Saturday, October 10, 2009
By Nyasa Times
Published: October 9, 2009
The government adopted a controversial quota system to use in selecting students to public universities and other tertiary institutions according to a letter in the Ministry of Education despite the matter being contested in court .
The letter by Secretary for Education, Science and Technology Mr. Bernard Sande addressed to Teveta executive director, Alide dated 03-09-09 Reference number 7/1/4 advised the organisation to implement quota system when selecting students for 2009/10 academic year.
“I am writing to inform you that government has adopted a new policy of admitting students to public universities and other tertiary institutions so that the inequitable distribution of opportunities to tertiary education and training can be addressed,” reads the letter in Nyasa Times possession.
It said students on full government scholarships will be admitted by: “A guaranteed number of 10 places for qualified and deserving students will be reserved for each district.”
“Blantyre, Lilongwe, Mzimba and Zomba districts will be classified into two zones, namely urban and rural districts, with each zone or category being guaranteed 10 places.”
The latter further described the selection that: “The balance of the available places will be distributed on merit basis according to population ratios of district of origin.”
“For the district that would not be able to contribute a total of the guaranteed required minimum of 10 qualified candidates, the remaining places would be put into the general pool and awards for such spaces would be re-distributed to other districts, based on the equity system, according to population ratios of the district concerned,” reads the letter by Secretary of Education.
The Principal Secretary said in the letter that non-residential students (students not on government scholarships) will be admitted purely on merit and ability to pay “as is currently the case.”
“You are, therefore, advised to implement the new system with effect from the 2009/10 academic year,” directed the PS for education.
The district quota system was first introduced by the late dictator Ngwazi Kamuzu Banda’s Malawi Congress Party in 1988 after realising that the northern region of the country was benefiting from university places the most, followed by the central region and then the south.
But it was abandoned following a 1993 court ruling that it was discriminatory and in violation of the fundamental right of Malawian citizens to equitable development because in districts where students performed well, bright youngsters failed to secure a university place while in other districts where students did not do as well, the university still accepted 10 students.
The current administration led by Bingu wa Mutharika has brought back the system to ensure “equitable system of admitting students” based on concerns that students from northern Malawi are securing a disproportionate number of university places.
The Synod of Livingstonia is opposing the system. General-secretary Rev Levi Nyondo said government is promoting “regionalism”.
Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has also branded the quota system as discriminatory.
(NYASATIMES) Minister shamed on ‘unpatriotic’ jibe: UN report says Malawians abroad contribute to economyMinister shamed on ‘unpatriotic’ jibe: UN report says Malawians abroad contribute to economy
By Nyasa Times
Published: October 9, 2009
A few days after Malawi’s minister of internal affairs Aaron Sangala said citizens who leave the country to seek a better life abroad are “unpatriotic” the 2009 United Nations Human Development Index has revealed that Malawians in Diaspora have contributed over $1million(over K140 million) to the economy through remittances.
Human Development Report (HDR) was launched on Wednesday by United Nations Development Programme (UNDP in Lilongwe.
“In 2007, Malawians living away from home contributed US $ 1million in remittances (about MK 141 million). The remittances are sent to immediate family members, but the benefits spread broadly into the Malawian economy,” reads a statement from the UN body.
Speaking during the official launch of the report entitled “Overcoming Barriers : Human Mobility and Development,” UNDP Resident Coordinator, Richard Dictus said Malawi and other poor developing countries can achieve large gains to human development if they among other things reduce obstacles to movement and improve lives of migrants.
“But movement of people especially skilled labour in search of better remuneration has resulted in human resources emergency in the health sector in Malawi,” he pointed out.
“The issue of brain drain, especially regarding skilled personnel such as doctors and nurses is not only a concern for Malawi, but other developing countries too,” said Dictus.
Migration can be a vital strategy for households and families seeking to diversify and improve their livelihoods, he observed.
“Large gains to human development can be achieved by lowering barriers to movement and improving the treatment of movers. A bold vision is needed to realize these gains,” UN diplomat said.
The HDR highlights that Malawi has made some upward achievements an increase in life expectancy of over 52 years.
The country moved one step up on the HDI from 161 to 160 with 0.493 points out of 181 countries but with less than 0.500 points is still among countries with low human development.
2010 National Budget Not Inspiring
Saturday, October 10, 2009, 8:25
The 2010 national budget unveiled in a speech delivered to the Zambian National Assembly on October 9, 2009 by the Honorable Minister of Finance and National Planning is not inspiring at all, given the depth of socio-economic woes the country has been facing since the 1970s. It is not possible for our beloved country to make any headway in socio-economic development with such a mild budget, not even by the year 2030 when the MMD government is dreaming of turning Zambia into a middle-income country.
For reasons of brevity, let me comment on a few highlights of the budget.
Inflation and Taxes:
The attainment of single-digit annual inflation (of 8%) is a target that would be appropriate for countries that have already achieved a high level of job creation and socio-economic development. Zambia is clearly not one of such countries.
There is a need to reduce PAYE, VAT and interest rates in order to stimulate both the supply of goods and services and the demand for goods and services and, in the process, bolster job creation and economic growth. We need to reverse the recurrent emphasis on stabilizing inflation at the expense of job creation and economic growth.
Value-added tax, for example, could have been reduced to 12.5% from 16%. The increase in the PAYE exempt threshold from K700,000 to K800,000 is not adequate; this should have been increased to at least K1,000,000. And the income bands should have been expanded to make them fairer to tax payers as follows:
2010 Income Bands and Tax Rates:
K0 – K800,000 per month 0%
K800,001 — K1,335,000 per month 25%
K1,335,001 — K4,100,000 per month 30%
K4,100,001 and above per month 35%
Proposed Income Bands and Tax Rates:
K0 – K1,000,000 per month 0%
K1,000,001 — K1,435,000 per month 10%
K1,435,001 — K1,970,000 per month 15%
K1,970,001 — K2,370,000 per month 20%
K2,770,001 — K3,170,000 per month 25%
K3,570,001 — K3,970,000 per month 30%
K3,970,001 and above per month 35%
Lower taxes and interest rates could have functioned as an effective economic stimulus that could have spurred economic activity and job creation, as well as create a new class of tax payers. There is really no other obvious way in which a country can jump-start an economically beleaguered economy like ours.
Dependency on Foreign Investors:
There is too much emphasis in the budget on creating opportunities for foreign investment with little or no emphasis on promoting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by Zambians. As the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe has maintained, a growing body of empirical evidence supports the widely held view that SMEs are instrumental to socio-economic development. They can, as such, play an important role in improving the socio-economic welfare of a lot of people in a country.
There are many ways in which SMEs can positively contribute to the improvement of the socio-economic well-being of a country’s people, such as the following:
(a) They can create employment opportunities for talented citizens and family members who cannot find jobs in large business establishments;
(b) They can function as a vehicle through which a country’s government can economically empower its people by enabling them to participate actively and directly in their country’s commercial and industrial activities;
(c) They can facilitate the generation of wealth for all sectors of the national economy and thereby reduce existing income disparities;
(d) They can contribute to the improvement of the social and economic welfare of people in their host communities through the provision of various kinds of needed goods and services; and
(e) They can function as the backbone of a country’s economy if they are mainly operated by citizens, as they would be both indigenous and permanent, as Andrew Sardanis has maintained.
If Zambians “spend lots of their time on negative thoughts,” as the Minister has claimed in his budget speech, it is because over 65% of them cannot find jobs and are eking out a mere living. I cannot imagine people who are wallowing in abject poverty singing empty praises glorifying a government that is incapable of addressing their basic needs.
Written by Editor
We are ordinary citizens with a duty to obey the laws of our country. And at no time have we ever thought ourselves of being in any way above the law. But citizenship demands a contribution from us, as it does from every other citizen, to build our nation’s future.
This includes voting, fighting corruption, paying taxes, obeying the laws. And as citizens, we will contribute whatever little we have to the collective good of our country. It is said that what a single ant brings to the anthill is very little; but what a great hill is built when each one does a proper share of the work. And the right of all individuals and organisations and their practical implementation must be acknowledged, protected and fostered, together with the public duties binding all citizens.
Christians say that the law is an instrument of God’s self communication; it guides human beings to share in divine life through love. But we also know that this same law has been a subject of abuse. Whereas the rule of law requires the right to equality before the law, or equal protection of the law as it is often phrased, we know that this is not always so in our country.
We say this because there are circumstances in this country when those in power impose additional inequalities when the state should be required to deal evenly and equally with all its people.
We have no problem submitting ourselves to the law because we recognise that, however indirectly, we are submitting to ourselves as makers of the law. But we also recognise the fact that in every society throughout history, those who administer the criminal justice system hold the power with the potential for abuse and tyranny.
And on many occasions, we have been victims of this abuse and tyranny. In the name of the state, we have been arrested, we have been imprisoned unfairly and unjustly – even without any formal charges being brought. This was the case when the editor of this newspaper was detained at Lusaka Central Prison for one month without any formal charges, without any hearing or defence.
