a unique political opportunity to see Zimbabwe re-engage with the international donor community. But in order to kickstart this re-engagement, we need clear progress on certain sticking points."
Apart from a resumption of national political dialogue, the EU presidency called for an end to politically-motivated violence and for the security services to come under government control.
It also demanded that the rule of law be strengthened and media freedoms improved, as well as more transparency in the financial system and reforms to the central bank.
President Robert Mugabe and rivals Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara formed on February 11 a power-sharing government tasked with steering Zimbabwe back to stability after disputed elections last year plunged the country into crisis.
With the shattered economy just turning a corner, Tsvangirai set off on an international tour looking for assistance to help Zimbabwe emerge from years of chaos, which has seen rampant inflation and forced many Zimbabweans to flee.
His welcome abroad has contrasted with the chill towards Mugabe.
Both the EU and the United States maintain a travel ban and asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle in protest at controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government.
On Wednesday, however, a temporary waiver was issued allowing two ministers on the travel sanctions list to attend the Brussels talks -- Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
"The moment the political process begins to move, we would like to recuperate fully our relation with your country," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said, after the first official EU-Zimbabwe talks since 2002.
Tsvangirai, who has won pledges of humanitarian aid on his trip but not the substantial development assistance he seeks to push the economy forward, said he was satisfied with the EU's commitment.
He told a press conference: "I am actually encouraged by the level of positive support and indicators that have been given to us," he said. "What is important up front, is to establish long-term relationships.
"Financial support will be essential. There is no doubt that Zimbabwe is coming out of a trough and that during this transition we need that support.
"The commitments are there. They are measured. They are phased, and I think it is a good incremental support that we are looking at."
The European Commission usually donates around 90 million euros annually to Zimbabwe through non-governmental organisations. It wants to do the same again this year but channel two thirds of it into stabilising the new government.
In coming weeks, it wants to free up an additional 20 million euros to bolster the government, plus a further nine million euros in food aid, a commission official said.
Aid groups have urged the EU and United States to go beyond emergency relief and send development aid that would allow Zimbabwe to repair broken water and sanitation systems responsible for a deadly cholera outbreak.
Zimbabwe NGOs are concerned that Mugabe might have exploited Tsvangirai's visit to win more aid, and they want pressure maintained on the veteran strongman and his associates until concrete proof of changes surfaces.
The landmark meeting came as rights watchdog Amnesty International lashed out at Zimbabwe, saying that "persistent and serious" human rights violations continue despite the formation of the unity government four months ago.
"It is worrying that Amnesty members, human rights activists continue to be harrassed," said Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, standing in for the EU presidency. - AFP
by Lebo Nkatazo
TWO MPs have tabled a motion for the government to urgently push through media reforms in line with Article 19 of a power sharing agreement signed on September 15 last year.
Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T, Mbizo) and Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T, Nyanga South) expressed concern over the slow progress made towards achieving media plurality.
The MPs also want the government to bring before parliament amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which they say curtails media freedom.
The MPs also noted state media bias against President Robert Mugabe’s coalition partners while expressing alarm over what they called “the Minister of Information and Publicity’s (Webster Shamu’s) brazen and unbridled contempt of a High court ruling that declared the Media and Information Commission (MIC) illegal.”
The MPs want a vote in parliament, setting July 15 as the deadline for the constitution of a Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) which is set to replace the MIC.
Chikwinya and Mwonzora said they were dismayed that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe’s (BAZ) had not yet granted broadcasting licenses to other private players in line with the provisions of the September 15 ‘Global Political Agreement’.
Their motion demands that “the Minister of Media and Information and Publicity constitute the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Board (BAZ) which should immediately start granting licences to other media players by the 6th of August 2009; The public media, particularly the Herald and ZBC provide balanced and fair coverage to all parties in line with Article 19(d) and (e) of the GPA; The Minister of Media, Information and Publicity respect the rule of law and abide by the High Court ruling that nullified the existence of the MIC; The constituting of the ZMC be brought to finality and closure by the 15th of July 2009, and Parliament commits itself to supporting a constitution that guarantees media freedom.”
Zimbabwean journalists are agonising over whether to take part in the proposed Zimbabwe Media Commission or simply abandon the process to push for self regulation.
Aspiring commissioners to the ZMC have up to Friday to submit their applications to the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Orders Committee, which would then submit a 12 nominees to President Robert Mugabe, who will appoint nine of the members to the final ZMC board.
The ZMC, which replaces the now legally defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC), is supposed to last the lifespan of the coalition government by President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties.
Media lawyer Chris Mhike has advised Zimbabwean journalists to approach the delicate issue on whether or not to take part in the proposed Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) with open minds as opposed to assuming rigid positions that would prove ghastly in the long run, RadioVoP reported Thursday.
Mhike said there was more risk in journalists boycotting the process than taking part and continue to push for self regulation from within.
“We must consider the effectiveness of our past strategies as an industry and also to focus the effectiveness of whatever we are going to adopt as an industry,” he said.
Mhike was one of the panelists at the Quill Club - Harare's press club - on Wednesday evening during a discussion by Harare journalists which was called to probe the pros and cons of taking part in the envisaged ZMC.
“We could adopt the strategy of completely boycotting the ZMC or saying we will go in and try to influence what happens from within,” he said.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa - Zimbabwe Chapter has already said it is now pinning its hopes on the proposed constitutional changes to ensure a self regulatory media body. It said it was viewing current processes as a temporary arrangement.
“In the latter scenario, we can say if it does not work out, then those members whom we interact with will resign or protest from inside and therefore create a constitutional crisis," said Mhike. “We should not be too rigid about our positions. Let us look at the opportunities that lie in the ZMC.”
ZIMBABWE needs an attractive tax regime to bring competitive human skills as the government gears to revive economy, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC)as said.
ZNCC Mashonaland chairperson Oswel Dinha said the current tax regime was so punitive that the country is losing human skills to other countries. Dinha said this while giving oral evidence before a Parliamentary portfolio committee on Industry and Commerce.
Dinha said the issue of skills is key in turning around the economy and taxation played a pivotal role in reviving it. The issue of skills is key for industry to bounce back.
"A company in Zimbabwe might be able to pay the same salary as a South African company for an engineer, for example, but that person would go to South Africa because of high tax regime here," said Dinha.
He said there was need to introduce measures that make people voluntarily comply with tax payment, one of which is introducing low tax regime.
Speaking at the same occasion, ZNCC chief executive Andrew Mutize urged the government to remunerate competitive salaries to civil servants as a way of addressing the demand side of industry.
"The government should address the demand side, you need to put money in civil servants' pockets as a way of addressing the demand side while industry addresses the supply side," said Mutize.
He said the citizenship laws as currently constituted inhibited investment as it criminalises dual citizenship.
A Zimbabwean national, who might have acquired a foreign citizenship at the height of the economic recession, will feel inhibited to contribute meaningfully to Zimbabwe's economy because he is deemed to be no longer a citizen, said Mutize.
He said there was need to portray good image of the country to improve the country's risk profile. This will attract more investors as they will gain confidence in the economy. - Xinhua
Wed, 17 Jun 2009 22:09:00 +0000
President Robert Mugabe
THE European Union (EU) has temporarily agreed to lift a travel ban on two Cabinet ministers from the Zanu PF party following President Robert Mugabe's threat to call off a re-engagement meeting with Brussels, officials said Wednesday.
