Saturday, December 19, 2009

‘Mchenga must go’

‘Mchenga must go’
By Editor
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

It is sad and unfortunate that whenever a citizen criticises those in government or takes a position that is contrary to theirs, their first instinct is to smear him with the filth of being sponsored by the opposition or some foreigners.

Every opposition or dissent that they face, however self created, will eventually be blamed on the opposition, foreigners or the enemy within. But as we have stated before, it is quite true that the acceptance of criticism implies the highest respect for the human ideal, and that its denial suggests a conscious or an unconscious lack of humanity on our part.

When the Law Association of Zambia has in the past taken positions that appear favourable to Rupiah Banda and his minions, they did not complain and accuse the Law Association of Zambia of being political. But today, the Law Association of Zambia is under attack from them because it has taken a position which they don’t like.

This is what people who refuse to be accountable do. They forget so easily what happened yesterday and even what they said a few days ago. It is easy for them to try and ignore or distort the history of the Law Association of Zambia.

None of those attacking the Law Association of Zambia today have forgotten what this association did in 1990/1991 in helping to move this country from a one-party state to a multi-party political dispensation. The Law Association of Zambia took a strong and prominent position in that campaign. None of them can today honestly accuse the Law Association of Zambia of having been political in that regard. And they did not do so at that time.

Again in 2001, the Law Association of Zambia under the very able leadership of the now State Counsel Christopher Mundia, joined civil society to protect the constitutional order in our country. No one can deny the fact that the Law Association of Zambia played a pivotal role in stopping Frederick Chiluba’s ill-conceived bid for unconstitutional third term of office. Again, no one can say the Law Association of Zambia and State Counsel Mundia were political and were being used by the opposition.

The Law Association of Zambia has played a very important role in the development of the rule of law in our country. And that role should be maintained and not be compromised in any way whatever the political expediencies of the moment may be.

In times of crisis, when legal issues that confuse the public arise, the Law Association of Zambia has traditionally risen to the challenge and offered its guidance. It cannot be denied that this role of the Law Association of Zambia is also recognised by those who are today trying to call its leadership all sorts of names and demonise them.

Let us not forget the fact that after the highly questionable acquittal of Chiluba, Chiluba himself demanded that the Law Association should take a position and not the other people who were commenting on the issue. Even Chiluba’s backers looked up to the Law Association of Zambia for support. We are not surprised therefore that they are disappointed by the position taken by the Law Association of Zambia and they are today accusing it and its leadership of all sorts of things when they are simply fulfilling their duty as required by the Law Association of Zambia Act, Chapter 31 of the Laws of Zambia.

George Kunda, who today is attacking the Law Association of Zambia, knows this Act of parliament and understands its provisions. The only reason George is criticising the Law Association of Zambia today is because of the political opportunism that he has embraced shamelessly and that has contaminated his soul and mind.

Under Section 4, the Law Association of Zambia Act clearly provides its objects and functions as, inter alia, the following: to further the development of law as an instrument of social order and social justice and as an essential element in the growth of society; to provide a means by which all lawyers, whatever their particular field of activity, can participate together fully and effectively in the development of society and its institutions; to encourage lawyers as individuals to join actively in the life of, and identify themselves with, the people, and to utilise their skills and training in their service; to maintain and improve the standards of conduct of all members of the legal profession; to co-operate with the representative bodies of other professions and other institutions; to seek the advancement of the rule of law and of the rights and liberties of the individual; to promote the improvement and reform of the judicial and administrative systems, including tribunals and their procedure; to represent, protect and assist members of the legal profession in regard to their conditions of practice, remuneration and otherwise; to protect and assist the public in all matters touching, ancillary or incidental to the legal profession; to do all such other things as may be conducive to the attainment of the foregoing objects or any of them.

George understands all these provisions of the Law Association of Zambia Act and yet he has chosen to try and scandalise the decisions and actions of the association and its leadership that are totally within the objects and functions of its operations.

George is a member and former president of the Law Association of Zambia. How can he today say that the Law Association of Zambia’s position should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves? What is he saying about the legal profession?

We are not surprised by the rabid attacks that George has unleashed on the Law Association of Zambia and its leadership. This is what George has become in his political life: an attack dog for its political masters. A man who should otherwise give sound and solid advice has become a political megaphone, to borrow from George Mpombo’s phraseology. George has mastered the art of being a minion. He will do anything for his boss however unreasonable it may be.

To understand some of the problems that have bedeviled Rupiah’s government and even Levy Mwanawasa before him, one needs to understand the destructive role that George has been playing. George is very good at playing up issues that cause problems for his bosses behind the scenes without him taking the blame. He rarely takes responsibility for the wrong advice he gives and the consequences that follow his bosses.

Let’s not forget what George did to Levy over Kashiwa Bulaya and the constitution review process. He tied Levy in all sorts of sixes and sevens and was never there to protect his boss when he needed him most. On Bulaya, George made sure that he used the likes of Chalwe Mchenga and others whilst keeping himself hidden during that whole process.

George did the same over the constitution review process. He caused so many problems for Levy that even things that could have been settled became contentious. George never took any responsibility. George is a trouble maker who does not have the courage to fight. He is a coward who is everywhere provoking fights and then when the time to fight comes, he ducks and stands at a safe distance.

Being Vice-President and Minister of Justice has enabled George to use many people whilst hiding in the background. We challenge George to deny that he was not involved in the ill-conceived prosecution of Chansa Kabwela? We also challenge George to deny that he has not been directing the police, Anti Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission in their miserably failed efforts to try and fix us over Zambian Airways? We further challenge George to deny that he is not behind these ill-conceived attempts at statutory regulation of the media?

All these evil schemes of George may have endeared him to Rupiah but they have had the effect of destroying, discrediting Rupiah’s political standing and the popularity and integrity of his government. But one thing Rupiah and those around him should learn is that George has no permanent loyalty, he is a snake that slips away so quickly and so smoothly. Just ask those who worked with him under Levy and they will tell you how quickly and smoothly George has distanced himself from everything that Levy stood for, things in which George had a big contribution. Look at how quickly and smoothly George has distanced himself from Levy’s noble fight against corruption.

When one talks about the London High Court judgment today in this country, it’s very difficult to realise or even believe that it was started and executed in George’s name. Today, George is defending Chiluba, claiming he is an innocent man! Today, George is dilly-dallying to have the London High Court judgment – a judgment which he himself obtained – enforced against Chiluba and his tandem of thieves. This is the George we are talking about today. This is the George who is today attacking the Law Association of Zambia and its leadership.

Consistent with his style, the minister in George’s office, Gastone Sichilima, was the first one to come out in attacking the Law Association of Zambia and calling for Stephen Lungu’s resignation as president of the association. It was clear to anyone who cared to look that Gastone was acting as George’s minion. Moreover, what does Gastone know about law? It was only after Gastone had spoken that George himself now showed his big head.

And their demand for Steve to resign can work to their disadvantage. If they doubt this, George is a member of the Law Association of Zambia, let him push for an extraordinary general meeting and see what will happen even to those members of the council they had sponsored. George has become a dangerous liability to the rule of law in our country. This is why his protégé Mchenga is having the kinds of problems he finds himself in today. Mchenga is paying for abdicating his constitutional responsibility and becoming George’s minion, for hiring himself out to wrong doers.

There is no doubt Mchenga must go because there is nothing in him left to enable him to function as a respectable and dignified Director of Public Prosecutions. Mchenga may be moving around in a suit and a necktie, pretending that all is well and he can weather the storm but inside him, he is a dead man, a finished character. So the only dignified thing for Mchenga to do is to go before a lot of things are said about him.

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Mchenga must go - Mundia Sikatana

Mchenga must go - Mundia Sikatana
By George Chellah, Patson Chilemba and Ernest Chanda
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

Lusaka lawyer Mundia Sikatana yesterday charged that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga must go because he has not performed to the advantage of the nation.

And Transparency International - Zambia (TIZ) demanded that Mchenga resign because he is a liability to the nation and has rendered himself irrelevant to the country's criminal justice system.

Commenting on the Law Association of Zambia's (LAZ) demand for Mchenga to resign because the public could no longer be expected to have trust in the DPP's office as long as Mchenga was there, Sikatana said the position taken by LAZ was long overdue.

“I am going to agree with LAZ, yes, because the controversy that has been caused by the DPP is something where the Law Association of Zambia must take a stand in favour of the nation,” Sikatana said. “He Mchenga has not performed to the advantage of the nation. He has appeared to have been, as if he was performing on instructions.”

Sikatana said the nation needed a DPP who would be neutral and not subject to the pressure from those in power. He said it was too late for Mchenga to learn any lessons now because he had failed to change despite many calls from people for him to do so.

“Now it's too late for him to consider lessons. He has differed with his association on a very critical matter. The decision by LAZ is sufficient to give him an opportunity to quit voluntarily. He should opt to quit,” said Sikatana.

TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu backed the position adopted by LAZ.
“The consortium of 18 Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has been vindicated over the DPP's unprofessional conduct in office. We have said time and again that the DPP has rendered himself irrelevant to the criminal justice system by following political instructions,” he said.

Lungu cited former president Frederick Chiluba's case as one, which was clear. That the decision not to appeal was made by the ruling party politicians.
“The DPP was merely following instructions for example, the President made it clear that the government was not going to appeal, that statement was also echoed by a lot of government officials,” Lungu said. “Mchenga has made himself a liability to the country by following such political instructions. It’s good that LAZ has realised that Mchenga has conducted himself not in a professional way.”
He said at last LAZ has realised that the position, which the 18 CSOs took a long time ago was correct.

But deputy minister in the Office of the Vice-President Gastone Sichilima called for the immediate resignation of LAZ president Stephen Lungu. Sichilima said yesterday at a press briefing that Lungu should immediately resign because he was allegedly running the association like a political party.
He said Lungu had allegedly failed to run the affairs of LAZ and was playing to the gallery of some media houses and had turned the association into a political party.

