Saturday, January 02, 2010
By Margaret mangani
TWO marketeers, Maria Nkonde and Juliet Mwansa thrive on selling cassav,a among other dry foods, at Lusaka’s new Soweto market. Ms Nkonde and Ms Mwansa are both widows who are earning an income through the sale of cassava.
They acquire the crop from Luapula Province and sometimes find themselves in Kasama to obtain the same and this has been on-going for a couple of years now. The duo have permanent stands in the market known for selling mostly cassava for which they are popular.
They are benefitting from the sale of the cassava in that they are able to sustain themselves and also take care of the orphans and have been able to put them in school in addition to meeting their school requirements.
The duo claim that the profit margin realised from the sale of the cassava sometimes ranges from K1,500,000 upwards, depending on the demand from their clients.
The cassava is sometimes dried to preserve it while sometimes its sold fresh depending on people’s preferences.
Then the dried one is milled and sold as cassava flour which is a delicacy among the Northerners and their fellow brothers hailing from Luapula who use it for cooking nshima and baking.
There has been a call by Government to millers to venture into cassava flour production from which they could make confectionaries besides the wheat products. The call cannot come at a better time than now when there is a need for Zambians to change their diet from maize being the sole staple food.
Recently, Central Province Minister Ackimson Banda is on record as having said that cassava farming and marketing are profitable ventures which farmers should consider exploiting seriously.
He advised farmers in the province to take the cultivation and marketing of cassava as a rewarding enterprise for both the local and international markets.
He emphasised that cassava growing was a food security produce whose raw materials could be used for industrial development.
He cited Central Province as having a comparative advantage over other regions because of its strategic location.
He commended the European Union for giving funds to for Small Scale Industries Association of Zambia (SSIAZ) as grant for them to undertake the training of cassava farmer groups in his province.
This was at the opening of a workshop for cassava farmers held in Kabwe.
After maize, cassava is the most important crop being grown and commercialised in Zambia.
The total volume produced per year is approximately 100,000 tonnes .
The average size of cassava plantations varies from 0.5 to two hectares and it mainly remains as a subsistence crop.
In some regions, (cassavabelt), more than 80 per cent of the farmer population depend on it for food security and economic revenue through commercialisation in the domestic markets or through export to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola.
According to a documenton cassava production in Zambia, Cassava Strategy for Zambia, cassava production systems have a considerable proportion of women farmers involved and they play a key role in the household economy.
More than 200 processed products of cassava can be derived from cassava roots and leaves and there is a significant market as well as potential for diversification through value addition and multi channel distribution strategies.
There is a linkage of different production areas to different market segments that is animal feed , human consumption, industrial usage –both internally as well as for export levels.
But there is little information regarding the actual domestic and cross border market size a document on cassava growing in Zambia has revealed this.
It further states that in Zambia cassava production has increased over the 20 years in relation to the gradual and slow removal of subsidies and Government insured market for maize.
The benefits of cassava have not been fully realised by the small holder farmers due to problems associated with cassava.
The small scale and hence cassava flour and processed flour based foods are most likely to find ready markets in the zones of heavy cassava production such as Mansa and Kasama.
Similarly most processing activities particularly first stage cassava processing which results in rapid weight reduction through water loss and value added will prove most profitable in the heavy cassava production zones.
The committee and sector stakeholders supported by the International Trade Centre (ITC) in Geneva and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) have reviewed current and potential markets for cassava at national and international level, fresh cassava roots and fresh cassava leaves , processed food cassava.
High quality cassava flour, animal feed starches and industrial uses and ethanol market were reviewed as a potential market for cassava from the second workshop , five markets were identified as targets for the strategy.
These are flour for human consumption ,animal feed convenience foods based on cassava , glue , wood and cardboard as well as for export to Congo Brazzaville.
There was also a suggestion that in Luapula, Copperbelt and Northern provinces for improved market opportunities for cassava in urban areas and in cross border markets (DRC and Angola ).
Farmers ought to take Mr Banda‘s advise on venturing into cassava seriously as it has the potential to contribute to the nation’s food basket at household and national levels as well as boost the economy in terms of exports.
By Henry Kyambalesa
I wish to comment on plans by Energy and Water Development Minister Kenneth Konga to “introduce uniform prices for oil products throughout Zambia to ensure equity among consumers regardless of their geographical location,” as reported in a recent Times of Zambia article entitled “Government to Introduce Uniform Fuel Prices.”
If by “uniform prices” the Minister means “uniform retail prices,” then I am afraid this would not be a good idea as it would lead to price controls by the government.
One of the essential elements of the economic liberalization program that we embarked on upon the defeat of the UNIP administration and its regime of price controls and state monopoly in commerce and industry was the idea of competition, which, in Economics, actually refers to price competition in contrast to non-price competition involving advertising and other sales-getting tools.
Competition provides the incentive for business entities to operate more efficiently in order to reduce costs and prices, and benefits consumers in a variety of ways. Among other things, it leads to lower prices when businesses are discouraged by law from charging uniform prices for similar (or substitute) products. Moreover, it can reduce the smuggling of products whose government-controlled prices are below those obtaining in neighboring countries.
Besides, competition generally cures the problem of black markets since it entices suppliers to increase their outputs in order to benefit from economies of scale, thereby resolving the problem of commodity shortages which can bolster black marketeering in a country’s economy. In this regard, I am often reminded of the words of Murray Sanderson, which I wish to quote from a paper entitled “The Remedies for Black Marketeering and Smuggling” presented at a seminar held at Baluba River Motel between August 26 and 27, 1989:
“Price controls have the effect of discouraging supply while encouraging demand. The inevitable result is scarcity of commodities; and when there is scarcity, you always get people who buy up commodities wherever they can and resell them on the black market. In Zambia, we call them ‘black marketeers’. It is a useful term, for it puts the blame upon them rather than the authorities.”
Under a regime of price controls, there are certain arrangements which suppliers may resort to in an effort to maximize income (or minimize costs) which would tend to have adverse effects on the economic welfare of citizens.
Examples of such arrangements include the following:
(a) discontinuing the production or sale of affected commodities;
(b) restricting or reducing the quantity and quality of affected commodities;
(c) smuggling of affected commodities to countries where prices are higher than controlled prices obtaining in the domestic market;
(d) restricting or abandoning attendant marketing services, such as delivery service;
(e) imposing conditional sales on consumers, such as tying contracts;
(f) engaging in speculation in the controlled commodity.
There are several important elements which suppliers take into account when making pricing decisions other than transportation and storage costs; they include costs relating to labor, insurance, advertising, buildings, and contributions to host communities. These costs may not necessarily be the same among the retailers of oil products in Zambia. Also, the returns on investment expected by oil retailers are not likely to be the same. The idea of uniform retail prices for oil products is, therefore, uncalled-for.
By Chilekwa M. Mumba
It has been over a year since the unfortunate passing of our third President, Mr. Levy Mwanawasa. Since then, we have seen an assiduous defense of his Presidency, most of which I daresay is misconceived. I will avoid playing judge of the late Levy Mwanawasa’s Presidency, as it is both dishonorable and contemptible to fustigate a person unable to defend him/herself. However, it is equally important that we lend ourselves some level of skepticism when discussing the legacy of President Mwanawasa.
This allows for a provocative and necessary assessment of how this “Legacy” has been converted to mere political currency, by both an inadequate government, as well as an inadequate opposition. Indeed, thanks to the cheap and unproductive politics preferred by our main political players, the late President’s reign has turned from legacy to stuff of legend. Underline the word legend.
it is a sham and pretentious that today the major opposition, so vehemently “once upon a time” opposed to the Late President’s policies, has today wholesomely endorsed his Administration with warlike vigor!
Allow me to first respectfully and briefly school ourselves on the science of politics. One of the paramount contributions to any failed political system is the very conscious resolve made by both the politicians and electorate to prefer wish-wash over fact. Politics are fundamentally classified in two ways; productive or non-productive. Let us choose to be bold and candid with ourselves to class ourselves in the “productive” bracket. Here we identify Zambia’s political Achilles heel, shrouded in the unyielding subject of the “Mwanawasa Legacy”-a term which apparently rolls off any Zambian politicians’ tongue with pleasant ease. There is a very comical, yet shameful and pointless wrestle of who exudes the legacy of the late President the most. Underline the word pointless.
On one hand, we have the current opposition claiming that their calling is to restore the lost vision of the late President. This is despite the unvarnished reality that there are notable shortcomings in this “legacy”. We should not mince words, therefore allow me to proclaim that it is a sham and pretentious that today the major opposition, so vehemently “once upon a time” opposed to the Late President’s policies, has today wholesomely endorsed his Administration with warlike vigor. Who can forget the unproductive and politically vicious attacks of the opposition leaders on President Mwanawasa? This shameless abuse of President Mwanawasa’s tenure serves as testimony to the deficient and desultory opposition with which we Zambians are burdened with. Underline the word “burdened”.
