Saturday, December 12, 2009
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday charged that it is in fact President Rupiah Banda and Chalwe Mchenga who are misleading the nation by defending criminals, and not the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ).
And Lusaka lawyer Ludwig Sondashi echoed Sata’s sentiments, saying the government should heed observations by LAZ on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because the association never issued statements without researching the law.
Commenting on information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha’s statement that the government was saddened that LAZ was issuing misleading statements on the DPP following the association’s observation to the Attorney General that the powers of the DPP had been usurped by the Executive, Sata said LAZ was supposed to protect the office of the DPP from abuse.
He said it was unlawful for the DPP to receive instructions from the Executive on the delivery of justice to the people. Sata said everything he warned the nation about President Banda last year was now manifesting in the President’s conduct. He asked Lt Gen Shikapwasha to stop misleading the nation.
Apart from Lt Gen Shikapwasha, Sata said, President Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and Mchenga were misleading the nation.
“… President Banda, since he came to office, since he started to act as president, he has ignored the rule of law, it’s him who started congratulating people without knowing who has said ‘thank you very much for the acquittal’,” Sata said.
“It is him who is sending Mr Shikapwasha to defend criminals and mislead the nation. Chalwe Mchenga is also involved.”
Sata demanded that acting Attorney General Abyudi Shonga should respond to the letter from LAZ and not Lt Gen Shikapwasha whom he described as an empty head that wanted to comment on matters he did not understand.
Sata said Lt Gen Shikapwasha was more competent flying aeroplanes and not to talk about matters of law.
And Sondashi said it was right that LAZ had observed the Executive’s continuous influence on the judicial organs of the state.
“What the LAZ said is correct, and the government through their spokesperson, Reverend Gen Shikapwasha must heed to LAZ. LAZ does not issue statements without researching the law, so Mr Shikapwasha must be very careful when he is dealing with the law, he will be out of government and he is going to be affected over the issues that are being raised about the DPP,” Sondashi said.
“In fact I would go further myself to suggest that the DPP, if he is worth the position he holds should just resign. He should step down so that another DPP who can withstand pressure can be appointed because as far as we are concerned, even I have lost confidence in the DPP.”
Sondashi said one did not even need to go far because President Banda recently confirmed that he exerted power on the DPP not to appeal former president Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal.
He said even the acquittal was in itself questionable.
“It is the Executive which is misleading the nation, not LAZ. How can LAZ mislead the nation? You see, they know that Chiluba is guilty. He has even been found guilty of corruption, and even President Banda’s children are found to be engaging in corrupt activities,” Sondashi said.
He rubbished Lt Gen Shikapwasha’s assertion that the statement by LAZ created an impression that the DPP could only be expected to make anti-government decisions.
“There is nothing convincing from what Shikapwasha is talking about,” Sondashi said.
On Lt Gen Shikapwasha’s statement that LAZ was being discredited by the people issuing statements in its name, Sondashi said LAZ president Stephen Lungu could not issue statements without consulting the LAZ executive.
He said Lt Gen Shikapwasha had reacted in a harsh manner because he expected LAZ to speak in favour of the government.
“Mr Lungu is now coming up. What he Lungu has done is what some of us members of LAZ expect that he must not only issue statements which support government,” said Sondashi. “Mr Shikapwasha’s statement should be condemned with all the force that is there.”
Recently, Lungu revealed that LAZ had written to the Attorney General, observing that the powers of the DPP had been taken over by the Executive.
But in response, Lt Gen Shikapwasha stated that the statement attributed to Lungu must be dismissed as it added no value to enhancing the integrity of the Judiciary and other arms of governance.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha accused LAZ of issuing misleading statements on the matter.
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
If things were left to the likes of Ronnie Shikapwasha and others in Rupiah Banda’s government, The Post wouldn’t be here today. It is clear that there is a campaign by Rupiah’s government to try and annihilate The Post. And all these media regulation schemes they are coming up with are targeted primarily at The Post.
And Ronnie made it clear on ZNBC National Watch programme on Wednesday night when he said that the government wants to regulate the media because it does not want the 2011 campaigns to be destroyed by one media organisation.
It requires little intelligent – if a little is all one has – to realise that the “one media organisation” Ronnie is talking about is The Post.
And the reasons they want to regulate the media have also been made clear by Ronnie. It is clear now that they want to regulate the media for narrow political reasons, for their own political survival.
They see The Post as a stumbling block in their desire to retain power in 2011. Why should this be so if The Post has no public support? Ronnie is saying their move to try and regulate the media is in line with the people’s wish. But we ask: which people?
The Post is the largest circulating newspaper in every town of this country. If the Zambian people didn’t like it and were with Ronnie in the efforts of his government to strangulate it, why would they be buying it every day instead of the state owned and government controlled Times of Zambia and Daily Mail?
Ronnie goes on to say that it was unethical for some newspapers to endorse particular candidates during elections. It is very embarrassing that people like Ronnie in high government positions are so eager to exhibit their ignorance. Public figures should be reluctant to talk about things they don’t understand; they should never try to explain that which is not perfectly clear to them.
While they may derive great experience from the exercise of their functions as government officials, they do not have the privilege of being – nor could they be – specialists in all social spheres. They are basically politicians – in itself one of the most difficult tasks in today’s world – and above all, they must be responsible ones.
It is very clear that Ronnie is talking about media ethics without knowing what they mean or entail. There is nothing unethical about a newspaper endorsing a particular candidate during elections. This practice is widespread in the world and has been there for a very long time. Leading newspapers in the United States, including the Washington Post and the New York Times, do endorse candidates. Many European newspapers also do that. And this practice has been there for centuries.
There is totally nothing unethical about endorsing a candidate. But speaking for ourselves, we have never endorsed a candidate. And this is not because we don’t have the right to do so; it’s simply by choice. If one day we will wake up and feel there is need to endorse a candidate, we will do so. But like everything else we do, we have to have a good reason for doing it and should be able to justify it to ourselves and others who we feel we owe a duty in that regard.
But this is characteristic of Rupiah and his ministers: they like talking about things they don’t know. And that’s why they have made wild allegations about us. This is because in their dealings with us, there is no reasoning – they are simply propelled by hatred. And that hatred arises from the fact that they can’t manipulate us, they can’t bribe us the way they do with other people they give brown envelopes, jobs and all sorts of favours.
We have many difficulties, many problems, many deficiencies but we have never been for hire to anyone. We have tried very hard to take a principled position in everything we have done, even if things have not always turned out the way we would have liked them to be.
There are no media ethics Ronnie and his friends in Rupiah’s government can teach us when they don’t have even political ethics themselves.
Ronnie claims that “certain media organisations are anti-government, they have gone political and they want to show their own candidate”. Again speaking for ourselves, we have never been anti-government because it is not possible to be so. The government of this country is not a personal property of anyone even if some people think because they have been tasked to run government on behalf of the people of Zambia, then that government belongs to them.
It doesn’t because the government of this country belongs to all Zambians, it doesn’t belong to any individual or a group of people. When the time comes, even Ronnie who thinks this government belongs to him will leave everything that belongs to the government for other people to run it on behalf of all of us.
We are also part of government. The Zambian government also belongs to us just as much as it belongs to Ronnie, Rupiah and others. If we are part of government and if the government belongs to us, how can we be anti-government? How can we be against ourselves? But Ronnie’s claim that we are anti-government is not from without. It emanates from the confusion in his head.
To Ronnie, government doesn’t belong to us, it belongs to him and his friends who hold government offices. And because of this misconception, this confusion, Ronnie sees us as spoilers, anti-government elements.
Yes, we are sometimes or often critical of the decisions and practices of those who run government on our behalf. But there can be no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. No institution, whatever, should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don’t.
Those who run public institutions like Ronnie is doing are our servants, our workers, our employees. And if we criticise them, it doesn’t mean that we are against our own institutions in which we have employed them. Probably this is difficult discourse for Ronnie’s simple mind to follow because one needs to be broadminded to appreciate what we are trying to say. Ronnie goes on to further say that “you can’t have a media that promulgates a bad situation when it’s not bad all the time”.
It’s not good for an individual or for an organisation to lie. If The Post or any other newspaper for that matter tries to create an impression that is not there, tries to lie about the existence of certain things when they don’t exist, it won’t be long before people lose trust in it and stop buying and reading it. The media reports things or phenomena that is also witnessed by other people. If one is lying or has a wrong impression of what they have seen or heard, others will also have their own and the two will compete.
And this is why it is said that truth to relative and not absolute. Moreover, even if what Ronnie is saying was true, that would still not be a good reason for the government to regulate the media. The solution to such a problem is not to devise laws that set some arbitrary definition of truth or reality, but to increase the number of views, observations; to broaden the level of public discourse so that in the end, the correct reality is established.
And Ronnie claims that they “have one radio station which is every day insulting those in power, this is unacceptable”. Again, this only goes to show Ronnie’s serious lack of understanding of what the rule of law means in a country. This country has more than enough laws that regulate the abuse of other people. It is not for Ronnie to define what is acceptable or not acceptable, what is an insult or what is not an insult.
