Saturday, August 08, 2009
Posted By Jonathan Moyo on
7 Aug, 2009 at 4:51 pm
AS ZIMBABWEANS nurse their profound grief on the passing away of Vice-President Joseph Wilfred Msika and ponder over the significance of his lifetime of struggle ahead of his befitting burial at the National Heroes Acre on Monday, the abiding wisdom that death cancels everything but truth must be reverberating in the hearts and minds of those who worked with or knew him as the contagious embodiment of the truth in politics.
The late Vice President Msika was so irrepressibly committed to the truth as an expression of intergenerational leadership that he personified it. He talked and lived the truth with all the associated consequences. There is nobody who worked with or under him, no matter how old or young, who did not experience or suffer the impact of Vice President Msika’s quest for truth.
It is for this reason that, as a man of the truth, he was without doubt the conscience of the nation. He was a leader of immense stature and a very ordinary person at one and the same time. He connected with such ordinary pursuits as boxing and football in ways that are yet to be told.
One fact that stands out as towering as his stature in the history of the nationalist movement, something rather typical of leaders who are truth-driven, is that Vice President Msika never exaggerated his capacity.
He was always humble, ever ready and willing to learn even from people much younger and less experienced than himself. But even so, he was nevertheless very impatient and even ruthless with the “mafikizolos”, the textbook politicians - sometimes called the “young Turks” - who thought or behaved towards him like they knew everything when the contrary was self-evidently true.
The chief error of the “mafikizolos”, which Vice President Msika never tired to point out, was that they naively took the mere formal fact of holding senior positions either in the Zanu PF hierarchy or the Cabinet to mean that they were “leaders”!
Vice President Msika could not stomach that impudence. He used to be routinely vicious against it and would not mince his words when denouncing the evil. This is because to him, being a youth was not a licence to willy-nilly say or do anything and there was always more to leadership than just having high sounding formal educational credentials or holding a formal position.
And in the same vein, and for the same reasons, Vice President Msika was never one to take kindly to people who claimed entitlement by dint of having done this or that during the liberation struggle. To him, the virtue of one’s past or future or stature was always a consequence of one’s present deed.
Equally compelling was Msika’s nationalism. Many have been called nationalists but their record is a mixed tale of tribalism. Not Msika; he was not a lip-service nationalist who takes on a national character when there is a crowd before him.
As a man of the truth, he was one leader who was truly above tribalism. He was at home with real everyday people on the ground anywhere in Matabeleland, in terms of both deeds and language, as he was anywhere in Mashonaland. In this regard, he was in a class all by himself as a paragon of profound nationalism troubled by the otherwise deep-seated scourge of tribalism in our country.
Against this backdrop, Vice President Msika had an infectious management style which saw leadership less as a position and more as a disposition.
This perhaps explains why, as is readily clear even from a cursory review of his leadership role in the history of the nationalist movement, Vice President Msika did not seek high positions for their own sake even when opportunities came begging.
It is as remarkable as it is instructive to note that he was one of the leading nationalist voices that invited the late Vice President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo to be the founding leader of the African National Congress in 1957. Since then and up to his passing away on Wednesday, Vice President Msika’s loyalty to Nkomo remained unstinting.
Of course, the loyalty was not to the person of Nkomo but to the ideals and values of the liberation struggle first to politically free Zimbabwe from colonialism and later to economically empower Zimbabweans by ensuring that they have full control of their God-given natural resources.
It is no exaggeration to say that the whole of Vice President Msika’s adult life was about this struggle. He did not have any other life. He was not invited into that life by anyone. He just found himself naturally at the centre of the struggle and in the end the struggle made him while he made the struggle and in the process Msika made Zimbabwe.
Whatever freedoms some Zimbabweans might claim they do not have today, a claim which must be academic by definition, the fact is that they are able to make the claim as a result of the lifetime sacrifice that Vice President Msika made. He gave up everything for the sake of a free Zimbabwe.
The people who know this only too well are members of his family. But there is no reason the rest of us cannot see it because it’s a reality that speaks for itself and which young Zimbabweans, especially, can ignore at their own existential peril from an identity point of view.
In the same way that young and future Americans cannot recall the history of the making of their country without reference to the likes of Thomas Jefferson, it will not be possible for anyone to tell a complete history of the making of a politically and economically independent Zimbabwe, with empowered citizens, without acknowledging the lifetime contribution made by Vice President Msika.
Those among us who sometimes suffer from the foolish temptation that the history of our country starts in 2000 have all the reasons to use the sad passing away of Vice President Msika to revisit and understand the real and troubled history of our beloved country.
While it can indeed be told from many perspectives based on the contributions of many illustrious sons and daughters of the revolution, some departed and others still with us, the perspective of the late Vice President Msika is arguably the most compelling.
As President Robert Mugabe has said, people like Msika do not die: they live on indelibly anchored in our everlasting memories.
Jonathan Moyo is independent MP for Tsholotsho North
Last 5 posts by Jonathan Moyo
GOVERNMENT is considering reviewing mining contracts as some companies are sitting on claims for speculative purposes at a time when the country is looking for serious investors, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu has said.
Minister Mpofu told investors at the just-ended 5th Annual Mining in Africa Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa, that Government was contemplating taking measures such as the "use-it-or-lose-it policy".
"We are contemplating introducing that kind of measure to deal with those that have been sitting on a lot of claims for a long-time," Minister Mpofu said. He said such behaviour derailed foreign direct investment.
"Investors come but are unable to invest because somebody is sitting on claims in most of the important minerals," he said.
"It is a serious issue that we are addressing. We are working on a mechanism on how best to address this." Minister Mpofu also cleared the air on Government’s indigenisation policy, saying this should not discourage investment.
"We are sensitive to regional experiences regarding indigenisation. We will be guided by what is feasible," he said.
The Grain Marketing Board has resorted to offering inputs as part-payment to farmers who delivered their maize to the parastatal’s depots. Farmers can get fertilizers and chemicals instead of cash for grain delivered to the parastal’s depots countrywide.
This comes as relief to some farmers who were failing to purchase inputs for the forthcoming summer cropping season, as they had no cash to support their operations, while others were still waiting for their money from the parastatal.
GMB public relations officer Mr Joseph Katete said the parastatal was selling fertilizer at US$31 per 50kg bag and had several chemicals, herbicides and pesticides in stock.
"As efforts of GMB to support the farmers throughout their activities, we are offering fertilizers — compound D and ammonium nitrate — and chemicals like Shavit, Dual/metalchlor, Alachlor, Lasso, Altrazine, Landa and Karate at depots countrywide.
"We do not have maize seed at the moment, but farmers will get any amount of inputs they require for their money and this is being done with the farmers’ consent," Mr Katete said.
Meanwhile, the GMB has said it had mobilised funds to pay farmers for grain deliveries made between April and June 19 this year, but was still waiting for the disbursements.
The parastatal secures funds for buying grain from the private sector through the Government.
In a recent statement, the company said all outstanding payments would be made at US$265 per tonne and farmers would be advised on the dates when they would get their money.
This year, GMB is competing with other buyers to purchase grain from farmers and is among those offering high prices.
The majority of the buyers are offering prices ranging from US$100 to US$180 per tonne, resulting in some farmers holding on to their grain in anticipation of better prices.
Grain deliveries that had declined at the GMB depots are expected to start picking up as most farmers complete harvesting and as soon as the company starts the second phase of payments to farmers.
Normally, the maize intake period reaches its peak at the end of July up to the end of September.
Written by Editor
In our 18 years of existence, we have never negotiated even one principle to gain time or to obtain any other kind of practical advantage.
We think we are defending certain principles that are of tremendous value at a time of confusion and opportunism in our country, a time when many politicians are feathering their own nests, a time we might call the deification of political power. And we are the only remaining enemy that they are today attacking with all the fury.
We have a clear, precise idea of our role, and all those factors stimulate and encourage us in our work. That is the link between what we are doing and what we are ready to do, on the one hand, and the future, on the other. We think it will always be of great value.
Listening to Ronnie Shikapwasha giving a ministerial statement in Parliament on the violence against journalists, we were frightened by his lies, half-truths and cheap propaganda. We felt they were making enormous mistakes by unleashing a process that was self-destructive for themselves and for our country. If one starts a process in which all of a country’s values begin to be destroyed, that process is very negative.
We felt by permanently being wedded to lies, cheap propaganda and hatred for those who oppose them, they were destroying the authority of the state. And if one destroys the authority of the state, the consequences are terrible. It’s a matter not of the analysis or criticism of problems, but of the destruction and negation of all the values, merits and history of our country. They are making enormous mistakes by failing to see the consequences of what they are doing and by not doing the right thing to reach the goals and purposes they have proclaimed. Many of the strategic and tactical mistakes they are making are being viewed as the correct way of doing things. But soon, when all these negative tendencies will be unleashed, opportunistic elements will also be introduced and hell will break loose. Probably it has already even happened and it’s only that we are not able to see it clearly or we are being excessively modest in our assessment of things.