Then on the other hand, the ruling MMD is collapsing within itself, on the basis that the Mwanawasa Vision has been lost by President Banda. The notable MMD Member Mr.George Mpombo has coined quite a few remarkable political terms as reference to the “sinners” against the Legacy. Yet at the same time, we see the MMD clamoring to seem to be upholding the Mwanawasa Vision, according to the silly and illogical MMD dictum “continuity with change”. The President and his advisors are ever referring to how they are upholding the Mwanawasa Vision in the hope of converting Zambian sympathy for this tragedy, to sheer political capital. President Banda today largely find himself criticized as aloof and directionless due to the fact that instead of forging his own legacy, he is trying to duplicate a legacy which in hindsight, may not have been actual reality but due to surrounding circumstances, is mere affordable fantasy. In this case please underline “affordable fantasy”.
You see, the truth is President Mwanawasa’s Legacy, is now mere stuff of legend, due to the cheapness of Zambian politics. Legend, because it is wrongly deemed as the climax of Zambian progress. The majority of our politicians who worship this wish-wash will continue to be prime text-book examples of non-productive politicians. Bottom line is that the discussion of the Mwanawasa Legacy has become an enigma, which is not helping the nation to advance politically, socially or economically. The past belongs to the past.Zambians have more urgent needs our politicians need to attend to.
Now for the underlined words; the Mwanawasa Legacy is now officially “Legend”, whose discussion is “Pointless”, thus Zambians can do without this “Burden”, and actually need real solutions to turn the “Affordable fantasy” into a reality of prosperity. LT Bloggers speak on it.
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
ENERGY minister Kenneth Konga has dropped plans to award LITASCO a crude oil supply contract in preference to another foreign firm after his earlier scheme with the Russian company was exposed, sources within the Ministry of Energy have revealed. But Konga said he is not involved in the transaction.
And Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) has said all companies that participated in the recently aborted tender process for crude oil supply will have to re-apply under the current bidding process which is expected to close next week on Thursday.
The government last month suspended the process of hiring a foreign company to replace Kuwait oil giant Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) whose two-year contract for the supply and delivery of 1.4 million metric tonnes of commingled petroleum feedstock comes to an end this month.
The government announced the suspension of the deal, saying the move allowed for adjustments to the tender specifications and gave recently appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Energy, Teddy Kasonso, time to acquaint himself with the 24-month contract.
It is, however, believed that the cancellation of the earlier tender process followed the exposure by The Post of Konga’s manoeuvres to award the contract to LITASCO.
But in an interview last Tuesday, Konga denied having a hand in the crude oil procurement deal and said only ZPPA had the full control of the processes of public procurement.
“I am sure that you are aware that LPG’s contract to supply crude comes to and end at December 2009. So the government is advertising to request for new suppliers.
Those are the speculations and information somebody was giving you but procurement procedures through the Zambia National Tender Board (now Zambia Public Procurement Authority)…they haven’t even spoken to the prospective bidders, but you somebody told you we have selected LITASCO or some other company even before tender procedures.
So, I don’t know how we can agree because there are procurement procedures that the government has to follow before it attract the bidder,” said Konga. “…I am not responsible for procuring, the tender board is…my ministry just comes up with guidelines and then we submit our request to the tender board.”
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
Rupiah Banda thought that running a country was a game. Rupiah came to enjoy himself. Everything that he has been doing in the last one year suggests that he is not somebody who is in total control. This is what explains George Kunda. George has found himself in a position where he is practically not answerable to anyone. He believes he is the expert.
Because of Rupiah’s weakness, George is not being made accountable by anybody. And George is going to bring down Rupiah’s government the same way that he singlehandedly almost made Levy Mwanawasa unpopular in the 2006 election. Levy had managed to win the confidence of the people over the fight against corruption when he went to Parliament in 2002, but that was lost when George started practicing selective justice. That is what is there even today.
George does not expect to have to accommodate divergent views. He is determined to ensure that the government charts its own course and ignores public opinion. It is this that will make them pay dearly. George wants to use the law enforcement mechanisms in our country to silence the different views.
George is going to make Rupiah so unpopular. But it is not George to blame. Rupiah himself needed such a fellow. What he does not seem to realise is that such a fellow will destroy him. We say this because Rupiah thought that forgiving Frederick Chiluba would make him popular with the public. But where has this left him? So George and Rupiah are birds of a feather; they will destroy each other.
George has got a problem that is independent of us. Even if The Post was to disappear tomorrow, George will still have these problems. He can complain about our editorial comments and call us all sorts of names but what can he say about the many other people that have denounced him, that have rubbished him, that are critical of him and his ways?
There is Edith Nawakwi. She was campaigning with him for Rupiah last year. Edith is certainly not under our control and direction. She is an independent-minded person who makes her own decisions and does her own things. But today, this same Edith is denouncing George and his boss Rupiah.
What has gone wrong? Of course we know that there were investigations by the Task Force on Corruption concerning the Carlington deal. And those investigations were completed and all the charges that were supposed to be brought against Edith were dropped by George and his friends because she was believed to be with them, to be their ally. Tomorrow, the Zambian people should not hear that George and his friends are trying to bring back the Carlington issue against Edith because she is now opposed to them.
We would not be surprised if they did that because they have been abusing the judicial process to free their friends from prosecution and to victimise their political opponents through unjustified prosecutions.
The Zambian people will not accept any attempt to use the judicial process to silence Edith. And how can George explain the criticism he has attracted from Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda? Can George accuse Brig Gen Miyanda of being under our control and direction? Brig Gen Miyanda is a solid man who makes his own decisions, a man who can’t be pushed around by anyone.
To convince Brig Gen Miyanda to proceed in a certain direction, you have to have your facts correct and your arguments have to be very persuasive. As such, his position on George cannot be said to be driven by petty politics or jealousies.
There is also Ken Ngondo who has gone for George. They were working together with Ken last year. What has gone wrong?
The Law Association of Zambia also doesn’t have kind words for George. And this same George has denounced the Law Association of Zambia and its leadership. Is it The Post that has caused all this?
The Zambia Congress of Trade Unions, Transparency International Zambia and SACCORD have also come out criticising George. Can they also be said to be under our control and direction?
Professor Michelo Hansungule has also been very critical of George. Can George attribute this criticism to us?
Many opposition leaders, including Michael Sata, Hakainde Hichilema, Given Lubinda, have denounced George in very harsh terms. What has this got to do with us?
As for the media bodies who have denounced George’s evil media regulation scheme, The Post is part of the Zambian media and is well represented in the Media Liaison Committee but does not dominate the proceedings of that committee. Although the Press Freedom Committee of The Post has excellent relations with the Press Association of Zambia, it never tells them what to do. We are not one of those who criticise individuals usually vilified by their opponents for the sake of it. But, in the same token, we are not going to be silly as to refrain from saying something that we are duty-bound to say.
George and his friends have been abusing power and public office, they have been abusing our country’s judicial process. George himself has even been abusing his parliamentary privileges by going there to throw innuendos against us, knowing very well that we cannot sue him because of the immunity he enjoys when he speaks inside there. And because of their tyrannical mentality, they enjoy abusing power and imposing their authority on others.
We have good relations with many institutions in this country, not only those in the media, but it has never occurred to us to tell anyone what they must do. Moreover, we know the zeal with which every progressive organisation, every independent organisation – not those they hire to speak for them, to defend them, to denounce their opponents – in this country defends its rights and prerogatives. We are consulted by many individuals and institutions in this country, including some in government, but we have always refused to tell them what to do.
We know what we have to do and we respect the rights of others to choose the ways and means of waging their own struggles even if they are part of the struggles we ourselves are waging. We would tell them: ‘You cannot ask for our opinion because it’s you who have to go out there and struggle, it’s you who are going to suffer, to make sacrifices and endure the pain or hardships; it’s not us. We know what we are prepared to do; but that’s something you have to decide yourselves. We shall support your decision.’
That is the maximum expression of respect for the individuals and institutions we collaborate with, and not an attempt to impose – based on our knowledge and experience and the enormous respect they feel for us – the weight of our point of view. In such situations, we don’t even think of the advantages or disadvantages their decisions entail for us. It’s their decisions and so each one of them should adopt their own line.
We know George can’t understand all this. In every harangue of his evil intentions and deeds, he sees our hand. And yet the same fellow is saying “if you are made of jelly, don’t write about others”. Does George really mean what he is saying? Or dishonesty has completely won him over that now he doesn’t even hesitate to say things that even he himself does not completely believe in? Our courage is beyond question. George does everything under the protection of the state or parliamentary immunity.
We don’t have any of such things; we are open to attacks at any time. Our only weapon is the truth. And this is not a secret weapon; it is a weapon we are ready to share with anyone who is willing, including George himself. We don’t need to go round telling lies about anyone. After all, George and his friends have more means at their disposal for exposing and denouncing any lies that are told about them.
The problem they have with us is that we have been very truthful in our expositions of the crimes of their league. Truth is a very strong weapon and we recommend it to them. If they want to win even the next elections, we are advising them to resort to truth because with truth, there will be no force or opposition they will not vanquish.
The greatest problem they have is dishonesty: they are liars who want to lie about everything and everybody. Probably they have misunderstood the meaning of propaganda. Propaganda does not mean telling lies. But every day, they are using the state-owned and government-controlled media to lie to the people, to deceive the people about us and others. It won’t work, it won’t do.
