Saturday, August 29, 2009

(SACP) The African Communist Q1 2009

Read the full issue here.

Labels: ,


Mchenga’s continued lies

Mchenga’s continued lies
Written by Editor

It is unquestionable, and dialectics teaches us, that what in a given moment is a correct method, later on may be an incorrect one.

That is what dialectics teaches us. Anything else is dogmatism. Why are we saying all this? We are saying all this because our friends or rather our adversaries seem to know only one method, one tactic, one strategy – lies. And they apply this to every situation even where telling the truth requires no effort, puts them in better light. They will tell lies even where there is no need whatsoever to lie.

But what they are forgetting, even from their own personal experiences, is that lying and lies have never built anything. Integrity, honesty and a sense of dignity are the only true basis upon which societies can and should be built.

Our people are patient, kind and loving. They accommodate a lot but should never be taken for granted. They have been waiting for honest and selfless leadership but are met with many disappointments. It seems succeeding generations of leaders are not changing. They are not even trying to improve on the principles and the dignity that characterised our founding fathers. These were men and women with little education, but armed with a determination to improve their country. They had a vision. They made sure their sacrifice was not for nothing.

Today it seems most of our leaders are shameless opportunists whose stock in trade is lies, dishonesty and a spineless existence. When we talk of leaders, we are not limiting ourselves to politicians. We are also thinking about anyone exercising authority on behalf of the people. It is expected and should be expected that such people are committed to a very high standard of integrity, dignity and honesty. But this is not the case.

Chalwe Mchenga, the Director of Public Prosecutions, or rather the director of impunity, is a person who is supposed to be exercising very important powers on behalf of the people. But his conduct is far from what the people expect. He does not seem to have any loyalty to the principles that would benefit our people. His loyalty is to Rupiah Banda, George Kunda and those around them. It is clear that Mchenga is a shameless liar, puppet whose strings are firmly in George’s hands.

Anyone who has been observing the fight against corruption closely has to admit that the behaviour of the government in relation to the Frederick Chiluba matter has George’s signature written all over it. It is clear to us that George is pulling the strings. But those who are listening to George should not forget what he did to Levy Mwanawasa in the Kashiwa Bulaya case, in that criminal decision to grant that criminal a nolle prosequi.

Having planned and executed his criminal scheme, George went quiet as he is doing now and left Levy to be mulled by public opinion. Although that evil scheme had George’s name written all over it, he was conspicuous by his silence. George was busy pulling the strings while Levy was receiving the punches. This is George. This is how he operates.

It is unfortunate that George and his shameless, deceitful and spineless puppets like Mchenga do not seem to have learnt anything from the Bulaya episode. Levy was almost mortally politically wounded from his Bulaya criminal scheme. The public bloodied his nose in the 2006 elections. They showed their displeasure at the way that issue and other issues were being handled. This is a lesson George should have told his paymaster Rupiah. They may think they have won or are winning but the public will have the last say about this. People are angry and unhappy with their deceit, with their corrupt schemes. And they shouldn’t forget that we are reminded in the Bible: “What you get by dishonesty you may enjoy like the finest food, but sooner or later it will be like a mouthful of sand” (Proverbs 20:17).

When will young professionals like Mchenga learn that lies are not sustainable, that prostitution does not pay? It is clear for anybody to see that as he did in the Bulaya case, Mchenga has capitulated over the Chiluba case and chosen to side with corruption. When did Mchenga become Chiluba’s defence counsel? This is the way he is behaving. Mchenga is saying that the appeal was withdrawn because it would not succeed: “An appeal should only be made when there is a likelihood of it succeeding. Appealing because of concerns of members of the public without regard to the likelihood of success is actually an abuse of the judicial process.”

Mchenga is saying that there is evidence before court that money in excess of US $8.5 million was paid into the Zamtrop account from other sources and Chiluba made a statement that some money had been placed into the account on his behalf. And that from the evidence before court, it was not clear whether the money the accused persons were alleged to have stolen came from the government or other sources. He goes on further to say: “To resolve the difficulty, the court relied on the well-established principle of criminal law that where two or more inferences can be drawn from a set of facts, the court must adopt one which is more favourable to an accused person if there is nothing to exclude such an inference. This being the case, the court had no option but to acquit him (Chiluba) because the money he had drawn was not public money.”

Mchenga also claims that the notice of appeal that was filed on Monday by the public prosecutor was withdrawn because it was filed against his instructions. And that Section 86 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that every public prosecutor shall be subject to the express directions of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the decision by Maxwell Nkole, the then Task Force executive chairman, to instruct the public prosecutor to file the appeal was illegal. Mchenga goes on further to say that it came to his attention on August 21, 2009 that Nkole had instructed the public prosecutor to appeal because the acquittal of Chiluba had raised great concern from various sectors of society. He says on the same day, he instructed Nkole not to file the appeal until such time that he had reviewed the judgment: “But contrary to my instructions, the notice of appeal was lodged. The reasons for rushing to file the notice are unclear because Section 321A (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code gives the Director of Public Prosecutions 14 days within which to appeal where he is not satisfied with a judgment.”

Mchenga says while public concern can be a basis for instituting criminal investigations, it cannot be the basis for instituting a criminal prosecution or appealing against an acquittal. This is what Mchenga says about his decision to stop the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal by magistrate Jones Chinyama.

But this should be looked at in the light of what this same Mchenga and his master George had said to justify their criminal decision to let Bulaya go scot-free like they have done with Chiluba. Let us not forget the lies they told. They told the Zambian people that they had studied Bulaya’s file and found that there was no strong case against him and that the state was going to lose. For this reason, they decided to stop the prosecution of Bulaya and Mchenga accordingly entered a nolle prosequi in his favour. The rest is a well-known story. Their lies were exposed because when Bulaya was prosecuted by the Magistrate’s Court, he was convicted. Bulaya appealed to the High Court and failed because the decision of the subordinate court was upheld. And the lie of Mchenga and his friends has not yet dried because Bulaya is still in jail against their advice. This same Mchenga who today wants to claim a very high professional standing or integrity using lies had been instructed by these same masters of his to withdraw the nolle as a result of unceasing public pressure. It was not his own legal judgment that made him reverse his nolle on Bulaya. It was this same public pressure, public opinion that he is today trying to belittle that made him swallow his lies and take Bulaya’s case back to court. The problem with liars is that they hope that the public has forgotten. Mchenga entered the Bulaya nolle which his predecessor Caroline Sokoni had refused to enter because George’s instructions to her were wrong. To this day, George must keep Sokoni’s letter under his pillow. These are the same people that want to pontificate and tell us that they are stopping the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal because it is not likely to succeed. This is the same Mchenga that wants to portray a high professional image and trying to pretend only them know the law. What nonsense is this, what lies are these, what deceit is this?

It is only yesterday that we showed the nation how incompetent they are. They tried to lie that a public prosecutor had no power to file an appeal without seeking first the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions. This nonsense has been debunked by a case that was taken by his own chambers. We showed him the case of The People vs Julius William Banda (HJA/05/2008) in which High Court judge M.S Mwanamwambwa stated: “I hold that the delegated authority of a police public prosecutor under Article 56 (3), (4) and (6) and Section 87 of the Criminal Procedure Code to institute and undertake criminal proceedings on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, extend to lodging an appeal from an acquittal in the subordinate court to the High Court, when the need arises to appeal. There is no need for a fresh mandate. The notion of a statutory instrument suggested by Mr Jere cannot be read into Article 56 (4) and sections 87 and 321. Indeed, Sector 87 is specific that there is no need for further written authority. This equally applies to a legal practitioner who represents the Director of Public Prosecutions in criminal proceedings before any court.”

Now that he knows that his earlier lie cannot hold, he is shifting his position to another lie. Now he wants to say the appeal was filed against his instructions and cannot stand on merit. The problem with liars is they don’t care to listen to themselves when they talk even when the contradiction of their position is clear, they do not see it. In one breath, Mchenga is saying Nkole could not instruct a public prosecutor. In the next breath, the same Mchenga says he instructed Nkole not to file the appeal. When did he ever instruct the public prosecutor not to file the appeal? If it is illegal as he claims for Nkole to instruct the prosecutor, why was he instructing Nkole to instruct the prosecutor not to file the appeal? Clearly, Mchenga is creating fresh lies as he goes to try and cover up the evil scheme that he is participating in. It is open for everyone to see that now that we have shown him that a prosecutor can file an appeal without his further instructions, he is trying to find a reason to justify his lack of understanding of his own authority.

This is not the only defect with Mchenga’s lie. He wants to mislead our people by saying that the appeal had no likelihood of success because according to him, Chiluba had private money in the Zamtrop account which he told the court about. In a way, this is why we went to law school to learn a bit of law to smoke out liars like Mchenga who try to hide behind legal nonsense which they want to pass for legal jargon. What Mchenga is saying about the appeal is rubbish. We wonder what kind of lawyer he is. At the time that Chiluba was president, public finances were controlled by the Finance and Control Management Act. If Mchenga had bothered to read that law, he would know what kind of nonsense he is spewing. How can private money be in a government account? Section 7 (2) of that Act says that: “All moneys paid into a bank pursuant to subsection one shall be deemed to be public moneys the property of the Republic lent by the Republic to the bank.” And subsection one says, “subject to any express direction of the Secretary to the Treasury in respect of the operation of any fund or working account established pursuant to section eight, moneys received by any accounting officer shall be deposited at the earliest opportunity with such bank or banks as the Secretary to the Treasury may direct”.

