Saturday, February 13, 2010

(LUSAKATIMES) AG’s report reveals massive misuse of funds in Zambian foreign missions

AG’s report reveals massive misuse of funds in Zambian foreign missions
Thursday, February 11, 2010, 17:09

The Zambian Embassy in Washington in the United States of America has misused funds through delayed banking of revenue, irregular payment of Foreign Service allowances, unretired imprest, unaccounted for stores and unaccounted for fuel funds among others.

This has been revealed in the Auditor General’s (AG) report for the financial year ended 2008, which also revealed massive misappropriation of public funds by other Zambian foreign missions.

The delays in banking revenue amounted to about to K1.15 billion for the period ranging from two to 88 days.

In unretired imprest, the mission paid advances totaling to K149.1 million involving 44 transactions, which were issued to 12 officers during the period from January 2007 to December 2008. This imprest was not retired as at August 2009.

For unaccounted for stores, the mission is said to have no receipts and disposal details for assorted items costing K84.8 million and amounts totaling over K103.9 million were paid to BP AMOCO for the procurement of fuel for the mission vehicles during the period under review.

At Gaborone mission in Botswana, the AG’s report reveals that a total of K3.1 billion was captured as expenditure resulting in a variance of K993.5 million between the funding and expenditure of the mission.

A comparison of revenue returns at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters and those maintained at the mission revealed variances of K173.8 million in 2007 and K8.2 million in 2008.

The report has further revealed that at the mission in Abuja, a total of K54.9 million was collected from the period January to December 2008 as revenue for issuing visas instead of K90. 1million, therefore resulting into an under collection of revenue by K35.2 million.

This was because the mission continued to issue visas at the old rate despite the Immigration Department visa fees being increased from US$30 and US$50 for single and multiple entry visas to US$80 and US$160 respectively.
The increase was with effect from 26th January 2008.


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(COMMONDREAMS, THE NATION) Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor

Haiti: A Creditor, Not a Debtor
by Naomi Klein
Published on Friday, February 12, 2010 by The Nation

If we are to believe the G-7 finance ministers, Haiti is on its way to getting something it has deserved for a very long time: full "forgiveness" of its foreign debt. In Port-au-Prince, Haitian economist Camille Chalmers has been watching these developments with cautious optimism. Debt cancellation is a good start, he told Al Jazeera English, but "It's time to go much further. We have to talk about reparations and restitution for the devastating consequences of debt." In this telling, the whole idea that Haiti is a debtor needs to be abandoned. Haiti, he argues, is a creditor-and it is we, in the West, who are deeply in arrears.

Our debt to Haiti stems from four main sources: slavery, the US occupation, dictatorship and climate change. These claims are not fantastical, nor are they merely rhetorical. They rest on multiple violations of legal norms and agreements. Here, far too briefly, are highlights of the Haiti case.

The Slavery Debt. When Haitians won their independence from France in 1804, they would have had every right to claim reparations from the powers that had profited from three centuries of stolen labor. France, however, was convinced that it was Haitians who had stolen the property of slave owners by refusing to work for free. So in 1825, with a flotilla of war ships stationed off the Haitian coast threatening to re-enslave the former colony, King Charles X came to collect: 90 million gold francs-ten times Haiti's annual revenue at the time. With no way to refuse, and no way to pay, the young nation was shackled to a debt that would take 122 years to pay off.

In 2003, Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, facing a crippling economic embargo, announced that Haiti would sue the French government over that long-ago heist. "Our argument," Aristide's former lawyer Ira Kurzban told me, "was that the contract was an invalid agreement because it was based on the threat of re-enslavement at a time when the international community regarded slavery as an evil."

The French government was sufficiently concerned that it sent a mediator to Port-au-Prince to keep the case out of court. In the end, however, its problem was eliminated: while trial preparations were under way, Aristide was toppled from power. The lawsuit disappeared, but for many Haitians the reparations claim lives on.

The Dictatorship Debt. From 1957 to 1986, Haiti was ruled by the defiantly kleptocratic Duvalier regime. Unlike the French debt, the case against the Duvaliers made it into several courts, which traced Haitian funds to an elaborate network of Swiss bank and lavish properties. In 1988 Kurzban won a landmark suit against Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier when a US District Court in Miami found that the deposed ruler had "misappropriated more than $504,000,000 from public monies."

Haitians, of course, are still waiting for their payback-but that was only the beginning of their losses. For more than two decades, the country's creditors insisted that Haitians honor the huge debts incurred by the Duvaliers, estimated at $844 million, much of it owed to institutions like the IMF and the World Bank. In debt service alone, Haitians have paid out tens of millions every year.

Was it legal for foreign lenders to collect on the Duvalier debts when so much of it was never spent in Haiti? Very likely not. As Cephas Lumina, the United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, put it to me, "the case of Haiti is one of the best examples of odious debt in the world. On that basis alone the debt should be unconditionally canceled."

But even if Haiti does see full debt cancellation (a big if), that does not extinguish its right to be compensated for illegal debts already collected.

The Climate Debt. Championed by several developing countries at the climate summit in Copenhagen, the case for climate debt is straightforward. Wealthy countries that have so spectacularly failed to address the climate crisis they caused owe a debt to the developing countries that have done little to cause the crisis but are disproportionately facing its effects. In short: the polluter pays. Haiti has a particularly compelling claim. Its contribution to climate change has been negligible; Haiti's per capita CO2 emissions are just 1 percent of US emissions. Yet Haiti is among the hardest hit countries-according to one index, only Somalia is more vulnerable to climate change.

Haiti's vulnerability to climate change is not only-or even mostly-because of geography. Yes, it faces increasingly heavy storms. But it is Haiti's weak infrastructure that turns challenges into disasters and disasters into full-fledged catastrophes. The earthquake, though not linked to climate change, is a prime example. And this is where all those illegal debt payments may yet extract their most devastating cost. Each payment to a foreign creditor was money not spent on a road, a school, an electrical line. And that same illegitimate debt empowered the IMF and World Bank to attach onerous conditions to each new loan, requiring Haiti to deregulate its economy and slash its public sector still further. Failure to comply was met with a punishing aid embargo from 2001 to '04, the death knell to Haiti's public sphere.

