Saturday, January 16, 2010

(HERALD) Sanctions: Priority greater than human life

Sanctions: Priority greater than human life
By Reason Wafawarova in SYDNEY, Australia

AT a moment when one would expect any sane Zimbabwean and any foreigner carrying a semblance of a heart to share the optimism coming through the country’s recovering economy, it appears that the excruciating Western illegally imposed sanctions are still a top political priority — a trump card to outflank Zanu-PF, and a tool of political leverage by those who believe in priorities higher than human life.

Nelson Chamisa and Eddie Cross certainly think sanctions are nothing but a tool to inflict pain on their political rivals in Zanu-PF. They have this crabbed and peevish attitude that is absolutely blind to the human suffering brought about by the MDC-T-mobilised and Western-imposed decade long sanctions that have silently slaughtered thousands of our people.

Chamisa makes sad reading of a young, promising, handsome and intelligent politician going mad.

Eddie Cross has nothing to lose in terms of credibility because he is nothing more than a racially motivated sadist that hankers for the imploding of Zimbabwe so he can satisfy his warped Rhodesian view that says without white leadership no economy can ever grow.

It is Chamisa’s background as a young man born and bred in a rural setting among what we would normally call “our people” that makes one wonder if politics is a career with no regards for manners, principles, morality or respect for people around.

Chamisa has done everything any unmannered person can be accused of doing, from deriding war veterans, calling elderly statesman like President Mugabe unprintable names, celebrating economic sanctions, and lying that sanctions do not exist when it suites his goals of the moment.

This has been viewed as radicalism and political vibrancy by some of the young man’s cheerleaders, but surely there must be a difference between irascibility and political acumen.

No sane person has hope in Eddie Cross, but Nelson Chamisa comes from a background of a generational hope with a lot of young people looking up to him as a model and a pillar of inspiration.

This writer has no doubt in the political potential of Nelson and is very clear on the natural talent and eloquence of the young man, even basing the assertion on long periods of personal interaction with the young politician.

It is the realisation of this potential that makes it necessary to use tough love language against the recklessness like what we heard through Chamisa’s interview on sanctions; with the pirate radio station Studio Seven.

When Gorden Moyo says there are no sanctions on Zimbabwe not many serious people take note of that.

This is simply because there is no logical reason for anyone to take Moyo that seriously since he clearly does not take himself seriously at all.

This is a man who is still trying to find the difference between himself and the PM’s spokesperson, James Maridadi, and will always talk to attention givers rather than to the people. He is the show me the mike and the gallery kind of person.

Gorden Moyo recently shot down his own scandalous claims that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwe – a claim seemingly shared mutually in the PM’s office if one considers Maridadi’s similar position that he is not “aware of any sanctions” on Zimbabwe.

Moyo just decided to inform the world that there are 40 Zimbabwean companies that are officially listed under the Western sanctions regime, and he even pointed out that it would be difficult to resuscitate the economy if the sanctions are not lifted. Moyo hardly did any damage to his reputation by his ludicrous somersault, and that is simply because he never had any reputation to damage anyway.

This is different from Nelson Chamisa. Very different actually. Here is a young man who managed to rise among men and women double his age as a college dropout and came into top leadership of Zimbabwe’s largest opposition political party even without a single tertiary qualification then.

He even proved his sense of direction by completing a few tertiary courses including a post graduate qualification.

It is sad when such a man recklessly celebrates sanctions as a mere political tool against his political rivals, and when he turns a ruthlessly blind eye to the actual victims of the ruinous sanctions — the people.

Anyone who celebrates the suffering and death of his own people commits an irremissible sin. This is why politicking over the issue sanctions is despicable and unpardonable.

It is unacceptable but fully understandable when the US-led Western alliance makes sanctions a priority higher than human life.

They have always been like that, and history is full of examples of the superiority of the priority of Western interests.

In the eighties, US intervention in Central America was quite unpopular, but the potential cost was always regarded as minimal by Washington, even from Nicaragua, where a few elitist voices raised concerns over the ruthless atrocities masterminded by the CIA-backed Contras.

The far more savage attack against the population of El-Salvador was ruthless at its kindest, but it imposed no threat or serious costs for the supervisors of international terrorism in Washington.

The benefit was establishing Duarte’s client regime and a solid client state in El Salvador.

Between 1981 and 1983 it briefly appeared like the US-sponsored state terrorism in El-Salvador was failing to succeed and the result was that there was a bit of honest reporting about what was happening there – even in Western mainstream media.

By 1987 the leftist guerrillas were showing signs of weariness, and it became clear that state terrorism was slowly achieving the goals set by Washington — goals very similar to what we hear President Obama articulating about Zimbabwe — goals to do with US “commitment to democracy and human rights”.

Elitist concerns were stilled, and reporting virtually ceased.

By 1988, El Salvador barely existed in the consciousness of the media and the US Congress, except as a demonstration of the US commitment to democracy and human rights.

The sanctions on Zimbabwe were well publicised and even criticised in some Western quarters between 2001 and 2003.

There were no attempts to hide the sanctions and those opposed to the well know effect of sanctions raised concerns.

They predicted that ordinary people would suffer and die and the raised concerns over this. Cynthia McKinney, a US Senator, was one of these people.

But as the economy collapsed and it became clear that the sanctions were achieving the desired goals set in Washington and London, the concerns were stilled, and reporting on the sanctions ceased, or was limited to the tired lie that the sanctions are “mere travel bans”.

Now when the sanctions are mentioned, they are only mentioned in this iridescent context that says the sanctions are an expression of the West’s commitment to democracy and human rights.

Every measure of success by Zimbabwe’s inclusive Government will have a contrived meaning attached to it; that it is a success achieved in the pursuit of the West’s noble ends.

This is why all manner of artificial figures are thrown around as a measure of Western intervention each time a positive economic development is reported.

It must be Western NGOs, the EU aid or some such claim that reduces HIV prevalence or stabilises the economy. It cannot be anything else.

We have heard so much noise about the so-called “blood diamonds” from Chiadzwa, and the Kimberly Process has virtually become everyone’s business, with clowns and lunatics offering hostile advice on how the organisation should carry out its work on matters involving Zimbabwe.

Equally, we have heard of this invidious campaign against what has been called “blood milk” from Gushungo Dairy Estates.

As with Kimberly, everyone with a lunatic mind has anointed themselves the cyber role of imposing hostile advice on Nestle, dictating how they should be making decisions on Zimbabwe.

Both Nestle and Kimberly have taken independent positions on Zimbabwe, and those addicted to the blood of our people have come after that independent opinion with ruthless determination to have sanctions continue the demolition act that started in 2001.

They want more blood until they see the back of President Mugabe, and this is why Chamisa likened the sanctions to a goblin, the African equivalent of a vampire.

The aim of the sanctions is to decapitate and demolish Zimbabwean industries and we are told this is some model for supporting the push toward democracy and human rights.

This is the misplaced gospel that Nelson Chamisa wants to preach on radios and in newspapers.

The New Republic did inform the US public that Jose Napoleon Duarte’s government would continue with the assault on Salvadorian non-combatant civilians “regardless of how many are murdered” since “there are higher American priorities than Salvadorian human rights”.

Ronald Reagan welcomed this advice as sound and incisive.

This is the attitude we have seen from those who support the sanctions regime on Zimbabwe.

Eddie Cross wants the sanctions continued and he reveres the assault regardless of how many are killed.

To him there are higher priorities than Zimbabwean lives. This is why he hankers for the day the country will “burn and crash”. That is Eddie Cross and he is very understandable. We all know where he is coming from, and no sane Zimbabwean takes Cross seriously for the simple reason that it is demeaning to do so.

But surely Cross does not deserve Nelson Chamisa’s support, explicit or implicit. That is a sad development for Zimbabwe’s politics — sad because those who admire Nelson Chamisa get confused and begin to think that they may need to revise their well-informed opinion on hopeless people like Eddie Cross.

There is no merit whatsoever in celebrating or attempting to justify the sanctions regime on Zimbabwe. Whoever has done that in the past or continues to do so is either completely stupid or naive, or plainly heartless.

It is time we stood as a nation and start not only to advocate for the lifting of sanctions but also to actively defend our economic interests but supporting our local businesses with dedicated patriotism.

If we defended our diamond industry as a nation then no assault will ever succeed. It is as simple as that.

Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

l Reason Wafawarova is a political writer and can be contacted on wafawarova *** or reason *** or visit

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(HERALD) A decade of BBC propaganda

A decade of BBC propaganda

RESEARCHERS at the University of the West of England, UK, have exposed ongoing and systematic bias in the BBC's news reporting on Venezuela.

Lee Salter and Dave Weltman analysed 10 years of BBC reports on Venezuela since the first election of Hugo Chavez to the presidency in an on-going research project, and their findings so far show that the BBC’s reporting falls short of its legal commitment to impartiality, truth and accuracy.

The researchers looked at 304 BBC reports published between 1998 and 2008 and found that only three of those articles mentioned any of the positive policies introduced by the Chavez administration.

The BBC has failed to report adequately on any of the democratic initiatives, human rights legislation, food programmes, health care initiatives or poverty reduction programmes.

Mission Robinson, the greatest literacy programme in human history received only a passing mention.

According to the research, the BBC seems never to have accepted the legitimacy of the president, insinuating throughout the sample that Chavez lacks electoral support, at one point comparing him to Hitler (‘Venezuela’s Dictatorship’ August 31, 1999).