In the times in which we live, there is a science that is arrayed against truth: the science of propaganda, disinformation and lies, the science of calumny, in which these people, our adversaries take the prize.
Naturally, we are accustomed to this, to all their lies and cheap propaganda, and it just rolls off our backs, because we are used to their baseness. How can they survive if not with cheap propaganda? How can they survive without lies? How can they explain all the crimes they commit against their own people, if not with lies and calumny, trying to discredit those who expose and oppose them?
We are sure that the masses of our people will obey their instincts and not be swayed by the volume and intensity of that campaign they are waging against us and others who question their decisions and actions. We are not going to be demoralised by this kind of campaign; we are not going to change. We are going to keep on applying the same policy and maintain our system of striving for excellence in all that we do. What is important to us is having a clear conscience.
We are challenging them, absolutely convinced that the ideas we are defending will triumph in our country someday, that our people’s legitimate causes will always advance and triumph eventually.
It doesn’t shock us that a man who goes to Parliament to accuse us of publishing lies does so with lies himself. Shikapwasha yesterday told lies to Parliament that in our newspaper’s lead story of Wednesday, we told lies that Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Leslie Mbula and President Jacob Zuma’s spokesperson Vincent Magwenya were not aware of Rupiah Banda’s visit to South Africa. Shikapwasha told Parliament that these were lies because we didn’t speak to him or Mbula. Our reporter spoke to Mbula and Magwenya and we have this recorded. It was not our opinions or desires that were reflected in that story. So where is the lie on our part? Clearly the lie is on Shikapwasha’s part; he is the one who has lied to Parliament. We have repeatedly stated that we do sometimes get things wrong, we do sometimes get facts wrong. And there is no newspaper or media organisation in the world that never gets anything wrong. But we always endeavour to accept our wrongs and accordingly apologise and make a correction.
As for the insults against Rupiah, this is just another lie. We have never insulted Rupiah. If calling Rupiah a liar is an insult, then there is a serious problem in this country. Rupiah tells lies. And he has lied about us. How can we fail to call him a liar? Rupiah has never apologised or tried to correct any lie he has told about us or any other person. And there are enough laws in our statute books to protect Rupiah from libel or defamation. If we have libeled or defamed Rupiah, let law enforcement agencies come and pick us up and accordingly prosecute us. This is what the rule of law demands. Unleashing cadres on us because they feel we have insulted their party leader is savagery, barbarism that will lead to nothing but anarchy in the nation. We say this is savagery and barbaric because the use of violence against anyone or any part of the community is something that puts those involved in it, those behind it, those who condone it, those who encourage it, those who think it is right like Shikapwasha and Rupiah next to animals. Violence and non-violence are mutually exclusive and those who resort to violence, harassment, vindictiveness can only do one thing, and that is to breed counter-violence and contempt for themselves. People who go out to beat, injure and kill those who question or oppose them, are no better than animals.
We are ready to sit down with anyone who comes in good faith and go through everything that we have published, every word that we have written and see if it can be justified or not. We have been in this business longer than Shikapwasha has been in politics or government. Our knowledge of this profession is far higher than the combined knowledge of Shikapwasha and his friends. And if things were left to them, the situation in our country for the media would be terrible. These are very intolerant characters who are enjoying the fruits or rewards of political processes they contributed very little to. And usually that’s how such people behave – they try to show excessive zeal in dealing with opponents.
As for the threat of enacting laws to regulate the media, we cannot be blackmailed. Let them go and do whatever they want to do. We have told them this many times. We are not scared of any regulation they will come up with. We know how to fight against what is unjust or unfair. We will fight using the same weapons we used against the one party state and other many injustices in our country. Shikapwasha or Rupiah were not factors in all this.
For us, constitutional rights do not need to be earned. And as we have stated before, we hold that the greatest right in this world is the right to be wrong, that in the exercise thereof, people have an inviolable right to express their unbridled thoughts on all topics and personalities, being liable only for the abuse of that right. The press freedom that we stand for and campaign for is one that should protect unpopular and even inaccurate speech. Press freedom is a farce if it means merely the freedom to report pleasant things.
And moreover, whatever laws they come up with, we know that they are targeted only against The Post. We say this because the privately owned media in this country is very small. Of the three daily newspapers, only one – The Post, is not under the control of Shikapwasha and his friends. So when they talk about regulating newspapers, who are they talking about, who do they want to regulate? It’s only The Post they are after. If The Post closed today, Shikapwasha and his friends will stop talking about regulation of the media because the Times of Zambia, Daily Mail and ZNBC are fully under their control and direction. It is only The Post they can’t tell what to do. And therefore The Post is the only newspaper they are seriously seeking to control and direct. But whatever laws they come up with, they will not achieve that. Getting us into their Media Ethics Council of Zambia will never happen. We believe in self-regulation and we practice it every day. And we also believe in voluntary membership to media councils. If it is joining a media council, we will do so voluntarily, not out of coercion. Moreover, our Constitution gives us the freedom of association. And this in itself means that if tomorrow we want to form a media council in co-operation with others, we can do so because there is nowhere in our laws where it is said only MECOZ can exist. Ours is a plural political system and that’s why we even have a proliferation of trade unions and churches grouping in the manner they desire. So let them go ahead and legislate and see what will happen!
We are very lucky that under the political leadership of the likes of Rupiah, of the Shikapwashas, we have a speaker, Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, who because of his journalism background understands issues of the media very well and he has provided some positive restraints. But he is alone and we will not be surprised one day to wake up and find vultures are having their day. Anyway, that’s how life is. Sometimes gigantic leaps have to be taken backwards before going forward – one step forward, two steps backward!
As for Shikapwasha’s attacks on the Catholic Church and the use of cheap propaganda using the Rwandan examples, we are equally not surprised. Shikapwasha is anti-Catholic. He is a Pentecostal church leader whose attitude towards others shows nothing Christian in him.
Shikapwasha’s understanding of religious matters is very low and as such, it’s very dangerous for him to try and pose as an authority on the Christian church, and the Catholic Church in particular. Shikapwasha is a man full of hatred, lies and vengeance.
There is nothing wrong that the Catholic Church is doing in this country. If leaders of the Catholic Church were behaving like him, the Christian church in Zambia would today be very weak. Shikapwasha is a reverend in some church. If Catholic priests were behaving like him, where would this country be?
If Shikapwasha wants to behave and to be seen as a Christian, there is need for him to follow Christ’s example. We say this because being a Christian means being like Christ, follower of Christ. Jesus Christ was humble, most pure, meek: how can His disciple and imitator be proud, arrogant, dishonest, greedy, vengeful, hateful, angry? This reminds us of what Alexander the Great once said to a soldier, who also had the same name but was sluggish, mean and cowardly: “Either change your name or change your behaviour.”
Christ’s entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings. Clearly, the ideas of social justice being advanced by the Catholic Church are in line, in tune and not in conflict with Christ’s teachings. There is a lot in common between the spirit and essence of Christ’s teachings and the Catholic Church’s social teachings of today. And for this reason, the Catholic Church will always find itself on the side of those fighting against abuses, injustice and the degradation of human beings; there will always be an alliance – but not a tactical one – between them. And as we have stated before, there is need to recognise the fact that we are living at a time when politics has entered a near religious sphere with regard to man and his behaviour. We also believe that we have come to a time when religion can enter the political sphere with regard to man and his material needs. Let us respect convictions, beliefs and explanations. Everyone is entitled to his own positions, his own beliefs. We must work in the sphere of these human problems that interest us all and constitute a duty for all. And in this sense, all who struggle for life are included in God’s scheme, even if they lack faith. It is your fellow man, and especially one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified. Therefore, there is no contradiction between the struggle for justice and the fulfillment of God’s will. One demands the other. All who work along that line of God’s scheme for life are considered Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35). Therefore, what the Catholic Church is doing in this country, in our view, is the best way to follow Jesus in our country’s present situation.
We should not be enticed by Shikapwasha and his friends to read fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. As Christ has clearly demonstrated by his own life, injustice must be fought by everyone. And the simple lesson of religions and of life itself is that, although evil may be on the rampage temporarily, the good must win the laurels in the end.
We need religious institutions to continue to be the conscience of society, a moral custodian and a fearless champion of the interests of the weak and downtrodden. We don’t want a church or church leaders who are all the time busy looking for favours from the powerful, from those in government while abandoning the poor and the weak. We expect more from our churches because religion is a great force and it can help one command one’s own morality, one’s own behaviour and one’s own attitude.