Sichilima said LAZ was supposed to be a professional body that provided means for lawyers to effectively participate in legal matters.

He said as a professional body, the public and the tovernment relied on LAZ for legal advice.

He urged other lawyers to come out in the open and condemn Lungu for his careless statements.

He said by demanding Mchenga's resignation, LAZ was not protecting one of its members even when it was consulted when the DPP was appointed.
“He should immediately resign as LAZ president because he has no agenda to run the association,” he said.

However, Lungu said he could not comment on the matter because he did not know in what context Sichilima was calling for his resignation.
And Vice-President George Kunda yesterday accused LAZ of being used by political elements in their call for the resignation of Mchenga.
Briefing the media at his office, Vice-President Kunda said LAZ was undermining the integrity of the DDP's office.

He said it was sad that a professional body like LAZ could be used by people with specific political agenda. He said LAZ has of late been issuing statements which were of concern to the government, the legal profession and the public at large. He said in the last few days, Lungu had issued a statement calling for Mchenga's resignation, allegedly on the basis that he was being controlled by the executive arm of government in executing his functions.

“In our view, statements of this nature are not factual and merely cast aspersions on the integrity of the person holding the office of Director of Public Prosecutions," Vice-President Kunda said. "In fact, such allegations appear to be malicious, politically motivated and engineered from outside the legal profession. We do not meddle into the constitutional mandate of the DPP. The political dimension of the LAZ statement is confirmed by the fact that the president of Patriotic Front Mr Michael Sata is also peddling the same allegations against government. The LAZ statement coincided with Mr Sata's utterances. Why the coincidence?"

Asked why he chose to denounce LAZ now that the Association has conflicted government position on the DPP when in fact he has all along praised the conduct of LAZ, Vice-President Kunda accused the LAZ council of comprising opposition PF members.

"LAZ indeed is a reputable professional body, but there are some individuals in LAZ who are tarnishing the image of the legal profession. On this particular issue, calling for the resignation of the DPP, I can vouch for the many legal practitioners I have spoken to that they have not been consulted. There are some members in the ouncil of LAZ who are members of PF, who are pursuing this agenda. And, unfortunately, they are trying to influence our president Mr Lungu to do wrong things," he said.

"Mr Mchenga has not done anything wrong. You see there is also a political agenda, I talked about Mr Sata and some people out side they want to pursue certain personal agendas and they are using the Association. Lawyers of this country are very professional and I'm proud to belong to my Association, the Law Association of Zambia. But in this particular case unfortunately it is being used for political ends, that's the wrong part of what is happening now."
Vice-President Kunda also accused LAZ of making an alliance with some opposition political parties in working against Mchenga.

"LAZ and its president should avoid making political alliances with political parties and sympathisers of such political parties. In this case LAZ should not behave as if it has entered into a LAZ/PF/UPND Pact. Again LAZ should also not operate according to the dictates and whims of what is written in some newspapers. LAZ belongs to all of us, it is our Association, it was created by the people of Zambia through an Act of Parliament the Law Association of Zambia Act, CAP 31 of the Laws of Zambia, so as to serve everybody," Vice-President Kunda said.

"In particular, it should work with the government of the day on the numerous issues described in its objects such as law reform, dispensation of justice and advancement of the rule of law and the rights and liberties of individuals and several other areas. The question is how can LAZ achieve such objects if LAZ is hostile to government and enters into alliances with our political competitors?"
Vice-President Kunda defended Mchenga as a highly competent and experienced lawyer whose call for resignation should be dismissed.

"Mr Mchenga is a highly competent, specialised and experienced criminal lawyer performing the functions of the DPP professionally and in accordance with the Constitution of Zambia. The calls for Mr Mchenga's resignations should therefore be dismissed with the contempt that they deserve and are rejected forthwith," Vice-President Kunda said.

"My advice to the LAZ president is to concentrate on the core objects of protecting the interests of LAZ members and suggesting areas of improvement in the legal system instead of politicking. Again, the Association has done very little in the area of Law Reform, notwithstanding that most of our laws are archaic. I challenge the Law Association of Zambia to make suggestions and recommendations to my office for Law Reform. As government we are ready and willing to work with LAZ."

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Govt should compel foreign investors to join employers’ federation – ZCTU

Govt should compel foreign investors to join employers’ federation – ZCTU
By Mutale Kapekele
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) general secretary Roy Mwaba has said the government should introduce a statute that will compel foreign investors to join the federation of employers.

And labour minister Austin Liato has advised the trade union not to be used for political campaigns by opposition parties.

During the launch of the trade union’s policy on working conditions in the public sector, Mwaba wondered why the government was so “loud” on statutory regulation of the media when Chinese investors were abusing workers’ rights without regulation.

“The government and the President in particular has come out strongly on media regulation,” Mwaba said. “The same should be done with employers who are always abusing labour laws. Some of these employers interpret and implement labour laws that suit them. The Chinese are not part of the federation of employers, so how are they going to be regulated if they don’t join?”

He expressed concern about the lack of implementation of labour laws especially when it involved Chinese investors.

“The government should be serious when deciding who can come and invest because we can’t have people coming to open butcheries and buying livestock in Monze then pretend to be investors,” Mwaba said. “Some Chinese investors are genuine but most of them worry us with their trends of disobeying labour laws. When you talk to them about labour laws they even pretend not to understand English but when it comes to money, they are able to communicate. Some are even beating their workers.”

He said while the Chinese were welcome to invest, they should be made accountable when they disregard the law.

“Why should we be dancing to the tune of foreigners when it is supposed to be the other way round?” Mwaba said.

“In fact, the government should consider translating the employment Act and labour laws into Chinese. Better still, these people should be compelled to learn English. Why should we dance to their dictates? We should be at par with them and give them our conditions that they should respect just like we would be expected to do if we went to invest in their country.”

He said the ruling MMD should carry out the promises of their manifesto on social security and job creation.

“The MMD manifesto is okay but the implementation leaves a lot to be desired.” Mwaba said. “After 20 years of being in power we are yet to see the jobs they promised to create and improvement of social security.”

Mwaba warned of strikes next year if the government did not improve conditions of service for civil servants.

“The government has not moved an inch in the bargaining process that is ongoing when they already know what is in the budget,” Mwaba said.

“They government are just wasting time. If you are not careful, you will see worse than the strikes that we had this year. You should take social dialogue seriously because this country should not be taken as the horse and the rider. When the tune is nice, you want to dance on your own but when things are bad you want us to join you.”

But Liato said the Chinese had stood by Africa in difficult times and the labour movement in particular.

“China has always been on our side at difficult moments not just for Zambia but the whole Africa,” Liato said.

“If you look at the history of trade unions, you will realise that China has stood by you in solidarity. But I do agree that there are certain trends that Chinese investors have exhibited that should be stopped.”

He said the government would consider coming up with a law that compelled all employers to join the federation of employers’ if need be.

“In every situation, there is good and bad. So not all Chinese investors are bad just like not all Zambian investors are good,” Liato said. “What we need to do is engage all employers in meaningful social dialogue. This is not time for politicking but if need be we shall introduce a law that will require all of them to join the federation of employers.”

Liato warned the labour movement not to be used by opposition political parties for political gains.

“Some opposition political party leaders are mistreating their workers but as we move towards 2011, they will tempt you to put final blows to the government,” he said.

“Don’t listen to their simple statements because things are not as bad as they seem. Some of them even promise to put money in people’s pockets, where will those funds come from.”

Liato hailed the labour movement for coming up with a policy document on working conditions and hoped that it would be respected.

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Govt sells Maamba Collieries Limited

Govt sells Maamba Collieries Limited
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

GOVERNMENT has sold 65 per cent of Maamba Collieries Limited (MCL) to Nava Bharat as the Singaporean company pledges to invest over US $510 million to revamp operations and build 300 megawatts thermal power station.

Maamba Collieries Limited, which is estimated to have a capacity of two million tonnes of washed coal per annum is expected to start operating on March 1, 2010 after the new investors, Nava Bharat, completes the financial closure.

According to the terms of the deal, Nava Bharat would pay ZCCM-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) US $26 million for the shares while the government would return 35 per cent shares and a Golden Share to ensure Maamba Collieries continued to develop.

“It should however be noted that because liabilities of Maamba Collieries have been increasing, the actual consideration payable to government through ZCCM–IH will be determined by the outcome of the completion audit to be finalised by mid-January,” finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane told a press briefing yesterday.

Dr Musokotwane said since Maamba Collieries was currently insolvent owing to huge debt, which was estimated at over US $50 million, the government would no longer be directly responsible for the liability.
He said Maamba itself and Nava Bharat management working with ZCCM–IH would work towards liquidating the indebtedness once the company’s cash flows improved.

Dr Musokotwane said the government was also looking at listing 25 per cent Maamba Collieries shares to the Zambian public through the Lusaka Stock Exchange.

He did not indicate the timeframe but stressed that both Nava Bharat and government would downsize their shareholding although the significant portion of the equity to be listed would come from the government.
Dr Musokotwane said mine redevelopment is estimated to cost US $93 million and further development of upstream project, 300 megawatts thermal power station would cost estimated US $420 million.

And Nava Bharat chairman Ashok Devinemi said over US $510 million needed to develop the mine would be sourced through debt finance and equity through the Nava Bharat.

Devinemi said Nava Bharat would need two years to bring the mine to the capacity of two million tonnes of washed coal.
Nava Bharat would develop the power plant at Maamba and it would be fed to the main national power transmission line through Zesco.

