Saturday, October 17, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009, 16:40
POLICE in Mpulungu have denied granting a permit to PF-UPND pact cadres who had wanted to hold a solidarity march to celebrate their victory in Kasama Central. The cadres were yesterday planning to hold celebrations slated for today for their Kasama Central by – election victory but their plans were thwarted by police in the area.
In a statement co-signed by the pact’s district chairman Reuben Chisenga and District Secretary Muchinzi Mwazya, the two party officials stated that the solidarity march would not go ahead as planned.
And in a separate interview, Mr Mwazya expressed disappointment that police had infringed on their constitutional rights to assemble and freely express their feelings by denying them a permit.
He dismissed some of the reasons advanced by police to deny them a permit as flimsy.
Mr Mwazya, who also the Pact Secretary, said among the many reasons given by police were that the celebrations could have triggered a counter reaction from MMD cadres that could have endangered peace in the township.
He however noted that a celebration was not a protest of any kind and felt that police had treated his members unfairly because if MMD had won, they would have been allowed to celebrate without any restrictions.
Mr Mwazya also pointed out that it wouldn’t have been possible for the PF-UPND pact to have given police a seven day notice in advance as they were claiming because it was not clear who would emerge victorious in Kasama.
” The PF-UPND pact will now watch closely and with interest on how police will react if MMD wins any by-election in the near future. We shall closely observe how they are going to handle such a case,” Mr Mwazya stated.
Mwazya appealed to police to be professional and discharge their duties in the public interest.
He further added that his members were saddened because they had been denied a chance to celebrate together with their colleagues in Kasama, saying the Kasama central by- election was an important victory for the PF-UPND pact.
Efforts to get a comment from police in the area proved futile by press time.
The PF-UPND pact’s candidate Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba on Friday won the Kasama central by-election with 10 688 votes and was followed by MMD’s Burton Mugala who got 4184 votes.
Madluphuthu Khumalo - Opinion
Sat, 17 Oct 2009 01:41:00 +0000
I DO not know if there is anyone who was surprised to read about Minister Sipepa Nkomo of MDC-T insulting and denigrating our national hero, the late Vice-President Dr Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo, recently.
That is MDC-T for you. The party consists of political opportunists who sing the empty “Mugabe must go” rhetoric without any tangible solution thereafter. It is well known that when MDC split in October 2005, Sipepa Nkomo remained with the party, the MDC faction led by Professor Arthur Mutambara, when
Tsvangirai took his jacket and left the party with his bootlickers and kitchen cabinet.
Sipepa Nkomo even contested for the senatorial seat in Tsholotsho on an MDC ticket only to be thrashed by a Zanu PF candidate. He then defected to MDC-T.
I must say that having many political parties in Matabeleland is not enhancing democracy in this region, because it divides our leadership on party lines. So some of our leaders such as Prof Welshman Ncube, Dumiso Dabengwa, Gibson Sibanda, Joshua Malinga, Paul Themba-Nyathi, Moses Mzila-Ndlovu, just to mention a few, would not work together for the betterment of Matabeleland.
But for Sipepa Nkomo to insult Father Zimbabwe and pretend to be representing Matabeleland is an insult and an embarrassment. Even if we admit that Matabeleland region does not need many political parties, MDC-T is not a political party with Matabeleland people at heart; therefore we do not need it.
How many politicians worth their salt are in MDC-T Matabeleland region? Truly speaking they are all turncoats who were either defeated in internal party elections in MDC or were facing disciplinary action, and later defected to MDC-T to avoid embarrassment or sanctions.
MDC-T’s agenda is to destroy Matabeleland’s culture and heritage. It all started with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai himself when people of Matabeleland were complaining that civil servants, especially teachers, deployed in primary schools should be locals to avoid language barriers.
He accused people of Matabeleland of wanting to remain being “villagers” and in “paddocks” and he said there was nothing wrong with people learning local languages and working anywhere in the country. Unfortunately he himself cannot speak isiNdebele. Matabeleland people were simply saying that their young children should be taught by people who understand their languages and culture.
Secondly when Minister Sekai Holland insulted our King Mzilikazi, Sipepa Nkomo and other MDC-T politicians from Matabeleland remained quiet, so that they do not anger their principal who appointed them into Cabinet. If they respect the people of Matabeleland who they purport to represent, they were supposed to protest there and then to PM Tsvangirai to fire Minister Holland without delay.
But unfortunately some people from this region are the ones who walk at night like witches and wizards to console Minister Holland, giving her advice that she must not apologise for her unbecoming remarks on our king but remain mum.
Some of them, together with their surrogates have, I am told, even written letters to PM Tsvangirai giving him the so-called legal advice against firing Sekai Holland. What legal advice?
A minister can be dropped and replaced any minute without any problems. There will not be any legal complications if PM Tsvangirai, as the Prime Minister, advises President Mugabe, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, that they are withdrawing Minister Holland from the Government and replacing her with somebody else.
The President would only make an announcement as a formality. Anyway whose interest is she serving by insulting our king? What national healing is she promoting by insulting other people? She is not fit to be a minister, moreso of National Healing.
Therefore one would be forgiven for saying MDC-T is a political accident made into being by people’s anger and would not offer anything to Matabeleland. MDC-T politicians are a bunch of opportunists who accuse Zanu-PF of “wrongdoing” but at the same time are not clean themselves.
One recent event highlights that. A few of the Prime Minister’s closest aides recently amended their party constitution in luxurious offices to remove the restrictions on presidential terms, thereby giving PM Tsvangirai an effective life presidency. It is very sad especially coming from a party which says it is bringing a “new order on good governance” to the country.
In countries which practise democracy and good governance both Ministers Holland and Sipepa Nkomo would have resigned from government for vomiting their poisonous venom in public although we know that it is in fact, their way of thinking.
Some of the MDC-T ministers also tell journalists not to bother them on weekends and after working hours because they would be “off-duty”, enjoying themselves.
What an insult! A public servant who was elected by the people, now telling them not to bother him with issues affecting them, especially health matters! For sure MDC-T is a political accident not a political party.
As Matabeleland people, we demand that PM Tsvangirai remove both Ministers Holland and Sipepa Nkomo as ministers because they are a disgrace to the nation.
Also the Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr Henry Madzorera, should be cautioned for telling journalists not to seek comment from him during weekends because, according to him, he would be off-duty.
He must be reminded that as long as one is a public servant, off-days and weekends are a luxury the country cannot afford for now and forever.
May people of Zimbabwe respect our heroes such as Mzilikazi, Lobengula and Joshua Nkomo. As people of Matabeleland, we are here because of them; therefore let us not insult them to solicit favours from other people. - The Chronicle
Sat, 17 Oct 2009 09:53:00 +0000
THE Movement for Democratic Change party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to "disengage" from the inclusive Government. This is very unfortunate. It shows a lack of foresight and direction in that party which purports to represent the wishes of the Zimbabwean people. Critics say it is the "Bennett Affair" which made the MDC-T take this crucial stance.
The incarceration of Roy Bennett has threatened the welfare of millions of Zimbabweans; despite the fact that many other MDC-T members and MPs have been arrested, charged and jailed over the past year on various offences ranging from rape to kidnapping.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who doubles as the Secretary General of the MDC-T, spent months in Chikurubi prison. There was no outcry from the party, nor a boycott of talks. PM Tsvangirai's aide, Ghandhi Mudzingwa and other MDC-T members are still in lockdown; but they seem less important figures that Roy Bennett.
The MDC-T party holds very crucial portfolios in the inclusive Government, which if compromised could affect the welfare of Zimbabwean people.
President Robert Mugabe should now hasten to make alternative acting ministerial appointments until such a time when the MDC-T party decides to "re-engage", especially in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.
Surely the party does not expect Zimbabwe to go without these two crucial ministries, even for a day. The appointments of Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank Governor, made before the formation of the inclusive Government, were made at a time when the MDC-T was dithering on entering into government with Zanu PF. The country could not have gone without these crucial posts.
There are crucial executive decisions that need to be made and meetings to be attended to by the leadership in these crucial ministries.
Zimbabwean people cannot be held at ransom by a political party that decides to sulk over "outstanding issues" that a few weeks ago PM Tsvangirai called "not insurmountable".
MDC-T represents a significant chunk of the Zimbabwean electorate, but not all Zimbabweans. It should, therefore, not make decisions on behalf of all groups in the country that depend on these crucial ministries
Just a week ago, PM Tsvangirai told reproters in the northern Spanish city of Valladolid where he was due to receive a prize for lifetime achievement, that he had a good working relationship with President Mugabe and called for relations between the European Union and Zimbabwe to be normalised.
He also appealed to the EU to start pouring development aid into the country as opposed to humanitarian aid. One wonders what could have changed in a matter of a week.
On his return to Zimbabwe on Friday, PM Tsvangirai said people could live in peace in Zimbabwe since the formation of the inclusive Government.
He said that while there were some "toxic issues" for the government, the MDC-T party "will make progress working with the veteran president and eventually be elected in its own right" and that "now people can live in peace" in Zimbabwe.
"Progress is gradual and it cannot be an event. You have to work it on a daily basis and hopefully we can do that within the shortest possible time," he said.
PM Tsvangirai also added, "There has been substantive progress, it's just that you have got one or two incidents and then it spoils the thing."
It is interesting that these "one or two incidents" did not lead the PM and his team to disengage from the inclusive Government. The "one incident" that was too hot to handle for the MDC-T was Bennett's indictment and incarceration: the "Bennett Affair".
Bennett has since been released on bail pending his trial which resumes on Monday.
The PM and his party and government deputy Thokozani Khupe on Thursday, a day before the MDCdecided to boycott government, appeared alongside President Mugabe at a women's summit in the country and everything looked in place.