No civilised society can tolerate such abuses. As we have pointed out before, every state must have the power to maintain order and punish criminal acts, but it must do so in a fair and just way and not in an arbitrary manner or subject to political manipulation by those in power.
And that is why many people in this country are insisting that the independence of the judiciary is an essential pillar supporting the rule of law. It is not enough to say that the courts should follow and apply the laws faithfully and equally to all. One must, in addition, demand that there should be no dispensing power vested in the executive or other body which would relieve a person from the duties and processes of the law. For us, if we have committed a crime, we believe we should be made to meet the temerity of our actions like every other citizen.
There is hardly a more powerful weapon which can be abused in the hands of a corrupt regime than that of initiating or discontinuing prosecutions. It is notorious that successive regimes in this country have abused the prosecution process by harassing opponents of the regime through unjustifiable prosecutions, or by exempting their own supporters and friends from liability for illegal acts through discontinuance of prosecutions.
The judiciary, at whatever level, may find itself confronting these abuses, and may find itself subjected to enormous pressures to accept them. Often, if the process is legal but unfair, there is little that a court can do. So the potential for abuse remains. And for us who are not in the business of selling widgets, for us who are trading in, or are engaged in the battle of, ideas this danger will always be lurking.
For us who are involved in exposing and denouncing abuses and corruption of the powerful, of those in control of government and the entire state machinery will always be targets or victims of such abuses. What they can’t do politically or otherwise against us, they will use their leverage on the courts to do against us. But we firmly believe that only through hardship, sacrifice and militant action can the liberties of our people be advanced and defended. And to borrow from Nelson Mandela, there is no easy walk to freedom, to justice, to fairness, to a more humane society and too many have suffered for the love of all these noble things.
For this reason, the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the state. And if criticism is valid, it must be made. And in so doing, we must follow the dictates of our conscience irrespective of the consequences that might overtake us for it. And it is said that there are few misfortunes in this world that one cannot turn into a personal triumph if one has the iron will and the necessary skill. The problems our country faces today are such that for anybody with a conscience and who can use whatever influence he or she has cannot but try to do something, it’s difficult to keep quiet.
Let it never be said by future generations that indifference, cynicism, selfishness, opportunism and even outright corruption made us fail to live up to the ideals of justice, of humanism that our people yearn for. Let’s fight a noble battle and live our lives in pursuit of a better life for all who will follow. Let the generations that will follow feel that the sweet fruit of their lives are as a result of the struggle and sacrifices we are making today just as we feel about what the independence struggle generation did for us.
Justice and even peace and tranquility are only possible if these are enjoyed by all without discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. Justice must be our tool, prosperity and happiness our weapon. We are ready and willing to learn from both pleasant and unpleasant experiences because it is in the character of growth that we do so.
And there can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and for institutions – be it the judiciary, the legislature, the executive, the church, the chieftaincy, the news media – that are part of public life. And for this reason, no such institution should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.
However, we also know that in every society, there are men and women of base instincts. The sadists, brutes, conveyors of all the ancestral atavisms go about in the guise of human beings, but they are monsters, only more or less retrained by disciplined and social habit. And if they are offered a drink from the river of blood, they will not be satisfied until they drink the river dry. All these men needed was the order. At their hands, the best and noblest people perished: the most valiant, the most honest, the most idealistic. The tyrant called them criminals, law breakers. They were being harassed, humiliated, crucified at the hands of men who collect a salary from the taxpayer and later use their privileges to serve the interests of a clique and harass and humiliate the best citizens.
It is said that in the world, there must be a certain degree of honour just as there must be a certain amount of light. Where there are many men and women without honour, there are always others who bear in themselves the honour of many men and women. These are the men and women who rebel against injustice, against those who try to steal human honour itself. And in those men and women, thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained.
It is understandable that honest men should be in the dock for things like these in a country where the former president is a criminal, a thief, a lazo.
We know that they are very desperate to have the editor of this newspaper in prison, humiliated in all sorts of ways. But they should also know that fear of prison is something that has never tortured us, as we do not fear the fury of the miserable, corrupt tyrants who have stolen millions or billions from our people and country. And for this reason we confidently say: charge us, prosecute us, convict us if you want. It doesn’t matter. Time will prove us innocent.
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:33:26 PM
ARREST me and take me to any prison of your choice, Post editor-in-chief Fred M'membe yesterday told two police officers and a clerk of court who came to serve him with summons. This was after a clerk of court - criminal, Kasonde Joseph Simute and two police officers from Kabwata police station a Mr Chisoso and Simushi came to Post Newspapers offices around 08:40 hours to serve M'membe with "summons to accused".
Kasonde and the two police officers were ushered into Post news editor Chansa Kabwela's office where M'membe met and welcomed the team.
Upon taking their seats, Kasonde explained his mission to M'membe who was in the company of Post managing editor Amos Malupenga, Post administrative manager Reuben Phiri and Kabwela.
“Actually, I have just come for one purpose to serve the summons. One to The Post newspaper then the other one is directed to Mr Fred M'membe, I think it's yourself and then the other one is directed to Sam Mujuda [Post deputy editor-in-chief],” Kasonde said.
Immediately Kasonde finished explaining, M'membe chipped in: "There is a problem on Mr Mujuda you may have to go and serve him in London. He is away for studies. He is doing his masters degree in journalism there. In fact, he was delayed; he was supposed to have left much earlier, he was waiting for the judgment of the court. After the High Court judgment that's when he left. But because of that issue that was still in court he couldn't leave.”
M'membe then told Kasonde and team that he could not understand what was going on.
In response, Kasonde said: "Actually sir, we are just agents of the court."
"Sorry to address you, I am just telling you...you know nothing about this. It's not your issue," M'membe told Kasonde.
M'membe said he knows that they are after his neck.
"But let them find better ways to crucify me. I am ready to walk myself to Calvary. I have nothing to fear, if it's arresting they want, even today arrest and take me. Even today just arrest and take me whether it's Mukobeko, Chimbokaila... I am ready," M'membe said.
"If it's arresting they want, if it's victimising they want, if it's punishing they want...I have been in prison before. They locked me in Chimbokaila for one month. I stayed there until the then High Court judge Kabazo Chanda freed me from the unjust incarceration. They had imprisoned me without trial and they had demanded contrition from me for my release. They didn't get it because I owed them none."
M'membe said he has been in prison before without trial.
"I have been in prison without being tried. So instead of wasting the court's time there are so many cases pending of our brothers and sisters who are languishing in prison because there is no enough courtroom, there are few magistrates. Let them just lock me up without even wasting anybody's time. I am ready to move with you to any prison of your choice," M'membe said.
"I am not scared of going to prison. I am not even scared of death, after all we will all die. So prison doesn't deter a person like me. I am ready to proceed with handcuffs or no handcuffs, I am ready to move with you."
M'membe said he was not a common criminal.
"The person you should be pursuing is Chiluba who has stolen people's money. But they are not pursuing him they are defending him a criminal, kabolala, lazo. This is not the way to run a country. These things will backfire and I am very confident of that, that one day, I don't know the actual day, but it will backfire one day."
Later, Kasonde asked where they could leave the summons for the company secretary and M'membe advised him to deliver them to Central Chambers who are Post Newspapers Limited's company secretaries.
According to the summons to accused delivered at The Post dated October 8, 2009, M'membe was ordered to appear before magistrate Simusamba on October 14, 2009.
"In the subordinate court of First Class for the Lusaka district, holden at Lusaka. To: FRED M'MEMBE-EDITOR IN CHIEF Of: THE POST NEWSPAPERS LIMITED-LUSAKA. WHEREAS your attendance is necessary to answer to a complaint of Contempt of Court contrary to section 116(1)(d)(i) of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. Statement of Offence: CONTEMPT OF COURT contrary to section 116(1)(d)(i) of the penal code chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia," read the summons to accused in part. "Particulars of Offence: FRED M'MEMBE, SAM MUJUDA AND THE POST NEWSPAPERS LIMITED on 27th day of August 2009 at Lusaka in the Lusaka District of the Lusaka Province of the Republic of Zambia, being Editor in Chief of The Post Newspapers Ltd, Deputy Editor in Chief, and the publisher respectively jointly and whilst acting together, did publish or cause to be published in The Post Newspaper No. 4697 dated 27th August 2009 an article touching the case of the People Versus Chanda Kabwela titled: "The Chansa Kabwela Case: a Comedy of errors," knowing the said case is the subject of criminal proceedings in court, an act which is contemptuous, sensational and prejudicial to the said proceedings. You are hereby commanded in the name of the President to appear in person. Before this court at 09:00 on the 14th day of October 2009 and on every adjournment of the court until the case be disposed of. Issued at Lusaka the 8th day of October 2009."
Written by Ernest Chanda
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:32:10 PM
HOME affairs minister Lameck Mangani on Thursday mocked civil society organisations and members of parliament who honked last week in protest against Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal. Debating the President’s opening speech to the fourth session of the 10th National Assembly, Mangani also accused civil society organisations of being professional marchers.
He said he would switch off his phone if any protester tried to call him for help the next time they got arrested by police.