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Chongwe’s compensation claim is excessive – Sondashi

Chongwe’s compensation claim is excessive – Sondashi
By George Chellah
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

LUSAKA lawyer Dr Ludwig Sondashi yesterday dismissed Dr Rodger Chongwe's US $6.7 million compensation claim for the 1997 Kabwe shooting incident as excessive.

In an interview, Dr Sondashi - who is also Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) president - said nobody was disputing that Dr Chongwe was shot at and injured.

“The step Dr Chongwe took was not suitable. He should have taken that matter to a local Zambian court. Yes, I agree that he was shot at and he is entitled to damages,” Dr Sondashi said.

“But you can't give all that money to Dr Chongwe because he is not dead or he is not maimed. The shooting was there, he was shot at but he is not injured to the extent that he can't work.”

Dr Sondashi said there was need to revise Dr Chongwe's compensation claim. He said the claim must be negotiated downwards because it is excessive.
Dr Sondashi urged President Banda to follow his predecessor's position on the matter.

“The President must not be involved directly like that because whatever he touches he is making mistakes; he should leave it to the Attorney General. He should leave it to lawyers,” he said.

On Thursday, Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda petitioned President Banda to halt further considerations of Dr Chongwe's compensation. .

Recently, chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha backed the LAZ's position on the matter saying it was only correct to ensure the matter was registered in Zambia, especially that Dr Chongwe had not given reasons he took the case to UNHRC without first exhausting all the local channels.

He said the LAZ observation was right because the Zambian government should not be made to pay even for issues of Dr Chongwe's alleged self imposed exile.

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Kunda justifies Chongwe’s payment

Kunda justifies Chongwe’s payment
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

VICE-President George Kunda has justified government's intention to pay Lusaka lawyer Rodger Chongwe about US $6.7 million as compensation over a shooting incident that happened in Kabwe in August 1997.

Addressing the media at his office yesterday, Vice-President Kunda said since Zambia was a signatory to the UN Convention on Human Rights, it was important that such rights be respected.

“Dr Chongwe was shot by the police, and even the medical evidence is there that a bullet entered his body. Where it entered, the exit of the bullet, all these things, he was treated, he was taken to theatre; therefore he must be compensated. In any case we are a third party to the UN Convention under which he filed this claim. And if Zambia was found liable to pay compensation to Dr Chongwe we were not in government ourselves. It has always been the position of government, even when the late president Levy Mwanawasa was there, when I was Attorney General myself, that Dr Chongwe should be compensated.

What has remained is the issue of compensation,” Vice-President Kunda said. "Now you see this matter is being handled now, it's crowded in politics as a political issue. It should be handled as a legal human rights issue, and this is how we are going to treat this particular case and settle it; it's a legal issue. There is what you call a ruling from the UN Human Rights Committee that Zambia should pay compensation to Dr Chongwe. Now, what's the point of us signing up these international conventions and we don't honour them?"
However, he said the case was being handled by the Attorney General's chambers to negotiate for a lower settlement.

"This particular case is being ably handled by the office of the Attorney General in accordance with our constitutional provisions and the UN Convention of Human Rights under which Dr Chongwe's claim was lodged. This matter has been ably explained by State House. The only aspect I wish to add is to confirm that this matter was handled regularly and is firmly in the hands of the Solicitor General who will engage Dr Chongwe with a view to achieving a negotiated settlement. There are many cases, which the Attorney General deals with. Some even involving more money than this money you are talking about of Dr Chongwe. He handles them, he is our constitutional office holder and is entitled to representing us in the best possible way," he said.

Vice-President Kunda also described calls from the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and other stake-holders to have the civil claim registered in Zambia, as incompetence of the highest order.

"That is ignorance per excellence and ignorance of the highest order; and it's coming from the Law Association of Zambia. Which judgments are registered in the High Court? It must be from another court. Under what provisions are we going to register that judgment? Even the registration of foreign judgments, does it refer to rulings, for example, of the African Union?

Suppose the African Union makes some rulings, we must go and have it registered?" asked Vice-President Kunda. "Under what law? So, those are just hallucinations and trying to mislead the public; there's no such thing under our laws. And it's up to us, there are many cases which we settle without being registered. If we wrong a citizen he makes a claim, for us if he's not in court there are times when we sit and determine that this one needs compensation and the person can be compensated. It's not all cases that must be registered in the courts of law."

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Rupiah was elected to prove his own capabilities, says Kaande

Rupiah was elected to prove his own capabilities, says Kaande
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

MMD deputy national secretary Jeff Kaande yesterday said President Rupiah Banda was elected to prove his own capabilities and not those of other people.

And Kaande said chairperson of the dissolved Western Province MMD executive committee Simasiku Namakando is not a member of the MMD, pouring further scorn on the recent reconciliation between President Banda and the executive committee.

In an interview following former gender minister Patricia Mulasikwanda's remarks that President Banda should stop talking about late president Mwanawasa's legacy because he had failed to uphold it, Kaande said President Banda was elected to serve the country through the best of his ability.
“Once you are elected as President, you are elected, it is up to you to prove to people your capabilities; not another person's capabilities,” he said.
Asked if he implied that President Banda would rather come up with his own vision than following that of president Mwanawasa, Kaande responded: “I'm not saying that, I am not saying that. That is not what I am saying. Don't put words in my mouth.”

But when pressed further to clarify what he had said, Kaande responded: “You analyze it, what do I mean? Because I put a vote for President Banda, I did not put a vote for anybody else. If you voted for President Banda, you voted for President Banda on principle because you wanted him to be President. I was not voting for two people, I was voting for one person. I don't care what the other people say, whether they want him to follow other people's beliefs that is another thing. But I voted for President Banda to be President, and to lead this country through the best of his ability.”

When asked why President Banda campaigned using president Mwanawasa's legacy, Kaande responded: “You interview the President, don't interview me on that please. I am not his spokesperson.”

Kaande asked Mulasikwanda to resign from the MMD and go back to UNIP if she was not satisfied with the manner the party was handling its affairs.

On Friday, Mulasikwanda said President Banda had failed to uphold president Mwanwasa's legacy because people who the late president trusted like Sylvia Masebo and Ng'andu Magande, whom she described as icons, could not have been fired.
She asked President Banda to allow himself to be challenged fairly at the convention.

On Namakando's assertions that President Banda risked losing at the convention if he continued surrounding himself with people like Kaande, Kaande said President Banda would win whether Namakando liked it or not.
He said Namakando was not a member of MMD.

“He took us to court, and our regulations are very clear. If you take the party to court, then you are not a member of that party. You declare yourself an outsider, therefore you have to reapply to rejoin, so I have not yet seen his application,” Kaande said.

Asked if the recent reconciliation involving President Banda and the Western Province committee meant nothing going by his statement, Kaande refused to comment.

“I am not President Banda, excuse me. Don't draw me into that,” he said.
On Mulasikwanda's assertion that President Banda should allow himself to be challenged fairly at the convention rather than using underhand methods in the selection of delegates, Kaande wondered how this could be done since the party had not even held provincial conferences.
He accused The Post of being destructive, saying the newspaper's aim was to destroy the MMD.

“Why are you The Post concerned with the MMD convention when you cannot talk about the PF convention; who are you bedfellows?” Kaande asked.
He said he rated the performance of the state owned and government controlled media better than The Post.

“You never even assign special journalists to follow me wherever I go, but for PF you do,” said an angry Kaande.

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UPND youth leader urges govt not to politicise NRC issuance

UPND youth leader urges govt not to politicise NRC issuance
By Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

UPND national youth chairman for mobilisation Chanda Mulenga has urged the government not to politicise the issuance of National Registration Cards (NRCs).

Mulenga complained yesterday that the national registration office in Ndola had run out of materials. He accused the government of deliberately failing to supply enough materials to allow more Zambians obtain NRCs in readiness for the 2011 general elections.

“They are just doing this deliberately; Zambians are being turned from the Ndola National Registration offices on grounds that the office has run short of the materials. But foreigners are being given their pink cards and some Zambians are also forced to get the pink cards instead of the green ones,” Mulenga complained.

He said home affairs minister Lameck Mangani should look into the situation and ensure that more materials were sent to all towns in Zambia to enable people who had attained the age of 16 obtain their NRCs.
Mulenga said the government should not deny Zambians the right to obtain their NRCs.

“We have been monitoring the issuance of National Registration Cards, it is very pathetic. Masses are being turned away especially in Ndola. People started complaining about this problem two weeks ago and they were forced to come and complain to us UPND,” he said.
He said the UPND would not tolerate any political gimmicks by the MMD to frustrate the issuance of NRCs.

“Mangani should do something and ensure that the situation is back to normal. 2011 is just around the corner, more Zambians should get their cards,” he said.
He said NRCs should not be issued selectively.

“We know they are scared of 2011, but that would not help them too. Whether they want or not they are going come 2011,” said Mulenga.

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Zambezi residents vow not to vote for MMD over road

COMMENT - " RESIDENTS in Zambezi district in North Western Province have threatened not to vote for the ruling MMD in the 2011 general elections unless the Mutanda-Chavuma road is tarred up to their area. " I think this is very cool. Votes for development - why not?

Zambezi residents vow not to vote for MMD over road
By Mutuna Chanda in Kitwe
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

RESIDENTS in Zambezi district in North Western Province have threatened not to vote for the ruling MMD in the 2011 general elections unless the Mutanda-Chavuma road is tarred up to their area.

During a post-budget forum organised by Caritas Zambia under the Diocese of Solwezi following the recent presentation of the 2010 national budget by finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, the residents complained of being discriminated against.

According to a report authored by Caritas Zambia North Western Province coordinator Frederick Nabanda, the residents also demanded access to hydroelectric power.

Nabanda presented the report to new North Western Province minister Daniel Kalenga.
“Unless the M8 Mutanda-Chavuma Road is tarred up to Zambezi, the ruling party will never get even a single vote in the 2011 general elections from voters there,” Nabanda stated.

