Saturday, September 26, 2009

(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Zim hails success in HIV fight

COMMENT - This AFP article claims that the drop national HIV prevalence rate from 33% to 14.1% and lower is "attributed to government and donor-backed prevention campaigns" - which is a lie. This drop is a statistical slight of hand, caused by the switch from surveys of pregnant women in urban areas only, to surveys representative of the general population. Both survey types are using a highly sensitive single ELISA screening test, whearas in diagnosis, 2 positive elisas and 2 positive western blot tests are required before someone can be declared 'HIV positive'. If they really want to "push the rate down into single digits", all they have to do is start using a Western Blot as a confirmation test in their surveys.


Estimates on HIV called too high
New data cut rates for many nations
By John Donnelly, Globe Staff | June 20, 2004

How AIDS in Africa Was Overstated
Reliance on Data From Urban Prenatal Clinics Skewed Early Projections
By Craig Timberg
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, April 6, 2006

Zim hails success in HIV fight
25/09/2009 00:00:00

THE Ministry of Health on Thursday reported new progress in the fight against Aids, saying Zimbabwe’s HIV infection rate has declined to 13.7 percent of youths and adults, from an estimated 14.1 percent last year.

Health Minister Henry Madzorera said the rate was still too high, calling for concerted efforts to push the rate down into single digits.

"We have to redouble our efforts and commitment and keep the sense of hope that indeed one day we will get to the single digit prevalence," Madzorera said, according to the state-run New Ziana news agency.

The figure estimates the percentage of people aged 15 to 49 who have HIV.
Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world to have recorded a sharp decline in its HIV prevalence rate, down from a high of 33 percent in 1999.

The drop is attributed to government and donor-backed prevention campaigns, but also to the nation's economic collapse, which has made it more difficult for people to maintain multiple sexual partners.

The country is struggling to care for people with Aids because of severe shortages of antiretroviral drugs. About 60,000 people receive the drugs, only one-fifth of those who need them.

Madzorera said the government was exploring new strategies to fight the pandemic, including male circumcision, which has been shown to reduce infection rates among men.

Just over 1,000 men have been circumcised under a new campaign, he said. - AFP

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VJ’s blinding dependence on govt

VJ’s blinding dependence on govt
Written by Editor

Vernon Johnson Mwaanga aka VJ has not ceased to amaze us. VJ’s dependence on government for survival is legendary. He needs a government job or else the consequences are too dire to contemplate. We understand his predicament and appreciate his need of livelihood. But VJ’s comments in Parliament yesterday have implications too far-reaching to be ignored.

We know that he needs to protect his friend Rupiah Banda but this is not the reason to use Parliament as a platform to issue threats to the media. Parliament is supposed to be a dignified place where the highest interests of our people are deliberated. The liberty that Parliament affords its members to debate issues is meant to be used to further the common good of all of us. Parliament belongs to all the citizens and all those who happen to find themselves living in Zambia. Parliament is supposed to legislate for the development of our country.

Using Parliament to legislate in order to fulfill narrow section interests is dangerous. It has a tendency to backfire. There are many examples where Parliament has been used to create laws meant to target specific individuals but those laws have ultimately victimised the people who enacted them.

It is not very long ago that Frederick Chiluba used Parliament to enact a law targeted at a man who he accused of having an inappropriate relationship with his wife. Chiluba wanted to find a way of keeping that man in jail and couldn’t find one. They created a law, which made theft of motor vehicles a non-bailable offence. This meant that anyone who was charged with the offence of theft of motor vehicle could not get bail once arrested. Having passed this law, the man Chiluba wanted punished was charged and the rest as they say is history.

Later on, this law came to haunt Chiluba’s inner circle. Large numbers of former Chiluba government officials were locked up for theft of motor vehicles and not able to get bail. A law that was designed to inconvenience one man haunted many.

The moral of the story is that legislation must never be used to target individuals. But this is what we see with the talk that is going on about the need for the regulation of the media. It is very clear that when people like VJ speak about media regulation, their comments are targeted at us. To them, regulating the media is equal to shutting up The Post.

This is what this issue is all about. Rupiah has made it no secret that he hates us. He has also let it be known that one day they will catch up with us. This is what is wrong with this talk about media regulation. It is being done in the context of trying to fix specific entities and specific individuals. This is why whatever they do is going to backfire.

Society is a complex entity and the interests that it represents can be intertwined in ways that may not be easily visible. You may manage to emasculate The Post and think that you have won and yet you may actually be defeating yourself. How many people have called us all sorts of names when they have been in government and had unlimited access to the state media apparatus and have come running to us when the government machinery has chucked them out?

We are not saying this as a way of looking for sympathy from anybody. We are merely stating a question of principle that needs to be understood by those who are getting excited and are now going about beating death drums for The Post. We fight our own battles. But our worry is that in trying to attack The Post, people like VJ will cause untold collateral damage to the media.

No one can deny that there is a lot that needs to be done to level the media playing field for our people. State media institutions that are supposed to be open to all our people are mostly reduced to the governing party’s mouthpiece. This is something that the government has failed to address.

Even when laws have been enacted, seeking to redress some of these anomalies, the government has made it abundantly clear that they will not allow the media to operate independently. They wish to retain residual oversight over the media. They have even resisted obeying written law in order to have hegemony over the media. Who does not know the problems that have remained unresolved on the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA) Act and the ZNBC Amendment Act? The government has also resisted the enactment of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. And yet they seem to have all the energy to pursue statutory regulation of the media.

As we said earlier, people like VJ himself have had to fall back on the independent media when they have fallen on hard times politically. But today, because they are enjoying full state facilitation in their political activities, they have forgotten the role that we play and have the audacity to threaten us.

Anyway, we are not surprised; VJ has a checkered history and no one should be surprised that he will sing whatever tune he believes is going to fill his stomach. The man needs the job. People like VJ claim to be experienced political strategists but their methods are questionable.

VJ’s outburst in Parliament yesterday demonstrates an increasing desperation amongst the rank and file of MMD. The language was calculated to intimidate. But how many people and how many groups are you going to intimidate? We ask this because it seems that Rupiah and his friends have declared war against all the voices of dissent in our country. There is a clear pattern that is emerging in the way they seem to want to intimidate.

It is clear that they have targeted the media and would like to emasculate it. This plan is quite transparent even from what VJ said in Parliament yesterday. They are not satisfied with emasculating the media. They would like to silence independent voices in the churches as well. This is why they have continued to attack the Church. Civil society and the non-governmental organisations (NGO) world have come under attack as well. These are not random assaults. They are a calculated assault on democracy and freedom in our country. This is what makes VJ’s attacks and threats unacceptable.

Attacking everybody and anyone who they think is not supportive of their position will not help them. They want to fight on every front. This is a strategy of the arrogant.

We noticed that VJ has the audacity to attack diplomats for expressing displeasure on the acquittal of Chiluba. Why is he so incensed by their comments? Why is VJ not incensed by their support? Anyway, we are not surprised. VJ enjoys full government facilities. When he is sick, the government flies him out to get specialist treatment; when he is jobless, the government creates a job for him. With this kind of pampering, VJ can afford to tell off the cooperating partners.

Even if they withdrew their support, he would not feel it. It is our people who can’t access medical care who are going to feel the heat. This is what explains the arrogance that people like VJ portray in dealing with matters that our people are unhappy about. If they felt the suffering of our people, they would not talk like they are talking.

It is this dependence on government that makes people like VJ blind to the needs of our people. Anyway, VJ has been at it for so long that we can’t expect anything new from him.

Talking about media regulation just to shut up The Post will not take them anywhere. They are not satisfied that they control most of the media in our country – they want to control all the media. This is what this debate is about. In trying to destroy us, they risk destroying themselves. We are ready for them!

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Mwaanga warns diplomats against attacking govt decisions in the press

Mwaanga warns diplomats against attacking govt decisions in the press
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:17:35 PM

MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga yesterday said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs must ensure that the culture of certain diplomats attacking government decisions in the press is brought to an end. And Mwaanga said media institutions that are against self-regulation will be sorry.

Meanwhile, Mbabala UPND member of parliament Emmanuel Hachipuka has charged that the MMD government has entered into a worrisome pact with former president Frederick Chiluba.

Contributing to the debate on the motion of thanks on President Rupiah Banda's address to the House, Mwaanga referred to what he described as tutorials that were being given to the government by certain representatives of countries accredited to Zambia in some newspapers.

Mwaanga said it was against proper diplomatic conduct to start attacking government decisions using the media.

"I know that we are poor but even in poverty our sovereignty as a nation, our sovereignty as a Parliament must be respected," Mwaanga said.

Mwaanga said he hoped foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande was taking interest in the issue so that this culture did not continue.

Mwaanga recalled that a certain Zambian diplomat had to be withdrawn from Britain after he openly criticised the British government.

"There are established channels through which advice can be given to government and we are amenable to advice," he said.

Mwaanga advised diplomats to channel their advice or indeed strong feelings to the minister of foreign affairs.

Mwaanga, who told the House that he was a member of the journalism fraternity following his service as the editor-in-chief of the Times of Zambia, advised members of the media to heed to the deadline that the government had given them to form a self-regulatory body.

"I have been a strong believer of self-regulation for many years...the tendency to reject self-regulation has led to certain negative tendencies. For those who reject self-regulation, I say think again," Mwaanga said. "If they do not take seriously what the government has said, they are going to be sorry."

Mwaanga said those media institutions that did not accept self-regulation would be "assisted" by regulating them.