With such clear provisions of the law, how can Mchenga say Chiluba was keeping private money in a government bank account? And moreover, this is the claim Chiluba made without allowing himself to be cross-examined. Anyone can make such a claim. Even Mchenga himself can claim to be holding money in a government account. But can such a claim be taken as absolute truth without verification? This is why even Mchenga himself cannot tell the Zambian people where Chiluba’s purported money came from because it is simply government money that was being laundered. If it is not government money, then it was simply bribes that Chiluba was trying to launder using an account he thought nobody will peruse through.

Even if we accept this nonsense and say there was private money in the Zamtrop account, Chiluba is obliged to explain where that money came from because it is not normal for a person to receive such money and keep it in a government account. Why did Chiluba need to use his chief of intelligence as his accountant, his money launderer? Why was he involving a state institution in his private affairs? We have said before that Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu were convicted and sent to jail for failing to explain the source of K70 million which was used to buy shares for Aaron. If Chinyama could convict Faustin and Aaron for failing to account for K70 million, why should Chiluba go scot-free having failed to account for the US $8 million he claimed to be his? This is the nonsense that Chinyama’s judgment created. How can Mchenga say an appeal could not succeed?

The appeal is not making sense because his masters have told him not to appeal. That is all that this is. As it was in the Bulaya case, Mchenga saw no merit in prosecuting someone who had stolen and laundered money meant for buying ARVs for people suffering from HIV and AIDS. It was simply because his masters had told him to enter a nolle in favour of Bulaya. And when they decided to back down due to public pressure, Mchenga had no shame in going down with them. He changed his position without any explanation to the public. This is the kind of person we are dealing with – a spineless wimp with no commitment to public interest.

Mchenga should not try to cheat anybody that he is an independent legal professional working for the public as an independent Director of Public Prosecutions. The only independence he knows is disregarding public interests if it suits his political masters. Mchenga has demonstrated a serious lack of independence in the performance of his duties. He has never hesitated to go to bed with politicians, with those in power regardless of how dirty their bed is. We have not forgotten that this same Mchenga dealt with the case of the late Archie Malie Mactribuoy on behalf of Chiluba, trying to fix him for allegedly having an affair with Vera, Chiluba’s wife at the time. Trumped-up charges were raised against Mactribuouy and there was no shame or professional restraint on the part of Mchenga to undertake that assignment on behalf of Chiluba.

Mchenga knows that the appeal that was filed has merit and each of those seven grounds is enough to overturn Chiluba’s acquittal. And this is why Mchenga and his political masters were in a hurry to clear Nkole and withdraw the appeal. It is not fear of the appeal failing that is propelling Mchenga to do what he is doing. It is their fear of Chiluba being convicted on appeal that is making them do all these crazy things they are doing in a desperate and unreasonable manner.

Labels: ,


Withdrawal of appeal goes to High Court

Withdrawal of appeal goes to High Court
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:43:22 PM

MUNALI Patriotic Front (PF) member of parliament Mumbi Phiri has filed a notice for judicial review over the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to withdraw an appeal against former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal.

In a notice filed in the Lusaka High Court principal registry yesterday, Phiri cited DPP Chalwe Mchenga and Attorney General Mumba Malila as first and second respondents respectively.

Phiri stated in her affidavits of support that Chiluba's prosecution was conducted by the public prosecutor duly appointed by Mchenga for or on behalf of the Task Force on Corruption.

"Following the acquittal in question the public prosecutor on 24th August 2009 lodged a notice of intention to appeal to the High Court of Zambia," Phiri stated. "On 26th August 2009 the 1st Respondent herein filed a notice of withdrawal of the notice of intention to appeal, which was lodged by the public prosecutor on 24th August 2009.

"That it is not correct to state as the 1st Respondent has done that the notice of intention to appeal lodged by the public prosecutor was purportedly lodged on his behalf as the officer has and did exercise delegated powers to appeal accordingly."

Phiri, therefore believed that the appeal was duly lodged before the High Court and that Mchenga's decision was unreasonable and an error of law.

"That in view of the foregoing I humbly pray that the court should grant me leave for judicial review," she stated.

And in her skeleton arguments and list of authorities, Phiri stated that should the court grant her leave for judicial review, the said grant of leave should operate as a stay of the decision being challenged pending the determination of this matter.

"On the basis of the foregoing my lord, this court has jurisdiction to grant a stay to prevent any further implementation of the decision of the 1st Respondent dated 26th August 2009," stated Phiri.

Last Thursday, Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba notified Mchenga that he would commence judicial review proceedings to have the decision to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal reviewed by the High Court.

In his letter to Mchenga, Kabimba stated that he had instructions from interested citizens to commence judicial review proceedings against Mchenga's unreasonable decision on the matter.

"Re: The People Vs Frederick T.J Chiluba and Others. We refer to the above quoted matter and in particular your notice of withdrawal of the notice of intention to appeal dated 26th instant in respect of the same," Kabimba stated. "We have been instructed by some interested citizens to commence judicial review proceedings to have your decision reviewed by the High Court on the grounds that the same constituted an error of law and was also unreasonable. We shall serve upon you the relevant Court process as soon as the same has been filed."

Kabimba's letter came in the wake of President Banda's government's decision to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal.

Mchenga on Wednesday in a Notice of Withdrawal of Notice on Intention to Appeal stated "to the clerk of court whereas, Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, Faustin Mwenya Kabwe and Aaron Chungu were on the 17th day of August 2009 acquitted by the Subordinate Court of the First Class of the following offences: 1. Dr Frederick Jacob Titus Chiluba, 6 counts on the offence of theft by public servant contrary to Sections 272 and 277 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia and 2.

Faustin Mwenya Kabwe and Aaron Chungu, three counts of theft contrary to Section 272 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. And whereas on the 24th day of August 2009 a Notice of Intention to Appeal against the said acquittals was purportedly lodged on my behalf by a public prosecutor: Now these presents I, Chalwe Farai Ralph Mchenga State Counsel DPP of the Republic of Zambia do hereby give notice of the withdrawal of the said Notice of Intention to Appeal".

This came barely a day after President Banda fired Task Force on Corruption chairman Max Nkole following his appeal against Ndola High Court registrar Jones Chinyama's acquittal of Chiluba on all counts of embezzling public funds amounting to US $500,000.

Labels: , ,


Prof Ndulo’s article attracts contempt complaint

Prof Ndulo’s article attracts contempt complaint
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:35:12 PM

UNITED States’ University of Cornell Professor of Law, Muna Ndulo's description of Post news editor Chansa Kabwela's 'pornography' case as a ‘Comedy of Errors’ yesterday compelled the state to ask the court to cite The Post editor for contempt.

This is in a matter where Kabwela has pleaded not guilty to one count of circulating obscene matters or things tending to corrupt public morals, contrary to section 177 1(b) of the Penal Code.

Particulars of the offence were that Kabwela, between June 1 and 10, 2009 in Lusaka did circulate two obscene photographs tending to corrupt public morals.

Before the matter came up for continued hearing before Lusaka chief resident magistrate Charles Kafunda, Lusaka Division prosecution officer, Frank Mumbuna, told the court that the state had an application.

"There is an application, your worship, bordering on repeated comments by The Post even when it's clear by the record before this honourable court that a similar concern was actually raised before this court," Mumbuna said with emphasis.

"We note, as state, with serious disappointment for The Post, in this case the editor, that despite this warning, The Post has continued violating, not only the law of the land but the warning given by this court."

Mumbuna then referred the court to The Post edition of August 27, 2009 in which an article authored by Prof Ndulo was published on page 20 entitled ‘The Chansa Kabwela Case: A Comedy of Errors’.

"We have been greatly touched by the following comment... 'that it is currently before the court is a result of errors of judgment on the part of the President and the police. The situation is exacerbated by the failure to stop the prosecution on the part of the Director of Public Prosecutions'," Mumbuna read. " 'No other case has damaged Zambia's image and standing as a tolerant and democratic country'."

Mumbuna quoted Prof Ndulo's comments that the average person, in Zambia while having no doubt being shocked and disgusted by the pictures, would not regard such pictures as being prurient.

"The author qualifies this by including, 'instead the pictures should lead to outrage and anger at those who were not making maximum effort to end the strike," he said. "The other serious comment states, 'the case cannot be supported by the definition of obscenity. The distribution of the pictures was limited to a small section of leaders and its objectives were not to corrupt morals'."

Mumbuna accused Prof Ndulo of passing judgment on behalf of the court.

"The article goes on to say Ms Chansa Kabwela, who is an accused before you, explained that the pictures were tearfully brought to the newspaper by the husband of the woman in the pictures in the hope that their publication might avert more tragedies," he said. "Qualification is given by this author."

Mumbuna said the article in contention gave directives to the court when the author stated that the Kabwela saga should be brought to a rapid resolution in order to end the unnecessary depletion of resources and the tarnishing of Zambia's image abroad.

He said the author stated that the case should be brought to a speedy resolution and end the pain felt by Zambians, as they endured the unnecessary court process.

"This case has tarnished Zambia's name abroad, according to the author of this article," Mumbuna said. "I note with interest that while this comment has been accepted by the editor of the paper, The Post newspaper, at page 19 at the end of the paper it says the editor reserves the right to edit letters for publication."

Mumbuna said The Post editor had the right not to publish Prof Ndulo's article, more so that the court had given directives to The Post editor and the newspaper to avoid commenting on matters that are before court.

"We refer this court to section 116 (1) (d)," he said. "We feel that the comment by The Post, through its editor, has violated the provisions of section 116 by committing contempt and The Post must show cause why it should not be rightly cited for contempt, especially after the court had given its position."

Mumbuna said the state felt that The Post's action undermined the integrity of the court.

"We also feel, your honour, that in any journalism field or profession the observance of the law comes within such training and for the editor of The Post newspaper to have closed his eyes to such realities would be an act of stubbornness for which the court must provide protection," he said. "The comment by The Post newspaper, which goes on to say 'as Zambians endure this unnecessary court process' is an act of indiscipline, which might jeopardise the proceedings of this trial, to which the court must protect the state."