Again, we end where we started. Lies are weapons that help no serious person, and no serious person ever needs to resort to a lie. Their weapon is reason, morality, truth, and the ability to defend an idea, a position. There was no need for Shikapwasha to go to Parliament and tell lies over matters that are so clear to everyone. Shikapwasha should know that there is no better tactic, no better strategy than to fight with clean hands, to fight with the truth. As we have stated before, these are the only weapons that inspire confidence, that inspire faith and that inspire dignity. And these are the weapons we have been using to defend ourselves from people like Shikapwasha, Rupiah, Frederick Chiluba and many other evil minded people who have been out to crush us. How else could this small newspaper have survived all these very powerful people with all the state machinery and money at their command? It’s nothing but the truth that has helped us survive this long with such very limited human and financial resources. And it matters less to us how much money Shikapwasha and his friends have to hire cadres and unleash them on us. Our weapons do not lie in the hands of hired youths and other poor people and desperate citizens.
And as such, we will never abandon the truth as our tactical, offensive and defensive weapon. It is such a versatile weapon and we urge Shikapwasha and his friends to embrace it because with it, no one loses a fight, a battle, a war.
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:57:38 PM
THE Church is busy trying to jostle for who they should put into State House, forgetting their mandate, information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha told Parliament yesterday.
Giving a ministerial statement on the violence against journalists as reported in the media, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the church in Rwanda took sides with newspapers and radio stations, which were fanning out falsehoods and propaganda that led to the genocide.
"The church blindly took sides in opposing camps such that it is reported Mr Speaker that 'after a century of Christian proselytisation the country was catholicized but not Christianized. Ritual was generally followed but the spirit was missing. This became tragically evident for the church, only after April to May 1994, when its people slaughtered their brethren wholesale inside the churches on orders from civil authorities and priests. This Mr Speaker is because the church took sides with men. The church must take sides with God," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "I see that the church in Zambia is taking sides with man rather than taking sides with God. We see the church in Zambia taking no stand against the things that God abhors. Where is the church when the newspaper is insulting the head of state? Where is the church when young men are insulting old men? Is it not the church to reconcile God's people in the country? The church is busy with trying to jostle for who they should put into State House, forgetting their mandate. Others are dishing out second hand clothing in the campaign for the pact. Others feel if a person does not belong to a certain political party, they are not Christian enough. Mr Speaker, all this used to happen in Rwanda before the genocide.
"The church failed in Rwanda, 25 priests have so far been imprisoned for genocide. The church in Zambia must learn from the lessons in Rwanda, the Spirit of God must rule in the lives of people. If there is any pact, that one should be packeted with it is Jesus. Therefore, my appeal to the church through you Mr Speaker and through this August House is seek ye first the Kingdom of God and Zambia shall be saved from calamities."
Lt Gen Shikapwasha also justified violence against journalists by MMD cadres, saying President Banda's supporters demand that the President be given due respect by The Post.
He said there was a consistent media attempt to identify President Rupiah Banda and his government as enemies by use of falsehoods about him and the party.
He said these media attempts provoked resentment and anger among President Banda's supporters.
He said in the last three years, the government had received information that some media personnel had been harassed by political cadres believed to belong to the MMD, PF and UPND.
"I can further confirm that this country is not threatened by these incidents nor are the acts of violence backed by people who want to give the perception of instability in the nation," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "However, it is true that coverage of these isolated incidents of violence against the media personnel is largely exaggerated and probably intended to give the world the impression that peace is threatened."
He said media irresponsibility was the cause of the violence.
He said media bodies like the Media Ethics Council of Zambia (MECOZ) shoulder a heavy responsibility of monitoring the professional conduct of journalists and media institutions.
"So that they operate within the set confines of their profession. Otherwise the public will continue to demand for a statutory body to regulate the media. It will be difficult to fend off such demands if the public continue to regard the media as a source of conflict and insults, and a source of instability in the country," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "As members may be aware, Botswana was recently rated the most peaceful country in our region. Some Zambians already conclude that this may be as a consequence of regulated media, they wouldn't fear the mark considering what is happening in Zambian media."
Lt Gen Shikapwasha who laid a number of Post newspaper copies on the table, said in Rwanda the media was abused.
"It is clear that in Rwanda, newspapers, radio and television or indeed media was grossly abused by those who were given the licences to own, work and report to the public. Arising out of their reporting, they incited a situation that led to colossal loss of life. Is it not clear Mr Speaker that the honourable members of this August House were moved or indeed incited to debate and show concern for the country in the manner they debated and demanded for action?" Lt Gen Shikapwasha asked. "Is it not true that one newspaper, The Post newspaper has not given heed to the cries of this August House to abandon its line of attacking and insulting the President of the Republic of Zambia Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda? Mr Speaker, President Banda must be respected. There are many Zambians who voted for President Banda and they demand the President be given due respect by The Post newspaper if only for those Zambians who put him in office and for the Zambians he represents."
He wondered how it was expected of people not to react if their leader was being insulted every day.
He also cited The Post's August 5, 2009, Wednesday edition headlined: ‘Zuma not aware of Rupiah's visit’.
"Whilst this article is a total fabrication. Mr Speaker, it is meant to embarrass the head of state and naturally it will incite both, positive emotions for those who do not like the President and above all negative emotions for those who love the President," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "At the time The Post newspaper were printing this fabrication, His Excellency President Rupiah Bwezani Banda was in the midst of President to President discussion with the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr, Jacob Zuma. It is such irresponsible reporting that brings incitement."
He wondered why The Post never called him to get information when he had given the newspaper all his numbers.
He also wondered why The Post never contacted Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Leslie Mbula.
However, on Tuesday August 4, 2009, Post journalist Chibaula Silwamba interviewed Zambia's High Commissioner to South Africa Mbula, South African President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson Vincent Magwenya and South African Ministry of Foreign Affairs - Department of International Relations and Cooperation spokesperson Nomfanelo Kota about Zambian President Rupiah Banda's visit to South Africa to hold bilateral talks with President Zuma in Pretoria.
Silwamba started by asking High Commissioner Mbula about the time President Banda would meet President Zuma for their bilateral talks and what were to be the key issues to be discussed between the presidents.
Below is the verbatim of the recorded conversation.
High Commissioner Mbula: Where is the President right now?
Silwamba: The President has just left.
High Commissioner Mbula: He has taken off?
High Commissioner Mbula: Aha.
High Commissioner Mbula: I think that I am not very sure yet.
High Commissioner Mbula: Maybe after he has come, when I have seen the programme, you can let me, you can phone me.
Silwamba: Okay. Alright.
High Commissioner Mbula: Aha!
Silwamba: Then I will phone you again.
High Commissioner Mbula: Then we can discuss. Thank you.
Silwamba: Okay. Thank you.
Later, Silwamba telephoned South Africa Ministry of Foreign Affairs' spokesperson [or former spokesperson] Ronnie Mamoepa.
Mamoepa: Contact Nomfanelo Kota on [mobile number].
Silwamba: [Reads out the mobile number]
Mamoepa: That is correct.
Silwamba: Ms who?
Silwamba: She is the spokesperson for the President.
Mamoepa: For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Silwamba: Okay, Alright. Thank you very much
Mamoepa: Thank you. Bye!
After that Silwamba telephoned Nomfenalo Kota.
Silwamba: What time are the bilateral talks between our President, His Excellency the President of Zambia Mr Rupiah Banda and President Jacob Zuma starting and what is the agenda?
Kota: I have not been informed by the desk that deals with Zambian issues. So I am in the dark.
Kota: As soon as we get informed, normally, we do send out a media advisory. Usually it is one week or two weeks in advance.
Silwamba: So far there is nothing?
Kota: On my desk there is nothing that says Zambia.
Silwamba: Okay, okay. Alright!
Kota: It might still be coming
Silwamba: Then I will call you again.
Kota: No problem.
Silwamba: Your first name is?
Kota: Nomfanelo. Not Nomsa. Nomfanelo
Silwamba: Okay Nomfanelo Kota.
Silwamba: Spokesperson for?
Kota: The Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
Silwamba: Alright. Thank you very much. We will keep in touch.
Silwamba later telephoned Magwenya and asked him when the meeting between the two presidents would take place and the key issues that were to be discussed during their bilateral talks.
Magwenya [sounds surprised]: When is that?
Silwamba: He [President Banda] left today; he left this morning for South Africa saying he is having bilateral talks with President Zuma.
Silwamba: They didn't say, we were just told that 'he is leaving today; he is having bilateral talks with the President, President Zuma and that’s it. And after that he will go for his medical review.' So we just wanted to be sure [about their meeting and agenda].
Magwenya: Well, I will have to come back to you on that, chief.
Magwenya: I haven't received any confirmation on that one.
After that, Silwamba asked Magwenya if he could call him back if there were any changes and the meeting would take place.
But Magwenya advised Silwamba to send him a text message so that he [Magwenya] could get his number.
Silwamba later sent text to Magwenya but the latter did not call back with any new information.