The "Bennett Affair" seems like the one single issue that the MDC-T will not compromise on: no more, no less.
What wonders what it is about Bennett that makes the MDC-T party leadership cringe.
Philip Murombedzi is the editor of the Zimbabwe Guardian. He can be contacted via: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Saturday, October 17, 2009 1:15:17 AM
UNITED Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday said there is urgent need for attention to respond to the needs of the hungry by ensuring adequate political and financial support for emergency food assistance.
And European Commissioner for development and humanitarian aid Karel De Gucht has said that food insecurity is posing a serious threat to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of ending abject poverty by 2015.
Commenting on the 2009 World Food Day whose theme is ‘achieving food security in times of crisis’, Ban stated that challenges of food security demand multilateral commitment, creativity and leadership.
“At this time of crisis, I encourage all nations to pursue coordinated and comprehensive strategies for agricultural development and effective social protection so that vulnerable people can get the food they need for nutritional security and well being,” Ban stated.
“Throughout the developing world, food prices remain stubbornly high. We must respond to the needs of the hungry by ensuring adequate political and financial support for emergency food assistance and the 2009 theme, emphasises the need for even greater efforts to respect the dignity of those affected by poverty and hunger and to support the committed women and men who often risk their lives to deliver help.”
He stated that food and nutritional security were the foundations of decent life, sound education and the achievement of the MDGs.
“Over the past two years, volatile food prices, the economic crises, climate change and conflict have led to a dramatic and unacceptable rise in the number of people who cannot rely on getting the food they need to live, work and thrive hence the need to invest in food production and distribution,” stated Ban.
And De Gucht stated that the World Food Day must serve to remind people about doing something to prevent more than a billion people from going hungry.
“To meet the challenge, the EU's 1 billion euros food facility is delivering fast and tangible results by giving small-scale farmers across developing countries the seeds and fertilisers needed to boost their agricultural production,” stated De Gucht.
“We will build on the experience we have gained in implementing the food facility to ensure the new pledge made at the G8 summit in L’Aquila is just as effective in battling global hunger. More than one billion people in the world are malnourished; that's 15 per cent of all humanity. This figure is on the rise in the wake of the food and financial crises. Food insecurity thus represents a real threat to achieving all the MDGs of ending abject poverty by 2015.”
Written by Editor
“I am not a dictator, I am just stubborn.” This is what Rupiah Banda says he is: stubborn but not a dictator. Being stubborn is not a good thing in public life, in politics, especially when one occupies a very high public office like that of president of the Republic. And the Holy Bible is full of verses that denounce being stubborn and we are all urged to avoid that type of attitude or conduct. In Proverbs 1:30-32, we are told:
“You have never wanted my advice or paid any attention when I corrected you. So then, you will get what you deserve, and your own actions will make you sick. Inexperienced people die because they reject wisdom. Stupid people are destroyed by their own lack of concern.”
And Proverbs 9:7-9 adds: “If you correct a conceited man, you will only be insulted. If you reprimand an evil man, you will only get hurt. Never correct a conceited man; he will hate you for it. But if you correct a wise man, he will respect you. Anything you say to a wise man will make him wiser, whatever you tell a righteous man will add to his knowledge.”
In Proverbs 9:8, we are warned: “Sensible people accept good advice. People who talk foolishly will come to ruin.”
It is very difficult to understand how Rupiah can be proud and boast about being arrogant when “no one is respected unless he is humble; arrogant people are on the way to ruin” (Proverbs 18:12).
And moreover, the Bible advocates punishment for arrogance: “Arrogance should be punished, so that people who don’t know any better can learn a lesson. If you are wise, you will learn when you are corrected” (Proverbs 19:25).
It is said that “the most stupid fool is better off than someone who thinks he is wise when he is not” (Proverbs 26:12).
And what is the difference between being a dictator and being arrogant? There is no good sense in being an arrogant person. And “a ruler without good sense will be a cruel tyrant” (Proverbs 28:16). “If you get more stubborn every time you are corrected, one day you will be crushed and never recover” (Proverbs 29:1). And “arrogance will bring you downfall, but if you are humble, you will be respected” (Proverbs 29:23).
If this is what is said in the Holy Bible about arrogance, how can a sensible person brag or boast about being arrogant? This is why it is said that honesty makes a good man’s life easier, but a wicked man will cause his own downfall. People who can’t be trusted are destroyed by their own dishonesty. Anyone who loves truth, anyone who wants to do good welcomes knowledge and wants to be told when he is wrong. “It is stupid to hate being corrected” (Proverbs 12:1). “Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice” (Proverbs 12:15). And “pride leads to destruction, and arrogance to downfall” (Proverbs 16:18).
We are also told in Sirach 3:26-29: “Stubbornness will get you into trouble at the end…a stubborn person will be burdened down with troubles. There is no cure for the troubles that arrogant people have; wickedness has taken deep root in therm. Intelligent people will learn from proverbs and parables. They listen well because they want to learn.”
Listening to Rupiah, it becomes easy to see why it is said that “a skilled craftsman is admired for the things he makes, and a leader’s wisdom is proved by his words. Someone who speaks rashly and recklessly is feared and hated by everyone in town” (Sirach 9:17-18). It is said that arrogance is like a fountain pouring out sin, and whoever persists in it will be full of wickedness.
Humility and self-respect are very important things, especially for a leader. It is very important to keep one’s self-respect, but remain modest. Arrogance is dangerous and does not pay. There is need to value oneself at one’s true worth. No one respects a person who has no respect for himself. It is better to admit when you are wrong and avoid embarrassment. Arrogance doesn’t take anyone anywhere but to destruction.
And when we speak of corruption, Rupiah should realise that we include arrogance, lack of humility and abuses of power. Some people begin to change, to be deformed, as soon as they have a little responsibility – a little, not much, power – and we think that, the more power people have, the greater the risk; that’s a fact. We think it requires being aware of the danger and every alert, ever vigilant against it.
If you are humble, truly humble, you won’t be arrogant. If you are unassuming and have a clear understanding of the worth of people and yourself, you won’t be arrogant. There is need to maintain eternal vigilance about this throughout one’s life, and be very self-critical, especially if one is a leader. There is need to always examine everything one has done, checking to see whether it was correct or not, whether or not one let oneself be carried away, whether or not pride or arrogance had anything to do with it.
Rupiah’s arrogant position over Frederick Chiluba’s corruption, acquittal and withdrawal of the appeal against his acquittal has introduced veritable chaos in the nation. If you start a process in which all of a country’s values and institutions begin to be destroyed, that process is very negative. If you destroy the authority, the prestige of the country’s judiciary and the entire judicial process, the consequences can be terrible. It’s a matter not of analysis or criticism of problems, but of the destruction and negation of all the value, merits and integrity of our state institutions, of our judicial process. Rupiah and his minions made enormous mistakes by failing to foresee the consequences of what they were doing and by not doing the right thing to reach the goals and purposes they proclaimed.
Many strategic and tactical mistakes were made and were viewed as the correct way of doing things.
As Sketchley Sacika correctly observes, if Rupiah was so concerned about ensuring that his friend Chiluba does not go to jail, he could have allowed the courts to make their own decisions and convict him and then free him via a presidential pardon. This would still have been undesirable, many Zambians would have still opposed that pardon. But Rupiah would have acted perfectly legally – undesirable as it may be. And this would have left the standing and integrity of our judicial process intact. The magistrate who decided that matter would have preserved his integrity, the Director of Public Prosecutions would have been saved this ridicule and scorn that he is today subjected to. But of course there is a reason why Rupiah decided to take this route. Rupiah had dreams of how to use Chiluba in the 2011 elections as he still believes the man is popular and could be of some political value to him. This being the case, he didn’t want him to be convicted and carry that image into the 2011 campaigns. And this may explain why Rupiah insists Chiluba is innocent even when his own government has a judgment in which this same man has been asked to pay over US $40 million he had stolen back to the Zambia people. How can Rupiah explain all this? This just goes to show the crookedness of Rupiah in all this.
And it’s this lack of explanation that makes him rely so much on arrogance. A humble person, an honest person, cannot do or say the things Rupiah is saying about Chiluba’s corruption; it’s only a corrupt and arrogant person who can say the things Rupiah is saying about Chiluba because they don’t make sense and defy logic.
Those who had doubt about what happened with the Chiluba case, how he was acquitted and why Rupiah’s government withdrew the appeal that was already in court opposing Chiluba’s acquittal, now have an opportunity to clear their doubts. This is nothing but a stinking corrupt scheme that will leave a very big dent on our judicial process for many years to come. It is sad that our friends in the Law Association of Zambia are blinded by political affiliations, sympathies or connections with the Rupiah government and are failing to see what is crystal clear. But in the future, they will have to answer for all this. The president of the Law Asociation of Zambia and his colleagues will have to explain why they failed to see that which was very clear and come up with a correct stand. We do appreciate the fact that for some of them, Rupiah was their client a few months ago and their partners are today part of his government.
But no one forced them to take up leadership positions in the Law Association of Zambia that would conflict with what they have done or are doing with Rupiah. If there is a conflict of interest, they are free to leave and go and serve Rupiah’s interest than to circumvent a legitimate institution of the people. This is what happens in a nation when values are lost, when principles are traded on the altar of political expedience.
Labels: RUPIAH BANDA
Friday, October 16, 2009
Written by Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:52:41 AM
PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has said he is not a dictator but he is just stubborn. And President Banda has praised the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) for carrying out important duties such as distributing electoral materials in times of elections among other things.