The Brussels meeting intended to relaunch trade and development ties between the EU and Zimbabwe was getting increasingly unlikely to take place as Justice Minister, Senator Patrick Chinamasa and Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi had not been granted entry visas to Brussels.
The two are are both on the European list of individuals subject to travel and financial sanctions.
President Mugabe had told the Cabinet on Monday that the re-engagement exercise would be aborted if the two Zanu PF representatives were refused entry visas.
He is said to have told Cabinet that all the ministers were attending the re-engagement trip as part of the inclusive Government of Zimbabwe, and were not on party business.
The specific objective of the Brussels meeting is to restore and strengthen cooperation between Zimbabwe and the EU under the Cotonou agreement.
Signed between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of States in the Benin city in 2000, the Cotonou pact aims to reduce and in time eradicate poverty while fostering sustainable development and integrating ACP countries into the world economy
Industry minister, Welshman Ncube, from Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara's MDC formation (MDC-M) had also vowed to boycott the trip unless Zanu PF Cabinet ministers were included.
DPM Mutambara was said to have also instructed MDC-M deputy secretary-general and Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga to boycott the Brussels trip if the two ministers were not granted travel visas.
Minister of Finance Tendai Biti had nevertheless proceeded to leave for Belgium Tuesday despite the other members of the entourage being refused visas.
The EU, however, on Wednesday buckled to President Mugabe's pressure and decided to issue the two visas.
Stephane Toulet, the deputy French ambassador to Zimbabwe confirmed to The Zimbabwe Guardian that the two visas will be issued; but that the waiver was only temporary.
"This was a temporary visa waiver. It was a decision made after a consultation of all EU partners and Brussels," said Toulet whose country is processing the visas in the absence of a Belgian diplomatic mission in Harare.
"The decision is meant to promote human rights and good governance in Zimbabwe and to re-engage Zimbabwe with the EU," she added.
A Zanu PF official who spoke to this writer on Tuesday said the EU ban had potentially deepened rifts in Harare's inclusive Government.
In 2002, the EU imposed sactions on Zimbabwe. President Mugabe and members of his government were also slapped with travel bans. Harare says the sanctions were illegal as they were not approved by the United Nations.
TSVANGIRAI TRIP CAUSES RIFTS
The refusal by Western officials to issue the travel visas to Zanu PF officials is said to have caused consternation in the party.
Last week Tourism Minister, Engineer Walter Mzembi -- the only Zanu PF minister in the PM Tsvangirai's delegation -- accused US President Barack Obama of being biased against Zanu PF although the party had formed an inclusive Government with the two MDC formations.
Mzembi accused the Obama for being overtly biased against the Zanu PF party and lacking of diplomatic courtesy after he was barred from a White House meeting with the United States president.
He said the existence of an inclusive Government involving Zanu PF and the two MDC formations should have invalidated any misconceptions the US leader had about the political situation in Zimbabwe.
PM Tsvangirai is on a three-week state visit to the United States and EU where he is expected to encourage Western countries to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe and to open diplomatic lines of communication with Zimbabwe.
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 21:43:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR - The Movement of Democratic Change has successfully created a 'government within a government'. The MDC is rapidly consolidating the regime change agenda under the guise of reforms in the inclusive Government.
It is as clear as crystal that there is no real progress that will be made socially and economically in Zimbabwe until elections are held and as such the MDC is positioning itself to control all facets of government in order to ensure maximum victory come election time.
Regime change is not dead, as most people in Zimbabwe have been led to believe, it is very much alive and has taken a new form.
The overthrowing of Zanu PF is still the major focus of the West when it comes to dealing with Zimbabwe. Previously the MDC and its surrogates played hide and seek when it came to issues of policies, funding and operations, now they are free to do as they wish hiding behind the veil of seeking aid to restore Zimbabwe’s economy.
The MDC was a major driver of the forex black market, some of its legislators went so low as to become couriers of moneys from abroad to finance their programs in Zimbabwe.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai and his party have legitimized interference in this country’s political affairs. The famous ZIDERA states that any funds that will be channeled to Zimbabwe will be in the form of humanitarian assistance and funding for civic society groups that are aligned to the MDC. The 73 million that President Obama just gave Prime Minister Tsvangirai is going to these recipients. Nothing will be given to the government of Zimbabwe that might in any way see the return of a normal economy to the country because this would go against the regime change agenda.
Ambassador McGee has never mentioned that the money is meant to capacitate groups that further the regime change agenda.
It is a pity that many people fail to realize that the carrot being dangled in front of Zimbabweans is a means to an end. An end that does not serve the people of Zimbabwe, but a moneyed class in the capitals of Europe.
The misrepresentation of issues by both the MDC and the West is meant to create a negative picture of Zanu PF. For so long President Mugabe has said the country does not need aid, but requires access to international financial institutions in order to carry out the necessary developmental programs and maintain a healthy economy. The west has never responded to this. Instead all that we get from one administration after the other is that are accusations directed at symptoms of their handiwork and not the causes of these symptoms.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti told the Mail and Guardian that the international community had "an obligation" to support Zimbabwe. The country faced "catastrophe" without financial support, he said. Now he wants the international community to help Zimbabwe because he is on the hot seat. The MDC leadership clapped with both hands when things went from bad to worse in Zimbabwe, they looked over a collapsing country like sanctimonious priests condemning Zanu PF and now they want their paymasters to undo their dirty work.
The discussion among several Heads of State in the West is not about how best to assist Zimbabwe, but how best to assist the MDC. The question on what to do to assist Zimbabwe is not based on the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, but on how it will benefit Morgan Tsvangirai and whether or not Zanu PF can use the opportunity to reorganize itself.
Unfortunately for the people of Zimbabwe any in-flows of aid would be of greater benefit to Zanu PF than the MDC. Zanu PF has always maintained that sanctions have been the reason for economic turmoil in Zimbabwe while the MDC claimed there were no sanctions on the country just travel restrictions. The lifting of sanctions will see the return of normalcy in the economy and given the educational level of the average Zimbabwe, the citizens of this country will only have to add one plus one to get two. As long as the country only receives humanitarian assistance the MDC is safe, and with this new scheme where donors can pay salaries or allowances for specific sectors the party is almost home and dry.
Zimbabwe’s former colony, in a callus move, made a statement that it is considering moving beyond humanitarian aid to offer direct political support in such areas as constitutional reform and strengthening rule of law. Such assistance is said would be channeled through the British embassy in Harare to Tsvangirai’s office bypassing ministries controlled by Zanu PF. Trust the British to be masters at the divide and conquer game, they have had centuries of experience.
Instead of saying: "As one of the two parties involved in the problems in Zimbabwe we are taking the high road and putting our money where our mouth is and coming to help the ordinary Zimbabwean," the Brits have money for the constitution-making process, but none to help revive Zimbabwe’s industry and the once vibrant agricultural sector.
It is quiet obvious they are waiting for their golden son to take over the reins then they will provide the money to rebuild the country for their sons and daughters.
The only people who are going to see a cent of all the money, America, Britain, German and the rest are claiming to give the "people of Zimbabwe" are those in the MDC and their affiliate groups like Crisis Coalition, ZCTU, PUTZ, Bulawayo Agenda, Christian Alliance, WOZA, Lawyers for Human Rights, ZINASU and the rest.
These are the same people who for the past decade have been able to live comfortably on their 'thirty pieces of silver'.
It boggles the mind that someone can call for renewed sanctions while living on the same streets that the ordinary Zimbabwean exists on. The NCA and its leader Lovemore Madhuku have been trying to rock the boat over the whole constitution-making process, but once they feel the pinch they will get back in line.