On Wednesday August 5, 2009 after the story was published, Silwamba telephoned Magwenya who confirmed that presidents Banda and Zuma had a private meeting but declined to disclose whether it was bilateral talks or personal discussion and what the resolutions of the two presidents' meeting were.
Magwenya: They met. Yah! It was a private meeting, chief.
Silwamba: They met.
Magwenya: Yah, they met but it was a private meeting.
Silwamba: Okay, okay. Thanks.
And Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the government condemned the reported violence against journalists.
"It is criminal, uncalled for and unacceptable," he said.
He said on countless occasions, government leaders up to President Banda were on record as having condemned violence against journalists.
"During his very first press conference as President at State House on 15th November, 2008, President Banda personally intervened in defence of a Reuters correspondent when some people in the audience jeered and booed the reporter for asking the President a question which apparently displeased him. On 26th May, 2009, President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, through the special assistant to President-press and public relations, wrote to The Post newspaper on 'continued harassment of your journalists by MMD cadres'. I shall read this letter and will lay it on the table," said Lt Gen Shikapwasha as he read the letter to Parliament. "As recently as 30th July, 2009 and Tuesday this week, among other occasions, President Banda again condemned the reported acts of violence against journalists and called for an immediate end to the vice."
He said incidents of violence were not the monopoly of the MMD and that the ruling party has equally condemned violence.
He said the police was committed to providing high quality service by upholding and applying the law firmly and fairly to all.
"With regard to the airport incident, I wish to inform the House that contrary to reports that police were spectators to the violence, in fact they actually intervened by calming the situation. The intervention of the senior officers may not have been conspicuous because they do not personally get involved but use their operatives in such situations. Right now, police are doing everything possible to bring the culprits to book," he said.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said the only way forward was to face the truth.
"Jesus said 'the truth shall set you free. We must free ourselves from this scourge.' The contention seems to be premised on grounds that while the media practitioners feel they have a duty to report incidents as they happen without restrictions, some members of society on the other hand, find reports by some media houses biased, unfair and insulting to their leaders and to the elders in society and find such reporting against Zambian custom and culture leading to some of the confrontations we have witnessed," he said.
He warned media personnel when commenting on foreign heads of state or their culture and governance.
"Indeed it does not help Zambia's relations with other states to suggest that the visit to our country by a head of state is for sharing women, as was suggested by a caller allowed by Sky FM radio station recently. Or indeed that nurses from a certain country were prostitutes again from Sky FM radio," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. "Such media reports naturally provoke reaction, unfortunately violent ones in some cases. Such irresponsible reporting will bring animosity between the people of that country and Zambia. This is bound to bring about tension between Zambia and other countries. It will affect the position of Zambians in that country."
He said freedom and responsible reporting could be highly controversial and subjective.
"We need sober minds and level headedness in what we say or do as well as in the news coverage of the same. For overreaction to what is published can be as bad as inciting of violence itself. Similarly, poor judgment of what to publish can also be as bad as inciting violence itself," he said.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha also referred to the findings made during the trial of the media after the genocide, which claimed hundreds of lives in Rwanda.
"In the Zambian case, there is a consistent media attempt to identify President Banda and his government as MMD as enemies by use of falsehoods about him and the party. This provokes resentment and anger among his supporters," he said.
He also said Zambians in the diaspora recently explained to him that the bad image of the country that was being painted by the media was not only damaging the country's image but also would scare away would be investors.
Upon finishing presenting his ministerial statement, Lt Gen Shikapwasha resumed his seat amidst cheering from MMD members of parliament.
Vice-President George Kunda excitedly shook his hand before he resumed his seat.
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:56:32 PM
VICE-President George Kunda yesterday assured that those who engage in violence against journalists would face the wrath of the law. And the country's media mother bodies said the government should learn to listen when criticised. Vice-President Kunda was receiving the 10-page petition on behalf of President Rupiah Banda.
Vice-President Kunda, who was usually intercepted in his short speech by calls for more action other than casual rhetoric in addressing violence against journalists, said journalism was a noble profession.
Earlier, the group of marchers converged at the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia offices along Martin Mwamba Road in Lusaka before proceeding to Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC).
Along the way, the marchers sung songs denouncing the cadres perpetrating violent acts against journalists.
On arrival at Mulungushi International Conference Centre, the media and their supporters engaged in more songs whilst raising placards registering their displeasure at those that were justifying violence against journalists.
Some of the placards stated that it was foolish to justify violence against journalists while others stated that police officers that slept on duty when cadres were beating journalists should be arrested.
Vice-President Kunda came to address the petitioners within the conference centre but not before they almost left the place because he took long to arrive at the scene.
The petitioners, some of whom were drawn from the public and private media institutions, welcomed Vice-President Kunda with shouts of “abash intimidation”, “viva press freedom”, among others.
MISA Zambia chairperson Henry Kabwe presented the petition on behalf of the other media associations.
Speaking on behalf of the various media associations, Kabwe said at the end of the day what the people that had converged in the conference room wanted was peace.
“Violence starts in a very small way,” Kabwe said.
He said the violence that had been directed at journalists by the cadres could culminate into something big.
Kabwe said US civil rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr. had justifiable reasons to fight the white people, but that these grounds were not sufficient for him to stop the violence against the black people.
“Abash violence. Abash thuggery,” Kabwe said as the audience echoed his chant.
Kabwe said former US president Thomas Jefferson once said every government should learn to listen when criticised.
“And this is one of the most criticised president of the United States,” he said. “We want protection from the police. We want protection from the government. All journalists are human beings.”
Kabwe said the protection being sought was not just from the MMD cadres but also from cadres from the opposition parties like PF and UPND, where such violent traits had been noted.
“We are going to make sure that we are going to win this battle,” he said. “We pray to God that he will help us journalists to remain strong.”
Kabwe said from now onwards any person who assaulted a journalist would be followed.
Vice-President Kunda said since journalism was a noble profession, it must have rules and regulations.
At this point some people in the crowd said they were aware of these rules and regulations.
Vice-President Kunda said he was happy at the manner that the journalists and their supporters had presented their petition, a manner that was devoid of violence.
“Criticism is the pillar of democracy. Some of it may not be pleasant to read,” Vice-President Kunda said as his voice got drowned in more heckles. “Those who engage in violence will face the wrath of the law.”
Vice-President Kunda urged the journalists to avoid provocative articles and adhere to ethics in their line of duty, but this statement attracted some more shouts of “abash intimidation.”
When Vice-President Kunda said information minister, Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha had made a comprehensive statement over the violence against journalists in Parliament earlier that morning, some of the petitioners openly disagreed with him.
Some of them were heard saying that Vice-President Kunda should tell the MMD cadres to learn to behave.
Vice-President Kunda said President Banda and his government had condemned the violence against journalists.
However, the crowd said condemnation was not enough.
Other organizations that attended the peaceful demonstration included, the Citizens Forum, Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD), Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) and Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) among others.
A group of children joined the demonstration and took a front row place during the event.
Freedom of expression activist Maiko Zulu and wife Sista D were equally present at the peaceful demonstration.
Labels: GEORGE KUNDA
Written by Patson Chilemba in Serenje
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:54:03 PM
FREDERICK Chiluba is a cursed man, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has charged. And Sata said it is undisputable that former defence minister George Mpombo is a very good friend of PF.
In an interview last Tuesday afternoon, Sata said former president Chiluba had in the recent past made statements which made no sense, such as his support for the privatisation of Zamtel and justification over the sale of the mines and attacks on other politicians.
Sata said a man in Chiluba's position who had committed grave and unforgettable mistakes was supposed to show remorse over their misdeeds.
Sata's statement came after he saw many poverty stricken faces as he made a one-hour journey over a 17-kilometer terrain to address a campaign rally in Chitambo Constituency.
"What is the problem with Chiluba? I think he is cursed because a man should have remorse. He has no remorse. He should beg Zambians to forgive him because all this mess we have is because of Chiluba," Sata said.
"Even the mess we have of Rupiah Banda is because of Chiluba who brought Levy Mwanawasa, who in turn brought a UNIPIST [President Banda] because in his [Chiluba's] dubious ways, he ignored the [MMD] national executive committee [NEC]."
Sata said Chiluba recently boasted that he privatised the mines because most mine machinery had become obsolete.
However, Sata said Chiluba should always remember that the mess the country was going through was largely because of him.
"He should repent. If there was no corruption involved [in the privatisation of companies], we would have been better. But which investor did he bring to open new mines? And how many of those mines which were privatised have been re-sold?" Sata asked.
"Most generals are in prison because he did not project an innocent and disciplined leadership. He will support dubious ways of Rupiah Banda as long as he remains out of prison."
Earlier in the morning, Sata snubbed chieftainess Serenje who had requested to have a private audience with him.
In her attempts to meet Sata, chieftainess Serenje made her way to Serenje District Police Station where Sata had gone to get details over an incident where a PF campaign minibus was stoned by suspected MMD cadres.