And George knows very well that unlike him, we are not cowards. We have been able over the last 18 and half years to prove our platitudes by sacrificing our skins. What haven’t they done to us in this regard? They have resorted to all evil schemes, including the abuse of the judicial process, to silence us. But we are still there doing our work as if nothing is happening to us.
We are the most hunted individuals in this country, but we still walk the streets with our heads high. Why? It is simply because the truth is on our side. Again, George and his friends will not understand this because they think lies are everything – they can’t live without lies, manipulation, deceit and calumny. If they did, how are they going to explain all these evil schemes they engaged in?
Opposition to and distaste for George is growing by the day. George should be honest with himself and ask himself what has earned him this opposition, this distaste and take corrective measures. If he doesn’t, his ending will be disastrous. He can pretend and go into denial on other things, but on this one, just as much as he has failed to hide those other things, he will not succeed. People will see him for what he is and what has afflicted him will be visible for all to see.
And people are starting to see George for what he is – a liar, a manipulator, a selfish person, a petty-minded and excessively jealous individual. This is why today everyone is denouncing him. For his own information, and we are telling him this for nothing, his standing even among his friends in government is very low – they don’t like him. If they were to vote for a Vice-President today in Cabinet, he would probably have only one vote from himself, if not two with that of Rupiah.
George has got many problems to deal with, including those that have nothing to do with politics. Even looking at him, George is a finished man who should feel sorry for himself and should stop provoking others who have nothing to do with his self-created problems. We are not his problem and we were not there where he was creating all these problems for himself.
He shouldn’t hate us for things we have nothing to do with. We are not petty-minded like him, if we were, George would have difficulties leaving his bedroom to face the public. And it is said that those who live in glass houses should not throw stones – if you can’t take blows, don’t throw blows. We have no problems helping George overcome his problems if he changes his ways towards public issues and others. People with a sense of humanity positively think of their community and others even on their death beds.
By George Chellah and Fridah Zinyama
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday described Vice-President George Kunda as a cheat and spineless weird fellow. But Vice-President Kunda on Thursday said it was surprising that some people cry when the government responds to what was being written about it.
Meanwhile, Hichilema said Vice-President Kunda is trying to work with Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Chalwe Mchenga to mislead the nation. In an interview, Hichilema said Vice-President Kunda overrates himself.
“He overrates himself because if you look at George, who can he scare anyway? Yes, he tries to do that but it’s a misplaced effort for some of us…” laughed Hichilema.
“But of course, he tries to be bullish maybe to cover up for his lack of character. He hasn’t got a character. I think it’s misplaced effort because he can’t scare anybody especially somebody who has a spine, he may scare a few people.”
Hichilema said Zambians must know that they don’t have a quality Vice-President.
“They Zambians have an inconsistent Vice-President. They have a Vice-President who tries to be a bully. They just should ignore him because it’s an act of desperation,” he said.
Hichilema said Vice-President Kunda was trying to work with Mchenga to mislead the nation.
“I am concerned about George and Mchenga and the whole lot of them misleading Zambians. We are concerned about Zambians not really much about them. So George really should not even try to intimidate people, he hasn’t got the stature, he hasn’t got the character, he hasn’t got a personality to do that,” Hichilema said.
“So he tries to make up that by being a cheat, by being inconsistent working against Levy Mwanawasa. If there is anything that I am unhappy about George, he was the one propagating the anti-corruption fight working with Mwanawasa.
Immediately Mwanawasa died, - you know… this guy has no character he has no spine - he shifted and he is now perpetuating and making corruption look normal, especially corruption perpetuated at the top. He is trying to be legalistic around that.”
Hichilema said Vice-President Kunda has lost direction.
“It is well known, I have said before that Kunda has lowered the office of the Vice-President and we need to raise this. Come 2011 we need to put qualitative people in that office,” Hichilema said.
He said Vice-President Kunda was cheating the late Mwanawasa that he really believed in the corruption fight.
“Kunda has walked away from that fight because Levy is no longer there. You know if you are a true African, you even protect your friends when they are no more. But George has basically walked away from Levy Mwanawasa especially on the fight against corruption,” Hichilema said.
“He is the one who pushed the London cases but he has failed to register the London judgment. He does not want to register the judgment because he is a ‘convenient man.’ I call Kunda a ‘convenient man’. He is a man who really looks around for what is convenient for him so he has got no principles.”
Hichilema said Vice-President Kunda’s push to regulate the media was another area where he had completely lowered the office of the Vice-President.
“We UPND would like to see the media regulate itself, self-regulation. And Kunda has been pushing his weird…Kunda is actually a weird fellow if you just...have looked at how he is behaving, he is a weird fellow pushing that regulation of the media,” Hichilema said.
“Another angle is where he has been misleading Rupiah Banda, although I am not surprised because it’s two blind men leading each other, anyway.”
And Vice-President Kunda, during the commissioning of an elevator at the Ministry of Justice in Lusaka on Thursday, said some people were hurt by what he had said when he appeared on Radio Phoenix in defence of government over certain comments which had been spoken or written about the government.
Vice-President Kunda said some media organisations had written a lot of negative stuff about the government and President Banda, which necessitated the need for the government to respond and defend itself.
“If you see the volume of editorials which are written about us...Mike Mulongoti, me and President Banda, it is absurd that people should start crying when government defends itself,” Vice-President Kunda said. “If you are made of jelly, don’t write about others.”
Vice-President Kunda further said the media bill which the media bodies were talking about was common knowledge.
“Government has also prepared its own bill, whilst the media was given time to come up with their own submissions towards self regulation,” he said. “I don’t know why the media is agitated when we have had fruitful meetings with them on what should be done.”
Vice-President Kunda said the media had been given six months within which to come up with a blueprint and submit to the government for scrutiny.
“Government also prepared its own bill for its own use and the media bodies also proceeded on their own measures so that we can come together and chart the way forward,” he said.
Vice-President Kunda said the bill which the government had come up with was still classified and marked secret.
“We are calling on the media to dialogue with us on this bill,” he said. “This is not the first time we are drafting one, we have come up with different pieces of legislation for different professionals like lawyers, engineers and accountants.”
Vice-President Kunda said if the media felt that what government had developed was not to their liking, they should meet with them and dialogue about areas which they were not happy with.
“I am a great friend of the media and would like to see a media profession which is responsible and which the public can respect,” he said.
“It is within government’s rights to prepare a media bill…I have seen what they have prepared and if they convince us we will see if we can come up with something which will work for the media. Government will perform its function as a legislator.”
And Vice-President Kunda said the media should not think that they will accomplish anything by holding demonstrations.
“The media is fighting over nothing,” he said. “There is no need to demonstrate and cause panic. Let’s sit down together and dialogue.”
And Vice-President Kunda called for reconciliation and forgiveness in 2010.
“Let’s not chase things which are not there,” said Vice-President Kunda.
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
VICE-President George Kunda has urged the Church to take a lead in peace building and reconciling people so that the nation continues to enjoy peace and stability.
Officiating at the fundraising food carnival dinner organised by the United Church of Zambia (UCZ) at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka yesterday, Vice-President Kunda said there was need for more peacemakers in the country. He added that if each citizen embraced virtues of forgiveness, they would promote harmony in society.
“There has been tremendous development in the partnership between the Church and the government. As a government, we value this relationship because we believe that the church is a major stakeholder and partner in the development of Zambia, in the shaping of Zambia and in the shaping of the future of Zambia,” Vice-President Kunda said.
He said the Church at inter-denominational level was indeed a partner in development as it is involved in poverty reduction programmes throughout the country such as schools, training institutions and health centres.
Vice-President Kunda further said the year 2009 had been eventful with the election of president Rupiah Banda in October 2008.
And UCZ Lusaka Presbytery Bishop Lackson Chibuye said the funds raised would be channeled to develop a 200-hectare piece of land on the Kafue banks into a multipurpose centre which would cater for inter-denominational church activities, including a skills centre for the vulnerable children and orphans and a conference centre.
“All these are our dreams which we are trying to translate into reality. This particular project we believe is one such venture of supplementing or complimenting government efforts in its endeavour to develop Zambia,” said Bishop Chibuye.
By Agness Changala
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
Retired Catholic Archdiocese of Lusaka Archbishop Medardo Mazombwe with Fr Van Kessel (l) after unveiling and blessing the statue of the Good Shepherd donated by Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda on New Year - Picture by Thomas Nsama
RETIRED Lusaka Archbishop Merdado Mazombwe has urged leaders who have enough resources to share with the poor.
Unveiling a statue donated to the Good Shepherd Catholic Church by Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda as a sign of good shepherd in Lusaka yesterday, Archbishop Mazombwe said from time to time, leaders must sit down and put together what they needed from what they had.
“And the rest belongs to the poor, share with the poor,” he said. “You have shared with us out of what you have and that’s why we will never stop thanking you and those who cooperated with you to give us this image of Jesus.”
Archbishop Mazombwe described Lubinda as a believer because he met him each time he had the opportunity of visiting the Parish. And Archbishop Mazombwe said every leader should be a shepherd ready to give his life and die for his sheep in one way or another. He said a good shepherd should always be ready to feed his sheep.