I found it amusing that President Obama in his remarks credited Prime Minister Tsvangirai for reducing Zimbabwe’s hyperinflation.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai lied to the US Council on Foreign Relations that he stopped the printing of the Zimbabwean dollar thereby eradicating hyperinflations, introduced media reforms by making it no longer necessary for the print media to be licensed and finally removed riot police off the streets of Harare.
The real truth is that by January 2009 very few people in Zimbabwe were using the Zimbabwean dollar anyway. At the time of the presentation of the 2009 Budget then Acting Minister of Finance, Patrick Chinamasa, made it clear Zimbabwe was now a multi-currency country and as such the Zimbabwe dollar sunk into oblivion.
The coming of the MDC into government had absolutely nothing to do with the reduction of inflation. If Prime Minister Tsvangirai thinks he is that powerful and can generate confidence in the economy, why does he not revive the use of the Zimbabwean dollar?
As for the whole print media hoopla, not a single new newspaper has hit the streets; instead the same dailies and weeklies we had last year are the ones Zimbabweans continue to read. One wonders what happened to all those individuals who were constantly accusing Zanu PF of refusing to open up media space in this country. There is no new newspaper, or radio station or television channel in Zimbabwe because all those who said they wanted to operate such mediums had no real intention to do so, but only wanted to be in the limelight to be seen as fighting the Zanu PF government. We all know that anyone who was seen as fighting the "Mugabe regime" got instant funding from the West.
On the 7th of June 2009, the BBC flighted a breaking news story in which MDC Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (Healing Organ) Honourable Sekai Holland said that Zimbabwe was heading for its worst period of violence ever.
She said members of her party in the inclusive Government are receiving threatening phone calls every day and that sources have told them there is an assassination list being compiled by Zanu PF hardliners. She claimed that there are 39,000 Zanu PF youths who are being paid US$100 a day to beat up MDC supporters in the event of an election.
The most disturbing thing about all this is that Ms Holland is one of the Ministers who is supposed to be heading the National Healing Process and yet here she is on BBC saying outright lies.
How can the inclusive Government work when the MDC continues to propagate lies about the situation in Zimbabwe?
Such statements are meant to foster a negative impression of Zanu PF and encourage the continued application of sanctions on Zimbabwe’s people.
Ms. Holland is just but a tip of the iceberg. In his weekly articles that are posted on various websites sympathetic to the MDC, Eddie Cross in his warped mind managed to turn the Prime Minister’s niece problems into a Zanu PF plan.
Mr. Cross says that Dr. Chihombori is not a relative of the Prime Minister, but manipulated the Prime Minister into taking her to President Zuma’s inauguration where a well-placed photographer immediately took a picture of them, which got everyone with an interesting in Zimbabwe talking. This same niece is now involved in a wrangle for a farm in Chegutu and Mr. Cross says this is all Zanu PF’s doing.
To someone with no background on the whole story, one would be forced to take Mr. Cross’s word as the gospel truth.
The Prime Minister’s spokesperson Mr. James Maridadi acknowledged that indeed Dr. Chihombori is the Prime Minister’s niece and the said niece in her own words has said that Zimbabweans deserve to take land back from white farmers who took it illegally during the colonial era.
Mr. Cross does in no way represent the ordinary Zimbabwean in what ever he says.
Mr. Cross represents the small white minority of Zimbabwe that has been forced to reconcile with the ghost of Zimbabwe’s colonial past. This is why Mr. Cross welcomed the announcement by the US Senate that it would not be lifting any of the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe anytime soon.
Mr. Cross certainly does not lead the life of an ordinary Zimbabwean. He does not hold a job that is currently paying US$100. His children are not attending schools where there are no teachers or if there are teachers in attendance they demand US$10 a week to teach our children. He does not use the same hospitals as us black Zimbabweans. From the comfort of his home perched on his well-pampered Rhodesian backside he gleefully lies and rejoices at the continued screaming in pain of Zimbabwe’s people.
On 11 June 2009, a few days after Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s visit to the Netherlands, a Peter Hermes who is said to be an independent advisor to Tsvangirai held an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide were he claimed that the accident that killed the Prime Minister’s wife was not an accident, but a hit gone wrong.
Hermes says that the MDC carried out an investigation, but has failed to release a report on the investigation.
However, he claims sources have told him that the report implicates Zanu PF. He further claims that members of the Central Intelligence Organization who were supposed to protect the Prime Minister were nowhere to be found because they had driven ahead to ensure that the driver of the truck would have easy access to the Prime Minister.
I do not know what qualifications Mr. Hermes has nor what criteria the Prime Minister uses when hiring advisors, but I know one thing for sure this man is as bogus as a six-dollar note or his employer is getting his money’s worth from a scam artist who lies in order to ensure that the MDC’s leader cause remains at the heart of the West.
How can the MDC carry out an investigation and then refuse to publicize the results of their investigation, unless of course the investigation proved that indeed the incident with the Prime Minister was an accident?
Releasing this information would be detrimental because it would put a stop to the rumors that the party had been fanning out claiming that Zanu PF had tried to assassinate the Prime Minister.
As for the CIO’s involvement in the accident, Mr. Ian Makone and Mr. Rupiya can attest that they refused to use official cars and security details for the Prime Minister insisting on using party vehicles and security details.
This formula of misrepresenting the truth has become a major modus operandi of the MDC and its officials. By blending the truth and lies the party manipulates the public in order to gain maximum support.
Co-Minister of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa has described the post of Vice President as null and void because the GPA does not recognize them.
Addressing a meeting in Manicaland Province on 2 May 2009 along with Minister Eric Matinenga, Mutsekwa told attendants at the meeting that in actual fact Zimbabwe has no Vice Presidents because the Global Political Agreement does not make any mention of them. Either Minister Mutsekwa has never read the GPA or he was deliberately lying to MDC supporters who attended the meeting.
Article XX of the Global Political Agreement clear recognizes the post of Vice President who is appointed by the President. Its amazing that Mutsekwa does not know that the President under the GPA not only elects the Prime Minister and his two Deputies but also the two Vice Presidents, Ministers and Deputy Ministers.
If the Minister of Home Affairs lacks such basic knowledge one wonders how he is running his ministry. Where is he getting direction in which he handles the day-to-day affairs of the Home Affairs ministry?
Senator Gutu in one of his numerous articles on Zimdaily, a tabloid that claims to report news on Zimbabwe, says " both Zimpapers and ZBH should simply accept that like him or hate him, PM Tsvangirai is the prime mover and shaker in Zimbabwe’s present political discourse."
The problem with one-sided thinking is that once you latch onto something you fail to see logic.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai is the chief Minister in President Mugabe’s government, and that no matter how much the MDC does not like it, this is the reality.
It is amazing that while such pundits take every opportunity to ram the fact that Tsvangirai is Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister down people’s throat, they fail to see the huge log in their eyes.
How many in the MDC have accepted it that President Mugabe is this country’s leader? Just last month at a rally in Mabvuku, Ministers Biti and Chamisa told party members that they do not recognize President Mugabe as the leader of Zimbabwe. One wonders in whose government these two men are ministers. It is certainly not that of President Mugabe because with their our mouths they refused his leadership?
The inclusive Government has proved to be of great benefit for the MDC, like the bat in the famous story of the battle between the land animals and birds of the air.
The MDC is able to stand on the fence and claim to be on either side. Their officials speak from a two-forked tongue that deceives and in the end it will destroy this Inclusive Government.