"It is not a threat; it is a fact. Those who benefit from this kind of debate may think it is a threat. It is not a threat," he said.

Mwaanga said consultations on media self-regulation had been on going for the past nine years.

"There is nothing wrong with self-regulation, doctors regulate themselves, lawyers regulate themselves...what is wrong with the media? Journalism is a respectable profession and it must be kept as a respectable profession," he said.

He said in pursuit of press freedom, which he claimed to be committed to, there must also be self-restraint.

"It is not right to start personalising attacks on leaders," Mwaanga said. "When disagreements occur, let us keep them as civil as possible, so that they do not degenerate into personal attacks."

Mwaanga said he hoped that as a country, the parliamentarians would work together in the spirit of Zambia first.

Meanwhile, Hachipuka on Thursday decided to focus his debate on what he termed as the 'genesis of pacts'.

"I want to use this debate to refer to the late Honourable [Benny] Tetamashimba, who I knew very well. I met him in the late Honourable [Anderson] Mazoka's house many years ago in 1997/98. I have not known any better politician," Hachipuka said. "He was one of those first...people that were sent by the late president Anderson Mazoka to try and mediate between MMD and UPND to form a government of national unity. That was the beginning of pacts."

Hachipuka said the proposed pact between the MMD and UPND did not work out and Tetamashimba crossed to the ruling party, where he exhibited his political strength.

At this point, information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha was heard telling Hachipuka that he was right but that he should not cry.

After diverting his debate to other areas, Hachipuka indicated that he wanted to get back to his main topic, which was the genesis of pacts and some MMD parliamentarians were heard telling him not to spoil his debate.

Hachipuka, amidst heckles from some ministers and deputy ministers, said even during the 2008 presidential election, MMD got into pacts with certain political parties and that it was only the UPND and PF that went it alone.

"You went into certain pacts and you won," he said. "We [UPND and PF] also have gone into a pact and this pact has nothing to do with you. They [MMD] have also entered into a pact with a former president."

Hachipuka said this was the pact that was worrying him.

"That is a pact because you want to fish in our waters," he said. "It is a pact whether you like it or not...I hope it does not backfire. This country must be governed judiciously."

Hachipuka said people that had taken retirement must be respected.

"When you start breaking laws, very careful!" cautioned Hachipuka. "I hope in our efforts to get into pacts, we should remember that we have children and grandchildren beyond ourselves.

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Judge Wood stops Kafunda’s contempt

Judge Wood stops Kafunda’s contempt
Written by Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:15:33 PM

LUSAKA High Court judge Albert Wood yesterday quashed the contempt proceedings against Post editor-in-chief Fred M'membe, his deputy Sam Mujuda and US-based Zambian Professor of law Muna Ndulo. This is in a matter where M'membe, Mujuda and Prof Ndulo applied for judicial review on the contempt proceedings brought against them in the case where Post news editor Chansa Kabwela is charged with one count of circulating obscene matters contrary to the laws of Zambia.

In his ruling delivered in chambers yesterday, judge Wood said the alleged contempt before him was not committed in the face of the court but outside.

"According to the affidavit in support sworn by Sam Mujuda as Deputy Editor and Managing Director of the Post Newspapers Limited on 4th September, 2009, the Post Newspaper carried an article entitled "The Chansa Kabwela case - a Comedy of Errors," judge Wood said.

"On 28th August, 2009, the Public Prosecutor Mr Frank Mumbuna complained to the court presided over by the Learned Chief Resident Magistrate alleging that the article was contemptuous as it was calculated to undermine the authority of the court..."

Judge Wood noted that in the absence of any reaction on the part of The Post, the court made its ruling on August 31, 2009 and found the same to be contemptuous on the face of it.

"The Learned Chief Resident Magistrate then proceeded to cite the Editor in Chief of the Post Newspapers and the 3rd applicant for contempt of court," judge Wood said.

Judge Wood said he had perused the authorities cited in the skeleton arguments and agreed with the learned assistant senior state advocate that an applicant would not normally be permitted to proceed by way of judicial review if there was another avenue of appeal against the decision concerned.

"I however do not agree with her that there are no exception circumstances in this matter. There are exceptional circumstances because the liberty of an individual is a fundamental right and cannot and should not be taken away without due process," he said.

Judge Wood said he accepted counsel for the first and second applicant's argument as was held in The Attorney General versus Shamwana and Others.

"What I however do not accept even with the argument that judicial review proceedings are not civil proceedings and cannot be said to be interlocutory, that criminal proceedings can be stayed by way of judicial review. To do so would be contrary to what the Supreme Court held in The People v Principal Resident Magistrate and CS. Investments and Others v The Attorney General," he said.

"However, having perused the case record pursuant to section 337 of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88 of the Laws of Zambia, I am of the considered view that this is an appropriate matter for me to invoke the provisions of section 338 of the Criminal Procedure Code Cap 88 of the Laws of Zambia as read with section 54 of the Subordinate Court Act. I will also invoke the provisions of section 339 of the Criminal Procedure Code and dispense with heating either parties or their advocates with regard to the review."

Judge Wood said the information from the case was sufficient for him to reach a decision.

"Section 54 of the Subordinate Courts Act makes magistrates subject to directions of the High Court. It falls under miscellaneous provisions," he said.

Judge Wood observed that chief resident magistrate Charles Kafunda did not state what sort of summons should be used in citing the alleged contemnors.

"The record does not however show how Mr Kasonde effected the service of the Post Editor in Chief," he said. "I agree with Mr Mainza when he submitted at page 25 of the record that it was clear that the three were not appearing as witnesses as suggested by the summons. They were in fact summoned as accused persons."

Judge Wood said magistrate Kafunda, apart from being bound by the decisions that were cited, had no discretion under section 90 to proceed in the manner in which he did.

"The authorities cited do not encourage a formal charge, they make it mandatory. Further, the alleged contempt should have been tried by another court as the record shows that it was not committed in facie curiae. Contempt of court can either be in the face of the court or not in the face of the court," judge Wood said.

"If it is in the face of the court a summary procedure is adopted. If not, the State should formally institute proceedings and the court should proceed as provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code. There is no provision for proceeding in the manner stated by the subordinate court."

Judge Wood said from the authorities cited in the judgment, it was clear that procedure relating to contempt proceedings must be followed with scrupulous care.

"The facts from the record show that the alleged contempt, which is an article in a newspaper, was not committed in the face of the court. The record also shows that section 100 of the Criminal Procedure Code was not complied with regard to the second applicant," he said.

"It does not give the slightest indication of names or at the very least the name of the newspaper. It falls short of section 92 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code. It does not state the offence which the persons against whom it is issued are charged."

Judge Wood said he was not concerned whether justice was a cloistered virtue or whether an argument or expostulation offered against any judicial act as contrary to law or public good amounts to contempt of court.

"That should be left to the subordinate court to try after all procedural requirements have been complied with," judge Wood said. "In light of what I have said above, the contempt proceedings before the Learned Chief Resident Magistrate cannot simply stand, I therefore quash all proceedings relating to the contempt proceedings in the court below. The parties will bear their respective costs."

Recently, judge Wood directed and ordered that proceedings relating to the alleged contempt of court case involving M'membe, Mujuda and Prof Ndulo be stayed until after the hearing of the motion for judicial review.

According to an order granting leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, judge Wood directed that further proceedings relating to the case be stayed. Judge Wood's decision came in the wake of magistrate Kafunda's move to issue a bench warrant against M'membe.

This follows a complaint by the prosecutors in the matter in which Post news editor Chansa Kabwela is facing one count of circulating obscene matters or things contrary to the law that an article authored by Professor Ndulo [The Chansa Kabwela case: a comedy of errors] and published in The Post edition of August 27, 2009 was contemptuous.

The Post editor-in-chief and the entire editorial staff were summoned to appear before court. The Post team, led by Mujuda appeared before court but magistrate Kafunda issued a bench warrant against M'membe, saying he was aware of the summons but did not appear before court.

However, M'membe is on study leave. The defence lawyers in the case argued among other issues, that the matter was improperly taken before court.

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Kabwe, Chungu protest over donors’ concerns on London judgment

Kabwe, Chungu protest over donors’ concerns on London judgment
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:13:28 PM

DEFENDANTS in the London judgment have protested to Netherlands Ambassador Harry Molenaar on the concerns raised by donors during their private meeting with President Rupiah Banda over the registration and enforcement of the judgment against Chiluba, Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe. Defunct Access Financial Services directors Kabwe and Chungu protested through their lawyers Simeza, Sangwa and Associates.

In a letter dated September 23, 2009 to Ambassador Molenaar, which was also copied to President Banda, foreign affairs minister Kabinga Pande and Attorney General Mumba Malila, Kabwe and Chungu, the defendants complained over the comments attributed to Ambassador Molenaar during the Cooperating Partners Group Troika meeting with President Banda.

"Your Excellency, our clients' attention has been drawn to the statements attributed to Your Excellency speaking on behalf of the "Cooperating Partners Group Troika," in the issue of The Post newspaper of 22nd September 2009, on the registration and enforcement of the London judgment. Your Excellency's comments are prejudicial to our clients, who have challenged registration of the judgment, and have the potential to deny them their right to a free and fair hearing of the issues in contention guaranteed in our Constitution," the defendants' lawyer John Sangwa stated.