This history needs to be confronted now, because it threatens to repeat itself. Haiti's creditors are already using the desperate need for earthquake aid to push for a fivefold increase in garment-sector production, some of the most exploitative jobs in the country. Haitians have no status in these talks, because they are regarded as passive recipients of aid, not full and dignified participants in a process of redress and restitution.

A reckoning with the debts the world owes to Haiti would radically change this poisonous dynamic. This is where the real road to repair begins: by recognizing the right of Haitians to reparations.

The interview with economist Camille Chalmers was conducted by my partner Avi Lewis for an in-depth report that aired today on Al Jazeera English. The piece, Haiti: The Politics of Rebuilding, offers a deeply compelling portrait of a people who are brimming with ideas about how to rebuild their country based on principles of sovereignty and equity -- far from the passive victims we have seen on so many other networks. It was produced by my former colleague Andréa Schmidt, one of the main researchers on The Shock Doctrine, and is crucial viewing for anyone concerned with avoiding a disaster capitalism redux in Haiti.

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ZAM urges govt to protect local industries

ZAM urges govt to protect local industries
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) yesterday challenged the government to urgently address the high cost of doing business so that local industries are not jeopardised through the flooding of cheaper imported products under the free trade regional integration markets.

And ZAM vice-president for the Northern Region Eugene Appel has said there is need for mechanisms to ensure that proposed joint ventures with foreign entities result into meaningful partnerships.

In an interview in Kitwe, Appel said the coming of regional markets would result in mass production of goods that would see Zambian producers disadvantaged due to the high cost of borrowing that hinders their capacity to expand.

“Producers exporting into Zambia borrow funds at lower interest rates in their countries hence whatever they produce will be cheaper so our goods will not compete favourably and this will negatively affect local industries,” Appel said.

“So government should urgently address the high cost of doing business in the country otherwise benefits of regional integrations will bypass us just because we cannot borrow to invest and expand since interest rates are too high.”

He said the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission’s financing to Kechas General Dealers for Iron sheet manufacturing was a good initiative that would result in a positive impact on the economy.

“But this financing facility should be done on a large scale and we need to see such financing being available to many projects because it shows that economic development is possible when funds are readily available,” Appel said.

He said it was encouraging to see government talking about joint ventures with foreign investors especially those from the Asian block.

“But this has not materialised into actual and meaningful partnership because certain mechanism are not in place hence government should ensure that guidelines are there and should be implemented,” said Appel.

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Don’t allow them to cheat poor souls

Don’t allow them to cheat poor souls
By Editor
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

IN our editorial comment yesterday we said that by quoting a lot from the Bible and other religious teachings, we were not in any way trying to compete with our clergymen in preaching the gospel.

It is not possible for us to avoid using religious teachings to explain what is going on in our country, the world we live in. If we were to ask a Zambian worker, a domestic servant, a farmer what concept he or she had of the world, he or she would surely couch his reply in religious terms. The most elementary concept that the poor and suffering, the marginalised, the oppressed people of our country have of the world is a religious one. Ignoring this reality is foreclosing the possibility of establishing a link between our political outlook and the great majority of the masses of our people.

We have to be sensitive to our people’s religious concepts. It’s not easy, for instance, to convince a worker or a farmer that he has to fight for some utopia, for democracy or a more just, fair and humane society whatever that society may be called. But it’s very easy to tell him, “Look, we believe that there is only one God, who is the Father. If that is true, we should all live as brothers and sisters, but the brotherhood that God wants doesn’t exist in our nation.

It is denied by injustice, unfairness, selfishness, vanity, greed, corruption, intolerance, inequalities of all sorts, economic contradictions and so on and so forth. So for us, basing ourselves on the very root of our faith, fighting for brotherhood means fighting against all those things that concretely and historically hinder justice, fairness, humaneness, social equality, freedom and full dignity for everyone no matter what his job, tribe, colour or ideas.” This is the approach we find reasonable in the circumstances of our country. And that’s why we have joined the many priests, pastors, reverends and others in basing our political arguments on biblical or religious teachings.

It is for this reason that we share the views of Reverend Richard M’bao, the chairperson of the East and Southern Africa International Pastors Forum, who is currently visiting our country in paying tribute to all our religious leaders who, amid lack of understanding and in the blessedness of the thirst for justice, are preparing, in the manner of John the Baptist, for the coming of the Lord in a more just, fair and humane society whatever that may be called.

Reverend M’bao is right when he says “political governance should be aimed at attaining the common good and not the manipulation of the poor that we see from politicians. They should not be given room to cheat the poor souls, that’s why the clergy’s presence in the promotion of human dignity must be felt and respected by all”.

We think the highest level of religious thought was reached when some clergymen and other religious people became aware that no people and no man had the right to abuse others, to rob others, to exploit others, and that the fruits of the efforts and intelligence of each human being should reach all others; that man really had no need to be a wolf, but could be a brother to man. That is the main essence of the premises on which our clergymen who, following the example of Christ, devote their work, their preaching to the humble, the poor; dedicate their work to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings.

This also reminds us of Fidel Castro’s 1971 talk with Catholics in Chile, his 1977 meeting with ministers in Jamaica, and the phrase of his in the first few years of the Cuban Revolution: “He who betrays the poor betrays Christ.”

All religions preach love as their core teaching; yet we find people who are apparently very religious and faithful to their religious practices and at the same time, very selfish, very greedy, very corrupt, very intolerant and very difficult to live and work with. We find among them those who do not seem to have any qualms of conscience about their selfish and corrupt behaviour like stealing public funds; abusing power; telling lies; taking bribes; cheating in elections, politics and business; being vengeful and so on and so forth. These people may even go to church, temple or mosque on their way to do these evil things. We find this phenomenon all over the world and down the centuries.

When religion degenerates into religiosity either at the individual or at the organisational level, religious practices and structures tend to replace religious values. Religion, then, instead of becoming a liberating force, a force of justice, fairness and humaneness, becomes a means of exploitation, abuse, deceit and corruption, or as Karl Marx would say, opium, both of individuals and of religious groups.