“My ministry, through the Registrar of Societies, is responsible for the registration of all civil society organisations in this country including political parties. If you want to form a political party please indicate by making your name clear. Don’t hide your political party names in other people’s names, no this is a democratic society and no one will stop you,” Mangani said.
“My ministry shall not take kindly to NGOs [Non Governmental Organisations] that abandon their mission and take up something totally different. There are some people in this country who have become professional marchers. If journalists are marching they are also there, if students are marching they are also there; and if nurses are marching they are also there. I want to warn these professional marchers that we will deal with them. We shall have you arrested and if you try to ring me for help I will be outside coverage area.”
And winding up debate on the same motion, Vice-President George Kunda boasted that his government’s commitment to the fight against corruption was intact.
“The fight against corruption is unwavering and still intact. We have made several strides in fighting corruption and that’s why we launched the new Anti Corruption Policy,” Vice-President Kunda said, amidst shouts of ‘hear, hear’ from the Executive’s side.
“We shall fight corruption and financial crime in accordance with the tenets of human rights. We shall respect human rights and we shall respect the decisions of the courts.”
Written by Patson Chilemba in Kasama
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:31:00 PM
In an interview, Sefuke said it would be rough for the MMD because they had a very weak campaign manager, Lusaka Province minister Charles Shawa.
Asked how she rated MMD's chances in Kasama Central with regard to what was obtaining on the ground, Sefuke responded: “We have a very lazy campaign manager. Shawa has never escorted the candidate in the campaigns. He always stays at the Guesthouse, sleeping. So what can you expect?”
Asked to categorically state her position on the matter, Sefuke said: “It's going to be rough [for MMD] but I can't predict. But it will be rough because Shawa is too lazy and Mugala is just fighting on his own.”
Sefuke said Shawa was so stingy with the party's resources and had acquired nicknames from the MMD cadres in the process.
“He just wants to benefit alone. At the command post, they are calling him King Herald or bashi Chola, because he has a bag of money that he is carrying all the time,” Sefuke said. “I am the district chairlady of Kasama. I am even more senior than Shawa, politically.”
Sefuke further said she could not take part in the MMD campaigns because she and the other party members were told to stay away.
“After Mugala filed in the nominations, I went to attend a party meeting of which Shawa was chairing as campaign manager. Then Fred Mukuka [MMD provincial secretary], stood up and told the members that they had decided that Simunyola should not be part of the campaigns, and they had spoken to him,” Sefuke narrated. “Then he went on to say, 'the second person we don't need in this campaign is this madam seated here, Brillian Sefuke. We don't want you here because you were an interested party and applied to contest, and now since you are the losing candidate, we feel you will be filtering information to the PF because of your in-law [PF candidate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba]. You are not the only one we are chasing; we don't want Bernard Mpundu in the campaigns and many others'.”
Sefuke said she was then asked to leave the meeting and she thanked them for being honest for telling her to stay away from the campaigns.
“They want to put me in this position so that after elections, they will come and tell me that 'how can you campaign for a member of another party and probably suspend me,” Sefuke said. “So these people are victimising me to the highest point, and I feel they are doing this because I am a woman.”
Sefuke said she and her late uncle Emmanuel Kasonde had spent so much on the MMD and newcomers like Shawa would not push her out of the party.
She said Shawa came from UPND and wanted to contest the Luangwa seat on the same party ticket in 2006.
“He was a headmaster, so he wants to bring that school mentality to the political scene,” said Sefuke.
Written by Patson Chilemba in Kasama
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:29:24 PM
CHIEF Chimbuka of the Bemba people of Chinsali has charged that Paramount chief Chitimukulu and other chiefs in Northern Province are being ruled by those in power because of poverty.
And chief Chimbuka said former president Frederick Chiluba is a finished politician and those in MMD are cheating themselves to think that he would win them popularity. In an interview, chief Chimbuka said Northern Province had a problem where chiefs, including Chitimukulu were being ruled by those in the government.
“They are not the ones ruling, they are being ruled because of poverty. They want to kneel to those in politics so that they could be given something to buy soap. But those chiefs forget about the people they rule to say ‘have the people we keep eaten?’ All the chiefs, including Chitimukulu, including the sub-chiefs, it’s all the same. Isabi nga lyalibola kumutwe ninshi nakuchipepe kwine lyalibola [if the head of the fish is rotten, it means the whole body is rotten],” chief Chimbuka said. “Please, we are asking you Chitimukulu, don’t be ruled, you must rule. Chiefs are not ruled, they rule. [Chief] Mwamba tulekulomba, wilatekwa, uleteka [chief Mwamba, we are asking you, don’t be ruled. You must rule].”
Chief Chimbuka said he had come to discover that although both Chitimukulu and Mwata Kazembe were chiefs of the Bemba-speaking people, the latter was more respected by the government than the former.
“Whatever Mwata says ba kateka balomfwa [whatever Mwata says, those in authority listen]. Don’t think when you [Chitimukulu] say ‘I don’t want this’, they will get the chieftaincy from you. Even when they give you K50,000 million or K200 billion, put it in your pocket. That is offering, just eat,” chief Chimbuka said. “Don’t say ‘if I criticise them, they won’t give me’. You are just wasting your time. Even when you don’t ask them, they will give you. That is offering.”
And chief Chimbuka said there was a deliberate attempt by Chiluba, with the help of President Rupiah Banda and his colleagues, to create division between the people of Northern Province and those from Luapula.
He said enemies should not be allowed to separate the people from the two provinces.
“The time [Mwansa] Kapwepwe formed UPP, Kenneth Kaunda used Luapula people to stand against Northerners to say that Kapwepwe said that ‘nimwe batubulu, munyela mumenshi [you are professional fishermen who defecate in water]’, to reduce the power of Bemba-speaking people,” chief Chimbuka said. “This is the same tactic which has been used to try and show that Northerners hate the people of Luapula, and yet this is not the case. Chiluba and Rupiah Banda are the ones who are doing this. They think if they bring Chiluba, he will give them popularity. They don’t know that Chiluba will create problems in this same party, Luapula and Northern people are one.”
Chief Chimbuka said Chiluba was wasting his time to think that he would guarantee popularity to the MMD while government returned him the favour to stop corruption prosecutions against him.
“He can’t win popularity for MMD. Chiluba is finished. He is finished. Even Kaunda was more powerful than Chiluba, but Kaunda is finished today, but we still give him more respect than anybody else,” said chief Chimbuka. “Don’t allow Chiluba to cheat you. Chiluba should not cheat you. He doesn’t even have a village.”
After the interview, chief Chimbuka took part in addressing a PF rally in Kasama’s Mponda village to drum up support for party candidate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba, commonly known as GBM.
Chief Chimbuka said girls were no longer getting pregnant because of hunger.
“No one can impregnant another person when they are hungry,” said chief Chimbuka.
At the same rally, PF leader Michael Sata said after he addressed a rally at chief Misengo’s palace, the MMD went to bribe the chief with K16 million.
“They have seen that the league has become tough for them. That is why they have resorted to bribing chiefs,” Sata said. “Edward Mumbi [former PF secretary general] is here to pay back for the Mercedes Benz that MMD bought him during last year’s presidential elections.”
Sata asked Kasama electorate to sleep outside the polling stations on the eve of voting and wait for the results to be announced in order to stop the MMD’s rigging.
He said there was nothing the MMD had done in terms of improving people’s living standards for them to remain in power.
Sata said he left MMD when he still held a very senior position in the party because he realised that MMD was destroying the country.
Sata said he understood MMD better than MMD deputy national secretary Jeff Kaande and MMD member Edward Mumbi.
Written by Tovin Ngombe in Sinazongwe
Saturday, October 10, 2009 4:27:56 PM
CHINESE Collum Coal Mine (CCCM) in Sinazongwe has said processed coal produced by the mine will be wasted if the lack of markets for the commodity continues.
CCCM general manager for shaft two and three Cai Yue Zhong told ZANIS that with the onset of the rains, 20,000 tonnes of Fines and 5,000 tonnes of Peas and Nuts would be destroyed if market continued to be a problem.
Cai said for the past one week, customers had been failing to buy coal from the mine resulting in the reduction of coal production. He said the mine had difficulties in selling the Fines as most customers were only interested in buying the type of processed coal that had Peas and Nuts.
“We are worried that with onset of the rains, our coal will be wasted after investing so much in its production,” he said.
Cai appealed to the government to assist in convincing Zambian companies that were buying coal from Zimbabwe to start buying from the local producers.
He said the workers were the most affected with the lack of market because their monthly income was reduced.
Cai revealed that workers were at times told to be on break when the market for coal was affected because they could not keep on producing without the available buyers.
And Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) plants manager Famous Kabwe also confirmed that the problem of markets for Fines was also affecting the company.
He said most companies such as Lafarge Cement Zambia were getting their Fines from Wankie Coal Mine in Zimbabwe.
Kabwe said a few companies in Zambia that were using Fines in their furnaces such as Ndola Lime were also getting it from Zimbabwe.