To Ronnie, observing that one acted stupidly or foolishly is a serious insult. But these are words that are used even in the Holy Bible to describe certain behaviour. Jesus Christ called Herod a fox because that king’s behaviour was well described by that animal’s conduct. The Penal Code has more than enough provisions that protect people from unjustified verbal or written abuses.
But there is a danger of self-contradiction when people start to talk about things they don’t fully understand. In another breath, Ronnie is saying that “the spotlight should also shine on opposition leaders, it must not be a one-sided spotlight. It must not be right for a newspaper to say Shikapwasha is an angel when I’m a thief”. Does Ronnie really mean what he is saying?
This is where the problem arises, in trying to do exactly what Ronnie is telling us to do – calling a spade a spade. Truly, it is wrong to say Ronnie is an angel when he is a thief. The right thing would be to say Ronnie is a thief.
But everybody knows what happened to us when we called a thief a thief, when we called Chiluba a thief because he was stealing public funds. The likes of Ronnie would have accused us of insulting Chiluba, of “promulgating a bad situation” when it didn’t exist. How different is what Ronnie is suggesting to what we have been doing?
The truth is they don’t like us because we have never allowed them to get away with clinched catechisms which tempt all who become part of an apparatus. They also hate us and want to regulate us because we have never allowed them to make a virtue out of their inadequacies.
But what is frightening is Ronnie’s claim that “it is the cry of the people of Zambia that if not regulated, the media owners will become too powerful. They will start directing the course of the country and will determine whether to throw the country in chaos or not”. We don’t think this is the cry of the people. The truth is this is the cry of Ronnie and his friends.
Their fear of losing power to others is frightening and if not checked will lead them to committing serious wrongs or atrocities. It’s clear that their issue with the media that is outside their control is nothing other than the fear of this making them lose power and with the loss of power, jobs and privileges. That’s all they want to regulate the media for. The rest is political rhetoric.
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
INFORMATION minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha has said the government wants to regulate the media because it does not want the 2011 campaigns to be destroyed by one media organisation.
Featuring on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC)'s National Watch programme on Wednesday night, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said what government was doing was in line with the people's wish.
The programme also featured Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) vice-president Amos Chanda and Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chapter, chairperson Henry Kabwe.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said it was unethical for some newspapers to endorse particular candidates during elections.
“Certain media organisations are anti-government, they have gone political and they want to show their own candidate. You can't have a media that promulgates a bad situation when it's not bad all the time," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said.
"We move with the people because we don't want 2011 campaigns to be destroyed by one media organisation. Again we have one radio station which is every day insulting those in power. This is unacceptable."
When reminded by the presenter that all those in power were under the spotlight and therefore should accept to be scrutinised, Lt Gen Shikapwasha accused the media of being selective in their scrutiny.
“The spotlight should also shine on opposition leaders, it must not be a one sided spotlight. It must not be right for a newspaper to say Shikapwasha is an angel when I'm a thief. So let their light shine upon every political leader, not just those in power," he said.
When asked why the government should propose a law just to control one particular media house as evidenced by the debates in the last sitting of Parliament, Lt Gen Shikapwasha claimed that the government wanted to regulate all media houses.
“The debates in Parliament and cries from many people are not that one newspaper should be regulated. People are simply saying that all journalists should be responsible in their reporting. What one newspaper writes is an example of bad reporting. And yet that newspaper wants to stay out of a media council that can help promote ethics, that's wrong," Lt Gen Shikapwasha said. “There are so many hawkers of news who claim to report for The Post, the Times of Zambia, or the Daily Mail.
Yet, to use the medical term they are only quacks who have infiltrated the media industry. It is the cry of the people of Zambia that if not regulated, the media owners will become too powerful. They will start directing the course of the country and will determine whether to throw the country in chaos or not."
But MISA Zambia chairperson Henry Kabwe argued that the alleged bias from private media organisations has been prompted by the public media's unprofessionalism.
"The temptation by private media institutions to be anti-government could be lessened if government-controlled media institutions stopped being biased towards government. But because our colleagues in the government-controlled media have been biased towards government, the private media have tried to fill in the gap and portray the other side of life," said Kabwe.
And Chanda observed that the Media Ethics Council of Zambia (MECOZ) had major weaknesses, which made it toothless.
"There were two major weaknesses in MECOZ: first that the major player which is The Post newspaper had opted to stay out of the Council. This had a negative bearing on MECOZ. And secondly that those other players who are inside, like the Times of Zambia and the Zambia Daily Mail have not respected MECOZ decisions.
There are several decisions MECOZ has made against the Times of Zambia and the Daily Mail, which these two institutions have not respected. These, in my view are major weaknesses in MECOZ," said Chanda.
By George Chellah
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
LUSAKA lawyer Wynter Kabimba yesterday said President Rupiah Banda’s decision to award Dr Roger Chongwe US $5.9 million about K27.5 billion has no legal basis because there is no international civil court that has jurisdiction in Zambia outside the provisions of the foreign judgments Act.
Commenting on Dr Chongwe's justification of his compensation over the shooting he suffered under the Frederick Chiluba regime in 1997 in Kabwe and his admission that President Banda played a role in helping him to get the compensation, Kabimba described Dr Chongwe’s compensation claim as academic.
“I expect the Attorney General whether acting or not to advise the President accordingly and properly that this is not possible under the Zambian law as it exists today. And I am sure Dr Chongwe is just taking a chance, that’s why in the past they Chiluba and Mwanawasa’s governments have just ignored him,” Kabimba said.
“He has made similar claims in the past and they have just ignored him. Rupiah Banda will be making an illegal payment and if that doesn’t amount to corruption, then I don’t know what it is because any money released by the government Treasury must be backed by law.
“Dr Chongwe has not even attempted to register that kama judgment because I am sure he knows. There is no international civil court that has jurisdiction in Zambia outside the provisions of the foreign judgments Act.”
Kabimba said the question that arises now is the enforceability of Dr Chongwe’s judgment in Zambia.
“As you know, the law is that no judgment of any court or tribunal outside Zambia is enforceable in Zambia, unless that judgment has been registered and has become part of the jurisdiction of the Zambian judicial system,” Kabimba said. “That’s why even the Chiluba London judgment is a subject of debate now.”
He said the foreign judgments Act lists countries whose judgments could be registered in Zambia once obtained from any of the listed country.
“In other words, if you obtain a judgment in Zambia you can enforce it in the UK as long as you have it registered in the UK. As far as I am concerned, that so-called UN tribunal that gave Dr Chongwe that award it’s not one of those courts recognized under our foreign judgments Act,” said Kabimba. “For anybody to start debating that Dr Chongwe should be given that compensation is academic. It will be a political payment because it has no legal basis under the Zambian law. It won’t have any legal basis.”
Recently, Dr Chongwe justified his compensation claim, saying he was happy that the government would implement the decision and that President Banda played a part in the matter.
This was after home affairs minister Lameck Mangani denied that President Banda had authorised payment of US $5.9 million K27.5 billion to Dr Chongwe as compensation.
This week, The Post exposed President Banda's instruction that Dr Chongwe be paid US $5.9 million as compensation for the injuries he suffered during the 1997 police shooting in Kabwe.
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry (EPCCI) chairperson Timothy Nyirenda said it might take time to make the Chipata/Mchinji railway line operational.
In an interview after witnessing the arrival of the first train carrying ballast which used the Chipata/Mchinji railway line on Thursday, Nyirenda said there were a lot of things that needed to be done on the railway line.
“There is still a lot to be done on this railway line, there are some places which still needs ballast so there will be a train coming from Malawi that will be bringing this until the railway line is fully completed.
At the moment there is no dry port so government should find a place for this again we don't know a company that will be running this railway line. We don't know whether there is a line for this railway project in next yearís budget otherwise it might be operational in the next years to come,î Nyirenda said.
He said the government should also make a road that would lead to the dry port.
Nyirenda urged the business community in the province to take advantage of the railway line that was expected to start operating in the next three months.
He said he was hopeful that the government would find funds meant for the completion of the project.
Nyirenda said he was grateful to the Malawian and Mozambican governments for working closely with the Zambian government in ensuring that the project was successful.
By Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
Sat 12 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said there are hooligans in ZANU-PF who are bent on destroying the party by splitting it into factions.
President Mugabe on Thursday afternoon spoke hard on the divisions that are threatening to cause cracks in the party, which have been revealed more at the on-going party congress.
“Why not get together and know that this is about ZANU-PF being one? The people do not belong to anyone. You are not Mugabe or Vice President Mujuru or John Nkomo members, but members of the party, a people’s party,” he said while opening the meeting of the Central Committee.
“Youths have been used to support individuals. This is not ZANU-PF. There are hooligans in the party.”
President Mugabe said the party was now losing focus on fighting neo-colonialism by being divided.
"We have an enemy to fight, an enemy with a great force behind it, with the support of the British," he said.