It is understandable why, as Reverend M’bao has correctly observed, clergymen who criticise inept governance must be encouraged and their teachings listened to. Truly, politicians must not be given a chance to prevail over every governance issue in the country. After all, all politicians, whatever their rank, are servants of the people, and not their masters, and whatever they do should be to serve the people, and as such cannot be expected to lord over the people. If they look at politics this way, they will not have difficulties discarding this culture of intolerance and lack of humility which makes them fail to place the humanity of others before self and accept that all citizens have a right to participate in the shaping of their destiny directly without fear of reprisal.

Without courageous clergymen, we don’t know where this country would be today in terms of good governance. We therefore need these courageous and honest clergymen to continue to be the conscience of our nation, moral custodians and fearless champions of the interests of the weak and downtrodden.

Our clergymen, our religious leaders have both the right and duty to participate fully in building a just, fair, humane and peaceful society with all the means at their disposal. And they are not fully rooted among their people if they do not try to establish justice. And as it has been stated before, politics is not a “dirty game” but is a genuine way of being at the service of others for the integral development of the country. This being the case, our priests, pastors, reverends and other religious leaders have a role in ensuring honest politics in our country. Politics needs people with integrity because their presence in the political arena can bring gospel values to the political process.

We say this because good religious leaders value the democratic system in as much as it ensures the participation of citizens in making political choices, guarantees to the governed the possibility of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means when appropriate. Politics is therefore for the good of the people and the country, and not for the political survival of any individual or political party. And for this reason, we believe that true democracy is a growth in the confidence, in the power of ordinary people, humble citizens to transform their country and thus transform themselves.

It is a growth in the appreciation of people organising, deciding, creating together. It is a growth in fraternal love. This is the true meaning of democracy. And love is the extraordinary force which leads people, which leads our clergymen to opt for courageous and generous engagement in the field of justice, fairness, humaneness and peace. To love someone is to desire that person’s good and to take effective steps to secure it. Besides the good of the individual, there is a good that is linked to living in society: the common good. It is the good of “all of us”, made up of individuals, families and intermediate groups who together constitute society. It is a good that is sought, not for its own sake, but for the people who belong to the social community and who can only live and effectively pursue their own good within it.

To desire the common good and strive towards it is a requirement of justice, fairness and humaneness. To take a stand for the common good is on the one hand to be solicitous for, and on the other hand to avail oneself of, that complex of institutions that give structure to the life of society, juridically, civilly, politically and culturally. The more we strive to secure a common good corresponding to the real need of our neighbours, the more effective we love them. Every Christian is called to practice this charity, in a manner corresponding to his vocation and according to the degree of influence he wields. And when animated by charity, commitment to the common good has greater wealth than a merely secular and political stand would have.

If we look at things this way, it will not be difficult for us to understand why Reverend M’bao is saying that “politicians must not be given room to cheat poor souls” and that “those who criticise inept governance must be encouraged and their teachings listened to”.

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Rev M’bao encourages govt critics

Rev M’bao encourages govt critics
By Misheck Wangwe
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

VISITING Eastern and Southern Africa International Pastors’ Forum chairperson Reverend Richard M’bao has said politicians must not be given room to cheat poor souls.

And Rev M’bao has advised that men of God in Zambia who criticise inept governance must be encouraged and their teachings listened to.

In an interview in Kitwe on Wednesday, Rev M’bao who was in the country to attend a conference on strengthening the forum’s Zambian Chapter said politicians must not be given chance to prevail over every governance issue in the country.

He said the general citizenry together with stakeholders who had a mission of uplifting people’s living standards must be given chance to decide the country’s destiny.

“Political governance should be aimed at attaining the common good and not the manipulation of the poor that we see from politicians. They should not be given room to cheat poor souls, that’s why the clergy’s presence in the promotion of human dignity must be felt and respected by politicians,” Rev M’bao said.

He said the international forum of pastors had been following closely the governance issues raised in the past by Change Life Zambia director Fr Frank Bwalya and other clergy.

“Fr Bwalya’s way of evangelisation is timely and purely on giving life to dry bones to live again by speaking for the majority poor hence the need for people holding government power to listen to his message and work towards uplifting the standards of the majority poor,” Rev M’bao said.

Rev M’bao said the pastors’ forum at the international level would not restrict itself to the pulpit but would also speak out on various governance issues and support people who dedicate their lives to the promotion of good governance on the African continent.

“We have heard a lot about clergymen like Fr Bwalya, Fr Augustine Mwewa, Fr Mpasa, Bishop Paul Duffy and many other men of God in Zambia who criticise inept governance. These men of God must be encouraged and their teachings must be listened to and their advice taken seriously if the country is to attain meaningful development,” advised Rev M’bao said.

He said it was saddening that many African governments did not take pragmatic steps to implement suggestions from the church particularly from men of God who had close contacts with the people.

Rev M’bao said this was partly why many countries in Africa had been riddled with challenges such as lack of proper democracy, poorly managed political elections, conflicts, poor health care and poor education.

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Govt shouldn’t dilly-dally on Chiluba’s judgment – LAZ

Govt shouldn’t dilly-dally on Chiluba’s judgment – LAZ
By Patson Chilemba and Moses Kuwema
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:01 CAT

LAW Association of Zambia (LAZ) president Stephen Lungu yesterday asked the government not to dilly-dally filing submissions on Frederick Chiluba’s London High Court judgment because the Supreme Court has set a good base for them to do so.

Commenting on the Supreme Court's decision to dismiss an appeal by former president Frederick Chiluba, Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu on preliminary issues relating to the registration of the London High Court judgment on Thursday, Lungu said delaying the submission would defeat the whole purpose of the directive given by the Supreme Court to do so.

"They Supreme Court have set a very good base, and understand what I mean by a very good base. Very good base in dismantling the preliminary application that was before it in relation to the London judgment. It is now entirely upon the government to exercise its role effectively in ensuring that the directives given by the Supreme Court are followed," Lungu said. "In its judgment, the Supreme Court has said that the parties to this matter should file their submissions before the High Court so that the High Court can now finally make a determination on the London judgment."

Lungu said it was his considered view that the Supreme Court exhibited its independence over the matter.