In the recent Solwezi Central parliamentary by-election, the MMD’s seat was grabbed by the opposition PF-UPND pact whose candidate Watson Lumba defeated the ruling party’s Albert Chifita.

The defeat, critics say, was an indication of frustration at the MMD’s failure to improve the poor road network, provide piped water to the majority of residents among other concerns.

Nabanda stated that Zambezi residents expressed frustration at the government’s agriculture and education policies.

“The so called Fertiliser Support Programme has failed to bring about food security and government should stop making people believe that it is committed to promoting agricultural production in the country,” he stated. “As evidenced by the little allocation to the education sector it was clear that government did not take it as a priority if at all they have a development agenda for the country. If anything education, health and agricultural sectors are neglected and this should be put across to the government.”

Nabanda stated that during the tour of Zambezi his team paid a courtesy call on Chief Ishima of the Lunda people at his Kasesi Palace.

“During the discussions that centred on governance, the chief lamented the poor service delivery to his community,” stated Nabanda. “He asserted that from the way the country was run it was clear that the only people considered to be Zambians are those holding positions in government and not the ordinary citizenry.”

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Media does not recognise ultimatum on self-regulation – PAZA

Media does not recognise ultimatum on self-regulation – PAZA
By Mutale Kapekele
Sat 19 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

THE media will not ask government to extend the period of the six months ultimatum given to them to come up with a self-regulatory framework, Press Association of Zambia (PAZA) vice president Amos Chanda has disclosed.

In an interview, Chanda said the media did not recognise the ultimatum as they had their own work programme for coming up with a self-regulatory framework.

“We are not going to ask the government to extend their ultimatum,” Chanda said on Thursday. “Doing so will mean that we are recognising it ultimatum when we don’t. We have our own roadmap as the media and it does not involve any ultimatum. PAZA, MISA and Press Freedom Committee of The Post PFC , who are all part of the Media Liaison Committee (MLC) are not part of any ultimatums because that will not add value to dialogue as we work towards coming up with a self-regulatory framework.”

He disclosed that the MLC was expected to meet with information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha to explain the steps that the media would take in coming up with a self-regulatory mechanism.
“We are going to present the PAZA communiqué following our conference last week and we will explain to him Shikapwasha steps that we intend to take,” Chanda said.

On Monday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha maintained that the government would go ahead and introduce statutory regulation of the media if the ultimatum was not adhered to by the latter.

On Wednesday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he was disappointed that media associations had not approached his office to extend the period of the ultimatum.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha told Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) that he was ready to consider an extension to the ultimatum if media associations approached him.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he was disappointed that media organisations were issuing statements to the press about the ultimatum that ends on December 31, 2009 but did not approach his office to seek an extension.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

(SOURCEWATCH) Whos Who In The DRC - Dan Gertler

Dan Gertler
From SourceWatch

Gertler and Rabbi Chaim Yaakov Leibovitch "are two of the principals behind a diamond mining company, Emaxon Finance Corporation, involved in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)...

"Back in 2000, former Congolese president Laurent Kabila offered a monopoly on Congolese diamonds, and 88% of the proceeds, to Gertler’s International Diamond Industries (IDI) in exchange for Israeli military assistance to his new government...

"The original Gertler-Kabila deal fell through after Laurent Kabila was assassinated for not cooperating with the Great White Fathers of industry (January 2001), but Gertler and Leibovitch and their disciples formed another company, Dan Gertler International, and advanced their Congo plan.22 By 2002 Gertler’s company was the leading exporter of Congolese gems, controlling a diamond mining franchise worth about $US 1 billion annually...

"Dan Gertler is close to Israeli politicians, especially Avigdor Lieberman, head of the right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu party, and he is very close to diamantaire Beny Steinmetz, a good friend of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Gertler’s inseperable friend, Chaim Leibovitz, is also very close to Lieberman, and was “a regular fixture” in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s offices." [1]

"Founder of the DGI Group of Companies, Dan Gertler is a leader in the development of natural resources. His career began with investments in the diamond trade in Africa, and his interests have since grown to include mining, logistics, real estate, agriculture and finance in Africa and other emerging markets.

"Born in December 1973, Dan Gertler is the grandson of Moshe Schnitzer, who was the founder and first President of the Israeli Diamond Exchange and 2004 winner of the Israel Prize (the most prestigious award issued by the State of Israel) for lifetime achievement in recognition of his contribution to Israeli society and the State...

"An enthusiastic diamond-dealer from youth, Mr. Gertler learned the secrets of the trade not only from his father but also from his grandfather’s life-long experience. He spent time with both of them during school holidays and whenever else he was able. Even while carrying out his three-year mandatory service in a rearguard base of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) near Tel Aviv, all of his free time was spent either at the offices of his father or grandfather, learning and practicing the essentials of the diamond business...

"Following experiments with the purchase and marketing of artisinally mined diamonds in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DGI established a partnership with the majority state-owned diamond mine MIBA...

"Mr. Gertler’s record in the DRC not only gives him a unique view and understanding of its authorities and infrastructure, but also earned him the trust and goodwill required to build business interests of the magnitude that he has. Mr. Gertler was named honorary consul of the DRC in Israel in April 2003." [2]

In June 2008 "A company controlled by Israeli diamond mogul Dan Gertler is taking a 25 per cent stake in Anvil Mining Ltd. (TSX:AVM), a Montreal-based copper and silver producer.

"Anvil said Thursday it has an agreement in principal that would give the Gertler family trust a 25 per cent stake and one seat on its board of directors in return for nearly C$296.7 million cash...

"In April, privately held Camrose Resources, of which Gertler is a major shareholder, said it is taking a 63 per cent stake in miner Africo Resources Ltd. (TSX:ARL).

"In 2004, BHP Billiton rejected an attempt by Gertler to buy the Ekati mine in the Northwest Territories, Canada's first producing diamond mine." [3]

"Dan Gertler’s father, Asher Gertler, and his uncle, Shmuel Schnitzer, manage the original family business, and Shmuel is Vice-Chairman of the Belgian-based World Diamond Council—the entity that spends more money promoting the false image of “conflict-free” diamonds than it does helping any of the people dispossessed or brutalized by the diamond industry." [4]

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(HERALD) Mujuru hits out at sanctions

Mujuru hits out at sanctions
Herald Reporter

ACTING President Joice Mujuru yesterday lamented sustained illegal sanctions by Britain, the USA and their Western allies, which continue to affect ordinary Zimbabweans.

Speaking after receiving donations of goods worth over US$10 000 from the Iranian Embassy at her Munhumutapa Building office, the Acting President hailed relations between Zimbabwe and Iran.

"Relations between our two countries date back to the days of our liberation struggle and I am happy to note that this is not the first time that Iran has donated goods to our people.

"However, there are other countries that have imposed illegal sanctions that are affecting the ordinary people of Zimbabwe," she said.

The Acting President said Iran has assisted Zimbabwe in various fields such as health and education, among others.

Among the goods that will be distributed to vulnerable groups in Bindura are medicines, food hampers and sports uniforms.

The goods will be handed over through the Bindura Mayor’s Christmas Cheer Fund.

In an interview after the handover, Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Rasoul Momeni said the 90th donation from his country to the people of Zimbabwe was a symbolic gesture of solidarity between the two countries.

"We are also going to start a programme for an Islamic Charity Centre in Bindura while the Iranian embassy will also introduce an outreach clinic for the town," he said.

Mashonaland Central Governor and Resident Minister Martin Dinha commended efforts by Iran to assist the people of Zimbabwe.

"The donation shows that the Iranians are our true friends who share with us a common ideology against imperialism and American hegemony.

"This gesture shows that our relations are deeper. We are going to hand over these goods to the Bindura Municipality as a sign of inclusivity and for the benefit of the people.

"I would also like to urge the local authority to give the goods across the political divide and help the elderly, orphans, the disabled and vulnerable members of the community," he said.

Governor Dinha paid tribute to the Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs in Zimbabwe through its leader, Sheikh Ishmael Duwa, for sourcing the goods.

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(HERALD) Mujuru launches Indo-Zim Project II

Mujuru launches Indo-Zim Project II
Herald Reporter

Acting President Joice Mujuru yesterday urged entrepreneurs to make use of the state-of-the-art machinery donated by India under the Indo-Zimbabwe Training Project to enhance productivity.

She was speaking at the official launch of the second phase of the Indo-Zimbabwe Training Project in Harare yesterday. The training centre, located at the Harare Institute of Technology provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to receive training in technology-related programmes.

"We therefore call upon all our industrialists that the technology is now available in Zimbabwe, here at the Indo-Zimbabwe Technology Centre," she said.

"Let’s have our personnel trained in this skill. You should maximise the usage of these machines to grow the economy and create wealth for yourselves and for the country," said the Acting President.

She said the training centre would enable small and medium entrepreneurs to enhance skills and knowledge at affordable fees.

"This centre provides facilities in high technology precision machining areas, which are not affordable to individual SME’s due to high cost.

"Small and medium enterprises will have access to this technology at this centre for a small fee," she said.

The machinery has the capacity to make essential tools used in small to medium enterprises.

Acting President Mujuru said the coming in of latest technology would help the SME sector to improve quality of locally produced products. It would also create employment opportunities for many college graduates.

The Acting President said this new technology has come at the right time since the SME sector was facing growth and competition challenges from the global market.

"As the world becomes a fiercely competitive global market place, the dynamics of small scale industry have become more challenging.

"Technological innovation has diversified in the global market and demands that SMEs provide quality products and service," she said.

Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni said the Indo-Zimbabwe project was poised to propel the growth of SMEs through promotion of new technologies provided by the Indian government.

She said the future of the country’s economy was on SMEs and urged all to support the sector.