Mumbuna said it would also be prudent for the court to protect its own integrity adding that the application was meant to protect both the state and the accused person.

"The comments and the cases put forward before this article goes to show assumption of authority by an unauthorised person or persons," he said.

Mumbuna argued that the title of the article belittled the court and those that were involved in the trial.

"Because the state has not been given adequate time to justify on the comments that have been written by The Post, we will prove to the world that in a case of obscene, intention is not necessary," Mumbuna said before magistrate Kafunda advised him to stick to the issue. "Judgment has been provided for the court and this article is capable of influencing the outcome of this case. We will be quick to say that the editor of the newspaper, The Post itself, must be cited for contempt under section 116, as provided by the law."

Defence lawyer Remmy Mainza said they could not comment on the application because they were not on record as being lawyers for The Post but for Kabwela.

He said they would need to get instructions from The Post if they were to comment on the matter.

Magistrate Kafunda said he would need to study the comment complained of and the submissions from the state before making his ruling on Monday August 31, 2009.

Labels: , ,


Rupiah explains his defence of Chiluba

Rupiah explains his defence of Chiluba
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:34:02 PM

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda yesterday said he has no quarrels with former president Frederick Chiluba and will not inherit other people's enmity with him.

And Vice-President George Kunda said the matter where Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba intends to commence judicial review proceedings to have the decision to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal reviewed by the High Court would be competently handled by the Attorney General.

Responding to a question from The Post over assertions that he was in the forefront defending Chiluba when he spoke to journalists at the Lusaka International Airport before departure for Swaziland yesterday, President Banda said he had no quarrels with Chiluba.

"I don't know why people want me to inherit their enemies. If they have quarrels with the former president, that is their business. I am just President for everybody, including yourself, including themselves. If they get into trouble tomorrow, they would expect me to be neutral and let the necessary systems take care of the thing. So I have no quarrel with president Chiluba whatsoever," President Banda said. "[I have] no quarrel with Dr Kaunda. He brought me up, and I really feel that as the fourth President, it is my duty to recognise what my colleagues before me had done and to give them all the respect. But you as citizens, it is up to you to choose who you want to relate with or not."

Asked on Chiluba's statement that he would ask for his money back, President Banda responded: "He wants what?"

The journalist who had asked the question from Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) repeated, "[He wants] his money back."

President Banda then responded with a question: "... So you agree that it is his money? Your question says [he wants his money]. You are saying it also, 'he wants his money back'. Well again, those are matters which will be sorted out. The President, I know all of you think everything it is the President. I'm just a President. Then you've got a minister of justice, you have got a minister of agriculture, a minister of this and that. You have got judges. There are institutions in this country of ours which handle these matters. Otherwise, we would be in chaos if we did it the way other people want us to do it. So if the court said something, I think that we should listen, and if we don't agree, we take the necessary measures to redress their disagreements."

President Banda maintained that the government was fighting corruption, saying just over two days ago, government launched the anti-corruption policy.

Asked by The Post over Kabimba's move to seek judicial review over the decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga to withdraw the state's appeal against Chiluba's acquittal, Vice-President Kunda responded on behalf of the President.

"Those are matters which are handled by the Attorney General. That matter will be competently handled by the Attorney General. When it is properly filed in court, if there will be any judicial review, it will be handled by the Attorney General," said Vice-President Kunda. "We have a formidable team of lawyers to act on such matters."

Earlier, before President Banda spoke to journalists, information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha and chief of protocol Bob Samakai were busy asking journalists to move back slightly from where the President stood.

President Banda will be in Swaziland on a two-day state visit before proceeding to Libya to attend an African Union (AU) meeting.

Labels: ,


The pictures didn’t corrupt my morals, Dr Mtonga tells court

The pictures didn’t corrupt my morals, Dr Mtonga tells court
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:32:26 PM

MINISTRY of Health permanent secretary Dr Velepi Mtonga yesterday said a picture that appeared in the Zambia Daily Mail of a simulated sexual act was capable of corrupting morals and not the 'labour' pictures sent to the ministry by Chansa Kabwela during the strike by health workers.

And Dr Mtonga testified that she did not think of having sex after she saw the pictures in question but that she was angry and shed tears.

During the continued hearing of the case where Post news editor Kabwela has been charged with one count of circulating obscene materials or things tending to corrupt public morals, Kabwela's lawyer George Chisanga, showed Dr Mtonga a copy of the Weekend Mail, a supplement of Zambia Daily Mail published on August 1, 2009, and asked her to describe one of the pictures.

Dr Mtonga, 51, said there was a man and a woman and that the man was on top of the woman.

"She is in a centre position," Dr Mtonga said. "The woman is on the floor and one leg is actually on the side and the man is on a middle position."

Dr Mtonga agreed that the two people were trying to simulate a sexual act.

"This one is likely to corrupt public morals than the picture [of the woman in labour]," Dr Mtonga said.

However, in reexamination Dr Mtonga said the people in the picture in the Weekend Mail were fully clothed and that there was no private part showing.

Earlier, during evidence in chief led by Lusaka division prosecution officer Frank Mumbuna, Dr Mtonga said the Ministry of Health had been holding a series of consultations on how to end the strike when the pictures were sent to her office.

She said health minister Kapembwa Simbao, who was in Namibia at the time, instructed her to deal with the pictures and the letter from The Post.

Dr Mtonga said she got the pictures and the letter from the secretary to the deputy minister of health.

Dr Mtonga said after reading the letter where The Post stated that the pictures could not be published, she went on to look at the said photos.

Dr Mtonga said she had no problem with two of the photos but that the other photo angered her.

"When I saw the second, I was actually so angry and I shed a tear. I hope the court will pardon me. I will not describe that picture," she said.

But Mumbuna said she had to describe the photos.

"That picture was showing a woman giving birth but showing all the private parts," said Dr Mtonga who has been a gynaecologist and obstetrics specialist for 26 years. "In the medical profession we are taught to actually keep the confidentiality and privacy of the patient."

Dr Mtonga said she shed a tear because she felt that women were so exposed and not protected, because the best one could do in such a situation was to cover the woman in labour.

She said even within the African culture, the best was to be humane enough and cover the woman.

"The natural reaction would be to cover the woman," she said. "It really disturbed me...I put myself in that woman's shoes."

Dr Mtonga said after recovering from the shock of seeing the photographs, certain ethical issues came to her mind and she instructed Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr Kamoto Mbewe to liaise with the Medical Council of Zambia on the matter.

Dr Mtonga said having dealt with women for many years, she was aware that childbirth was something they kept very private.

However, Dr Mtonga said during cross-examination by Remmy Mainza that her reaction was couched within the cultural context but that she did not become a bad person after seeing the photographs.

Mainza then asked Dr Mtonga whether or not she thought of having sex immediately after seeing the photograph but Dr Mtonga said she could not answer the question.

Mainza told Dr Mtonga that as a witness it was not within her ambit to raise objections and that if the question was not appropriate her competent prosecutors could make an objection.

"I am not in the position to answer the question," Dr Mtonga insisted.

Mainza then referred Dr Mtonga to section 116 of the Penal Code, which outlined the punitive measures that a witness who opts not to answer questions could suffer.

But Mumbuna objected, saying Mainza's citation of section 116 was misplaced because his question to Dr Mtonga was optional.

Mainza responded that the prosecution as well as the lawyers were all officers of the court and that no one was in the court to play games.

Magistrate Kafunda said the question was within the charge before the court and it would be proper for Dr Mtonga to respond.

Dr Mtonga then said the picture did not make her think of having sex.

Dr Mtonga said during further cross-examination by Chisanga that the pictures were sent to the Ministry of Health several days before the strike by the health workers was ended.

She said the countless meetings they had over the strike was aimed at addressing the desperate situation.

Dr Mtonga said ordinarily doctors in a country should not go on an illegal strike and that when such a thing happens the situation could be described as desperate.

Dr Mtonga said these consultations bore fruit because the illegal strike was finally brought to an end.

"That was several days after the letter arrived at the Ministry," she said. "The letter arrived at the Ministry within the period of the strike."

Dr Mtonga said it was difficult to tell where the woman was delivering from but that the first photograph showed that it was outside.

"It depends, which maternity ward you would be looking at," she said. "It does not show any midwife, unless they are putting on their own clothes."

Dr Mtonga said she instructed Dr Mbewe to liaise with the MCZ on the matter in order to establish whether the woman in the picture gave consent to have the photograph taken.

When Chisanga asked her if she would deal with the woman's husband should it be established that he was the one who took the photographs, Dr Mtonga said they would have a chat with him.

Meanwhile, Barclays Bank Southern Sun branch manager, Esther Mwanza told the court that there was no connection between the documents she had produced before the court and the charge slapped on Kabwela.

Mwanza, 41, a resident of Lusaka's Kaunda Square Stage Two, told the court during evidence in chief by the state that she was asked to give a statement on July 10, 2009 at Lusaka Central Police Station on matters relating to Kabwela's opening of an account with Barclays Bank.

"I did provide a statement. When I went to the police, I was shown a document. The document was the account opening mandate, which we used to open the account for Chansa Kabwela," she explained.

Mumbuna asked Mwanza if she mentioned a personal business application, as being among the documents, but Mwanza answered in the negative.

Mwanza said during cross-examination by Chisanga that she was not told the charge that Kabwela was facing when she gave the statement to the police.

"I became aware of the charge when I was asked to come as a witness," she said. "I was told I was going to know about it [charge] when I went to the police."

Chisanga then asked Mwanza if she was familiar with the duty of confidentiality in relation to the banking and financial services Act, which she owed her customers and she said she was aware.