This undermining of Chavez must be understood in the context of his electoral record: his legitimacy is questioned despite the fact that he has been elected several times with between 56 percent and 60 percent of the vote.

In contrast victorious parties in UK elections since 1979 have achieved between 35,3 percent and 43,9 percent of the vote; the current UK Prime Minister was appointed by his predecessor, and many senior members of the British cabinet have never been elected.

It will come as no surprise that their legitimacy is never questioned by the BBC.

Of particular note is the BBC’s response to the military coup in 2002. BBC News published nine articles on the coup on April 12, 2002, all of which were based on the coup leaders’ version of events, who were, alongside the “opposition”, championed as saviours of “the nation”.

Although BBC News did report the coup, the only time it mentioned the word “coup” was as an allegation of government officials and of Chavez’s daughter.

The “official” BBC explanation was that Chavez ‘fell’, ‘quit’, or ‘resigned’ (at best at the behest of the military) after his ‘mishandling’ of “strikes” (which, as Charles Hardy (2007) reminds us, were actually management lockouts) and demonstrations in which his supporters had fired on and killed protestors.

In reporting this latter, Adam Easton, the BBC’s correspondent in Caracas wrote: “Film footage also caught armed supporters of Mr Chavez firing indiscriminately at the marchers” (‘Venezuela’s New Dawn’).

The footage in question was broadcast by an oligarch's channel that had supported the coup and was shown to have been manipulated.

Given that Chavez had won two elections and a constitutional referendum before the coup, it is surprising that the BBC privileged the coup leaders’ version of events. The democratic, restorative intentions of the coup leaders were unquestioned.

In Venezuelan media: “It’s over!” the BBC allows the editor of El Universal to declare unopposed “We have returned once again to democracy!”.

Perhaps more significantly, in 'Venezuela’s political disarray’ the BBC’s Americas regional editor chose to title a subheading ‘Restoring democracy’. ‘Oil prices fall as Chavez quits’ explains that Chavez quit as a result of a ‘popular uprising’.

Crucially, all of the vox pops used in the nine articles were from “opposition” supporters, and the only voices in support of Chavez were from government officials, Chavez’s daughter or Cuba.

It is therefore reasonable to infer from BBC reports that ordinary Venezuelans did not support Chavez; whilst the coup was inaccurately reported as 'popular', the counter coup was not.

The researchers hypothesised that one of the factors underpinning the inaccurate reporting of Venezuela was the BBC’s adherence to the ideological outlook of the Venezuelan elite.

Against the weight of historical research into Venezuelan history, the BBC underpins its reporting with the “exceptionalism thesis” — the idea that Venezuela was the exception among Latin American nations in that its democracy was robust enough to resist dictatorship.

However, historical research suggests this idea is wrong.

As Professors Ellner and Salas explain, those who referred to the exceptionalism of Venezuela, failed . . . to draw the connection between political exclusion and the related phenomena of clientelism, on one hand, and the violation of human rights, electoral manipulation, and corruption, on the other.

Indeed, they took the legitimacy of the institutional mechanisms that guaranteed stability for granted.

The same defects of electoral fraud, corruption, and repression that scholars pointed to as contributing to the crisis of the 1990s had been apparent in previous decades.

Certainly the BBC fails to recognise this, and its ignorance of the extreme poverty afflicting so many Venezuelans mitigates against any adequate of understanding of Venezuelan politics.

Because the BBC cannot “see” these factors, the Bolivarian Revolution cannot be understood as a response to decades of poverty and oppression.

Rather, the BBC personalises the Bolivarian movement in Hugo Chavez, himself emerging from nowhere and then imposing himself on Venezuela, as if there was no movement, and as if no elections took place.

For example, the 2004 referendum victory is referred to as ‘an extraordinary turn around, and one that defies easy explanation’ (‘Analysis: Venezuela at the Crossroads’ 17/8/04).

Of course, the victory appeared “extraordinary” only to persons ignorant of the underlying issues affecting Venezuelan politics.

Consequently, Chavez himself becomes the cause of political conflict.

In the world of the BBC it is impossible for class, poverty, human rights abuse or corruption to cause political conflict — the BBC cannot understand the impact of a poverty rate of 70 percent in 1995 or the fact that a year before Chavez’s first election victory 67 percent of Venezuelans earned less than US$2 a day.

Rather, Venezuelans are painted as mindless sheep being led by a Pied Piper figure, responding only to his call for them to agitate.

In the BBC’s world, social and political “divisions” exist only because of Chavez.

For the BBC, the only legitimate representatives of Venezuelan appear to be the unelected oligarchs behind the “opposition:.

It is the “opposition” that is Venezuela. ‘Opposition leaders in Venezuela’, according to the BBC, appeal ‘to the international community to intervene to protect democratic rule’.

When democracy was “restored” by a military coup and the imposition of a dictator, the BBC reported that “Venezuela has looked not to an existing politician, but to the head of the business leaders’ association”.

When a majority of Venezuelans elect Chavez it is not an act of “Venezuela”, yet when a CIA-backed military coup imposes a corrupt oligarchy, it reflects the will of the whole of Venezuela; not the will of an elite class, but of Venezuela itself. There is an argument that the inaccuracy and bias of the BBC’s reporting results from the experience of BBC journalists, themselves being from a particular class background living in well-to-do parts of Caracas. From this point of view, they simply don’t see the reality of the situation.

If so, it would confirm Charles Hardy’s claim that, we tend to be given 'the perspective of an international correspondent . . . who works in a downtown office building of an opposition newspaper and lives in an apartment in a wealthy neighborhood'.

The big question, however, is whether the BBC can be trusted to report adequately on Latin America.

Certainly from their latest reports on Evo Morales’s recent victory in Bolivia it seems unlikely. In the meantime, their audience remains woefully ill-informed.

l Source:

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(TALKZIMBABWE) AAG congratulates new black empowerment board

AAG congratulates new black empowerment board
Nancy Pasipanodya
Sat, 16 Jan 2010 14:54:00 +0000

THE Affirmative Action Group (AAG), the vanguard of broad based black economic empowerment in Zimbabwe, congratulated the newly appointed Indigenization and Empowerment Board led by Mr. David Chapfika and comprising of many black economic empowerment icons.

President Robert Mugabe approved the appointment of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board as provided for by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

The 13-member board has representatives from interest groups, indigenisation and empowerment experts and other key sectors such as women, youth, the disabled and ministries of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Mines and Mining Development and Industry and Commerce.

"We urge the board to immediately embark on the very imperative indigenization agenda without delay, fear or hesitation," said AAG President Supa Mandiwanzira in a statement to the Zimbabwe Guardian.

"The majority of indigenous Zimbabweans are unemployed and being denied economic space to conduct their informal trade.

"Of major concern is the crowding out of indigenous people from the retail industry by foreigners to the periphery of the economy. The much desired Foreign Direct Investment must be tapped in a manner that benefits the indigenous people.

Mandiwanzira urged the new board to "priotise implementation of indigenization in the mining sector where foreign owned mining houses have been resisting indigenization and empowerment."

He said the Board must, without any delay, cause immediate full implementation of the Indigenization and Empowerment act.

"AAG will continue to play its role in pointing out areas requiring compliance as far as the indigenization of the economy is concerned. We wish the board well in its endeavors," read the statement.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) New indigenisation board appointed

New indigenisation board appointed
Staff Reporter
Sat, 16 Jan 2010 14:48:00 +0000

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has approved the appointment of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board as provided for by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.

The 13-member board has representatives from interest groups, indigenisation and empowerment experts and other key sectors such as women, youth, the disabled and ministries of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Mines and Mining Development and Industry and Commerce.

Former Member of Parliament and Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development and later Agriculture Mr David Chapfika will chair the board.

Mr Chapfika is an indigenisation and empowerment expert, who is a professional banker. He has worked for several banks in Zimbabwe and carried out international banking consultancy for the World Bank.

Other members of the board include Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, Ms Sitholakele Masuku, Mr Adam Molai, Ms Sheila Sidambe, Engineer Musanhu -- all indigenisation and empowerment experts -- and Mr Thankful Musukutwa, the Secretary in the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Other board members are Mr Prince Mupazviriho, Secretary in the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Mr Spencer Chihota representative of the youth; Mr Farai Mutamangira, a lawyer; Dr Desire Sibanda from the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion.

There is also Mr Dayford Nhema from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, and Mr T. Mungoni, who is the national research and advocacy officer for the National Association of Societies for the Care of the Disabled..

The board is expected to spearhead the implementation of the indigenisation and economic empowerment objective of achieving the 51 percent indigenous stake in all major companies of the economy.

Addressing the appointees after making the announcement yesterday, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the objectives of the board are to advise the minister on the Government's indigenous policies.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai blocking progress: Zuma

Tsvangirai blocking progress: Zuma
Ralph Mutema/AFP
Sat, 16 Jan 2010 13:41:00 +0000

SOUTH AFRICAN President Jacob Zuma says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must be flexible in his demands and his party is blocking the progress of talks aimed at resolving the Zimbabwean impasse.

PM Tsvangirai is demanding the removal of Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono saying their appointments were unconstitutional.

Are these issues “so fundamental that we cannot move without” resolving them? Zuma said today in an interview broadcast on state-owned SAFM in Johannesburg. “Can we park them and proceed?”