"If Your Excellency had acquainted yourself with the law in Zambia governing the registration of foreign judgments and followed the events in the courts, we have no doubt Your Excellency would not have issued these statements, let alone bring up this issue in the discussions with the President. Such comments are understandable only if Your Excellency has no understanding of the laws of Zambia and respect for its judicial system."

He stated that the Zambian legal system has its own shortcomings and challenges.

"But it is the only system we have under our Constitution for the resolution of disputes. Your Excellency's pronouncements undermine the very ideals your government preaches to countries such as Zambia and which you prescribe as conditions for foreign assistance: the rule of law and respect for human rights. Zambia is a sovereign country; for any foreign judgment to be registered and enforced as though it were a judgment of a superior court in Zambia, certain legal requirements must be met," Sangwa stated.

"There is no provision for automatic registration and enforcement of foreign judgments. The judgment of the London High Court of Justice has to meet certain standards stipulated in the Foreign Judgment (Reciprocal Enforcements) Act, chapter 76 of the laws of Zambia. That it was delivered by a white British judge does not mean it must be registered and enforced in Zambia without question.

"Contrary to the comments attributed to Your Excellency, the judgment in issue has in fact been registered in the High Court for Zambia pursuant to the provisions of the Act. The same Act gives the judgment debtors, our clients, the right to apply to set aside registration, which right they have exercised. The case is being prosecuted within our judicial system like any other case and the office of the Attorney General is deeply involved on behalf of the government."

He stated that by raising concerns to President Banda over a matter that was in court, Ambassador Molenaar has clearly shown double standards.

"You do not believe that the principles of separation of powers, the rule of law and human rights, cherished in your country, are also important and valued in Zambia. Your Excellency is in effect suggesting that President Banda ignores these values and dictates to the courts what they should do in relation to the registration and enforcement of the judgment of the London High Court and appease Your Excellency," Sangwa stated.

"Your comments equally have the potential of bringing unnecessary pressure and undermining the independence and impartiality the judges tasked with the responsibility of determining this case. Because Your Excellency enjoys diplomatic immunity we are constrained to state that the comments attributed to Your Excellency are in contempt of the court as they relate to a matter, which is a subject of adjudication by the Zambian courts.

"But this immunity should not be employed to undermine our clients' rights and freedoms guaranteed under our constitution and recognised under the international law. Our instruction is to ask Your Excellency to refrain from commenting on this matter and allow it to run its full course within the Zambian judicial system."

Diplomats told President Banda that his government's failure to register and enforce the London judgment against Chiluba will send a strong message to the international community that he is not committed to fighting corruption.

And the Cooperating Partners Group Troika told President Banda that his personal leadership is paramount in safeguarding the international reputation of Zambia in the fight against corruption and the quest for good governance.

The Cooperating Partners Group Troika comprises embassies/high commissions [or their diplomats] accredited to Zambia and other key donor governments and international organisations.

The CPG Troika representative that met President Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and other senior government officials at State House during a private meeting included US embassy, the World Bank and the Netherlands.

According to a document accessed by The Post, which Netherlands Ambassador to Zambia Harry Molenaar presented, the donors noted that Zambia's reputation had come under scrutiny within and outside Zambia.

"I should mention that of late, Zambia's reputation when it comes to good economic governance and full commitment in the fight against corruption has come under scrutiny. High profile cases such as the criminal case against former president Chiluba are followed with great interest and are a benchmark to gauge Zambia's commitment in the fight against corruption," the CPG said.

"In this respect we wonder why a judgment of a court of first instance on such a high profile case is not tested by the state through a notice of appeal at a court that is more in line in status with the weight of the case. In this respect, donor countries follow with even greater interest the registration and enforcement by Zambian courts of the London [High Court] civil case judgment. Should the Zambian government decide not to register and enforce the civil judgment, it would be forfeiting an opportunity to recover some or all of the $45 million [US $ 46 million]. Such decision would send a strong message to the citizens of Zambia, our taxpayers and political leaders."

However, the CPG said it was not only the fight against corruption that count but also preventative measures that needed more and focused attention such as the legal framework on procurement, strengthening of accountability systems and transparent management of public funds.

The CPG said their nationals and parliamentarians were holding them more accountable if the money donated to Zambia was not properly spent.

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Media associations condemn Jere’s behavior

Media associations condemn Jere’s behavior
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:11:41 PM

MEDIA associations yesterday condemned Dickson Jere for mistreating and sending away Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) photojournalist Emmah Nakapizye from the ongoing UN general assembly in New York, USA.

In a joint media statement, media associations expressed their utmost displeasure at the manner in which Nakapizye had been treated by President Rupiah Banda's press aide Jere.

"We further reiterate that we believe that Ms Nakapizye was carrying out her job as a professional photojournalist and to be treated in such a manner is tantamount to curtailing her freedom of expression and muzzling the press. Further, Mr Jere knows very well that in the absence of respect for the right of freedom of expression, which include rights to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, democracy is compromised," the seven media associations stated.

"Media organisations do need to remind those in public offices that they are public officials and therefore they are accountable to the people and when we carry out stories that do not seem to be palatable to them we are called 'gagged'. The government should not think we shall take this lying down, we shall continue to fight for freedom of information and the media."

The media associations that issued the statement include Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia, Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA), United Nations Information Centre (UNIC), Press Association of Zambia (PAZA), Zambia Union of Journalists (ZUJ), PANOS and Zambia Union of Broadcasters and Information Disseminators (ZUBID).

And in a separate statement, the Press Freedom Committee of The Post (PFC) stated that it was shocked that Jere allowed his emotions rather than reason to make judgement and "expel" Nakapizye from New York.

The PFC stated that Jere's action did not only amount to gagging the media but also a direct infringement of Nakapizye's freedom of expression.

They stated that Jere's thinking belonged to the Stone Age and authoritarian rule where divergent views or distasteful images would be treated as a taboo to the ruler.

"We do not understand why and how Jere found the photographs of President Banda and opposition FDD [Forum for Democracy and Development] leader Edith Nawakwi at the African Union Summit offending to society or even President Banda himself. What was Jere hiding from the taxpayers in Zambia who sponsored President Banda's trip to the United Nations assembly in New York since he didn't want Nakapizye to capture his images?" the PFC asked.

"As a media watchdog committee, we are keenly watching who will pay back the travel expenses incurred by Ms Nakapizye arising from this reckless and senseless decision. We wish to urge Mr Jere to exercise utmost humility while President Banda can still allow him to walk the corridors of State House."

State House sources disclosed that Jere last week instructed officials in New York to ensure that Nakapizye was sent back home before President Banda arrived there.

"Dickson inquired about the journalists and photographers that were assigned for the New York trip and when he learnt that Emmah was among them, he contacted New York and instructed that the President should not find her there, that she must be put on the next flight back to Zambia. That's how Emmah was sent back and she is in the country right now as we are speaking," said the source.

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Free market policy has failed, observes Brazil’s Lula

Free market policy has failed, observes Brazil’s Lula
Written by Larry Moonze
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:07:55 PM

BRAZILIAN President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said the world is in a transition to multilateralism that will not conflict with the United Nations. And President Lula said the on-going economic recession was more than a crisis of big banks but the crisis of big dogmas.

He said the senseless way of thinking and acting which dominated the world for decades had proved itself bankrupt. Addressing the 64th UN General Assembly in New York, USA last Wednesday, President Lula said the world was in a period of transition in international relations.

He said that multipolar world would be based on experience of regional integration. President Lula said leaders pushing for such a multipolar world were not wishful thinkers. He said it took political will to confront and overcome situations that conspired against peace, development and democracy.

"Unless the political will is present throwbacks like the embargo against Cuba will persist," President Lula said.

"Unless there is political will we will see more coups like the one that toppled the constitutional president of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya, who has been granted refuge in Brazil's embassy in Tegucigalpa since Monday. The international community demands that Mr Zelaya immediately return to the Presidency of his country and must be alert to ensure the inviolability of Brazil's diplomatic mission in the capital of Honduras. Unless political will prevails, threats to the world like climate change will continue to grow.

"All countries must take action to turn back global warming. We are dismayed by the reluctance of developed countries to shoulder their share of the burden when it comes to fighting climate change. They cannot burden developing countries with tasks which are theirs alone. Brazil is doing its part. We will arrive in Copenhagen with precise alternatives and commitments."

President Lula said the new world was a political and moral imperative.

"We cannot just shovel away the rubble of failure; we must be midwives to the future," he said. "This is the only way to make repairs for so much injustice and to prevent new collective tragedies."

President Lula said it was a need to build a new international order that was sustainable, multilateral and less asymmetric, free of hegemonies and ruled by democratic institutions.

"This multipolar world will not conflict with the United Nations," President Lula said.

"On the contrary, it could be an invigorating factor for the United Nations. For a UN with the political and moral authority to solve the conflicts in the Middle East, assuring the co-existence of a Palestinian State with the State of Israel. For a UN that confronts terrorism without stigmatising ethnic groups and religions, but rather dealing with underlying causes and promoting dialogue between civilisations.

"For a UN that can really help countries like Haiti trying to rebuild its economy and social fabric after achieving their political stability. For a UN committed to the African Renaissance we are now seeing. For a UN able to implement effective policies that preserve and expand Human Rights. For a UN that can make real progress towards disarmament in true balance with non-proliferation. For a UN that can truly lead in initiatives to protect the planet's environment."

On the economic and financial crisis, President Lula said the free market policy had failed.