"I consulted the legal counsel," Mwanza said. "I was acting on the basis of instructions from my employer."

Asked if Barclays Bank had instructed her to go to court and breach the duty of confidentiality and privacy she owed to her customers, Mwanza said she was instructed to give a statement to the police.

Mwanza said the documents that she was shown at the court were not different from the ones she had authorised and that she identified the signature because the documents were in the name of Chansa Kabwela.

When Mainza asked her to explain the relevance of the documents she had brought before the court and the case before it, Mwanza said there was no relationship.

"I can only say that the document is confirmation that the person is an employee of The Post," she said. "These documents are not connected. What I know is that these documents are connected to us opening an account for the customer at Barclays Bank."

The state then called their eighth witness, a handwriting expert, but before he could take the stand they applied for an adjournment because he was unwell.

The matter was adjourned to September 8, 2009 for continued trial.

Labels: , ,


MMD cadres beat up PF youths at court

MMD cadres beat up PF youths at court
Written by Staff Reporters
Saturday, August 29, 2009 7:30:39 PM

RULING MMD and opposition PF cadres yesterday clashed outside Lusaka magistrate court complex during the trial of Post news editor Chansa Kabwela and a separate case of Post reporter Chibaula Silwamba.

During the clash, MMD cadres stabbed a PF supporter, Joseph Chama, with a screwdriver in the chick and it pierced right through his mouth, while another one was severely beaten by the ruling party cadres in full view of police.

Opposition PF and UPND cadres had gone to give support to Kabwela who is charged with circulating obscene matters or things tending to corrupt public morals.

The MMD cadres had also gone to give support to the state and MMD Lusaka Province youth chairperson Chris Chalwe who was appearing in court for assaulting Silwamba, Times of Zambia reporter Anthony Mulowa and photojournalist Richard Mulonga at Lusaka International Airport last month.

The PF cadres had earlier been singing outside the magistrate complex as both cases were taking place around 09:30 hours.

Just after Silwamba's case was adjourned, MMD cadres organised themselves near University of Zambia (UNZA) Ridgeway Campus and heaped stones by the roadside.

Later, other MMD cadres who were inside the court premises escorted Chalwe outside to address the cadres that were wielding bottles, planks and other weapons on the eastern side.

Chalwe thanked the MMD cadres for giving him support and that his case had been adjourned to Monday.

He told the MMD cadres that their support gave him encouragement.

Chalwe urged the cadres to go to the court on Monday to give him support.

While Chalwe was talking to MMD cadres, some of them started throwing stones at PF cadres that were singing songs denouncing President Rupiah Banda and his government.

Some PF women had a tough time negotiating with the police to allow them entry into the court premises to seek refuge. Later the PF women were allowed to enter the premises while both groups pelted each other with stones outside the fence.

Seeing that the situation was getting volatile, Chalwe and some MMD cadres managed to vanish into the court premises while other MMD cadres organised an ambush on PF cadres.

Police officers watched as the cadres from both parties sized up each other and spilled one another's blood.

Realising that the fracas was degenerating into a full-scale fight, police reluctantly intervened and managed to calm down both parties.

But MMD cadres organised themselves near the prison and managed to ambush one PF cadre whom they stabbed on the cheek.

The PF cadre, Joseph Chama, bled profusely while police just watched him.

Other PF members pleaded with police to rush Chama to court but the officers refused.

Chama was later rushed to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) after other members donated some money for a taxi.

A PF cadre, Ackim Shiyanga, sustained severe injuries to his head after the MMD cadres hit him with stones.

Forty-five-year old Shiyanga said MMD cadres hit him with stones several times and he profusely bled.

"They beat me badly. You can even see the blood here," said Shayinga while showing the injuries on his head and stains blood all over his shirt and trousers.

Shayinga, who was carrying a police report, said he had reported the matter to the police and hoped the culprits would be brought to book.

"Even if they have beaten me I am still supporting PF and Sata; we want Sata in State House. We have suffered. Enough is enough," said Shiyanga.

PF youths Mulenga Chewe and Charles Malama said the MMD cadres overpowered them.

"MMD cadres were vicious. They came and grabbed our banners and our drums. They slided this old man [Shiyanga] and he fell down and they started hitting him with stones. You see this man is old and he couldn't fight back," Chewe said. "Some of us were fighting back but we were defeated and some of our colleagues run away."

Malama wondered why the police opted to watch while the MMD cadres were attacking PF members.

Labels: , , ,


(LUSAKATIMES) The Clash between MMD and PF Cadres

The Clash between MMD and PF Cadres
Saturday, August 29, 2009, 10:27
By Henry Kyambalesa

I wish to comment on the recent clash between Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and Patriotic Front (PF) cadres outside Lusaka magistrate court complex during the trial of Post news editor Chansa Kabwela yesterday.

The scuffle left one PF cadre with a deep cut on the forehead. Joseph Chama was allegedly hit with a screw driver during the physical confrontation. He was immediately rushed to the University Teaching Hospital for treatment.

What is really the source of such savage and uncivilized behavior among political cadres in our beloved country?

We need to learn to engage in politics without physically assaulting others. We need to remember that we are Zambians first in spite of the different political parties we belong to.There are 73 different tribes to which we belong, or the different languages we speak. And we also have the same dreams as members of the larger Zambian family!

As we seek to improve the livelihoods of each and every Zambian, we should put our political alignments, tribal identities, religious convictions, and professional affiliations aside and work together as a nation. We need to strive to create a society in which political, ethnic, cultural, racial, and religious diversity is appreciated, tolerated and celebrated.

We should not allow politics to create divisions amongst us to the extent of battering each other during campaigns and whenever we have differences in opinion over national issues. We should avoid acting savagely toward one another. And we need to pray for one another, and for our beloved country. After all, we are one and the same people – we are members of the Zambian family!

“How good and how pleasant it is for breth­ren to dwell in oneness!” ? Psalms 133:1.

Labels: , , , , ,


(LUSAKATIMES)Chinese company refuses to pay for injured employee in Sinazongwe

Chinese company refuses to pay for injured employee in Sinazongwe
Saturday, August 29, 2009, 8:33

The Chinese Coal Mine management in Sinazongwe district has refused to provide a K10 million required for an operation of their employer injured in a mine accident and compensation for a miner whose arm has been amputated.

Dallas Bbulukwa, brother to the paralysed miner who was admitted to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and later referred to the Italian Orthopedics Hospital,has been told to pay K10 million for the operation.

He named his brother as Shadrick Shandima of Vwavwa village in Chief Sinazongwe area who recently sustained a deep cut on his right foot, a dislocated ankle, and general body pains at the Chinese Coal mine at shaft one.

Mr. Bbulikwa said the Chinese management has told him that they would rather treat him themselves rather than take him to the Zambian hospitals because they allegedly have no proper medication.

He said the Chinese Directors want his brother who is supposed to undergo three operations on his right foot to be treated at their mine where there were no facilities.

Mr. Bbulukwa noted that the Chinese directors were trying to run away from paying the medical fees when his brother was paralysed as a result of the mine accident.

Sinzo Muzyamuna the other miner whose arm has been amputated after he was injured in a mine accident last month said the Chinese directors at shaft three have refused to compensate him.

Mr.Muzyamuna said doctors from Choma have declared him to be discharged on medical ground.

He said the Chinese Directors only offered to be pay him a K240, 000 for a period of one year six months which he has rejected.

Muzyamuna appealed to government to assist him to get his compensation that befits the nature of damage done to his body.


Labels: ,



COMMENT - I cannot follow Keith Harmon Snow in this, although I agree with 99% of what he writes. I think his labeling of the Gukurahandi affair 20 years ago as 'genocide' is overly harsh (the high estimates of death are 20,000 people, the low estimates 3,000), and the context of disarmament while apartheid was still going on in South Africa is not put forward. For the sake of completeness, I post this article by him. To quote from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997 report, which is actually based on research in the field, not merely estimates or political gain:

FINAL ESTIMATE: The figure for the dead and missing is not less than 3000. This statement is now beyond reasonable doubt. Adding up the conservative suggestions made above, the figure is reasonably certainly 3750 dead. More than that it is still not possible to say, except to allow that the real figure for the dead could be possibly double 3000, or even higher. Only further research will resolve the issue. Somehow, this became '20,000'. It is for the makers of this claim to present their evidence. Note that this report was published before the fast track land reform programme was introduced later in 1997, and that no research mentions '20,000' before that date.

MugabeÕs Gang and Genocide in Zimbabwe
keith harmon snow

My friend, a former Ambassador, has been listed for assassination. Naming him, or the country he served in, would hasten his execution. He was listed by ZANU (PF) agents in his hometown. ZANU (PF) is the Zimbabwe African National Union (Patriotic Front) government ruling party. His cousin was recently tortured, another relative killed, accused of supporting the rising opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

On his 8000 hectare farm in rural Matabeleland, Emily (18) and Constance (19) shuck peanuts for about US two dollars a day. They count themselves lucky. Like others who have poached much of the wild game here, they come from the abutting Tribal Trust Lands, where people were forcibly resettled, evicted under colonialism or the Rhodesian regime or the Mugabe government. ÔMDCÕ has been painted in red on the AmbassadorÕs gate. He lives with fear and uncertainty.

He is land poor. The farm failed circa 1993 when the Zim dollar crashed, Structural Adjustment triumphed, drought set in and all but a dozen cattle of his cattle perished. He kills one of his six chickens for dinner, which we eat in darkness by a stone hearth fire in his shell of a farmhouse – looted in the waves of violence which for decades have permeated life in Matabeleland.