"The growth of our economy hinges on the vibrancy of the SME sector. The world over, the SME sector is recognised for its dynamism resulting in the significant generation of employment and wealth creation," said Minister Nyoni.

She said through the partnership with India, the SME sector would emerge stronger as it would gain skills to improve local industries.

The Indo-Zimbabwe Training Project seeks to promote technology transfer through introduction of computer numerically controlled machines and equipment.

Under the project, India has sent a team of experts to provide practical training and ensure smooth transfer of technology to the Zimbabwean industrialists.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe workers ‘besiege’ Nestle

Mugabe workers ‘besiege’ Nestle
18/12/2009 00:00:00

AT LEAST six workers from Grace Mugabe’s dairy farm, Gushungo Dairy Estates, stormed the company headquarters of Nestle Zimbabwe demanding that the company resumes milk orders terminated in October, it was claimed.

Workers at the Swiss food conglomerate claimed the six men arrived just after lunch and demanded to see “whoever is in charge so that they can deliver milk”. One Nestle employee said the six were driving in a white ERF truck parked outside the company’s HQ along Park Lane.

“These guys meant business I tell you,“ the employee said. The six men are said to have met with Nestle managing director Heath Tilley and finance director, Farai Munetsi, who drove them out of the premises to an undisclosed location – thought to be the Meikles Hotel.

By late Thursday afternoon, neither Tilley nor Munetsi were available for comment as they were both said to be in meetings.

Nestle stopped making milk orders at Gushungo Estates after being pressured by foreign rights groups and its business partners who threatened to boycott its products.

Nestle was buying 10 to 15 percent of milk processed at its Harare plant from Mugabe’s farm.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Biti: 'Sulking' West unhelpful

Biti: 'Sulking' West unhelpful
18/12/2009 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S Finance Minister Tendai Biti has accused western countries of “sulking” for rebuffing Zimbabwe’s overtures to normalise trading relations and lift sanctions.

“They (western countries) have adopted a chicken and egg approach … they say give us newspapers then we reintegrate you and so on. It’s not mathematics, you can’t do that,” Biti said during a Brooks World Poverty Institute lecture at Manchester University in England. He said Zimbabwe’s “continued isolation would reproduce the same failed African state”.

“Sulking and avoiding this government won’t help,” said Biti, a senior member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change party which entered a coalition with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF in February.

Biti admitted the unity government had “challenges”, but insisted there was a “fair amount of commitment” to deal with them.

He pointed at reforms carried out at the central bank which he said since 2003 had “replaced the state and treasury as the dominant player in government”.

“The RBZ [Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe] can’t buy dresses and firewood like it did in the past,” Biti said of the bank’s quasi-fiscal activities as Zimbabwe battled record inflation which the IMF estimated at 500 billion in March, before the dollarisation of the economy.

Political violence, often cited by western countries as a hurdle to be overcome by the unity government before sanctions are lifted, “is nothing compared to 2008”, Biti said.

He said like most of Zimbabwe’s critics, he was strongly opposed to the MDC’s decision to join the unity government.

“I cried and said we were selling out,” Biti said. “But I would be the first one to say this experiment should be given a chance.

“I have gone around the country asking ordinary Zimbabweans what they think of this government. I met people who had gone for two years without a piece of protein entering their bodies.

“Their response was unanimous, they told us ‘stick it inside there’, they said they were tired of being vandalised and abused, they said we need to catch up with other countries and catch up we will!”

Biti hailed the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange as the “pest performing in the world”, saying Zimbabwe now had “the architecture of a normal, decent economy”.

Zimbabwe’s recent problems, he said, were spawned by “the limitations of nationalism” which turned the country into a “vampire state, a hooligan state”.

While remaining optimistic, he warned the country could slide back if it failed to negotiate the “conflict trap”.

“Zimbabwe must avoid the conflict trap – the continuous reproduction of conflict,” he said, pointing to the 1980s military operation in Matabeleland “which killed 30,000 of our citizens” as the genesis of the conflicts.

He added: “After Gukurahundi ended in 1987, then came ESAP [Economic Structural Adjustment Programme]. It wasn’t a physical war, but it was a social war which caused social dislocation and you had a flurry of NGOs being formed.

“Between 2000 and 2008, we had a generational war between tired nationalism and a new generation with a different viewpoint and a value system not based on whether one had gone to war. In the process, the country devalued by 40 percent.”

Biti says if the country continues on the path to reform, with a new constitution the key flag point, Zimbabwe has a chance at establishing itself as a regional economic powerhouse.

“Zimbabwe is a sleeping giant which just happens to be in a ditch,” said Biti, speaking on Friday last week. “Never measure a giant in a ditch because you will never get its correct height."

Despite the optimism of Zimbabwean politicians and their African neighbours, western countries have chosen to maintain sanctions on the country until certain "benchmarks" are met. Britain and the United States in particular, have said they will not offer direct bedgetary support to Zimbabwe until "political reforms" are carried out which observers have read as a signal that the West is not keen to deal with a government led by President Mugabe.

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LAZ is right, Mchenga must resign

LAZ is right, Mchenga must resign
By Editor
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

In life, it’s always better to be clear about things. The decision taken by the Law Association of Zambia, under the leadership of Stephen Lungu, is a very big one, a very important one.

It is a decision that needs to be understood in all its dimensions because it goes to the core of what the Law Association of Zambia should stand for and good governance in this country.

To anyone who has been following the development of the Law Association of Zambia’s position on this matter closely, it should be clear that it has taken time to reach where we are. It seems the Law Association of Zambia had a lot of internal soul searching on the important question of how Director of Public Prosecutions Chalwe Mchenga has conducted himself in the aftermath of the acquittal of Frederick Chiluba. The Law Association of Zambia to its credit did not rush to its conclusions but waited until they had understood the whole matter before they issued any statement on it.

In one of the earlier statements that the Law Association of Zambia issued in connection with the handling of the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal, they politely but firmly observed that it was clear that the decision not to appeal was not made by Mchenga.

Mchenga for his part, notwithstanding that a most serious allegation against his professional integrity had been made by the professional body that regulates all lawyers in this country, chose to remain quiet. Mchenga behaved as if nothing had happened. The Law Association clearly said Mchenga had abrogated the Constitution and chose to ignore the legal fraternity to which he belongs.

Mchenga’s job is one of the most important jobs in the maintenance of law and order, fairness and justice in our country. Mchenga’s discharge of his duties should be guided by the law, honesty and integrity. What is clear is that Mchenga has failed on this score. He is a politically pliable Director of Public Prosecutions who makes decisions to please his political masters and who acts according to the dictates of those in power.

Mchenga is a shame to the legal profession. Such a spineless character should never occupy such an important office. Mchenga should be hunted out of the office he has disgraced.

Some of our people may have forgotten what actually happened in connection with the Chiluba acquittal and the subsequent withdrawal of the appeal that was lodged. Before even the reading of the judgment of magistrate Jones Chinyamba acquitting Chiluba was completed in Lusaka, Rupiah Banda made comments in Kabwe whilst addressing a church meeting which showed that he knew the outcome before the judgment was made.

After the judgment was delivered, the very next day, even before anybody had a chance to read the handwritten judgment, Rupiah was thanking the Zambian people for accepting the acquittal of Chiluba. When the former chairman of the Task Force Maxwell Nkole decided to appeal, Rupiah fired him for being indisciplined and said as much in public. Mchenga withdrew the appeal that was filed and he gave false reasons for doing so. First he claimed that the lawyers that filed the appeal did not have his permission to do so.

And this was proved to be a lie because Mchenga knew very well that no such permission was required. We say this because not very long before, Mchenga had obtained a judgment from judge Mwanamwambwa clearly stating that no such permission was required from him for a prosecutor to appeal. When this lie was exposed and his claim of permission discredited, Mchenga resorted to another lie. He claimed that there was no merit in the grounds of appeal that had been filed. Again, this lie was exposed by many people who had read the judgment. The Law Association of Zambia made it clear that there was merit in the grounds of appeal and the matter was therefore appealable.

Mchenga’s lies fell flat when the real reasons for his refusal to appeal began to emerge in the public. Realising that Mchenga was incapable of defending his lie, their lie, his political masters, his handlers jumped into the ring to defend what could clearly not be defended by reason. And because the decision not to appeal Chiluba’s acquittal could not be defended legally or by reason, they resorted to arrogance and more and more lies. Mike Mulongoti was the first one to come out saying they decided not to appeal Chiluba’s acquittal because sending him to prison would have been costly.

Mchenga was exposed; although he claimed to have made the decision not to appeal, his political masters, the real or principal decision makers in this matter became increasingly careless and arrogant. George Kunda was even more fanatical in the position he took – he declared that if the Director of Public Prosecutions had appealed, it would have been professional misconduct on his part.

The question still remains: who was making the decision? George or Mchenga? If appealing when he was not supposed to appeal was a misconduct, then shouldn’t it follow that not appealing when he should is equally a professional misconduct? Following George’s logic, one should see why the Law Association of Zambia has a point in calling for Mchenga ‘s resignation on grounds of professional misconduct. It has been established beyond any reasonable doubt that Mchenga did not appeal when he was supposed to appeal because his political masters had stopped him from doing so.

And the reasons Mchenga gave for withdrawing the appeal have failed to hold, have been proved to be a big lie, deceit. What Mchenga did was actually a fraud to the people of Zambia. Given that position, it is easy to understand what has driven the Law Association of Zambia to take the position it has taken on this matter and against Mchenga. But this is not all. There is more to it.

If anyone was still in doubt as to who made the decision not to appeal, Rupiah made it very clear. Rupiah told the nation that he had decided not to appeal because the lawyers who prosecuted Chiluba for US $500,000 were paid US $13 million.