Speaking on arrival in Livingstone on Thursday where he had gone to officiate at the ZAF pass-out parade, President Banda said he did not need to be told what he should do for the MMD. President Banda said every political party had its own problems.
“We don't have to be told what we need to do, a ruling party. That is why they call me a dictator. That is not true. I'm not a dictator, I'm just stubborn,” he said. “I will not allow any outsider to run this party from outside, to pretend that they are true members of this party when they are not. This party has come from a long way and no one will cause confusion in this party.”
President Banda said he would not allow anybody to interfere in the operations of the MMD especially not people like former vice-president Enoch Kavindele.
“As a President I won't allow anybody to interfere in the functions of the party from the outside. Just the other day he was at State House telling the problems he was going through. Maybe he thought that I did not listen to his problems. My brother says that the democracy in this party is threatened. It is not true, it is not true because he remembers very clearly when he was in UNIP and he tried to stand against Dr Kaunda. If he is honest, let him come out and in the paper tomorrow, I went to his room and said 'you are entitled to whatever you want to do, you are entitled to challenge whoever you want to challenge'. I'm not afraid of standing against anybody as president I m not afraid,” he said.
President Banda said the MMD had a lot to do for the people and their performance would determine their way forward in 2011.
He advised the MMD cadres not to be worried of the UPND-PF pact and mockingly said the country needed to change the Constitution to accommodate co-presidents. “We should not worry about the pact because we should possibly change our Constitution so that they can be co-Presidents,” he said
He also attacked the suspected UPND and PF cadres who disrupted Namwala UPND member of parliament Major Robbie Chizyuka's press briefing last Tuesday.
“The pact, for them to go with spears and knobkerries on innocent Zambian citizens such as Major Chizyuka will not be allowed and if you did that I would condemn you here and right now,” President Banda said.
On the dissolution of the Western Province party executive committee, President Banda said the former chairman Simasiku Namakando was now free to use the hostile newspapers to speak freely.
He wondered how Namakando could both be the provincial party chairperson and attack his brothers in the MMD through a hostile newspaper at the same time.
President Banda said he was the only president of the MMD.
He said the MMD should not be pushed on the issue of the convention.
“We are a democratic party but to say when we shall go and the day we should go is not being fair for any member of the party. When you have not been given a chance to work after being elected, we want to do certain things before we go to a convention. Let us continue, let us remain united and focus on the problems of the people and development of the party,” President Banda said.
Earlier, Southern Province MMD chairman Solomon Muzyamba said the province was politically stable.
“The pact is the decision of two leaders and members of the UPND and PF are not part of the pact. …The recent political sentiments against Major Chizyuka are a clear indication that the pact is headed for a downfall. It is a wait and see situation,” Muzyamba said.
Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe described President Banda as a distinguished manager, ambassador and cream of Zambian politics.
“I want to amplify that the chairman's statements that the pact is between two leaders. HH is now reducing himself to becoming a ward leader. He is in Kasiya and I found him in Kasiya. He can't go to Chitambo because he would stray, he is rejected. You cannot see MS [Michael Sata] here, you only see HH. He is adamant, they cannot exist without UPND and PF cannot exist without UPND. HH is here with our ward leaders rubbing shoulders with them. He should join MMD, he has a future and would be described as a cream of Zambian politics. But right now he is pouring mud on himself, he is tormenting himself,” Munkombwe said.
And officiating at the pass-out parade at Livingstone International Airport yesterday, President Banda urged ZAF officers to strive to be open-minded, non-partisan and serve Zambians with loyalty, honour, commitment and dignity.
President Banda said he was aware that military training was always a difficult undertaking because of the high physical endurance and the heavy demands on the trainee.
“The defence should employ effective methods and strategies to protect the lives and property of our people against all sorts of activities. I also wish to commend our men and women in uniform for carrying out important duties such as food production, road works and repairs, rehabilitation of street children, distribution of relief food as well as distribution of electoral materials in times of elections,” he said.
President Banda urged the officers not to take time to relax or take peace for granted.
“Be alert and remain vigilant at all times. Always approach your duties with professionalism and civility. Peace is a catalyst to economic development and therefore, it must be protected jealously. Be rational and judicious in the use of scarce resources in performing your duties. I would like you to work to inspire others and be always what is acceptable and expected of you,” he said.
President Banda, who received praises that he looked smart in the ZAF uniform he wore during the parade, also advised the officers to implement good ideas and rise above all challenges.
He said it was part of government's policy for women to have equal opportunities as their male counterparts.
“I m equally happy to learn that among the graduating officers today are young women who have trained alongside their male counterparts and qualified as pilots. I wish to commend these young women for their tenacity and resilience,” President Banda said.
He said he was also aware that the ZAF academy and the flying training school had been producing quality trained officers for over forty years.
He said the defence forces had a highly critical responsibility of preserving, protecting and defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Zambia so as to safeguard citizens from both internal and external aggression.
“For this reason, the defence force should optimise the use of available scarce resources in order to carry out this constitutional mandate effectively,” he said.
He said the government was aware of the numerous challenges the defence personnel faced in carrying out their duties.
“Despite this, I do not expect you to lose sight of your primary calling of defending and protecting this nation. As defenders of our peace and security, I expect you to remain focused and disciplined. Your government is mindful of the limitations of resources and we are addressing most of the challenges that confront the wellbeing of the personnel,” he said.
He warned the officers of the dangers of HIV AIDS, which had ravaged Zambia.
“This scourge poses a serious threat to the effectiveness of our defence force because it affects physical and mental fitness of its victim. I therefore wish to advise you, our young men and women graduating today, to treat HIV/AIDS as your number one enemy,” President Banda said.
ZAF commander Lieutenant General Samuel Mapala acknowledged government's resolve to tackle the economic hardships of Zambia in light of the global economic crisis.
“It is because of your government's resolve that we are now seeing development. I wish to thank government for the efforts to make available more resources to ZAF. Furthermore, I wish to thank you for facilitating the joint military exercise in South Africa involving soldiers in the SADC region. This is important because it fosters corporation between these countries and also offers us an opportunity to prepare ourselves for many calamities,” he said.
Lt Gen Mapala said of the 18 ZAF officers that had graduated, eight were engineers while nine were pilots including three women.
Written by George Chellah
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:50:16 AM
FORMER secretary to the cabinet Sketchley Sacika yesterday said President Rupiah Banda is prepared to destroy the country's Judiciary, which currently stands discredited because of former president Frederick Chiluba's acquittal. And Zambians for Empowerment and Development (ZED) president Dr Fred Mutesa said President Banda's statement on Chiluba's acquittal undermines the sacred principle of equality before the law.
Reacting to President Banda's remarks on Chiluba's acquittal during a closed-door meeting in Kasama last Sunday, Sacika expressed displeasure with President Banda's statement on the acquittal.
“The Bembas have a very interesting saying. They say 'Akanwa kamilandu kalailetelela' [a guilty mouth brings trouble upon itself]. The President is merely confirming what everybody has been talking about, namely that he has manipulated the judicial system in order to secure Mr Chiluba's release,” Sacika said.
“Not for the reasons that he and his minister Mike Mulongoti gave. Mr Banda has convinced himself that Mr Chiluba is very useful to him in the presidential election in 2011.”
He said President Banda was so preoccupied with winning the elections in 2011.
“Such that he does not seem to care about the harm he is inflicting on our country, on our state institutions and apparently on his own political party, the MMD. In the MMD, he doesn't want to go for a national convention because he doesn't want to be challenged and that really is a slap in the face of the MMD, a party formed to promote democracy in the country,” Sacika said.
“He is also prepared to destroy our Judiciary in order to achieve his political ends. He has destroyed the dignity of the institution of chiefs by turning them into his political cadres and now he wants civil servants to support him because he is head of state.”
He said the future of Zambia could not be guaranteed by what he termed as 'big man politics'.
“Our future can only be guaranteed by strengthening our institutions. Mr Chiluba was our president but he is now an ordinary person and he doesn't need a special prison for his incarceration. If Mr Banda had felt for Mr Chiluba, the best thing was to grant him a pardon after the conviction, instead of leaning on our Judiciary to acquit him,” Sacika said.
“As a result of Chiluba's acquittal, our Judiciary stands discredited and this is a serious matter. It's frightening to see our President defend a man who has done so much harm and injustice to the people of Zambia. Rupiah will not be President forever, what legacy is he going to leave when he is no longer President? A legacy of confusion and destruction?”
He said a President of Zambia is elected to serve the interests of the people not to serve his own interests because that was not what the Constitution states.
“Chiluba let the people of Zambia down and the President is now doing the same. This is unacceptable,” Sacika said.
And Dr Mutesa expressed disappointment and dismay at the statement attributed to President Banda on Chiluba's acquittal.
“We are alarmed that the alleged argument by President Banda not only does it border on a serious abrogation of the oath he swore to uphold, protect and defend the Constitution, but also undermines the sacred principle of equality before the law. We have said it before, for us as a party, the issue is not about nailing or not nailing Dr Chiluba to the cross,” Dr Mutesa said.
“What is at stake is that justice must not just be done, but must be seen to be done. Statements such as the one attributed to President Banda serve only to lend credence to the widespread view that our judicial system is being interfered with by the executive wing of the state.”
He said the legal fraternity in the country had agreed that there were good enough grounds for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to appeal the verdict of the trial magistrate.
“The Constitution does have provision for the Republican president to have his say in a judicial process, but only after the different layers of our court system have had their turn. President Banda could have patiently waited for his turn at the appropriate time and could still have saved Dr Chiluba, assuming that the Supreme Court would have handed him a guilty verdict,” Dr Mutesa said.