Posted in a major foreign mission throughout the 1980Õs, the Ambassador at first dismissed the testaments to terror forwarded to his offices by foreign NGOs whose expatriate staff in Zimbabwe was directly confronted by it. Independence was newly won. People had killed and died for equality, justice, peace, development and land. To the Ambassador, then a loyal ZANU (PF) functionary, reports of government sponsored terror were untenable. Still his host government petitioned for the official ZANU (PF) position: The reports were forwarded to Harare, to Comrade Robert Mugabe.

ÒThere was never any answer,Ó the Ambassador mumbled. ÒI finally confirmed it for myself. I couldnÕt believe it. I eventually resigned. It has taken me years to comprehend.Ó

As early as October 1980, plans were lain by Robert Mugabe and ZANU (PF) to consolidate power absolutely. By 1981, Mugabe had imported 108 North Korean experts to ÔtrainÕ an elite force – the Fifth Brigade – which soon operated with impunity outside the newly consolidated army. Commanded by now Air Marshall Perence Shiri – also coordinator of the paramilitary Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) and the armed forces -- the Fifth Brigade answered only to Comrade Mugabe. Licensed to search and destroy, the FB was unleashed on the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces. Publicly ordered to Ôplow and reconstruct,Õ the FB instituted a reign of terror which to this day dictates fear and silence in hundreds of thousands of survivors. The government called it Gukurahundi – the rain that washes away the chaff – the peopleÕs storm.

Manufacturing Zimbabwe

The media has only recently discovered the terrorism of the ZANU (PF) government. It is never ÔterrorismÕ however, and Mr. Mugabe is never a ÔdictatorÕ per the mediaÕs sympathies with client ÔleadersÕ who have dutifully served the media corporations and their directors. Comrade Mugabe, the Ôblue-eyed boy,Õ is no longer Ôthe darling of western multinational capitalÕ however and, therefore, recent coverage of the 2000 parliamentary elections in June has portrayed him in a mildly unfriendly light. The press has never explored the manufacture of Òa nation where elections have been characterized by voter apathyÓ which, in any case, is only Òin recent years,Ó and two decades of state-orchestrated terror is expediently cloaked in the mediaÕs ostensible attention to Òtwo months of intimidation and gerrymandering.Ó [International Herald Tribune, 6/28/00]

Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe provides a telling case study on the propensity of multinational capital to support the postcolonial rise and entrenchment of black dictatorships. It was critical to co-opt the global rise in black nationalism and expropriate liberation movements. Thus, while ever bemoaning the supposed losses they were simultaneously consolidating new gains. It was another capital coup, sold to the world by their media vanguard under the polished veneers of deceit. Hence the likes of Mobutu (1963-1997); Rawlings (1979-2000); Banda (?-?); Moi ( ?- 2000); Kuanda (1964-1991); Babangida (1987-1993); Eyadema (1967-2000); Biya (?-2000); Bongo (?-2000). Note the latter three – Togo, Cameroon and Gabon – remain in near total media whiteout. Note that Zimbabwe in 1998 and 1999 has returned record international banking profits.

Typical of disingenuous and diversionary media portraits of Africa, one of the biggest articles on Zimbabwe in 2000 elections coverage focused not on the criminal opportunism of an entrenched client government gone sour, but on elephants tearing down an electrified fence to access crops. [International Herald Tribune, 6/22/00] Only the most privileged and their corporations have electrified fences here. This just four days before the polls, after yet another week of government orchestrated terror.

ÒWhat is happening is not chaos, it is carefully orchestrated,Ó wrote human rights advocates in a 27-page chronology of violence from 14 February to 4 July. ÒIt is state-organized violence. The issue also has little to do with land, legitimate issue though this is. The violence is about the first real threat to ZANU (PF) power in 20 years, the MDC.Ó

The War of the Dogs

Since the first British South Africa Company invasions of the late 1800Õs, land has always been the issue for the disenfranchised masses of the Ndebele and Shona super-tribes. In 1893 a Ndebele defense force slaughtered the Alan Wilson patrol – an arrogant white squad dispatched by Cecil Rhodes – after the invaders pillaged Ndebele villages. By 1894 white settlers had taken over 100,000 head of Ndebele cattle. Chiefs were swindled. Mining, ranching and plantations spread like plague. Europeans destroyed crops and grain stores. Starvation and disease brought Ndebele survivors to eat the hides of slip aprons and sandals.

Social institutions were expropriated, chiefs coerced, replaced, rewarded for state loyalty and native repression. Christian missionaries found fertile ground in destitute peoples divorced from everything safe and familiar. The colonists waged a propaganda campaign extolling the virtues of hostile lands on which natives were forcibly resettled. All the best land went to the whites.

The Land Apportionment Act (1930) and Native Land Husbandry Act (1951) further institutionalized possessionary segregation and the division of Rhodesia into zones of exclusive white and black occupation. In 1974 the Rhodesian government executed ÔOperation OverloadÕ where, in three months and without warning, 46,960 members of 187 native homesteads were forcibly resettled into 21 ÔProtected Villages.Õ People were repeatedly uprooted, forced to rebuild, promised the world but dumped on unknown land where nature, crowding, colonial de-stocking of cattle, disease, famine and coercive agrarian state policy prevailed. Taxes were collected at gunpoint.

By 1961 rising African Nationalism had swept the country into increasing non-cooperation and sabotage. To the arrogant whites, ÔAfro-NatÕ resistance was all quite improper, an affront to protocol, audacious native hooliganism. [Peter Godwin and Ian Hancock, Rhodesians ever Die: The Impact of War and Political Change on White Rhodesia, circa 1985]. Demonstrations were banned, movement restricted. Arrests, floggings, torture, forced confessions, extrajudicial executions, spotter aircraft and riot squads were justified to enforce whites-only hunting restrictions, land-grab policies, and the prosecution of white supremacy.

ÒThe communists had already started their propaganda,Ó wrote Ian Smith, in The Great Betrayal. ÒBut our average black was not interested. Traditionally he was conservative and satisfied with the manner in which things were progressing.Ó Smith could not have been further out of step with Ôhis average black.Õ

The Zimbabwe African PeopleÕs Union (ZAPU) emerged in 1961 under Joshua Nkomo; ZANU in 1963 under Robert Mugabe. [There were many other early leaders in both parties, many of whom were eventually assassinated.] From Zambia ZAPU and ZANU – both banned 1964 – orchestrated armed incursions against the Ian Smith regime and the emergent Rhodesian Front (RF). The first major armed rebel action (1962) provoked a RF police search and destroy operation, which netted some 97 rebels. Huge dogs were used. It is remembered as Ôthe war of the dogs.Õ

Guerrilla War

Early guerrilla incursions led to arrests and imprisonments, which crippled the nationalist struggle and drove it underground. The RFÕs Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI) against Britain in 1965 increasingly brought the abrogation of basic human rights. African Nationalism in turn found support in an unholy alliance with international capital.

ÒThe farmers, small local manufacturers and skilled workers had developed a common interest in exploiting and segregating the Africans. This coalition certainly formed the support basis of the RF in 1962. It came together to fight multinational capital, represented by the mining companies, finance houses and major secondary industries, and which opposed rigid segregationist and supremacist policies in favor of the greater incorporation of blacks as wage earners, consumers and middle managers.Ó [G. Arrighi, in Essays on the Political Economy of Africa, New York, 1973].

To Ian Smith, this was Ôthe great betrayal.Õ ÒWhy were the internal affairs of black African one-party dictatorships off the agenda at Commonwealth [UK] Ministerial Conferences,Ó he bemoans, revealingly, Òand RhodesiaÕs internal affairs on the agenda?Ó

It was a lost cause. As nationalism turned to guerrilla war the increasingly intransigent RF resorted to new heights of dispossession, secret hangings and grotesque forms of torture. The RF infiltrated and bombed guerrilla bases in Zambia and Mozambique. The elite RF Selous Scouts staged horrific killings of civilians to alienate civilian support for ZIPRA and ZANLA -- the armed wings of ZAPU and ZANU -- guerrillas, who retaliated in turn against collaborators real and imagined.

The civilians of Matabeleland suffered particularly harshly. The Selous Scouts successfully infiltrated supply networks, impregnated clothing and spiked food and drinks with lethal chemical poisons, causing guerrillas to turn on civilians. The late 1970Õs saw napalm and anthrax used, campaigns of biological warfare now well documented. Livestock and people died en masse: In one district in Matabeleland alone an estimated 10,000 cattle died and 1200 people were treated for anthrax poisoning. Infected victims continued to seek treatment into the 1980Õs [See Violence and Memory, notes to p. 145].

ÒThe number of cases was wholly unprecedented and the epizootic persisted for an unusually long period; the pattern of distribution was abnormal as disease was confined to national borders and within these only affected Africans. People testified to having seen planes dropping a white powder on fields and pastures; others saw soldiers sprinkling Ôsmall pillsÕ into water sources which killed fish and poisoned cattle [Alexander et al: Violence and Memory].Ó

By 1979 some 800-900 people were dying monthly in an increasingly unpopular and unsuccessful war costing the RF some US$ 1.1 million per day. There were over 9000 prisoners in Rhodesian jails. Defeat was imminent. Still the legacy of colonialism, the inequities of white supremacy and its authoritarian legal structures, the preferential access to loans and massive government subsidies gave whites a monopoly on land. In 1978 some 6000 white farmers produced agricultural sales worth $R 332 million; 680,000 African farmers produced only $R 24.6 million. Corporations like Liebigs and Lonrho owned estates of over 1 million acres.