The parties will seek to resolve their differences at talks due to begin tomorrow in the capital, Harare.

President Zuma said today he was “positive and hopeful” of progress in the negotiation.

“I’m sure the Zimbabweans have to open up and look at the issues from all angles,” he said.

Decade of Recession

The establishment of the inclusive Government in February followed a decade of sanctions-induced recession and political turmoil, which slashed exports, pushed inflation to a record and drove millions of Zimbabweans into exile in neighbouring countries.

Western powers led by Britain and the United States imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe over a bilateral dispute between Britain and Zimbabwe. Britain reneged on its obligation to compensate white farmers after agreements at Lancaster House in London that saw a negotiated settlement for Zimbabwe.

The MDC-T party is also demanding the power to appoint some regional governors and wants President Mugabe to swear in convicted criminal and former Rhodesian Front policeman Roy Bennett, currently on trial for terrorism-related charges, as deputy agriculture minister.

Bennett is a former Selous Scout, a notorious white extremist group responsible for the killing of thousands of black Zimbabweans during the liberation struggle.

President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has accused the MDC-T of reneging on its commitment to persuade the U.S. and European Union to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe. The party, for a decade, actively campaigned for the imposition of ruinous illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The party has also encouraged hate messages to be broadcast into Zimbabwe through pirate radio stations. The MDC-T leadership still appears on these radio stations despite signing an agreement to stop such broadcasts.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai should be flexible- Zuma

Tsvangirai should be flexible- Zuma
16/01/2010 00:00:00

SOUTH African President, Jacob Zuma says Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai needs to be more flexible with his demands to ensure progress in ongoing talks aimed at saving Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government.

Tsvangirai’s MDC party is demanding the removal from office of central bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono and the attorney general, Johannes Tomana claiming their appointments were against the “letter and spirit” of the power sharing deal signed with President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Zanu PF however, refuses to budge insisting the appointments were constitutional and, further, accuses the MDC of failing work for the removal of sanctions imposed by western countries.

This and a host of other so-called “outstanding issues” continue to divide the inclusive government casting a dark shadow over the country’s fledgling political stability and economic recovery.

But in a sign of growing regional impatience with the political bickering in Harare, President Zuma called on Tsvangirai to show some flexibility.

“(Are these issues (Gono and Tomana) so fundamental that we cannot move without resolving them? Can we park them and proceed?” Zuma said in an interview with a South African radio station.

He said he was however, “positive and hopeful” that there would be progress in the ongoing talks between the two MDC factions and Zanu PF.

“I’m sure the Zimbabweans have to open up and look at the issues from all angles,” he said.

MDC-T negotiator and cabinet minister, Elton Mangoma also emphasised that the coalition government would not collapse.

“The MDC isn’t going to pull out of this government or the talks.
“It’d be naive to say we don’t expect disagreements, but I don’t think there’s anything that can’t be negotiated or reconciled,” Mangoma said.

Talks between the coalition partners were set to resume over the weekend.

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(TRUTHDIG) Holding Corporations Accountable for Apartheid Crimes

COMMENT - From Democracy Now!:
Holding Corporations Accountable for Apartheid Crimes
A landmark class action case is under way in a New York federal court, with victims of apartheid in South Africa suing corporations that they say helped the pre-1994 regime. Among the multinational corporations are IBM, Fujitsu, Ford, GM and banking giants UBS and Barclays. The lawsuit accuses the corporations of “knowing participation in and/or aiding and abetting of the crimes of apartheid; extrajudicial killing; torture; prolonged unlawful detention; and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Attorneys are seeking up to $400 billion in damages.

Holding Corporations Accountable for Apartheid Crimes
Posted on Jan 12, 2010
By Amy Goodman

A landmark class action case is under way in a New York federal court, with victims of apartheid in South Africa suing corporations that they say helped the pre-1994 regime. Among the multinational corporations are IBM, Fujitsu, Ford, GM and banking giants UBS and Barclays. The lawsuit accuses the corporations of “knowing participation in and/or aiding and abetting of the crimes of apartheid; extrajudicial killing; torture; prolonged unlawful detention; and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.” Attorneys are seeking up to $400 billion in damages.

The late anti-apartheid activist Dennis Brutus, who died just weeks ago, is a listed plaintiff. Back in 2008, he told me that “for [the corporations], apartheid was a very good system, and it was a very profitable system.” As the U.S. observes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, marks the first anniversary in office of the first African-American president and ponders the exposure of a racial gaffe spoken by Sen. Harry Reid, the issue of race is front and center, making this case timely and compelling.

The Alien Tort Statute dates from the U.S. Revolutionary War era and allows people from outside the United States to bring a civil suit against another party for alleged crimes committed outside the United States. Cases have been brought in recent years to address forced labor on an oil pipeline in Burma, the killing of labor organizers in Colombia and the killing of activists in the Niger delta. This suit alleges that the apartheid regime could not have succeeded in its violent oppression of millions of people without the active support of the foreign corporations.

Ford and General Motors built manufacturing centers in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, where Dennis Brutus grew up. He told me, “They were using ... very cheap black labor, because there was a law in South Africa which said blacks are not allowed to join trade unions, and they’re not allowed to strike, so that they were forced to accept whatever wages they were given. They lived in ghettos ... actually in the boxes in which the parts had been shipped from the U.S. to be assembled in South Africa. So you had a whole township called Kwaford, meaning ‘the place of Ford.’ ”

Likewise with IBM and Fujitsu. The complaint states, “The South African security forces used computers supplied by ... IBM and Fujitsu ... to restrict Black people’s movements within the country, to track non-whites and political dissidents, and to target individuals for the purpose of repressing the Black population and perpetuating the apartheid system.” Black South Africans were issued passbooks, which the apartheid regime used to restrict movement and track millions of people, and to enable politically motivated arrests and disappearances over decades.

UBS and Barclays, the suit alleges, “directly financed the South African security forces that carried out the most brutal aspects of apartheid.” The United Nations Special Committee Against Apartheid stated, in 1979, that “we learn today that more than $5.4 billion has been loaned in a six-year period to bolster a regime which is responsible for some of the most heinous crimes ever committed against humanity.” Banks (including UBS) were punished for helping the Nazis during World War II, so precedent exists for reparations in the case of apartheid.

One of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, Michael Hausfeld, told me: “Who is a corporation and what are its responsibilities? If companies can affect lives in ways that make those lives worse, so that people are suppressed or terrorized ... you are basically ascribing to eternity the fact that companies can act with both impunity and immunity.”

South Africa went through a historic process after apartheid, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), led by Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Thousands of people took responsibility for their actions, along with scores of South African corporations. Not one multinational company accepted the invitation to speak at the TRC. The case, says Marjorie Jobson, national director of the Khulumani Support Group, which is filing the lawsuit, “takes forward the unfinished business of the TRC.”

The election of Barack Obama, the son of an African, was a historic moment in the fight against racism. But unless U.S. courts are open to addressing wrongs, past and present, corporations will still feel free to go abroad and profit from racist and repressive policies.

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 800 stations in North America. She is the author of “Breaking the Sound Barrier,” recently released in paperback and now a New York Times best-seller.

© 2010 Amy Goodman

Distributed by King Features Syndicate

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Preparing for 2011 elections

Preparing for 2011 elections
By Editor
Sat 16 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT

Elections are very important and as such we need to prepare for them adequately. The decision by the Mpika diocese of the Catholic Church to sensitise the electorate so that they can vote for leaders that would answer to their needs needs to be emulated by all whose job is to preach the Gospel.

“We have already begun sensitising our people on what they should be looking for in terms of who should be their leaders, who should represent them in council and Parliament, including the presidency. I think the whole of this year it will be like preparing for 2011. It should be a crucial year. So the best we can do is to start preparing the people; looking at the qualities of the people that would want to represent them at the various levels of our government system.

This year, I think we are going to spend time doing that. All the priests in terms of preaching, in terms of the sermons that they deliver, they have to touch some of these issues and therefore preparing the people for the elections next year.” This is how the Mpika diocese looks at next year’s elections; and this is what they are doing to prepare their congregations for next year’s elections. If all the Catholic dioceses, if all the Anglican dioceses, if all the Christian congregations and other religious groupings were to do the same, what wonderful prospects would be there for our country!

As Christians, our people are expected to vote wisely and only for people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all. Our people need to be helped to make full use of their right to vote. And they should be made to realise that it is a Christian responsibility to do so. The participation of Christians in elections, in voting should be guided by the Gospel values.

What our people should be seeking with their votes is genuine democracy in which the elected leaders are servants of the electorate and not its masters. Good governance will only occur in our country when we vote for intelligent, honest and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people. No one deserves to be elected unless they love their country more than themselves. Only those who demonstrate awareness that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all should be given votes. Christians should regard their votes as a tool for building up society for the common good.

The right to vote bears positive fruits for the country only when we choose good leaders for presidency and for members of parliament and councils. It is therefore important that those who are eligible to vote cast their votes for candidates who will serve the country with justice towards all.

We strongly advocate voting for candidates who consider themselves accountable to their electorate, who consider the public interest rather than their own, who keep in touch with their constituencies, and who are faithful to their election promises; politicians who respect the rights of others, who do not use their positions to amass wealth, and who are mindful of the many fellow citizens who have little or none. We therefore encourage all Christians to get themselves informed about the character and conduct of all those seeking their votes. Hence, when the time comes to vote, they should vote for the candidates they see as the best for us as a nation. Every candidate should be evaluated on the basis of their capacity, of their personal vision.