"There have been statements that have been attributed that government does not want to see this London Court judgment finalised, and therefore all that has been going on has been a way of delaying the process and that the arguments that have been advanced are that the government does not want to enforce this judgment against president Chiluba," Lungu said.

"But what the Supreme Court has done is, the Supreme Court has looked at this matter objectively, has determined this matter looking at the provisions of the law that exist in Zambia, and has made a determination that the High Court judge was not wrong when he dismissed that preliminary application."

The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by Chiluba, Kabwe, and Chungu on preliminary issues relating to the registration of the London High Court judgment.

This is in a matter before Deputy Chief Justice Ireen Mambilima, Supreme Court justices Dennis Chirwa and Marvin Mwanamwambwa where Chiluba, Kabwe and Chungu appealed against a ruling of Lusaka High Court judge Evans Hamaundu refusing to hear their preliminary issues separately from the main case.

London High Court judge Peter Smith on May 4, 2007 found Chiluba and 19 other defendants liable of having defrauded the Zambian government out of millions of Kwacha ordering them to pay back the money.

And commenting on the debate surrounding Chiluba and the striping of his benefits because of his involvement in politics, Lungu wondered why Chiluba's activities always attracted public outcry.

Lungu said the involvement of former presidents in active politics was not good for the political climate in the country.

“The extent of the activities also needs to be looked at but one question that I have to ask is why is it that there is nothing being said about Kenneth Kaunda? Most of the time these issues have to do with Chiluba,” Lungu wondered.
He said it was not good for a former president to be accosted by members of the public because of his activities. Lungu said the prevailing situation was not good for the country's democracy.

“Why should a former president involve himself in active politics? Why do such things? Even though we are at liberty to do what we what, but we need to be mindful of the consequences that such activities have on society,” Lungu said. “What message are you telling the people on the streets out there if you start engaging in active politics?”

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Miyanda urges Rupiah to reject K5bn for NCC MPs

Miyanda urges Rupiah to reject K5bn for NCC MPs
By George Chellah
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:01 CAT

HERITAGE Party leader Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda yesterday urged President Rupiah Banda and his Cabinet to reject Vice-President George Kunda's recommendation to pay about K5 billion to ministers and other Lusaka-based parliamentarians attending the NCC because the issue is a scandal in the making.

Brig Gen Miyanda commended President Banda for disclosing that the Cabinet had not yet discussed the K5 billion plot. “Being number one soccer fan, the President must rule the proposal completely off side. Each day that passes reveals the fallacy of the NCC Act,” Brig Gen Miyanda said.

“In spite of being aware that the NCC Act was flawed from inception, the government went ahead with it. The Heritage Party has always maintained that the NCC Act is flawed. Under the NCC Act the Vice-President - cum- Minister of Justice has no authority or power to initiate the financial transaction that he has embarked on. It is curious that the NCC dodged the query when its spokesperson Mrs Mwangala Zaloumis declared that the NCC had nothing to do with what was decided outside of it.

The Cabinet must not entertain the memorandum for the following four reasons: first the Act does not identify the Vice-President or Minister of Justice as the responsible minister being referred to in seven of its eight parts; second the Act has vested financial responsibility in the Minister of Finance; third the need to disclose interest and fourth the moral question.

"First, in what capacity did Hon George Kunda originate the Cabinet memorandum recommending the payment of five billion kwacha to ministers and Lusaka-based MPs without input from the NCC? The NCC Act has eight parts; and in seven of these, no one has been designated as the responsible minister. Only in Part VII is the Minister of Finance named.

In the remaining seven parts the word 'minister' appears about eighteen times. In these seven parts [minister" is not defined and neither is it defined anywhere else in the whole Act. In Zambia, there is no minister or ministry called "The Minister". It is contended that "minister" cannot and must not be assumed or presumed."
He stated that it was mischievous for any minister to assume that the Act refered to him or her.
"Part seven of the Act deals with financial provisions. Under this part the Act has established the Constitutional Review Fund whose expenses are paid out of monies appropriated by parliament. This part specifically vests this Fund in the minister responsible for finance.

There is no provision for the Vice-President or Minister of Justice to initiate the award of allowances. In fact, the Act does not even state to which minister the NCC will submit their recommendations once completed! The Minister of Finance should have initiated the Cabinet memorandum," Brig Gen Miyanda stated. "Section 18 requires all members of the NCC to disclose their interest in any contract, proposed contract or other matter in which they are directly or indirectly interested. The five billion plot falls under the 'other matter' provision. Vice-President Kunda is a member of the NCC, he is Lusaka-based and is one of the beneficiaries and thus has an interest in the five billion plot. He should have declared interest under the NCC Act.

"The moral issue arises because Commissions of Inquiry, including Review Commissions, have a limited life and thus should not have conditions that smack of permanency to warrant a gratuity or even a pension. Why are the majority of trade union leaders silent over this scandal? Why should Zambians allow leaders to make such decisions and get away with it? It seems degrees are not helping these people to visualise what five billion translates into.

Don't they know how many bags of pamela five billion will buy, how many villages can be serviced or how many medicines could be bought?"

Brig Gen Miyanda also stated that accusing the opposition of being responsible for the floods was not only cheap politics but was aimed at distracting attention from the immediate scandal and displayed gross ignorance of the government system.

"In spite of high profile pronouncements against finger-pointing, government leaders are leading the onslaught. The floods are unashamedly being blamed on the opposition; but whether true or false, in emergency situations, solutions must be found to answer the people's cries; that is what governments are for: to come to the aid of the people instead of telling them who has messed up,”
Brig Gen Miyanda said. “It is inexcusable to look for scapegoats; when life is lost in the shanties of Lusaka and elsewhere. It is not the time to point at who has sinned. Governance is not a competition about who is better looking, who talks loudest or who travels everywhere. It is about solving people's problems, consoling them, protecting them and giving them hope. Cholera is not a joke; death is not a joke neither is the plunder of five billion kwacha!" Brig Gen Miyanda stated. "It is so frustrating to be in Zambia and remain a Zambian at a time such as this when corruption seems to be here to stay.