Under UDI and the international sanctions placed on Rhodesia to 1980, the state prospered like never before. Transnational corporations masqueraded as domestic firms to evade sanctions. Military expenditures benefited external players: In 1979 a squadron of U.S. Augusta Bell 205 ÔHueyÕ helicopters were acquired in an illicit deal through the U.S.-Israeli partnership. Royal Dutch Shell busted sanctions to fuel the RF war. Twenty Cessna ST337B reconnaissance planes manufactured in France under US license were delivered. U.S., UK and other companies sold heaps of landmines to all parties; they endure to maim and kill innocent civilians today [Human Rights Watch publication on landmines in Southern Africa, 1999]. Sanction busting was untransparent however: Many more interests participated.

While guerrilla war won widespread public support, ZIPRA and ZANLA guerrillas faced each other as enemies. ZANLAs and their backers targeted ZIPRAs; battles erupted at guerrilla camps in Zambia and Mozambique. Antagonism persisted under the cease-fire agreement with the RF (12/21/79) and into the post-Independence violence, the Gukurahundi.

Tribalizing the Polity

The Lancaster House Agreement, which brokered the transition to majority rule, contained clauses which entrenched the rights of white Rhodesians and corporations. Both black and white Rhodesian officials hostile to nationalism retained government posts, to the angst of locals who expected their replacement -- if not punishment. Draconian decrees proscribing basic freedoms prevailed against citizens for years to come.

ÒAdoption of the Lancaster Constitution meant that Rhodesian businessmen and those African elites aspiring to become capitalists had ten long years to discover and influence each other before the new state could legally take any steps which might by chance lay the foundation for socialism.Ó [Dr. T. Mahoso, ÒZimbabwe Reconciled to Rhodesia,Ó MOTO, April 1992: 6]

Big players like Roland ÔTinyÕ Rowland, John Brodencamp, Billy Rautenbach (a guns runner who today owns some 150 companies in 11 African countries, British Virgin Islands and the US), Lonrho, the Oppenheimers and deBeers threw their weight behind ZANU (PF) as Robert Mugabe distilled victory out of the 1980 elections. The overwhelming ZANU (PF) win was seen as remarkable, given the huge rural power base of ZAPUs Joshua Nkomo: The elections were felt to be grossly rigged. Intimidation and violence orchestrated by ZANU (PF) in rural areas -- which characterized the 2000 elections – had its genesis in 1980. Hundreds of prominent ZAPU supporters were rounded up after the 1985 elections and disappeared. Matabeleland was hardest hit.

Repression against ZAPU/ZIPRA continued after the cease-fire agreement. Demobilization from the war saw RF forces at the helm, where like ZANLAs, most retained their arms and freedom of movement. ZIPRA guerrillas were treated like a defeated army: They were disarmed and confined; busloads of demobilizing guerrillas were attacked by air, fired upon by police. ZANLAs retained their heavy artillery, subsequently used against ZIPRAs, who did not.

Facing significant persecution, still most ZIPRAs complied with demobilization and by June 1980 ZIPRA regulars following ZAPU leadership rounded up hundreds of uncooperative ZIPRA guerrillas, who were subsequently imprisoned and held for years. Comrade Mugabe and his cadres soon set out to manufacture a ÔdissidentÕ and/or ÔZAPUÕ and/or ÔNdebeleÕ conspiracy, as justification for repression. As with the history and importance of ZAPU/ZIPRA during the liberation struggle, ZANU (PF) set to work to expropriate the history of ZAPU/ZIPRA in the postcolonial era. The Gukurahundi would be similarly denied.

ÒThe nation was imagined after 1980,Ó wrote the authors of the newly released Violence and Memory, which retells the history of Matabeleland, Òso as to exclude the western third of the country. In this way men and women in Matabeleland who were committed nationalists found themselves in conflict with the nation state. Zim nationalism turned out to be authoritarian rather than emancipatory, and we are under no illusions that had ZAPU rather than ZANU won the 1980 elections, things would have been very different. At the level of its leadership, Zim nationalism in 1980 was commandist; both parties were equally committed to the one-party state and the executive presidency.Ó [Jocelyn Alexander, JoAnn McGregor and Terrence Ranger, Violence and Memory: One Hundred Years in the ÔDark ForestsÕ of Matabeleland, James Currey, 2000: p. 84]

The newly independent Zimbabwe clearly faced hostile internal and external forces. South African commandos sympathetic with the RF continued to penetrate and attack military targets. Former RF soldiers, aberrant ZIPRAs and ZANLAs, criminals and opportunists all contributed to instability. However, most all insecurity lumped under the category ÔdissidentsÕ by the ZANUP(PF) government was subsequently attributed to ZAPU, ZIPRA and to the Ndebele people.

As persecution against ZIPRAs intensified, hundreds of ex-ZIPRAs in the newly incorporated Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) deserted. Thousands of ZIPRAs fled to Dukwe refugee camp in Botswana where they faced deportation and conscription into a secret South African backed ÔSuper-ZAPUÕ commando force. Super-ZAPU targeted white farmers and ZIPRAs and operated briefly only in Matabeleland. Regular ZIPRAs were confused and deceived by Super-ZAPU: They recognized ZIPRA leadership, but in the field Super-ZAPUs no longer behaved with the strict professionalism or ethics of ZIPRA. ZIPRAs eventually awoke to the Super-ZAPU game and ruthlessly drove them out.

However most people targeted as ÔdissidentsÕ were merely ex-ZIPRAs facing a systematic campaign of extermination who were driven back into the bush. It was not the ZANU (PF) government which they fought, but the imperative of life or death. Unlike the liberation struggle, the citizenry did not support them, since the government used ÔdissidentÕ activities to justify a campaign of terror and the public blamed this on the Ôdissidents.Õ

From early independence, ZANU (PF) increasingly politicized tribe, polarizing the Shonas and the Ndebeles. While ZIPRAs in the 1970Õs had enjoyed much support in Shona areas, in the 1980s they found hostility. If Shonas reported ÔdissidentÕ activity in Shona areas they were rewarded; Ndebeles who did the same in Matabeleland were shot. Speeches by Mugabe and ZANU (PF) officials, and propaganda by their monopoly on the press, exaggerated the scale and frequency of ÔdissidentÕ violence, which, often enough, was manufactured by ZANU (PF).

Known arms caches were suddenly Ôdiscovered,Õ coincidentally timed to support ZANU (PF) claims of a rising conspiracy. ZAPU/ZIPRA properties were confiscated, ZAPU leadership purged from office, jailed, exiled. Prime Minister Mugabe sowed suspicion and tribal animosities at every turn. Detention camps were set up in Matabeleland prior to 1983. ZIPRAs and ZAPUs were increasingly tortured and Ôdisappeared.Õ True ZANLA dissidents sowing insecurity in Shona areas – a much more significant threat – were disproportionately attended. Matabeleland had suffered unbearable violence, decades of discrimination and war. The worst was yet to come.


Dominated by former ZANLA guerrillas, the Fifth Brigade was given unlimited powers and total license to exterminate ÔdissidentsÕ without question or explanation. Uniquely uniformed, marked by red berets, they predominantly targeted innocent civilians. No one was too young or too old. While civilians in just two districts of Matabeleland attributed 45 murders from 1981 to 1987 to Ôdissidents,Õ the Gukurahundi killed in the tens of thousands. In January 1982, Matabeleland North was invaded, cordoned off, curfewed, and punished.

According to Patson Sibanda, they came to his village at dawn. They abducted all males, door-to-door, and loaded them on buses at gunpoint: They were never seen again. Patson was tipped off; he fled to Botswana. Patson points to the borehole where they beat his mother when she went for water.

They targeted ZAPUs, government officials, even ZNA regulars on leave. Clinics and schools were attacked, teachers brutalized, medical staff beaten and warned not to treat rising local casualties. They set up permanent and mobile bases, occupied water boreholes, shops – anyplace people had to go – and they carried lists naming people for assassination. Violence was intentional, systematic, and premeditated. It was also random, indiscriminate and meaningless.

Women and children and the elderly were beaten for pursing their daily lives. People were herded – frog-marched under constant abuse – to all night indoctrination rallies, sometimes lasting for days, forced to sing and dance, and were beaten or killed for the most trivial Ôoffenses.Õ They were pulled from buses, forced to dig their own graves in front of loved ones, humiliated and shot. An old man summoned from across a field was beaten for not moving fast enough. Villages were torched, families burned alive in huts. Bodies were dumped in mine shafts as often as they were left to rot in public. People were killed if they sought to recover their dead, funerals were forbidden. Mass graves proliferated and these remain testaments to the horrible and perverse incidents f violence and torture, geographical apparitions scarring the landscape and haunting the peopleÕs psyches, all too real and current.

Government trucks sometimes returned to massacre sites to collect the skeletons and the propensity – if not policy -- to tamper with, suppress or destroy evidence persists to the present. While some police and officials worked to shield the populace, most turned a blind eye or participated. Some were targets themselves. Civilians recognized Fifth Brigade soldiers as the same ÔdissidentsÕ that had abused them, demanding food, the night before; people followed ÔdissidentsÕ into the bush where they watched them change into government uniforms.

In testimony taken from thousands over the past fifteen years, victims and witnesses repeatedly stressed the soldiersÕ own words: Their orders were to Ôwipe out the people in the areaÕ and Ôkill anything that is human.Õ [Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, Breaking the Silence, Building True Peace: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland and the Midlands, 1980-1988, Legal Resources Foundation, 1997.]

Rape was policy, it was both public and private and it often preceded killings. Pregnant women were publicly bayoneted and gutted, families forced to watch, as soldiers talked about killing the Ndebele unborn. At schools girls were raped sometimes 20 to 30 at a time and then forced to have sex with the boys as soldiers watched. Widespread rape was interpreted as a systematic attempt to create a generation of Shona children.