Those who offer themselves for re-election should be evaluated against the record of what they have or have not achieved. Did they fulfill their promises? Did they offer quality service to all the people and not only to those who voted them into power? Were they available to listen to the concerns of the people and were they selfless in responding to the needs of all, especially the poor?

Those who have not yet held office should be carefully evaluated in terms of their competence and their reputation for honesty and selfless dedication to the common good.

The qualities that candidates of political office should have are many. But we think the most important ones are: courage to speak out the truth, concern for social justice, desire to work for the common good instead of self-enrichment, disposition to use power for service - especially service of the poor and underprivileged - openness to dialogue, good moral standing, transparency and accountability to the electorate. Above all, we believe Christians should realise that they have the moral responsibility to vote for candidates who follow the example of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve (John 13:2-17) and who emptied himself for the good of everyone (Phil 2:5-11).

It is now time to review the performance of our present representatives, weigh them in the balance of truth, justice and unselfish service, and, if we find them wanting, reject them and elect others in their place. This is our inalienable right. But this gives rise to another issue: the character of the candidates themselves. There is little benefit in voting out the old, if the newly elected may prove equally disappointing. Our vote can help eliminate the unworthy and improve the quality of Zambia’s political leadership. Once every five years, save for the presidential, parliamentary and local government by-elections, the law puts this power in our hands. Let us use it wisely and bravely. Our vote is a powerful weapon for unity, an instrument of liberty, justice and peace. On our voting, on the quality of it, the discernment behind it, depend the progress and peace of our country.

In casting our votes when the time comes next year, we should never be swayed by personal profit, regional or tribal bias, but solely by consideration of which of the conflicting issues or candidates is better for the nation. We should scrutinise the people who wish to represent us and select those to vote for strictly according to the good we think they can do. The interest of our political parties should be kept subordinate to the public good. We should all be guided by the truth, integrity and justice which are anchored on God’s commandments.

It is therefore very important that the Church and other institutions help in whichever way they can to educate our voters and raise their awareness to the highest levels possible. Education is a vital component of any society, but especially of a democracy. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never shall be.”
It is said that people may be born with an appetite for personal freedom, but they are not born with knowledge about the social and political arrangements that make freedom possible over time for themselves and their children – such things must be acquired. They must be learned. Therefore, voter education will be very vital as we approach the 2011 elections so that we all make informed decisions in the choices we make, in who we give our votes to. As we approach next year’s elections, there is need to sensitise the Zambian voters about intolerance, intimidation and lust for power.

There is need for the clergy to make their congregations understand that from a Christian point of view, politics aims at the promotion of the common good and the service of all the people. Everyone is free to give one’s vote to the candidate one thinks is best fitted for this responsible task, provided the candidate is not an openly known corrupt element, tribalist and intolerant politician. Preparations for the 2011 elections should start now. We say this because tomorrow is built on the threshold of today, that is, what will happen in 2011 will depend on what we do today.



It’s madness for Rupiah to hike fuel prices – Nawakwi

It’s madness for Rupiah to hike fuel prices – Nawakwi
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 16 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT

FDD president Edith Nawakwi yesterday charged that it is utter madness on the part of President Rupiah Banda’s government to hike fuel prices in the middle of the farming season.

Commenting on the Energy Regulation Board's 15 percent hike in fuel, Nawakwi said she had been justified over her assertions that President Banda is incompetent.

"Mashilufye they are just mad people. Fifteen per cent? How can you describe that in January, with farmers running around, rains short, plus the fuel shortages of October and November? The farmers never got fertiliser and didn't plant on time because of the October and November shortages that were created by this government, there is no way to describe this other than outright madness, sheer madness on the part of President Banda's government," Nawakwi said.

"They are hiking prices, and the President is watching football. Basically there is no seriousness, it doesn't matter how much you talk about them, they won't change."

Nawakwi said it was sad that the people's genuine frustrations were being taken for insults, and some were being threatened with beatings for advising the President correctly.

"Does this MMD have a new dictionary of insults, because as far as I know if I say that President Banda is incompetent, it's not abuse. That is describing how incapable the President is in delivering the people's needs, like in this particular case the price hike. That simply indicates that somebody's leadership is incompetent," Nawakwi said.

"You don't just get a price hike today, and if you get a price hike in Armsteddam or Rotterdam, immediately that is translated into price hike in kwacha, on Nakonde. It doesn't work like that. Shipments take up to about 90 days to 120 days to come here, so we shouldn't in fact see a price hike immediately. We could see a price hike in four to six months time."

Nawakwi said even Zimbabwe, which was grappling with sanctions had cheaper fuel and never experienced an increment like in the case of Zambia.

"They Zimbabweans have told us that they want 1.5 million tonnes of maize and they are working hard at it, and here we are going to be hungry next year. Here in Nakonde, the fuel is not seen, and the price is K8000 per litre, meaning the poorer you are in this country, the more difficult it is to survive," she said.

Nawakwi said President Banda's activities just went to show the nation and the world that he was incompetent.

"As far as I know, the dictionary doesn't describe the word incompetent as an insult. It simply describes the inability of an individual to do something. If he is a cobbler, he can't shine shoes...if he is a President, he can't preside. That is called incompetence," Nawakwi said.

"In civilised continents, you heard President Obama say that the failings of the homeland security ended up at his desk, that's how civilised people behave. But in Africa the incompetence of a Minister of Energy is his own failing, it is not the President...I mean, what his excellency Chilufya Michael Sata said on the issue of fuel is not different from what her excellency Edith Nawakwi said."

Nawakwi said President Banda and his colleagues had run amok to abuse public resources to unprecedented levels t in the history of Zambia.

"Their performance has no weight but just sheer madness," she said.
Nawakwi revealed that government was in the process of awarding a contract for the collection of government revenue at the border posts to a company that had already shown incompetence.

"They want to put a new system which is like the one in DRC where tracks are x-rayed at the border. Now ask him, 'Mr. President who do you want this contract awarded to?' Let him answer, and let these MMD puppets tell us who their President will award this contract to?" Nawakwi said.

"So these issues will hurt my President forever, it doesn't matter how well he looks, how well he says nachitanji what have I done?"

Nawakwi said President Banda was governing the country in such a mediocre manner because he never suffered for the nation. She said President Banda had no vision for the nation.

"This is nothing but isambo lyamfwa. He never suffered for MMD, he inherited, and therefore he doesn't care where the MMD ends up. That is what we say isambo lyamfwa. He doesn't care whether we die or survive as a country, and these things happen traditionally where you leave an administrator, they don't understand how you built that house, they can even auction it the next day," said Nawakwi.

"Ba Rupiah nimpyani, that is why he doesn't care about his own party. He didn't fight for MMD in 1991, he was on retirement, and for him it is just time, and this is why Zambians are suffering. This will go on until somebody else who understands how to run the country takes over.

"That is why some of us thought he was a bridge, bridge not to freedom and prosperity, but bridge, just to bridge the gap while we have tears on our face. But let Zambians be patient, 2011 is near."

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(DEMOCRACY NOW) Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again

Naomi Klein Issues Haiti Disaster Capitalism Alert: Stop Them Before They Shock Again

Journalist and author Naomi Klein spoke in New York last night and addressed the crisis in Haiti: “We have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy—which is part natural, part unnatural—must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interest of our corporations. This is not conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.” [includes rush transcript]

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go back to Naomi Klein. We’re going to try that tape again, her commenting on what is going on in Haiti right now and who is profiting already.

NAOMI KLEIN: But as I write about in The Shock Doctrine, crises are often used now as the pretext for pushing through policies that you cannot push through under times of stability. Countries in periods of extreme crisis are desperate for any kind of aid, any kind of money, and are not in a position to negotiate fairly the terms of that exchange.

And I just want to pause for a second and read you something, which is pretty extraordinary. I just put this up on my website. The headline is “Haiti: Stop Them Before They Shock Again.” This went up a few hours ago, three hours ago, I believe, on the Heritage Foundation website.

“Amidst the Suffering, Crisis in Haiti Offers Opportunities to the U.S. In addition to providing immediate humanitarian assistance, the U.S. response to the tragic earthquake in Haiti earthquake offers opportunities to re-shape Haiti’s long-dysfunctional government and economy as well as to improve the image of the United States in the region.” And then goes on.

Now, I don’t know whether things are improving or not, because it took the Heritage Foundation thirteen days before they issued thirty-two free market solutions for Hurricane Katrina. We put that document up on our website, as well. It was close down the housing projects, turn the Gulf Coast into a tax-free free enterprise zone, get rid of the labor laws that forces contractors to pay a living wage. Yeah, so it took them thirteen days before they did that in the case of Katrina. In the case of Haiti, they didn’t even wait twenty-four hours.

Now, why I say I don’t know whether it’s improving or not is that two hours ago they took this down. So somebody told them that it wasn’t couth. And then they put up something that was much more delicate. Fortunately, the investigative reporters at Democracy Now! managed to find that earlier document in a Google cache. But what you’ll find now is a much gentler “Things to Remember While Helping Haiti.” And buried down there, it says, “Long-term reforms for Haitian democracy and its economy are also badly overdue.”