“A shepherd is responsible for the most important kind of wealth, the sheep. The sheep provides food such as milk, clothing from wool and shoes from its skin,” he said.
Archbishop Mazombwe also urged Christians to leave in peace and administer justice to all and the church.
Before unveiling the statue, Archbishop Mazombwe participated in conducting mass and received a group of women who have joined the Catholic Women Organisation.
And Lubinda said the image donated to the church ought to remind everyone to become a good shepherd in their homes and everywhere else.
By George Chellah
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
SOUTHERN African Centre for Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Lee Habasonda has noted that President Rupiah Banda’s administration has assumed the posture of self-preservation, insensitivity and intolerance to most of the dissenting views. Giving his reflections for 2009, Habasonda observed that the year was generally challenging for citizens and the Rupiah Banda-led government.
“Conflict resolution and management was a hotchpotch affair. In many aspects the political and conflict challenges were self-inflicted mainly due to errors of judgement. This was mainly due to the use of the “mighty is right approach” to address perceived conflicts.
Consequently the government alienated even sectors of society that were their natural allies and sympathisers during the election campaign to usher in Rupiah Banda. In many instances political rhetoric on policy was right but the concomitant action was different or lacking altogether. For some reason the economic fundamentals including fuel prices remained stable although fuel and electricity were seriously erratic at certain points,” Habasonda stated.
“Within the ambit of SACCORD’s work, we viewed 2009 as a year of transition. However, the government lost opportunities in a number of ways and did not really settle down to government business. Firstly, the appointment of cabinet reflected mainly regions that voted for President Banda to the exclusion of those who did not.
We believe the MMD government lost an opportunity to bring those who did not vote for RB on board. This approach just further entrenched the perceived divisions and self-awareness on political and regional lines.”
He stated that the traditional leaders had also been left divided due to political privileges and influence.
“The consequences have been the resurgence of tribal identities, which unfortunately too are not being managed properly and are a threat to national unity. Secondly, the President did not embrace the groups that were outside the constitution-making process thereby maintaining the standoff that was created during the rule of his predecessor.
He could have taken a different approach towards the church and other groups outside the process and engaged with them to ensure a constitutional process endorsed by a perceived majority of citizens,” he stated.
He stated that the accusations of genocide on the Catholic Church and how it was managed did not help matters at all.
He also stated that instead of enacting legislation to broaden citizen freedoms, the government set out to use the law to cage and muzzle all NGOs.
“Although the intention was to target a few, perceived to be critical of the state.
Hence 2009 was the year of return to the imposition of a draconian law which criminalises unregistered organisations; allows the State to impose limitations on an organisation’s registration status; requires re-registration every 5 years; envisions a heavily bureaucratic regulatory body called the NGO
Registration Board; grants the NGO board dangerously broad regulatory powers; imposes constraints on the ability of NGOs to communicate and cooperate with counterparts both locally and abroad; mandates membership in an umbrella organisation; and threatens those who contravene the said provisions with harsh criminal sanctions, including imprisonment- a strategy of using a hammer to kill a fly,” Habasonda stated.
“This has turned the democratic clock backwards and has certainly cost MMD many sympathisers in the NGO community. No sooner had government dealt with the NGOs did it set on a path to again use the law to deal with the media to fix perceived opponents which agenda is actively being pursued as the year comes to the close.
The media landscape has certainly changed drastically to levels where professional and balanced news coverage and reporting is quickly disappearing because media practitioners are intimidated and not protected. Hopefully 2010 will bring a change of heart on the part of government about their media relations.”
He stated that the government had evaded any constructive engagement with the opposition political parties including their own ruling party.
“This has spelled doom for the transition as energies have been diverted to political fire fighting at every level throughout the year overshadowing any real government business at hand. Again a chance for dialogue and changing the direction of our politics to higher levels of conduct was lost.
Hence we witnessed base politics of uncouth language and impolitic justifications for dehumanising one another at the highest levels of Zambian leadership,” Habasonda stated. “From our viewpoint, the government in 2009, assumed the posture of self-preservation, insensitivity and intolerance to most of the dissenting views.
The result was increased violence against journalists and political activists who were perceived to be anti-government including those working for the state. Intimidation, harassment, regulation, victimisation, cooption or exclusion from national processes of perceived state opponents was a major strategy to conduct political business as opposed to dialogue and engagement with those seen to be doing things differently from government’s way of thinking.
“While rhetoric about national unity was high government actions were divisive and selective. In many processes party affiliation was a critical consideration to the exclusion of non-party members. The appointment of permanent secretaries and those to the Foreign Service are pointers to this.”
On corruption, Habasonda stated that the fight against corruption became a political tool to win acceptance from those who were disaffected in the previous regime and had brought doubts on the integrity of the judiciary and its independence.
“It further exposed the tacit executive interference on the judicial processes. The Dora tribunal and subsequent overturning of the tribunal judgement as well as the Chiluba acquittal and blockage of appeal epitomised the doubts on the integrity of the judicature.
This was coupled with the dissolution of the task force and the issues surrounding the sacking of the task force chairman, director general of Zambia procurement authority (Tender Board) and non-renewal of the attorney general’s contract. This had damning exposure and perception on the resolve to fight corruption and has had the effect of obliterating good efforts such the launch of the anti-corruption policy,” Habasonda stated.
“The only achievement that we credit the government in the year is the approval of the decentralisation implementation policy plan. This hopefully will transfer the responsibility for local development to the people. We also want to urge the police to maintain their posture on impartiality when dealing with political and civil meetings. Their conduct in Solwezi by election tainted their otherwise good record in administering the public order act professionally.”
He stated that SACCORD would like a situation where political parties began to build peace constituencies and engage in more constructive dialogue and reach out to one another.
“We are also concerned with the frost relations between The Post newspaper and government which heightened in 2009. Clearly everyone could see that government spent huge amounts of energy and resources to fix the newspaper and the paper did what it could to defend its position. This tended to divert attention from real issues affecting our people,” stated Habasonda.
“We want to see direct engagement and a quick resolution of differences between the two to save democracy and a vibrant media in the country. In this regard, SACCORD would be willing to facilitate such engagement and dialogue.”
By George Chellah
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
LUSAKA lawyer Dr Ludwig Sondashi has urged former president Frederick Chiluba’s lawyer John Sangwa to be careful with his views on the position of Law
Association of Zambia (LAZ) over the matter involving Director of Public Commenting on Sangwa’s remarks on LAZ’s call for Mchenga to resign, Dr Sondashi - who is also president for the Forum for Democratic Alternatives (FDA) - described Sangwa’s statement as most unfortunate.
“For Sangwa to have said that, I don’t think that Sangwa should have said that. The fact that he is a lawyer assisting Dr Chiluba… because he is Dr Chiluba’s lawyer disqualifies him from making commentaries like that,” Dr Sondashi said.
“He is practically interested… he shouldn’t talk like that. His role is to raise those issues in court. He is not qualified to address the public on the issue which he is defending his client.”
Dr Sondashi advised Sangwa to exercise caution with his views.
“As a senior counsel…Mr Sangwa should be careful because he can be cited by LAZ for saying what he is saying,” Dr Sondashi said.
He said the step taken by LAZ was on behalf of every lawyer.
“So he should be very careful and the fact that he is representing his client, he is entitled to representing his client but if he has any issues… those issues should be addressed to court,” Dr Sondashi said.
Recently, the Times of Zambia quoted Sangwa as having said that it was lawlessness for LAZ to champion the resignation of the DPP. He urged LAZ to take the matter to court if it had enough evidence that the DPP’s action was against the law. Sangwa advised LAZ to desist from behaving like hooligans or vigilantes who worked without evidence.
He said LAZ was not supposed to undermine a legal institution because its obligation was to strengthen it and that those without evidence should learn to accept the outcome of cases.
And Dr Sondashi said 2009 was a year that was badly spent.
“You know a country prospers when the government in power is doing well. In our case, the government didn’t engage itself in progressive activities. Instead it looked like everyone in government was trying to make money for themselves and this also applied to the highest offices,” Dr Sondashi said.
“Instead of the President being firm and controlling the affairs of the state the President went on protecting criminals and the people who were engaged in misuse of their positions and misuse of public resources, this was regrettable.”
On expectations for 2010, Dr Sondashi said he did not see much improvement in the affairs of the state.
“This gloomy picture is from what happened last year where people like former Task Force on Corruption chairman Max Nkole were being removed from office,” Dr Sondashi said. “The Vice-President was introducing draconian press legislation to deal with press freedom and one cannot see how this year will be different from the previous year so long as its the same leadership.
So this is a very big challenge for Zambians and it calls for concerted effort so that we can find a way forward.”
By George Chellah and Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
ZAMBIA Civic Education Association (ZCEA) executive director Judith Mulenga yesterday said most government policies in Zambia are child-blind.
Mulenga said the Zambian government was not among the most child- friendly governments in Africa.