Friday, October 9, 2009, 21:22
Government says it expects the agriculture sector to grow by 5.2 percent in 2010 compared to the 1.9 percent in 2009 following the bumper harvest in maize this year.
Finance and National Planning Minster, Stumbeko Musokotwane, said the maize production rose from 1.5 million metric tones to 1.9 million metric tonnes the country the biggest the country has recorded in the last ten years.
Dr. Musokotwane said this in Parliament today during the presentation of the 2010 national budget adding that government views the improved performance of the agriculture and the livestock as the most powerful tool to reduce poverty and stem the rural-urban divide.
Government has increased the allocation to agriculture and livestock sector from K1, 096 trillion in 2009 to K1, 139 trillion in the 2010 national budget.
The minister told parliament that the creation of the newly created Livestock and Fisheries ministry will ensure that the sector receives focused attention.
He added that its potential will be supported by targeted intervention aimed at controlling animal disease and improve veterinary services.
Dr. Musokotwane said through this intervention the sector will become the next priority sector to contribute to the national GDP after cooper.
He said government will continue with the create of disease free zones (D.F.Z)throughout the country to facilitate livestock exports.
He has announced that government has allocated K430 billion to the revised Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP), K100 billion to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and another K10 billion towards Food Security Packs.
He added that government will complete the remaining works on the Nansanga farming block in Serenje and has since allocated about K 40 billion to step up development of the block.
Dr. Musokotwane has also disclosed that government wills also commence similar infrastructure development in Luena Farms block in Kawambwa district where they will be growing sugar.
He further said that government will this year continue rehabilitating grain silos across the country to improve grain storage and protection.
Written by Christopher Miti in Chipata
EASTERN Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI) chairperson Timothy Nyirenda has said businesses in the province still faces challenges which need government support.
And Commerce deputy minister Richard Taima said the government is committed to seeing that Zambia becomes the best destination for doing business.
During the Private Sector Reform Programme meeting in Chipata on Wednesday, Nyirenda said the processing of applications for the Citizen Economic Empowerment funds needed to be user friendly.
He said the amounts approved at provincial levels needed to be increased from the current K50 million which was the maximum that a province could receive.
Nyirenda said although the processing of papers at Patent and Companies Registration Office (PACRO) had improved, the other procedures after a business had been registered still took too long.
He also said the province only received one third of the electricity required, making it impossible for some industries to be established in the province or expand.
Nyirenda said most of the bad economic conditions affected the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
"For example, financial policies favours large corporation, interest rates are still too high. Some of the policies of large corporations do not encourage competition and affects small businesses especially here in the province for example Zambia Breweries, they have only one agent for soft drinks and one agent for beers in the whole Chipata district. This obviously requires small business operating far from the town centre travel distances to acquire their commodities," he said.
Nyirenda also said Lafarge Cement, until two weeks ago, had only one agent in Chipata.
And Taima said the government wanted to ensure that the private sector had an opportunity to do business, thereby adding value to the country.
He urged the business community in the province to initiate business ventures that the government would support.
Taima said the private sector in Eastern Province should take advantage of the neighbouring countries by doing meaningful business.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Written by Administrator
FINANCE minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane has unveiled a K16.71 trillion budget for next year but retained the 2009 theme of Enhancing Growth through Competitiveness and Diversification aimed at economic diversification. But Dr Musokotwane has not mentioned anything on the mining industry despite calls by many Zambians for the re-enactment of the windfall mining tax and on measures to cushion the formal sector from paying huge taxes as well as broadening the tax revenue to include the informal sector.
He has proposed to increase allocation to the agriculture and livestock sectors to K1.139 trillion from K1.096 trillion allocated in 2009, but this is because of the creation of a separate Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries, that would have its own minister and related administrative structures.
Dr Musokotwane also proposed a 26.4 per cent increase of allocation to the education sector to K3.320 trillion from K2.628 trillion that was allocated in 2009 while the health sector would be allocated K1.36 trillion from K1.82 trillion.
He also proposed to revise Pay As You Earn (PAYE) by increasing the non-taxable monthly income threshold from K700,000 to K800,000 while leaving the tax bands unchanged.
Under value added tax (VAT) that still stands at 16 per cent, Dr Musokotwane has proposed to remove import duty and zero rate insecticide treated curtains because malaria is the number one killer disease in Zambia and that the measure would result in minimal revenue loss.
He has also proposed to remove customs duty on cranes and garbage dumpers in order to reduce capital items for businesses that support the Keep Zambia and Clean and health campaign and the measure would result in a revenue loss of K4.2 billion.
Presenting the budget to the National Assembly, Dr Musokotwane said the government planned to spend K16.71 trillion in 2010 which is 22.5 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimated at about K70 trillion.
He said of the total budget, government would raise domestic revenues of K12.1 trillion or 72.4 per cent of GDP and K2.42 trillion or 14.5 per cent of GDP would be received as grants from cooperating partners.
The balance of K2.184 trillion or 13.1 per cent would be financed through domestic borrowing of K1.48 trillion and foreign borrowing of K697.1 billion.
Nevertheless, Dr Musokotwane said government’s macroeconomic objectives for 2010 would be to limit domestic borrowing to two per cent of GDP, exceed five per cent economic growth and to reduce year-end inflation to eight per cent.
He said the General Public Services would account for the largest share of the budget at 32.1 per cent or K5.36 trillion.
“This is slightly higher than the 31.8 per cent share in 2009, as result of the need to finance certain key expenditures such as voter and national registration at a cost of K128.5 billion, the national census at a cost of K97.6 billion and the constitution making process at K50 billion, these allocations are essential and are a demonstration to this government’s commitment to the democratic process,” Dr Musokotwane said.
Other expenditure allocations include defence at 7.9 per cent or K1.32 trillion from K 1.068 trillion in 2009, public order and safety at 4.6 per cent or K771.5 billion from K610 billion in 2009, economic affairs at K3.21 trillion from K3.021 trillion in 2009.
Under public financial management, Dr Musokotwane proposed to increase allocations to the offices of the Auditor General and Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) to equip them with human capital and operational resources needed to effectively carry out their mandates.
He said the government would move swiftly to introduce a financial intelligence unit to enhance the fight against financial crime.
Dr Musokotwane said a single treasury account would be introduced in 2010 to further improve budget execution and cash management of public finances.
“By streamlining financial management we will reduce the amount of idle balances held across hundreds of accounts at commercial banks, which are accruing unnecessary bank charges. In addition, planning and budgeting legislation will be introduced in conformity with the constitutional amendment,” he said.
He said the government views the improved performance of agriculture and livestock as one of its most powerful tools to reduce poverty and stem the rural urban divide.
“As a demonstration of this commitment, I have increased allocation to the agriculture and livestock sectors to K1.139 trillion from K1.096 in 2009 while the revised farmer input support programme (FISP) will receive K430 billion in 2010 and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will be allocated K100 billion and K10 billion will go towards the Food Security Pack that is aimed at protecting vulnerable households from high food prices,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“To increase investment and productivity in the agriculture sector, the Nansanga Farm Block in Serenje will receive K26 billion in 2010 as additional funding to the K42.4 billion that was allocated in 2009 for developing access roads, electricity lines and water development and another K3.4 billion will be allocated to the Luena Farm Block in Kawambwa for preliminary works.”
He said the creation of the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries would ensure that full support through targeted interventions aimed at controlling animal disease and improving veterinary services.
“Through these interventions, beef will become our next copper and greater attention will also be placed on fisheries development, through the construction of aquaculture centres for the breeding of fingerlings that will be used for restocking,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“Mr Speaker, Sir, to support the livestock subsector, government will continue with the creation of disease free zones to facilitate livestock exports and K12.5 billion has been allocated and the first zone is expected to cover Central, Lusaka and parts of Copperbelt Provinces.”
On tourism, Dr Musokotwane said the sector was the most affected by the global crisis in 2009 and the government would introduce a tourism levy that would become its major source of financing.
“Sir, the focus of government intervention will be on the construction of vital infrastructure in tourism areas and in our continued efforts to transform the Northern Circuit, I have allocated K95 billion from K50.7 billion in 2009 and these funds are meant for construction of Mbala-Kasaba Bay Road, electrification of the area, reconstruction of the airport and restocking of the Nsumbu National Park,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“Sir, in addition to these allocations, I have provided K83.4 billion towards the Support to Economic Expansion and Diversification (SEED) project aimed at fostering growth in the sector. A further K6.4 billion will be used for tourism marketing activities and K6.3 billion will be used to finance operations of the National Museum Board and K4.1 billion will be allocated towards Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) and K22.4 billion will go towards construction of access roads to and within national parks.”
On manufacturing, Dr Musokotwane said government would continue to place emphasis through construction of arterial infrastructure and investment facilitation through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).
On energy, Dr Musokotwane said due to the great expense of constructing power generation and transmission facilities, government would seek private sector participation through the public-private-partnership framework.
“A number of projects have been identified and we expect to start the tendering process shortly. Public resources in 2010 will instead be focused on stepping up rural electrification, for which I have allocated K234.7 billion,” he said.
On transport and communications, Dr Musokotwane said the sector was important in reducing the cost of doing business and improving access to rural areas.