"I refer to the absurd doctrine that markets could regulate themselves, with no need for so-called "intrusive" state intervention, and to the thesis of absolute freedom for financial capital, with no rules or transparency, beyond the control of peoples and institutions," he said. "It was an iniquitous defence of a minimal, crippled, weakened state, unable to promote development or fight poverty and inequities. It included the demonisation of social policies, an obsession with precarious labour relations and an irresponsible co-modification of public services. The real cause of the crisis was the confiscation of most of the sovereignty of peoples and nations through the state and democratic governments - by autonomous networks of wealth and power."

He said controlling the crisis and changing the course of the world economy could not be left to the usual few.

"Developed countries - and the multilateral agencies they run - had been unable to foresee the approaching catastrophe, much less prevent it," President Lula said. "It is not fair that the price of runaway speculation be paid by workers and by poor or developing countries, who had nothing to do with it."

President Lula said rich countries were putting off reform at multilateral agencies like the IMF and the World Bank. He said no one could understand the paralysis of the Doha Round whose conclusion will above all benefit poor countries.

President Lula said there were also worrisome signs of return to protectionist practices while little had been done to fight tax havens.

He said since the global economy was interdependent, it was an obligation for states to intervene across national borders and was a must to re-found the world economic order.

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There is need to address challenges in agriculture marketing – Chituwo

There is need to address challenges in agriculture marketing – Chituwo
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:04:41 PM

AGRICULTURE minister Brian Chituwo has said there is need to address challenges facing the marketing of agricultural commodities if the agricultural sector is to make a meaningful contribution to Zambia’s economic development.

During the Agriculture Consultative Forum (ACF) stakeholders’ meeting on the possibility of establishing a Public Private Partnership (PPP) marketing institution for Zambia in Lusaka on Wednesday, Dr Chituwo said the development of the agriculture industry was important to economic growth as well as poverty reduction.

“In this regard, development of a well-functioning agricultural market is seen as a necessary element towards achieving this economic development and marketing of agricultural commodities especially those produced by small-scale farmers has continued to be a challenge to both government and private sector and has probably stifled growth in the sector for a long time now,” Dr Chituwo said.

“Since the dissolution of National Agricultural Marketing (NAMBoard) in 1989 and subsequent transfer of marketing functions particularly for maize to the Zambia Cooperative Federation, agriculture marketing in the country has not been very encouraging.”

He said the establishment of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in 1995 partially responded to the problems created by the lack of an agricultural marketing institution.

“While FRA is intended to purchase designated crops for strategic food reserves, there are still problems in the market with regard to general crop marketing, especially for crops not designated as well as other commodities,” said Dr Chituwo.

“In this regard, I implore all stakeholders to critically analyse the situation and chart the way forward towards creating a PPP marketing institution and I strongly believe that some of the modalities of the dissolved NAMBoard can still find room in the proposed institution set up.”

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Transporters urge govt to work on Serenje-Mpika road

Transporters urge govt to work on Serenje-Mpika road
Written by Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:02:19 PM

LONG distance transporters have appealed to the government to quickly rehabilitate the dilapidated stretch between Serenje and Mpika because it has become a security hazard.

In a walk-in interview on Friday, Agri-Fuel drivers Mark Kalusha and Yohan Soyala complained that because of the bad state of the Serenje-Mpika road bandits had taken advantage of the slow pace at which they drive their truck and they were now waylaying them and stealing the goods they were transporting especially cement and sugar.

"We transport cement and sugar from Lusaka to Mpulungu but we now have a serious problem because of the 'ditches' between Serenje and Mpika. We move slowly and thieves ambush us and they offload from our trucks. Unfortunately you can't stop the truck and challenge the thieves because they move in groups of 30 plus," Kalusha said.

"We are, therefore, appealing to the government to urgently repair that stretch of the road. The government should speed up the patching or mending of that stretch. It has become a security hazard."

And Soyala said whenever drivers are robbed in this manner, they are charged by their employers.

"So we will appreciate if the government can repair that road," said Soyala.

Last week Road Development Agency (RDA) public relations manager Loyce Saili said her agency had requested for K7 billion from the Ministry of Finance through the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) to mend road between Serenje and Mpika.

However, Saili said a full-scale rehabilitation of the stretch would cost about over K100 billion.

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Scrapping of crop levy to cost East councils K3.9bn

Scrapping of crop levy to cost East councils K3.9bn
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
Saturday, September 26, 2009 6:00:44 PM

THE Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) in Eastern Province has said local authorities in the province would be losing about K3.9 billion annually following the scrapping of crop levy.

In an interview on Thursday, LGAZ provincial chairperson Sinoya Mwale, who is also former Chipata mayor, said the government's move to scrap the levy was like inviting councils to fail to pay workers.

"We had a meeting on 23rd September, that is yesterday. We were trying to look at the scrapping of crop levy. We heard the announcement from the President but upon hearing that, we called for an urgent meeting for the association which comprises all the councils in the province," he said.

Mwale said they discussed a number of issues and looked at the effects that the scrapping of the levy would bring to the councils.

"Just for your own information, we will be losing about K3.9 billion towards the same so the main purpose of meeting was to make sure that we appeal to the head of state through the association headquarters so that may be we can be considered as councils and that at the end of the day it can benefit all," he said.

Mwale said most councils benefited a lot from crop levy because it was a good source of revenue.

He said it could be ideal if the government could entrust the councils with the responsibility of issuing licences now that crop levy was scrapped.

He said Chipata municipal would lose about K539 million, Petauke district council would lose about K600 million, Lundazi K600 million, Chama K300 million and Chadiza would also lose a lot.

Mwale said there was also need to revisit the evaluation role to the properties because the current ones were outdated.

He said if the scrapping of crop levy was effected, then it would be ideal for the government to start paying council workers because councils would not have the capacity.

"If this is going to effected then all what we can say is that may be the government can start paying council workers or they should be put on government pay roll. We don't want to have a situation which was there before where councils were failing to pay their workers but now councils are able to manage their affairs in terms of paying their workers," he said.

Mwale said there were some companies who owed the councils billions of kwacha in unpaid crop levy.

President Banda scrapped crop levy during the opening of parliament recently.

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Cops hunt villager for murdering neighbourhood watch officers

Cops hunt villager for murdering neighbourhood watch officers
Written by Justin Katilungu in Kabwe
Saturday, September 26, 2009 5:58:16 PM

POLICE in Keembe have launched a manhunt to track down a villager who is alleged to have murdered two neighbourhood watch officers early this week. The villager is believed to have overpowered the two officers as they tried to apprehend him for the offence of arson.

Central Province Police commanding officer Simon Mpande told journalists in Kabwe yesterday that the two murdered officers were Ernest Mutampuka 39, and Johnsen Phiri 38 both of Shiala village in Keembe.

Mpande explained that the police received a report of arson on September 13 and investigations indicated that the culprit responsible was from Kakinka village.

"Two neighbourhood watch officers were then asked to trace the suspect and report to the police so that a formal arrest could be effected. These two officers went using bicycles as police waited for a feedback but nothing was forthcoming," he said.

Mpande said that on Tuesday this week, police got reports of smells emanating from a nearby well in Kakinka village and they quickly contacted Chibombo fire brigade officers to countercheck.

"The fire brigade officers retrieved from this well two decomposing bodies which were later identified as for the two neighbourhood watch officers. A pathologist was called on to conduct a post-mortem and the two would be buried today (yesterday)," he said.

Mpande said that the police would not relent until it tracked down the dangerous villager who murdered the two officers.

Mpande appealed to the villagers to remain cooperative with the police in their efforts to track the criminal.

In another incident, a Chisamba man aged 43 was run over by a goods train on Tuesday this week. Mpande said Texon Sikana 43, of Chikonkomene village in Chisamba was sleeping on the railway line when he met his fate.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Zambia’s endless misdirection: a troubled legacy

Zambia’s endless misdirection: a troubled legacy
Written by Alexander B Chikwanda

Zambia is regrettably some edifice with a palpably questionable structural integrity. Four and a half decades of independent nationhood and our country with such a vast array of natural endowments ranging from lavishly rich land to minerals, records shattering statistics of 70 per cent of our people ravaged by poverty and squalor. Policy abortions and misdirection which have their origins in a flawed legacy are accountable for the stagnation which is compounded by demography.

The population of Zambia which at independence was 3 million has leaped fourfold to 12 million in the process exerting untenable and unsustainable pressures on the social services in the spheres of education, health and housing, especially in the explosive urban habitats which now account for 50 per cent of Zambia’s population.

Any critical, honest and meaningful scrutiny of the Zambian socio-economic scenario is inevitably a gloomy litany of misery and despondence however well some of the privileged parasitic elite may live. The proliferation of shanties that surround the posh suburbs are a sure time bomb with perilous consequences for social stability.

The country has not got much to show for its fabulous resources of land and minerals even in times of unprecedented booms in commodity prices and we are increasingly lumbering posterity with huge and unbearable developmental arrears.

The problems that bedevil the beleaguered Zambian economy are essentially structural and cannot therefore be resolved overnight with a magic wand. The worrying thing is that at the rate we go, these intractable problems could become ever more insurmountable with the passage of time. There is very little vision and the country’s leadership is embroiled in meaningless polemics and trading endless obscenities.

Zambia has a precarious dependence on external assistance with the donor community underwriting 90 per cent of our country’s capital component of the national budget. External aid cannot be guaranteed especially given the expected difficulties in the economies of the western donor countries currently afflicted with severe recessionary conditions triggered by the collapse of the banking and financial services sectors and indeed other virile sectors including the automobile industries and above all the housing sectors.