“Most government policies in Zambia are child-blind, politics in Zambia do not put children first, laws do not give equal protection to all citizens including children and there is chronic under-funding to national budget programmes that are meant to provide for the country’s most vulnerable children’s basic needs. This has been re affirmed by the African Report on Child Wellbeing: How child-friendly are African Governments?
A report compiled by the African Child Policy Forum in which Zambia is ranked 27th out of the 52 African countries surveyed,” Mulenga said. “This ranking is a telling effect on this government’s governance record which has focused with chilling intensity on squabbling with every sector of society instead of instituting comprehensive protective legal and policy instruments that would meet children’s survival and development needs. The report has shown that it is politics, and not economics, that account for differences in government performance towards the realisation of children’s rights.
“The Child-friendliness Index used by the Child African Policy Forum shows that a government does not have to have massive oil reserves to provide a better country for children. For example, according to the report, despite their relatively low GDPs, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Burkina Faso are among the best child-friendly governments in Africa.”
She said Zambia had not comprehensively put in place appropriate legal provisions to protect children against abuse and exploitation.
“Corporal punishment continues unabated in homes and public places such as schools.
The case of the 15-year-old girl who lost first both her legs and then her life after corporal punishment from her mother and a neighbour soldier is a case in point. The acceptance and even glee of violence by cadres from government leaders such as Hon Shikapwasha’s smug applaud of cadres’ violence on hapless journalists sends a message to the children of Zambia that violence is acceptable, justifiable and may be applied whenever there is a conflict,” Mulenga said.
“A recurring explanation or excuse given by governments for inadequate provision of the minimum core content of adequate standard of living for children is limited financial capacity, lack of resources and poverty. But to what extent is this true for Zambia? How does one explain the failure by this government to recover the money awarded to Zambia through the London Judgement? Nor the failure to rigorously pursue the recovery of US $20million from the arms deal, US$ 8.5million from the Carrington maize deal?”
She said the recovery of all these monies could provide universal basic education, health services, housing and community amenities to Zambia’s six million children.
“The absence of a social security policy for poor children and the consistent low allocation to social services demonstrates the lack of this government’s commitment to the realisation of children’s rights. The misapplication and ineffective use of resources as demonstrated by the Ministry of Health scams is an indication of government’s poor management of national financial resources,” Mulenga said.
“How does one explain the US $6.7 million award in damages to an individual who has been left with no permanent physical injuries and yet many people have either been left maimed or dead by the same police brutality.
Yes, there should be compensation but this should be proportion to the injuries suffered. Why is there discrimination on the proportion of effective remedy in this country? For example, the family of an Armco security guard Chanda Chayafya who was murdered by police on suspicion of being one of the murderers of former Minister of Finance, Mr Ronald Penza, was only compensated K13 million for loss of his life this year, 10 years after his brutal killing!”
She said the tenets of democracy were hurriedly being eroded such as gagging civil society organisations and the media by hostile laws that fly in the face of free expression accorded to citizens all over the world in all true democratic countries.
“The lack of tolerance of dissenting views dubbed ‘insults’ and the lack of respect for other professionals who are consistently and continuously being heckled as ‘quacks’ shows this government’s refusal to be held accountable by the people it governs. This is a strange and disturbing heresy. Child-friendly governments are truthful, honest and critical of themselves both at an individual and collective basis,” Mulenga said.
“Message for 2010; we citizens should insist on our constitutional right to freedom of expression but, most importantly, we should have the courage and be the first to speak out and engage in the defence of the inherent rights of all human beings including children. We citizens should resist despair. Yes, there are considerable challenges facing us Zambians, but change and progress are possible and feasible even at individual levels of development.”
And Mulenga said the chronic hunger being experienced by many Zambian children, including those in urban areas, was hindering universal primary education.
Mulenga said Zambia should make primary education compulsory if it was to meaningfully attain MDG number two and beyond 2015 for sustainable development and effective participation of citizens in national governance.
She said the supportive environment to achieve universal primary education that Zambia had put in place is good.
“For instance, the Ministry of Education gets a big chunk of the national budget. However, the current measures lack the legal backing to ensure every Zambian child who is of school going age gets access to primary education without discrimination. A minimum age limit should be set when a child can legally leave school. Making primary education compulsory will also protect children from early marriages and child labour because these are the two factors that force children to leave school,” she said.
Mulenga said the persistent low progression rates that were being experienced in certain districts in North Western, Western, Luapula and Northern Provinces due to children dropping out of school would not exist once primary education was made compulsory.
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
LIVINGSTONE Health Point Medical Centre executive director Dr Shankha Chakravarty has sued the Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union of Zambia (HCAWUZ) claiming over K199 million in unpaid deductions for unionised workers of Sun International Hotels towards a comprehensive medical service provision scheme signed in March 2008.
And the Livingstone High Court has set January 12, 2010 as the date for the ex parte summons for leave to issue committal proceedings pursuant to orders 52 (1) and 2 RSC 1999 edition between Health Point and Dainess Chawinga, the first respondent who has been sued in her capacity as secretary general of HCAWUZ, vice-secretary general Michelo Chizyuka, union regional organising secretary Martin Mwangala and HCAWUZ Sun International Hotels branch chairman Brian Hamatimba.
"We signed the scheme in March 2008 starting with a discretionary discount for the unionised members who chose to serve with us being K25, 000 per month from January to June 2008. From the period then on, a discount of K10,000 per member was to be provided from July 2008 to June 2009 and thereafter, the full amount of K85,000 will have to be made payable to the Health Point on a monthly basis. But for the last four months we have not been paid anything by the union and we owe K178 million in salaries and other supporting services, while the union through the hotel owes us K199 million," he said.
Dr Chakravarty stated that he decided to sue after receiving a health scheme termination letter from the union dated July 16, 2009 signed by Rodgers Bwalya, the Hotel’s union vice-secretary.
"I was shocked to receive the letter terminating the contract effective 16th July and stated that they feared for their lives as well as their beneficiaries if they were to continue using Health Point. We need respect for each other, imagine they stated that I lacked commitment as a doctor to addressing the many complaints raised by their members and that I failed to provide required services," Dr Chakravarty stated.
He added that the hotel however on September 2, 2009 retracted the termination of the contract after discussions with his lawyers Mark Partners.
"Despite this they went ahead and said that they intended to run dual clinics with Health Point servicing 197 members while Medprof medical centre would service 380 members,” stated Dr Chakravarty.
And Livingstone High Court judge Elizabeth Muyovwe, in passing judgment in default of appearance and defence order 12 rule 1 and order 20 rules 2 and 4 of the High Court Rules CAP 27, ordered that the letter of termination of contract was null and void as Chawinga did not appear to the writ of summons.
"...that any other medical contract entered by the union with any other medical provider contrary to the contract between the plaintiff and the defendant entered on 28th March 2008 is null and void,” Judge Muyovwe stated.
She further added that Health Point should recover from the union damages arising as a result of the purported termination of contract by the letter of the union to Health Point dated July 16, 2009 and for the court to assess consequential loss and interest thereon and costs arising.
Judge Muyovwe, in her ex parte summons for leave to issue committal proceedings dated November 26, 2009 stated that counsel may be heard on application by the applicant for an order for leave to issue contempt proceedings against Dainess Chawinga, Michelo Chizyuka, Martin Mwangala and Brian Hamatimba who are being represented by lawyer Solomon Muzyamba.
By Zumani Katasefa in Kitwe
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
UNIP on the Copperbelt Province has urged President Rupiah Banda's government to change the current electoral process before the 2011 elections in order to provide a level playing field for all political parties that would take part in the polls.
In a telephone interview, UNIP Copperbelt provincial chairman Isaac Zgambo said the current electoral process was not favouring all political parties except the ruling MMD as it had a lot of flaws.
"The government should change the entire electoral process, it is not favourable to all political parties. Look at the way the issuance of national registration cards NRCs is being done; a lot of people who have attained the voting age are going to be defranchised because they have not obtained their national registration cards. So how do you expect them to participate in voting?" he asked.
Zgambo said it was not true that most of the national registration offices in the country had run out of material to allow the continued issuance of national registration cards.
"The government cannot fail to look for money and procure the material to allow the issuance to go on. Voting is part of development so it is important that government should look for this money and allow the issuance of national registration cards to go on," Zgambo said.
He said government was trying to play gimmicks by not procuring enough material that could be used in the issuance of national registration cards so that only a few people could register as voters in readiness for 2011 elections.
Zgambo said UNIP in 1996 boycotted the election because of the similar flaws in the electoral process like the use of NIKUV cards which the party was against.
"I know comrade PF leader Michael Sata and comrade Guy Scott will say the current electoral process is okay if they win the elections, because they were part of that NIKUV tactics, which the government of Rupiah Banda is trying to employ so that he could win the 2011 elections," he claimed.
Zgambo said the use of the intelligence officers during elections should not be allowed saying this brought about a lot of suspicion.
"Intelligence officers should not be allowed to be near any polling station or touch election materials. This has happened before, if it can happen in the urban areas what about in the rural areas where the MMD claim they have a lot of support,” said Zgambo.
By Laura Hamusute
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
A man of Saili village in Lusaka has sued village head Helen Kasonde Saili for allegedly selling a portion of his land without his knowledge and consent.