"When we hear of factionalism continuing in some provinces, one wonders if the principles of unity sunk not only in our minds, but also in our hearts. What is lost is the focus of the struggle. It is no longer a fight against the enemy, the opposition and neo-colonialism. Instead of organising against the opposition, we are sweating for support, not for the party but for oneself," he said.
He blasted the outgoing Central Committee members for the party’s poor performance in last year’s election in which ZANU-PF lost total control after 28 years in power.
This led to the formation of the inclusive government with ZANU-PF in February this year.
President Mugabe said the outgoing Central Committee members should accept that they reigned over a period when the party performed badly in elections.
"We should be able to say we are the Central Committee which organised elections last year and yielded this inclusive government. We are the Central Committee that campaigned during the elections. We should be able to admit that the election produced a result that left a huge dent on the party. We are responsible for the poor performance in the election last year," he said.
He said the party had learnt a lesson in last year’s election and would use that lesson to its advantage in future elections.
President Mugabe is today expected to announce the names of the ZANU-PF office holders that will have been confirmed by the congress.
President Mugabe, his two deputies Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo, and national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo are set to lead the party over the next five years.
Even more interestingly, controversial Tsholotsho North independent legislator and ZANU-PF prodigal son, Prof Jonathan Moyo is expected to bounce back into the party's central committee.
Prof Moyo will be appointed into the central committee together with party loyalists from the province such as John Nkomo, Obert Mpofu and Matebeleland North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu.
He was last month nominated into the 245-member ZANU-PF central committee, the party's main policy-making body, by his Matebeleland North Province after he rejoined the party in October.
Prof Moyo, the only independent member in the 210-strong Parliament, is widely recognised as an architect of the harsh media laws that saw the closure of privately-owned newspapers and caused the arrests of several journalists.
He was dropped from the central committee and the politburo at the 2004 ZANU-PF congress after he infuriated President Mugabe when he allegedly masterminded the infamous Tsholotsho meeting in 2004 that sought to re-arrange the ZANU-PF presidium.
He was subsequently expelled as a cabinet minister and from ZANU-PF in February 2005 after he stood for parliamentary elections as an independent candidate, defying a party decision to reserve the Tsholotsho seat for a female candidate, Musa Mathema.
He had remained an independent member of parliament until October when he applied to rejoin the party.
Analysts say President Mugabe is keen to re-deploy Prof Moyo to the party's propaganda machinery, which has seemingly faltered under the control of his successors Paul Mangwana, the late Tichaona Jokonya, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and the incumbent Webster Shamu.
By Gady Mwamba Museka, Mazabuka
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
There is a need for all citizens of Zambia to improve their lives through honesty, hard work and enterprise. It's time for public leaders to show the same in this respect, instead of acquiring wealth through dishonest means.
Government leaders must always remember that majority of Zambian families fall within poverty range while a small per cent comprising some former leaders and their lieutenants who amassed wealth through various unaccounted means, who overnight became millionaires and billionaires made their money by siphoning the country’s treasury.
It does not require a genius to know that money looted from the government belongs to the people of Zambia and that is the reason we are not developing and most of the people are living in poverty.
For Zambia to ever hope for poverty-free country, a complete change of attitude must be paramount amongst the leaders. Let our leaders avoid selfishness, greed and gratuitous desire to amass wealth for themselves and their future generations.
We need to start seeing development in our towns and communities in terms of infrastructures like schools, hospitals and roads, among others. We have past 45 years after independence but we seem to be going backwards in terms of development. Angola was in the war but next month will manage to host the biggest soccer showpiece in Africa. It is really shameful for Zambia that currently we don’t even have a stadium in Lusaka to meet international standards!
I feel we can do better! Let us set our priorities right as a country!
Friday, December 11, 2009
The most under-investigated of political assassinations
by Tiphaine Dickson
Global Research, November 24, 2008
Retired Colonel Rose Kabuye was recently arrested in Germany, and extradited to France, where she was charged with for complicity in murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise, for her alleged participation in the 1994 shooting down of Juvénal Habyarimana’s presidential plane, and released on bail. She is the first member of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s inner circle to be charged in connection to what is arguably history’s least-investigated political assassination and terrorist attack.
Who is Rose Kabuye?
Colonel Rose Kabuye was born in Uganda, the child of Rwandan expatriates, many of which left the country after it obtained independence, and following a UN-sponsored referendum abolishing the (Tutsi) monarchy in Rwanda. She attended primary school with many of the current regime’s hard-liners, and like numerous other Rwandan Tutsi exiles living in Uganda, Kabuye joined the Ugandan Army, where she held the rank of Lieutenant, and became the personal attaché of the Chief of Staff. During the same period, Paul Kagame, who attended the U.S. Army Command and Staff College (CGSC) in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, was Chief of Military Intelligence in the Ugandan Army.
President Paul Kagame
On October 1st, 1990, an armed group called the Rwandan Patriotic Front, composed of many Ugandan officers, including Rose Kabuye and Paul Kagame, invaded Rwanda from Uganda, with Ugandan military materiel, and Ugandan soldiers. President Museveni of Uganda claimed that these "rebels" were acting unbeknownst to him, and had "deserted" the Ugandan army; however, there is no account that any of these officers, including Kabuye and Kagame, were ever stripped of their Ugandan military rank, or that they were they ever court-martialed and charged with desertion.
It is said that Rose Kabuye—who charmed foreign journalists by holding her baby on her knee in press conferences held after the RPF invasion of Rwanda-- was imprisoned for several months by Kagame in 1993, for undisclosed reasons.
In April 1994, she was back in Kigali, Rwanda, working in an administrative capacity at the RPF headquarters. French judge Jean-Louis Bruguière accuses her of having abetted the SAM 16 missile attack on the plane carrying Presidents Juvenal Habyarimana of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, of Burundi. The indictment states that it was in her office that the members of the "Network Commando", the RPF cell alleged to have shot down the presidential plane, waited for their orders, on April 6th, 1994.
Rose Kabuye was named "Prefet" (or governor) of Kigali after the tragic event of 1994.
She was later designated to participate in the National Transitional Assembly by Kagame, but was later removed. Colonel Kabuye was subsequently named Chief of Protocol of President Kagame. She is the highest-ranking woman in the Rwandan Patriotic Army.
A Convenient Arrest
Kabuye’s arrest and extradition to France arrest comes at a curious time and is accompanied by circumstances that deserve closer scrutiny.
It appears that, according to both French and German government sources, Rose Kabuye had been warned that if she traveled to Germany, she would be arrested pursuant to a warrant launched by French anti-terrorism judge, Jean-Louis Bruguière; a claim she now denies, expressing instead "surprise" at her arrest. Much has been said of Colonel Kabuye’s willingness to face justice in France so that "the truth be known"; President Paul Kagame has ever referred to "lancing the boil".
It has been speculated that General Kagame has sent his Chief of Protocol—a Lieutenant herself—to attempt, first, to obtain a copy of judge Bruguière’s file, and secondly, to "reveal the weakness" of the case against himself, and inner circle. Indeed, Kabuye is, among those charged, the individual against whom the charges are least severe, and whose implication may seem to be less instrumental than others. This theory is revealing to some extent, but fails to take into account what are high-level diplomatic and political attempts to paradoxically, move away from, and not towards, the truth.
The shooting down of the plane carrying Presidents Habyarimana of Rwanda and Ntaryamira of Burundi triggered the large-scale massacres that followed. The role of this attack on the nightmare that unfolded is obvious, yet over the years, and with the exception of judge Bruguière’s investigation, efforts to elucidate this crime have been frustrated almost every step of the way. An investigation was requested on numerous occasions, by numerous parties; significantly, by the Security Council, almost immediately, whose reminders to the Secretary-General to investigate the circumstances of the attack were not followed; by the Rwandan Government, after the plane was shot down; by the African Union; and following the UN resolution establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, the Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities adopted resolution 1994/1 entitled "Situation in Rwanda", calling the attention of the Commission of Experts, established by the Security Council, to the need to inquire into the circumstances of the shooting down of the plane.
In 1997, as defense counsel for Georges Rutaganda before the ICTR, I argued a motion requesting the Prosecutor disclose results of investigations into the shooting down of the Presidential plane, or be directed to undertake investigations, if none had been carried out. The Prosecutor’s representative responded:
"Our responsibility and mandate is not to investigate plane crashes. That's not really our function. Therefore, I would categorically answer this question by saying that, first, we don't have any such investigation. We have not made any such investigation and we don't have any reports. And, secondly, it is not our function, it is not our mandate, to investigate plane crashes or presidents, vice-presidents, or whoever it is. And, therefore, this is really a matter not within our province."
We have since learned from Michael Hourigan, Australian lawyer and one of former Prosecutor Louise Arbour’s lead investigators, that investigations had in fact been carried out (and at the material period when this fact had been denied), but had been shut down by Prosecutor Arbour personally once Hourigan informed her that he had credible evidence that a "network commando" of the RPF had shot down the plane.