“We, therefore, condemn any pronouncement, regardless of who is behind them, that has the effect of compromising the principle of separation of powers, the bedrock of any democratic society. In the same country, we cannot have different sets of laws, one for the powerful and another for ordinary people. That would be building an unjust society.
“In fighting for independence in 1964 and multiparty democracy in 1991, respectively, Zambians were essentially saying no to discriminatory systems. We should be working towards empowering all Zambians, regardless of their social status and not bringing back decadent and archaic practices. Assuming Dr Chiluba had been found guilty, it should not have been a headache for the Head of State on where to put him. We have enough prison space for lawbreakers in this nation.”
He said his party believed in equal access to justice for all, without regard to one's social, economic or political status.
“We demand that President Banda's performance of national duties adhere to the tenets of the Constitution he swore to uphold, protect and defend and not be swayed by personal sentiments,” Sacika said.
Last Sunday, President Banda said Chiluba's acquittal had brought relief to the nation. He said jailing Chiluba would have brought a lot of complications to his government.
And speaking on arrival at Livingstone International Airport on Thursday, President Banda said he was not a dictator like some people allege. He said he was merely firm and would not allow outsiders to tell him how to run the MMD.
“I am not a dictator, I am just stubborn,” said President Banda. “I am not going to allow outsiders to run this party from outside pretending that they are advocating democracy when in fact they want to destroy our party.”
Written by Patson Chilemba in Lusaka and Chibaula Silwamba in Kasama
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:46:16 AM
RUPIAH Banda and Frederick Chiluba are now licking their shame over the MMD's defeat in the Kasama Central parliamentary by-election, Patriotic Front (PF) leader Michael Sata charged yesterday. And newly-elected Kasama Central PF parliamentarian Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba said his victory is just the beginning of the PF-UPND pact success and road to forming government in 2011.
Commenting on the PF's landslide victory in the Kasama Central by-election that was held on Thursday, Sata said President Banda was deceived to think that former president Chiluba was popular.
“Mr Chiluba and Mr Banda, they are licking their shame. They must be licking their shame because Banda thought Chiluba is very popular in Northern Province, but he has now proved that that man is very unpopular in Northern Province. He's [Chiluba] a liability for him, and we would like to encourage President Banda to keep Mr Chiluba nearer him all the time,” Sata said. “We are pleading with the President to keep Mr Chiluba close to him all the time, because it makes our job easier.”
Sata said Chiluba had become sick in South Africa as a result of the MMD defeat and many more were going to be sick.
He said President Banda miscalculated the reality on the ground in Kasama because he was misled by his minions who included Vice-President George Kunda and MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga.
“They thought that if you go and pick rejects from PF such as [former PF secretary general] Edward Mumbi and Guy Mulenga, and they go to Kasama, start talking rubbish, unsubstantiated rubbish, they think that will take them somewhere. And Rupiah Banda was misled by George Kunda and Michael Mabenga to say 'pick Kenneth Kaunda and Frederick Chiluba to Ukusefya Pang'wena'. Because since that ceremony started, none of those two gentlemen have ever been to that function,” Sata said.
“I was with Frederick Chiluba in government for 10 years, he never attended a single Ukusefya Pang'wena. They thought Frederick Chiluba was very influential, but I am glad now they can swallow their pride. And you know they thought Kasama Central was as easy as Chitambo for them to rig, because they did everything, even the 4,000 that they got, that was not genuine.”
Sata said MMD had been taught a lesson and PF would now move to Solwezi-Central to help the pact partner UPND win that seat. He challenged the remaining PF rebel members of parliament to follow Saviour Chishimba's example by resigning from the party so that PF could recover their seats.
On President Banda's statement that he would have been miserable if Chiluba had been convicted and sent to jail, Sata said what President Banda said was an understatement. He said President Banda would continue to be miserable for interfering with natural justice in the nation by supporting Chiluba.
“He is going to be much more miserable. For example, Kasama is making him more miserable, and many more constituencies will make him more miserable. That is why he should keep Frederick nearer. And that is why I am saying, if all those rebels can resign starting from Chawama, Matero, all of them if they resign and then we go there and teach Rupiah Banda a lesson,” Sata said. “We need to teach him a clean lesson. Clean, no violence, no corruption, no intimidation.”
Sata said President Banda was supporting Chiluba because they were birds of a feather, going in the same direction.
“We told the people of Kasama, umutaba weshilu, bakombola elyo lipenene. So we told the people to eat, and they ate and enjoyed. But they never gave them [MMD] a vote. They got the money, they ate the chicken, they drank the kachasu, sugar, and finally they even stoned [tourism minister Catherine] Namugala to say 'you haven't brought enough',” he said.
Sata said because PF knew MMD's rigging tactics, they asked the electorate to sleep outside the polling stations on the eve of voting and they did just that to perfection as some even waited at the stations until the results were announced.
He said even the kneeling of Lusaka Province minister Charles Shawa to plead for the people to vote for MMD could not help their cause. Sata also said he felt sorry for Paramount chief Chitimukulu of the Bemba people who had earlier asked the people to vote for MMD losing candidate Burton Mugala
“They said 'why are you kneeling down now because you don't give us basic amenities,'” said Sata. “Now that the election is over, let police arrest Namugala for dangerous driving because she knocked somebody and that person is in hospital.”
Sata said he would travel to Kasama soon to say thank you to the people for retaining the seat to PF.
Former foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana said the MMD was wired badly in Kasama because of President Banda's abusive language.
“Abusive language must stop. The leadership of the party is never seen at the party headquarters,” said Sikatana
Sikatana said MMD had lost Mwamba who was a very faithful member and assisted the party a great deal.
The PF overwhelmingly scooped the Kasama-Central when their candidate Mwamba amassed 10,688 votes against MMD's Mugala who got 4,184, leaving a difference of 6, 504 between them.
Kasama residents had been celebrating since 01:50 hours on Friday when Mwamba was declared winner of the hotly contested by-election.
And speaking shortly after returning officer for Kasama Central Constituency Alfred Nsama Muonga declared him dully elected member of parliament, Mwamba popularly known as GBM said he foresaw his victory coming.
“It was expected,” Mwamba said.
Asked if his victory would boost the pact between PF and the UPND, Mwamba responded: “Precisely of course...This is just the beginning of everything.”
“I, Alfred Nsama Muonga, being the returning officer for Kasama Central Constituency, do hereby declare that I have in accordance with the law ascertained the results of the poll in the said constituency and that they have been given to Ng'ona Maggie [APC] 40 votes, Ntalasha Christy [independent] 50 votes, Muhammad Hamir A [independent] 170 votes, Chansa Alexandar A [UNIP] 189 votes, Mugala Burton [MMD] 4,184 votes, Mwamba Geoffrey B [PF] 10,688,” announced Muonga around 01:50 hours on Friday morning. “I further declare that a total of 126 ballot papers have been rejected as invalid. Further I declare that a total of one ballot paper has been disputed. I, therefore, declare that said Mwamba Geoffrey B to be this day dully elected as member of parliament for Kasama Central constituency."
After the declaration of Mwamba as member of parliament, PF supporters including some civil servants and police officers jubilated.
Mwamba's supporters attempted to lift him but failed, instead they just surrounded him in celebratory mood amid cheers as he walked to his vehicle. "MP! GBM! PF!" shouted the supporters. "Mugala walala! Walala! Mugala walala! MMD yalala! Yalala! MMD out! Kuyabebele!"
Mwamba and his supporters drove in a long convoy to his residence.
I am tired. I have to go and sleep now. I need to reflect on a lot of things, said Mwamba as he was being driven out of the Civic Centre amidst tight security provided by Sata’s bodyguards.
The jubilant supporters spent the whole night and yesterday singing, ululating and dancing throughout Kasama town.
Motorists had been hooting in celebration while cyclists, who have joined in the celebrations, rung bells of their bicycles.
Mwamba's victory is the talk of Kasama.
Youths and the old, and all those with energies to sing and dance are being driven around the townships celebrating - like they were rejoicing a political revolution.
PF supporters had camped at various polling stations from 18:00 hours on Thursday when counting of votes started.
MMD members were nowhere to be seen since the election results were announced.
Meanwhile, MMD campaign manager Shawa congratulated Mwamba and the PF for winning the by-election, adding that despite losing, the MMD government would continue with its numerous developmental projects in Kasama Central Constituency.
Shawa, who is also Lusaka Province minister, congratulated Mwamba and the PF.
“They have won and we congratulate them for that, a thing which they don't usually do," Shawa said. "If it was MMD that had won they would have accused us of rigging. But I am very happy and I want to thank the people of Kasama we worked well together, we were very peaceful and I thank them for that.”
He said the MMD had made improvements compared to the results of the presidential elections last year.
“We have put up a better fight if you compare with the presidential results,” Shawa said. “There was voter apathy and some people might have stayed away because of fear of violence because our [PF] colleagues were violent.”
He said although the MMD were peaceful, the PF were violent.
“The PF even tear gassed our person. I wonder where they got the tear gas from,” Shawa said. “And we must not cling to tribal politics.”
He assured that government would continue with development projects in Kasama.
“He [Mwamba] will depend on government and the MMD government will continue with its development projects like building schools, clinics, building roads in Kasama,” said Shawa.
The Kasama Central parliamentary seat fell vacate following former PF ‘rebel’ member of parliament Chishimba's resignation from his portfolio and the party.
Written by Patson Chilemba
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:44:27 AM
FORMER defence minister George Mpombo has charged that the MMD national executive committee (NEC) cannot make the right decision over the convention because it is under siege from President Rupiah Banda.
Mpombo, who is also Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament, said arguments that the NEC would make a decision on whether or not to forego the convention could not be relied upon because several committee members were President Banda's appointees.