By spreading lies and misconceptions abroad and within Zimbabwe the MDC has not moved forward, but remains an opposition party bent on one thing: regime change.
While the West has been calling for reforms from Zanu PF, many of which this country has witnessed the MDC has remained stuck in the yesteryears of cheap politics. Their brand of cheap political maneuvers, which has reduced this country to a former shell of itself, should be condemned.
Now they sit on the fence pretending to be working together with Zanu PF in the inclusive Government while to their friends in the West the continue to lobby for more funding directed not only to their party and groups that form their support base, but to Ministries under their custodianship.
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 22:34:00 +0000
THE Western (and especially American) propaganda machine is now in full swing. It is now embedded within the inclusive Government of Zimbabwe.
The difference with Zimbabwe is that the US does not even need physical presence in the country. It has created "civil society groups" that do the donkey work and it maintains a wide network of humanitarian groups and/or non-governmental organisations to carry out that work.
The American brand of advertising, a multitrillion-dollar brand of mass consumerism, bolstered by cultural and military dominance and championed by worldwide symbols like Marlboro, McDonalds, Boeing, Coca-Cola and General Electric, is slowly hitting Zimbabwe through the MDC. This time the agenda is wider than just setting up corporations; but change in governance and returning "expropriated" land.
At election time we saw this brand of American public diplomacy employed in Zimbabwe. At first it was the big campaign bus by then leader of the opposition MDC and now Prime Minister, then came the NGO distribution of party leaflets, party regalia and other paraphenalia to "twist" people's minds.
The subliminal message in President Barack Obama's picture with Prime Minister Tsvangirai cannot be easily deciphered by the "naked eye". The rolling out of the red carpet by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel was an attempt at mass hypnosis that could normally achieve its intended effects if only Zimbabwe's literacy rate was not as high.
Zimbabweans have the ability to deconstruct the intended meaning in such images. They do not work in the Zimbabwean context. This global packaging of our PM, who naively falls for that trap all the time, tends to shoot the messenger, especially at home.
The zero sum approach of presenting PM Tsvangirai as a saint and President Mugabe as evil, does not augur well with the populace in Zimbabwe in particular and Africa in general. This approach does not work in a country whose freedom was brought by a protracted armed struggle and whose history of segregation and second class citizenship of the black population is still fresh.
The contrasts are presented in glittering generalities of freedom and democracy fighting evil and tyranny. However, reality on the ground is not as distinct.
The propaganda paper produced this week which featured PM Tsvangirai and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's pictures is a desperate attempt at mass hypnosis that will not work. For a PM who parades the world over saying the inclusive Government is working to then publish a "newspaper", pamphlet or whatever it is, to counter what he calls state media propaganda, is a sign of the general naivety that grips the MDC party.
To then have that pamphlet printed and didtributed bu USAid, especially after its recent bad news in Zimbabwe, is a sign of propaganda gone awry. Who is Tsvangirai fighting against? He is the "prime" minister and should be able to direct state media in ways helpful to the inclusive Government, otherwise his weaknesses as a premier are out there in the open.
Fortunately, our Zimbabwe audience knows that the reality of Zimbabwe is quite different from the rhetoric or these images advanced by the US and the EU.
It may be time for the US and EU to listen more to the legitimate grievances of the government of Zimbabwe; otherwise their messenger within the inclusive Government, Morgan Tsvangirai, might be playing with fire he will not be able to extinguish. He is dealing with experienced politicians who understand these issues deeply after eight or more decades of fightiing imperialist forces.
Thu, 18 Jun 2009 22:45:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR - Yesterday I saw one incredibly shocking news article title on one of the online media outlets. It read: "Tsvangirai launches newsletter to counter state propaganda". What state propaganda? Is it the same state that Tsvangirai is prime minister of?
I was also shocked that the PM has funds to launch a parallel newsletter to the Herald at a time when the inclusive Government is struggling with funds.
I remember reading a report last month saying that some of the ministers in the new inclusive Government had very little furniture in their offices and that supplies and consumables were scarce in many of the ministers' offices.
The lauch of this newsletter is very disturbing in three significant ways:
1. Prime Minister Tsvangirai's office is very poorly advised to launch such a PR exercise at a time when he is on a re-engagement state visit convincing the world that the inclusive Government is working;
2. The PM is getting extra funding for party work "within the state" at a time when the state is supposed to be consolidated and the various organs working in harmony. This will create unnecessary competition between the various departments and organs of the state. Only a few weeks ago PM Tsvangirai told the world that the media environment had significantly changed. So he either lied to the people or he is just generally naive when it comes to understanding statecraft.
3.There are divisive elements that are bent on destabilising the harmony that is obtaining in Zimbabwe since the formation of the inclusive Government. The MDC should separate state and party issues.
These three issues make one fail to understand where the MDC is aiming to take the inclusive Government and whether that party really cares about the welfare of the majority of people who face hardships daily.
Fri, 19 Jun 2009 09:40:00 +0000
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party announced that it was setting up committees to address the issue of succession within the party. The announcement was made after a meeting of the highest decision-making body of the party, the Politburo.
The party also announced that a committee to deal with ideological issues had also been set up. As a liberation war party, or vanguard party, issues of ideology are critical to the survival of the party beyond President Mugabe.
The Politburo expressed optimism that the party would open up a new chapter in its history and makes changes that will make it relevant to challenges faced today and in the future.
Zanu was formed as a militant organization to fight against white minority rule in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). The party was formed as a split from the Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu) led by Dr Joshua Nkomo.
Zanu formed a coalition with Joshua Nkomo's Zapu and assumed the moniker Patriotic Front (PF) in 1976. The PF was political and military alliance between the two parties during the war against white minority rule in Rhodesia.
The two parties used that platform to negotiate the transition from minority white rule to majority rule at Lancaster House in London between September and December 1979.
The conference almost failed to reach an accord due to disagreements on land reform. Land was the key stumbling block.
The two PF parties contested the 1980 elections and Zanu PF won under the leadership of Robert Mugabe..
In 1987 PF Zapu, led by Dr Nkomo, merged with Zanu PF to form an umbrella Zanu PF.
Two weeks ago, the Zanu PF politburo resolved that Zimbabwe's democracy will benefit from a reformed and democratic Zanu PF that does not compromise on its nationalist ideology.
Analysts say Zanu PF is taking cues from countries like China. The prosperous China we see today is an outcome of reform that took place in the Communist Party, without which China would have gone through another cultural revolution probably with destructive results.
The issue of succession has been talked of in Zanu PF before without much progress being made on the ground.
A political commentator recently wrote: "Zanu PF faces the real possibility of complete demise if it mishandles its succession issue.
"At the centre of this succession is the need for a credible and visionary leadership to rise within the party. A leadership that can lead with brains and vision and not violence and patronage as we have seen in the past."
"There is nothing wrong with Zanu PF advancing its nationalist ideology, as long as this is done persuasively and in the interest of the country."
Written by Correspondent
Friday, June 19, 2009 2:58:18 PM
President Rupiah Banda held a closed door consultative meeting with the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Council (NGOCC) on Thursday.
According to a statement made available by Special Assistant for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere, President Banda and the NGOCC headed by Marian Munyinda discussed a number of issues affecting the nation.
The meeting discussed the constitution making process, women representation and the labour situation following recent strikes by civil servants.
The meeting also identified other issues that required consultation and agreed to meet again.