As early as March 1983 government officials were petitioned to stop the carnage. Representatives from the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace personally delivered evidence of atrocities to Prime Minister Mugabe. Official policy then vacillated between encouragement of atrocities and denial. Patterns of violence clearly changed however, though repression remained equally lethal. In January 1984 the Fifth Brigade was deployed in Matabeleland South where, under suffocating curfew and restrictions of movement, and the telltale repression, starvation was further adopted as a strategy. With less than 200 true dissidents in the region, some 400,000 civilians suffered horrendously.

Fifth Brigade atrocities proliferated most from 1983 to 1985. Paramilitary forces – the elite CIO, Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) -- ZANU (PF) youth and ZNA forces complemented the Fifth Brigade operations with notorious terrorism of their own. While the Fifth Brigade was withdrawn in 1986, these ZANU (PF) agents continued to arrest, torture, interrogate and ÔdisappearÕ into and throughout the 1990Õs, to the present. Rather than changing the allegiance of the public, repression hardened them against the ZANU (PF) government. Former ZAPA leaders like Joshua Nkomo incorporated into the ZANU (PF) government after 1988 reverted to policies of silence or of Ônot opening old wounds,Õ preaching the rhetoric of unity in public, feathering their own nests backstage.

While there were an estimated 400 dissidents at the height of 1980Õs Ôinsecurity,Õ most were captured, killed or exiled, and only 122 dissidents turned themselves in after the Unity Accord -- between ZANU (PF) and ZAPU leadership -- and the government Amnesty of 1988. With not less than 10,000 killed (many people count over 30,000), thousands more were disappeared, tens of thousands were severely tortured, hundreds of thousands were subjected to some kind of physical or psychological abuse.

The impact of ZANU (PF) violence cannot be overstated: ÒMerely to threaten to make people,Ó wrote Human Rights advocates in 2000, Òis a powerful weapon against defenseless people who have personal memories of witnessing executions and being tortured by this government in the recent past.Ó

The New Face of Socialism

The rhetoric of liberation and independence translated early into new schools and clinics, but ÔprogressÕ proliferated most significantly on paper, and this subsumed any popular land redistribution. Neocolonial policies partnered with the self-interest and cronyism of ruling elites to further usher the interests of western capital and the white minority into the 1990Õs. Enter Structural Adjustment: Unemployment bloomed; real wages fell; the Zim $ was devalued; expenditures for education, food and health care – once promised free for all – dried up as MugabeÕs gang of thieves followed their marching orders in shiny new Mercedes Benz sedans. Foreign-controlled mining, banking and big tobacco (US) reaped unprecedented profits. Meanwhile the goods and services grew ever more inaccessible to the ever poorer black masses.

Note that there is a direct and significant link between poverty, mass rape, and bloodletting against women, and the lack of basic health care to the spread of the AIDS pandemic in Africa. In the major ongoing ÔAIDS in AfricaÕ propaganda front of the world media, AIDS is almost entirely dissociated from these factors and attributed almost universally to heterosexual intercourse. The emergent front was launched with a six-part series in the New York Times which began with a huge article of August 6, 1998. Focused on AIDs and Zimbabwe, this huge feature totally diverted attention from root causes: terrorism, underdevelopment, mysogyny and dictatorship.

Top-down international conservation and development programs were Ôoverwhelmingly endorsedÕ in rural Matabeleland – by people who were terrified into a consensual silence by ZANU (PF) cadres, informants and police around them. Many programs only further dispossessed them of their land. Government propaganda and backslapping foreign donors delineated wildlife protection areas even as Mugabe plead that there was no land available for redistribution. Coercion and arrests followed resistance to programs dictating that infrastructure be relocated to accommodate wildlife – this where such basic resources were mostly absent. Further evictions persisted in efforts to ÔconserveÕ forests.

Neglect, discrimination and conflict in Matabeleland combined to leave health care mostly inaccessible. A massive malaria epidemic struck in 1996, killing hundreds (at least): Some 52,932 people treated for malaria strained already meager health services. Meanwhile, from 1992-1997 a massive Z$ 1.7 billion was paid out from the War VeteranÕs Compensation Fund, a scandal where, for example, many supposed ÔWar VetsÕ were born after Independence and MugabeÕs brother-in-law Reward Marufu won a settlement for a fraudulent claim of a 90 % disability.

In 1997 some 62 poor families were evicted as the Gokwe North Rural District Council officials razed their homes: These were people who had already been forcibly evicted under the Kariba Dam project (1950s): By 1997, their rebuilt lives were blocking a proposed Safari project by a white Zimbabwean. Huge farms previously acquired for land redistribution have gone to government ministers and ZANU (PF) leaders.

ÒHistorical inequities and colonial legislation, government looting, favoritism and skewed resettlement policies remain the major stumbling blocks in the poorÕs struggle for land in Zimbabwe,Ó wrote ZimRights, commenting on the ongoing Mugabe ploy to manipulate and influence the 2002 presidential elections through the waves of recent farm invasions.

Back to the Futureless

Costing Zimbabwe some US$ one million per day, MugabeÕs gang in August of 1998 dealt themselves into the gold, diamonds and cobalt free-for-all in the former Zaire -- itÕs a perverse farce to call it the Democratic Republic of Congo -- in exchange for supporting KabilaÕs ouster of Mobutu. Under the veil of the international media and with the support of the dubious Organization of African States (OAU), he has been assisted in bluffing 13 million people in a country where education is so lacking that some do not yet associate malaria with mosquitoes.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been silent on the Zim crises: Son Kojo Annan is director of Air Harbor Technologies, partnered with Leo Mugabe, for the controversial multimillion dollar development of HarareÕs New International Airport. [FYI: Kojo Annan is also linked to Sutton Investments, a Nigerian firm which in 1999 won the six million pound contract to monitor the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq: ÒUN Chief Under Fire,Ó Financial Gazette, 5/4/00].

When a reporter for the London Guardian [or Observer: I will email the proper citation ASAP] tried to break the story of the Gukurahundi in 1983 it was crushed by Tiny Rowland and Lonrho corporation. Suppression and the story itself became hot topics in England: Even Prince Charles was aware of it. It has otherwise remained off the media agenda. The Reagan, Bush and Clinton administrations certainly knew about it. UNHCR, UNIFEM, CIDA (Canada) and Lutheran World Federation all ran the Dukwe refugee camps in Botswana (1980-1988). Reagan and Ian Smith people had a history, and they remain(ed) close. David Coltart, 2000 elections winner of an MDC parliamentary seat, in 1992 traveled to Europe and Washington and petitioned government and UN officials and US Senators (Nancy Kassebaum and others) to withhold IMF and World Bank loans pending accountability for the Gukurahundi and ongoing violence. He was ignored.

Government soldiers disguised as landless squatters and ÔWar VetsÕ continue to prosecute farm invasions as this article goes to press. Much of what should be the peopleÕs land is not controlled by Ôwhite farmersÕ but also by huge corporations. Roadblocks, curfews, beatings and intimidation in rural areas and high-density suburbs of Harare persist. Soldiers wearing the uniforms of the Fifth Brigade, and others in the telltale red berets, have been seen in rural areas. New lists for assassinations have been drawn up. The message is clear. The tactics are all too familiar.

MugabeÕs fall from grace may be an issue of his gangÕs infringing on other international criminals operating in the DRC (like Barrick Gold: a George Bush, Brian Mulroney, Senator Howard Baker enterprise). It may be an issue of the expedience of greater Ôdemocracy,Õ the imperatives of market or raw material access and ZimbabweÕs transition to a new stage of predatory capitalism. The MDC will most likely support this process.

MugabeÕs days are numbered. Many people are calling for recognition of the Gukurahundi and prosecution of MugabeÕs Gang for crimes against humanity. Mugabe continues to play his part in the great betrayal of the African masses and the US media continues to provide cover. In any case, Emily and Constance will keep on shucking peanuts for peanuts in Matabeleland. ~ end

Labels: ,


Friday, August 28, 2009

(HERALD) Sadc at your disposal: Zuma

Sadc at your disposal: Zuma
Herald Reporters

The inclusive Government has made great strides in addressing the challenges in Zimbabwe and the remaining issues in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement can be overcome, South African President and Sadc chair Jacob Zuma said last night.

The South African leader — who was speaking at a banquet hosted for him by President Mugabe and First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe at State House in Harare — said the regional bloc would continue to assist Zimbabwe.

"Sadc remains at your disposal for assistance. The remaining issues are not insurmountable, and can be overcome. The most difficult path has already been travelled," he said.

President Zuma said the bonds Zimbabwe and SA built in fighting oppression continued to guide interaction between the two countries.

"The bonds that united us when we battled the inhuman systems of apartheid and colonialism still guide us today as we endeavour to build a better life for all our people.

"We remain very committed as guarantors of the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and partners, to continue working with the Zimbabwean people to find solutions," President Zuma said.

South Africans, he said, were closely following with interest the positive developments taking place in Zimbabwe since the signing of the GPA and the subsequent formation of the inclusive Government.

"These are positive developments that foretell good things that will come to the Zimbabwean nation. This achievement signalled to the people of Zimbabwe, the region and the world, that the Zimbabwean political leadership was ready to collectively tackle the political and socio-economic challenges head-on.

"We are all encouraged by how the three parties put their differences aside in the service of this country. It is indeed very encouraging to note the significant progress that has been made under the auspices of the inclusive Government," President Zuma said.

He said he looked forward to officially opening the Harare Agricultural Show today, and was encouraged by what Zimbabwean farmers had achieved amidst paucity of resources and the global economic recession.

Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces President Mugabe thanked South Africa for solidly standing by Zimbabwe in the face of unjustified economic sanctions and vilification by Western governments.

He thanked South Africa over the manner it handled the stand-off between Zimbabwe and the West.

"Your Government stood by us in the face of unjustified sanctions and vilification by Western governments, led by the British and Americans.