The efforts to undermine this investigation over the years are significant, and the testimony of Abdul Ruzibiza, a former RPF officer who testified before the ICTR, sheds substantial light on why that may be. Ruzibiza, one of judge Bruguière’s witnesses, claims to have recanted the totality of his testimony in several telephone interviews given last week.
Yet Ruzibiza wrote a book setting out in detail the fact that Kagame’s RPF shot down the plane with the knowledge that armed hostilities would resume in Rwanda, as he was dissatisfied with the political process undertaken after belligerent parties had signed the Arusha Peace Accords. In other words, knowing full well that chaos would descend upon Rwanda (or with incomprehensible recklessness), Kagame’s strategy was to seize power through the force of arms, and it was guaranteed that war would resume after the assassination of the Rwandan President—and as it happened, the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces, as well as the President of Burundi.
Ruzibiza testified publicly at the ICTR as a defense witness. The Prosecutor’s cross-examination covers 65 pages of transcripts, yet Ruzibiza’s version was unshaken, much less did he change his version, or recant then, when testifying under oath.
But Rose Kabuye’s arrest and transfer to France appears to have suddenly triggered Ruzibiza’s change of heart and complete recantation of his testimony. He now claims that Bruguière’s investigation was a French political machination (which does not explain his UN testimony).
Diplomacy’s Pale Underbelly
Perhaps key in understanding what has happened is the policy adopted by France’s Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner. In January 2008, and apparently desperate to normalize relations with Rwanda (which were suspended by Rwanda after Bruguière launched arrest warrants in 2006), he signed an op ed in Figaro, in which he wrote (my translation):
"I do not know who ordered the April 6th, 1994 attack against President Habyarimana’s plane. But I do not believe, as does the excellent judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, that Paul Kagame knowingly decided to spark the fire that roared over his country. I cannot accept this simplistic and slanderous vision that would have Tutsis be responsible for what happened to them, no more than I can stand to hear certain people claim that there was a double genocide, against both Hutus and Tutsis."
Asked last week [mid-November 2008] whether Kabuye’s indictment in France would present an obstacle to the normalization of relations with Rwanda, he responded: "I believe the contrary."
One can only hope that geo-political concerns will not yet again stand in the way of learning the truth about the circumstances in which President Habyarimana’s plane was shot down by two surface to air missiles in 1994, even if the truth to be discovered, and justice to be done as a result, leads us to indict those who’ve become some of the West’s strongest allies, and who continue, it seems, to wage a path of destruction through Eastern Congo, with complete immunity.
Indeed, if the RPF shot down President Habyarimana’s plane, Kagame can no longer be deemed a heroic military genius who stopped a genocide and should be forever protected and flattered no matter how many crimes he commits. He becomes one of the (main) reasons the massacres unfolded: he could not have failed to know that the assassination of two Hutu presidents, and the Chief of Staff of the Rwandan Armed Forces, during a volatile political transition and in the course of a fragile ceasefire (violated on several occasions by the RPF, as it happens), would unleash violence. If the RPF shot down the plane, they are co-responsible, and this substantially changes the cartoonishly uni-dimensional narrative necessary to provide Kagame with total impunity, and buttress a Western foreign policy on intervention that helped make the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia possible politically.
While Bernard Kouchner may not want to believe the results of a careful investigation carried out by France’s most celebrated anti-terrorism judge, and while Judge Bruguière’s witness, Mr. Ruzibiza, may suddenly see fit to recant a testimony given under oath before a UN institution, the fact remains that there are many other witnesses relied upon in the French investigation.
And this most under-investigated of political assassinations, one which sparked a hundred-day massacre, the latter justifying continued war and misery in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and authoritarian rule in Rwanda, must be elucidated, and not quashed yet again, for the sake of geopolitical interests that would impede discovery of truth, and delay justice beyond what can decently be tolerated.
Tiphaine Dickson was lead counsel for Georges Rutaganda before the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda from 1997 to 2001. She was the first defense lawyer to present a motion requesting disclosure of the Prosecution’s investigations into the shooting down of President Habyarimana’s plane.
Tiphaine Dickson is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Tiphaine Dickson
by Danny Schechter
Global Research, December 7, 2009
I came to the Congo in search of its future and instead found myself marching down memory lane. On Thursday we went to the Museum of Beaux Arts, really a school for teaching sculpture, a subject close to me because my late dad sculpted in stone and wood as a hobby.
But there, surrounding the ageing art deco building, were statues of Congo’s history of agony—large almost socialist realist renderings of soldiers carrying the wounded, or falling on the battlefield.
Even an art school cannot ignore the history around it. The curator told me that it is only recently that art students have been allowed to do work of social commentary.
On Friday, we passed a public monument alongside a well-traveled highway. It was for someone who took decades to be resuscitated as a national hero, the country’s first post-independence prime minister later assassinated with CIA help in 1961.
His name: Patrice Lumumba.
What happened is still to some a mystery of history as US News reported in 2000:
“It was the height of the Cold War when Sidney Gottlieb arrived in Congo in September 1960. The CIA man was toting a vial of poison. His target: the toothbrush of Patrice Lumumba, Congo's charismatic first prime minister, who was also feared to be a rabid Communist. As it happened, Lumumba was toppled in a military coup just days before Gottlieb turned up with his poison. The plot was abandoned, the lethal potion dumped in the Congo River.
When Lumumba finally was killed, in January 1961, no one was surprised when fingers started pointing at the CIA. A Senate investigation of CIA assassinations 14 years later found no proof that the agency was behind the hit, but suspicions linger. Today, new evidence suggests Belgium, Congo's former colonialist ruler, was the mastermind. According to The Assassination of Lumumba, a book published last year in Belgium by sociologist Ludo de Witte, Belgian operatives directed and carried out the murder, and even helped dispose of the body. Belgian authorities are investigating, but officials admit de Witte's account appears accurate.
Does that mean the CIA didn't play a role? Declassified U.S. cables from the year preceding the assassination bristle with paranoia about a Lumumba-led Soviet Communist takeover. The CIA was hatching plots against Cuban leader Fidel Castro and was accused of fomenting coups and planning assassinations worldwide. And Lumumba clearly scared the daylights out of the Eisenhower administration. "In high quarters here, it is the clear-cut conclusion that if [Lumumba] continues to hold high office, the inevitable result will [have] disastrous consequences . . . for the interests of the free world generally," CIA Director Allen Dulles wrote. "Consequently, we conclude that his removal must be an urgent and prime objective."
(The CIA still doing its secret dirty work in the service of empire, driven by new “urgent” objectives in Afghanistan and around the world, unchecked, unaccountable, unpunished. As for toothbrushes, it’s now Swiss bankers who are being caught smuggling diamonds in toothpaste containers. (True!) Who knows if those diamonds originated here.)
Today, at “his” monument, the “P” in Patrice had fallen off but there it was, a giant memorial with a likeness of the legendary Congolese nationalist in a suit, arm erect, waving to the masses, only in this case, he’s waving at the traffic, greeting and welcoming travelers to Congo an the airport road named after him. I waved back.
Under his name were the dates of the short years he lived, 1925 to 1961. He was just 36 when he was brutally killed. Had he survived, this would have been a very different country. The Russians set up Patrice Lumumba University, a political school in Moscow for international students named after him. Malcolm X, who met a similar fate years later called him, “"the greatest black man who ever walked the African continent."
He was a voice of memory and determination which is no doubt why he frightened many in the West who had profited from their relationship to Congo, His speeches were poetic. Here’s part of what he said on June 30, l960, Congo Independence Day:
…no Congolese worthy of the name will ever be able to forget that is was by fighting that it has been won [applause], a day-to-day fight, an ardent and idealistic fight, a fight in which we were spared neither privation nor suffering, and for which we gave our strength and our blood.
We are proud of this struggle, of tears, of fire, and of blood, to the depths of our being, for it was a noble and just struggle, and indispensable to put an end to the humiliating slavery which was imposed upon us by force.
This was our fate for eighty years of a colonial regime; our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.
There is another monument up the road for another “assassinee,” Laurent Kabilla, the father of the current president Joseph, just 38 years old. Kabilla was at one time one of the Congo’s revolutionaries and backed Cuba’s Che Guevara who many don’t remember fought a guerilla battle in the Congo before his ill-fated adventure in Bolivia. Kabilla too would be killed in office.
Later that night I interviewed LEXUS, a powerful local hip-hop artist who told me that these national heroes are not really taught about in the schools, and should be.
After my “Lumumba moment”—and I had mourned his passing back in ’61 in a solemn march as a freshman at Cornell as my fellow students and I began learning about the “winds of change” in Africa.
From the monument for Patrice, I sought out another “monument” that far more Americans would remember---the stadium that hosted Mohammad Ali and George Foreman’s “rumble un the jungle” back in l974.
It wasn’t easy to get in to the field because its self-appointed guards demanded bribes—something you can understand given the deep poverty they are experiencing, and given the way so much business is done here.