President Banda thanked the NGOCC leaders for embracing dialogue on issues concerning the country, which he said require concerted efforts to resolve.
The President was accompanied to the meeting by Gender minister Sara Sayifwanda.-JK
Written by Isaac Zulu in Kapiri Mposhi
Friday, June 19, 2009 2:56:41 PM
TEACHERS in Kapiri Mposhi on Tuesday unanimously passed a vote of no confidence in their national union leadership.
During a joint meeting on Tuesday held at Lukanda Basic School, the teachers however resolved to resume work, demanding that the national union leaders address them and explain on the just signed 15 per cent salary increment within 30 days.
“Zambia Nation Union of Teachers, Secondary Education Teachers Union of Zambia and the Basic Education Teachers Union of Zambia have accepted to go back for work on Wednesday 17th June 2009 on demands that the national union leadership come and address them as whole district by 16th July 2008 failure to which they shall withdraw their monthly contribution from the union,” they explained in a joint statement issued after the meeting.
“Kapiri Mposhi teachers have also expressed no confidence in their national union leadership, whom they have accused of misrepresenting them by signing for 15 per cent salary increment without consulting them.”
Meanwhile, police in Chingola have detained 15 pupils from different secondary and basic schools for three days on account of having taken part in a riot on Monday.
Parents of two teenage boys who were part of the group that was still in detention, said their children were by press time yesterday still in cells at Chingola Central Police Station without charge.
Evans Mwanza, father of a 15-year-old Chingola High School pupil, complained that police had since Tuesday been telling him and other parents that their children would be released after investigations against them were completed.
Mwanza, who spoke on behalf of other parents, demanded the release of the children.
He also complained that the children, most of whom were 15 years and below, were picked up after the riot.
And another parent, Mulenga Mwelwa, whose child is 13 years old demanded the immediate release of his child and others in detention.
And when contacted, Copperbelt police commanding officer Antoneil Mutentwa confirmed that the pupils were in detention but said they were being released after paying the admission of guilt fine for conduct likely to cause breach of peace.
Written by Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Lusaka and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Friday, June 19, 2009 2:49:02 PM
GOVERNMENT'S decision to stick to the rejected FRA maize floor price will only benefit millers and briefcase traders at the expense of farmers and mealie-meal consumers, Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) president Jervis Zimba said yesterday.
And ZNFU has accused agriculture minister Dr Brian Chituwo of having manipulated minutes for a consultative meeting held to discuss the rejected floor price of maize, saying this resulted in the entire government being misled.
Meanwhile, former Chipangali UNIP member of parliament Lucas Phiri has said it is unwise for the government to instruct the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to purchase two million bags of maize throughout the country instead of buying more maize.
Addressing the press yesterday at ZNFU headquarters, the farmers’ supreme body maintained its rejection of the FRA floor price of K65, 000 per 50 kilogrammes of maize.
Zimba said although the FRA price was not the ultimate price of maize, it was a lead indicator and determinant of the ultimate market cost.
Zimba, who described the current maize marketing season as a sham, said there was little likelihood that the price of maize was going to improve due to the current high maize supply on the market.
“Because FRA is selling at K65, 000 and there is a lot of maize on the market, what is happening is a disaster because now farmers in their desperation are selling maize at levels of as low as K40, 000 [per K50 kilogramme]. And these farmers are coming from faraway places like Choma and Kaoma areas,” Zimba said.
“And there is a lot of maize on the market, the millers and the grain traders are now dictating the price due to lack of demand. And ultimately, the maize buyers will buy at very cheap price but the millers will not reduce the price for mealie-meal, so, the people who are going to lose out are the [mealie-meal] consumers and the farmers. “We wonder who the ministry of agriculture wants to please.”
And ZNFU regretted that its consultation with the government over the floor price of maize had yielded no positive results.
In a statement, ZNFU executive director Ndambo Ndambo charged that the ministry of agriculture and FRA had misled the government because they had not considered serious implications of the current floor price on the future of agriculture and maize production.
“The ZNFU received a letter from Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives recently advising that the floor price issue was closed,” stated Ndambo. “Also enclosed were a set of “cooked minutes” which record of the meeting did not reflect entirely what was discussed during the meeting. We are dismayed that the government has unilaterally decided to stick to the announced floor price making the consultation process a one sided show and baseless.”
ZNFU also demanded that the government immediately instructs the Office of the Auditor General to conduct an audit of all millers who benefited from the maize subsidy programme to ascertain how the benefit of the subsidy was passed onto consumers.
And in an interview, Phiri said the government should buy 36 million bags of maize to overcome hunger in the country.
He said the government’s move to buy only two million bags through FRA was a manifestation that government was not serious in reducing poverty levels.
“They have instructed multi-purpose co-operatives societies which are buying maize on behalf of FRA to buy about 4,260 bags per buying point for example Mgubudu society they have been buying 89,000 bags of maize or 120,000 bags of maize per season, so you instruct such a society to buy 4,260 bags by 50 kg, what is that? That is nonsense and we donít understand where we are going and what the government is intending to do and in fact I want to challenge government that this is not the way they can say we want farmers to keep a lot of maize. No. farmers cannot keep a lot of maize because FRA has failed to buy,” Phiri said.
He said the limitation in the number of bags to be bought by FRA would lead to an increase in the number of briefcase buyers exploiting farmers.
Phiri said it would be unfortunate for the government to buy maize from other countries at a later stage when it had failed to buy maize from the local farmers.
And farmers in Chipata Central Agricultural Block have expressed disappointment over the failure by the government to offer them a maize buying depot despite them having a lot of maize to sell.
This is contained in a statement addressed to Eastern Province FRA coordinator, provincial permanent secretary and Provincial Agricultural coordinator and signed by block chairperson David Kumalinga and secretary, Joana Mwenda.
The farmers are requesting the government to provide them with a market at Madzimoyo or Kanyanja centre.
Written by Editor
The highest level of political thought was reached when some people became aware that no one had the right to rob others and that the fruits of the efforts and intelligence of each human being should reach all others; that no one really had to be a wolf, but could be a brother or sister to others.
We salute all those who have arrived at these stimulating convictions and we also salute those who, although they may not share such ideas, are honest democrats and progressives, because consistently practiced, political honesty is the road that leads a person’s mind and will to doing good. We say all this in the light of the observations made by Michael Koplovsky, the charge d’affaires at the United States Embassy in Lusaka, about the need to fight corruption in Zambia.
No honest politician, no honest citizen would tolerate corruption. As we have seen, corruption robs our people of the resources needed to develop their country and themselves.
We agree with Koplovsky’s observation that the Zambian people deserve a responsive and responsible government and that they should demand transparency and accountability from their government. Without accountability, our political leaders will start to pursue their own interests and forget about the plight of our people. They will steal public resources to enrich themselves.
Power is power. It is said that the most important struggle for someone in power is the struggle against himself or herself, the struggle for self-restraint. That could well be one of the most difficult things.
It is not easy to struggle against corruption, and even against the abuse of prerogatives. One needs to have a very well developed and strong conscience, because we have seen people become conceited and use power incorrectly; the tendency to use power incorrectly is something that we see in this country almost on a daily basis.
We have consistently advised that the exercise of power must be the constant practice of self-limitation and modesty. Without this, there will be no wrong that one cannot do when in power. Entrusting the running of government to dishonest people, to corrupt people, is very dangerous. It is not even easy to remove corrupt people from power by a simple vote. Sometimes it takes a lot of sacrifice to remove corrupt people from office, people may be forced to vote with their blood. At the rate things are going, we don’t think this government will be capable of conducting free and fair elections in 2011. Nothing will stop them from manipulating the process, from rigging the elections to continue their hold on power. These are people who don’t seem to be able to function meaningfully without political power, without access to state resources. Such people will do anything within their means to hold on to power.