“I have allocated K1.461 trillion towards the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of our road networks in 2010, projects will include roads and bridges construction, routine maintenance and rehabilitation of airports and airstrips across the country and full details of other projects to be undertaken are available in the work plan for the Road Development Agency,” he said.
He said as a consequence of the continued uncertainty regarding the donor’s commitment to supporting the health sector, government has realigned domestic resources to mitigate shortfalls.
“Mr Speaker, following the alleged misappropriation of resources in the health sector, we have had several meetings with cooperating partners on the resumption of funding to the sector. As result of these meetings, a joint action plan was developed and agreed to determine the way forward. On its part, government has met all its obligations under the first phase of the plan and we await a favourable response from our donors,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“Sir, due to this non-commitment of resources from our cooperating partners, the allocation to the health sector has reduced by 25.3 per cent to K1.362 trillion in 2010 from the K1.823 trillion allocated in 2009. In addition, I have allocated K83.8 billion for drugs and medical supplies in 2010 and for prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS, I have allocated K33.7 billion and K20 billion will go towards the procurement of essential medical equipment.”
Other allocations for the health sector include K13.7 billion for recruitment of essential and frontline medical staff, K134 billion for continued construction, expansion and rehabilitation of 16 district hospitals and construction of staff houses.
He said the government had placed a high priority on the education and development of the Zambian child.
“Over the last five years, we have devoted substantial resources to the education sector and to continue with this policy, I have allocated K3.320 trillion to the education sector for 2010 and K553.5 billion will go towards construction of infrastructure and K21.4 billion will cater for procurement of educational materials including books and desks,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“Sir, in order to continue support to tertiary institutions, I have allocated K317.9 billion to the three public universities. Of this amount, K164.9 billion will be used to finance their operations while K30 billion will be used for infrastructure development and K114.6 billion will be used to provide bursary support to deserving students and a further K84.3 billion has been allocated to support operations and infrastructure development at TEVET institutions.”
On water and sanitation, Dr Musokotwane proposed to allocate K433.7 billion to water supply and sanitation facilities. In addition, K116.5 billion had been allocated towards the national rural water supply and sanitation programme that would go towards the construction of 1,000 boreholes, 300 demonstration pit latrines and the rehabilitation of 700 boreholes.
On public order and safety, Dr Musokotwane allocated K771.5 billion of which K37.7 billion will go toward the construction of courthouses in all nine provinces while K36.7 billion will go towards construction of police houses and expansion of infrastructure at Mwembeshi Prison.
He said the social protection sector would receive K445 billion of which K194 billion has been provided for grants to the public service pension fund to cater for early retirement from the civil service.
A further K172.7 billion has been allocated as government’s employer contribution to the fund.
On local government, Dr Musokotwane has allocated K135.3 billion as grants to councils in order to enhance decentralisation of service delivery.
“Of these resources, K69.4 billion will be disbursed as a recurrent grant to councils aimed at compensating rural councils for revenues lost from the abolition of unfair and unpopular crop levies and K100 billion has been allocated to the Constituency Development Fund,” he said.
Under revenue measures, Dr Musokotwane proposed to increase excise duty on diesel from seven per cent to 10 per cent with expected revenue gain of K58.8 billion and a carbon emissions tax on both imported and domestic motor vehicles with expected revenues of K30.5 billion.
All these measures would take effect on January 1, 2010.
He said the government was concerned about the burden taxation places on the formal sector especially those in low income brackets.
“Sir, I therefore propose to increase the PAYE exempt threshold from K700,000 per month to K800,000 per month while leaving the tax bands unchanged. This means that those earning below K800, 000 per month will be exempt from this tax and this measure will return K85 billion to the pockets of our workers,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“And to affirm our commitment to provide further relief to the differently-abled, I propose to increase their tax credit to K1,560,000 from K900,000 per annum and these measures will be effected on 1st April 2010.”
He said malaria has remained the number one killer disease in Zambia hence the move to remove import duty and zero rate insecticide treated curtains for VAT purposes.
Dr Musokotwane has proposed to remove customs duty on cranes and garbage dumpers in order to encourage investment by reducing the capital items for businesses in line with the Keep Zambia Clean and Health campaigns.
Dr Musokotwane also proposed to increase fees payable under the lands Act such as consideration fees by 50 per cent, ground rents by 80 per cent and consent fees by 100 per cent.
These measures would result in revenue gain of K11.1 billion and would become effective on January 1, 2010.
Tendai Midzi - Opinion
Fri, 09 Oct 2009 04:29:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR - One event this week attracted my attention. Finance Minister Tendai Biti was named the 'Best Finance Minister in Africa' for 2009. I am sure even the minister taken by surprise when such news was announced. He must have been shocked that he was named the best financial guru for the continent.
The accolade given by Euromoney magazine (a financial markets publication) at their 2009 Excellence Dinner, has indeed lost meaning. Infact, it either serves as a tool to further western interests in parts of the world; or is ignorant of the situation obtaining on the ground in Zimbabwe.
For Minister Biti to be named the best finance minister when there are the likes of South Africa's former finance minister Trevor Manuel, who served under the presidencies of Nelson Mandela, Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe; and Nigerian Finance Minister, Mansur Muhtar, is a total joke. He has only been in that post for eight months, and his policies, if any, are still to be appreciated.
Minister Biti, in any case, has advocated policies that were formulated by then Acting Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Reserve Bank Governor Dr. Gideon Gono. The policy of running parallel currencies, which brought inflation down, and the idea of paying stipends to civil servants are all clearly articulated in Minister Chinamasa's budget as acting minister.
We are yet to see what exactly it is that Minister Biti did to deserve such an accolade.
The western propaganda machinery has indeed gone awry. Institutions that confer such titles only discredit themselves by engaging in such mindless propaganda.
Interestingly, Minister Biti had just come from a Sunday meeting with these heavyweights. I am sure he felt relieved that the accolade was conferred after that meeting which slammed the G-20 for not allowing African countries a voice in the IMF. Otherwise, Minister Biti would have been embarassed to even mention his prize to these heavyweights.
Biti's latest accolade reminds me of the endless "human rights awards" awarded to Zimbabweans by the US and the west in the last ten years. These are meaningless awards meant to neutralise the relevance of Zanu PF as an important political party in Zimbabwe. Such accolades have become meaningless pieces of propaganda.
Thu, 08 Oct 2009 20:23:00 +0000
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has attacked the West for failing to lift illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Speaking to journalist Stephen Sackur on the BBC Programme ‘Hard Talk’ which aired today (Thursday), Mutambara said the West should be ashamed of their behaviour in supporting Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but not members of his Council of Ministers, including Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
“We want the world to give us a fighting chance,” said DPM Mutambara referring to the call for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
“We want the West to remove whatever measures, sanctions they have imposed upon companies and organisations in Zimbabwe, upon individuals.
“The individuals from Zanu are now members of Tsvangirai’s team. They are team members of Tsvangirai. So when you put sanctions against Mnangagwa, or Chinamasa or whoever from Zanu, you are ostensibly imposing sanctions on Mr Tsvangirai.”
The DPM added: “Shame on you for illogical political understanding. How can you justify imposing sanctions on the people you support?
“We do not believe there’s value whatsoever for imposing sanctions.”
Former opposition MDC parties are sharing power with President Robert Mugabe.
NOTHING UNIQUE ABOUT ZIM POWER-SHARING
The DPM quashed questions about why the two former opposition parties went into a coalition with Zanu PF.
“There’s nothing unique about what we are doing. If we can forgive the British for colonialism and slavery, why can’t we work together in Zimbabwe?” said the DPM.
“This arrangement was supported by Sadc (Southern African Development Community) and the AU. You cannot work without African support. We encourage the West to support this government.”
The DPM added, “We are on our way to the Promised Land through the GPA” and our problems “are not surmountable”.
Sackur suggested that there were structural problems in the inclusive Government, and that is why President Mugabe was still being addressed as “The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Defense Forces and Supreme Leader of Zanu PF”. In response, the DPM said the BBC cherishes bad news and does not talk about the optimism expressed by PM Tsvangirai.
“Why are you sceptical about the GPA? The leaders of Zimbabwe are the authority on Zimbabwe, not Gordon Brown, not Obama. They should listen to us. Sanctions were put to support the ‘democratic forces’ in our country and those ‘democratic forces’ are now in Government. So what purpose do these sanctions serve?”
Mutambara added that the “BBC’s logic” that the two MDC’s should walk away over “outstanding issues” was very twisted.
“The logic that we should walk away when faced with challenges, is very twisted.”
Quizzed on why there was still corruption in Zimbabwe after the formation of the inclusive Government, DPM Mutambara said, “Corruption is not unique to Zimbabwe. Corruption is a problem in every country including your own, so that’s an irrelevant question.”
KARL RITTER and MATT MOORE
10/ 9/09 10:52 AM |
Share Print CommentsOSLO — President Barack Obama won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday in a stunning decision designed to encourage his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms, ease tensions with the Muslim world and stress diplomacy and cooperation rather than unilateralism.