Perhaps government should change the law so that corruption officially becomes our way of life, instead of pretending that we are fighting it. The symbol of a Christian government is the sword, which makes the primary function of the government the protection of its citizens as well as to act decisively to counter any improper conduct done in the name of the Cabinet. I urge President Banda and the Cabinet to reject this memorandum and throw it into a waste paper basket!"

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Audit reveals irregularities over Levy’s funeral

Audit reveals irregularities over Levy’s funeral
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:01 CAT

AUDITOR General Anna Chifungula has stated that the K20 billion that was released by the Ministry of Finance to cater for late president Levy Mwanawasa's medical and funeral expenses in 2008 was irregularly spent and unaccounted for by some spending agencies.

In her report on public accounts for the financial year ended December 31, 2008, Chifungula stated that during the period under review unvouched expenditure was the most common irregularity.

Chifungula indicated that the issue of the medical and funeral expenses of the late president Mwanawasa was one of the accounting irregularities that had been sighted under Head 8, Cabinet Office-Office of the President in 2008.

“In the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the financial year ended 31 December 2008, a provision of K170, 322, 361, 649 was made out of which a total of K111, 697, 249, 099 was released leaving a balance of K58, 625, 112, 550,” the report read.

“In August 2008, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning released a total amount of K10, 000, 000, 000 to cater for the medical expenses for the late President. In September 2008 the Ministry further released K10, 000, 000, 000 to cater for funeral expenses.”

The report tabulated that the amount was to be spent as follows: fuel (K450, 000, 000), imprest (K2, 711, 570, 925), hire of cars, tents, toilets and conference (K480, 392, 310), construction of burial site (K2, 568, 360, 077), air travel (K408, 677, 953), decorations (K573, 385, 100), lodging/food (K58, 036, 900), printing (K467, 304, 768), payment to France (K1, 653, 987, 025), payment to London (K126, 684, 619), PS Community Development (K10, 340, 000), PS (Hunting of Animals) (K36, 990, 000), PS Foreign Affairs (K118, 395, 000), PS Defence (K45, 000, 000), PS Information (K370, 080, 000) and PS Works and Supply (K1, 826, 216, 486).

Other recipients were Provincial Administration-various (K1, 150, 000, 000), Director General-OP (K5, 198, 150, 000), Zambia Army (K1, 089, 684, 000) and Lusaka Town Clerk (K479, 363, 600) bringing the total to K19, 822, 618, 763.

“According to existing arrangements, all the spending agencies funded were supposed to account for the funds by way of submitting expenditure returns to the Permanent Secretary at Cabinet Office,” the report stated.

The report highlighted that a review of the expenditure records for the amount above revealed that contrary to Financial Regulations numbers 45 and 52, there were several payments in amounts totaling K343, 115, 272 that were unvouched in that payment vouchers were either missing, inadequately supported or unacquitted.

“During the period from August to September 2008, amounts totaling K450, 000, 000 were paid to a filling station for the procurement of fuel to use during the funeral procession of the late President. However, there were no receipt and disposal details made available for audit,” the report disclosed.

“Contrary to Financial Regulation No. 96 which requires that imprest be retired immediately the purpose for which it was issued has been fulfilled accountable imprest totaling K729, 158, 600 issued to sixteen (16) officers in August 2008 for procurement of fuel and lubricants and for the delegation to France to bring the remains of the late President had not been retired as of December 2008.”

According to a table showing the disbursements of this accountable imprest, four officers from Cabinet Office got K521, 734, 600, four officers from Southern Province got K86, 642, 000, four officers from Copperbelt got K105, 950, 000, three officers from Eastern Province got K9, 196, 000 and one officer from Northern Province got K5, 636, 000, bringing the total to K729, 158, 600.

“A total amount of K1, 030, 904, 720 was paid to Ministry of Works and Supply to procure various goods and services for the funeral of the late President. Out of the total amount released, the ministry spent K759, 852, 000 for the procurement of mattresses, carpets, coffee tables and chairs for which no disposal details were available,” the report highlighted in part.

“Out of the total of K250, 000, 000 disbursed to Central and Luapula Provinces, a total amount of K110, 000, 000 was not accounted for by the respective Provincial Administrations in Central (K10, 000, 000) and Luapula (K100, 000, 000) provinces.”

The report stated that in the case of Eastern Province the presidential funeral expenses funds were misapplied.

“A total amount of K100, 000, 000 was received by the Provincial Administration to cover for the funeral expenses. It was however observed that a total of K45, 196, 000 was applied on unrelated activities such as procurement of fuel for Kulamba ceremony and curtains for the minister's residence among others,” the report stated.

The report stated that an examination of accounting and other records carried out at Cabinet Office, Office of the President and visits of the provinces in February 2009 revealed further accounting and other irregularities within the establishment.

“Contrary to Financial Regulations No. 45 and 52, there were fifty six (56) payments in amounts totaling K1, 528, 504, 408 that were unvouched in that the payment vouchers were either missing, inadequately supported of unaquitted,” the report stated.

“Contrary to Public Stores Regulation No. 16, there were no receipt and disposal details in respect of fuel and lubricants costing K520, 532, 997 purchased during the period under review.”

The report further stated that out of K10, 940, 455, 711 issued as imprest, K442, 773, 038 had not been retired by 37 officers and that as of December 2009 no recoveries had been effected on the officers that had contravened Financial Regulation No. 96 (1).

The report's executive summary stated that the report contains 94 paragraphs on issues that could not be resolved through the various Audit Inspection Reports (management letters) and draft annual report paragraphs.

The Auditor General's analysis of the surplus/shortfall in revenue revealed that the net deficit in the revenue collected against the estimated amount by K1, 313, 603, 956, 045 was attributed to uncollected internal revenue amounting to K190, 503, 809, 727 and unrealised bilateral and multi-lateral grants amounting to K1, 123, 100, 146, 318.

“There was unreconciled balance of K53, 670, 974, 188 indicated in the Financial Report for which no explanation was given. It has also been observed that unreconciled balances have been appearing in the Financial Report since 2002,” the report indicated.