So the fight against corruption is not only for the preservation of public financial resources. It is also for the preservation of democracy and good governance in general. Corrupt people cannot run a democratic government. Corrupt people will steal anything including elections, votes. Those who think they can allow this government to operate corruptly and then deliver a devastating blow against them in the 2011 elections are cheating themselves. If this corruption is allowed to continue unabated, Rupiah Banda and his friends will retain power in 2011.
It is good that the whole world, including the American people, is starting to be aware of the corruption that is going on in our country. History shows that no problem has ever been solved until it has become a tangible reality of which everyone is aware. We cannot fight this corruption alone. We need the support of all progressive and honest people in this world. The support of other nations is absolutely necessary, regardless of political concepts, systems of government, philosophical convictions and other beliefs. This is not the first time we will seek the support of others. We sought it in our independence struggle and we had the support of others, including of the American people. With the support of others, we have confronted complex and difficult situations in the past with firmness and determination. Together we have striven and struggled and together we have scored victories. In this same spirit and with this same determination, we must be ready to wage the most colossal, legitimate, worth and necessary battle against corruption, for our people’s lives and future.
Therefore, we should not be bothered about the issue of perception. What should bother us should be the corruption that is taking place in our country, that is robbing our people of the resources needed for their development and sustenance of their lives that are being stolen by greedy people. If the news that is getting to the world about corruption in our country is true, why should that bother us in terms of perception? What should bother us is that what is being reported in the international media is actually happening here. And the stories that appeared in the American media about corruption in Zambia are true. Everything that was said in those stories was true and can be so proved. If this means loss of financial support from the American people, let it be. We say this because we also don’t want the American people to waste their money by sending it here to be stolen. Today the American people are facing many problems and they need all the resources. But if they can spare something for us in these circumstances, we owe them a duty to use that money in an efficient and effective manner and not to steal it or abuse it.
It cannot be denied that there is so much wastage and abuse of public funds in this country. Wastage and abuse of public funds is corruption. And in this country, that wastage and abuse starts at State House itself; it starts with Rupiah himself. Rupiah started abusing public resources during last year’s presidential election campaigns. We saw ambulances from the Ministry of Health being used to transport Rupiah’s campaign staff. What is the difference between that and directly stealing government money? The fuel that was propelling those vehicles was bought with government funds. The drivers who were being paid to drive those vehicles were paid for by the government. Clearly, here public funds were stolen to finance Rupiah’s campaign. The gallivanting around, the excessive travel allowances that Rupiah and his team are being paid by the government amounts to nothing but wastage and abuse of public funds. Again, this is corruption. Why should the American people and others be made to pay for this?
If we need and seek the support or help of others, we have a duty to use such assistance prudently. And it is not only what others give us that should be used prudently. We have to start with our own money and use it wisely. What is the use of misusing our own resources and after that go and ask others for help? It is like someone takes his whole pay, squanders it and then the following day, starts to trouble the neighbour for all sorts of things – charcoal, salt, sugar, soap, relish, mealie-meal and so on and so forth.
If we cannot account for our resources well, we don’t deserve other people’s assistance. If we are going to spend our taxpayers’ money on unnecessary travel allowances for our politicians and public servants, then we don’t deserve funding from others who are not misusing their money in like manner.
Therefore, it is clear that every Zambian of goodwill should play a part in fighting corruption, in fighting abuse of public resources. This is the only way we can ensure that our government provides our people with the necessary services. And as we have stated before, there is nothing which makes people more appreciative of a government than that it should be able to deliver services. And it doesn’t matter how much money a country earns. If that money is not used properly, there will not be development in that country and poverty and despair will be the order of the day. We have many examples of such countries in Africa. We have on this continent countries with very high levels of income from oil but with their people suffering worse forms of poverty than some countries with lower incomes which are managed by relatively more honest governments.
We therefore make a clarion call to all Zambians to join the fight against corruption. And we also urge the co-operating partners of our country to join in this fight because if they don’t, their assistance to us will be of no value, will not yield any positive results.
Written by Lambwe Kachali
MMD is dead and buried at the next election unless we choose the leader with vision beyond the current plans, 2011 MMD presidential aspiring candidate Professor Clive Chirwa has said. And Prof Chirwa has demanded that MMD spokesperson Benny Tetamashimba be expelled from the party for gross misconduct.
Commenting on the happenings in MMD and the government at large, Prof Chirwa said instead of concentrating on resolving the problems Zambians were facing, some power hungry individuals were busy pushing President Banda to contest in 2011.
Prof Chirwa said Zambia would be paralysed if President Banda was not careful in the way he handled problems the country was facing.
"Just look around us, there is no single day when MMD has had good news. It is either corruption, job losses, strikes, incompetence or mismanagement and abuse of office that hits the headlines. His Excellency has done some good jobs but all has been muffled by scandals," Prof Chirwa said.
"Our party so far since the last presidential by-elections has acted as if it is in office but not in power. Let us return to some good news. Otherwise the MMD is dead and buried at the next election unless we choose a leader with vision beyond the current plans. Zambians cannot be fooled any longer and the ballot boxes will not have video imaging to show who voted and if we are not careful, many will vote for the opposition."
On the decision by MMD national executive committee [NEC] to endorse President Banda as sole candidate for 2011, Professor Chirwa described it as a joke.
"This is a joke, right? This has gone beyond boot-licking and I am disgusted by why all the members of the NEC did not rise up to this nonsense. This is very unconstitutional and I want the minutes to be revoked and annulled because they have been accepted on false pretence, to be blunt, on deception," Prof Chirwa said.
"I will be submitting my complaint letter on this and on the fact that such an important party meeting was held at the State House on public money. No wonder nobody spoke because they had a noose around their necks as soon as they arrived at State House."
Prof Chirwa however said he was not surprised by President Banda's endorsement.
"I have known this for months; especially when it was clear from the body language this January that His Excellency was not just there up to 2011. I am not power hungry and I am doing extremely well where I am now. The problem I have is my conscience telling me that you may be doing well, what about the millions of Zambians who are so poor that it will take another 100 years to give them a descent life if we maintain the status quo," he said. "So far, we are doing well but not well enough to warrant another term in office after 2011."
He said indeed, if NEC adopted President Banda under Article 10 of the MMD constitution as claimed by Tetamashimba, then he [Prof Chirwa] too qualified even more to stand at the forthcoming party Convention.
"To cut the long story short I meet all the 12 criteria under Article 10 including 10(J)," he said.
Prof Chirwa said the decision by NEC to endorse President Banda as 2011 sole candidate was instigated by Tetamashimba.
"And with Mr Benny Tetamashimba, he should be expelled from the party under Article 5.1b and Article 5.3 of the MMD constitution for gross misconduct and for misleading His Excellency the President Mr Rupiah Banda in thinking that he is home and dry. Who is Tetamashimba? We have not asked this question before and now time has come. He is No. 22 on the party hierarchy list and he does not comprise one of the nine top positions with major influence to the party. He has come into MMD and hijacked the blue shirt. We will never miss him if he is gone. He cannot get away with this anymore and expulsion is the only answer and I will see to it that it happens in the MMD soon and the court of law if not implemented," Prof Chirwa said.