Many observers were shocked by the unexpected choice so early in the Obama presidency, which began less than two weeks before the Feb. 1 nomination deadline and has yet to yield concrete achievements in peacemaking.
Some around the world objected to the choice of Obama, who still oversees wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and has launched deadly counter-terror strikes in Pakistan and Somalia.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee countered that it was trying "to promote what he stands for and the positive processes that have started now." It lauded the change in global mood wrought by Obama's calls for peace and cooperation, and praised his pledges to reduce the world stock of nuclear arms, ease American conflicts with Muslim nations and strengthen the U.S. role in combating climate change.
The peace prize was created partly to encourage ongoing peace efforts but Obama's efforts are at far earlier stages than past winners'. The Nobel committee acknowledged that they may not bear fruit at all.
"He got the prize because he has been able to change the international climate," Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said. "Some people say, and I understand it, isn't it premature? Too early? Well, I'd say then that it could be too late to respond three years from now. It is now that we have the opportunity to respond – all of us."
The selection to some extent reflects a trans-Atlantic divergence on Obama. In Europe and much of the world he is lionized for bringing the United States closer to mainstream global thinking on issues like climate change and multilateralism. At home, the picture is more complicated. As president, Obama is often criticized as he attempts to carry out his agenda – drawing fire over a host of issues from government spending to health care to the conduct of the war in Afghanistan.
U.S. Republican Party Chairman Michael Steele contended that Obama won the prize as a result of his "star power" rather than meaningful accomplishments.
Story continues below
"The real question Americans are asking is, What has President Obama actually accomplished?" Steele said.
Obama's election and foreign policy moves caused a dramatic improvement in the image of the U.S. around the world. A 25-nation poll of 27,000 people released in July by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found double-digit boosts to the percentage of people viewing the U.S. favorably in countries around the world. That indicator had plunged across the world under President George W. Bush.
"Only very rarely has a person to the same extent as Obama captured the world's attention and given its people hope for a better future," Jagland said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has made no secret of his admiration for Obama, called the decision the embodiment of the "return of America into the hearts of the people of the world."
But Obama's work is far from done, on numerous fronts.
He said he would end the Iraq war but has been slow to bring the troops home and the real end of the U.S. military presence there won't come until at least 2012.
He's running a second war in the Muslim world, in Afghanistan – and is seriously considering ramping up the number of U.S. troops on the ground and asking for help from others, too.
"I don't think Obama deserves this. I don't know who's making all these decisions. The prize should go to someone who has done something for peace and humanity," said Ahmad Shabir, 18-year-old student in Kabul. "Since he is the president, I don't see any change in U.S. strategy in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan."
Obama has said that battling climate change is a priority. But the U.S. seems likely to head into crucial international negotiations set for Copenhagen in December with Obama-backed legislation still stalled in Congress.
Former Polish President Lech Walesa, who won the prize in 1983, questioned whether Obama deserved it now.
"So soon? Too early. He has no contribution so far. He is still at an early stage. He is only beginning to act," Walesa said.
"This is probably an encouragement for him to act. Let's see if he perseveres. Let's give him time to act," Walesa said.
Last year's prize winner, former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, saw the award as vindication that Obama "is ready to seriously seek a solution to the question of Israel and Palestine," he told Finnish broadcaster YLE.
"Of course, this puts pressure on Obama. The world expects that he will also achieve something," Ahtisaari said.
Unlike the other Nobel Prizes, which are awarded by Swedish institutions, the peace prize is given out by a five-member committee elected by the Norwegian Parliament. Like the Parliament, the committee has a leftist slant, with three members elected by left-of-center parties. Jagland said the decision to honor Obama was unanimous.
The award appeared to be at least partly a slap at Bush from a committee that harshly criticized Obama's predecessor for his largely unilateral military action in the wake of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. The Nobel committee praised Obama's creation of "a new climate in international politics" and said he had returned multilateral diplomacy and institutions like the U.N. to the center of the world stage.
"You have to remember that the world has been in a pretty dangerous phase," Jagland said. "And anybody who can contribute to getting the world out of this situation deserves a Nobel Peace Prize."
Until seconds before the award, speculation had focused on a wide variety of candidates besides Obama: Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a Colombian senator, a Chinese dissident and an Afghan woman's rights activist, among others. The Nobel committee received a record 205 nominations for this year's prize, though it was not immediately apparent who nominated Obama.
"The exciting and important thing about this prize is that it's given to someone ... who has the power to contribute to peace," Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa, who won the prize in 1984, said Obama's award shows great things are expected from him in coming years.
"It's an award coming near the beginning of the first term of office of a relatively young president that anticipates an even greater contribution towards making our world a safer place for all," Tutu said. "It is an award that speaks to the promise of President Obama's message of hope."
Obama is the third sitting U.S. president to win the award: President Theodore Roosevelt won in 1906 and President Woodrow Wilson was awarded the prize in 1919.
Wilson received the prize for his role in founding the League of Nations, the hopeful but ultimately failed precursor to the contemporary United Nations.
The Nobel committee chairman said after awarding the 2002 prize to former Democratic President Jimmy Carter, for his mediation in international conflicts, that it should be seen as a "kick in the leg" to the Bush administration's hard line in the buildup to the Iraq war.
Five years later, the committee honored Bush's adversary in the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore, for his campaign to raise awareness about global warming.
In July talks in Moscow, Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev agreed that their negotiators would work out a new limit on delivery vehicles for nuclear warheads of between 500 and 1,100. They also agreed that warhead limits would be reduced from the current range of 1,700-2,200 to as low as 1,500. The United States now has about 2,200 such warheads, compared to about 2,800 for the Russians.
But there has been no word on whether either side has started to act on the reductions.
Former Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said Obama has already provided outstanding leadership in the effort to prevent nuclear proliferation.
"In less than a year in office, he has transformed the way we look at ourselves and the world we live in and rekindled hope for a world at peace with itself," ElBaradei said. "He has shown an unshakable commitment to diplomacy, mutual respect and dialogue as the best means of resolving conflicts."
Obama also has attempted to restart stalled talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, but just a day after Obama hosted the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in New York, Israeli officials boasted that they had fended off U.S. pressure to halt settlement construction. Moderate Palestinians said they felt undermined by Obama's failure to back up his demand for a freeze.
Obama was to meet with his top advisers on the Afghan war on Friday to consider a request by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, to send as many as 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as the U.S war there enters its ninth year.
Obama ordered 21,000 additional troops to Afghanistan earlier this year and has continued the use of unmanned drones for attacks on militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan, a strategy devised by the Bush administration. The attacks often kill or injure civilians living in the area.
Nominators for the prize include former laureates; current and former members of the committee and their staff; members of national governments and legislatures; university professors of law, theology, social sciences, history and philosophy; leaders of peace research and foreign affairs institutes; and members of international courts of law.
In his 1895 will, Alfred Nobel stipulated that the peace prize should go "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between the nations and the abolition or reduction of standing armies and the formation and spreading of peace congresses."
The committee has taken a wide interpretation of Nobel's guidelines, expanding the prize beyond peace mediation to include efforts to combat poverty, disease and climate change.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee decided not to inform Obama before the announcement because it didn't want to wake him up, committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.
"Waking up a president in the middle of the night, this isn't really something you do," Jagland said.
Associated Press writers Ian MacDougall in Oslo, Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Celean Jacobson in Johannesburg, George Jahn in Vienna, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw, Poland, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki and Jennifer Loven in Washington contributed to this report.
On the Net:
The visiting South West African People’s Organisation delegation has accused Western countries of creating reactionary political parties in futile attempts to dislodge liberation movements in Southern Africa from power and replace them with puppet regimes.
The three-member delegation led by Swapo secretary- general and Namibian Justice Minister Cde Pendukeni Ithana, met senior Zanu-PF officials at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday.
They exchanged notes and shared experiences the revolutionary political parties have gone through over the years.
The Swapo delegation later paid a courtesy call on Acting President Joice Mujuru, who briefed the members on the formation of the inclusive Government and the progress it has achieved so far.
Briefing journalists after the closed-door meeting, Cde Ithana said: "I came to pay a courtesy call on her to link up on many issues of interest both to the Government of Zimbabwe and government of Namibia, to Swapo and Zanu-PF. We are interested in following progress being made in the inclusive Government here."
She also updated Acting President Mujuru on Swapo’s preparations for elections set for November 27 and 28 this year.
During a meeting with senior Zanu-PF officials earlier, Cde Ithana bemoaned imperialist machinations in Southern Africa.
"The onslaught is not only on Zimbabwe, but it merely started in Zimbabwe. Western imperialists are looking at a formula to eliminate former liberation movements from power. We need to learn through every experience we have gone through," Cde Ithana said.
She accused Western imperialists of moving around the continent creating reactionary political parties.
The ruling Swapo secretary-general, said the West’s attention was on Southern Africa because of the region’s vast mineral resources.
Cde Ithana said the imperialists were refusing to give up despite attainment of political independence by the region.