“A review of statement 'C' of the Financial Report for the year under review revealed that expenditure in excess of the provision voted by Parliament of 25 heads of expenditure amounted to K249, 973, 998, 660. The excess expenditure of K249, 973, 998, 666 is unconstitutional and will require approval by Parliament as provided for under Article 117 (5) of the Republican Constitution. The unconstitutional expenditure has increased from K192, 485, 883 in 2007 to K249, 973, 998, 666 in 2008.”

The report stated that according to Statement 'I' of the Financial Report for the year under review, there were unretired imprests amounting to K445, 240, 734, 515 involving 55 heads of expenditure and that included in the figure was an amount of K1, 357, 477, 316 which could not be identified with any head of expenditure.
“It was also observed that that the unretired imprest increased by 7 per cent from K417, 837, 358, 131 in 2007 to K445, 240, 734, 515,” the report stated.

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(LUSAKATIMES, ZANIS) More funds misappropriated

More funds misappropriated at Ministry of works and Supply, Ministry of Local Government and Zambia Police
Friday, February 12, 2010, 7:15

Auditor General Anna Chifungula has disclosed over K12 billion was misapplied at the Ministry of Works and Supply on the completion of Chirundu Border Facilities and the rehabilitation of the Independence Stadium.

According to her report for the financial year ended 2008, the Ministry received a total of K15,000,000,000 and only K2,927,701,781 was spent on redesigning of the stadium while K12,072,298,219 was used for the border facilities.

The report has revealed that as at June 2009 works on the rehabilitation of the stadium had stalled.

Report has also exposed that out of a total K7 billion budgeted and released for a project, an amount of K440,828,830 was incurred leaving a balance of over 2 billion which was not utilized on the project despite two (2) interim payment certificates totaling K748,604,966 being issued in favour of the contractor.

However, the contractor was paid K383, 133,650 in March 2009 from the 2009 allocation.

On the missing payment vouchers the report has revealed that there were payments amounting to K457,063,500 involving thirteen(13) transaction in 2007 and K23,188,765 involving (4) transaction in 2008 which were not vouched and were either missing or lacked supporting documents such as receipts, local purchase orders and quotations among others.

Financial irregularities at the same Ministry were also recorded in the management of fuel, unaccounted for stores and unretired imprest.

Report states that during the year under review there were no receipts and disposal details about the procurement of fuel costing K1, 387,500,000 involving thirty (30) transactions and a further over K 70 billion involving 6 transaction procurements for stores was not accounted for.

The report further reveals that over K6 billion was also misapplied in unretired imprest involving one hundred and thirty seven (137) transactions paid to various officers in 2007 and 35 transactions in 2008 respectively.

Ministry of Local Government and Housing

The Auditor General’s (AG’s) report for the financial year ended 2008 has revealed that about K1, 553,928,015 meant for grants to local authorities were misapplied at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing headquarters.

According to the report, the misapplied funds were on unrelated activities such as payment of members’ subscription fees to ACCA and CIMA, and printing of Christmas cards among others.

Responding to the misapplication of funds on September 29, 2009, the then ministry’s Controlling Officer stated that most payments were related to general grants and House of Chiefs activities.

However, it was noted that the House of Chiefs had their own budget line and therefore the propriety of making payment from the general grant was questionable.

The AG’s report also revealed that the ministry misapplied a total of K14, 920,000,000 on the procurement of one hundred hearses out of the total amount of K50 billion provided for recurrent grants to local authorities.

Zambia Police

The Zambia Police Service entered into contractual obligations amounting to K6,765,654,320 for the procurement of motor vehicles for the service disregarding a budget provision of K2,990,000,000.

This has resulted in an over commitment of K3,775,654,320 as has been revealed in the Auditor General’s (AG’s) report for the financial year ended 2008.

The controlling officer for the service stated in her response that the over commitment would be taken care of since the department had a three year budget plan framework called MTEF.

However, in their minutes of October 27, 2008, the central tender committee advised that it was a misdirection to commit next year’s budget to current procurements.

The AG’s report also revealed that although a total amount of K2, 990,000,000 was released, the service made payments in amounts totaling K3, 477,902,208, resulting in excess expenditure of K487, 902,208.

In explaining the excess expenditure, the controlling officer stated that the additional funds were obtained from Appropriation-In-Aid which was brought forward from the previous year.

The AG’s report however states that, the explanation was not satisfactory as Appropriation-In-Aid is meant for a particular financial year and can therefore not be carried forward to another financial year.

The report states that all unspent funds are supposed to be surrendered to the treasury at the end of each financial year.


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ECZ’s effectiveness compromised by inadequate funding – Mulapesi

ECZ’s effectiveness compromised by inadequate funding – Mulapesi
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 13 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has said its effectiveness is compromised to some extent, as it is not able to execute its mandate in full due to inadequate funding from the Treasury.

Making submissions before the committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters, ECZ Commissioner Grace Mulapesi said elections were a national exercise whose execution required colossal amounts.

She said the failure to commence Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) was due to lack of resources as the approved funds in 2007 could not meet even the basic minimum costs to start the exercise.

Mulapesi said the 2010 national budget provided K70 billion for CVR out of the K110 billion budget that the Commission had planned for its activities and this affected the effectiveness of the Commission and contributed to the negative perception of the Commission in the eyes of the public, especially political parties.

She said the Commission had planned to implement CVR by fully decentralising its operations through establishing offices with permanent staff in all the 72 districts to accord it direct supervision of its staff and ensure that the officers were accountable to the Commission, and thus improve efficiency in the districts.

Mulapesi said this would have allowed eligible citizens to have access to voter registration services all year round, which would include new registration, transfers, amendment of details, and removal of deceased voters from the register.

The CVR will be implemented this year through periodic mobile registration campaigns through which the Commission hopes to maintain a permanent, up to date and accurate register of voters.

The voter registration stations will be opened for an initial period of 90 days during which an average of six registration officers equipped with Digital Mobile Registration Kits will be deployed in each constituency.
The officers will conduct voter registration in each polling district within the respective constituency, which implies that registration will be open at each registration centre for an average period of 12 days.

Mulapesi said other activities will include periodic publications of the provisional register for public verification.

Other issues being considered include the mechanism for diaspora-voting by citizens resident abroad and the strengthening of the Electoral Code of Conduct (ECC).