But the point is, we need to make sure that the aid that goes to Haiti is, one, grants, not loans. This is absolutely crucial. This is an already heavily indebted country. This is a disaster that, as Amy said, on the one hand is nature, is, you know, an earthquake; on the other hand is the creation, is worsened by the poverty that our governments have been so complicit in deepening. Crises—natural disasters are so much worse in countries like Haiti, because you have soil erosion because the poverty means people are building in very, very precarious ways, so houses just slide down because they are built in places where they shouldn’t be built. All of this is interconnected. But we have to be absolutely clear that this tragedy, which is part natural, part unnatural, must, under no circumstances, be used to, one, further indebt Haiti, and, two, to push through unpopular corporatist policies in the interests of our corporations. And this is not a conspiracy theory. They have done it again and again.

AMY GOODMAN: Naomi Klein speaking last night at the Ethical Culture Society. She’s the author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

(NYASATIMES) No favouritism on ethnic lines –urges Malewezi

No favouritism on ethnic lines –urges Malewezi
By Nyasa Times
Published: January 14, 2010

Former vice president, who is also head of the Chewa Heritage Group in Malawi has asked authorities to encourage people of different cultures to live together and not favour other tribes.

Malewezi remarks come at the height of people’s perception that members belonging to the Mulakho wa Alhomwe heritage group whose patron is President Bingu wa Mutharika are being favoured in the country.

“Everybody has a culture; you can’t run away from that. Where the danger is, if you take cultural issues beyond the cultural issues and use those for other issues, for instance if you take affiliation to a culture group for something else, then that’s where the danger is,” Malewezi told Capital Radio.

He was speaking on popular Straight Talk programme hosted by journalist Brian Banda.

“I think for our children and ourselves to know our culture why we are here, why we behave this way not the other is very important not only in Malawi everywhere, everywhere in the world. The English want to know what it is to be English, the Scotts the same, Irish. It is enrichment, after all there is historical reasons why all these cultures are found in one country,” pointed out Malewezi.

“For the Chewa heritage foundation it’s very clear in our constitution what the objective is. It is a non political organisation, it’s more of culture preservation on some of our traditions, customs, artistic, expression,” he said.

The former VEEP urged authorities not to favour people from one ethnic group.

“I think that people in power should take pride and encourage people to live together the different cultures. They should not take sides whatever their own ethnic group is. That should not be to the exclusion of appreciation the other groups that are here,” he said.

Added Malewezi: “After all I do not think there are many Malawians who are 100 percent from one culture.”

According to Malewezi, the Chewa heritage does not allow a sitting Head of State to be a full time member even if he or she is a Chewa by tribe.

“The President of Zambia (Rupiah Bwezani Banda) is a Chewa. For your information, Chewa Heritage foundation is not only for Malawi, it’s for all Chewas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

“As soon as [Rupiah Banda) became President, he could not become a full time member,” said Malewezi.

Asked if it was wrong for President Mutharika to be Patron of the Lhomwe heritage, he said: “I don’t think the President is a member of Mulakho wa Alhomwe, he may be patron but I don’t know if that is a membership.”

He however explained that in Chewa Heritage, the patron is the King –Gawaundi of Zambia.

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(HERALD) Constitution: The vultures are circling

Constitution: The vultures are circling
In Parliament with Tendai Hildegarde Manzvanzvike

‘‘EVERY man has a right to decide his own destiny, in this judgement there is no partiality,’’ sang reggae icon, Robert Nester Marley in his classic song, Zimbabwe that ably captures the political dynamics in Zimbabwe to this day.

A people-driven constitution is one of the few testaments a people can use to declare that they are wholly responsible for defining their destiny.

Constitution making is not a "kiya-kiya" process. It calls for mindsets whose objectives are set on achieving a similar goal.

It is also not a process that should be hurried in order to fulfil objectives that would in the end defeat the whole course of its original aim.

There could be teething problems along the way, but if those problems make the crafting teams depart from the norms and values of democratic procedures, then questions are raised whether Zimbabwe is building a sound house or just deck of cards.

It is also not a partisan affair, and neither is it an affair confined to certain interest groups, for instance the ubiquitous non-governmental organisations.

A constitution is a document that should outlive the current generation and generations to come.

It is also not a document that is meant to satisfy certain agendas or populist views.

This analysis looks at some of the challenges that are already dogging the constitution making process led by Honourable Members from our two Houses of Parliament, problems which if not nipped in the bud, will derail the whole programme and render it a non-event.

The nation needs answers why corruption has become a talking point when the process is still in its early stages.

Why for example are there reports that the number of accredited delegates was way above the official figure, and that it was oversubscribed by more than 300 uninvited guests?

Allegations are that all the extra guests were fraudulently accredited?

Is the allegation being levelled at the three political parties’ co-chairpersons are accurate that they smuggled in these extra "delegates", what is their response?

The nation also wants to know what these extra delegates were supposed to contribute.

Further, it would be prudent if the nation is fully informed on how much it cost COPAC to bring in these ghost delegates, since a view that this was freebies galore is doing the rounds.

In addition, it is important for COPAC to explain to the nation why the process continues to be delayed? What are the challenges causing these delays?

Some villagers have already complained that the rainy season was late, and their priorities right now is their agricultural activities.

So, if people will be busy working, how will the outreach programme be effected?

People need to be regularly updated on the time plan and the accomplishments expected after each stage of the process.

After the 1999 – 2000 constitutional-making process, people understand that undertaking such a mammoth task is no mean business, but turning it into money-making venture for some, or giving an upper hand to certain groups will not result in a people-driven constitution.

The end-document should start with the people and end with the people.

It should not be a document whose contents are force-fed on the people for adoption, when their interests are not reflected, and when small-interest groups’ interests override the people’s wishes.

What Zimbabwe strives to come up with is not a document where the one who pays the piper, calls the tune.

The influence of donor funding in this constitution-making process will testify whether a decade after rejecting another draft constitution will show the world that Zimbabwe is a maturing democracy.

Finally, this writer touches on an element that seems to be taken for granted, but whose consequences could be dire for the nation — the gender factor in the constitution-making process, as women continue to feel that they are being left out in the cold, thereby compromising their contributions in key decision-making areas.

Politicians who want to be honest with themselves will acknowledge that the female vote cost the 2000 draft constitution. Analysts allege that some anti-women events leading up to the 2000 referendum actually helped women to mobilise against the "Yes" vote. A proper introspection will reveal the woman element in that referendum, just as it does with every other election.

Since this process started, and since women have been arguing on proportional representation as set out by Sadc and the United Nations, their concerns seem not to be addressed adequately, even at party level.

The Herald reproduces below a signed petition on women’s representation in governing bodies under the Global Political Agreement drafted by more than 100 participants at a conference on "Zimbabwean women in transition" held on April 7 in Harare.

The petition was handed to high level representatives of all three political parties in the GPA on April 8, 2009.

Petition on women’s representation in governing bodies under the Global Political Agreement.:.

"We, the undersigned;

"Cognisant and respectful of the Global Political Agreement as the guiding policy and framework document for the operation of the Inclusive Government responsible for governing the nation of Zimbabwe during the transitional phase;

"Recognising the establishment of the bodies and institutions set up to oversee the implementation of the undertaking contained in the Global Political Agreement, namely the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, the National Economic Council, the Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution and the Organ on Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity;

"Noting that the Global Political Agreement undertakes to ensure gender parity and non-discrimination in the policy frameworks, constitution of transitional bodies and implementation of its provisions;

"And further noting that the main oversight body namely JOMIC already has gaps in gender representation of the body itself and the role of chairing this implementation body;

"Concerned that gender based discrimination and the low representation of women in other transitional bodies and processes is likely to continue if the concerns of women are not adequately catered for;

"Therefore make the following demands:

"Ref: Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution; We highlight to the political parties that a gender injustice already exists in the make up of the present Parliament and Cabinet, and this should not be used as a basis to perpetuate further injustices to women in the composition of the Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution.

"We call for 50 percent women’s representation of women in the Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution selected from the entire House.

"We recommend 50 percent women’s representation in the sub committees to be set up under the Select Committee.

"We emphasise the need for the representation of the parent ministry for gender and women’s affairs namely the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development represent women in the Select Committee of Parliament on the Constitution.

"Ref: JOMIC — It is necessary that the Principals to the Global Political Agreement ensure that this body be given, among others, gender specific terms of reference.

"Ref: JOMIC — We recommend to the JOMIC itself that this body be assisted with capacity building and delivering on this gender specific mandate.

"We call for 50 percent women’s representation in the civil society organisations incorporated in the sub-committees, which representation should be non-partisan.

"We recommend that the National Economic Council take cognisance of the social dimensions of economic development by incorporating gender experts in the sector specific teams of technical advisors.

"These demands have been endorsed by the undersigned women representing women from all over Zimbabwe as convened by the Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe."

So much has happened in COPAC since April 2009, but proper reflection will show that the women’s complaints need to be fully addressed by all relevant stakeholders.

The people are the best judges, but they should not be forced to concluding that, corruption, greed and selfishness became the overriding factors in such an important national exercise.


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Sata vows to re-nationalise Zamtel once in power

Sata vows to re-nationalise Zamtel once in power
By George Chellah
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) leader Michael Sata yesterday vowed to re-nationalise Zamtel after ascending to power in 2011.

The Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has announced that the four companies that submitted bids in the first round of the Zamtel privatisation process had qualified to the second stage of the bidding process.

The companies that have been short-listed are Bharat Sanchar Nigam (BSNL) Limited of India, LAP Greencom Limited of Libya, Unitel of Angola and Altimo Holding of Russia.

During Hot FM radio's Hot Seat programme yesterday, Sata said he had no regrets over his stance on the re-nationalisation of Zamtel.

Zamtel belongs to the people of Zambia. Zamtel… is only a question of 13 months before it becomes for the people of Zambia. We will ask the people of Zambia to buy shares in Zamtel. This thing, it will be re-nationalised and no compensation, no compensation! I will re-nationalise it and there will be no compensation,” Sata said.

When reminded about his critics' assertions that he was scaring away investors, Sata responded: “But the investors… we have investors Zain, they are here. I am not saying I am going to re-nationalise Zain, there is MTN, I am not saying I will re-nationalise them. But Zamtel belongs to us, Zamtel and Zanaco belong to the people of Zambia and leave it, that's a hot potato uwaikatako apya!”

Sata said Dr Kenneth Kaunda, despite his mistakes, left the leadership of the country with infrastructure in place.

“…When comrade Rupiah Banda came… instead of improving on Zamtel, he wants to get rid of it because what he wants is his pocket,” Sata said.

On Indeni Oil Refinery, Sata said repairing or bringing new equipment to the refinery was not impossible.

“Scrapping it off, I do not agree because Indeni can continue limping whilst we are extending to bring in a modern refinery, which will refine crude oil. If we can bring in a modern refinery to refine crude oil then we can even buy crude oil from Angola,” Sata said.

“Put up another capacity in Katete where we can bring a pipeline from Mozambique into Katete.

Then the whole Eastern Province does not expect fuel from Ndola to go to entire Eastern Province… At the moment Indeni has been supplying fuel to Malawi. But that pipeline from Mozambique to Katete can take over the supply of fuel to Malawi.”

Sata also said he did not see the reason Zambia hasn't got a refinery nearer to Dar-Es-salaam. He promised to slash some fuel taxes.

“On fuel there are more than 25 taxes and we will slash all those taxes because our policy is lower taxes because if you reduced the taxes you create more employment. This increase of 15 per cent we are going to see loss of jobs. For example, every bag of mealie-meal which is going to pass there will be 15 per cent because no miller is going to absorb 15 per cent on behalf of anybody,” he said.

On LITASCO, Sata said President Banda was very lucky.

“The late Mwanawasa drafted him to be his Vice-President and then later on to become President in a questionable manner but he wants to change everything. The reason why he wants to change everything, comrade Rupiah Banda believes in maximum enjoyment, minimum or no responsibility at all,” Sata said.

“Zambia since independence in 1964, we have had our source of fuel and our source has been the Middle East. Russia is very far away from the Middle East…”

Sata described the whole LITASCO transaction as corrupt.

“Why does comrade Kenneth Konga insist that we should go and buy...there is some little commission that's why they are insisting to bring in the Russians. Can Konga or whoever is involved, is it the reason why they want to make him Vice-President?” Sata asked. “Can he tell us why has he abandoned Kuwait, why has he abandoned Iran, why has he abandoned Iraq and all the people in the Middle East including Libya? Why have we abandoned all those people?

It's just a question of corruption, nothing else. They are cashing in…they know they are in a hurry to go and as they are in a hurry to go, that's why at the moment they want to silence PF and the Catholic Church.”

Sata also said the government media were working extremely hard because they knew that PF was getting stronger.

“The government is very jittery. They think they can intimidate me, they think they can intimidate PF,” he said.

And Sata charged that home affairs minister Lameck Mangani was issuing National Registration Cards (NRCs) in secrecy.

“…Zambia belongs to all of you and as Zambia belongs to all of you…the children whom you are denying NRCs cannot get employment,” he said.

Sata said Forum for Leadership Search executive director Edwin Lifwekelo has drifted to the ruling party because of poverty.

“Government is working hard to work with disgruntled people. Now they pick these two university dropouts, that Kabwata and Antonio Mwanza former UNZASU president they are getting some khaki envelopes somewhere…We are not going to attend National Constitutional Conference (NCC) and we shall meet Mwanza in court,” Sata said. “The youngman Mulongoti was nominated, as nominated Member of Parliament, he is supposed to yap like he is doing.”
Sata said poverty had made even educated people to be preoccupied with semantics.

“For example, we have the so-called NCC… that NCC if they are going to rush and say they want to have a constitution on which we are going to run the elections, what type of constitution is that going to be?” Sata asked.

“They want a degree holder to be Speaker…the current constitution a person qualifies to be speaker if he qualifies to be a MP, are they going to tell us that all MPs must be degree holders? We are going back to the colonial days. The so-called graduates who are in that NCC have hijacked the whole process. We are not getting anything in that constitution for the people.”

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Let's rally behind Zanu PF

Let's rally behind Zanu PF
Fri, 15 Jan 2010 13:41:00 +0000

DEAR EDITOR — Resolutions adopted by Zanu PF at its National People’s Congress last December should be followed to the letter. Zanu PF has been in power since independence in 1980 and has withstood the test of time. Zanu PF has seen it all. It has fought electoral battles with different political parties, all of which are now extinct.

We had parties like NDU; Zupo under a puppet called Chief Jeremiah Chirau; Zane Mewing of Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole; the Republican Front of racist Ian Douglas Smith; and the UANC of former Zimbabwe-Rhodesia prime minister Emeritus Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa.

As recently as the 1990s there was Edgar Tekere’s ZUM which zoomed into oblivion and stand-up comedians like Egypt Dzinemunhenzva and other contenders from the red dusty streets of Glen View.

PF Zapu under the leadership of Father Zimbabwe, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, differed from all these parties because it shared the same ideological values with Zanu-PF and was also in the trenches fighting one common enemy to liberate Zimbabwe. That is why it formed a unity government with Zanu PF 22 years ago, which is still intact, and will never collapse never mind what prophets of doom say.

The lucky parties to taste power in Government were the MDC-T and MDC through a technicality — courtesy of the GPA.

These parties were born out of hatred by imperialists angered by the land reform programme. The neo-colonialists are still pursuing that agenda in the futile belief that its surrogates in Government will seize power from within.

This is the year we should defeat imperialist forces by consolidating the gains of independence. Let those calling for change undergo a "Damascus moment" and realise that they have been used to feather the nests of our enemies. Let’s rally behind His Excellency to safeguard our heritage and legacy.

Campion wekwaMereki.

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(HERALD) Anti-gay Bill touches on foreign policy: Museveni

Anti-gay Bill touches on foreign policy: Museveni

KAMPALA. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Tuesday said an anti-homosexuality Bill which has caused international condemnation was also a foreign policy issue which should be addressed.

With observers arguing the Bill could harm foreign support for Uganda, the president distanced himself from senior cabinet members who insist that Uganda will not be swayed by foreign pressure.

"I strongly advise you that we agree that the cabinet sit down with (the Bill’s sponsor lawmaker David) Bahati and see how best to handle this issue," Museveni said at the ruling National Resistance Movement party’s executive conference at State House in Entebbe.

"Because it is a foreign policy issue, it is not just our internal politics, and we must handle it in a way which does not compromise our principles but also takes into account our foreign policy interests," he said, in a speech broadcast by the independent KFM radio station.

"So let’s be systematic among ourselves, and then we dialogue with these Europeans and the Americans and then we shall come up with a final position," he added.

The draft law has been harshly condemned by the United States and European Union but Ugandan Minister for Ethics and Integrity James Nsaba Buturo, one of the Bill’s leading proponents, insists that Uganda will not be moved by foreign criticism.

"Nobody, nobody, nobody has the right to think for Ugandans. Nobody has the right to impose their values on a sovereign state," he said last month.

The Bill would impose the death penalty for "aggravated homosexuality", applicable in cases of rape of a minor by a person of the same sex, or where one partner carries the Aids virus.

It would also criminalise public discussion of homosexuality and could penalise an individual who knowingly rents property to a homosexual.

Homosexuality is illegal in Uganda, punishable by life imprisonment in some instances. — AFP.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) AG lambasts state witness in Bennett trial

AG lambasts state witness in Bennett trial
15/01/2010 00:00:00

ATTORNEY General, Johannes Tomana turned on his main witness in the ongoing terrorism trial of Roy Bennet, accusing him of trying to damage the state’s case by giving evidence beneficial to the MDC-T politician.

Bennett is on trial at the Harare High Court facing charges of terrorism, insurgency, sabotage, banditry and a plot to kill President Robert Mugabe, which carry a maximum death sentence. He denies the charges.

The prosecution, led by the attorney general wants the High Court to convict Bennett by relying on written confessions and a video recording made by gun dealer and ex-Rhodesian policeman Peter Hitschmann in 2006.

But during Thursday’s hearing, Hitschmann, who has previously disowned the confessions, denied being involved in an anti-government plot with Bennett and repeated claims that he was tortured to implicate the MDC-T treasurer-general.

However, Tomana said Hitschmann's evidence in court would damage the state's case but insisted he would seek to show that the confessions were made voluntarily as well as cross-examine the witness to discredit statements he has made in court.

"The state is of the view that the witness is deliberately being adverse to the state case with the view to unlawfully shield the accused person.