I found families huddled in the Stadium’s catacombs with fires for cooking and small children living in desperation in what were actually once prison cells under the sports arena. The bars are still there in that dark and dank basement. I don’t think the coverage back in the day noted that there was a “working” dungeon under the stadium maintained by the Mobutu regime.
He had his own GITMO similar to Pinochet’s stadium torture chamber in Santiago Chile. (As I complete this essay, BBC is reporting that Victor Jara, the Chilean singer killed in Chile was reburied today, 36 years later, the real lifespan of Patrice Lumumba.
Dictators of a feather tend to stick together! The Congo stadium was later named May 20th for the date Mobutu founded his political party. What was really disturbing was hearing people tell me that if Mobutu were alive, he would be re-elected because people remember his time as more stable when the country could defend itself. He was for many, despicable but also the Strong Man who could.
A woman in African dress accepted a small gratuity with gratitude and showed us the room that housed Ali and his trainers. It had been flooded, and smelled fetid. Someone was taking a shower in the back. A picture of “the Greatest,” mouth perpetually open, eyes defiant, was still plastered on a wall. Two deflated punching bags swing from the ceiling. There was no electricity.
Ali may have beat Forman but the place felt beat up too. It was like the wreck of the Roman coliseum. The field is still there but not the ring. There was no plaque, no photos, no historic marker except in my own memory and heart because that encounter was so thrilling.
If this was the USA, I could imagine the stadium being turned into a pugilistic museum with a screening room featuring clips from Leon Gast’s great decades-in-the making doc, “When We Were Kings” of that Don King extravaganza, or perhaps even Will Smith’s recreation in the movie ALI---actually shot in Mozambique, not Congo.
But that will not happen because there is no tourist market here. Besides, a new humongas 80,000 seat stadium built by the Chinese who used prison laborers, somehow a practice not uncommon here is now just down the street. This communist creation is now named after its own capitalist corporate sponsor, Vodacom, the South African Telecom giant.
Congo has moved, on even if the chant “Ali Bumbaye” (“Ali Kill him”) still resonates. A Congolese told me the country started hating Foreman when he showed up with two giant dogs reminiscent of the ones imported by Belgian colonialists.
I was thinking about all this in part because today was the day the World Cup announced what teams would play in 2010, an announcement made in South Africa, and then heard and seen worldwide on TV.
Sports and pop culture have become our politics of distraction. It is so much harder to keep score on changes in our world than on what’s happening on the playing fields where games start and end in a few hours. They don’t drag on over months and years as they do in the political sphere. There are winners and losers, period!
Highly paid athletes have become our role models, not the likes of political martyrs like Che or Lumumba. In this culture, worldwide, corporate marketing trumps political missions. You have to be a rock star like Bono to promote African causes. While respected for his football talent, David Beckham is better known for his endorsement deals, salaries and beautiful people lifestyle.
Just as South Africa spends billions on new stadiums to host a world sporting event, so Mubutu hosted the Rumble in the Jungle to try to clean up the international image of his brutal regime. The real game is designed to keep our eyes on the spectacle, not on the men and the money in the shadows.
Oddly, later in the evening I was taken across the street from our hotel to “The Shark Club,” a new private sports complex with a pool and a gym said to be owned by the President’s brother. There is also a modern field house with a state of the art boxing ring. On Friday nights, it becomes a private fight club with four scheduled slugfests.
What would Ali have thought?
Boxing is now an entertainment for the elite, not only a stadium sport for the masses complete with refs in white shirts, judges, and sexy young girls strutting around the ring with signs reminding the largely male audience having drinks at tables what the next round is.. Even this has been commodified so many miles away ---like so much else. Everyone can now play at being a more modern Don King.
Back in his glory days, in the year I turned l8 and began discovering the world, Lumumba announced a new Congo with a new vision I followed those events closely then and I am exploring their aftermath now.
“The Republic of the Congo has been proclaimed, and our country is now in the hands of its own children.
“Together, my brothers, my sisters, we are going to begin a new struggle, a sublime struggle, which will lead our country to peace, prosperity, and greatness.
“Together, we are going to establish social justice and make sure everyone has just remuneration for his labor [applause].”
That promise and dream has yet to be realized. That “sublime” struggle continues. I hope to meet Lumumba’s family next week.
Kinshasa, Democratic Republic Of The Congo
Danny Schechter, News Dissector, edits Mediachannel.org and is making a film about peace in the Congo. Info on his latest film at plunderthecrimeofourtime.com Comments to Dissector@mediachannel.org
Labels: PATRICE LUMUMBA
by Cynthia McKinney
Global Research, October 16, 2009
Hello, as promised, I'll give you a brief report from my visit to Cape Town, South Africa.
First of all, I was hosted by two activists who founded Channel Four News, a hard-hitting, truth-telling, non-special interest news outlet serving Cape Town and all of South Africa. But because of their hard-hitting questions to elected leaders, the post-apartheid era government chose to enact regulations that resulted in their temporary shutdown.
Undaunted, they organized a very informative film festival chock full of documentaries recalling the South Africa-Israel connections that beefed up repressive capabilities in both states; the role of Coca Cola during the sanctions era; scenes from Gaza after Israel's Operation Cast Lead; and stories of general Palestinian life with plays, songs, and films. Please click here to hear one of the most moving songs I have heard in a very long time:
The name of the group is Desert Rose. The woman singing loaned me her makeup because I was without my suitcases, and it turned out that she sang the most heart-wrenching song of the night, Ayala Katz. The song has been banned by certain Rabbinical authorities in South Africa. Please share this song with all of your friends. I listen to it every day.
Much is at stake today in South Africa at a time when criminal charges have been brought against the South African National Police Commissioner and those charges have implications for the country's leading political party; in addition, there are ongoing investigations into arms deals that could lead all the way to top ANC leaders; information is beginning to leak out about secret negotiations between certain elements of the black resistance and the global elite even before ANC took power; and all of this information coming out at this time might indicate that the people's interests were sold out long before the ink was dry on these arms deals. It is good that South Africans are beginning to look critically and more closely at what they (and we, the progressive forces in the world) actually won and to investigate whether they voluntarily stopped short of complete victory. Of course, it was the people on the ground, inside South Africa, who bore the brunt of the struggle and who should reap the benefits of the victory. And they are not, and that's why this line of questioning is more prevalent.
Likewise, for us, prudence dictates that we all now pay very close attention to what is happening in the "post-racial" economy of the U.S. I am absolutely certain that there are lessons in the South African experience for us today.
Just before I arrived in Cape Town, approximately 60,000 textile workers had been on strike all over the country since September 15th. Before that, South Africa had seen general strikes called by municipal workers (over 150,000), construction workers, doctors, and taxi drivers.
I've just been told that the second electricity price hikes have been announced in order to pay for the 2010 World Cup infrastructure needs. If you'll recall, the 2006 World Cup was stolen from South Africa by one racist voter on the Committee who refused to follow his country's instructions and vote for South Africa and instead voted for Germany and the World Cup governing body, FIFA, allowed the vote to stand, so the 2006 World Cup went to Germany, instead. Well, 2010 is South Africa.
And are they building stadium after stadium! And they're beautiful. But the problem is that apartheid-era economic divisions remain and they are stark. On one side of the mountain are the pristine manses, but they have to be served by the blacks, who still live in squalor, so on the other side of the mountain is the most putrid poverty one could witness. Unfortunately, ANC leadership went along with changing the face of the political apartheid regime while allowing the gross, mean, ugly economic apartheid to remain rigidly in place. Land reform, one of the more obvious disparities, is not even on the agenda, I was told.
At the Film Festival, I debuted a short documentary on the murder of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California. This documentary shows the occupation of black and brown neighborhoods by a militarized, local law enforcement apparatus that parallels, in many ways, the current experiences of neighborhoods of color in post-apartheid South Africa, and of Palestinians on their own occupied land.
The film was done by Operation Small Axe (from the Bob Marley song) and it is narrated by Pacifica's and the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper's own J.R. Valrey, known in the Bay Area as the Minister of Information. The film was very well received by the South African audience who told me that their experience is exactly like that experienced by the young people of the Bay Area, up to and including the murder of Oscar Grant, as chronicled in the film. The South African audience could not believe that they were watching actual footage of a young man's murder.
After seeing what I've seen in Cape Town, it appears to me that the World Cup in South Africa will be just like the Olympics were in Atlanta: the public treasury was expended for the benefit of the fat cats and political insiders who managed most of the private reward. In Atlanta, the citizens were lucky if they got street lights and sidewalks from the deal. Gentrification, a nice way of saying ethnic cleansing, was accelerated and black homeowners were pushed out of the central city--much by design. And along with them went much of their powerful political punch.
A blockbuster book is about to be written by one of South Africa's leading journalists, whom I was able to meet, about the still-brewing arms scandal where, upon inauguration of the post-apartheid government, $5 billion was spent on arms with BAE Systems, rather than on the people. The only thing is that the deal was sealed with what authorities call "financially incentivising" politicians to the tune of £100 million.