And responding to concerns by Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo on the printing of ballot papers abroad, Mulapesi said Government Printers always fell short and did not do as required in terms of security which was very weak and almost non-existent.

She said if Government Printers met their requirements, they could be used.
She said it was not always the Commission but the stakeholders who are suspicious and added that if everyone else was happy with Government Printers then ECZ would have no problem using them.
ECZ deputy director Priscilla Isaacs dismissed assertions suggesting that intelligence officers are employed during elections.

ECZ legal council Eric Kamwi also said the Commission would opt for the amendment of some clauses of the Electoral Act if the NCC fails to wind up its business in time for the 2011 elections.

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Magande endorsed Rupiah as sole candidate, insists Mabenga

Magande endorsed Rupiah as sole candidate, insists Mabenga
By Agness Changala
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga has said Ng’andu Magande was part of the decision to endorse President Rupiah Banda as the party’s sole candidate for next year’s general elections.

Reacting to former finance minister Magande’s denial that he was not part of the meeting that endorsed President Banda, Mabenga in an interview said by virtue of being a member of the national executive committee (NEC), Magande was part of the decision to endorse President Banda.

“Magande is a NEC member and whether he was there or not, he is part of the decision. There’s no way he can refuse to be part of the decision when he is part of the system,” Mabenga said.

He explained that early last year, provincial committee members in Lusaka petitioned NEC to make President Banda the sole candidate.

“All other provinces followed and we told them that we were going to take it up for consideration and it came to NEC,” he said. “At NEC we were convinced that since these were our major party members, who are we to refuse?”

Mabenga said there was nothing like getting someone without the consent of others for the party presidency.

He said people were free to stand if they wanted and the convention was not just about elections of the president.

“The convention is not about the election of president but the election of all members, receiving reports from various committees on how they have faired,” he said.

Mabenga said reports from committees such as finance of which Magande was chairperson were important, as they would show the performance of the party.

Mabenga said the party would also look at its general organs and the constitution during the convention.

Recently, Magande said he was not part of the meeting that picked President Banda as the MMD’s sole candidate for next year’s elections.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

(TALKZIMBABWE) US reviewing sanctions against Zimbabwe: Biti

COMMENT - Also in the Xinhua News. And my guess that is Senator Barney Frank, I can't find any member in either houses of the US Congress called Ben Frank. And I would like to know why he supported ZDERA in the first place. Ar Russ Feingold, Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, for that matter.

US reviewing sanctions against Zimbabwe: Biti
Philip Murombedzi
Fri, 12 Feb 2010 01:28:00 +0000

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti said the United States has pledged to review the sanctions law, the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act which it enacted in 2001 and which has dealt a huge blow to the Zimbabwean economy for the past decade.

After his recent state trip to the US, Biti said he met U.S. lawmakers who pledged to amend the law, which bars the U.S. government and companies from extending credit loans to Zimbabwe.

Biti said he met Congressman Donald Payne and Senator Ben Frank - some of the lawmakers that pushed for ZDERA - who told him that the sanctions legislation would be partially lifted.

"From the discussions I had with Congressman Donald Payne and others like Ben Frank, I think what had happened last year is that they had started moves towards amendments to ZDERA," Biti said.

"It would be best that these amendments be pulled through. They undertook to review their positions."

"They listened to us and undertook to review their position," he said, adding that representation had also been made on behalf of some government companies affected by the embargo.

Biti said the US as well as British and German government officials who met his delegation also pledged to support Zimbabwe in its bid to have its voting rights restored at the IMF.

"We expect a meeting of the (IMF) executive directors to take place very soon and we are confident Zimbabwe's voting rights will be restored," he said.

Biti said he had also discussed with the World Bank the apparent failure by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) to raise the much need funding to support Zimbabwe's turnaround programme.

A total of 800 million USD in the country's 2010 budget was expected to come through the MDTF, a vehicle set up June last year with the approval of the World Bank to raise funds to support Zimbabwe after formation of the inclusive Government in February 2009.

However, the decision to reverse ZDERA requires a congressional amendment which is difficult to get in the U.S.

Analysts criticise Biti for being too optimistic saying the finance minister should not draw too much from his discussions with the legislators.

Ironically, the MDC-T party, in which Biti is secretary-general, was unmasked as an architect of ZDERA.

In an interview on ZBC Current Affairs programme, Melting Pot, in September last year, MDC founder member and former parliamentarian Gabriel Chaibva categorically stated that ZDERA was the brainchild of the MDC party and was drafted by top officials from that party at a hotel in Nyanga, Zimbabwe.

“I was there when Zidera was crafted in Nyanga by the MDC.

"At that point Munyaradzi Gwisai stood up in protest and told everyone present that the MDC had been taken over by the U.S. and Europe and business was no longer controlled from Harvest House…,” said Chaibva at the time.

Chaibva’s revelations put paid to denials by the MDC that they did not call for the imposition of sanctions as they actually drafted the legislation used by the U.S. to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

President Mugabe and the Zanu PF party have been calling for the repeal of ZDERA and other sanctions imposed by the West, arguing the embargo was hurting ordinary Zimbabweans and the economy.

Earlier this month, power-sharing talks stalled amid revelations by Britain that the MDC controlled some of the sanctions.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Biti's HIPC plan slammed

Biti's HIPC plan slammed
Fri, 12 Feb 2010 00:55:00 +0000

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti plan to apply for Highly Indebted Poor Country status for Zimbabwe has been slammed by critics who say the minister is ill-advised and has no proper understanding of the crisis in the country and what is required to tackle the problems.

Zimbabwe owes 5.7 billion dollars to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and other international financial institutions. Biti says that joining the HIPC programme is one way out.

HIPC was initiated in 1996 at least partly as a response to criticism of IMF and World Bank economic policy by civil society. The programme provides debt relief and low-interest loans to cancel or reduce external debt repayments.

To be considered for the initiative, countries must have an unsustainable debt burden. Assistance is on condition that the national governments of these countries meet a range of economic management and performance targets.

"You should know that Zimbabwe is not a poor country. It has vast natural resources, but these resources cannot be turned into capital," says minister of state in the prime minister's office Gordon Moyo.