Western countries need to do quite fundamental restructuring to get the economies back on even keel. The traumas being experienced in the western market economies marks the end of an illusion. A proliferation of financial institutions recycling money in a dubious value-adding way, lending money for house purchases even when repayment could not be assured was apt to come to a crunch. To recapitalise the banks and get the many shattered industries back on their feet will take a while.

The danger to sustained aid even with profoundly good intentions will come from pressures on the western economies induced by the structures of the population. As the proportion of elderly people increase pension and other welfare schemes will burst at the seams thus reducing the budgetary leeways of governments to maintain and sustain substantial external aid packages to the developing countries so dependent on eternal charity.

Zambia must provide for such eventualities. For many years and untiringly, some of us have humbly submitted that Zambia’s development prospects have been and will always be imperilled by the structural imbalances or deformities in the budget. Emoluments and emolument related expenditures take up a disproportionate percentage of the internally generated revenue which may be up to 70 per cent if not more. Over the years our economic prospects have been impaired by the excessively large recurrent expenditures at the expense of outlays on projects which are growth promoting.

The government establishment has remained ever bloated and instead of rationalising in areas like defence and security it has been business as usual. A few years back a wise decision was made to close some of the diplomatic missions to cut expenditure. Since then all the closed missions have been reopened and yet new ones opened with all the severe cost implications. Foreign missions are a very costly adventure. Some sombre statistic has remained in my mind arising from one of the pre-budget cabinet meetings when I sat in attendance as president Chiluba’s chief of staff.

In 1996 the expenditure on the children of Zambian diplomatic staff was K4.6 billion when the outlay on education services – that is the expenditure on goods and services for the Ministry of Education was K2.5 billion. Ordinarily such injurious disproportions should warrant attention but it appeared and still appears to be a matter of indifference in Government. Zambians happily embrace this culture and legacy of fiscal irresponsibility and even our external benefactors have innocently underwritten our fiscal indiscretions except, I suspect they may not do so in the not too distant future on whatever pretext.

The eternal scapegoats of colonialism and liberation wars support that provided a government gloss for our regression have inevitably faded and become implausible with time. Now we either continue our follies and perish or take profound remedial measures to get our marooned economy into substantial development which should constitute our positive legacy to imperilled posterity. One cannot in a stroke provide a script for the development of our country but suffice to point out the weakness in the hope that we can collectively tackle the obstacles to provide a sound foundation for future generations.

We all agree that the current rates of economic growth especially if discounted for population growth are too low to constitute an effective assault on the insidious poverty levels. There is need to get annual economic growth rates at least up to 10 per cent. To marshal resources for this monumental task a fundamental restructuring of government is needed to downsize and save resources for productive investment in growth promoting ventures.

A major hindrance to development is poverty itself. Low incomes and low purchasing power of the population entail poor economic growth prospects. The thing that can stimulate economic development of our country is drastic improvement of agriculture in the rural sector. When people in the far-flung areas of our country are paid something that represents a fair and reasonable recompense for whatever they produce, there will be a reduction in poverty levels and enhanced purchasing power for many people which can only favourably impact on the economy. All along government has had a profoundly good intention to redress matters by fostering the development of agriculture through various support programmes.

However we have not come up with appropriate combinations to put the act together to achieve success and sustainability. Diversification has lacked and there has been disproportionate emphasis on maize. The flawed approach has been to manipulate the producer price of this commodity so the final product maize meal was not too outrageously higher for the very low incomes of most workers in the stagnant formal sector.

The consideration is predicated on social responsibility on the part of government but it does not achieve the desired upward thrust in the country’s development endeavours. Now government is stimulating development through fertilise programs which as a short term expedient may work but cannot be sustained because of obvious budgetary constraints. Subsidies apart from market price distortions impinge considerably on affordability and are invariably liable to abuses. What government should do is to marshal huge resources for extension services to assist small scale farmers to improve their agronomy thereby increasing their yields without commensurate cost in input costs. This should allow the small scale farmers sufficient latitude to source the various inputs – seeds, fertilisers etc at reasonable cost.

Small scale farmers especially in areas like Southern, Eastern, Lusaka and Central provinces need more logistical support to become role models for the country to emulate.

Already in these areas when the rainfall is adequate and evenly distributed for the season these farmers have maize yields which are comparable to mechanised farmers on the American prairies. We have and will always have limited resources and it thus makes greater sense to spend the nation’s meagre resources on helping the small scale farmers to optimise production and crop yields than to put vast sums of money into subsidies which are so liable to waste and abuse. The department of agriculture from top right up to district levels of assistants within the districts has some of the most dutiful and diligent and even enthusiastic workers. Furnished with the requisite tools these people will deliver wonders. Motor bikes to stimulate and facilitate easy movement will represent a greater return on investment than a proliferation of all sorts of four-wheel drive motor vehicles for the top brass.

A major stimulant to agriculture is simply adequate resources for crop purchases. The resources so far injected in crop purchasing while acknowledging government endeavours are totally insufficient. Participation by the private sector in crop purchasing is severely constrained by the poor infrastructure especially physical communications-roads. Then there is the issue of price. For private buyers of agricultural commodities to end up with what they would consider meaningful margins they would have to pay producers, the defenceless small-scale farmers’ prices that are far below the costs thereby accentuating rural poverty instead of alleviating it.

The growth on a sustainable basis in the agricultural sector has multifaceted benefits, when the policies and commensurate programs of actions incidental to those policies are sensible and consistently rational. Firstly, the country is assured of food security and sufficiently. If the food prices are affordable we can put an end to malnutrition and undernourishment. Enhanced incomes of rural people will mean higher purchasing power for more people which is what our economy lacks and badly needs for sustainable upward thrust. Growth in the rural sector would tone down influx into the urban areas and allow these miserable places much needed respite to fix the social services already bursting at the seams.

Not least a widened economy provides a wider base for tax revenue and gives the authorities latitude to restructure taxes which are at the moment too stiff for the low incomes that obtain in Zambia especially for individuals in the small formal sector that has not increased from the inception of Zambia. To run and sustain an over bloated establishment in the public sector government takes away a huge chunk of resources from individuals and companies who would more productively allocate those resources to help generate higher levels of growth for a squeezed economy. The indirect taxes in Zambia are quite extensive and a reasonable game plan for government should be to grow the economy and in the process widen the base for taxes on goods and services that attract tax instead of reducing the disposable incomes of individuals which is not only a huge disincentive for diligence but the best prescription for ingrained poverty.

Countries are at the end of the day are summations of individuals and their intricate and composite social relationships. Individuals are never a success in life if their bearings and priorities are fundamentally flawed, and so are countries. Zambia should be leaping forward and providing a viable and veritable role model to the developing third world. We are not doing so because we have not got our act together. At independence our Gross Domestic Product of $3.5 billion was the same as South Korea and now at GDP of about $1 trillion our GDP is barely 1 per cent that of South Korea which is nearly $1 trillion. Whatever semantic we have recourse to this huge disparity is difficult to explain, more so that we have huge natural resources which Korea hasn’t and our country 7-8 times larger than South Korea and we have less than 5 per cent of South Koreas population.The contrast between Zambia and South Korea graphically underscores the fact that the greatest asset any country has is simply people with resolute will, and appropriate work ethic and culture and programs of action which are logically consistent with the policy postures and lofty pronouncements.

Zamia does not lack entrepreneurs; you only need to look at the amazing enterprise of our women when they toil on the land or all over the world sourcing stuff to merchandise. What has lacked all along are institutions of development assist those who struggle to uplift themselves. All efforts to create these institutions have been some unmitigated disaster. In succession the Credit Organisation of Zambia, the Agricultural Finance Company, the Agricultural Development Bank and lastly the Co-operative Bank all failed. This cannot be tribute to our country’s and especially government’s commitment, vision and perception. The big lesson is that it is not enough to have good intentions and pious hopes. How we put those ideas into effect and bring them to fruition matters a lot. If we do honest introspection we will not escape the conclusion that one of our major problems in Africa is total inattention to detail itself a manifestation of lack of diligence and discipline.

Hardworking Zambians have no support from institutions of development to prop their stupendous efforts because these institutions don’t exists. The ghastly alternative is the commercial banking system which has always enjoyed unfettered leeway to levy astronomical interest rates. Currently prime rates are over 20 per cent and by the time banks load an array of charges on the prime rates borrowers pay in excess of 40 per cent and since inflation is 14 per cent it means the interest rates are at least three times the inflation level. This is a unique situation which unfortunately makes a significant contribution to the endless inflationary spirals. This helps to make Zambia a very high cost economy and thus not the most attractive investment destination, especially if the exceedingly low purchasing power is factored into the economic scenario.

From time immemorial there has been distinct relationship between forms of governance and social equity on the one hand and levels of development. Zambia will optimise its development if the policies and commensurate programmes of action are consensus driven, widely embraced and there is little dispute of ownership of those policies and programs by the people. Those in Government must show awareness and realisation that they are custodians of our collective interests and have a delicate and onerous task of presiding over our fate and destiny. The government cannot afford to be partisan let alone allow a lunatic fringe to be in the driving seat.

The compelling reason for government to be tolerant and accommodative is that it has the instruments of the state which has the unique preserve and exclusivity of monopoly of legitimate use of violence within the territorial space called Zambia. Thus the state controls the instruments of coercion - the police, the military wings and various security agencies. The privilege to be in government must be tampered with consideration and morality.