After Sata had finished meeting the police officers and was about to start off for Chitambo Constituency to campaign, he found chieftainess Serenje waiting for him outside the station.
Sata proceeded to greet her.
"Mulishani [How are you]? Eimwe twaumfwile ati mwali naba Rupiah Banda [Are you the one we heard was with Rupiah Banda at a campaign rally]?" he asked.
In response, chieftainess Serenje just smiled with her face cast downwards and asked Sata to accompany her to an unknown guesthouse.
But while the vehicles made their way to the unknown guesthouse, Sata's vehicle suddenly made a U-turn and headed straight to Chitambo.
The meeting did not take place and Sata never communicated to the chieftainess that his vehicles had made a U-turn.
And drumming up support for PF Chitambo Constituency parliamentary candidate Mutale Chanda, Sata said President Banda thought the people of Zambia particularly those in Chitambo were blind and could not see and analyse his lies.
He said President Banda recently lied to Chitambo residents that they would be buying fertiliser at K25,000, forgetting that he told the same lie last year when he assured people of providing fertiliser at K50,000.
"If he says that I will be giving you fertiliser at K25,000, where is the one for 50 pin [K50,000]? He thinks those who come from here are blind. He comes here, lies and gets on a helicopter and goes, even burning a house in the process," Sata said. "He is not buying maize from the people but he instructed Food Reserve Agency [FRA] to buy all the maize from his farm."
Sata said it was sad that when most trained teachers had remained unemployed and those who were employed struggled with meager salaries, first lady Thandiwe Banda was getting her salary without working for it.
He said President Banda had come to plunder because apart from the intended sale of 75 per cent shares in Zamtel to his equity partner, the President's government had also sold most Serenje land to foreigners.
On the poverty levels in rural areas, Sata asked President Banda to try and stay in a rural area, saying that would help him appreciate the numerous problems most rural dwellers faced.
"Look at this place, no hospitals, no what. If you get malaria here then you are gone. Nekufi lilya akwata Rupiah Banda, ngani muno ngekalafye pang'anda [President Banda's knee problem would have been worse if he stayed here because he would just be sitting at home due to lack of hospitals]," Sata said.
"If his wife can continue getting secondary teachers pay, why can't these people get free fertilizer? They are more Zambian than he is. He has got one leg in Zimbabwe and another in Zambia. And even his candidate in Chitambo [Dr Solomon Musonda], he has got one leg in Zimbabwe and another in Zambia."
PF national chairman Samuel Mukupa said people in urban areas where the living standards were much better had rejected the MMD but wondered why rural people continued to vote for them.
Mukupa asked people not to be bought by small handouts such as game-meat and salt.
Sata charged that President Banda had run away from the country because Mahumud Cerrato, who is an evaluation consultant from Spain, had arrived in the country over the sale of Zamtel.
He said President Banda wanted to pretend that he did not know what was happening.
"I hope the same privilege of going to hospital in South Africa on lies should be extended to the people of Chitambo who have no medical facilities," Sata said. "He has done enough lies about Zamtel and Mahumud has come to take on a silver platter our national asset."
And Sata said the PF would stand by former defence minister George Mpombo and other people who had been humiliated, harassed and discarded by President Rupiah Banda such as former local government minister Sylvia Masebo and former finance minister Ng'andu Magande.
Asked if PF and Mpombo have had any discussions over the latter's resignation from MMD to join PF, as revealed by PF sources, Sata said there were no such talks.
"But one thing which is undisputed is that George Mpombo is a very good friend of PF. We have been talking to him, and several other PF leaders are talking to him to be a leader. Although he has been stricken by Rupiah Banda, we have encouraged him to hold on. The harassment won't only be from Rupiah Banda, or [works and supply minister] Mike Mulongoti or [Secretary to the Cabinet Dr] Joshua Kanganja. They will all rise against him," Sata said.
"Rupiah Banda has been standing on the side of [PF] rebels, so why should we not stand on Mpombo's side? We shall defend Mpombo, Magande and Sylvia Masebo, and anybody who has been humiliated by Rupiah Banda. Anybody who is being harassed we shall stand for them."
Sata warned that the MMD would be in big trouble after most members of parliament had collected their mid-term gratuity. He said he had asked most MMD members of parliament to hold on a bit before resigning from their party.
"There are some members of parliament who are going to declare their hostility after the receipt of gratuity. I contacted them and they have contacted me. I said since Rupiah Banda has refused to forego the gratuity, get the gratuity and show him what you stand for," said Sata.
Written by Bivan Saluseki
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:52:02 PM
DR Kenneth Kaunda has said the slow road to recovery in Zimbabwe shows that it is high time for the Commonwealth to engage proactively with the Government of National Unity. And former Australian prime minister Malcom Fraser has said if the Commonwealth is to survive as an effective organisation, it should not be shy and retiring.
In interviews conducted by the Royal Commonwealth Society to mark the Lusaka Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which took place 30 years ago this week in August 1979 paving the way for Rhodesian independence, Dr Kaunda said if Zimbabwe was one of the Commonwealth's greatest successes, it was also one of its greatest failures.
Dr Kaunda said no one predicted that the country, to which the Commonwealth gave birth, would end up leaving the fold in 2003.
"A number of Commonwealth leaders have been quietly involved in Zimbabwe over the years, but the Commonwealth itself could have been more influential and arguably did not marshal its resources early enough or adequately enough. Zimbabwe belongs within the Commonwealth family, and we should welcome her back. The Commonwealth could be the perfect vehicle to help Zimbabwe bring sustainable economic and social development to its people," he said.
"For this to happen, the relationships between Commonwealth leaders need to be nurtured. One of the unique strengths of the Commonwealth is the CHOGM retreat. Sitting down for two days with your fellow Heads of Government and really getting to know one another better might terrify our officials, but it is an invaluable way to engender trust and build fruitful relationships. Retreats are times to roll up our sleeves and get down to business - as we demonstrated in Lusaka."
But, as the time available for retreats is curtailed by leaders' increasingly crowded schedules, Dr Kaunda said the CHOGM risked becoming just another meeting and, if it did not take decisive action on topical issues, it would become indistinguishable from other international summits.
Dr Kaunda said there could be no doubt that the role of the Commonwealth remained as important today as ever.
He said the myriad of problems facing the world needed resolute action from international organisations such as the Commonwealth.
"Our current leaders should continue to use this organisation to search for solutions to the challenges confronting the human race," he said.
Dr Kaunda said white rule in Rhodesia had been a thorny issue in Commonwealth debates for many years before 1979.
He said but in Lusaka, it was clear that something had to be done or the Commonwealth risked becoming irrelevant in global peace building
"We knew when we gathered at the CHOGM leaders' retreat, that reaching agreement would not be easy, particularly given the apparent intransigence of the British position," he said. "But the Commonwealth did what it does best: among its hugely diverse members and in the face of complex negotiations, it found consensus. We emerged from the CHOGM not only with a commitment to genuine majority rule, but with a promise from Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher to hold a London conference - Lancaster House - that led to Zimbabwean independence in 1980. The CHOGM's accompanying Lusaka Declaration on Racism and Racial Prejudice was a clarion call to equality, and remains a fundamental Commonwealth document to this day."
Dr Kaunda said as the chair of that important conference, he looked back on it with a deep sense of nostalgia.
"After years of conflict and devastation, and the protracted efforts to resolve the question of Zimbabwe, the Lusaka summit enabled us to find a just and lasting solution to that vexing issue. It was an epoch-making moment," he said.
Dr Kaunda said there was little doubt that the Lusaka CHOGM was one of the Commonwealth's greatest accomplishments.
"Where many other organisations had failed, the Commonwealth succeeded in effecting radical and lasting change. We came together with a collective unity of purpose and a determination to move beyond rhetoric into action," he said.
Dr Kaunda said alongside everything, the Commonwealth needed a Secretary-General who was committed to action; someone who could lead discussions on the most difficult of issues with the right balance of force and moderation.
"I am pleased that the Commonwealth has always been blessed with vibrant and visionary Secretaries-General," he said.
And Fraser said current leaders, and a strong Secretary-General, must put more effort in to make sure that the Commonwealth achieves its potential.
Written by Florence Bupe
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:49:53 PM
COMMUNICATIONS minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa has said the privatisation of Zamtel will not in any way compromise the country’s security system as suggested by some stakeholders.
In his draft ministerial statement to Parliament on the partial sale of Zamtel yesterday, Prof Lungwangwa said the transaction would in fact strengthen the country’s security through enhanced technology.
“We, in no way, seek to undermine the security of this nation as some have suggested. In fact, in privatising Zamtel, Zambia stands to strengthen the security of our country through modern technologies as opposed to living in the sixties,” he said.