“Because you see, the NEC now is something that is under siege of Mr Banda because most of the people in the NEC are appointed. So these are people that will dance to his whims. So we will have to be very careful not to allow this business to continue,” Mpombo said.
“These people, if they force their way, their end will be very bad; will be very shameful because no one can fight the machinery of the party, the power of the people is greater than individuals.”
Mpombo charged that President Banda and his colleagues were trying to liquidate the party through unpopular statements that would only serve to divide the MMD.
“We will not allow anyone to liquidate the party through his irresponsible activities. Because these are people, they don't love the party. They want to harvest from the party but at the same time, they are not watering the roots of the party,” he said.
Mpombo said he supported former foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana's statement that President Banda should resign from the MMD for trying hard to break the rules and regulations the party had stood on for a long time.
He said President Banda and his colleagues had chosen to waste time over simple issues that could have been avoided.
Mpombo said it was President Banda who even chaired the meeting where the issue of endorsing him as sole candidate was discussed.
He said people like President Banda who were creating confusion in the party should be the ones to resign.
“It was not even necessary for them to have made those resolutions which are totally unacceptable. So these are the ones who are trying to destroy the MMD party which they found,” Mpombo said.
“Mr Sikatana is correct. It's Mr Banda and his colleagues who should resign and leave MMD in peace, because we can't afford to have dictatorial tendencies in the party. We can't allow anybody to destroy or hijack the party constitution.”
Mpombo said he was not being sponsored to say what he was saying and those who had doubts should check his political record and see what stuff he was made of.
Written by Frederick Mwansa and Christopher Miti
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:42:56 AM
OPPOSITION UPND has scooped the Lubanda ward local government by-elections. And the ruling MMD has scooped the Chikowa ward by-election in Malambo Constituency.
Local pastoral farmer Harrison Kamano won the seat after getting 491 votes under the UPND-PF pact ticket.
MMD candidate Bettis Mambonwa managed to get just over 240 votes as a closest rival, while UNIP got 48.
The Lubanda ward seat fell vacant following the incarceration of former UPND councillor Harry Namaluba for participating in unlawful assembly at which he incited people to dethrone chief Shimbizhi.
And Eastern Province electoral officer Alex Bwalya said MMD candidate Bartholomew Mbewe got 267 votes, UNIP's Adrian Kaleya got 204 and PF candidate Evans Phiri got 137 votes.
Returning officer John Mwanza who announced the results declared MMD's Mbewe as a duly elected councillor for Chikowa ward.
Mwanza said of the 1, 099 votes cast, three were rejected while one was disputed.
The seat fell vacant after the death of MMD's Maximina Kamlewe.
Most political parties who participated in the election described the election as free and fair.
Written by Laura Hamusute
Saturday, October 17, 2009 12:41:37 AM
THE Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal by Post Newspapers Limited in a defamation case involving President Rupiah Banda. This is in a case where The Post appealed to the Supreme Court against the ruling of Lusaka High Court judge Charles Kajimanga dated October 3, 2008 in which he dismissed two preliminary issues by The Post.
The Post advanced three grounds of appeal, the first being that the judge erred when he held that it was proper for President Banda’s lawyer Christopher Mundia to depose to an affidavit whose contents were highly contentious.
On the second ground of appeal, The Post averred that the judge erred when he failed to vacate the order for leave to commence contempt proceedings in the light of sufficient grounds that the newspaper advanced.
The last ground of appeal was that the judge failed to address matters that were argued before court.
On September 26, 2008, President Banda through his lawyer Christopher Mundia filed a writ of summons and a statement of claim in the High Court seeking damages for alleged defamation by The Post.
Simultaneously, with the documents in question, President Banda applied for an ex parte order of interlocutory injunction to restrain The Post from publishing libelous words against him in their editorials and reports.
The ex parte order was granted on September 27, 2008 and judge Kajimanga set October 3, 2008 for the determination of the application for an interlocutory injunction inter parte.
On September 28 and 29, 2008, The Post allegedly published articles that President Banda thought were highly defamatory.
The defamatory materials according to President Banda also included an editorial/opinion, which he said was a total disregard of the ex parte order granted by the court earlier on.
President Banda then filed summons for leave to commence contempt proceedings pursuant to Order 52 rule 2 of the Supreme Court Rules.
On October 2, 2008, The Post filed a notice of intention to raise preliminary issues during the proceedings of contempt of court and the preliminary issues the newspaper sought to raise hinged on whether it was proper for President Banda’s lawyer Mundia to depose to an affidavit in a highly contentious matter.
The other issue The Post sought to raise was whether the ex-parte order for leave to commence contempt proceedings granted on September 30, 2008 should be vacated on grounds that an ex parte order was a provisional order liable to be vacated on sufficient grounds.
In delivering judgment, Supreme Court judge Sandson Silomba said he agreed with Mundia that the application for the leave in question was in compliance with procedure under Rule 2(1) (2) and (3) of the Supreme Court Rules and that Mundia had to provide information not as proof of the matters in controversy but for the purpose of making a prima facie case for the granting of leave to commence contempt proceedings.
Judge Silomba dismissed ground one and also dismissed ground two contending that the defence of justification and fair comment could not be used as a good ground for setting aside a validly obtained ex parte order.
Judge Silomba dismissed the last ground of appeal explaining that the court was not told what the judge omitted to do.
The rise of African nationalism
By Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa
THIS is the second of a series of articles in which AMBASSADOR CHRISTOPHER MUTSVANGWA traces the foundations of Zimbabwe and how four centuries of Zimbabwe-Europe interaction have served to sap the country of its ability to chart an independent and prosperous course in global affairs.
Soshangana and the Shangani in the East
Another Nguni offshoot, the Shangani moved into the Mozambique-Zimbabwe border. Here they fought great anti-colonial battles against Portuguese rule under the great chief Gungunyana.
The British and modern Zimbabwe
The present-day Zimbabwe is a product of British imperial rule for over 90 years. Unlike other African countries where the English sent administrators, Zimbabwe was turned into a home by the colonisers.
The fertile soils, the equable climate off the plateau was simply too enticing to the new European invaders thus vindicating the great sense of human geography in the original Shona who had made the plateau home at about the same time as Vikings invaded England and well before the Norman conquest of the British Isles.
At their population height in 1970s, the white settlers were less than 3 percent of the total population. Yet they wielded great power concentrated in a racial minority.
Their numbers have dwindled mainly because of lack of allegiance to Zimbabwe.
Britain, the metropolitan power, has consistently and persistently manipulated their loyalty to serve a selfish, neo-colonial and increasingly outdated agenda of pernicious influence on the Zimbabwe body politic.
The British tradition continues to wane as their numbers have decreased in the aftermath of their military defeat a decade before the 21st century. But their influence in ushering in the concept of a modern state to the Zimbabwe nation is still there and will endure long after their present if flippant sulkiness.
The English language and international discourse
Besides the management of a modern economy, advanced commercial law and other aspects of a modern state, the enduring contribution is the usage of the English language in national discourse.
With the emergence of the USA as the dominant superpower of the 20th century and beyond, Zimbabwe could ride on the world-wide acceptance of English as the premier lingua franca of international interaction.
The liberal democratic tradition
Another remarkable feature of English colonial rule was the introduction of the liberal democratic mode of governance.
At home, British rule had done its part in advancing constitutionalism as a mode of modern governance. Yet as it went abroad, British imperialism practised class discrimination that would lead to rebellion by the American colonists. Worse, it was the pioneer and practitioner of modern racism against the people of colour.
Nevertheless, with the eventual demise of the imperial adventure, the concept of liberal democratic governance has been avidly adapted by the former subjects.
In Zimbabwe, it took one generation before the black majority shook off the stupor of the shock of military defeat by British conquerors at the end of the 19th century.
Agitation for workers’ rights in the new towns soon coalesced with rural demand for stolen land.
The aftermath of the Second World War saw this political activism morph into the demand for the non-racial voting and majority rule.
Political parties were formed in the face of growing resistance and increasing white minority settler repression. This was the incubation of the future political leadership that would culminate in a successful military challenge to British imperial rule.
Heroes and the anti-colonial tradition
Just as Walter Rodney postulates in his celebrated book, "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa", the natural development of Zimbabwe was stunted and even temporarily arrested by aspects of its negative interaction with Europe.
Changamire Dombo of the Rozvi
The Portuguese who had set up legation at the court of Munhumutapa did not take long to see an opportunity in occupying the well-endowed Zimbabwe plateau for their far away king.
Through the ruse of dabbling in local succession politics, the Portuguese interlopers did not take time to ensconce themselves as imperial arbiters of the Munhumutapa Kingdom.
Though outnumbered with stretched supply lines, they soon turned themselves into rulers taking courtesy of their advantage of superior firepower. However, their imperial adventurism was very shortlived as the Shonas from the interior organised a counter-offensive.
Changamire Dombo of the Rozvi was the first great hero in the long history of painful encounter with European imperial invaders. His warriors drove Portuguese armies away from the interior plateau to the Indian Ocean coastal zones.
He thus spared the country the fate of present-day Mozambique which became a colony of Portugal for so many centuries.
The respite of freedom was to be challenged by more modern and better armed British imperial troops. Under the guise of dubious and deceitful treaties, Rhodes and his Pioneer Column occupied present-day Zimbabwe in the wake of the 1884 Berlin Conference on the Partition of Africa.
Lobengula and the Ndebele War
This brazen act of imperial conquest forced King Lobengula of the Ndebele nation into a war against the marauders.
Though he was defeated, the spirit of resistance took another dimension when both the Shona and Ndebele organised a joint resistance that would stretch the new occupiers.