"No person has the power to exclude a noble member of our party from attending the convention. The whole exercise is meant for party members. So please until then our democratic rights are paramount and should be followed with dignity and to that note, I Professor Clive Mulubwa Kondwani Chirwa do declare that I will be standing for MMD presidency and Republican presidency based on the constitutions of our party and country."
Prof Chirwa also said it was premature for President Banda to sideline other potential presidential candidates from attending the convention.
He advised President Banda not to contest the presidency, saying there was still life after politics.
"My good advice, which I have been giving to my party through my writings since I cannot get to His Excellency, is that he should think deep and hard if the decision he has taken is in his own interest let alone that of Zambians. There is life after politics and at that age, I would urge my distant grand-uncle, as people tell me but I am not sure, to galvanise his effort and knowledge with wisdom of a state leader. Let him think as to why he is being unceremoniously paraded by those two individuals who claim to be speaking for the entire MMD membership," Prof Chirwa said.
"During the last 2008 presidential by-elections, I supported him and gave him a green light to stand. I even campaigned for him from the head office in Lusaka and in the country since at that time we needed continuity in a nation that was mourning. Unfortunately this has now transpired to have been a mistake on my part. I trusted him so much that I believed in his admirable words which were relayed to me by my advisor that he will stand only up to 2011. I hope this dream I am in will end in a few days when His Excellency will stand up to those two bullies who are tying him up without realising what will happen to another five years of uncertainty for himself and for the Zambian people whom he wants to serve so dearly."
He said President Banda was not sure whether he was doing the right thing or not.
"Every time His Excellency has been asked to take up the candidature first as acting president and now for the party president, he has not been sure if he is doing the right thing. Read his answers from Livingstone and after the NEC made the decision, you will ascertain simply by assessing what he said and I quote "If you people want me to stand to go ahead, "Who am I to say no?" This shows that my "Mbuya" is being pushed in the direction he doesn't want to go," Prof Chirwa observed."
He also said he could not figure out anything discernible from the communiquŽ read by Tetamashimba which stated that NEC had endorsed President Banda's candidature for the party's presidency.
He argued that NEC has no power based on MMD constitution to float a candidate and for that matter, a sole candidate.
"I ask myself, has His honourable Tetamashimba ever read the MMD constitution? If he has, like I have done on many occasions, he will find that Article 10(J) does not give the power to NEC members to choose and present a sole candidate for the party president. The Article 10(J) on page 10 of the constitution states and I quote "to be sincere, honest and truthful" as referred to obligations of every member. This is not the first time His Honourable Tetamashimba has been at all cost trying to stop me from contesting the MMD presidency by quoting wrong information from the MMD constitution. The first time he referred to the constitution was during the Levy Mwanawasa days when he uttered wrong details from an Article he believed existed. Now he is exposing His Excellency the President Mr Rupiah Banda to a very serious none democratic disgrace.
Honourable Tetamashimba's actions together with some of those in the NEC who drafted the communiquŽ should have known better as custodians of our party that every word quoted from MMD rule book is gospel. This incompetence has ruined our reputation as a credible leading party and we look foolish to the world outside that we have to lie in order to get what we want. Very sad story that now portrays His Excellency in the eyes of Zambians and our donors to be there for something else and not for the benefit of the suffering citizens. In the court of law this contempt of court and it is a very serious case and cannot be tolerated," Prof Chirwa said.
"That is why I am calling for His honourable member for Solwezi central Mr Benny Tetamashimba to be expelled from the party and sacked from his ministerial position. If he thinks he can get away with it, this time he has made a grave mistake that warrants prison for lying in a forum that runs our party and country.
He has made His Excellency the President believe with no constitutional backing that he is the sole candidate for the MMD party. This is deception that warrantees a kick in the backside and out of the party. The MMD constitution itself calls for the presidential candidate to lodge his/her nomination papers to the returning officer at the convention (Article 38(2)). Indeed Articles 38, 39, 40 and 41 have no description of any kind whatsoever that allows the NEC to nominate a candidate for MMD presidency. The only body that can do that is the convention. If His Excellency wants to run for another term, he should, like all of us lodge his papers to the appointed returning officer 24 hours before the ballots are cast at the convention."
Prof Chirwa said he felt sorry for some hard working uncorrupted members of parliament whom he said would lose most when power is passed on to the opposition if the status quo was put in stone.
"These elected MPs have not even been consulted of the decision by NEC which is full of none elected members of parliament. The power I believe should lie with MPs and this is why I will be presenting my vision to them and put up a case for me to lead our party according to our constitution and the existing law of Zambia," he said.
He further said he was not shaken by NEC's decision and vowed to challenge President Banda at the convention for the party's top most position.
"Therefore, it is premature for His Excellency to start excluding people from contesting, because the MMD constitution calls for a democratic election of its leaders. In fact that is why the President himself opened the way for others to contest. Under the constitution I will still go ahead and contest according to my rights as a member of the MMD. Until then I reserve the right to call myself a presidential candidate for the MMD and later Republican president under Articles 37 and 39," said Prof Chirwa.
Written by Patson Chilemba in Mpika
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) Michael Sata yesterday charged that President Rupiah Banda has re-appointed Dora Siliya in order to seal her mouth from exposing scandals which could implicate the President. And Sata had demanded High Court judge Phillip Musonda’s immediate resignation for overruling his superiors judgment in his recent ruling that cleared Siliya.
Commenting on Siliya’s re-appointment as a Cabinet minister to serve in the Ministry of Education shortly after High Court judge Musonda cleared her, Sata said the move had raised more questions than answers, in that her appointment came barely a few hours after she was cleared by the courts.
He said in more likely circumstances, President Banda had already known the outcome of the judgment even before the court process was finalized.
Sata said the speed with which the court process was conducted and Siliya’s speedy reappointed showed that there was something President Banda was trying to hide.
“Rupiah Banda is sealing her lips. He knows if he doesn’t appoint, she will crack and speak. Now again, he has sealed her lips,” Sata said.
“I hope now since she’s so close to the President, she will tell the President to give teachers more money, and we shall be content with this crap she brought at the Lusaka International Airport.”And Sata further asked judge Musonda to resign for overruling his superiors judgment on Siliya.
“Or Supreme Court Justices Dennis Chirwa and Chitengi must resign because judge Musonda has punched a big hole into their credibility. Who is going to trust their decisions? Remember, they have in the past made several decisions, they presided over my petition case. It is just that time has passed, we would have also taken it to judge Musonda,” Sata said.
“Judge Chirwa, judge Chitengi and the Chief Justice must resign because a puny judge has overruled them. How can they remain on the bench when a puny judge has overruled them?”
Sata said judge Musonda had sent a very serious message to the Zambian people which they should reflect on seriously regarding the judicial process in the country.
He said Zambia had been turned into President Banda’s leadership ‘sangwapo’ where the President’s friends were above the law.
Written by Margaret Habbuno and George Chellah
Friday, June 19, 2009 1:57:37 PM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has entrenched the "Kumozi Kumawa" system in his government, Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) president Edith Nawakwi has said. And the Southern African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) on Thursday said the quick re-appointment of Dora Siliya as education minister was a source of discord and justifiable outcry.
Commenting on the re-appointment of Siliya as education minister following High Court judge Phillip Musonda's decision to clear her of any wrongdoing as found by the tribunal, Nawakwi said the re-appointment of Siliya into public office was a clear indication that her resignation was ill-timed.