Prof Lungwangwa said the privatisation of incumbent telecommunications companies was not taking place in Zambia alone, and cited Ghana as an example of an African state that had sold off 70 per cent of the state-owned Ghana Telecom to a private sector player, Vodafone.
He said since the privatisation of the company, Ghana Telecom had registered significant positive strides in its operations.
Prof Lungwangwa assured that Zamtel would only be released to a bidder that would meet the requirements set by the government.
He explained that following the evaluation of Zamtel by RP Capital consultants and subsequent findings and recommendations, the government had directed the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) to undertake the implementation of the recommendations in accordance with the ZDA Act 11 of 2006.
“The report of the consultants was presented to the Cabinet Committee of Ministers on Zamtel. The consultants recommended that in order to avert a collapse of Zamtel, the government should look for an equity partner who can buy 75 per cent shareholding in Zamtel and retain 25 per cent equity in the company. The committee studied the report and presented a joint cab memo to the Economic Restructuring and Development Committee of Cabinet (ERDC),” said Prof Lungwanga.
“The recommendations of the ERDC were subsequently approved and adopted by the full Cabinet...It is expected that ZDA will implement this decision in line with the ZDA Act.”
Written by Margaret Habbuno
Saturday, August 08, 2009 1:46:14 PM
MOZAMBICAN foreign affairs deputy minister Eduardo Koloma has said it is important for Zambia and Mozambique to embrace mutual advantages that will enhance their economic development.
During the official opening of the 14th session of the Joint Permanent Cooperation Commission in Lusaka yesterday, Koloma said the session was a formal mechanism for the monitoring and assessment of the two countries’ bilateral relations.
“…We ought to lead our countries and people towards an economic development and social welfare,” Koloma said.
He said it was important to deepen bilateral relations that would later be deployed in several sectors such as the Ministry of Health.
“These are the sectors that will benefit thus industry and commerce, environment, tourism among others,” he said. “The dynamics of our relations demand the establishment of regular links and the strengthening of the cooperation between our two countries.”
Koloma said the Joint Permanent Commission would allow the deep analysis of the way in which the cooperation between Zambia and Mozambique was progressing.
“We are required to make a detailed assessment of the implementation level of the actions agreed upon in the last session, an analysis of eventual hindrances that are hampering progress so that we can identify appropriate solutions to strengthen further our cooperation,” said Koloma.
And Zambia’s foreign affairs deputy minister Professor Fashion Phiri said Zambia and Mozambique had made significant strides in promoting trade between them.
He also said the Chipata Mchinji railway line which would link Zambia to Malawian and Mozambican ports would be completed by the end of 2009 and it would enable maximum use of the Nacala port.
“I urge the Mozambican government to vigorously promote the Nacala port facilities to the Zambian business community,” said Prof Phiri. “The current global economic crisis coupled with the negative effects of the climate change pose a challenge of immense proportions to our developmental efforts.”
Saturday, August 8, 2009, 12:42
KONKOLA Copper Mines (KCM) has assured its suppliers and contractors that no contract will be cancelled for refusing to give a bribe to any of the company’s employees.
KCM Group security manager, Ernest Mubita said suppliers and contractors should not indulge in any corrupt activities with KCM employees and assured them that no one would have his or her contract cancelled for refusing to bribe any employee of the company.
Mr Mubita was speaking yesterday at the KCM security award presentation parade held at the KCM mine club ground in Chingola.
The deserving security officers were given motorbikes, bicycles, fridges and other household goods as rewards for the good work in protecting the mining company’s property.
Mr Mubita said suppliers and contractors should help to curb corruption, thefts and other dubious activities at any division of KCM by ensuring that they reported the matter to the security agencies of the mining company.
“The evil storm called crime has invaded all business organisations with very big waves called theft, fraud, corruption, abuse, misuse, and wastage and this is why, I am urging contractors and suppliers to help us, fight these crimes, especially corruption, which is a very devastative scourge.
“I am assuring the suppliers and contractors that no one will have his or her contract cancelled for refusing to give a bribe to any of the KCM employees. We need concerted efforts to fight vices that are retrogressive to economic revival and national development,” Mr Mubita said.
He said his department would remain steadfast, strong, brave, focused and impartial in fighting crime to save the company from losing its valuable and critical property and time.
He said the good work that his team was doing, had attracted intimidation from the crime perpetrators.
“So far, four houses belonging to some of these officers were targeted and attacked between 2005 and 2009. One of the houses was blasted using petrol bombs, whereas the other was reduced to rubble by a criminal mob, majority of these officers have received both verbal and written threats due to the courageous efforts that they are putting into fighting crime,” Mr Mubita said.
And speaking later, KCM chief executive officer, Kishore Kumar said all KCM employees should ensure that every property and materials purchased by KCM was put to the intended use and should ensure that no KCM property was stolen, abused, misused, vandalised or wasted.
Mr Kumar said he was happy that security officers had always been alert and vigilant in ensuring that property of KCM was well secured and protected.
Mr Kumar said because of their alertness and vigilance, some security officers were being physically attacked or threatened by criminals.
He assured those security officers that were being threatened that the company would support and protect them, saying he had directed the Group Security manager to ensure that protection was given to all deserving officers.
“To you officers, I say congratulations and continue working even harder than before like the Group Security manager had said. The tokens you have received cannot be compared to the value of property that you continue protecting in these difficult conditions, but these are just tokens of appreciation and recognition for your exemplary performance in executing your duties,” he said.-Times of Zambia
Friday, August 07, 2009
Clinton pressures SA on Zimbabwe
by Sue Pleming
UNITED States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will push South Africa to use its influence with neighbour Zimbabwe, while also seeking closer ties with Pretoria after strained relations with the Bush administration.
Clinton, set to meet South Africa's foreign minister and vice president on Friday, said she would urge the new government to get Zimbabwe to raise the pace of political reform which has been too slow for donors to release substantial amounts of aid.
South Africa must, she said, "try to use its influence to mitigate against the negative effects of the continuing presidency of President (Robert) Mugabe."
New South African President Jacob Zuma, due to meet Clinton in the coastal city of Durban on Saturday, has taken a harder line on Zimbabwe than his predecessor Thabo Mbeki, but the United States wants more.
The United States, troubled by what it sees as an absence of reform in Zimbabwe, has no plans either to offer major aid or to lift sanctions against Mugabe and some of his supporters.
Before any of that can happen, Washington wants more evidence of political, social and economic reforms by Mugabe and the government he shares uneasily with opposition leader and now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into economic ruin. He argues that his country's economic woes, which include hyperinflation and a collapsed infrastructure, are caused by sanctions.
Clinton hopes there will be a burst of goodwill due to the change of government in both South Africa and the United States and that she will be able to kick off better relations with Pretoria that the Bush administration had.
"Under Thabo Mbeki, U.S.-South African relations were not as warm and friendly in reality as many people thought," said a senior official, who spoke on condition he not be named.
The United States had disagreed, for example, with Mbeki's views on how to handle the HIV/AIDS crisis, which the former South African president had been slow to grasp.
Walter Kansteiner, a top Africa diplomat for the Bush administration, said Clinton should work Zuma "very hard" on Zimbabwe and follow up with him after their meetings.
"I think we left Pretoria off the hook too many times on Zimbabwe ... but in our defence there were a lot of other issues on our agenda and the feeling was why jeopardise all these many other things that we were trying to get done," he said.
While in Nairobi -- the first stop of Clinton's seven-nation African tour before she came to South Africa -- the top U.S. diplomat publicly lambasted Kenya's government for corruption and poor governance.
U.S. officials said Clinton would not beat the same drum with Pretoria and the focus would be on boosting economic and diplomatic ties.
"The South African government does not have the serious issues of corruption that plagued the Kenyan government," said the U.S. official.
Clinton visited South Africa several times when her husband, Bill Clinton, was U.S. President and she plans to visit Cape Town on Saturday to check in on progress at a housing project named after slain anti-apartheid activist Victoria Mxenge, which she went to saw on two previous trips.
On Friday she will also meet international icon and former South African president Nelson Mandela. - Reuters
By Nyasa Times
Published: August 6, 2009
Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), a coalition of civil society organisations concerned with economic governance has called on anti corruption enforcers to act on public officers accused of wrongful-self enrichment in a damning report by Auditor General.
The Auditor General has revealed the sordid details of high corruption, fraud and theft in the government of President Bingu wa Mutharika from 2005 to 2007.
The report which Nyasa Times has since obtained, in graphic detail describes how government officials in the Mutharika government used state resources for self-enrichment.
It also revealed how public funds were being used for political campaigns with expenses billed to government and public institutions which have made government to lose billions of Kwacha.
“There have been several reports indicating that corruption is still rampant in the country,” Andrew Kumbatira, executive director of MEJN told Capital FM radio.
He called for the long arm of the law to take its course on suspects.
“At the end of the day it is the poor people in the villages that are suffering because of this poor performance,” said the head of the economic governance group.