"Alongside other progressive and objective governments, you resisted the unwarranted attempts by these governments to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

"Hence we thank South Africa for courageously fighting to stop the machinations of those who would have liked to manipulate and abuse this important body, the Security Council, for selfish political ends," President Mugabe said.

"Furthermore, within the auspices of Sadc, which you currently chair, a number of commitments were made by member states to help us resuscitate our economy.

"In this vein, Cde President, let me take this opportunity to thank you personally and your government for providing us with direct budget support and lines of credit to our industry."

He acknowledged South Africa’s assistance with agriculture inputs worth R300 million soon after the formation of the inclusive Government saying the support went a long way in giving confidence to the new Government.

President Mugabe also expressed gratitude to President Zuma’s predecessors, Cdes Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, for "handling the conflictual political situation in Zimbabwe with great vision and foresight".

Sadc-appointed facilitator Cde Mbeki had played an instrumental role in bringing Zanu-PF and the MDC formations to the negotiating table.

"I am happy to inform you that the inclusive Government is alive and well and that the three principals are committed to its success," President Mugabe said. "Indeed, a political accommodation of this nature is bound to experience teething problems."

This, he said, had not detracted the inclusive Government from its common vision to establish peace, turn around the economy, and work to deliver the services expected by the people.

Inflation has been tamed and schools and hospitals were now functional though economic sanctions remained the "greatest constraining factor".

President Mugabe said the constitution-making process was on course, the Organ on National Healing had been launched and dialogue with the EU and other Western countries had started.

He emphasised that President Zuma’s visit cemented the already strong friendship and alliance forged in the trenches by Zanu-PF and the ANC during the colonial and apartheid eras.

President Mugabe expressed gratitude that President Zuma accepted Government’s invitation to be the Guest of Honour at the 99th edition of the Harare Agriculture Show.

The event, he said, presented an opportunity to those in the agriculture sector to showcase their activities and products and he was delighted that South African companies responded positively to Zimbabwe’s invitation to participate at the Show.

"Participation at each other’s shows mutually benefits our two peoples as it promotes trade, investment and development in both countries.

"Your participation at the show will not only boost confidence in the agriculture sector, but in other sectors as well, especially that manufacturing sector which is very much dependent on agriculture," President Mugabe said.

Turning to regional matters, the President observed that the stable political and security situation in the region augured well for Sadc’s quest for economic development and integration.

Developments in the DRC gave hope for lasting peace and security in that country and welcomed the co-operative spirit characterising relations among countries around the Great Lakes region.

"We are also encouraged by the recent developments in Madagascar where the leaders have agreed to resolve their political differences through an inclusive dialogue process.

"Within the realm of Sadc, we should continue to lend support to the peace process so that the country reverts to constitutional normalcy," President Mugabe said.

While ruing Zimbabwe’s absence from the 2010 Soccer World Cup, President Mugabe wished South Africa success in the tournament that it will host.

"We wish you success in hosting the tournament. Apart from promoting sport in our continent, we are mindful of the economic benefits, which this event could generate for the region.

"We therefore need to closely work together bilaterally and within the framework of Sadc so that we maximise the opportunity of obtaining benefits into our areas of tourism and commerce."

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said the South African leader was not coming to Zimbabwe as a judge or adjudicator to the GPA but to see the strides made by the inclusive Government.

Responding to questions soon after a tour of exhibition stands at the Harare Agriculture Show, the PM said President Zuma was in Zimbabwe for the official opening of the Show.

He added that President Zuma would use this as an opportunity to review progress in Zimbabwe as the chairperson of Sadc, which is the guarantor of the GPA along with the African Union.

"President Zuma is not coming as prosecutor or judge to the inclusive Government but will meet the principals to evaluate the progress of the agreement so far.

"The meetings will take place as the South African government has said and will obviously seek to make sure finality is reached in the implementation of the agreement," he said.

President Zuma met President Mugabe yesterday evening and planned to meet PM Tsvangirai late last night.

President Zuma was given a rapturous welcome at the Harare International Airport when he arrived in the evening.

Dancing to the thumping tune of President Zuma’s trademark "Umshini wami" beat, the crowd chanted President Mugabe and President Zuma’s names as the two leaders greeted them.

In the welcoming party were Prime Minister Tsvangirai, Cabinet ministers from the parties in the inclusive Government and other senior State officials.

President Zuma was given the 21-gun salute accorded to a Head of State and inspected of a guard of honour mounted by the Presidential Guard.

He is scheduled to return to South Africa later today after touring and opening the Show.

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) Farmers call for more affordable fertilizer prices

Farmers call for more affordable fertilizer prices
Business Reporters

THERE has been a lukewarm reception to the recent reduction of fertilizer prices by almost 20 percent with most farmers calling for further reductions.

Farmers interviewed at the Harare Agricultural Show implored authorities to reduce the price to a more affordable amount.

A 50kg bag of either Ammonium Nitrate or Compound D fertilizer from Windmill is now priced at US$27, a drop from US$34.

Zimbabwe Fertilizer Company has also reduced its prices for a bag of either Compound D or AN from US$34 to US$27,50.

Some of the farmers exhibiting at this year’s Harare Agricultural Show expressed their displeasure at the new prices citing the "insignificance of the reduced amount to overall production".

Mrs Irene Musakwa a farmer from Murehwa said farmers were expecting a higher percentage cut in price of more than 50 percent to at least US$15 per bag of fertilizer.

"The farming season we are coming from has been difficult as fertilizer prices were beyond the reach of many farmers.

"We were expecting the price to go down to at least US$15 — a price that is more affordable to every farmer.

"Given the amount we use in acquiring inputs in relation to what we get after selling our maize grain, we do not stand any chance of making profitable business as farmers if these prices are not reduced further," said Mrs Musakwa.

Another farmer, Farai Musengi from Chegutu reiterated the same sentiments of a further reduction in fertilizer prices and called on the Government to assist farmers by addressing such issues.

He also pleaded with the Grain Marketing Board to increase the floor parity price for maize to at least US$400 per tonne to maximise grain stocks in the country. The parity price for maize offered by the GMB is currently set at US$265 per tonne.

"As farmers, we appreciate the role played by the GMB but it has had its own share of shortcomings.

"Other players have taken advantage of the fact that the parastatal does not pay cash direct while private buyers offer cash at point of sale tempting us to go for quick money for our hard earned produce.

"If the GMB could increase the price per tonne up to about US$400 per tonne from the current US$265, I am sure every farmer in the land would desist from selling their grain to private maize buyers," said Mr Musengi.

Analysts have however cited that prices could continue on the downward trend given that the price of potash that is used in the manufacturing of fertilizer has also gone down.

Fertilizer companies have also been partly forced to adopt the move by the slow uptake of the product by farmers who are finding it difficult to raise money for inputs.

Labels: , , ,


(HERALD) Shoprite eyes controlling stake in OK Zim

Shoprite eyes controlling stake in OK Zim
By Bright Madera

SHOPRITE Holdings Limited, South Africa’s largest grocery chain, is said to have entered into negotiations with OK Zimbabwe to acquire a controlling stake in the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed retail counter, Herald Business has learnt.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed company first entered Zimbabwe in November 2000 with the opening of a Shoprite outlet in Bulawayo, the only branch in the country.

Details of the deal are still sketchy, but sources close to Herald Business indicated that negotiations were still at preliminary stages.

Shoprite chief executive, Whitey Basson told South African media recently that the retail group was looking at expanding into the region.

Basson was quoted saying that the Shoprite brand was in an excellent position to expand into the African market outside South Africa.

South African investors have been making inroads into Zimbabwe following the restoration of investment confidence ushered by the inclusive Government.

Another South African grocery shop, Mr Price has already established branches in Harare following the rebound of the country’s retail sector.

This week, OK Zimbabwe issued a statement advising shareholders to exercise caution and to consult their professional advisors in dealing with their shares in the company.

"OK Zimbabwe Limited advises its shareholders that the company has entered into negotiations which, if concluded, will have a significant impact on its business," read part of the statement.

Zimbabwe’s economy has started to register positive growth after years of successive negative growth, with indications that it recorded a growth rate of 1,8 percent during the first quarter of this year.

This development has attracted a number of regional and international investors to invest in the fast growing sectors.

With the South African economy reported to have contracted for the third quarter in succession between April and June, the move could be a strategy by South Africans to flight their investment to potential Zimba-bwean operations.

Shoprite Holdings Limited is an investment holdings company that, through its subsidiaries, constitutes a fast moving consumer goods retail operation on the African continent.

In results released this week, Shoprite reported a significant rise in full year profit. Diluted headline earnings per share for the year to end in June jumped 30,9 percent to 390.8 cents in line with its own forecast of a 25-35 percent rise.

Total turnover climbed 24,5 percent to US$7,62 billion from 5,8 billion the previous year.

Its primary business is food retailing to consumers of all income levels.

The Company is organised into two main business segments: supermarkets, including fresh produce and franchise, and furniture, including insurance.

It owns and operates Shoprite, Checkers, Checkers Hyper, Usave, MediRite, OK Furniture, House & Home, Power Express, Hungry Lion, OK Foods, OK Grocer, OK MiniMark, Sentra and Value, and Megasave.

The Shoprite Group currently trades with 1 068 corporate and 275 franchise outlets in 17 countries across Africa, bringing the total number of stores in the group to 1 343.

Shoprite is in Uganda, Zambia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mauritius, Malawi, Madagascar, Ghana and Angola.

The Shoprite Group started in 1979 with the purchase of a chain of eight supermarkets for R1 million.

The next 30 years were marked by various acquisitions and innovative expansion strategies that brought it to the R48 billion business that Shoprite is today.

OK Zimbabwe de-merged from Delta in September 2001 and has emerged as one of the leading retail supermarket chains in the country.

Labels: , ,