Commitment to higher ideals should be reflected in leaders aspiring and visibly struggling to pitch for the moral high ground. This example which our people would have been enjoined to emulate is glaringly absent. What we see is government as the best fast track for self-enrichment. We have a monumental task for deep introspection for collective resolve to roll back the frontiers of this backwardness. Failure will mean the vast majority of our people being ravaged by poverty, squalor and debilitating despondence. We must prevent Zambia going beyond the pale!

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(TALKZIMBABWE) West undermining inclusive Govt: Pres Mugabe

West undermining inclusive Govt: Pres Mugabe
Matthew Nyathi
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 18:58:00 +0000

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe told the UN General Assembly on Friday that some unnamed Western countries were using "filthy clandestine divisive antics" to undermine Zimbabwe's inclusive Government. He also called for sanctions to be lifted, saying they were "ruining the lives of our children".

During the address President Mugabe said southern African nations had made huge sacrifices to help his country during the global economic crisis, but the West's sanctions had not been lifted.

"While countries in the Sadc (Southern Africa Development Community) region have made huge sacrifices and given Zimbabwe financial and other support at a time when they too are reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis, the Western countries -- in particular the United States and the European Union who imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe -- have... refused to remove those sanctions," he said in the brief address, which lasted less than 20 minutes.

"We wonder what their motives are and we ask what they would want to see us do? Indeed, some of them are working strenuously to divide the parties in an inclusive government.

"If they will not assist the inclusive government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please, please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics?" he said.

President Mugabe added: "We wonder what their motives are? And we ask what they would see us do? Where stand their humanitarian principles we ask, when their illegal sanctions are ruining the lives of our children?"

The veteran president blames sanctions imposed after a disputed presidential election in 2002 for ruining the country's economy.

President Mugabe sent Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader, to Europe and America to lobby for the lifting of the illegal sanctions and a restoration of foreign aid and investment. The prime minister had little success.

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have recently restored some funding to Zimbabwe after several years.

Debate continued for a third day Friday at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, with more than 20 world leaders scheduled to speak.

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(HERALD) Land beneficiaries commended

Land beneficiaries commended
Herald Reporter

THE visiting Namibian Minister of Lands and Resettlement has commended beneficiaries of the land reform programme for taking pride in working hard to produce on their farms.

Speaking to journalists after touring a Model A1 resettlement scheme at Glen Grey Farm in Glendale and the Henderson Research Station in Mazowe District, Minister Alpheus Naruseb, said the farmers’ attitude would lead to the success of the agrarian reform in Zimbabwe.

"The positive lesson I have learnt during my tour was that people are taking pride and owning up to produce on the pieces of land that they got during the resettlement programme.

"The farmers I have seen at the A1 farm do not wait for Government to lead their programmes and have been using their own initiatives to improve production on the farms," he said.

Seventy-six farmers, who own between six and 10 hectares of land, grow a variety of crops that include horticulture products such as peas, sugar beans and potatoes.

Minister Naruseb said he was impressed by the land utilisation at the farms.

He applauded interactive activities between the Namibian and Zimbabwean governments in promoting agriculture in their respective countries.

"We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding and while it creates a conducive environment for exchange of expertise, it also affords farmers from the two countries an opportunity to work together in various areas of interest," he said.

Minister Naruseb, who was accompanied by Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister, Herbert Murerwa and Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Martin Dinha, said his experience in Zimbabwe was totally different from what was propagated through the media.

"This is not my first time in Zimbabwe, but what I have seen on the ground is in total contrast with the media reports we get from outside.

"I just hope the true Zimbabwean story will be told someday so that the people understand why President Mugabe has been vilified over the land issue," he said.

The Namibian minister met with Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa and the leadership of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union.

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(HERALD) Noczim contracts 300 small-scale jatropha growers

Noczim contracts 300 small-scale jatropha growers
Business Reporter

THE National Oil Company of Zimbabwe has contracted about 300 small-scale jatropha growers and provided them with over 30 million seedlings to grow 1000ha of the crop during the past two seasons.

Spokesperson of the company Ms Zvikomborero Sibanda said communal and model A1 farmers had taken over 99 percent of all produced seedlings during the past two seasons, which most of them grew as hedges.

"Although management of such hedges is generally poor, of the 23 million seedlings distributed for planting last season, 99 percent was taken by small-scale communal and resettled farmers.

"Large-scale commercial and A2 farmers have taken just under one percent of all produced jatropha seedlings during the past two seasons," Ms Sibanda said.

She said the company had registered over 2 000 farmers who had taken between 100 and 5 000 jatropha plants for growing.

"We have also registered some 500 communities that have taken between 15 000 and 400 000 plants for local level distribution and planting.

"The above three categories have taken delivery of about 30 million jatropha plants during the past two years (largely unverified) even though a separate sampling based verification has been under way during the last half of the year to establish levels of planting and survival under small-scale production."

Ms Sibanda said Noczim had decentralised offices to all provinces to work with key stakeholders in promoting jatropha as one of the initiatives to promote production of the oil seed.

The company had also set up mobile jatropha seed and cuttings purchase teams in areas with significant amounts of jatropha hedges countrywide. The seed and cuttings are used to set up jatropha nurseries that then provide planting materials during the rain season.

"We have contracted a network of jatropha nurseries in every province to provide ready sources of planting materials to all interested farmers. Any farmer who wants to grow jatropha in Zimbabwe can access bare root jatropha planting materials from such nurseries at no cost," she said.

Planting is done between December and March. Early planted jatropha usually grows best.

Additionally, Noczim has also mobilised key institutions to assist in providing technical support and planting materials to interested farmers.

Mobile teams are available in every province and these deliver materials for planting to interested farmers during the planting season.

To add onto this, Noczim has set up a jatropha tillage support team to provide land preparation support to large-scale jatropha farmers.

"Mobile jatropha tillage teams are busy at the moment preparing land for planting during the forthcoming 2009/10 planting season.

"Any farmer with over five hectares (although preference is often given to larger hectarages) can be assisted."

Ms Sibanda said her company was setting up working relationships with national institutions involved in jatropha research on propagation and agronomy to improve on growth and yield performance.

She explained that there had been a huge response from farmers over the past two seasons even though that keen interest had been dampened by the prohibitive costs of land preparation and labour for jatropha planting.

Ms Sibanda said the delicate and stringent management requirements of the crop had slightly reduced adoption of jatropha by some farmers although Noczim had provided tillage support on most farms where jatropha was adopted.

"Noczim has since improved on this by setting up a dedicated jatropha tillage team of 12 tractors to prepare up to 10 000ha of land per annum when fully operational.

"This will go a long way in the establishment of large scale plantations. About a thousand hectares have already been prepared for planting during the forthcoming planting season," said Ms Sibanda.

She however lamented the fact that jatropha hedges and plantations were generally poorly managed.

This was especially true for the last planting season when farmers had serious labour constraints at a time when the economy was under hyperinflation leading to the dollarisation.

"Given that jatropha growing is generally a long term enterprise, with optimal returns realised after five years, farmers prioritise resource allocation to short term yielding crops.

"The jatropha programme will have better impact if a proper plantation establishment package is made available to farmers focusing on support for quality planting materials, land preparation and labour for planting and management of the jatropha plantations."

Fertilizer, agro-chemical support and other incentives in the form of a good support price for jatropha during these plantation establishment years are also vital for jatropha growers, said Ms Sibanda.

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(ZBC NEWS) Mining companies to benefit local communities

Mining companies to benefit local communities
Posted: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 16:19:18 +0200

The Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy says there is need to ensure that mining communities benefit directly from mining companies operating in their areas.

The Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy says there is need to ensure that mining communities benefit directly from mining companies operating in their areas.

The committee together with the Natural Resources and Tourism Committee met communities in mining areas and representatives of operating companies.

Acting Chairperson of the committee Mr. Moses Mare who is also Chiredzi West House of Assembly member and Mutoko North House of Assembly member Cde Mabel Chinomona said there is need for communities to benefit directly from royalties paid by mining companies in the area.

Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association Director Mr. Mutuso Dhliwayo says the programme is meant to create dialogue among communities, government and mining companies on how mining communities can be assisted.

With the discovery of mineral deposits in various parts of the country, communities have expressed concern over mining companies that are failing to develop infrastructure in the areas they operate yet concentrate on making super profits.



(ZBC NEWS) Namibia urged to nationalise land ownership

Namibia urged to nationalise land ownership
Posted: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 14:33:18 +0200

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa has challenged the visiting Namibian Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Mr. Alpheus Naruseb to be bold and consider nationalising their land if they are to acquire it for resettlement.

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Cde Patrick Chinamasa has challenged the visiting Namibian Minister of Lands and Resettlement, Mr. Alpheus Naruseb to be bold and consider nationalising their land if they are to acquire it for resettlement.

Minister Chinamasa told the Namibian minister that the willing -seller willing-buyer concept failed to work in Zimbabwe which resulted in government resorting to amending the constitution to acquire land compulsorily.

Government has managed to acquire ten million hectares of land and is currently in the process of acquiring 1.1 million hectares to resettle thousands of indigenous people.

Cde Chinamasa was responding to Minister Naruseb who had pointed out that his government was facing hurdles in acquiring land through the willing-seller willing-buyer basis because many farm owners were not prepared to part with their land thus creating obstacles which affect the programme.

“We are experiencing hardships. Even if we embarked on the willing-buyer willing-seller basis we still have a problem. We want to learn from you and do the right thing,” said the Namibian minister.