And remember, just last year, Mark Thatcher, Margaret Thatcher's son pleaded guilty to gun running and coup plotting in oil-rich West Africa, in a story that Channel Four News played a central role in breaking and developing.
So, I was with this same Channel Four News outfit that was so chock-full of information about post-apartheid South Africa, from the triumphs to the disappointments of the people. It was sad as I rode through the many townships of the Cape Town area and saw sewage running through the streets, no land for any type of community gardening or farming, not even trees for a brief respite from the sun, or from which to pluck a piece of fruit.
As we made our way to Robben Island, the famous prison of South Africa's most famous political prisoners, I could see and hear Steve Biko, Chris Hani, Robert Sobukwe in my mind; my hosts told of their apartheid-era exploits--everyone played a role in the liberation of South Africa, but everyone must now also play a role in its stewardship and the management of the reward and the people's resources.
I'll go back to South Africa, I want to spend even more time with my hosts, and learn more about their struggle, experience the incredible vistas, and find ways to apply their knowledge to the problems confronting us inside this country today.
Probably, the most important lesson from Cape Town and Paris is this: We are a part of a global movement for truth and justice. And we cannot be stopped.
2. Glen Ford at U Maryland
4. Bike Ride for Peace
5. Pacifica Subscribers, Please Vote Today
1. The Progressive Candidate Coalition
(Alfred Molison, Deb Shafto, Don Cook)
moderating the Robert Greenwald film, RETHINK AFGHANISTAN
Saturday evening 7:30 pm
708 b Telephone Road ( easy to get to from I-45 S or Leeland St. )
at the home of Houston Institute of Culture and new home of CANVAS
for more info call
Don Cook 7.705-5594
Bart Boyce 8.867-9960 or
Ivan Espinosa 7.732-1947
2. October 21, 2009 at 7:00PM in the Nyumburu Cultural Center featuring Glen Ford. Glen Ford is the Executive Editor of Black Agenda Report and A Certified Elder within the field of Progressive Black Journalism. The title of Mr. Ford’s lecture is: “Black is Back: Why We Need a Reinvigorated Black-Led Movement for Peace and Social Justice.”
3. The Green Party exploded in the most recent European elections and sent 14 Green Party candidates to Brussels as European Parliamentarians. I met Cécile Duflot who is the national leader of the Party and is standing for French national elections to the French Parliament. In December, I'm going back to knock on doors, make phone calls, and show support. Wanna go do the same with me? Let me know if you're interested.
3. Cross Country Bicycle for Peace:
A group of us are planning a cross-country bike ride for peace and I'm so excited about it! Please let me know if you're interested in riding with us all or part of the way. We're working on the route now, but we hope to begin at Oakland's House of Common Sense and end at the White House--so far, very much in need of some.
5. And for those of you who are Pacifica voters, please vote. I received my ballot in the mail and sent it in. Please do the same. Community radio and our continued voice depend on us casting an informed vote in these elections.
Cynthia McKinney is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Cynthia McKinney
By Sydney Kawadza
President Mugabe has criticised Zanu-PF members who are promoting factionalism, questioning their dedication to the principles and values that saw the party leading Zimbabwe to independence.
In his opening remarks to the 79th session of the Central Committee at the party’s headquarters in Harare yesterday, Zanu-PF’s First Secretary and President said their organisation’s foundation was unity.
"I would like to thank members for the unity maintained during this period. We have been together around the same principles that united and enabled us to acquire our land.
"These are the principles that yielded that unity. We need to cherish this unity.
"When we hear of factionalism continuing in some provinces, one wonders if the principles sunk not only in our minds, but also in our hearts," he said.
President Mugabe blasted party leaders more concerned about their personal positions than the collective interest.
"What is lost is the focus of the struggle. It is no longer a fight against the enemy, the opposition and neo-colonialism.
"Instead of organising against the opposition, we are sweating for support, not for the party but for oneself," he said.
On factionalism in Harare Province, he said: "Despite the fact that we have a new executive elected recently, the struggle will continue as they fight for future victories.
"Why not get together and know that this is about Zanu-PF being one?
"The people do not belong to anyone. You are not Mugabe or Mai Mujuru or Nkomo members, but members of the party, a people’s party.
"Youths have been used to support individuals. This is not Zanu-PF. There are hooligans in the party.
"We have an enemy to fight, an enemy with a great force behind it, with the support of the British."
President Mugabe reiterated that MDC was created by Britain in an attempt to destroy Zanu-PF.
"Fortunately, we are still alive because the people of Zimbabwe have refused to let go, especially on the matter of ownership of the land and natural resources which belong to us," he said.
President Mugabe said the outgoing Central Committee members should accept that they reigned over a period when the party performed badly in elections.
He said members should, during the congress, reflect on the positive and negative side of the period whether politically, economically or socially.
"We should be able to say we are the Central Committee which organised elections last year and yielded this Government.
"We are the Central Committee that campaigned during the elections.
"We should be able to admit that the election produced a result that left a huge dent on the party.
"We are responsible for the poor performance in the election last year," he said.
The President said Zanu-PF, however, managed to salvage the Presidency through the June 2008 run-off.
"However, as we recognise our failure and moan over the loss, there is need to reconstruct the party and prepare for possible future elections."
He said there was need to rebuild the party on the values and principles of the revolution.
"These sacred principles should be people-oriented and come up with policies that protect the yields of armed struggle and they remain in the hands of the people of Zimbabwe," he said.
President Mugabe hailed the emergence of a new crop of leaders within the Women’s and Youth leagues.
"The provinces went to work in a vigorous and constructive manner.
"Now there are organs and wings that remain viable.
"We saw their vibrancy in the separate conferences they held prior to this congress.
"We hope that we will still find Zanu-PF alive in the future.
"The spirit and history of Chimurenga is alive, even in the years to come and so is the basic principle that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again.
"It is this foundation, a firm foundation that is harder than stone, a foundation built on the blood lost during the struggle.
"If the party was not built on that foundation, we would have just been some other organisation.
"Those who sacrificed their lives, properties, and were driven into ‘keeps’ in support of the fighters will stand on that firm and solid foundation," he said.
President Mugabe said Zanu-PF would continue to resist neo-colonialism.
"We are what we are because of the sacrifices made by other people.
"Let us see that our children know this history and be proud that their forefathers fought against imperialism."
Yesterday’s Central Committee meeting was the last for members elected into the organ at the 2004 congress.
Friday, December 11, 2009, 1:30
The first train carrying ballast stones for the completion of the Chipata/Mchinji railway project arrived in Chipata today to the excitement of residents that gathered to witness the laying of the stones on the railway track.
The first locomotive train to move on the Chipata/Mchinji railway, which has been under construction for the past 27 years, arrived in Chipata this afternoon.
There was excitement and jubilation among people of Chipata who gathered six kilometers from Mwami boarder, to witness the first working train, when it finally arrived carrying ballast stones for the completion of the Chipata/Mchinji project at 13:00 hours this afternoon.
Eastern Province Minister Isaac Banda, who was among the people who witness the first working train offload ballast stones said, once completed the Chipata/Mchinji railway line will uplift the socio-economic development of the country through enhanced trade between Zambia and Malawi.Mr Banda said this will be achieved through reduced transport costs.
He said the development will also contribute to government’s aspiration of wealth creation through sustained economic growth which he said is an important element in poverty reduction.
The Minister stated that this will further cement the already existing relationship between the two countries.
And speaking on behalf of Paramount chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people, Chief Mnukwa advised the people of Eastern Province to take advantage of the Chipata/Mchinji railway line to boost their businesses with the forth coming cheaper means of transportation.
Chief Mnukwa urged the people of both countries to ensure that once completed, the project is well managed and generate resources to sustain its operations.
He said it was gratifying to see the project reach an advanced stage adding that this could only be attributed to the efforts of President Rupiah Banda and his Malawian counterpart Bingu Wamutharika.
Meanwhile, chief Mnukwa has said there is need for Zambians to support each other in the spirit of oneness if the country is to develop.
The traditional leader castigated some politicians engaged in inciting citizens to destabilize the nation.
Chief Mnukwa said chiefs in the region will continue to support the government of the day, regardless of where the president hails from.
He stated that the founding father of the nation Dr Kenneth Kaunda championed the slogan of one Zambia one Nation to promote unity among people from all tribes.
He assured President Banda that chiefs in Eastern province will continue to support his government as he mobilizes resources to develop the country.
And Regional Marketing Manager for Central and East African railways, Leckson Kalanje said Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique will boost their economic activities with cheaper transportation through the Nacala corridor.
Mr. Kalanje also encouraged people in Zambia and Malawi to make use of the railway line to boost their businesses.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Chamber of Commerce has urged government to speed up the acquisition of land for a dry port.
ECCPI chairperson Timothy Nyirenda said there is urgent need to construct a dry port that will be used for storage and transportation of heavy duty goods.
Mr. Nyirenda said it is necessary to put up a road that would be ideal for heavy duty cargo because the current one passes through a compound and may not be able to contain heavy duty vehicles once the railway line becomes fully operational.