"They are refusing to give up . . . They are still holding our countries at ransom because of our resources. We should organise ourselves to have economic independence so that we become stronger and resist their attempt to isolate us," she said.
Cde Ithana said Western countries united to impose illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe and coerced other countries to isolate Harare, warning the region to guard against such machinations.
"They were going around forcing countries to abandon Zimbabwe. What may happen to Zimbabwe may happen to Namibia," she said.
Cde Ithana hailed relations between Swapo and Zanu-PF.
"You will know that Swapo and Zanu-PF are sister parties that have shared so many things for a long time. During the liberation struggle, we shared the trenches and after independence, we continue to be allies and comrades. We occasionally visit each other and share experiences," she said.
Zanu-PF secretary for administration Cde Didymus Mutasa described Swapo’s visit as the best thing ever to happen to Zanu-PF.
"We are happy she is here during this time when we are affected by Western sanctions," he said.
Cde Mutasa condemned the West for imposing illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe saying these amounted to violation of human rights. He hailed relations between Zanu-PF and Swapo.
The delegation later toured the National Heroes’ Acre, where it laid a wreath on the tomb of the unknown soldier.
The Zimbabwe Youth Council yesterday opened its annual Children’s Parliamentary Session in Harare which will run until Saturday, culminating in a national youth debate.
The debate, to be held under the theme "Zimbabwe fit for children and youth: A call for Accelerated Action towards their survival and empowerment", will give young people an opportunity to discuss issues affecting their lives such as education, skills and professional training, health delivery, national healing, constitution-making and employment creation.
In a statement yesterday, ZYC communications officer Mr Tanzikwa Guranungo said the debate would increase awareness on children’s rights and raise concern on pertinent issues and challenges that affect minors. He said President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Cabinet Ministers, Government officials, media, students, and child and youth-oriented organisations had been invited to the debate.
"The session will also seek practical input for effective programming and implementation by policy-makers and communities as well as improve interacting and information sharing among children of various backgrounds ranging from ordinary, vulnerable and the disadvantaged.
"It will also enable children and young people to interact with people holding contextual leadership positions in the country," he said.
Mr Guranungo said Child Parliamentarians had been selected on the basis of speech competency through public speaking competitions held at constituency level.
"Apart from being able to articulate well on the theme, candidates are also expected to have an appreciation of child and youth development issues," he said.
The Child President is from Matabeleland North Province with the two Vice Presidents coming from Masvingo and Mashonaland West provinces.
The Child Prime Minister is from Manicaland while the two deputies are from Matabeleland South and Mashonaland East provinces.
The Child President of the Senate is from Midlands while the Speaker post is held by Harare.
The Children’s Parliament Programme arose from the Day of the African Child whose roots can be traced to the June 16, 1976 Soweto massacre when hundreds of South African pupils were butchered by the apartheid regime while protesting the introduction of Afrikaans as a compulsory school subject.
In Zimbabwe, the concept of a Children’s Parliament was adopted principally to provide a platform for children to raise their views, concerns and aspirations on issues that affect them and the nation in general.
The first session of the Children’s Parliament was held in 1991 and over the years, the institution has been transformed from being a ceremonial one into a fully-fledged programme that operates throughout the year.
By Fidel Castro Ruz
LAST October 1st commemorated the 60th anniversary of the Peoples’ Republic of China.
On that historic day in 1949, Mao Zedong presided over the first parade of the Peoples’ Army and the people of China in Tiananmen Square as leader of the Communist Party of China. The victorious soldiers were carrying the weapons taken in combat from the invaders, oligarchs and traitors to their country.
At the end of WWII the United States, one of the powers that had sustained the least amount of material losses in the war, was monopolising the nuclear weapon and more than 80 percent of the world’s gold while enjoying considerable industrial and agricultural development.
The victorious Revolution in a country as huge as China, in the year 1949, nurtured the hopes of a great number of colonised countries, many of which would not take much longer in shaking off the imposed yoke.
Lenin had foreseen the imperialist phase of developed capitalism and the role of the colonised countries’ struggle in world history. The triumph of the Chinese Revolution came as a confirmation of that prediction.
The Peoples’ Republic of Korea was created in the year 1948. The first commemoration of the Chinese victory was attended by representatives of the USSR, the country that had contributed more than 20 million lives to the war against Fascism; by those in the Peoples’ Republic of Korea, which had been occupied by Japan, and by the Vietnamese combatants who, after fighting against the Japanese, were heroically fighting the French attempt to once again colonise Vietnam, this time with the support of the United States.
At that time, nobody would have thought that less than four years after that memorable date, with no other link than their ideas, in far-off Cuba the attack on the Moncada Barracks on July 26, 1953 would take place, and just nine years after the liberation of China, the Cuban Revolution would triumph 90 miles away from the imperialist metropolis.
It is in the light of these events that I watched with particular interest the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Chinese Revolution. Our friendship with that centuries old culture, the most ancient of civilisations known to man, is well known.
In the nineteenth century, tens of thousands of Chinese citizens were sent to our country practically as slaves, duped by the English merchants. Many of them joined the Liberation Army and fought for our independence. However, our ties with China draw from the Marxist ideas that inspired the Cuban Revolution and passed the difficult test of divisions between the two great Socialist states that caused such damage to the world revolutionary movement.
In the challenging days of the Soviet demise, China, along with Vietnam, Laos and Korea, maintained its fraternal relations and solidarity with Cuba. They were the only four countries that, together with Cuba, held the Socialist banners high during the dark days when the United States, NATO, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were imposing neoliberalism and plundering the world.
History cannot be ignored. In spite of the enormous contribution of the people of China and the political and military strategy of Mao in the struggle against Japanese Fascism, the United States disregarded and isolated the government of the most densely populated country on the planet and deprived it of its right to participate in the United Nations Security Council; it stepped in with its troops to prevent the liberation of Taiwan, an island belonging to China; it supported and supplied the remains of an army whose leader had betrayed all the agreements signed in the struggle against the Japanese invaders during WWII. Taiwan received and still receives the most modern weaponry from the US war industry.
The US not only deprived China of its legitimate rights but it also intervened in the internal Korean conflict, sending its forces in at the head of a military coalition that defiantly moved forward getting close to the vital points of that great country, and threatened to use nuclear weapons against China whose people had made such a contribution to the Japanese defeat.
The Party and the heroic people of China did not hesitate in the face of the crude threats. Hundreds of thousands of Chinese volunteer combatants launched a vigorous counterattack and made the Yankee forces retreat back to today’s border between the two Koreas. Hundreds of thousands of valiant internationalists Chinese and an equal number of Korean patriots died or were wounded in that bloody war. Later on, the Yankee Empire would kill millions of Vietnamese.
On October 1, 1949, upon its proclamation as the Peoples’ Republic, China had no nuclear weapons or any of the advanced military technology it has today, with which it does not threaten any country.
What would the West say now? The mainstream US Press was, in general, hostile. Its major newspapers headlined their editorials with such phrases as: "…little interest for ideology", "…a show of power", "Communist China celebrates its 60 years with a military show."
Nevertheless, it was not possible to ignore the struggle. All the media were reiterating the idea that it was a show of power. The news especially focused on the pictures of the military parade.
They were not hiding their admiration for the wide broadcasting of the parade that Chinese TV offered up for international public opinion.
It did not go unnoticed; rather, it was cause for amazement that China would present 52 new types of weapons, among them the latest generation of combat vehicles, amphibious vehicles, radars, reconnaissance planes and sophisticated communications equipment.
The media highlighted the presence of the DF-31 intercontinental missiles that can strike with nuclear warheads targets located 6 250 miles away, as well as the medium-range missiles and the anti-missile defences.
The 151 fighter planes, the heavy bombers, the modern means of air surveillance and helicopters took by surprise the avid newshounds and military technicians. "The Chinese army now has most of the sophisticated weapons that make up the arsenals of western countries", was a statement made by the Chinese Defence Minister and highlighted by the western Press.
The 500 armoured vehicles and the 60 civilian floats that paraded in front of the mausoleum caused a mighty impact.
The advanced technology was irrefutable proof of the developed military capacity that had started from scratch some decades ago. What was unbeatable was the human factor. No developed western country could have reached the level of precision and organisation shown by China that day. With a certain scornful tone, officers and soldiers were described as marching at a pace of 115 goose-steps per minute.
The various forces that paraded there, men and women did so with unparallelled distinction and elegance. Anyone would find it hard to believe that thousands of human beings could reach such perfect organisation. Both the people on foot and those in their vehicles marched past the stand and saluted with hard-to-achieve precision, order and military demeanour.
If such qualities seemed to be the result of military discipline and rigorous practice, more than 150 000 citizens of that huge hive of civilians, mainly young men and women, were a surprise for their capacity to reach en masse the level of organisation and perfection attained by their armed compatriots.
The beginning of the celebration and the saluting of the troops by the Head of State and Secretary General of the Communist Party was impressive. One could notice the deep bonds between the leadership and the people.
Hu Jintao’s speech was short and precise. In just under 10 minutes he expressed many ideas. On that day he surpassed Barack Obama’s gift for synthesis. When he speaks, he represents almost five times more population than the president of the United States.