This is in a matter where Hassan Kalino of the village in question, situated about 28 kilometres from Lusaka, has sued Saili and Wilson Phiri seeking a declaration that the sale of the land in dispute was null and void.
Kalino is also seeking a declaration that he is a bonafide settler of the area measuring 400 metres by 400 metres in Saili village.
He explained in a writ of summons filed in the Lusaka High Court that he had been an occupant of the land in dispute since 1990 where he practiced peasant farming.
Kalino revealed that the land is about 200 metres from the container along Great North Road in Chibombo district.
He revealed that he was given the land by Headman Saili (Wilson Makasa Kamando) now deceased in 1990 in the presence of his vice, Ernest Kasonde, also deceased.
Kalino complained that Saili (first defendant) sold a portion of his land without his knowledge to Wilson Phiri (second defendant).
He lamented that Saili denied that he was the owner of the portion of land and proceeded to sell it to an outsider without following procedure on land alienation in Reserves and Trust as prescribed in clause d (ii) of circular number one in 1985.
Kalino believed that his rights as enshrined in the Land Act (1995) and the Bill of Rights in part III of the Constitution had been violated.
It is against this background that Kalino has sought the intervention of the court.
By George Chellah
Sat 02 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
FORMER transport and communications minister William Harrington yesterday said Dr Kenneth Kaunda lacks the moral high ground to advise politicians on language because during his presidency he often and publicly referred to Zambians as ‘stupid idiots’.
Commenting on Dr Kaunda’s charge that former defence minister George Mpombo has been barking like anything at President Rupiah Banda, Harrington dismissed the manner in which Dr Kaunda spoke about Mpombo.
“With all due respect, Dr Kenneth Kaunda does not have the moral high ground to advise anyone on the use of acceptable political vocabulary because we very vividly recall how he, at the height of his presidency, often publicly referred to Zambians as ‘stupid idiots’,” Harrington said.
“However, in agreeing with our First Republican President in principle on the need for politicians to avoid the use of unpalatable language against each other, Dr Kaunda should have spoken in general terms instead of personalising the issue by attacking an individual in the media.”
Harrington urged Dr Kaunda to stay out of politics.
“Dr Kaunda, who is supposed to have retired from active politics, should distance himself from the political boxing ring failure to which he risks exposing himself to attacks, insults and bruises from politicians who may feel injured by his comments and interventions,” Harrington said.
“Our so-called ‘founding father of the nation’ needs to maintain his dignity and respect by staying out of active politics so that he is not hit in any cross-fire.”
Harrington advised Dr Kaunda to be neutral.
“Dr Kaunda should not be seen to be openly taking sides with and protective of the UNIPist-led MMD government,” Harrington said.
“But should provide guidance in a fatherly and neutral manner as many politicians from the both sides of the political spectrum are guilty of what he refers to as ‘unacceptable language’.”
Featuring on ZNBC's Kwacha Good morning Zambia programme last Saturday, Dr Kaunda charged that Mpombo has been barking like anything at President Banda.
This prompted Mpombo to challenge Dr Kaunda to repeat to the nation what he said when he relieved President Banda of his duties as foreign affairs minister. Mpombo warned that he took great exception to Dr Kaunda’s scurrilous and morally offensive comments or he risked stepping on an undetonated political landmine.
Friday, January 01, 2010
Fri, 01 Jan 2010 13:41:00 +0000
THE overseas offices of Zimbabwe's former opposition Movement for Democratic Change party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai face a "huge" corruption problem, with £57,000 missing from the British branch, according to a senior official of the cash-strapped party.
In February, the MDC-T joined an inclusive Government with President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF.
The MDC-T's treasurer-general, Roy Bennett, said yesterday that the British branch – second only to the South African office of the party in importance – had been suspended in the wake of what Bennett describes as a problem the party faced "everywhere".
Bennett, 52, said that although a formal instruction had yet to be given, all other overseas branches would be disbanded.
He said that MDC-T branches across the world faced rogue elements.
"They are bleeding us," he said. "I would hate to know the amount of money that has been raised by Zimbabweans in exile purporting to represent the MDC. They have used the MDC name and pocketed the money."
The UK and Ireland provincial executive has been suspended pending an investigation into what the MDC-T secretary general and Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, described as "shocking" financial irregularities in a November letter announcing the action.
But UK-based MDC-T officials yesterday played down the claims, insisting that any financial irregularities under its supervision were not the result of corruption.
"It's more to do with the way the money was remitted to Harare," said Jeff Sango, chairman of the MDC in the South-east of England.
"The people who were supposed to make the investigation should come here and do that investigation. There is no evidence right now. It is only an allegation."
The MDC-T has about 800 active members in the UK. According to UK-based officials, about 70 per cent of funds raised from members – including via the sale of £70 membership cards – are sent back to Zimbabwe, with the rest used to cover administrative costs. But the MDC in Harare says that the British branch failed to submit adequate financial reports.
Biti also noted "extensive bickering" in the UK and Ireland branches of the party. His younger brother Stanford, a vehement critic of the British party organisation, is alleged to have pelted members of the executive committee with eggs.
The former opposition party is trying to convince highly educated Zimbabweans abroad to return home.
According to Zimbabwe's finance ministry, the diaspora sent home £100m in remittances to relatives in 2009 – about the same amount as the European Union gave in aid.
But repeated calls by the Prime Minister, the MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, for the return of teachers, nurses, doctors and business people have met with reluctance, amid scepticism over the progress of the inclusive Government. Earlier this year, PM Tsvangirai was booed when he addressed hundreds of Zimbabweans at Southwark Cathedral in London.
The MDC-T's surprise move is likely to be greeted by expatriates with particular scepticism as the party has been riddled with corruption within and outside Zimbabwe. The MDC-T party has also been frantically looking for funds to finance its election campaign.
This has been masked as a move to advance the constitutional process. Treasurer Bennett said: "Raising that money is going to be a priority. In all my time as treasurer, I have only ever managed to mobilise 12 vehicles for party canvassing work."
Bennet's desire to raise money to source the vehicles, seems to be in response to the fact that Zanu PF already has 12 vehicles in every district.
He denied that the MDC-T is funded by the British Government, although it is clear that the Westminster Foundation has been funding the party from the onset.
"I have never seen a single penny from Britain," said Bennet. "Politics is about money, and we are down to relying on a poverty-stricken people to try to replace a government that has taken full control of everything."
The MDC-T has remained tight-lipped about its funding, which is believed to come largely from members of the business community who do not wish to be identified while President Mugabe is in power. European embassies admit only to providing the MDC-T with trainers and bursaries for courses in subjects such as international relations.
Wed, 30 Dec 2009 05:08:00 +0000
DEAR EDITOR - As Zimbabwe begins to move forward many people who have sought refuge in foreign countries on false claims have been left in limbo.
Those people who, for many years, were riding on the bilateral dispute between Zimbabwe and Britain are left with no stories to tell. It has become uncool to criticise President Mugabe and many people are beginning to bite each other as they try to find new scapegoats.
One of those people is former Girl Child leader Betty Makoni who is being investigated on fraud charges. She has sought what she calls "refuge" in Britain.
Makoni has started speaking ill about the Zimbabwean government, yet not even once did we hear of her harassment when she was in Zimbabwe. All her stories are based on what must have happened before she left the country voluntarily.
She claims that she was harassed and brutalised by government; yet no one has cared to document her story before she left, even herself.
Oddily enough, her story started after the alleged investigation. It leaves a lot to be desired.
She has written stuff all over the internet chastising journalists who intend to report her story. She calls them "Full time website liers, chancers and cheaters" and "Disguised secret agents defaming public agents". Makoni should know that journalists will not stop their investigations because of her bashing of them. In fact she is attracting more attention and will be hounded by the press.
I hope that Makoni will find it in her heart to tell the truth, whatever it is, about her real role and her deeds with the funds at Girl Child Network, rather than go after journalists who are only doing their job.
Isn't this what "Freedom of Speech and Information" is?
At the end of the day, she should seek forgiveness from God if she robbed the weak and meek to enrich herself.
-Nyarai Chidemo, USA.
12/3/2009 9:03:14 AM
By Bryan Welch
The fastest-growing energy technology in the world is solar, but it’s very unlike passive solar. Photovoltaic solar collectors capture solar energy in a supremely adaptable and portable form. Photovoltaic panels and films, made mostly of silicon, convert sunlight into electricity by allowing sunlight to stimulate electrons to a higher state of energy, then converting that energy into electrical current.
Basically, the photons in sunlight, hitting a collector, create free electrons that can be siphoned off as electrical current. Beginning in the early 2000s, worldwide production of photovoltaics had been doubling every two years up until 2008 when the rate of growth suddenly accelerated, more than doubling the number of photovoltaics in use in just one year. At the end of 2008 it was estimated that photovoltaics were generating about 15,000 megawatts of energy, worldwide, enough to provide about 8 million average U.S. homes with all the electricity they need, and photovoltaic expansion was accelerating.