“In the willing buyer - willing seller concept, only marginal land is sold and sometimes they decide not to sell and lease their land if they are no longer interested in farming,” responded Minister Chinamasa.

Mr. Naruseb who visited Zimbabwe to share experiences and explore ways of co-operation with Zimbabwe in the land reform programme also visited an A1 Model Farm in Mazowe and a research station to see resettled farmers and how they were managing their farming activities. Minister Naruseb said he is happy with the work being done by the farmers.

“I am impressed by the commitment of farmers in land preparation and the pride they have in owning their land,” he said.

At Henderson research station, the Namibian minister was joined in the tour by the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Dr. Herbert Murerwa.

Dr. Murerwa described the visit as an important arrangement meant to exchange ideas and enhance co-operation.

“We are disheartened by reports of vandalism. We want to investigate and establish the truth and address them,” said the lands minister.

Like Zimbabwe, indigenous people in Namibia have suffered economic subjugation due to racial policies employed by colonial governments who expropriated land from its rightful owners.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) MDC-T exposed as Zidera architects

MDC-T exposed as Zidera architects
Newsnet/TZG reporters
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 07:59:00 +0000

THE authors and originators of the draconian and racist 2001 so-called Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) which is the mother of Zimbabwe’s economic ills have been unmasked.

In an interview on ZBC Current Affairs programme, Melting Pot, on Tuesday, former MDC parliamentarian Gabriel Chaibva categorically stated that Zidera is the brainchild of the MDC-T party and was drafted by top officials from that party at a hotel in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

“I was there when Zidera was crafted in Nyanga by the MDC. At that point Munyaradzi Gwisai stood up in protest and told everyone present that the MDC had been taken over by the U.S. and Europe and business was no longer controlled from Harvest House…,” said Chaibva.

Chaibva’s revelations put paid to denials by the MDC that they did not call for the imposition of sanctions as they actually drafted the legislation used by the U.S. to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe on Thursday said Zidera had been responsible for most of the economic problems faced by the country.

The revelation by Chaibva raises questions as to why the MDC officials who claim to be fighting for the general populace’s well being proceeded to craft a document that triggered the imposition of sanctions which led to the suffering of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Interestingly, the MDC has on numerous occasions stood on high ground, blaming President Robert Mugabe’s policies for the economic horror that innocent Zimbabweans have had to endure in the last nine years.

Recently, the US Assistant secretary for African Affairs Mr. Johnnie Carson said America will only repeal Zidera as and when it sees progress.

This indicates that the Western community does not respect the existence of the inclusive Government in Zimbabwe.

Zidera empowers the US to use its voting rights and influence in multilateral lending institutions, such as the African Development Bank, World Bank and IMF to block any applications by Zimbabwe for finance and credit lines.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) CNN's Amanpour: reporter or propagandist?

CNN's Amanpour: reporter or propagandist?
John West - Opinion
Fri, 25 Sep 2009 08:45:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR - Regarding President Mugabe's CNN interview with Christiane Amanpour, our fears were confirmed! Amanpour sang too much for her supper. But then again, she has to. Just look at who owns CNN and it explains itself.

Also, just as many feared, Amanpour regurgitated all the misinformation about President Mugabe and the land issue and other substantive Zimbabwean concerns, showing little inclination to do a meaningful and objective interview with this warrior and lawyer.

Unless I missed something, I do not recall a question about the Lancaster House Agreement of 1979 which is one of the key agreements underpinning the land question in Zimbabwe. Wouldn't anyone expect a so-called reporter to cover so important a matter in the name of objective reporting?

It is interesting also to note that by comparison, the African American did not become a citizen of the United States based on birth but by the advice and consent of the United States Congress. The 14th Amendment, enacted in 1868, provided that citizenship. So there is the question then whether being born in Zimbabwe one is automatically Zimbabwean. Would we argue that missionaries born on Chinese soil are Chinese? Certainly not.

Overall, the interview with so scholarly a warrior would have been better staged on public broadcasting with someone of the stature of Gwen Ifill doing the interviewing.

The Amanpour interview just didn't cover the ground the substantive issue of land reform demands! She's less of a reporter and more a propagandist.

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Lying to donors

Lying to donors
Written by Editor

IT is said that if you get stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed. In Proverbs 29: 4, we are told that when a king is concerned with justice, the nation will be strong, but when he is only concerned with money, he will ruin his country. There is a lot of wisdom in these sayings. These are things that must make any reasonable person stop and think.

No one can say that being stubborn in the face of good advice is a virtue. This is why we agree with the saying that those who are stubborn when corrected will one day be crushed. This is where Rupiah and his friends are headed.

When we look at our country today, we see a crisis building up. This is because Rupiah and his friends believe that they are clever and the rest of us are foolish and stupid. They have told themselves that they are the only ones who think. It seems that they believe that our people have no memory at all. They say one thing today and do say another tomorrow. This is why they can give ridiculous positions on issues and expect our people to accept the nonsense that they are throwing at them.

Rupiah and his friends have lost the basic prerequisites for governing the people - respect for the people they try to govern. It is clear that they don't care about what the people think. The only public opinion they are interested in is the praise from the sycophants who tell them the lies they want to hear. They have shown this quality repeatedly.

But the Frederick Chiluba case is a peak of the disregard that they have for the public. This case has demonstrated that Rupiah and his friends have no regard for justice and the rule of law. To them, bending the law is normal, something that they are entitled to because they are our masters.

Lying is a very bad vice. It shows disrespect for one's hearers. If you respect someone, you are likely to tell them the truth and treat them in a deferential way. The converse is also true, that is, if you don't respect someone, you treat them dismissively. This is human nature. Clearly, this is what is happening to our nation. We have people in office who are not prepared to tell our people the truth. And to add insult to injury, they treat our people dismissively. No one can say that the way Rupiah Banda and his minions have dealt with the acquittal of Chiluba and the withdrawal of the appeal shows any respect for the public. They have shown us that they will do what they like regardless of the consequences and the sentiments of our people.

We say this because no one can deny that the Chiluba case is a very important case in our country. And a government that respects its people would have dealt with it carefully. This is what is expected from a normal government. But Rupiah and his minions have chosen to deal with it with careless abandon. This is why one of them is even prepared to go on radio and tell the nation that the Chiluba acquittal is a political fix. This is what the words of works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti meant.

As we already know, George Kunda did not want to be outdone by Mulongoti in bootlicking. He also went and said his own piece of nonsense.

We are not surprised that our so-called leaders are ready to deal with our people with so much recklessness and disrespect. They feel safe because they believe they can always manipulate issues to suit themselves. After all, they have done it before.

It seems that Rupiah and his minions are not satisfied with hoodwinking and lying to our people. They also want to extend this vice to their relationship with their international cooperating partners.

Rupiah and his minions have no shame going to the donors, cup in hand, begging for handouts to run the country. There is nothing wrong with asking for help when one needs it. Even some of the countries that are today donors to Zambia have, in the past, been recipients of external aid themselves. But there is something seriously wrong when a beggar refuses to be accountable whilst demanding aid as an entitlement. This is the way Rupiah and his minions are behaving.

They don't want to enforce the rule of law so that the meagre resources that our country has from internal and external sources can be safeguarded. And yet they have no shame in going to ask other nations to assist us. How can we be asking for assistance when we are failing to be accountable for our resources? We say this because it does not make sense for us as a poor country to treat theft of public resources with undue accommodation when we are begging from others.

We are not saying that accountability is only necessary because we are asking other people to assist us. But surely, if you went to ask for mealie-meal from a neighbour to cook nshima because you had none, you would be considered foolish if you started throwing away the nshima after you have cooked it and thought you had had your fill.

What are you going to do the next day when you want to eat? Go again to your neighbour and ask for some more mealie-meal? What is your neighbour going to say? We are using a very basic example but it illustrates the foolishness of going to ask for donor funds whilst refusing to hold public servants like Chiluba accountable for the misuse of public resources.

The other day, Ronnie Shikapwasha, the chief government spokesman, told the nation that his government was committed to fighting corruption and the donors should not be misled by some sections of the media as they like to call us. By what he claims to be, Ronnie is supposed to be an honest man. But we wonder how truthful his sentiments are. Does he really mean what he is saying? Does he believe that the government he is serving is committed to fighting corruption? It is good to shut up when you have nothing to say. Ronnie would do well to apply this principle because increasingly, he is saying things that are not helping anybody. Not even the Rupiah he is trying to please. Like his friends George and Mulongoti, Ronnie's words are destructive.

Trying to talk down at the donors and pretend they live on another planet and do not know what is going on is a very porous strategy. What Ronnie is saying and doing is akin to telling somebody that what they are seeing is not true. But they are seeing it. How can you say to somebody who is looking at something that it is not there? Do Ronnie and the other Rupiah mouthpieces think that by telling the donors that they are committed to fighting corruption, they will hypnotise them into not seeing the rot that is going on?

Honour and dignity demands that people should be honest when they have messed up. It will be more respectful if people like Ronnie shut up, or if they had the courage to, admitted that they had messed up.

Today, we have seen an increasing number of diplomats politely telling our government that they are not taken in by the nonsensical propaganda that they keep churning out. The game is clear for everybody to see - a government which once pretended to fight corruption has openly become a defender of the corrupt. There are very few people, if any, present in Zambia today, foreign or local, diplomats or ordinary who believe that this government is ready to fight corruption at all. Their acts of condoning the corrupt and frustrating the fight against corruption are clearly sign-posted and require no superior intellect to be seen.