According to this lie, Rupiah made the decision not to appeal so that he could save money. Rupiah claimed that appealing the matter would cost the Zambian taxpayer another US $13 million and he was not in a position to appeal and enrich those greedy lawyers. This is what Rupiah told the nation and this matter was reported in more than one edition of the state-owned and government controlled Zambia Daily Mail, among other news media outlets in our country.

And to date there has been no repudiation of this statement by Rupiah himself or even Mchenga. It is difficult for them to do so because it was made publicly, with a lot of emphasis and a long explanation. And this was not the first and the last time Rupiah tried to explain and defend the decision not to appeal Chiluba’s acquittal.

Before this, Rupiah had made statements to the effect that he was very happy that Chiluba was acquitted because it was going to be very difficult for him to find an appropriate prison for a former president. Rupiah knows very well that under our laws, there is no special prison for anybody because all are equal before the law. And probably it was for this reason that Chiluba himself, when he was president of the Republic, incarcerated a former president, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, at Mukobeko Prison.

It shouldn’t be forgotten as well that during the Kasama Central parliamentary by-election, Rupiah told a closed-door meeting of civil servants and other public workers that he was surprised they were not supporting Chiluba’s acquittal when they were supposed to be celebrating it because he hailed from their region, that is, he was their tribesman.

And recently, Rupiah told some people at some funeral in Lusaka that appealing Chiluba’s acquittal will be tantamount to putting him back in a lion’s mouth; he won’t survive. There are a lot of other things Rupiah has said on this issue in privacy and to many people.

Clearly, Rupiah stopped the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal for petty personal political considerations. But what is Mchenga’s consideration in this matter?

Mchenga has been George’s bootlicker and today, he is paying a price for that bootlicking. The nation cannot have a Director of Public Prosecutions who takes instructions from a person like George whose dishonest schemes and machinations are now well-known. George has been the puppeteer while Mchenga has been a willing puppet in their scheme to hoodwink the Zambian public and deny them justice. In Mchenga and George, Rupiah has found two perfect minions who are going to carry out his evil scheme without asking any questions.

When Mchenga says there are no grounds of appeal in the Chiluba case, he simply means ‘my bosses have not allowed me to do this’. This is what he did in the Kashiwa Bulaya nolle prosequi.

This spineless excuse for a lawyer, sneaked into court and withdrew the case against Bulaya on the instructions of George. When the matter became public, George and Mchenga even convinced Levy Mwanawasa to tell the nation that the reason they had withdrawn the case was because it was a weak case and the state was going to lose because there was no adequate evidence to secure a conviction of Bulaya.

Again, this lie was exposed. Shamelessly, the same Mchenga allowed the matter to go back to court. And there is no need to guess who told Mchenga to take the matter back to court. It is clear that after Levy realised that the Zambian people were resolved to see justice in this matter, he directed Mchenga to take the matter back to court. And since Mchenga acts on political orders, he took back the matter to court.
What happened after this case that they claimed was weak was taken back to court is well known.
Bulaya was convicted. He appealed to the High Court and lost. Bulaya’s friends have now resorted to keeping him at the University Teaching Hospital to avoid jail. But Bulaya is a convict, although George and Mchenga claimed there was no evidence. These are the kinds of people we are dealing with.

It is clear that these people cannot work with a professional Director of Public Prosecutions. What Mchenga did over the Bulaya case, a professional Director of Public Prosecutions had refused to do. And for that reason, George made sure that Caroline Sokoni was never confirmed as Director of Public Prosecutions. George preferred a spineless unprofessional wimp – Mchenga.

George is trying to run the criminal justice system as an extension to their political games. Only the people they hate or have no use for should be prosecuted. In their small minds, they cheated themselves that Chiluba was a political asset and went out of their way to yet again compromise the important office of Director of Public Prosecutions.

Mchenga has disgraced this very important office of our people, of our nation, of our state and the Law Association of Zambia is correct to call for his resignation. And Mchenga must go. If he resists, he will be hunted out of that office he has so much disgraced. Those who betray our people should not expect to be paid by our people to continue their betrayal.

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Mwenye backs LAZ’s call for DPP to resign

Mwenye backs LAZ’s call for DPP to resign
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

LUSAKA lawyer Musa Mwenye yesterday backed LAZ's demand for Chalwe Mchenga to resign as Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) because he has questionably used his discretion.

Commenting on the Law Association of Zambia’s demand for Mchenga to resign because the public could no longer be expected to have trust in the DPP’s office as long as Mchenga was there, Mwenye asked Mchenga to use high moral conscience to heed the calls from an important association such as LAZ for him to resign.

"LAZ president Stephen Lungu needs every lawyer’s support on this one, and he definitely has my support. LAZ needs to be commended and granted unflinching support on this score.

In more ways than one, the DPP has exercised his discretion in ways that raise serious questions ranging from his refusal to appeal matters considered meritorious… to his refusal to allow media organisations to carry out private prosecution," Mwenye said. "Unless we see a very radical shift in attributes in that office, those of us who have hitherto held the Office of DPP in high esteem may be tempted to re-examine our fate in that office."

Mwenye advised the government to reflect seriously on the issues raised by LAZ.

"Instead of condemning LAZ, I would expect the government to seriously examine why LAZ, which has until recently adopted a moderate approach to these issues has decided to be more forthright. A little introspection by those tasked with the affairs of the state will reveal that there are some things that just cannot be condoned by right thinking members of society," Mwenye said.

Mwenye said should Mchenga fail to resign, LAZ was competent enough to explore other legal avenues open to it.

"My experience in this country is that people rarely resign on grounds of moral conscience, and I do not expect this situation to be different. But one would expect the holder of that office to exercise the high level of moral conscience, conscience by the holder of the office of DPP. So we would expect that he would heed the calls of an important institution such as LAZ," said Mwenye.

On Wednesday, LAZ asked Mchenga to resign from office, saying LAZ had formed the strong and reasoned view that the greater interest of the public and the criminal justice system in the country would best be served if Mchenga resigns”.

LAZ has written to the Attorney General's chambers complaining that the executive had usurped the powers of the DPP. This followed statements by President Rupiah Banda and his ministers, which confirmed suspicions that the executive instructed the DPP not to appeal the acquittal of former president Frederick Chiluba on corruption charges.

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NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens

NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

NATIONAL Constitutional Conference (NCC) spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis has said the Conference is likely to finish deliberating reports of the remaining five committees when it resumes sitting on January 12, 2010.

Addressing the media at the NCC secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, Zaloumis said there was a desire by delegates to finish deliberating on all remaining committee reports before the next sitting of Parliament if time and resources permit.

“I know it's an ambitious programme for the NCC that this time we should finish all the committees' work. That is if logistics are allowing us and finances are allowing us; because even where we sit we have to pay for the Mulungushi International Conference Centre,” Zaloumis said.

“We are not the only people who are knocking on the government financial doorsteps trying to make our case, we are competing with many others. We hope that we can sit, all we can do is present this to government, but we can sit and complete this work within this next session. So, we are likely to have a draft constitution sometime next year."

Asked if Zambia would have a new constitution before the 2011 general election, Zaloumis said it was dangerous to tag a constitution to an event.

She said a mistake was made in 1996 when amendments were made to the constitution with a view to targeting certain events and individuals.

"Now, in constitution making, the most dangerous thing one can do is to link that process to an event. In 1996 if you remember, the constitution was amended to target certain people or certain events, or certain groups.

This time around those who've been advocating for a good constitution, for a process that is acceptable since 1991, we've learnt NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens lessons that you do not target or tie the process to a certain event," she said.

"That event should fall in the constitution making so that all the events coming are catered for. So, to me the general election is one of the events that should be catered for. It doesn't mean that the general election is the only event that should be catered for, it's one of the many events that should come in future."

The last sitting of the NCC, which was due to close in December this year was prematurely adjourned to allow for the sitting of Parliament from September 18 to December 31, 2009.

So far, the NCC has completed five of the 11 committee reports, and is expected to continue considering the Legislative committee report before winding up on the remaining five.

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Banda wants to meet Lamba chiefs next week

Banda wants to meet Lamba chiefs next week
By George Chellah
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda is expected to meet traditional leaders on the Copperbelt Province with a view to finding solutions to the problems that have befallen his administration and the ruling party in Lambaland.

Well-placed sources at the provincial administration in Ndola yesterday disclosed that President Banda was scheduled to have a meeting with Lamba chiefs before Christmas.

“By now, nobody including those in government can dispute that there are serious problems in Lambaland. As a result, the President intends to travel here between 21st and 22nd December, 2009 to meet traditional leaders from the Copperbelt,” the source revealed.

“Unless he President Banda just cancels the programme otherwise he is expected to be here by that time to meet the chiefs so that they can try and find solutions to the problems the government is facing in Lambaland.

“That's why right now as I am talking to you there is a covert operation underway. All district commissioners have been given special orders to ensure that chiefs are ferried from their districts to Luanshya where President Banda is scheduled to meet the chiefs.”

The source said President Banda's programme on the Copperbelt was in progress and everything had been put in place for his scheduled meeting with the traditional leaders.

“The boss wants to meet the chiefs so that he can try and do the usual pleading, like he did in Barotseland with the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) with the hope of rejuvenating the lost support,” the source said.

“The plans are that if the President goes ahead to have his meeting with the chiefs…that is if he doesn't cancel his trip after this revelation, the provincial administration is also making manoeuvres and to pressure chiefs to issue some form of a communiqué backing the President and probably disagree with science, technology and vocational training minister Gabriel Namulambe's observations.

“But I doubt if it will be easy to convince the chiefs because Namulambe is very strong on the ground. Unless he President comes with money and gives them but even then I doubt if that can work because Lamba chiefs seem annoyed too, all of us here know that.

Therefore, I don't think the chiefs will be willing to embarrass themselves by giving views that are different from Namulambe and George Mpombo. I say so because the problems of Lambaland are very similar. Anyway, let's wait and see things change.”