"Her [Dora] re-elevation to Cabinet portfolio gives us a lot of questions as to the authenticity and genuineness on the fight on corruption. It is not about whether my sister Dora is corrupt or not, that is not the issue. The issue is about the public outcry on the procedure used to hire companies from outside to undertake the public job," Nawakwi said.
"During the [Levy] Mwanawasa government, it was called the family tree now in the Rupiah Banda government it is called Kumozi Kumawa government."
She said it was common knowledge to everybody, including the President, that tenders for contracts above K2 billion needed to be advertised.
"So it is not even an issue of the tribunal, the rights and merits of the decision of the Supreme Court or the tribunal. It is about the moral issue to the extent of what is the public presumption of this new minister of education," she explained.
Nawakwi said it was sad that the Judiciary had been brought to public odium, saying the country did not expect the High Court judges to overrule the Supreme Court judges.
"To bring the Judiciary into public odium in the manner that it has been brought gives us very, very sad... and indeed as many have commented that we don't expect the High Court judge to overrule the Supreme Court judges, the tribunal was set up as a way of dealing with the ministers and parliamentarians. To overrule such decision means that [the parliamentary and ministerial code of conduct] Act in the law sure should not even exist. But more so the appointment which came hardly six hours later simply gives one the impression that judge Musonda was instructed to rule in the manner that he ruled," Nawakwi said.
She said in the absence of the truth about the outcome of the ruling, it would not be wrong for one to conclude that President Banda just waited for the ruling before he could immediately re-appoint Siliya to Cabinet.
"Unless someone tells us how the President was just waiting for this ruling, an announcement, and sure if it is not the difference between the time of announcement probably re-appointments came hardly minutes after judge Musonda's pronouncement on the tribunal findings," Nawakwi said. "For those of us who are spectators, for those of us who are their supporters are deeply, deeply disappointed."
Nawakwi said she supported women power but that how one attained it matters.
"I am one person who supports women power. I would be the first one to support a female education minister in the country because as mothers once we hear that a girl child has been appointed minister we feel happy. But it does not have to be at the cost of the integrity of the Judiciary and the written laws of this country," she said.
Nawakwi said if Siliya stepped aside from her position before the tribunal was set up until the time the report of the findings was presented, people would have accepted the High Court's judgment.
"If she was requested to give up her position until the findings were done we would have said that 'ya at least she has been cleared'. But Madam Honorable Siliya was in her position until the tribunal finished its findings," she said.
"The President is pilling up more issues on his presidency instead of talking about strike issues in the country. The President came, he has been quiet. I expected him to talk about issues that will bring development to the country and survival of the Zambian people. This is a very controversial issue and will not be put to rest in a week's time."
Nawakwi said wrong steps were taken in Siliya's re-appointment to Cabinet.
"The steps that have been taken in her appointment are the ones that are very wrong. I am not in a position to judge if at all she will manage to run the education ministry. It is too early. Honourable Siliya will be dealing with professors, interact with the university graduates, dealing with the international community. The President said she was very clever and I am sure that's why she has been appointed. He is sure that she has the capacity to handle the ministry," she said.
And SACCORD information officer Michelo Mwango said the organization was concerned at the re-appointment of Siliya barely 24 hours after the court judgment that overturned the Dennis Chirwa-chaired tribunal findings.
"Zambians look up to their political leadership for good governance and amicable settlement of varied interests. However, we find the decision by the Executive rather hasty. It is clear that the re-appointment of Hon. Dora Siliya as Education Minister is a source of discord and justifiable outcry," Mwango said.
"While we agree that the President has the mandate to appoint whosoever, he wants in any given ministerial position, we disagree when such appointments are made in the midst of controversy. Hon. Dora Siliya resigned on moral grounds and her acceptance to a ministerial position so soon makes us question whether she genuinely resigned on moral grounds or they were other precipitating factors."
He said as a people, Zambians needed to ensure that they build a political leadership that was seen to represent the citizens in their concerns.
"Therefore, Executive actions should set good examples in the eyes of the whole society. Zambia needs to move away from a culture that embraces a political leadership that is seen to have no respect for public office although they are legally absolved," Mwango said.
"Indeed, the recent High Court judgment by Hon. Phillip Musonda over the Dora Siliya tribunal has left more questions than answers about the internal procedures of our Judiciary. The failure by the High Court to address for instance issues surrounding procurement is serious because now the Hon. Minister has been reassigned to a more challenging ministry in terms of procurement and yet the court has not made any corrective measures."
He said SACCORD finds the dismissal of all the findings of the tribunal not only vexing but also undermining trust and constructive resolution of disputes in the country.
"For us, the judgment has not only caused more conflict but it has also created a perception of discord in our judicature. While accepting the judgment as believers in the rule of law, it seems to us that the bench as the custodian of justice ought to be consistent and cautious in the manner they dispense justice and their judicial responsibilities, particularly in cases that carry political nuances," said Mwango.
"We implore the Chief Justice to take measures to ensure that the integrity of the Judiciary is protected and does not suffer erosion of confidence from the public."
President Banda on Wednesday appointed Siliya as education minister following her being cleared by judge Musonda on Tuesday of any wrongdoing in her engagement of RP Capital Partners to valuate Zamtel assets.
The Chirwa tribunal that was set up to probe Siliya found that she breached the Constitution when she engaged RP Capital Partners and this finding saw her resign from her ministerial position.
Written by Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday, June 19, 2009 1:55:55 PM
UNIVERSITY Teaching Hospital (UTH) management this morning sent armed police officers to chase striking health workers who had assembled at the car park near the casualty ward. The police who were at the hospital as early as 07:30 hours were stationed at all the three gates that nurses use to when entering the hospital.
One of the nurses complained of harassment by the police because they were threatened and chased from the hospital.
“They are even following people who stay at the hospital so some have just decided to stay home. The police are there at the three gates and they are asking us to sign at the gate if we are going to work or not, if we refuse they are telling us to go back,” the nurse complained.
“Is this the way they are going to answer our grievances by sending police officers. We are essential workers and we are not even violent. We want to work in this country and not go out but all we are asking is to be met half way by the government.”
The nurses also registered their disappointment over the management of UTH particularly the managing director Dr Peter Mwaba.
The nurses complained of Dr Mwaba being biased towards doctors and not regarding other health personnel in any way.
“We have also been dealing with the highest command to give in the country, Mr. Greenwell Ng’uni to give us a permit to protest but he has been denying us that. We are disappointed that he can instead send police officers. There are police officers inside, some are patrolling in a car manhandling people in uniform and that is why we are standing outside the hospital,” complained another nurses.
“They told us that if we do not leave then they will send for more police officers and unleash tear gas on us. How can they come with guns on innocent people. This is a hospital, a place of refuge where people are even supposed to run to in case of anything. We want to go back to work but let the government listen to our cries as well.”
The health workers who later left the premises vowed not to return to work and would on Monday return in their casual clothes.
But UTH public relations manager Pauline Mbangweta said the police were not deployed to chase the striking health workers but guard the wards that had been closed as a result of the skeleton staff available following the strike.
Mbangweta said the hospital had been receiving reports of thefts from the wards that had been closed hence the decision to call the police.
She said those who were asking the employees to sign in at the gate were UTH security personnel and were even searching vehicles in the evening.
But a check at the hospitals found both the UTH security and the police at the gate near the hospital’s bus station.
Another police vehicle was seen driving around the hospital.
Chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha said on Thursday that those did not want to heed advice to resume work should make their separation with their employers formal.