The behaviour of this government on the Chiluba acquittal and the withdrawal of the appeal is a clear message where Rupiah and his government stand on corruption.

As we have said before, Rupiah is only interested in his own pleasure and not national interest.

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Contempt judicial review ruling for Post comes today

Contempt judicial review ruling for Post comes today
Written by George Chellah
Friday, September 25, 2009 5:15:40 PM

LUSAKA High Court judge Albert Wood is today scheduled to make a ruling in the matter where Post editor-in-chief Fred M’membe, his deputy Sam Mujuda and Professor Muna Ndulo applied for judicial review after being cited for contempt by magistrate Charles Kafunda. When the matter came up on Wednesday afternoon, judge Wood adjourned the case to today at 16:00 hours for ruling.

The ruling would be on the application made by the state to discharge the leave. The defence had applied for leave to seek judicial review.

Last time, when the matter came up for inter-parte hearing, judge Wood adjourned it to enable him to go through the case record in the subordinate court before hearing both parties.

Lawyer representing M'membe and Mujuda, George Chisanga, said judge Wood requested for the file from the magistrate's court to familiarise himself with the details in the matter.

Chisanga said the state had applied that leave for judicial review be set aside and contempt proceedings at the magistrate's court should not be stayed.

Judge Wood recently directed and ordered that proceedings relating to the alleged contempt of court case involving M'membe, Mujuda and Prof Ndulo be stayed until after the hearing of the motion for judicial review.

According to an order granting leave to apply for judicial review filed in the Lusaka High Court, judge Wood directed that further proceedings relating to the case be stayed. Judge Wood's decision came in the wake of Lusaka chief resident magistrate Kafunda's move to issue a bench warrant against M'membe.

This follows a complaint by the prosecutors in the matter in which Post news editor Chansa Kabwela is facing one count of circulating obscene matters or things contrary to the law that an article authored by Professor Ndulo [The Chansa Kabwela case: a comedy of errors] and published in The Post edition of August 27, 2009 was contemptuous.

The Post editor-in-chief and the entire editorial staff were summoned to appear before court. The Post team, led by deputy managing director Mujuda appeared before court but magistrate Kafunda issued a bench warrant against M'membe, saying he was aware of the summons but did not appear before court.

However, M'membe is on study leave. The defence lawyers in the case argued among other issues, that the matter was improperly taken before court.

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Rupiah’s aide expels ZANIS photographer from New York

Rupiah’s aide expels ZANIS photographer from New York
Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, September 25, 2009 5:13:52 PM

STATE HOUSE special assistant to the President for press and public relations Dickson Jere has barred ZANIS photographer Emmah Nakapizye from covering President Rupiah Banda at the UN General Assembly in New York.

State House sources disclosed that Jere last week instructed officials in New York to ensure that Nakapizye was sent back home before President Banda arrived there.

“What happened is that Dickson seems to have a problem with Emma ever since she took those pictures of the President with FDD president Edith Nawakwi at the African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopia as well as the pictures that were taken of President Banda and his family in Mfuwe,” the source explained.

“Dickson took an issue with Emmah over that claiming that the pictures were maliciously taken. But Emmah tried to explain to her superiors that Ms Nawakwi was part of the Presidential delegation and she was seated with the President and that no one informed her that she was not to photograph certain people in the delegation.”

The source said Nakapizye is viewed by certain quarters, particularly at State House, as being anti-establishment.

“Dickson doesn't want her to be covering the President at all because of those two incidences; the issue of Ms Nawakwi and the Banda family holiday in Mfuwe. But it's now getting too much because just recently Emmah was enlisted on the delegation that was travelling to the UN General Assembly in New York to go and cover the President,” the source said.

“Dickson inquired about the journalists and photographers that were assigned for the New York trip and when he learnt that Emmah was among them, he contacted New York and instructed that the President should not find her there, that she must be put on the next flight back to Zambia. That's how Emmah was sent back and she is in the country right now as we are speaking.”

The sources said there were even plans by ZANIS management to transfer Nakapizye to another district.

“After the AU summit incident of Ms Nawakwi and the Mfuwe one, everybody thought that the dust had settled and Emmah would now be allowed to cover the President. But it's like Dickson has taken it personal,” the source explained.

“Can you believe that there is so much pressure on ZANIS management? The pressure is too much that management is even considering transferring Emmah to some district probably Kafue just because Dickson doesn't want her at Mass Media Complex. This is quite unfair.”

When contacted yesterday, ZANIS director Gilbert Maimbo referred all queries to State House.

“I think the best people to answer that question is State House,” said Maimbo.

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Acquittal surprised me – British envoy

Acquittal surprised me – British envoy
Written by Florence Bupe and Masuzyo Chakwe
Friday, September 25, 2009 5:12:23 PM

FREDERICK Chiluba's acquittal surprised me, British High Commissioner to Zambia Tom Carter has said. And Danish Ambassador to Zambia Thomas Schjerbeck has said the world is watching with enormous interest to see how the conviction of Chiluba in the United Kingdom court is going to be transformed into a follow-up in Zambia.

In an interview, High Commissioner Carter said the acquittal of Chiluba came as a surprise to the donor community, considering that the London High Court established that Chiluba was guilty.

"I was personally surprised at the decision to acquit Chiluba. There are two things in Chiluba's case. Firstly, I do acknowledge that it was a matter for the Zambian judiciary to decide on Chiluba's cases, but we have also seen that there is evidence to suggest that an appeal must have been lodged," he said.

Chiluba was last month acquitted on six counts of embezzling public funds amounting to US $500,000.

High Commissioner Carter expressed concern at the decision of the Zambian judiciary, saying a lot of money was at stake in the London High Court case.

"There is lots of money at stake in the London High Court case, and it is surprising that the Zambian government has decided not to pursue such large sums of money. We are talking of more than US $40 million in this case," he said.

High Commissioner Carter said the acquittal of Chiluba, and the subsequent blocking of an appeal against the acquittal by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had sent wrong signals to the donor community.

"The developments in Chiluba's case have sent very confused messages to the donor community. We [Britain] give Zambia about US $60 million each year in direct budgetary support, and we have to be accountable to the British taxpayers because they are the owners of this money," High Commissioner Carter said. "We need to ensure that the money that we give to Zambia is being spent correctly."

High Commissioner Carter said Zambia's corruption fight should not just be in words and declarations, but be matched with action.

"It is pleasing the President [Rupiah Banda] recently launched the Anti Corruption Policy. We have been supporting Zambia's corruption fight as donors, but we want to see this fight taken beyond words. We need to see implementation of policies. As international donors, we are looking for real action," said High Commissioner Carter.

And Ambassador Schjerbeck said the London judgment was a very important signal for institutions fighting corruption in Zambia.

"I am not going to comment on the Chiluba case because I have no opinion about, you know, I think it's for the courts really to investigate that and all the suspects and so on but I must say, though, that we are looking with enormous interest. All the world is looking with enormous interest to see how that conviction of Chiluba in the UK court is going to be transformed into a follow up in Zambia, that means that it's registered and that it's measured out what kind of consequences it should have. I mean that is a very important signal for the institutions here also to show the Zambians that it deals with these issues which have been long awaited and which is still being waited. But of course as an international partner for Zambia, I can't comment on the Chiluba case," he said.

He said corruption occurred more where the structures to combat corruption and contain it were weak.

Ambassador Schjerbeck said if the structures that deal with corruption were strong, follow-ups on what the Auditor General was recommending were made and if there was an independent judiciary, corruption would lessen.

He said in Denmark, there was a strong tradition for independence in those institutions and parliamentary control but there was still corruption.

"We have some horrible scandals so it doesn't mean that you can eradicate corruption. You can just say where the institutions are not strong enough, and independent enough, you tend to have more corruption. In Zambia I think I have been here before. I was here in the 80s so I have seen tremendous development to the better because you have to look at Zambia's development in the long-term perspective. How is it going and I think Zambia has moved forward enormously but there is still a lot to be done. But for me, looking to the future I see the constitution-making process as an enormously important step in strengthening the independence of these institutions," he said.

Ambassador Schjerbeck said it could be said that corruption was still there in Zambia but the country had moved a step forward with the anti corruption strategy.

He said Zambia still had to work with making institutions independent as a lot of the institutions were centered around the big cities especially in Lusaka.

Ambassador Schjerbeck said there was a lot of focus on the Auditor General and the institution's needs but this institution had already proven to be quite strong and efficient.

"And I commend the Auditor General office for that. The follow-up is of enormous importance and I really urge all the involved parties to take a critical look at the follow-up to the Auditor General's findings. This is what will create confidence with civil society and Zambia that the government is serious with these issues," he said.

And during the signing of a project document regarding the short term institutional support to the Office of the Auditor General by the Royal Danish Embassy, Ambassador Schjerbeck said the Danish government give Zambians money every year and it was important to ensure that the taxpayers who provided the money were satisfied and that the money was spent properly.

He said the over K3 billion provided was meant to enable the Office of the Auditor General carry out an audit in the road sector.

Auditor General Anna Chifungula said the support was for the recruitment of 15 officers for a period of six months.

Chifungula said this was in part to compensate for the officers that had been assigned on the audit of the road sector.

She said rising to the challenges of meeting the increased demand of service in the midst of financial crisis and other resources limitations had not been easy.

Chifungula said the office still had a total of 169 staff vacancies even to be able to meet all the planned activities.

Chifungula said the 2008 audit report was on course and was intended to be published on the due date this year.

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