Nehanda and the First Chimurenga
Nehanda, Kaguvi, Mashayamombe, Chingaira and many other Shona and Ndebele chiefs carried out co-ordinated attacks at isolated settler outposts all over the Plateau. Facing stark prospects, imperial Britain had to dispatch fresh reinforcements from Port Elizabeth to go to Zimbabwe through Beira in order to save its embattled settlers from imminent annihilation.
European advances in military technology such as the Gatling gun and the invention of dynamite tilted the equation against native peoples who still fought with spears. Their numbers were rendered useless against such firepower and the war of resistance collapsed into painful defeat.
Robert Mugabe, Joshua Nkomo and modern nationalism
The defeat of the people of Zimbabwe cowered a whole generation into submission as fear gripped the land and white settlers did as they wished. They appropriated large estates for themselves while forcing the majority natives into marginal lands.
Indentured labour was the order of the day. So were onerous taxes and other administrative measures intended to force the majority into a new proletariat designed to serve the new masters. Working conditions in new urban centres, farms and mines were as appalling as the low wages.
The sheer weight of oppression was such that it could only revive the spirit of resistance. By the 1930s the people had taken to strikes and agitation against colonial excesses.
The outbreak of the WWII forced a stretched Britain to recruit Africans and other colonial subjects into its war effort against Hitler’s Germany.
The battle cry of freedom had a resonant effect. At the end of hostilities, many were demobilised without as much as a thank you by a broke and penniless England.
To their consternation they noticed their erstwhile battlefield white colleagues being rewarded with even more land which was being expropriated from fellow Africans. The resultant anger and alienation fuelled the spirit of popular resistance eve more.
In the meantime, missionary education had nurtured a more conscious African elite, which could eloquently articulate the issues of concern to the black majority.
This new elite also benefited from interaction with other Africans when they went to South Africa to further their education.
After all, South Africa had the oldest liberation movement, the African National Congress, which had been founded in 1912 in reaction to nascent apartheid as the British co-opted Afrikaners into a white ruling condominium.
Joshua Nkomo, the Father of the Nation, became the voice of Zimbabweans as he articulated their grievances and formed political parties that urged majority rule and one man one vote.
Robert Mugabe, an uncanny intellectual, austere revolutionary and visionary statesman started his political career as Joshua Nkomo’s lieutenant but came into his own as the demands of the drawn out struggle rose.
The two combined into a formidable duet that scaled new heights in the fight for freedom. They did not hesitate to the ultimate choice of armed confrontation with the entrenched settler minority in order to dislodge it from power.
Repeated proscriptions of political parties, imprisonment and detention of the leadership, brazen violence meted out to the agitating populace exposed the futility of non-violent confrontation of the entrenched settler minority.
The nationalist movement came to the painful conclusion that to win freedom and sovereignty, the people had to organise their own defence against the colonial state machinery.
Zimbabwe had to reverse the defeat of Nehanda, Kaguvi and others before they could once again come into their own.
One man one vote, majority rule, a people’s constitution and all that go with the trappings of a modern democratic state were only possible after the people had been organised to answer the settler insolence and intransigence with potent armed power. A terrible new beauty was about to be born.
Herbert Chitepo, J Z Moyo and the People’s War
The challenge to chart the new territory of founding a revolutionary army fell on two, on lawyer Herbert Chitepo of Zanu and Jason Ziyaphapha Moyo of Zapu.
In the relative safety of exile in newly independent Zambia and Tanzania, both took it upon themselves to embrace current thinking on national liberation theory and practice.
They rightly deserve the credit of the formation of an armed political cadreship for the defence of a people under colonial bondage.
This army was built on the bedrock of love of the country and its people. Those who were its initial cadres sowed a tradition were the well-being of the individual was subsumed to that of the nation.
The prospect of one’s life was subordinated to that of a country and its people for eternity.
Good schooling, rewarding work, marrying and bringing up own family as well as quest for self-actualisation, including any anticipated fame: all these were to pale in significance and value to the call of patriotic duty.
A great calling that could not reward the self. It inevitably led to maiming, loss of sight or hearing.
Most horribly, it often ended with the brutish claim of that invaluable, once only gift of life. And for the survivors there is the lifelong trauma of war and the consequences of foregone opportunity in a competitive society.
It is no wonder that their invaluable philosophy and praxis of nation building so frightened the enemy that he dedicated all his effort to the personal elimination of both Herbert Chitepo and JZ Moyo among many others of their proud ilk.
Josiah Tongogara, Nikita Mangena and the Samora Machel generation
Zimbabwe’s military genius came into its own under the command of the incomparable Josiah Tongogara of the Zimbabwe African Liberation Army (Zanla) and Nikita Mangena of the Zimbabwe’s African People’s Army (Zipra).
Their military mettle came to the fore courtesy of a new wave of recruits who left the country at the inspiration of the political and military exploits of Samora Machel and his Frelimo of Mozambique.
The armed victory of the people of Mozambique that helped foment a revolution against fascist Portuguese rule was to fire the imagination of youth in the whole of Southern Africa.
All the classrooms of the region starting with those of Soweto burst into open defiance of colonial rule spilling into the streets to demonstrate.
More potently, thousands others melted into the African bush to trek to neighbouring independent countries to seek the much loved gun. Defying the prospect of imminent death they fervently embraced arms with the sole desire to train and go back home to settle the final score with a well-armed and dug-in armed racist oppressor.
Cuito Cunavale and Mavonde battles: racist military invincibility shattered
The armed forces Marxist coup of 1974 removed the forces of Fascist Portugal from the Southern Africa war theatre.
At the same time it triggered heavier military commitment and co-operation by the racist regimes of Rhodesia and South Africa. Armed intervention into the black-ruled states of the region translated into open conventional aggression especially in Angola.
An alarmed West came to the logistic assistance of their increasingly cornered kith and kin. Angola had no option but to call in Cuban help with Russian weaponry to stem the tide of invasion.
The encounter was to culminate in the battle of Cuito Cunavale in 1978 in southern Angola, when South African forces of occupation were soundly defeated by allied Cuban, Angolan, Swapo and ANC forces.
With this rout, the myth of the invincibility of white racist forces in confrontation with black Africans was effectively shattered.
On the eastern front in Zimbabwe, this piece of military history was to be repeated in the 1979 Battle of Mavonde at the border between Zimbabwe (then Rhodesia) and Mozambique.
As the British supervised truce talks went on at Lancaster House in London, the beleaguered Rhodesian forces decided to mount a last-ditch offensive to break the back of Zanla.
The express aim was to militarily humiliate the guerrilla army and force the black nationalists into abject surrender at the negotiating table.
Alas, they had not reckoned with the cunning Josiah Tongogara and his meticulous battle planning. The Zanla High Command had chosen a strategic stronghold in the mountainous border region as their staging base for a final onslaught on the racist edifice of Rhodesia.
Taking a leaf from the Viet Cong book, they proceeded to build an elaborate defence structure based on intricate tunnels. They then deployed their best firepower cocksure that the day of reckoning would surely come.
Sure enough, November 1978 saw attacking Rhodesians hurl full force into what would turn out to be the mother of all battles. But their luck of yesteryear when they would use superior arms to wipe out hordes of spear wielding Africans had finally met its match.
Their ground assault with heavy guns ran into tenacious resistance of military riposte. They then roped aerial bombardment. But all to no avail as volleys of anti-aircraft bullets sowed sure death on any pilots who would dare to approach the Mavonde military complex.
The time was up for racist Rhodesia. Zanla carried the day. General Peter Walls, the crest-fallen commander of the Rhodesian Army had to pack his bags and fly to London for ignominious face to face talks with Josiah Tongogara and his Zipra counterparts.
The chastened British military did not lose time to confer their formidable foe with the status of a full general notwithstanding the fact that he had never gone through the paces of the famed Sandhurst military training. With that came the honour of leading the discussion of the all-important military aspects of the ensuing ceasefire.
It is worth noting that Rhodesia disappeared from the map of history without ever having issued a military communiqué of the final outcome of the Battle of Mavonde or "Monte Casino" as they had christened it.
The Battle of Mavonde victory and history
The Zanla victory at Mavonde sealed the fate of the Lancaster House peace talks and led directly to the independence of Zimbabwe.
Britain was forced to finally assume control of its wayward Rhodesian kith and kin. It now had to do its best to pull any chestnuts it could out of the colonial bonfire they had recklessly lighted for themselves through arrogance of misguided intransigence.
But it had a more stunning if numbing effect on apartheid South Africa and its military industrial complex.
The ferocity and tenacity of the Zanla defenses at Mavonde had finally sounded a death knell to wafted tales of the inane military superiority of the white men in the region.
And in this instance, the Zanla victory was totally homegrown. At the battle of Mavonde, there had been absolutely no involvement of Cuban internationalist forces or any other outsiders in the fateful encounter.
The faith of apartheid politicians in the invincibility of white generals had gone up in military smoke.
The watchword was that it would be folly for white South Africa to allow military confrontation to take its unfettered course. Eschewing the defiant extremism of Rhodesia’s Ian smith, it became more prudent to bargain existing military superiority into political concessions.
After all, memories of the 1974 demise of fascist Portugal were still fresh. The military and political victory of Samora Machel had spawned a new revolutionary dynamism in the sub-region. The respite of Zimbabwe’s negotiated independence had to be leveraged for sub-regional accommodation with the potent force of African nationalism. The political grounds of the peaceful surrender of apartheid were thus sown.
Zimbabwe and wounded British imperial pride
Starting with the so termed Kaffir Wars against the Xhosa, on to the Nguni Wars in Zululand, then the Shona-Ndebele Wars, and indeed the Anglo-Boer War, the rampaging British imperial marauders had tasted occasional battlefield losses but never lost a war in this sub-region and in sub-Saharan Africa.