THE European Union’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Xavier Marchal said on Thursday that his bloc was ready to work with Zimbabwe's inclusive government with Robert Mugabe as President and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, insisting that there was no regime change agenda as alleged.
Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have constantly accused Britain and her allies in the EU and the United States of harbouring a regime change agenda in Zimbabwe, meant to replace him with their "stooges".
Opening a seminar on Economic Partnership Agreements between the EU and ESA (Eastern and Southern Africa) in Harare, Marchal said the EU had in 2002 only applied a restricted policy towards Zimbabwe, which specifically excluded trade relations.
"There is no such thing as a regime change agenda. Rather, there is a readiness from the EU to reengage with an inclusive government with Robert Mugabe as President and Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister, on the basis of an agreed methodology," he said.
His remarks came as Mugabe's party entered the second day of its national congress, held once every five years, and which charts the way for the party in terms of policy direction and relations with the international community.
Delegations from countries and organisations sympathetic to its cause will attend the congress' official opening on Friday and deliver solidarity messages.
As has become the norm, Mugabe will use the occasion to criticise the West, including the EU, for imposing an economic blockage on Zimbabwe.
The issue of sanctions has also remained a sticky one in Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement, which led to the formation of the inclusive government.
Mugabe wants Tsvangirai and his MDC party to lobby for the removal of sanctions, arguing that they had played a part in their imposition. Arthur Mutambara of the smaller MDC faction is Deputy Prime Minister in the inclusive government.
Marchal admitted that relations between his organisation and Zimbabwe soured in 2002, with his bloc restricting assistance to the African country following disagreements on governance issues.
He said: "The EU and Zimbabwe have enjoyed a fruitful relationship from 1981 until 2002. In 2002, the EU partially suspended its government to government co-operation under the European Development Fund.
“This was a consequence of major disagreements over essential elements of the Cotonou Agreement (Human Rights, Democratic principles, and the rule of law). The EU also adopted restrictive measures within the Common Foreign and Security Policy: prohibition of arms supply, travel ban and the freezing of assets against a number of persons or entities.
"In essence, partial suspension of co-operation translates as follows: no budget support, suspension of projects except those indirect support to the population, humanitarian assistance not affected, regional projects assessed on a case to case basis, trade not affected."
While these measures were imposed on Zimbabwe, the EU had between 2002 and 2009 committed more than 700 million Euros in Zimbabwe, which was not limited to emergency, and is not implemented only through non-governmental organisations, and was also channelled towards effective cooperation at technical level with the government.
He added: "The EU has led the donor community towards food security as a better alternative to food aid. It is providing this year 25 percent of fertilizers needed by small farmers.
“It has initiated a retention allowance scheme for health workers nationwide. It has continued to support basic education. It has made in recent years significant proposals to engage with the government on a number of issues in particular in relation to the land issue, the mother of all difficulties," he said.
Marchal said prospects for better relations between the EU and Zimbabwe were now high, emanating from the reality of the GPA.
"The EU backed the GPA, and confirmed its desire to normalize its relationship with Zimbabwe. The new Dispensation of Zimbabwe asked for a dialogue with the EU aimed at normalising EU-Zimbabwe relations.
Tsvangirai led a team comprising all the three parties in the inclusive government to Brussels in June, where dialogue for normalization of relations was formally launched with an EU ministerial troika.
As a way forward, methodology of re-engagement process was agreed, in which Zimbabwe had to demonstrate GPA implementation through a road map, while the EU responded by its own road map.
Marchal added that trade relations were not the subject of restrictions from the EU, which continued to be a major trading partner of Zimbabwe.
"Zimbabwe has benefited from preferences under the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement. She can meet the existing beef export quota, and if she has not met it, it is due to foot and mouth disease, not sanctions. As a Sugar Protocol Country she is significantly benefiting from financial support for an adaptation strategy of the sugar industry," he said. -- Xinhua
Fighting corruption the Rupiah way
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
We have listened to wonderful speeches from Rupiah Banda and his friends about how the fight against corruption is being institutionalised in Zambia. Should we treat these as simply good speeches? We know from experience that the fight against corruption in this country has not worked well in practice as it has done in speech.
Frederick Chiluba claimed to be committed to the fight against corruption. And his government came up with policies and even statutes that gave the impression that he was serious with the fight against corruption. We shouldn’t forget that it was Chiluba’s government that enacted the ministerial and parliamentary code of conduct Act. Of course, there were many forces that contributed to the realisation of that Act. But nevertheless it cannot be denied that it was an Act of the Chiluba regime. And indeed some of Chiluba’s friends were caught by that Act trying to steal public funds for the MMD, for Chiluba’s political schemes.
Only a politician who is insane can stand up and openly say they support corruption. Not even Zaire’s Mobutu Sese Seko could proclaim that he supported corruption. In speech, Mobutu was against corruption. But in practice he was living by it and everybody knows what Mobutu did to Zaire’s coffers.
Very few believed us when we used to accuse Chiluba of running a corrupt regime. They thought we had something personal against Chiluba and those around him. We were accused of all sorts of things whenever we tried to expose and denounce the corruption and crimes of Chiluba’s league. But today with what has been exposed and found to be true by the courts of law in this country and in England, including those in arbitration, no one can deny the fact that Chiluba ran a corrupt regime in this country. Even Rupiah who is today defending Chiluba is doing so not out of conviction that Chiluba never stole from the Zambian people, but out of a selfish political scheme.
Today Rupiah can go on national television and deliver a speech to commemorate the International Anti-corruption Day and proclaim: “My government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against corruption through various measures and interventions that have been put in place to fight this scourge. Further, in August this year, my government launched a national anti-corruption policy which will ensure that the fight against corruption is well coordinated and meaningful. However, for us to achieve the desired results, it will require that all Zambians take a keen interest in the implementation of this policy and play a proactive role in the fight against corruption. As I have always said on similar occasions before, the war against corruption is the responsibility of everyone.”
Truly, these are nice words which no decent person can disagree with. But they end there – they are simply nice and no more. We know that to fight corruption one has to passionately hate it; one has to be intolerant about it. Rupiah is neither hateful nor intolerant of corruption. We say this because there is no way Rupiah can be hateful of corruption and at the same time embrace those behind the worst corruption syndicates in this country. And corruption in this country was taken to its highest level by Chiluba – a person Rupiah refers to as having been “a damn good president”. And Rupiah has today embraced Chiluba as a political ally and friend.
He has gone as far as ensuring that Chiluba is not jailed for his corruption and he is not made to pay back to the Zambian people the US$ 55million ordered by the London High Court in compensation for what he stole. Rupiah does not seem to be in a position to enforce that judgment and if things are left to his will or wish that judgment will never be registered and enforced in this country against Chiluba. Clearly, despite his nice and eloquent speeches against corruption, Rupiah tolerates corruption and he is a friend to the corrupt.
Since Rupiah took over office as President of the Republic, he has never pursued any corrupt element in this country. The only time he has appeared to be doing so is when he has been attempting to humiliate his political opponents with false accusations. And the best example of this was when he accused us of pocketing US$ 30million from state institutions through Zambian Airways. But to this very day, he has failed to prove in any way his claim. In the same vein, he tried to bring in his political opponent Ng’andu Magande but also failed to find anything wrong this innocent man had done. Probably Rupiah can today attempt to claim that he is fighting corruption citing the case of some low civil servants who were helping themselves with Ministry of Health money.
But we know that this is common crime that many institutions – from banks to supermarkets - suffer from. When we talk about corruption, we mean things like the deals going on in the procurement of oil, the Zamtel transaction, the procurement of GMO maize and so on and so forth. In these transactions, which side did Rupiah take? The side of the people or the side of those who were being accused of corruption? We have not forgotten how Rupiah tried to defend and justify that corrupt GMO maize deal involving those close to him. He even came up with the most ridiculous suggestion that the GMO maize could be milled at the borders. You see what corruption can do to people! They stop reasoning; they miss even the most basic things.
Rupiah says that the participation of all Zambians is required for the country to achieve the desired results! Does he really mean it? We are asking this question because of the way Rupiah has mistreated and continues to mistreat those who have tried to publicly or privately oppose the corrupt schemes of those close to him.
We have not forgotten how government employees in the Ministry of Transport and Communication were treated after they refused to be part of that dirty RP Capital deal that ended with Dora Siliya appearing before a corruption tribunal. Some of them have lost their jobs there or have been transferred to some rural areas and undesirable jobs for simply not cooperating. Who doesn’t know how we have been mistreated, insulted and accused of all sorts of things for simply exposing their corruption and other wrongdoing! So Rupiah doesn’t mean it when he says all Zambians should take a keen interest in fighting corruption. Probably he can condone it if that vigilance and militancy is directed towards discrediting his political opponents and accusing them of all sorts of wrongdoings, even if it’s falsely so.