He doesn’t have to shut down torture centres nor is he at war with any other state; he doesn’t send his soldiers more than 6 250 miles away to intervene and kill with sophisticated war means; he doesn’t have hundreds of military bases in other countries or powerful fleets sailing the seven seas; he does not owe trillions of dollars or in the midst of an enormous international financial crisis offers the world the co-operation of a country whose economy is not in recession and keeps growing at a high rate.
Essential ideas communicated by the president of China:
"On a day like today 60 years ago, after more than one hundred years of bloody battles waged from the onset of modern history, the Chinese people finally achieved the great victory of the Chinese Revolution and President Mao Zedong proclaimed, on this very spot, the founding of the Peoples’ Republic of China thus allowing the Chinese people to stand tall from that moment on, and the Chinese nation, with a more than 5 000-year history of civilisation, to enter a new era of development and progress."
"The development and progress achieved in the 60 years of the New China has fully shown that only socialism can save China and that only reform and opening can lead to the development of China, socialism and Marxism. The Chinese people have the necessary confidence and capacity to build their country well and to make their due contribution to the world."
"We adhere firmly to the principles of peaceful reunification…"
"…We shall continue to work, alongside the different peoples of the world, to promote the noble cause of peace and the development of humankind as well as the building of a harmonious world based on lasting peace and common prosperity."
"History has taught us that the path forward is never smooth, but that a united people that take their future in their own hands will certainly overcome all difficulties, continuously creating great historical epics."
These are categorical answers to the war mongering and threatening policies of the empire.
l The writer, Commandant Fidel Castro Ruz, is the former president of Cuba and founder of the Cuban revolution. This article is published courtesy of the Cuban Embassy in Harare
Labels: FIDEL CASTRO
Written by Editor
Government leaderships, due to their multiple tasks in the state apparatus as well as in their political parties, can fall, and in fact in some countries, have fallen into a state of great detachment from the masses. As a result, they have been ignorant of the state of mind of the masses.
Has Rupiah Banda and his government fallen into this? Has their leadership been surprised at any point by concerns of the population that weren’t detected in time? Is Rupiah’s government free from that danger that has brought so many difficulties in other countries?
There appears, in our view, to be no continuous contact with the masses on Rupiah’s part. And whatever contact is there seems to be at the abstract level and not in a very concrete manner.
And besides that, the ruling party - the MMD - has not taken care to establish permanent links with the totality of the population, so that their problems and judgments reach Rupiah or the high levels of leadership as rapidly and as accurately as possible.
In this sense, the ruling party is a bad political instrument, and we would say that it needs to do a lot to improve its political linkages with the masses. There is need for the ruling party to engage in wider political activity, concern itself with the problems of the people, of the masses in general, perceive their concerns and transmit them to the leadership of the government.
As things stand today, there isn’t a permanent barometer of the feelings and judgments of our people. It’s very clear that criticism has not yet reached a maturation point. There is sometimes a certain inhibition, an excessive caution in the exercise of criticism, motivated by the desire to keep one’s job, not to be seen to be irresponsible or disruptive, which would not be, in any way, an adequate way of projecting the feelings and judgments of society.
There is need to promote meaningful participation. And the decisive factors in terms of the participation of the people in the transformation of their society reside in the raising of the cultural and political levels of the masses. We have to realise that the present processes of guiding society are very complex. These are not the times of the Greek agora, where the decisions that had to be adopted were few and relatively simple. The scientific-technical revolution imposes demands that tend to elevate the role of technocrats.
Planning, for example, involves a number of technical decisions. If all segments of society were to participate in them, they would need a level of scientific understanding of the economy greater than what our people have achieved with only a seventh grade education. A society that achieves adequate cultural and technical levels will reach a more complete and mature form of self-government than a society of illiterate or semi-literate people.
We have a serious problem in this area. To the extent that criticism is insufficient and superficial and to the extent that transmission channels are not fully utilised, it is possible that certain problems do not strike the leaders’ sensitivities with the necessary rapidity. And this is a grave problem in our country today. There are so many cases in which negative phenomena, which have been rejected by the population nationally, do not reach the leadership sooner than later or if it reaches the leadership, it is ignored because the leadership has a different understanding or interests.
And it will be wise for us to take seriously the advice of Nelson Mandela on this score: “A leadership commits a crime against its own people if it hesitates to sharpen its political weapons which have become less effective…it is important to surround yourself with strong and independent personalities, who will tell you when you are getting old.”
It is clear to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear that Rupiah is at sea. He doesn’t seem to know where he is headed, and that is dangerous. Rupiah’s great achievement since he became president seems to be directionless leadership: he seems to be in control, as Ronnie Shikapwasha was saying the other day, but no one knows where he is leading. Every one of us makes mistakes in whatever we do.
But few people have been consistently wrong on all the great issues that faced our nation over the last 10 months or so, as Rupiah has been. We have doubts that Rupiah can adequately define the purpose of his government. What seems to guide Rupiah is the leisure of being president, the travelling and all sorts of merriments that accompany this job. And to us, this is not a recipe for governing well.
One cannot run a country forever on such lines. The man is enjoying a long holiday and doesn’t care much to know what is going on. And all that he wants to hear every day is that all is well except for the malice of a few disgruntled elements at The Post, in PF and UPND. That’s all he wants to hear. The rest, he doesn’t want to hear. He doesn’t want to hear the truth that is coming from George Mpombo’s mouth.
Rupiah doesn’t want to listen to the good advice that is coming from the leadership of the Catholic Church; he doesn’t want to listen to sensible politicians like Charles Milupi. Rupiah is truly that emperor Danish poet and author Hans Christian Andersen was talking about in the Emperor’s New Clothes. This is the emperor who cared more about entertainment than his duties and hired two swindlers to create a new suit of clothes for him. And the swindlers told him that the clothes would be invisible to anyone who is either stupid or unfit for his position. This stupid emperor could not see the non-existent clothes, but pretended that he was seeing them for fear of appearing stupid and his ministers and advisors did the same. When the clothes were finished, the emperor went on a procession showing his new clothes until a small child cried out, “the Emperor is naked.”
However the stupid emperor held his head high and continued the procession. This is what is happening to Rupiah and those around him. When one meets them in privacy, they admit and confess that all is not well, there is confusion and chaos around Rupiah. Meet any of them if they trust you enough, they will tell you that. But they never tell Rupiah that. Why? It’s simply because they don’t want to lose their jobs and Rupiah’s favour. This is how Rupiah is living and governing the country today. All he is told is what he wants to hear, he is never told what he doesn’t want to know. And what he doesn’t want to know is that things are not well in the country; that there are problems with his approach to governance. And one good example of this is his claim against us that we had pocketed US $30 million from state institutions through Zambian Airways to build and purchase houses and strange cars. His investigative agencies have done everything possible and have not discovered any wrongdoing on our part; they have not found a single ngwee or cent that has been received by us in any way from any state institution through Zambian Airways. When we meet them in privacy, they tell us all these things and confess that their investigations have yielded nothing against us. But they can’t tell the Zambian emperor this because it is not what he wants to hear. They would rather call press conferences and claim they are making progress in their investigations; that their investigations have reached an advanced stage and all sorts of other lies that the emperor wants to hear. This is how our country is being governed today. This is a recipe for disaster because when they run into trouble, they have serious difficulties accepting the realities on the ground and they become vicious, trying to accuse innocent citizens of all sorts of crimes to cover up their own failures. And in this way, they start to rely heavily on the police to solve the political and social problems they have created. We know that a leader who relies on the police to solve what are clearly political or social problems is bound to come to grief.
As we have already explained, we note in the conduct and expression of certain diverse elements of our nation signs of the same weakness that were exhibited by that stupid emperor and those who surrounded him, of the poverty of spirit and timid psychology of the fainthearted which flourishes in times of trouble. It comes as no surprise that among those inclined to fall prey to this are those who avoid facing up to problems because they are more concerned about retaining the positions they hold in government or the ruling party than about the needs of the people they are supposed to serve. With this type of approach, it is not possible to have the active involvement and participation of the masses in all areas that affect their lives, in the expansion and deepening of genuine democracy.
And in case there were to remain any doubts among those who are so naïve as to take pleasure in deceiving themselves or allowing themselves to be deceived or to bury their heads in the sand in the ostrich style and think by so doing, the problems they are facing will go away, they are headed for a rude awakening. Whoever doesn’t see it that way is near-sighted. Whoever doesn’t see it that way is blind. Whoever doesn’t see it that way is a naked emperor or his aide.
But what is happening is not accidental. This is the way Rupiah wants it to be. He doesn’t want to know and be disturbed by the problems that are going on. And that’s why he only wants to hear that which is favourable to him. Clearly, Rupiah’s actions in these matters are not the product of oversight nor are they unconscious, but rather they are deliberate and conscious. Rupiah has simply allowed himself to be blinded by personal ambition, love for power and its sweetness. As a result of this, he has created a series of problems, in a word, he has created veritable chaos in the nation. And as such his leadership is infested with flatterers and fawners, with position seekers.