The lasting effect of the victory at Mavonde was slow to be fully absorbed by those of the English who still harbour imperial nostalgia of the British Raj. That explains why London–Harare bilateral relations are apt to be so easily sullied. Military defeat at the hands of Africa is a painful new lesson to permanently scribe into the history of a bygone but once proud empire.
Independent Zimbabwe and its contribution to Africa and beyond
National reconciliation and nation building
The new Republic of Zimbabwe pleasantly stunned the white former foes by announcing a policy of national reconciliation as opposed to the justifiable retribution that would have merited their genocidal excesses during the national liberation war.
Notwithstanding its absolute parliamentary majority, a Government was formed by Zanu-PF out of all national stakeholders including the white losers.
The new Government went on to perform the miracle of minting a new unified army out of the three military factions who had so bitterly fought each other.
The Zimbabwe model of national reconciliation was to be avidly embraced by the United Nations in its invigorated role of conflict resolution and nation building.
Conscious of the Shona and Ndebele as the population pillars of modern Zimbabwe, the two national leaders, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe tirelessly worked for a new national cohesion. The Unity Accord of 1987 brought in a new dimension to the politics of national accommodation.
Independence also saw migrant workers from all sub-regional neighbours being granted citizenship. This still has to be emulated elsewhere in the Sadc region.
Zimbabwe has also benefited from the domestication of faith based institutions. Much as metropolitan Europe and America have tried to abuse the Christian church for neo-colonial ends, the faith-based institutions have tended to evince patriotism. This has come in handy to assist cohesive national political discourse.
Zimbabwe used the opportunities of independence to make extraordinary advances in education that has seen it top all sub-Saharan Africa.
Only Tunisia is ahead on the continent. The massive educational drive has proved a boon in many ways that may not have been anticipated.
When the HIV and Aids pandemic struck, the country could still find itself with a rich human resource pool that withstood this national calamity.
And when the mean West opportunistically imposed illegal sanctions to pauperise the nation, Zimbabweans skipped into the Diaspora where their high quality skills and dependable work ethic found ready demand.
Their remittances would provide a lifeline of sorts to those who remained in the beleaguered economy at home. Now with internal stability returning and more promising economic prospects, the ingrained patriotism shall seem a return of all that treasure of varied skills and global exposure.
Pan-Africanism and regional solidarity
True to the tradition of anti-colonial Frontline States, the new state lost no time in shouldering its share of sub-regional responsibilities. Zimbabwe’s foreign policy and military engagements became premised upon the need to stem the northward counter push of apartheid as it preyed upon a war weakened Mozambique.
Soon after internal peace was assured, the Zimbabwe military was deployed in Mozambique to fend off apartheid sponsored Renamo, which was on the verge of toppling the Frelimo-led government.
With relative stability achieved in Mozambique, Zimbabwe’s diplomacy became the bastion of the fight against apartheid colonialism that would lead to Namibia’s independence.
It went on to stand full-square in the struggle against apartheid until the freedom of Nelson Mandela and the peaceful demise of apartheid.
As South Africa was still consolidating its peace and democracy, Zimbabwe allied itself even more closely with Angola to thwart the irredentist ambitions of Unita, until the latter was finally defeated.
Driven by a desire for a peaceful sub-region that would provide an environment conducive to economic development, Zimbabwe together with Angola and Namibia led a military push to arrest Rwandan-Ugandan territorial expansionism in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The British riposte and illegal economic sanctions
This military action was to open a fresh wound in the toxic relations with imperial-minded Britain and other Anglophonia. All of them including Bill Clinton’s Washington would have wanted to profit from the dismemberment of this important country at the heart of Africa.
They also would have opened a rear front for the express purpose of the destabilisation of the emerging Southern African bloc that was prone to be assertive in dealing with Europe and the West.
After Zimbabwe’s successful foray into Congo-Kinshasa, London had a new reason to be fervently anti-Zimbabwe and to seek to bring President Mugabe and his Government to heel.
Labourite London wasted no time in adopting the same strategy that imperial Portugal had used to weaken the Shona and their Rozvi Kingdom after their humiliation in the 17th century.
Bin Laden’s 2001 attack of New York World Trade Centre would turn out to be the perfect excuse for vindictive policy of regime change under the umbrella of Pax America.
Harare was now in the gun sights of the ambitious builders of a new empire. But the painful aftermath of military adventurism in Iraq ended up checking the neo-imperial pretensions of Tony Blair and George W Bush.
In the meantime, landlocked Zimbabwe has had to be severed from all economic links to the outside world even to the extent of ill-fated attempts to invoke United Nations Sanctions. With China and Russia wielding veto power that goal proved impossible.
But even then, of immediate use was the riot act of the West-dominated economic order of the Bretton Woods system read out on Zimbabwe. Misery wrought upon the populace through financial strangulation and opportunistic divestment by traditional economic co-operating partners became the basis of a push at orchestrated regime change.
Surviving illegal sanctions: triumph through unity
For a decade, Zimbabwe has laboured under a very onerous sanctions regime that would have felled any third world country of lesser resolve.
Yet the people of Zimbabwe remained unflinching and their spirit refused to be bowed down. Instead, it led them to be more soul searching until a new found internal political cohesion was found with the help of regional solidarity.
Admittedly the country’s cohesiveness has been severely tested. The label of pariah state and instability became the badge of a contrived, externally driven dishonour.
For the record, the internal political debate at times took a more vigorous twist.
Yet to the relief of all Zimbabweans of goodwill it ended up shunning the temptation of fawning to foreign interests, let alone the cardinal sins of treachery or treason.
Thus when our fellow African brethren entered into the fray as peace-brokers, they were positively surprised to find themselves working on fertile fields of ready political compromise for the good of the nation
And that national discourse, aided by the effort of regional neighbours and the goodwill of Africa as well as the sympathy of progressive humanity carried the day.
The beautiful tale is that all Africans ended rejoicing in the signing of the Global Political Agreement by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara under the contented gaze of President Mbeki of South Africa and other regional leaders.
A genuine national middle class is the road to national prosperity
The sources of the Zimbabwe tradition have clearly shown that the four centuries of Zimbabwe-Europe interaction have mainly served to sap the country of its ability to chart an independent and prosperous course in global affairs.
Wars and economic sanctions have stunted the development of a national middle class. Colonial occupation wanted to make sure that Zimbabwe, and indeed Africa would never follow this normal route of national evolution.
With the successful recovery of our land and its resources, Zimbabweans are once again poised to follow the well-trodden path of nation building that will lead to prosperity.
The history of national genius is about to write yet another more glorious chapter in the tradition of great granite citadels at Great Zimbabwe and elsewhere. The heroes of the past can once again smile in the gaze of the departed.
The only noble reason to write a new constitution is to create a socio-political environment that achieves this great end of national social progress to the glory of the nation for all generations to come.
Any other argumentation is the height of frivolity and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves. The train that is Zimbabwe which had been derailed for a good four centuries is now firmly back on its proper tracks.
EDITOR — There is a very worrying trend in the Information Communication Technologies sector, which requires urgent Government intervention.
If the issue is not urgently addressed, Zimbabwe would soon have a Bill Gates kind of scenario because at one point Microsoft software packages were found on almost every computer in the world, until the anti-monopolies trust in the European Union, in particular, ended up taking Bill Gates to court where he was heavily fined.
They also argued that Gates’ monopoly was stifling innovation, growth and competition in the ICT industry.
The question we should ask ourselves is, although Bill Gates is a savvy businessman, why did the EU take such a decisive action, which on face value seems as though it was an infringement on his rights?
When one mobile phone provider in the country now has more than two million people on its subscriber base, then we should start wondering whether the provider is not already monopolising the ICT industry.
Since it is still expanding, aren’t we going to have a situation where one company ends up controlling the whole industry, which translates into having a monopoly on what people say, to whom, and what they view and listen to, when and how?
With the convergence of ICTs where we are seeing the integration of technologies such as the Internet, television, radio and newspapers, what is the result of such a monopoly?
Simply put, Government should closely monitor the situation.
Peter Chimutsa - Opinion
Thu, 15 Oct 2009 19:33:00 +0000
INDEED the Movement for Democratic Change party is a party of sorts. A resolution made on Thursday is indeed a testament to this. It is a party full of 'leaders' who are not able to make decisions.
The party thinks the Zimbabwean people are so gullible as to accept their current National Council position: to run ministries led by their party without contact with Zanu PF, because their financier and treasurer-general, Roy Bennett was indicted on Thursday.
This is the most unfortunate statement from a party that wishes to take power at some point in future.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai cancelled the weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers, which works in parallel with the Cabinet, and did not go to his office.
The Council of Ministers is an MDC-T agenda. They pushed for it in the Global Political Agreement. Saka ishiri iri kuzvidyira mazai ayo (a bird feeding on its own eggs).
There are many other MPs from the MDC-T party who have been arrested, prosecuted and incarcerated. What is so special about Bennett?
In any case, the MDC-T party shares ministries with Zanu PF. The party has deputy ministers in Zanu PF led ministries. What happens to those deputies and permanent secretaries?
What also happens to Zanu PF deputy ministers in MDC-T led ministries? What happens to the co-shared ministry of home affairs?
In any case, the MDC-T party knew about Bennett's case long ago. They should have made a decision before Wednesday's indictment, on what to do.
Interestingly, as the MDC-T party mulled whether or not to stay in the inclusive Government, a colourful installation of an MDC mayor, Brian James was taking place in Mutare. Government officials from both Zanu PF and MDC-T attended that ceremony.
The MDC-T party's leadership will only corner itself by taking such a stance.