"The evidence that has been adopted as the truth by the witness has the effect of damaging the state's case or prejudicing the state," Tomana said

Presiding judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu asked Hitschmann to explain the discrepancies in his evidence in court and the written and video confessions he made in 2006.

Hitschmann told the court he had no links with Bennett and did not buy weapons of war. He disowned some of the weapons attributed to him by the state as well as e-mail print-outs purportedly showing communication between him and Bennett.

He said he was tortured into making confessions at a military barracks in March 2006.

"The prosecution, in my humble view, has not played a fair game in forcing through this so called evidence. I continue to deny any and all statements whether signed or unsigned or video which differ in content with my consistent testimony in my trial and in these proceedings," Hitschmann said.

The arms dealer, 49, was jailed for possession of dangerous weapons in 2006, a conviction and sentence he is appealing, but was acquitted on the more serious terrorism charges.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Bulawayo Mine revenues grow 43 percent

Bulawayo Mine revenues grow 43 percent
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
15/01/2010 00:00:00

TURK Mine recorded a 43 percent jump in fourth quarter gold sales which saw revenues over the three months to December 31, 2009 topping US$4 million.

The mine, which is located some 56 kilometres north-east of Bulawayo is the principal asset of Canada-based New Dawn Mining, a junior resources firm which primarily focuses on opportunities in Southern Africa.

New Dawn said Turk Mine achieved “record gold production” levels with sales reaching US$3.9 million during the quarter ended December 31, 2009.

This was a huge improvement on the US$2.8 million recorded during the previous quarter.
And to put the achievement in even clearer perspective, revenues for the financial year ended September 2009 totalled US$5.6 million.

“I am pleased to report to shareholders that we achieved record sales during the quarter as a result of both increased production and the higher gold spot price.

“The higher gold prices have allowed us to accelerate our internally funded growth programme from which we expect to see the benefits in subsequent periods,” Ian Saunders, President and CEO of New Dawn said.

Operations at Turk mine were scaled-back to care and maintenance over the last couple of years as a result of the adverse political and economic conditions obtaining in Zimbabwe but production resumed in late March 2009 after the country’s political leaders reached a deal to form a coalition government.

Since then a series of positive policy measures by the government and firming world market prices for minerals have sent the country’s key mining sector begin to recover from years of negative growth.

“At the start of the New Year, our focus for 2010 is clear.
“We will continue our efforts to increase and accelerate production at Turk Mine and advance development of our exploration properties in Zimbabwe while continuing to pursue value acquisitions in the country,” Saunders said.

Apart from Turk, New Dawn’s other interests in Zimbabwe include Angelus Mines in the upper South-western area of the country which has the potential to produce an estimated 35 000 to 50 000 ounces of gold per annum.

The company also has a portfolio of exploration properties in the country which include the Consolidated Bubi Gold Fields, Consolidated Midlands Gold Fields and the Consolidated Shurugwi Gold Fields.

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(STICKY) Dr Musokotwane justifies incentives given to mines

COMMENT - The 'incentive' of paying no tax is done so the mines can keep all of their profits. I don't see what is so difficult to understand about that. While exporting $5 billion a year, the mining sector is not there 'to create jobs'. It is there to capitalize other economic sectors. Allowing them not to pay taxes is a crime against the people and economy of Zambia. The so-called jobs in mining are nothing compared to the jobs that can be created in agriculture, let alone manufacturing.

Dr Musokotwane justifies incentives given to mines
By Fridah Zinyama
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT

FINANCE minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane has justified the incentives given to the mining sector during the on-set of the global financial crisis, saying the action was necessary if the country's economy was to survive.

During the dissemination workshop yesterday on ‘The impact of the global financial crisis on Business and Employment in Zambia’, Dr Musokotwane said the government’s biggest concern during the on-set of the economic crisis was saving the mining sector because of the critical role that it played in the country’s economy.

“Our main concern was the impact that would have occurred in the country had the mining companies been allowed to close,” he said. “As it is, it has taken the new investor of the Luanshya Copper Mine one year to start production.”

Dr Musokotwane explained that the impact would have been much worse had government allowed the mining companies to close without any intervention as it would have taken longer for them to re-start production once new investors were found.

“Our intention was prevention rather than cure,” he said. “We are confident that with the action that government has taken more jobs will be created this year in the mining sector.”

Dr. Musokotwane said the sub-contractors to the mining sector were the worse hit by the financial crisis, as some companies had to be liquidated.

“The mining sector itself was affected but the ones indirectly affected were the contractors,” he said.

And International Labour Organisation (ILO) director Gerry Finnegan said about 52 million workers globally lost their jobs due to the impact of the global financial crisis.

Finnegan said the mining and tourism sectors were the worst hit by the financial crisis, which resulted in the many job losses experienced.

“In Zambia, instinctively, we knew that the crisis could not ignore Zambian workers,” he said. “Increasingly, in the last quarter of 2008 and in 2009, we were aware of workers losing their jobs particularly in mining and tourism.”

Meanwhile, Mine- Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ) president Rayford Mbulu accused some mining companies of fulfilling their sinister intentions of retrenching employees’ by way of the opportunity which the global financial crisis created.

“What was surprising was that while others were busy retrenching their workers, other mining companies maintained their workforce when they were also facing the same challenges as the other companies,” he said.

Mbulu said the government also gave a lot of incentives to the mining sector to help them survive the crisis hence they should have exercised some lenience towards their employees.

And Zambia Federation of Employers president Dr George Chabwera said even though the country had recorded some positive macro economic trends, the country had not witnessed any growth in employment.

“We also continue to remain apprehensive of the effects of the crisis on job creation in the country. We remain apprehensive because we do not see any new jobs being created in future,” said Dr Chabwera.

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ZDA responds to Sata over sale of Zamtel

COMMENT - There is no justification for the privatisation of ZAMTEL. DG Lungu is crying because his corrupt scam is being threatened. At no time did the government point out to parliament or the press or the public why ZAMTEL needs to be privatised, and how services are going to be improved when it is. Going by past privatisations, they won't be. Time to start running the government and ZAMTEL seriously, and not look at privatisation as an easy solution and a way to make quick money.

ZDA responds to Sata over sale of Zamtel
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIA Development Agency (ZDA) acting director general Muhabi Lungu has said Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata’s plans to sabotage Zamtel’s privatisation process through threats to renationalise the company if he forms the next government are unfortunate and unpatriotic.

And all four foreign companies that submitted first-round bids for buying 75 per cent stake in Zamtel have been shortlisted to the next round bidding process of the controversial sale process.

Recently, Sata was quoted in the international media to have said PF would renationalise Zamtel if elected in 2011 because the decision to privatise the company was not in the best interest of the country.

But Lungu said Sata’s statement had not deterred any of the companies from pursuing their interest to acquire a majority stake in Zamtel.

“I think they (interested companies) are serious to go forward and it means that they have taken due consideration of and they think it is a worthwhile endeavour to participate,” Lungu said. “Obviously, from the technical point of view, the comments that have been made are unfortunate because what we are doing as ZDA and the intentions of the government whether you like the government or not are noble intentions...”

And Lungu, who described the four companies that had been shortlisted as serious and respected telecommunications firms, said all the firms would be required to conduct further due diligence on Zamtel starting next week.
India's Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Angola's consortium of Unitel and Angola Cables, Libya's LAP Greencom Ltd and LAP Green Networks and the Russian consortium of Altimo Holdings and VimpelCom are all in the race to acquire between 51 and 75 per cent of the stake in Zamtel.

Lungu said at the end of the due diligence, bidders would be required to submit new bids against a set of transaction documents which would include a draft shareholders’ agreement and a draft sale and purchase agreement.

Lungu, who stressed that the number of bidders would be reduced during the next phase, said at the commencement of the next phase, shortlisted bidders would receive comprehensive details of the requirements and timings of the next phase of the process.

He said the negotiations with the possible buyers of Zamtel would start between April and May.

“To some extent, we will stick to that timeframe but again what we don’t want to do is to set a timeframe on the assumptions that that there can be some contingent issues,” said Lungu.

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Rigging through NRCs

Rigging through NRCs
By Editor
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT

Unless the process is correct, election results that are accepted and respected by both the winners and the losers will continue to be elusive. It is therefore very important that there is reasonable consensus over all activities and processes leading to the holding of elections.

And voting is not only a right of every eligible citizen, but rather a duty. There is a big injustice if a citizen who is eligible to vote does not do so because he or she is not registered as a voter as a result of not having obtained a national registration card.

It is therefore an important responsibility of the government to ensure that every citizen who has attained the age of 16 should be issued with a national registration card to enable them to register as voters when the time comes so that they can take part in next year’s elections if they would have attained the age of 18 by the time the voters registration begins. If a citizen does not exercise his duty to vote, Zambians run a risk of getting into public offices people who have no national interests at heart and who are going to jeopardise the future of their children.

We therefore urge every Zambian who has attained the age of 16 and above to obtain their national registration cards so that when the time comes, they can exercise their right and take up their citizen duty. Go and obtain a national registration card so that when the time comes, you can register as voters and vote for the right persons. Zambia needs patriotic leaders; people who place national interests before personal ambitions so that we can all walk together in faith, hope and love.