The institutionalisation of the fight against corruption that Rupiah is boasting about is of no value. No matter how much responsibility is given to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) or indeed the police, nothing will be achieved if there is no political will on his part to fight corruption. And so far, Rupiah has done nothing to inspire public confidence that he is truly committed to fighting corruption.
What he has instead demonstrated very well is his determination at all costs – political or otherwise – to defend his friends and those around him who are corrupt. Rupiah has taken a clear stand in defence of corruption. And no honest Zambian can fail to see this. Rupiah is defending Chiluba’s corruption against the wishes of the great majority of the Zambian people. After that, who can listen to his nonsense about fighting corruption? Every day his government is searching for whistleblowers so that they are dealt with and he wants to turn around and say the war against corruption is the responsibility of everyone!
Zambians are not fools; they know very well where Rupiah stands on these issues. They know very well that Rupiah himself has been involved in corruption of one form or another and probably that’s why he has no difficulties defending those who are corrupt, those who have stolen public funds like Chiluba. The fight against corruption will achieve desired results if Rupiah takes a more responsible approach to the whole issue and stops being in the company of thieves, of corrupt elements.
It is not possible for a police officer who is pursuing criminals to be best friends with the same criminal he is supposed to bring to book. What will the public think of a police officer who drinks, eats and is always in the company of well-known criminals and always defends and protects them from arrest and prosecution?
Can the public be reasonably expected to trust that police officer insofar as fighting crime is concerned? The answer is a categorical No. For the same reason, the Zambian people cannot be reasonably expected to take seriously Rupiah’s political rhetoric on the fight against corruption because they know he doesn’t mean it. Reading a speech on corruption written by some civil servant does not make Rupiah a champion of the fight against corruption.
We shouldn’t forget that the fight against corruption we talk about lies in the hearts of men and women; when it dies there, no policy, no amount of institutionalisation, no law, no constitution can save it.
By George Chellah
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
FORMER defence minister George Mpombo yesterday described President Rupiah Banda's statements on the fight against corruption as empty and hollow rhetoric. And Mpombo said President Banda should refrain from indulging in reckless and naked tribalism because it could plunge the country into chaos.
Reacting to President Banda's speech, which was read by Vice-President George Kunda during the commemoration of the International Anti-Corruption Day in Lusaka on Wednesday, Mpombo said President Banda was not the right person to handle the fight against corruption.
“President Banda is certainly the wrong man to tackle issues of corruption given what has been obtaining. Even the recent policy he launched is a product of the late Levy Mwanawasa,” Mpombo said.
“And he President Banda should give credit to the late president and George Kunda is there to attest to those facts. So that policy is part of the Mwanawasa legacy and President Banda will also leave his legacy of tribalism.”
He insisted that President Banda was not the right person to champion the fight against corruption.
“Given the numerous sagas, the communication saga Zamtel sale, fuel procurement… in fact he has mishandled the whole matter regarding Chiluba to the extent that he has put his own credibility into question,” he said.
He said even the recent concerns raised by the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) did not augur well.
“It paints a picture that the system is not there for fair play. Zambians are flabbergasted, they think that they are being led to a garden path,” Mpombo said.
“They are able to see that the President in as far as the fight against corruption is concerned has exhibited a namby-pamby sort of attitude. He has shown that kind of attitude.”
He said Zambians no longer took President Banda seriously when he talked about the fight against corruption.
“He is not coherent, his utterances are never accompanied by action. All the time it's empty and hollow rhetoric. Zambians are frustrated,” Mpombo said. “It's time that words from the President must begin to mean something for the people.”
He said President Banda should not be gloating over the anti-corruption policy because the policy was left by the late Mwanawasa.
“The recent policy on corruption is a product of the Levy legacy because that policy was done some three or four years ago and approved by Levy's Cabinet. So they must not be selective when talking about the legacy,” Mpombo said.
“Therefore, that policy he was just launching it on behalf of Levy… everything such as consultation was done during the period of the late Mwanawasa. It's not a product of the eight months of President Banda.”
He advised President Banda to refrain from indulging in tribalism because it could plunge the country into chaos.
“If these tribal tendencies continue, they may turn the government into a cesspool of tribalism. He must begin to walk the talk, both on tribalism and corruption,” he said.
On Wednesday, President Banda called on Zambians to play a proactive role in the fight against corruption.
President Banda said the government had already demonstrated its commitment to fighting corruption through various measures and interventions put in place.
He said society would achieve the intended results if everyone got involved in the fight against corruption.
“My government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the fight against corruption through various measures and interventions that have been put in place to fight this scourge. Further, in August this year, my government launched the National Anti Corruption Policy which will ensure that the fight against corruption is well coordinated and meaningful,” President Banda said.
“However, for us to achieve the desired results, it will require that all Zambians take a keen interest in the implementation of this policy and play a proactive role in the fight against corruption. As I have always said on similar occasions before, the war against corruption is the responsibility of everyone.”
President Banda said the government had further demonstrated its desire to remove corruption in the public service through the launch of the code of ethics.
And on President Banda's sending of Copperbelt minister Mwansa Mbulakulima and permanent secretary Villie Lombanya to meet Lamba chiefs and resolve the issues pertaining to Gabriel Namulambe's observations on the Mwanawasa legacy, Mpombo described the mission as an exercise in futility.
“Whatever happens, the people here Ndola rural are deeply aggrieved over the policies such as the fertiliser programme and insults against Mwanawasa and the persecution of people who are perceived to have been close to Mwanawasa,” said Mpombo. “Even the party they have a long way to go in Ndola Rural. I think very little is left of MMD in Ndola rural.”
By Florence Bupe
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT
LANDS minister Peter Daka has urged increased value addition to land allocated for business purposes. In an interview, Daka said his ministry would not hesitate to give large portions of land to investors who showed willingness to develop such land for the benefit of the national economy.
“We have given land title deeds to companies like Zambeef because they have proved they are able to add value to this land. We will not hesitate to give out more land to people that demonstrate the ability to add value in terms of job creation and increased productivity,” he said.
Daka said the ministry had introduced incentives through the decentralised branches in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to ensure that land was prudently allocated and utilised. He also warned that officers found to be dishonest in land allocation issues would be sternly dealt with.
“We want to be sure that Zambians at large have confidence in the people entrusted to handle their land issues. We need clear and prudent systems in place,” Daka said. “The Ministry of Lands will ensure that the people are served accordingly.”
Daka said with the use of land development funds, the ministry should see a more efficient land allocation and development system.
“We have put facilities in place to encourage efficiency in land management. We have a K15 billion facility aimed at encouraging the opening up of new areas away from the main city centres, and our first step has been the construction of ring roads in some parts of the country,” he said.
Daka said the lands ministry was working with the local government ministry to uplift the outlook of cities across the country through the erection of more modern structures.
“We are looking forward to a time when we will lift off compounds and put up better but affordable structures for an improved outlook of our cities,” said Daka.
By Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Fri 11 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT
MINEWORKERS Union of Zambia (MUZ) and National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) have rejected Konkola Copper Mines’ three per cent salary increment offer. The two unions have declared a dispute in the ongoing negotiations for improved conditions of service with KCM.
Briefing the press yesterday, MUZ president Rayford Mbulu expressed disappointment that the mining giant could offer such an infinitesimal increment when copper prices had risen to US $7,150 per tonne on the world market.
However, he appealed to mine workers to remain calm and allow the unions and KCM management to exhaust all the channels of the collective bargaining process as provided for by the law.
“From the manner we are proceeding; our negotiations with KCM are not giving us inspiration,” Mbulu said. “There’s extreme hopelessness. We are at three per cent offered by KCM and the unions are at 25 per cent. There is a difference of 22 per cent. Our position is that of extreme worry...in four meetings we are at three per cent and the company has said that’s the final position.”
He said he expected any normal company such as KCM which was recovering from recent industrial unrest relating to salary increments and concerns over other conditions of work to have made a better offer.
“We are not convinced that KCM can offer three per cent when copper prices have soared to US $7,150,” Mbulu said.
He said during the time of rock bottom copper prices when the global economic downturn caught the Zambian mining industry off its guard, the two unions had proposed to KCM a number of measures in which to enhance production and cut costs but that these were not heeded.
Mbulu said the unions had asked KCM to repair infrastructure and buy new equipment to improve production processes and also cut on the number of expatriate workers.
He said the 165 expatriates at KCM earning colossal sums of money were not adding any value to the company.
Mbulu said during the ZCCM days when the mining industry employed a total of 65,000 workers, there were less than 100 expatriates and wondered what the justification was for KCM, which was a fraction of the mining conglomerate, to have 165 foreign workers.
He said there was no need to have expatriates mainly of Asian origin to perform spokesperson, human resource, finance and metallurgical functions because there were many Zambians trained by local institutions who could work in those positions.
Mbulu criticised the government for letting down Zambians by allowing expatriates in positions that locals could occupy.
He questioned the criteria that the Ministry of Home Affairs used in issuing work permits to such expatriates.
Mbulu demanded a stop to the trend of employing expatriates when locals could perform the functions.