Many of us wait in the wings to see how they will play this one.
Peter Chimutsa writes from London, UK. He contacted at email@example.com.
Written by George Chellah and Patson Chilemba
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has charged that President Rupiah Banda is the worst, most corrupt and dangerous President Zambia has ever had. And Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba yesterday challenged the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to make its position clear on former president Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal following President Rupiah Banda’s revelation on the matter.
Reacting to President Banda’s remarks on Chiluba’s acquittal during a closed-door meeting in Kasama last Sunday, Hichilema said President Banda had come out in defence of Chiluba’s acquittal because he wanted to protect himself from the corruption he is currently involved in.
“He wants to shield himself away from the current corruption so that nobody asks him how he ran his government when he leaves,” Hichilema said. “He is basically exonerating himself from the current corruption he is involved in like the RP Capital and Zamtel deal. That’s why he is coming out this way on the acquittal.”
He said the biggest problem Zambia was faced with was President Banda.
“He is the one interfering with the judicial process. People must target Rupiah because he is the one who is mismanaging the judiciary. Rupiah is just confirming what we have been saying that he is the one who instructed for the appeal to be stopped,” Hichilema said.
“That’s why he fired Max Nkole. It is very sad… this is what I have always said that Rupiah is in State House for himself. It is him who has destroyed the country. So far he is the worst President Zambia has ever had.”
Hichilema said President Banda was offering a poor quality leadership coupled with a corrupt mind.
“He is the lowest, the worst, most corrupt and the most dangerous President we have ever had. It's leadership with no vision, interfering in the judicial process, corrupt and also dictatorial,” said Hichilema.
And Kabimba said President Banda confirmed works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti’s earlier statement on Chiluba's acquittal.
“There is no doubt listening to what Mulongoti said about Chiluba’s acquittal and what Rupiah said in that closed-door meeting…it’s now clear that it was a Cabinet decision to influence the acquittal of Chiluba. The government must have had a hand in the acquittal of Chiluba,” Kabimba said.
“However, what is surprising is how the same Cabinet that was so committed to see that justice runs its course in this matter under Levy Mwanawasa can today state to the people of Zambia that Rupiah would have regretted if Chiluba was sent to jail. After Levy’s death last year, Rupiah has failed to sustain or uphold Levy’s legacy.
“The decision by the DPP to withdraw the appeal that was lodged by the Task Force on Corruption was in line with the government’s decision to stop this matter. That’s what is very clear from all these pronouncements...”
Kabimba challenged LAZ to make a clear statement on the issue.
“This matter is still in court and we have commenced judicial review proceedings to challenge the appeal and yet the people in government including the President keep on making prejudicial statements against these proceedings. The people that have been culprits are Mulongoti, Vice-President George Kunda and Rupiah himself,” Kabimba said.
“This must worry LAZ vis-à-vis the question of the independence of the judiciary. I challenge LAZ to come in the open and take a clear position whether these rantings are clear for the administration of justice in our country. They should be able to ask what is behind these pronouncements.”
Kabimba said LAZ had been very vague with its position on the matter.
“This is the only country that I have seen where lawyers do not side with poor people. Lawyers all over the world have been known to be instruments of social change where injustice has reared its ugly head against the people,” Kabimba said.
“Lawyers are not siding with the poor people, which is a spirit that we can’t be proud of as lawyers. Neither can the people of Zambia be proud of the legal profession anymore. This is the issue that I would like LAZ to take a position on.”
Kabimba said the government was eroding the independence of the judiciary.
“With these statements, isn’t the government itself sending bad signals to the public about the independence of the judiciary? The President is saying the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) can appeal if he wishes. How does the DPP exercise his powers against these prejudicial statements that are being made?” he asked.
And in a letter to the LAZ president dated October 15, 2009, Kabimba stated that the statements from government had the effect to erode the independence of the judiciary.
Written by Editor
The joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of the women and men of our time, especially of those who are poor or afflicted in any way, should be the joys and hopes, the sorrows and anxieties of our church leaders, of the followers of Jesus Christ.
And Evans Rubara is very right when he says our situation requires alert and fearless church leaders that would take the government to task on behalf of the poor, the weak and the voiceless. Truly, Zambia needs religious leaders that will truly speak for the poor and the marginalised.
But today we are seeing some church leaders aligning themselves with the rich, the powerful, with those who have stolen from the poor. Instead of defending the poor who have been robbed of their country’s meagre resources, some church leaders are having special sessions to defend Frederick Chiluba. These have never held special sessions to pray for the poor but they have time to organise special meetings for Chiluba.
We truly need religious institutions to continue to be the conscience of society, a moral custodian and a fearless champion of the interests of the weak and downtrodden. The enjoyment of the right to an adequate standard of living by the poor requires, on the part of the church and indeed on the part of the government, a preferential option for the poor and the weak.
It is very pleasing to see the church, to hear the church becoming more conscious of its mission to serve the poor and the marginalised. In this preferential option, which should not be understood as something exclusive, the true spirit of the Gospel shines. Jesus declared the poor to be blessed (Matt.5:3; Luke 6:20) and He Himself wanted to be poor for our sake (2 Cor 8:9).
And Reverend David Masupa has expressed sadness at how the Church has become so compromised in Zambia that it could not even differentiate between what was morally wrong and morally right. Today it appears it’s so easy for anyone with money and power to find some church leaders who can defend him and be his public relations officers. It is happening with Chiluba. There are a number of reverends or pastors who have hired themselves out to Chiluba’s defence when they know very well that the man is a thief who has stolen from the poor people of this country and has caused so much suffering to them. But it’s not surprising because when Chiluba was president of the Republic, he used to take money from our poor taxpayers and give it to these pastors or reverends as donations.
These words of Rev Masupa and Rubara express an insight into the Gospel which has been gaining clarity in the Church over a number of years. It is the realisation that in situations of poverty and marginalisation, church leaders and their congregations are called upon to make a preferential option for the poor. By preferential option for the poor, we mean a special solidarity with those who are in any way deprived or wronged or placed at a disadvantage in our society. It is motivated by the love that God wishes them to have for all people. Through this love, they desire that the rights and dignity of every person may be respected. Therefore they are specially drawn to the side of those who are deprived of justice and robbed of human dignity. This opposition is described as “preferential” rather than “exclusive” because it does not imply the exclusion of anyone from their care, their respect or their love. What they desire for the poor, they desire for all people. If the poor are given preferential treatment, it is because of the greatness of their disadvantage. Their aim is not to create a new elitism, but to bring about a situation of justice and equality.
The preferential option for the poor may be compared to the special concern that a family would show to one of its members in distress. What is given to the one is not taken away from the others. This kind of preference was a distinct characteristic of Jesus, who always showed a special care for the poor, the sick, the marginalised and the defenceless (Matt 11:4; 5:25-30). He wanted this characteristic also to distinguish his Church (Luke 14:12-24).
Since, in practice, the common good is not sufficiently highly cherished, and since too many people fail to live in solidarity with the community, it is inevitable that there are those who suffer as a result of these failures. These are the poor, the marginalised, those living on the margins of the community, those whose interests have been neglected or ignored. As such, they are especially entitled to solidarity, to the special commitment of the rest of the community to remedy the situation in which they find themselves. It is this special commitment that is called ‘preferential treatment of the poor’. In practical terms, it means that our economic resources and decisions must not only avoid harming the interests of the poor, but must actually contribute to their upliftment. The option for the poor can be exercised not only in favour of the materially poor, but also towards those who have been marginalised because of other factors for whatever reason. Indeed, such classes of people often tend to be materially poor as well, as a direct result of being marginalised. Also, it must be understood that the poor are not passive recipients of this option, but active participants in its exercise. They must demand what the common good requires for them and they must exercise the same solidarity among each other as the community as a whole must show to them.
Truly, as Rev Masupa has correctly urged, the Church should rise to the occasion and do what is right and should not sell its birthright of morality but instead must be advocates of morality. Of course in trying to champion that which is right and in trying to denounce that which is wrong, church leaders have been accused of politics and have been challenged to join the political arena instead of hiding behind the pulpit. This is as if we didn’t have reverends like Ronnie Shikapwasha in government. Rev Masupa has got a very good answer to this: “What we must know is that there is a very thin line between politics and Christianity, Christians are advocates of justice and when they speak for the poor, they should not be viewed that way.”
We think there is a great coincidence between Christianity’s objectives and the ones which honest, fair-minded, just and humane politicians seek. We are living at a time when politics has entered a near-religious sphere with regard to man and his behaviour. We also believe that we have come to a time when religion can enter the political sphere with regard to man and his material needs.
It is our fellow man, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified: “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcomed thee, or naked and clothe thee?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me’” (Matt 25:37-40).
Therefore, there is no contradiction between the struggle for justice and the fulfillment of God’s will. One demands the other. All who work along that line of God’s scheme for life are considered Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35). This is the best way to follow Jesus, especially in our country’s present situation. And following Christ means being like him. The name Christian means: like Christ, follower of Christ. Now, Jesus Christ was humble, most pure, poor, meek: how can His disciple and imitator be proud, dishonest, angry, greedy, a thief, a lazo?
How many Christians are there who have no more than the name and the baptism of Jesus Christ, while they live like pagans!
He who does not imitate Christ does not love Christ: love is imitation. Imitation is the infallible character to distinguish the lovers of Jesus. One cannot continue defending plunderers who have been corruptly saved from going to jail by some corrupt schemes of their friends in power. Instead of defending the poor people who have been robbed, some of our reverends, pastors, Christians are defending plunderers as if they have never heard of Proverbs 18:5: “It is not right to favour the guilty and keep the innocent from receiving justice.”