The source wondered why President Banda wants to meet the chiefs before meeting Namulambe.

“As someone who is part of the provincial administration, we know for a fact that the boss has not yet met Namulambe ever since he raised those honest observations on the Mwanawasa legacy. And what shocks us is the decision for him to meet the chiefs before he sits down to reason with his own minister Namulambe. Probably, he wants to get Namulambe's concerns from the chiefs themselves.”

Recently, President Banda sent Copperbelt Province minister Mwansa Mbulakulima and permanent secretary Villie Lombanya to meet Lamba chiefs and resolve the issues pertaining to Namulambe's observations on the Mwanawasa legacy.

President Banda sent the Copperbelt provincial leadership to engage the traditional leaders in an effort to resolve the issues surrounding Namulambe's statement.

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Miyanda writes Rupiah over Chongwe’s claim

Miyanda writes Rupiah over Chongwe’s claim
By George Chellah
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

HERITAGE Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda has petitioned President Rupiah Banda asking him to halt further considerations of Lusaka lawyer Dr Rodger Chongwe's compensation claim for the 1997 Kabwe shooting incident.

In a letter to President Banda dated December 15, 2009, Brig Gen Miyanda stated that he was glad to learn through newspaper reports that the President had stopped the payment of US $6.7 million compensation to Dr Chongwe for the time being.

“As a matter of urgency, I petition that you halt any further consideration or reconsideration of the claim by Dr Chongwe for damages against the Zambian government. At the onset I must make it absolutely clear that I do not support nor condone the taking of any life in the manner alleged by Dr Chongwe and his cohorts; my petition must not be viewed in that light,” read Brig Gen Miyanda's letter in part.

“So as far as any alleged attempts on his life and that of any other citizens are concerned, I do not object to that complaint as long as plausible facts are provided that there was a plot in which I was allegedly involved and they have laid bare the said plot in a truthful and honest manner.”

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that he did not object to Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda being paid anything until they had shown good faith and truth and honesty in the allegations they made against him.

“I say this because as you may be aware, the Zambian government in general and myself in particular stood accused of actually plotting, engineering and executing the alleged assassination not only on these two but on other leaders and persons named by Dr Chongwe. I go so far as to say that if there was a plot to assassinate those leaders then Dr Chongwe and others must be paid even more, for a human life is priceless,” Brig Gen Miyanda stated.

“This assassination allegation is once again in the public domain and has become a high profile matter of public interest, thanks to The Post articles which government media curiously choose to sit on. I am thus also making this Chongwe saga a public issue because any matters of this nature concerning lies against me are never reported or covered in the media even when they are being heard by the courts.

“It is like there is a grand design to perpetuate the stigma against me as the alleged assassin of citizens, which I am not and have never been. I have specifically copied this letter to The Post not for any mischievous reasons but because they brought this matter to light. For this I thank them.”

Brig Gen Miyanda said Dr Chongwe was not entitled to be paid anything until his petition had been attended to satisfactorily.

“…Because I am questioning his credibility in keeping quiet about the serious criminal libel that he and Dr Kaunda put in the public domain before they later made their claim for compensation,” he stated.

Brig Gen Miyanda cited the August 27, 1997 press conference where Dr Chongwe is alleged to have linked him and former president Frederick Chiluba to the assassination attempt. He stated that Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda had made similar allegations on BBC on August 23, 1997. He said those were grave allegations against him that left him permanently exposed to danger from the families, supporters or sympathisers of Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda, whom he described as famous and important people both at home and abroad.

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Dr Chongwe and Dr Kaunda were duty bound to tell Zambians why they have not prosecuted him whom they identified as having been personally in Kabwe supervising the “so-called assassination”.

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that Dr Chongwe had conveniently and sheepishly left out any reference to him as his alleged assassin in his statement to The Post last week.

He reiterated that Dr Kaunda and Dr Chongwe must publish the evidence they had against him as alleged in their public verbal and written publications. He also demanded that the government must compensate him.

“If the government has no money to pay me but is able to pay Dr Kaunda and Dr Chongwe, then I ask that due to their bad faith by fabricating, withholding and/or spreading false evidence against me, the government should revise the amount to be paid to them and instead set aside a percentage from that amount to be paid to me,” he stated.

Brig Gen Miyanda stated that the government must state categorically whether it had accepted vicarious liability on account of his alleged crimes.

“If government is aware that I was not in any way involved, it must make such a public statement as well and offer a measure of recompense,” Brig Gen Miyanda stated.

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ZCC cautions consumers on defective products

ZCC cautions consumers on defective products
By Fridah Zinyama
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

THE Zambia Competition Commission (ZCC) has cautioned consumers in the country to be cautious of substandard and defective products during this festive season.

In a press statement, ZCC director for Consumer and Public Relations Brian Lingela stated that unsuspecting consumers were normally duped into buying what seemed to be affordable but defective products during this period.

“The Commission reminds consumers that during the festive season, various traders are in the tradition of making several clearance promotions of their goods and it is easy for consumers to rush for such goods in view of the low prices at which they are sold,” he noted.

Lingela observed that in 2009, most of the complaints that the Commission received from consumers were on the sale of defective products.

“Consumers need to ensure that they make up their minds on the quality of products they buy especially electrical and electronic goods,” he cautioned. “During 2009, the Commission has endeavoured to secure refunds and replacements for consumers on assorted goods found to be defective. On two occasions, we have referred unsatisfied parties to the Small Claims Court for further adjudication.”

Lingela advised consumers who might buy defective products to report to the Commission for redress.
“If any consumer buys a product which is defective, they are advised to immediately report to the Zambia Competition Commission offices,” he stated. “The Commission will remain open during the festive season to receive various consumer complaints.”

Lingela further advised the public to shop responsibly during this festive season and ensure that they purchased quality products.

“The Commission, at this time of the season would also like to remind consumers that they have an obligation to shop around and ask the shop owner of the quality and origin of goods before making decision,” stated Lingela. “Further, consumers have an obligation to ask for warranties, guarantees and receipts on purchased goods so that they can be protected whenever they discover defects on purchased goods.”

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NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens

NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 18 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

NATIONAL Constitutional Conference (NCC) spokesperson Mwangala Zaloumis has said the Conference is likely to finish deliberating reports of the remaining five committees when it resumes sitting on January 12, 2010.

Addressing the media at the NCC secretariat in Lusaka yesterday, Zaloumis said there was a desire by delegates to finish deliberating on all remaining committee reports before the next sitting of Parliament if time and resources permit.

“I know it's an ambitious programme for the NCC that this time we should finish all the committees' work. That is if logistics are allowing us and finances are allowing us; because even where we sit we have to pay for the Mulungushi International Conference Centre,” Zaloumis said.

“We are not the only people who are knocking on the government financial doorsteps trying to make our case, we are competing with many others. We hope that we can sit, all we can do is present this to government, but we can sit and complete this work within this next session. So, we are likely to have a draft constitution sometime next year."

Asked if Zambia would have a new constitution before the 2011 general election, Zaloumis said it was dangerous to tag a constitution to an event.

She said a mistake was made in 1996 when amendments were made to the constitution with a view to targeting certain events and individuals.

"Now, in constitution making, the most dangerous thing one can do is to link that process to an event. In 1996 if you remember, the constitution was amended to target certain people or certain events, or certain groups.

This time around those who've been advocating for a good constitution, for a process that is acceptable since 1991, we've learnt NCC seeks to wind up before Parliament reopens lessons that you do not target or tie the process to a certain event," she said.

"That event should fall in the constitution making so that all the events coming are catered for. So, to me the general election is one of the events that should be catered for. It doesn't mean that the general election is the only event that should be catered for, it's one of the many events that should come in future."

The last sitting of the NCC, which was due to close in December this year was prematurely adjourned to allow for the sitting of Parliament from September 18 to December 31, 2009.

So far, the NCC has completed five of the 11 committee reports, and is expected to continue considering the Legislative committee report before winding up on the remaining five.

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(TALKZIMBABWE, VOA) Biti proposes to tax Zimbabweans abroad

Biti proposes to tax Zimbabweans abroad
Thu, 17 Dec 2009 19:30:00 +0000

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has a new plan to raise funds - taxing those Zimbabweans who are living abroad. Minister Biti unveiled the plan in a national reconstruction report unveiled by Biti at a seminar at Manchester University, England, recently.

Around 3 million Zimbabweans are estimated now live abroad, many of them in South Africa and the UK. Biti's report added that expatriates should feel the government values them, so it proposes “confidence-building” steps including dual citizenship and absentee ballots.

Most left the country for economic reasons during the past 10 years, and together they send around US$1 billion home each year in remittances. Biti has now proposed a new migrant tax. He said the money could be used to fund the health and education sectors. If foreign-based Zimbabweans pay the tax, they will get to keep their citizenship and should also be allowed to vote in coming elections.

"Clearly this would be controversial but it could be a way for migrants to contribute directly to the state budget," the report states.

The report also addressed the longstanding problem of brain-drain, noting that many in the diaspora are professionals whose skills are needed at home.

"The inclusive government will need to find ways to lure them back (even for short periods) to share their skills and knowledge," said Biti's report.

"It is probably in these non-pecuniary remittances that Zimbabwe could gain the most," it continued. "The health and education sectors should be targeted most as these were the areas hardest hit by the brain drain."

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) De Beers wanted Zimbabwe ban

COMMENT - So it is De Beers and the Oppenheimer family who are using the Kimberley Process (think: "Blood Diamonds") to keep their competitors out of business. I suppose that is to be expected from an 'industry led initiative'. Why are the South African mines still in private hands?

De Beers wanted Zimbabwe ban
17/12/2009 00:00:00

DIAMOND giant De Beers has revealed for the first time that it would have preferred Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Kimberley Process (KP) at the diamond industry regulator's November meeting in Namibia.