The audit has exposed bogus contracts and failure to collect revenue, by some ministries, such as the ministry of transport and public works.
“Government money has been lost. Progress of development will slow down,” pointed out Kumbatira.
The law enforcers, Malawi Police Service have also been exposed practices of fraud and abuse of public funds.
MEJN strongly called for action and bring suspects to book.
“What is important is government action, taking to book those that have flouted government regulation financial procedures,” said Kumbatira.
He also urged civil society and the public at large to be vigilant in checking abuse in government.
“What can be learnt for this it is important to make sure that there is strong oversight in terms of government operation. The fight against corruption is for all of us,” he said.
However, the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), which is responsible for tackling graft, has been viewed a witch hunting body which aims at victimising people especially political opponents.
Opposition UDF parliamentary chief whip, Clement Chiwaya told National Assembly recently told that the Bureau , in its investigations, victimizes innocent people especially politicians.
Chiwaya also said the allocation of K904, 219, 732 in the 2009/10 national budget to the Anti-Corruption Bureau is too much considering that the bureau rush through cases without investigating fully.
But Minister of Justice and constitutional affairs, Professor Peter Mutharika said it was not true that the Bureau victimize politicians but rather it is an independent body which targets people and politicians who engage in corruption.
The minister also said the body acquired new four by four vehicles which would enable the body carry out its investigations effectively.
By NKOLE CHITALA
PRESIDENT Banda says the private sector should resist the temptation of job cuts but rather focus on other measures that can make their operations vibrant. And Zain Zambia Plc and Farmers House yesterday commissioned their newly-opened headquarters in Lusaka which was constructed at a cost of US$8 million.
Mr Banda said yesterday that he is concerned that while the economy is on the path of recovery, there is a tendency in the private sector to implement cost-cutting measures which sometimes affect employees.
Mr Banda was speaking in a speech read for him by Minister of Transport and Communications Geoffrey Lungwangwa at the commissioning of the new Zain offices in Lusaka yesterday.
He said the information communication technology (ICT) sector has remained resilient to the financial shocks such that the sector should maintain the service and employment levels.
Mr Banda commended Zain shareholders’ vision of bringing people together as partners in running the affairs of the company. He said the spirit of sharing benefits and risks encourages Government to do even more in the ICT sector.
President Banda said his Government is discussing the Information and Communication Technologies Bill, Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill and the Postal Services Bill.
He assured the nation that the bills are designed to move the ICT sector in line with regional, continental and global best practices.
Mr Banda said this is also designed to streamline the licensing regime to allow operators to determine the best technologies to deploy.
“On the other hand, Zambians, like other consumers around the globe, are eager to have technologies such as television on mobile phones in the nearest future,” he said.
Mr Banda said the bills have also made provisions for a technology neutral licensing framework while the number of licences will be minimised.
He said this is in line with Government’s policy of reducing the cost of doing business as envisaged in the business licensing reform programme.
Mr Banda said Government will continue to engage the private sector to achieve the promise expressed in the Vision 2030.
He said the national ICT policy launched in 2007 recognised the active participation of the private sector in national development especially in the delivery of services to the people.
Mr Banda said the ICT policy outlines the vision of Zambia being transformed into an information and knowledge-based society, supported by consistent development of and pervasive access to ICTs by all citizens by 2030.
And Zain Zambia Managing Director David Holliday said the company was committed to bringing innovative products and services that would help create a healthy business environment to make Zambia a more attractive investment destination.
Mr Holliday thanked Government for granting the company a 3G test licence.
“We have invested heavily in our 3G preparedness, complying with all legal requirements to ensure Zambia is not left out on the great technological advancements that are a key to national development.
“This will allow us to deliver high speed broadband internet with myriad applications from healthcare through 3G handsets, to incubating content entrepreneurs for youth and business alike,” he said.
Mr Holliday said Zain has grown considerably over the years, resulting in fragmented work space to accommodate everyone in Lusaka.
He said this has caused inefficiency with staff spread over Woodlands, Farmers House and Arcades.
Written by Editor
Senior chief Bright Nalubamba and his fellow chiefs in Southern Province have no reason to regret having supported Rupiah Banda in last year’s elections. They knew very well what type of a person Rupiah was and that’s why they supported him. All the chiefs in Southern Province were adults when Rupiah was chief executive at Namboard, when he was a Zambian diplomat, a minister in the UNIP government and indeed the governor of Lusaka.
Nobody from that age group can claim to have been misled on who Rupiah is and what he has stood for all his life. Rupiah’s record is well known. Rupiah is not a man capable of hiding his true colours.
The truth is senior chief Nalubamba and his friends supported Rupiah out of opportunism and not out of principle. We say out of opportunism because they thought being what he was, he would also play an opportunist game and give them what they wanted. When one wants serious things to be delivered to the people, to the community or the nation, they look for principled people. Crooks can promise anything; they can even lie, but they seldom deliver on their promises.
What senior chief Nalubamba and his friends were looking for was not something for the people but for themselves. Again, we say this because senior chief Nalubamba and his friends know Rupiah very well and they had no reason to think that all of a sudden, the man has acquired some capacity to deliver anything meaningful to the people.
So there is nothing for them to regret. If there is anything to regret, it’s their own opportunism and lack of principles. There is no way any honest person who has known Rupiah all these years can ever think and believe that Rupiah can honestly champion any fight against corruption.
There is no one who knows Rupiah’s background who can sincerely believe that the man can depart from tribal or regional politics and sincerely become a champion of national unity. Political honesty has never been a hallmark of Rupiah’s political career. So the chiefs should not blame Rupiah for the way things have turned out. They should blame themselves because Rupiah has remained true to his character that these chiefs tried to ignore.
It is also difficult to understand how our chiefs could be so easily duped by Rupiah. Anyway they say that those who stand for nothing fall for anything. And if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.
We hope these chiefs of ours will now realise that leadership is not something to play opportunism with because it is very vital to the future of our nation. And good leadership can only be achieved by our chiefs’ willingness to work with their people and be inspired by a larger vision and not what a particular individual will do for them when he becomes president.
And we hope that our chiefs have learnt that of all the properties which belong to honourable men and women, not one is so highly prized as that of character. We say this because you can’t lead anyone else further than you have gone yourself.
We hope these chiefs have learnt something. We hope they will now realise that only people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all deserve to be supported for leadership positions. And the support of our chiefs for those seeking political office should be guided by strong principles or values and not by what a candidate has given them or has promised to give them. What our people are seeking is genuine democracy in which the leaders are servants of the electorate and not its masters, or robbers.
And good governance only occurs when we have intelligent, honest and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people. No one deserves to be elected unless they are honest, humble and incorruptible. We say this because politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. And senior chief Nalubamba and his friends should from now onwards avoid what they did last year by going against the wishes of the people to support Rupiah.
They had no support from their people for the stand they took because the people of Southern Province didn’t vote for Rupiah despite their chiefs’ openly declared support for him. How was this possible? How can senior chief Nalubamba and his friends explain this defiance of their own people? What reward was there to induce them to totally disregard the political feelings of their own subjects? This is corruption. This is not good leadership on their part. And for this reason, they should feel ashamed to even criticise Rupiah because they betrayed their own people by ignoring their political wishes.
Anyway, if there is genuine and honest regret and they can fully explain it, then they will win back the respect and trust of the people. If not, no one will ever listen to them again when it comes to whom they should vote for. It is important that senior chief Nalubamba and his friends start to regard politics as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.
They should realise that the government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good and those who are put in government should match up to that responsibility. It’s time our chiefs became conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community. Politics need people with high credibility. If our country is to move forward, honest and hardworking leaders are needed.
There is need to realise that the mark of great leaders is the ability to understand the context in which they are operating and act accordingly. A leader should have largeness of mind and should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the people as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the people; always and everywhere, he should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against all incorrect ideas and actions, so as to consolidate the collective life of the nation.
A leader should be more concerned about the people than about any individual, and more concerned about others than about himself. Only thus can he be considered a good leader. At no time and in no circumstances should a leader place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, corruption, dishonesty and so forth and so on are most contemptible, while wholehearted devotion to the people and their interests will always command respect. What we are saying applies to all our leaders, including our chiefs themselves.
There is no doubt senior chief Nalubamba and his friends had behaved in the most treacherous manner in their support for Rupiah. There is nothing but selfishness that drove them to support Rupiah. They abandoned their people; they betrayed their people for Rupiah. They were actually very shortsighted and had lost their bearings. Chiefs, of all people, should be the most farsighted and the most honest in sizing up situations and should rely on the majority of the masses for whatever positions they take.
Chiefs should set an example in whatever they do; at all times, they should be pupils of the masses as well as their teachers.
We can only hope senior chief Nalubamba and his friends have truly learnt their lesson and will never politically betray their people again.