Most photovoltaic installations are small, designed mainly to supply a single building, or even a single device, like my electric fences. But solar power stations are proliferating. A single new photovoltaic power plant, Topaz Solar Farm, proposed to cover 9.5 square miles in central California near San Luis Obispo with a 550 megawatt capacity, is scheduled to begin generating electricity in 2011. Before Topaz Solar Farm, the largest photovoltaic generator in the country, the DeSoto Energy Center in Florida, had a capacity of just 25 megawatts. The largest in the world was the 60-megawatt Olmedilla Photovoltaic Park in Spain.
The manufacturing of photovoltaics is a big business, getting bigger rapidly. Industry sources estimated the size of the industry at about $30 billion in 2009, expected to be $70 billion by 2013. Shi Zhengrong, one of the richest new billionaires in China, made his fortune manufacturing photovoltaics.
Some property owners are installing free photovoltaics thanks to “power purchase agreements,” under which an investor buys the panels and installs them, free, in exchange for a contract to buy electricity from the owner of the panel at a very low cost for a couple of decades. The City of Berkeley, California, is evaluating that program, which offers homeowners free solar installations and then takes the money saved on electricity over the next 20 years through a special property tax.  About 75 percent of commercial photovoltaics are installed on some kind of power purchase agreement.
And the technology is getting better. So-called “thin-film” photovoltaics are manufactured on a flexible surface that can be adhered directly to a metal roof. The electronics fit neatly under a cap that runs along the peak of the roof and the whole apparatus looks perfectly integrated and natural. Some power stations set up their collectors on swivels to track the sun. Others concentrate sunlight using mirrors.
The most intriguing new developments in photovoltaics are transparent collectors and concentrators. Both technologies promise to turn everyday objects into power-generating solar collectors. Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has developed transparent collectors that generate electricity from ultraviolet light, allowing light in the visible spectrum to pass right through – effectively a transparent solar collector. The implications are astonishing. Imagine transparent solar films that could be adhered to the roofs of cars or the windows of skyscrapers. Every outdoor surface is a potential source of electricity. Glass buildings could cool themselves. Electric vehicles, parked outside, could charge their own batteries.
A U.S. company called Covalent Solar makes glass containing subtle dyes that concentrate and deflect solar energy to photovoltaics, possibly in the frame of a window, for instance. Windows and skylights can become solar collectors, seamlessly integrated into a building or vehicle.
And because the dyes used in the glass actually concentrate the energy, less surface area is necessary to generate a given amount of electricity.
And when we cover our cars and buildings with collectors, there’s less need of heavy, inefficient and poisonous battery storage.
Above photo: Transparent photovoltaics on a canopy at a BP station.
Photo by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory/Gretz, Warren
 REN21: Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century. Renewables Global Status Report 2009 Update. REN21 Secretariat. Paris.
 California Public Utilities Commission. CPUC Takes Another Step Toward State’s Renewable Energy Goal with Approval of PG&E Renewable Contract. http://docs.cpuc.ca.gov/PUBLISHED/NEWS_RELEASE/96710.htm. January 29, 2009. Sourced November 5, 2009.
 Pvresources.com. Large-Scale Photovoltaic Power Plants (Ranking 1-50). http://www.pvresources.com/en/top50pv.php. Sourced November 5, 2009.
 DuPont Photovoltaic Solutions. DuPont Expects Continued Revenue Growth in Global Photovoltaic Market. http://www2.dupont.com/Photovoltaics/en_US/news_events/article20090317.html. Sourced November 5, 2009.
 Thomas L. Friedman. China’s Sunshine Boys. New York Times. Dec. 6, 2006.
 City of Berkeley, California, Office of Energy and Sustainable Development. Berkeley FIRST Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology. http://www.cityofberkeley.info/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=26580. Sourced Nov. 5, 2009.
 Greentech Media. Power-Purchase Agreements to Spike. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/power-purchase-agreements-to-spike-591/. Sourced November 5, 2009.
 Japan National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST). Converting ultraviolet light into electricity with transparent electronics. http://www.aist.go.jp/aist_e/museum/science/12/12.html. Sourced November 5, 2009.
Fri 01 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
Today we are starting a new year – 2010. The year that we closed yesterday – 2009 – was a very difficult one for us. But it was a very educative year.
In 2009, we were taught once again the meaning of solidarity.
You and us have stood together many times, but no time has been more important than the year 2009. A relentless campaign was waged by Rupiah Banda and his minions to try and annihilate us. They never hid their intentions to destroy us; they stated their intentions publicly. But we are still here, totally uncompromised.
Regardless of our limitations and defects, we are much more at peace with ourselves because of what we stand for; what we struggle for. We have peace not because of money and all those other material things that Rupiah considers to be very important to our survival.
Material things alone don’t make for happiness. A sense of justice, dignity, self-respect, respect for others, and love for your fellow men have a great deal to do with happiness, with peace as have moral principles; the feeling of being free, equal and respected and of taking part in the battle for the progress of our country, the country we live in; and working like beavers, shoulder to shoulder with the rest of our fellow citizens, the citizens of goodwill.
There are men and women that have sold out to wrongdoers, been hired by corrupt elements, or have surrendered themselves to crooks, but we will never be for hire.
Our existence has not been easy since Rupiah came to power. But we have confronted every difficulty; pressure; financial, political or other kinds of attack. We will keep on moving ahead, winning new laurels and scoring new victories.
The struggle that stretches before us now is a struggle for the souls and the future of Zambia. Most of all, we are the trustees of our country’s dream. And today’s dreams are tomorrow’s reality. We have seen many of the dreams of the past, a great part of our utopias, become reality. And, since we have seen this, we have the right to keep on dreaming of things that will become realities someday, both in our country and in the world as a whole.
If we didn’t think this way, we would have to stop struggling, and we think that men and women of goodwill, those struggling for a more just, fair and humane world never abandon the struggle, just as they never stop dreaming.
We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now, in the unfolding life and history. There is such a thing as being too late. We must work unceasingly to lift this nation to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion.
Let us not submerge our dreams for our country. Let us dream of the day that our country will be a more just, fair and humane society for all of us to live in. We must never stop dreaming. Let’s face reality, yes. But we shouldn’t stop with the way things are; let’s dream of things as they ought to be.
Let’s face pain, but love, hope, faith and dreams should help us rise above the pain. Let’s do everything possible to ensure that our children can hold their heads high again. Let’s not lose ourselves to cynicism, pessimism and despair. We can win.
Let’s use hope and imagination as weapons of survival and progress, but let’s keep on dreaming, dreaming about a better Zambia.
Let us dream of politicians who are more concerned about public welfare than private wealth. Let’s strive for politics based on morality. Let us try in a new time and in a new way to restore this concept of politics.
Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community. Let us teach ourselves and others that politics can be not only the art of the possible, especially if this means the art of speculation, calculation, intrigue, secret deals and pragmatic manoeuvring, but that it can even be the art of the impossible, namely, the art improving ourselves and the world. There are elections and an election campaign ahead of us.
Let us not allow this struggle to dirty our faces by becoming entangled in the jungle of skirmishes for power. Let us not allow the desire to serve oneself to bloom once again under the fair mask of the desire to serve the common good.
It is not really important which party will prevail in next year’s elections. The important thing is that the winners will be the best, in the moral, civic, political sense. The future policies and prestige of our country will depend on the personalities we elect to lead our country.
Let’s dream of teachers who teach for life and not for living. The incredible backwardness of general and technical education – which education is absolutely necessary for any process of real development and for the use of the great scientific and technical advances that man has made in all fields – is one of the most serious negative consequences of our country’s underdevelopment. Let us dream of doctors who are concerned much more about public health than money for themselves.
Health is an essential right of all men and women and a responsibility of society as a whole. Let us dream of lawyers more concerned about justice than positions and social climbing. Let’s dream of preachers who are concerned more about prophesy than profiteering and brown envelopes from corrupt politicians. Let us dream of the high road of sound values.
And as we enter 2010, Zambia must never surrender to a high moral challenge.
Don’t surrender to corruption, nepotism and tribalism.
Let’s go forward. Zambia must never surrender to hunger and malnutrition. The existence of large numbers of hungry and under-nourished people in our country constitutes an affront to all of us. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem. We should strive to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. We must never surrender to illiteracy. Let us invest in our children.
We must never surrender to inequality. Women must not compromise on their rights and on fairness.
Let’s not forget our sisters and brothers who live with AIDS, they deserve our compassion and love. And those living with HIV should not surrender. Let’s reach out to them across our nation. We know it’s tough sometimes. People look down on them. No one should look down on them, but sometimes senseless or mean people do. Hold your head high, stick your chest out. You can make it.
It gets dark sometimes, but the morning comes. Don’t surrender. Suffering breeds character. Character breeds faith. In the end, faith will not disappoint. We can make Zambia better and we must make it better.
No matter how enormous the difficulties, no matter how complex the task, there can be no room for pessimism, for surrender. This would be to renounce all hope and resign ourselves to the final defeat. We have no alternative but to struggle, trusting in the great moral and intellectual capacity of our people and their instincts for self-preservation, if we wish to harbour any hope of survival. Only with a tremendous effort and the moral and intellectual support of all can we face a future that objectively appears desperate and sombre.