De Beers chairman Nicky Oppenheimer said: “While De Beers would have preferred more decisive action including temporary suspension from the Kimberley Process, which would have effectively halted the country's export of diamonds until the issues in question were fully addressed, we also recognise the unique framework of governments, civil society and industry that the Kimberley Process represents, and the commitment by Zimbabwe not to export any diamonds from Marange until the monitoring programme is in place.”

The De Beers chairman said should Zimbabwe not comply with the 12-month monitoring and auditing programme adopted by the KP, more action should be taken against the country.

“We fully expect the Kimberley Process to take the further action it stipulated should no change in the situation on the ground be forthcoming by the end of the 12-month programme,” he added.

De Beers is the world’s largest diamond producer with the Oppenheimer family holding a controlling stake in the company.

Zimbabwe has recently engaged two South African companies to begin the mining of diamonds in Marange, while simultaneously withdrawing the army as recommended by the Kimberley Process.

Although a dispute continues over mining rights in the area, with a British company fighting for control in the courts, Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced on December 2 in his national budget that he expected a “substantial increase” in diamond output with diamond producers expected to reserve 10 percent of their production for the local cutting and polishing industry.

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Iran says U.S. fuel sanctions move will fail

Iran says U.S. fuel sanctions move will fail
By Reuters
Wed 16 Dec. 2009, 04:00 CAT

Fuel overflows as an Iranian man pumps gasoline into his car at a gas station in Tehran January 21, 2007.

TEHRAN (Reuters) - A senior Iranian oil official said on Wednesday a move by U.S. lawmakers to target the Islamic Republic with fuel sanctions would not cause any problems because Tehran had many suppliers.

On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives approved legislation to impose sanctions on foreign companies that help to supply fuel to Iran, a measure lawmakers hope will deter the country from pursuing its nuclear programme.

"They cannot succeed," said Hojjatollah Ghanimifard, vice president of investment affairs at the state National Iranian Oil Company. "We have a long list of suppliers of gasoline," he told Reuters.

Iran is the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, but lacks sufficient refining capacity to meet domestic fuel needs, forcing it to import up to 40 percent of its gasoline consumption.

This burdens the budget and also makes it vulnerable to any punitive measures that targets the trade, although Iranian officials have repeatedly shrugged off the impact of sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear ambitions.
The House bill authorises President Barack Obama to levy sanctions on energy companies that directly provide gasoline to Iran, along with the firms that provide insurance and tankers to facilitate the fuel shipments. The Senate is likely to approve a similar bill, but it is uncertain how soon it will vote.


The legislation would expand an existing U.S. law that seeks to punish foreign companies that invest more than $20 million a year in Iran's energy sector. The sanctions include preventing companies in violation from getting financial assistance from U.S. institutions such as the Export-Import Bank.
Western firms have become increasingly wary of investing in Iran due to the row over its nuclear work, which the West fears is aimed at making bombs, although companies from energy-hungry Asia are seen as less susceptible to such pressures.

Iran denies the charge and says it needs nuclear power plants to generate electricity so that it can export more oil and gas.

As the United States has stepped up pressure on firms doing business with Iran, a number of past suppliers such as BP and Indian refiner Reliance have backed away from providing fuel.

But imports have largely been maintained as companies such as European trading firms Trafigura and Vitol, Kuwait-based International Petroleum Group and Malaysia's Petronas step into the breach, traders have said.
"We can receive the amount of gasoline we need," said Ghanimifard. "We do not even bother about these kind of sanctions."

Some energy experts have said fuel sanctions on Iran would raise prices but not stop supplies because the country has porous borders and a history of smuggling petroleum products.
If a similar bill passes the Senate, the final legislation would impose the harshest sanctions yet approved by Congress to protest Iran's nuclear programme.

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Rupiah is headed for disaster

Rupiah is headed for disaster
By Editor
Thu 17 Dec. 2009, 04:01 CAT

It cannot be denied by any honest person, both within and outside the MMD and its government, that there is a growing dissatisfaction with Rupiah Banda’s administration.

This doesn’t need much disquisition. What may need debate are the causes for this dissension, dissatisfaction.

And there appears to be an acceptance within the MMD and Rupiah’s own government that the connection with the people has weakened, is not what they would like it to be or as it should be for a political party in power. To this effect, over two weeks ago, some leading members of the MMD and members of Rupiah’s own State House staff attended the meeting at Andrews Motel in Lusaka to try and see how they can effect a reversal of this growing public dissatisfaction with their boss, his government and their party.

Of course, those who met at Andrews Motel could not be expected to start discussing the weaknesses of their boss, of Rupiah. The most they could do is to point out and criticise things around him, people working for him but not himself. They did not stop the buck where it should stop, and that’s at Rupiah. They blamed Dickson Jere – unjustifiably so, The Post, among others, and the inability of the state owned and government-controlled media to come out with effective propaganda, for their problems, for the problems of their boss but not Rupiah himself.

They even tried to touch on the issue of Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal and how it was affecting Rupiah’s popularity. But again, they could not be honest on this issue because of Rupiah’s direct involvement in it. They beat around the bush. Instead of admitting that their support for Chiluba and Rupiah’s manipulation of the judicial process to ensure that his friend goes scot-free was costing him and them heavily in terms of political popularity. What we are seeing today is almost like a repeat of 1990-1991 when UNIP leaders were failing to see and accept the reality before them; when they were failing to accept the responsibility for their declining popularity.

Rupiah and the MMD are not going to come out of this if they don’t take a forthright and honest attitude towards their problems. Refusing to see and accept what is there will not help them. Things have changed and if they continue in this manner and at this rate, nothing will save them from the impending Armageddon. There is still time to correct their mistakes and remedy their weaknesses and failures. But it will require a big shift, a gigantic change in their attitude and methods of doing things. If they can manage to make such big changes in their approaches, then they may survive, otherwise they are gone.

And no amount of rigging or any form of manipulating the electoral process will save them. We say this because for them to succeed, they will really have to massively rig the elections. And this may prove too dangerous and difficult for them to do because even the people to use in such criminal processes are becoming fewer. Clearly, the only way out is an honest one: admit mistakes and weaknesses and openly go out to correct them.

There has to be also an admission on the part of the MMD that Rupiah has been a disaster for them as a leader. And a lot needs to be done to help him overcome his weaknesses and deficiencies. Rupiah has become increasingly associated with the most disagreeable messages and thoughts.

And they may think much of that linkage is unjustified, but since it is what people think, it must be appreciated as a deeply felt distaste of Rupiah, rather than a momentary irritation. And it will be folly to dismiss it as a mere false perception. Rupiah is linked to corruption, tribalism, nepotism, intolerance, ineptitude, harshness, dishonesty, deception, lies, brown envelopes and so on and so forth. Rupiah is thought to be uncaring about unemployment, poverty, poor housing; and considered to be indifferent to the moral argument over corruption especially when it comes to his family and friends. Rupiah is thought to favour greed.

And today, no one can deny the fact that Rupiah has divided the MMD into factions which he has failed to reconcile because he doesn’t have the leadership capacity to do so. And the impact of this disunity upon the MMD is clear to see. The MMD must in the very near future learn again to display the common purpose that is fundamental to any party’s prospects. If they don’t do that, they stand no chance to be reelected.

Rupiah is also thought to be arrogant and out of touch. And much of it may be no more than his personal mannerisms that grated on the public in a very negative way. Some of it is insensitivity on the part of Rupiah especially his defence of corruption and corrupt elements. The defence of corruption and corrupt elements has disgraced Rupiah and his government in the eyes of the public. Their perception is of corruption and unfitness for public service. Such distasteful perceptions can endure up to the 2011 elections and do Rupiah and his friends damage for a long time.

Rupiah and his friends should face these issues head on and deal with them if they have to harbour any hope of political survival. Rupiah’s decisions and actions have profoundly disappointed many supporters of the MMD and disgusted many others. And those in government with him and those in the leadership of the MMD bear a particular responsibility for all this.

People seem to be in a hurry for a rest from Rupiah and his friends. Rupiah and his friends need time to reflect and listen and come to understand one another and the mood of the Zambian people better than they have of late. They certainly need to do a lot about themselves. They need better and different organisation. They need to spread their appeal and attract different sorts of people. They need to get straight what are their core beliefs. Sort out the confusion in their party and government. Take a fresh look in the new circumstances. In short or in a word, the MMD needs to renew itself.

People cannot detect any sense of direction from Rupiah on anything. Rupiah has failed to define the purpose of his government and his only discernable preoccupation is the defence of Chiluba’s acquittal and that of other corrupt schemes. Rupiah seems to be guided by the wish to destroy those who oppose him, those who question his dealings; and by the determination to amass wealth and be re-elected. And as we have stated before, that is not a recipe for governing well. You cannot run a political party and a government forever on that basis.
The only thing that is holding Rupiah and his friends together is their desire to stay in power, to keep their government jobs and privileges.

That’s what they hold in common. But with the passage of time and with increasing public pressure on them, with the political heat increasing against them by the day, that will prove an insubstantial glue. And the signs of divisions within their political party and government are becoming more and more visible by the day. And again as we have stated before, experience has repeatedly shown that a political party divided into hostile groups loses its militancy and popular appeal or support. Protracted inner party strife inevitably results in party members’ concentration on discords. The party becomes distracted from political struggle and day-to-day work among the masses and loses influence.

Rupiah is too bossy, too contemptuous of fellow citizens and he will pay highly for this.

And there is need for them to realise that humility and modesty is important in public life. Arrogance will not take Rupiah and his friends anywhere.
And lastly as they try to assess or find out why they are losing popularity so fast, there is need for them to realise that there is nothing which makes people more appreciative of a government than that it should be able to deliver services. The tide of public opinion is quickly shifting against Rupiah.