We know that it is the duty of the Ministry of Home Affairs to issue national registration cards to all Zambians who have attained the age of 16. But it is also your duty as a citizen to ensure that this is done and done in time for you to be able to register as a voter. The neglect of the duty of participating in the choice of leaders in general and presidential elections brings catastrophic results to the nation.

It is a great mistake to shun this responsibility. And every citizen is called upon to play his or her part conscientiously, that is: those with leadership gifts should obtain national registration cards and register as voters and present themselves and be ready to contest and serve the people in accepting office as a trust and service to the people and not as a stepping stone for enriching themselves.

But to do this, one has to have a national registration card. So go and get it; all citizens who have reached a voting age should obtain national registration cards so that they can register and participate in electing leaders who have the necessary qualities.

It should be understood that the neglect of participating in the voting and in the election of good leaders allows unworthy candidates to take leadership positions and brings disharmony in our country. To neglect to obtain a national registration card and to register as a voter and consequently vote is to lose a person’s right and a nation’s right.

It is also important for the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that every citizen who qualifies for a national registration card has immediate access to it. And if the Ministry of Home Affairs fails to do so, this will be tantamount to disenfranchising such citizens. This responsibility cannot be gotten away with by the government.

Litigation should be commenced by any citizen or group of citizens who are being disadvantaged by the government in that way and the court should be urged to compel the government to immediately issue such citizens with national registration cards. There is no need to sit ndwii and cry that the Ministry of Home Affairs is not issuing us with national registration cards, they are only doing so in areas where the ruling party feels politically strong.

They can be challenged and compelled to issue you with national registration cards. If national registration cards are being issued in an irregular manner, this will constitute an electoral irregularity which is a violation of the rights of every eligible voter who is not issued with a national registration card. It is therefore very important that the Ministry of Home Affairs does everything possible to ensure that every citizen who qualifies for a national registration card gets it before the voter’s registration exercise commences.

We say this because without this being done, free, fair and constructive elections will not become a reality; they only become a reality when the politicians, when those running government and who are tasked with a duty to prepare the nation for elections take their responsibilities seriously.

The political rights of every Zambian citizen consist in the capacity to participate in government. They exist for the public good. The most important political right is to vote. Today the vote is a serious duty. Whether a nation will have good or bad laws, an upright or inefficient administration depends on voters. A person who is able to vote but never votes is guilty of a serious omission.

So it is the duty of the citizen and the government to ensure that all that is needed for one to vote is in his or her possession. Citizens who do not care for their duty of voting are an easy prey to tyranny. This imperative duty must be fulfilled carefully and we must choose wisely people who will take the direction of civil affairs.

There is need for us to create conditions for peaceful, free and fair elections. There will be no peaceful, free and fair elections if some feel national registration cards are only being issued, or are disproportionately being issued, in areas where the ruling MMD has more public support.

To have peaceful, free and fair elections, certain conditions have to prevail in our country, in our practices and in our hearts. There ought to be a conducive atmosphere. The major players have to agree on conditions under which next year’s elections will be held.

And these conditions start with the issuance of national registration cards. National registration cards are an important part of our electoral process because without them, one cannot register as a voter and vote. Not to issue national registration cards to an area where the opposition has more popular support is tantamount to rigging an election.

Rigging and other electoral irregularities are a violation of the rights of the voters. The contestants, which include the party in government, have to conduct themselves in a manner that does not put others at an unfair disadvantage. There ought to be transparency in the organisation of next year’s elections – starting with the issuance of national registration cards.
Constructive dialogue should be encouraged at all times on key electoral issues like the issuance of national registration cards.

In the light of the complaints being raised about the issuance of national registration cards, we make special appeal to the government and to the ruling MMD to realise that they have a serious responsibility.

As facilitators of next year’s elections, they should ensure that the concerns of all key players are adequately addressed. We also make an appeal to the opposition political parties about the need for them to be open and constructive in participating in the electoral process and in addressing the issues pertaining to the issuance of national registration cards and the registration of voters that will follow.

Next year’s elections will provide all Zambians with a unique opportunity to show their political maturity and their sincere aspiration for peace and harmony anchored in justice. Good elections require intelligent and responsible participation of all voters. Our vote is a powerful weapon for unity, an instrument of liberty, justice and peace.

On our voting, on the quality of it, the discernment behind it, depends the progress and peace of our country. The interests of the political parties should be kept subordinate to the public good. All citizens must be guided by the truth, integrity and justice. And it is necessary to remind all political parties, including the ruling MMD and its government, that politics is for the good of people and the country, and not for a political survival of any individual or political party.

Those in power should realise that they have a duty to ensure that every citizen who qualifies to register as a voter is given an opportunity to do so. And if they fail to do this, they should be challenged and be compelled to perform this duty without discrimination. We also remind those in government that their powers are not absolute; they are limited by the laws of our country, the natural laws, the laws of God, including the human rights. Therefore in performing their duty to issue national registration cards to all citizens who qualify to get them, they are required to respect the divine law and natural law, including the respect of human rights.

The issuance of national registration cards is not an issue that should be left to the whims and caprices of the Minister of Home Affairs. It is something that requires the participation of all stakeholders because elections are a central institution of democratic representative government. We say this because in a democracy, the authority of the government derives solely from the consent of the governed. And the principal mechanism for translating that consent into governmental authority is the holding of free and fair elections.

Simply permitting the opposition access to the ballot is not enough. An election in which supporters of the opposition are deliberately disenfranchised by not being issued with national registration cards cannot be said to be democratic – free and fair. The ruling MMD may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election process must be just and fair. And this means that the issuance of national registration cards must be conducted in a manner that is just and fair to all.

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PF-UPND pact intact – HH

PF-UPND pact intact – HH
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 15 Jan. 2010, 04:00 CAT

UPND-PF pact is intact and President Rupiah Banda’s fabrications against the pact will not break us, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema said yesterday. And Hichilema said people in Western Province are demanding change of government, even today.

Reacting to yesterday's lead story in the Times of Zambia that the UPND executive committee was scouting for a female vice-president, preferably from the Northern-Province to enhance its chances of winning the 2011 presidential polls because it was clear that the pact with the Patriotic Front (PF) is crumbling, Hichilema accused President Banda, Vice-President George Kunda and information minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha of fabricating lies that the pact was crumbling, when in fact its popularity was growing.

The Times of Zambia reported that at a UPND extraordinary executive meeting held on January 6, 2010 chaired by Hichilema, serious concerns were raised about the manner the PF was conducting its campaigns in the private media and resolved that Professor Nkandu Luo be courted for the position of third vice-president.

But Hichilema said the UPND has never held such a meeting in January 2010.
“What do you expect from the MMD mouthpiece? The Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are MMD mouthpiece and everyone knows that,” said Hichilema from Kaoma in Western Province where he is campaigning for the pact ahead of the 2011 elections. “If there is anything that worries the MMD, it is the pact; the UPND-PF pact. There is no doubt about that.

Any sane, normal Zambian will be aware that the government machinery including the newspapers such as the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail will project the image that the pact is not going to last. That is what we expect from them. So there is no surprise about that.

“They will buy a few people, they are well known, from PF and UPND to project that image. We have been aware of that from day one, even before we consummated the pact, we were aware that the government will do things like that. So there is nothing to worry about.”

Hichilema said there was no national management committee meeting of the UPND on January 6, 2010.

“On 6th January, I was on my ranch in Choma. There was no NMC meeting. The vice-president Richard Kapita was in Mwinilunga. UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma was in Zambezi. Most of the NMC members were out. The facts are wrong. They show you how desperate the MMD are. They are quoting a management meeting which was not there. I am the chairman of those meetings; there has not been a management meeting in January. I am in Lukulu now as we are speaking. Absolutely that is a lie, a fabrication of the MMD,” he said. “Everyone is aware that in UPND we have a portfolio for vice-president gender.

We made a decision in June 2009. For your information, the UPND has had its general assembly which is equivalent to a convention in June 2009 and at that meeting we approved among many things, the pact. The pact was approved by the highest policy making body in the UPND. The other decision we made there was to bring in another vice-president who would be vice-president gender.”
Hichilema denied ever courting Professor Luo, former health minister and now HIV/AIDS activist, as a party vice-president.

“We have not tried to look at any name like the name Professor Luo you have mentioned and there is nothing to insinuate that we are going to fill the position of vice-president gender because the pact will not last; it's just their figment of imagination by the MMD,” Hichilema said.

“The whole MMD is panicking so they are trying to use the Times of Zambia or the Daily Mail to portray the picture that the pact is cracking. We expect that but I think the people of Zambia are resolved towards uniting Zambia and delivering a government under the UPND and PF pact. I am telling the people of Zambia: 'be calm out there.'”

Hichilema said the MMD was behaving the way UNIP behaved just before it was voted out in 1991 at the height of campaigns to reintroduce multiparty democracy.

“We saw that in 1991 when UNIP was exiting. They made all sorts of propaganda,” Hichilema said. “ This is the work of Shikapwasha, Rupiah Banda and George Kunda. They think propaganda means telling lies. Propaganda means marketing information which is correct, not wrong information. They are fabricating stories and that shows you the low quality of leadership in the MMD. These are kicks of a dying horse.”

And Hichilema said people in Western Province were resolved to vote out the MMD.
“The message from Western Province is clear from the rallies we were having, it's like we are having elections tomorrow. People are saying: 'lubata kuchincha' we want change. They want elections even this year; that is what they are saying,” said Hichilema.

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