We have never been characterised by resigned submission or defeatism in the face of difficulties. We have confronted complex, difficult situations in the last year with unity, firmness and determination. Together we have striven and struggled and together we have scored some victories.
In this same spirit and with this same determination, we must be ready to wage the most colossal, legitimate, worth and necessary battle for our people’s lives and future. We must not allow anybody or anything to divide us. We must use political formulas and negotiations to solve those problems which make some of us occasionally oppose each other. We should also rise above the controversies that sometimes turn us into enemies because of old disputes or intrigues, ambitions or the machinations of unscrupulous politicians.
It is in this spirit that we should face this new year, 2010. We wish you a happy and prosperous new year.
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 01 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT [
Professor of human rights law Michelo Hansungule has said Vice-President George Kunda needs media freedom more than anyone else. In an interview from his base in Pretoria, Prof Hansungule reminded Vice-President Kunda of the realities he would face if he left office and tried to speak through controlled media.
“Media freedom is a natural right. The state does not legislate freedom. Freedom came before the state and certainly before George Kunda was recruited into government by late president Levy Mwanawasa. A natural right is not subject to state legislation, however powerful the state,” Prof Hansungule said.
“Vice-President Kunda has no jurisdiction to impose anti-people media laws on Zambians. Maybe he has not been reminded before, no one besides President Banda appointed him to the Vice-Presidency.
In fact, Vice-President Kunda needs media freedom more than anyone else. Vice-President and minister of justice George Kunda will learn this when he leaves office offices, as he will learn shortly. Once you are in office, the next step is to come out and it will happen to the current Vice-President and Minister of Justice. African leaders must strive to leave the world better than they found it.”
Prof Hansungule said self-regulation of the media was the general practice in all democracies around the world. He said all Zambia needed most was to deepen media and other freedoms in order to enhance good governance.
“Zambia needs to develop the media into a truly independent mouthpiece of the people. We need a truly biting media which barks authorities irritatingly and ceaselessly, more especially in safeguarding rights. It is important Zambia legislates the right to information, including personal information in the hands of the state,” Prof Hansungule said. “People should feel free and freer to approach government demanding for information in its custody.
There is therefore no need to subject the natural right to information to expansive claw back clauses, which effectively amount to denial of that right.
“In all democracies, the media regulates itself. Self-regulation and not regulation by the Vice-President is the rule of media practice.
It is utterly wrong for the government in our case, for the almighty Vice-President and Minister of Justice George Kunda to decide what we should not read on Sunday, who should write the editorial, what question a journalist should ask President Banda, etc. We want and we have the natural right to read free information. George Kunda and President Banda's information they can give to their cadres; it's fine that way. But they have no right, absolutely none, to dictate information and how it should be disseminated.”
Prof Hansungule challenged information minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha to resign if he were not comfortable with media freedom.
“If the media does not effectively regulate itself, there are courts. Anyone who feels unfairly treated by the media has a right to go to court and complain and this is where George Kunda should have been putting his attention, how to empower the vulnerable have effective access to court and how to make the courts efficient in dispensing this and other justice!” Prof Hansungule said. “We want the media to write and report about everything that goes on at State House and at Mfuwe.
Every little thing that takes place among our politicians should be reported freely by our young men and women because it is our right to know. If minister Shikapwasha does not like this, resign sir; go into retirement where you were. Instead of what Vice-President George Kunda is trying to do, the law should be strengthened to protect journalists and the journalism profession so that besides merely reporting, it can dig out all the dirt.”
Prof Hansungule said Vice-President Kunda would not survive in a truly independent media going by his stifling of the little media freedom that exists in Zambia.
“There is a lot of dirt in society especially in corridors of power. The Constitution guarantees our right to know all the dirt there is. We should not only know. In fact, we don't need to know or see on television that President Banda has gone to Mfuwe or has returned. Democracy is built on the basis of several dissenting voices and opinions.
We all know that an essential aspect of democracy is freedom. Freedom from state control in our case in Zambia freedom from the unbridled control of the media by Vice President George Kunda is the definition by which democracy is known,” said Prof Hansungule.
“I often wonder how George Kunda would manage as Vice-President in a free country with a thriving press. I bet he cannot last seconds. Think of a free country and George Kunda not with one free paper, radio or television but with several screaming headlines! It would be a terrible, terrible dream for him to find himself in.”
By Fridah Zinyama
Fri 01 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT
THE Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has accepted the fourth bid submission from Altimo of Russia for a majority equity stake in Zambia Telecommunications Limited after the board met on Wednesday.
On December 23, 2009, ZDA announced that three bids had been received from companies and consortia participating in the Zamtel privatisation process. Bids were received from Bharat Sanchar Nigam limited (BSNL) of India, LAP Greencom Limited/ LAP Green Networks of Libya and Unitel of Angola.
In a press statement released yesterday, ZDA acting director general Muhabi Lungu stated that the fourth bid from Altimo of Russia was received five minutes after the submission deadline of 15 hours Zambian time hence could not be opened with the other three.
“To this end, the ZDA board met on Wednesday, 30th December and after due consideration, decided to accept the submission from Altimo,” he stated. “The decision was largely based on the fact that the bid was received before the other bids were opened by ZDA and that no evaluation/adjudication of the other three bids has been undertaken yet.”
Lungu noted that at this time, the round of bids were indicative and not binding.
“Consequently, the Altimo bid will be included in the assessment of all bids,” he stated. “Altimo’s bid will therefore be opened forthwith by the ZDA.”
Lungu explained that as a result of the boards’ decision, the assessment bids would include those of Unitel of Angola, Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited of India, LAP Greencom Limited/LAP Green Networks of Libya and Altimo of Russia.
Lungu added that ZDA’s next step would be to evaluate all bids and would announce a shortlist of companies and consortia that would be invited to the next stage of the Zamtel privatisation.
“Shortlisted companies and consortia will be invited to conduct further due diligence on Zamtel, and will be asked to submit a binding bid for majority equity stake in the company at the end of the next phase,” he stated.
Lungu stated that further details of the next phase of the Zamtel privatisation and details on the indicative bids received would be announced on or around January 11, 2010.
By George Chellah
Fri 01 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata yesterday said Dr Kenneth Kaunda is defending President Rupiah Banda purely on the basis of nepotism, on wako ni wako basis.
Commenting on Dr Kaunda's charge that former defence minister George Mpombo has been barking like anything at President Banda, Sata criticised Dr Kaunda's language against Mpombo.
“There is no difference with the language, which he is criticising because Mpombo has not been barking, Mpombo has been talking,” Sata said.
He said Dr Kaunda was indebted to President Banda because of the many favours he has received from him.
“And we know that since Rupiah Banda came, he has given the old man lots of favours. So the old man will be failing in his duties not to defend Mr Rupiah Banda,” Sata said.
“But the language he is using is bad… it's wako ni wako nepotism. We know that even last year Dr Kaunda came out in the similar manner because he was a beneficiary. They accelerated benefits and gave him VXs and other benefits.”
Sata said Dr Kaunda had nothing to do with the opposition political parties.
“Everything the opposition says is not in Kaunda's interest, he doesn't say anything he doesn't oppose anything. And this time now he is the co-ruler because Rupiah Banda is just bringing UNIP rule,” Sata said.
Featuring on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC)'s Kwacha Goodmorning Zambia programme on Saturday, Dr Kaunda charged that Mpombo has been barking like anything at President Banda. He said Mpombo had a terrible language, which could not be accepted by anyone.
He said Zambians should live in unity, in the spirit of One Zambia One Nation.
And according to the Times of Zambia edition of May 11, 1976, there was a mini reshuffle where the then foreign affairs minister Rupiah Banda was replaced by Siteke Mwale. Rupiah Banda was reported to have requested that he goes on study leave.
But on May 14, 1976, barely two days or so after the mini reshuffle, which saw Rupiah Banda leaving his portfolio, the then president Dr Kaunda was reported in the Times of Zambia as having cancelled a list of people recommended for appointments in the foreign service because the appointments were tribal.
Dr Kaunda ordered Rupiah Banda's successor Siteke Mwale to compile a fresh and more representative list. Dr Kaunda is further reported to have declared that the foreign service was not only for one group of people in Zambia and that those appointed to the service must be chosen on merit.
He said he was very often surprised to see men in key positions trying to build what he called 'small empires' around them.
“Why they do this I do not understand,” Dr Kaunda said.
He warned that he was not going to sit idly by and watch Zambia's institutions or any part of the country turned into 'battle grounds for tribalising'.
“We have had to cancel recommendations for certain new appointments in the Foreign Service because of this practice and I must say that the party and government are determined to sweep any type of cobwebs in society,” Dr Kaunda said.
He said a diplomat's duties must have roots in the masses because each of them only fitted into their positions because of the masses whose destiny was shaped in the philosophy - Humanism.
“To use our tribal culture as a way of destroying Zambia is counter-revolutionary and we will not accept it,” Dr Kaunda said. “…because we want a Zambia that is Zambian, not one which is tribal, regional, religious or racial in terms of division.”
Dr Kaunda was addressing the opening session of a series of consultative meetings of Zambian Ambassadors and High Commissioners when he made the above remarks in 1976.