Written by George Zulu in Monze
Friday, August 07, 2009 2:59:52 PM
SENIOR chief Bright Nalubamba has said the Royal Foundation of Zambia Southern Province chapter regrets having supported President Rupiah Banda in last October's presidential election.And chief Nalubamba has charged that the recent remarks made by President Banda that second Republican president Frederick Chiluba was a good president was undermining the intelligence of the Zambian people.
In an interview, chief Nalubamba of Namwala district said chiefs in the province were saddened and disgusted at the wrong route President Banda had taken in the fight against corruption and governance of the country.
Chief Nalubamba said traditional leaders in the province were not happy with the way the head of state was handling issues of corruption, development, sincerity and unity of the people of Zambia.
He added that this had become a source of concern considering the rate of disintegration among the people.
"We regret having supported President Banda in the last Presidential by-election of 2008, our aspirations as traditional leaders have not been fulfilled. We supported him [President Banda] because he told us and we believed him that he was going to forge ahead with the late [president Levy] Mwanawasa's legacy but what he is doing is contrary to the things he promised us. Corruption has become rampant in his administration, violence against people with divergent views has been introduced and it has increased to alarming levels, harassment of journalists has been recorded under his leadership and failure to deliver development and to show leadership has been at the height of his leadership," chief Nalubamba said.
He said President Banda should rise from his current political and personal destruction by paying attention and listening to the demands of people who voted for him.
"A lot of things have gone wrong in our country and we challenge President Banda to rise to the accession and see things the way other people are seeing them than to hide in a collective agreement position which will leave a poor and bad precedence on the Office of the President," he said.
Chief Nalubamba said the current governance record for Zambia in the fight against corruption was worrying at both local and international levels, while that of abuse of human rights, infringement of press freedom was under threat by President Banda and the MMD.
And chief Nalubamba said a country where a head of state publicly embraced and commended a former president who has been found wanting of having stolen public resources by the courts was worrying.
Commenting on the recent remarks by President Banda in Mansa that Chiluba was a damn good president, chief Nalubamba said corruption had deeply eaten the fabric of the nation.
He said the country was headed for an economic disaster which would be difficult to recover from.
Chief Nalubamba said the open remarks by President Banda to the people of Zambia in support of Chiluba told a sad story of the governance of the country, adding that the judiciary was under serious self-scrutiny to do the right thing.
He said he had no respect for a thieving and corrupt president and that it was totally and morally unacceptable to shower praises and commendations to such people in society.
Chief Nalubamba further appealed to members of parliament to exercise their powers by making laws which would correct the country’s current political situation.
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Friday, August 07, 2009 2:57:14 PM
FINANCE Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane yesterday advised some politicians from opposition parties to desist from making comments that attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will result in job losses and collapse of local industries.And Zambia Institute of Certified Accountants (ZICA) president Chintu Mulendema has urged Dr Musokotwane to strengthen the Accountant General’s office to ensure transparency in financial management of public resources.
During the 8th ZICA, ACCA and CIMA annual business conference in Livingstone yesterday, whose theme is ‘Development challenges facing Zambia towards Vision 2030’, Dr Musokotwane said there was need to continuously develop policies that created rapid economic growth of about seven to 10 per cent every year.
He said the Zambian economy would not grow to expected levels that could reduce poverty if FDI was not attracted in the country.
“There is no country that has fought poverty without attracting FDI, so those people, some opposition politicians saying too many Chinese, Ghanaians, Nigerians and others will kill local industries are wrong because FDI is good and those fears are unfounded that local people will become jobless. So let us not resist and discourage FDI since it is good for us as capital for job creation and technology transfer,” Dr Musokotwane said.
He challenged ZICA to emphasize on good corporate principles and practices from accountants when managing the country’s scarce resources.
“There is need as a country to enhance transparency and accountability in order to deliver quality services that meet expectations of the public,” said Dr Musokotwane.
And Mulendema said the realisation of the national vision required that the accountancy profession consistently acted in the public interest.
He said no amount of discussion on the Vision 2030 would turn around the country without accountants delivering high quality financial reporting and management accounting decision making in the public interest.
“We urge you to strengthen the Accountant General’s office to ensure transparency in the financial management to protect public resources and allow heads of accounting units in government to say no when not satisfied with expenditure patterns,” said Mulendema in a speech read on his behalf by ZICA vice president Fredrick Banda.
Mulendema said ZICA was concerned about the alleged continued misuse of public funds in the form of unretired imprest, misapplication and misappropriation of funds and sometimes loss of supporting documents for disbursed funds.
Written by Sophie Tholstrup
Friday, August 07, 2009 2:55:04 PM
GISENYI, Rwanda (Reuters) - The leaders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) held a rare meeting on the border on Thursday in the latest sign of thawing relations between the neighbouring states after years of tension.Rwandan and Congolese military forces launched a joint operation this year against a Hutu rebel group operating in the forests of lawless eastern Congo, and both governments appointed envoys to the other's capital.
Plans are also underway to build a jointly operated methane gas plant that will generate electricity for both countries.
"It is the first giant step forward," Congo's President Joseph Kabila told reporters of the talks with his Rwandan counterpart, Paul Kagame. "It was overdue. It should have taken place a long time back, but better late than never."
Rivalries between the two states, which back different militias in mineral-rich eastern Congo, have long frustrated efforts to bring peace following a 1998-2003 war thought to have led to the death of more than five million people.
But policy changes led them to collaborate this year against the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR) rebel group, which is linked to the militants who carried out Rwanda's 1994 genocide that killed some 800,000 people.
Kabila said the FDLR's days were numbered: "They are now in a much weaker position than before."
Both presidents agreed to plan further joint economic activities and to revive the Rwanda-DRC Joint Permanent Commission, which has not been in operation for 21 years. The pair are due to meet again in Kinshasa in October or November.
"To run you begin with one step. I think we have now taken this step and can begin to run," Kagame said.
"It is a sign of the friendship, stability and very good relations that have developed between Rwanda and DRC."
One contentious topic remains the fate of rebel general Laurent Nkunda, the former leader of the ethnic Tutsi-dominated National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP), who was arrested in January in Rwanda and is wanted in Congo.
Rwanda says it has hesitated to extradite him because he could face the death penalty in Congo, and that legal experts from both countries were studying the problem.
Kagame sought to allay Congolese fears on Thursday.
"I can give a very firm assurance that neither Laurent Nkunda nor the CNDP can base in Rwanda to cause any discomfort ... or affect the stability created in DRC or between DRC and Rwanda," he said.
Written by Joseph Mwenda
Friday, August 07, 2009 2:53:41 PM
CHIEF Government Spokesperson Ronny Shikapwasha this morning lashed-out at The Post accusing the newspaper of fabricating stories and inciting violence in the country.Delivering a speech in Parliament this morning, Shikapwasha who is also Minister of Information and Broadcasting also charged that the Churches in Zambia were siding with men instead of God.
“Mr. Speaker this is the newspaper which has continued insulting the president on a daily basis… Just recently the Post carried the story with a headline “Zambia’s envoy to South Africa, Zuma’s office have no knowledge of Banda’s trip. Zuma not aware of RB’s Visit.”
“Mr. Speaker before that article was published, the president was already having a president to president talk with Jacob Zuma.”
Mr. Speaker I don’t know why The Post did not call me, I am the minister of Information. I have given my phone number to The Post, not only that I have given my private number to The Post, not only that, the minister of foreign affairs has given the number to The Post. But they went ahead and fabricated a story without even calling the high commissioner to South Africa Mr. (Leslie) Mbula.”
“Mr. Speaker it is the radio stations that started the genocide in Rwanda where 25 journalists were arrested… The media is causing agitation in the country,” he said.
Shikapwasha also said the Church had failed to remain neutral on such matter but had instead taken sides with men.
“Mr. Speaker I will be failing in my duties if I end without mentioning that the Church in Zambia has taken sides with the media.., the Church has taken sides with men other than with God.”
“Mr. Speaker where is the Church when a newspaper is insulting the President. The Church must learn from the genocide in Rwanda.”
My appeal to the Church is, seek thee first the kingdom of God and Zambia shall be saved.”
But Post Reporter Chibaula Silwamba, has produced a recording of his interviews with the Zambia’s High Commisioner Leslie Mbula and Zuma’s spokesperson.
“Maybe the Minister (Shikapwasha) did not read the full story, but we have a recording of those interviews which we will give to Mr. Shikapwasha if asked to. I do not understand what he means by ‘fabricating’ stories,” said Chibaula.
“And Vice President George Kunda commended the Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily mail for what he described as upholding media ethics.
“The Times and Daily are doing very well, their ethical standards are very high. When you go to them to respond to these insults, they will not allow it. That is why we will maintain them as a parastatal because they are doing very well,” he said.
Journalists will this afternoon be protesting against the continued beatings and harassment of reporters by MMD supporters.
Full story coming up…