"Zimbabwe should come up with a poverty reduction strategy paper, which is a blue print of how it is going to use the resources which are going to be availed to it once the debt is cancelled," continues Moyo.

"It is the responsibility of Zimbabwe, it's not the imposition of the World Bank, IMF or the Paris Club or any other institutions."

But Dr Qhubani Moyo, a public policy analyst, says Zimbabwe's economic problems do not originate with its debt, but with the economic sanctions intended to weaken President Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

"Unless we address the issue of sanctions we are not going anywhere. We need to ensure that we link the issue of sanctions with HIPC.

"Let's ensure there is economic growth in this country by engaging in trade - that trade can be done if the sanctions barriers are removed."

Responding to the minister's assertion - citing debt relief and economic growth in Uganda, Mozambique, Zambia and Nigeria - that HIPC has worked well for other African countries, Moyo says the comparisons are mistaken.

"If you think that there is one formula for solving problems that hit all African counties, then you will have a serious problem in the long run.

"Countries like Mozambique were coming from a bloody civil war. Zimbabwe is a country whose economy collapsed but there was nothing in terms of destruction of infrastructure and superstructure.

"Also: if you look at Mozambique and these other countries that have become HIPC countries, the so-called growth is nominal. It's not being felt at the level of individuals."

Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development representative Janet Mudzwiti also criticises the HIPC plan, albeit from a different angle.

"We are against lender-led relief initiatives, simply because their ideology is not pro-people; they are not people-based policies.

"To us the HIPC principles still hinge on the neo-liberal policies that you have to open up your markets, introduce user fees for social essentials such as health and water.

"We are saying it's not different from the Structural Adjustment Programme which was disastrous."

Regarding the country's debt, she raises two important issues.

"There is the issue of odious debt and the issue of illegal debt," Mudzwiti says.

"When you look at the issue of Zimbabwe's debt profile, there is the issue of colonial debt (incurred by a white-only government between 1965 and 1980). And we have the issue of debt (incurred) under the economic structural adjustment programme."

Odious debt is debt entered into by a government on behalf of the people, but which doesn't benefit them.

Much of the $500 million dollars of debt run up by the Rhodesian state was spent on fighting a war against the black majority; there is a strong case for that debt to be deemed odious.

Much later, Structural Adjustment Programmes were imposed by the World Bank and IMF across Africa in the 1980s and 1990s as a condition for loans to cover a previous debt crisis.

The conditions it imposed sharply restricted government spending on things like healthcare and education, called for privatisation of valuable state assets and of services like water and electricity, required the devaluation of local currencies, and stopped governments from protecting local production by means of import tariffs.

Zimbabwe's adoption of structural adjustment proved disastrous for the economy and activists are concerned that the conditions for HIPC may replicate this experience.

Moyo does not want the country to turn to the Bretton-Woods institutions for answers.

"Zimbabwe has a way of dealing with its problems. We can't have a one fix solution for all. Zimbabwe has to come up with its own model to use its own resources for its own recovery and its own growth."

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai backtracks on salary pledge

Tsvangirai backtracks on salary pledge
Mutsawashe Makuvise
Fri, 12 Feb 2010 03:35:00 +0000

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday tried to waterdown a pledge he made to civil servants at the time of his inauguration that he would increase their salaries and pay them salaries that reflected the work they did.

The PM implored striking civil servants to return to work while Government works on favourable package for them. Some civil servants downed their tools last Friday after their representatives failed to agree with Government on salaries.

In an interview with Newsnet yesterday, PM Tsvangirai said Government did not have the resources to meet their demands for a minimum US$630 salary and said he never told them how much they would get paid.

"When they downed their tools they said that Tsvangirai promised us some money but I did not say how much Government would give the workers because this is debatable," he said.

He said workers should not be guided by "political emotions".

A few hours after being sworn in as prime minister last year, Tsvangirai told a a rally at Glamis Stadium told civil servants that they would get better salaries and uninterrupted electricity and water supplies among other things.

He told the rally, "Economic collapse has forced millions of our most able to flee the country seeking menial jobs, for which they are often overqualified but underpaid. This must end today."

Tsvangirai pledged to give "our professionals in the civil service, every health worker, teacher, soldier and policeman... hard currency salaries (that) will enable (them) to go to work, to feed their families and to survive".

He also told a rally in Manicaland that he had the "keys" to unlock resources.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC eyeing fresh elections: Chamisa

MDC eyeing fresh elections: Chamisa
12/02/2010 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party on Friday called for fresh elections if the current deadlock in talks between rival factions of the frayed power-sharing government persisted.

"In our view it's a deadlock. If the deadlock persists then our trajectory is to have free and fair elections," Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), told journalists in Harare.

A team of South African mediators trying to nudge President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and the two rival MDC factions towards a resolution of what has been termed “outstanding issues” left Harare on Thursday saying it was “comfortable” with the state of the negotiations.

The team, appointed by South African President Jacob Zuma, arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday but left with no agreement.
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party says it will not give any concessions until western sanctions, which it blames the MDC for seeking, are lifted on the country.

Tsvangirai’s MDC, meanwhile, wants Mugabe to reverse the appointment of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

The MDC also wants Tsvangirai’s pick for deputy agriculture minister Roy Bennett sworn-in, which Mugabe insists will not happen unless Bennett is acquitted in his ongoing terrorism trial.

Lindiwe Zulu, an adviser on international relations to Zuma, told the Voice of America’s Studio 7 that mediators remain positive but want to see a conclusion to the negotiations soon.

Chamisa added: "We realise there is disenchantment among the people. The people would want to see finality to these issues. We are saying to our Zanu PF colleagues, seek ye first the kingdom of the GPA [Global Political Agreement] and the rest of this world will follow [by lifting sanctions]."

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A criminal, evil and corrupt friendship

A criminal, evil and corrupt friendship
By The Post
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THERE’S a reason for the friendship between Frederick Chiluba and Rupiah Banda. There’s certainly something that binds them together. It is said that birds come to roost with those of their own kind; and that every creature prefers its own kind, and people are no different; just as animals of the same species flock together, so people keep company with people like themselves.

But one thing is clear: no true friendship can be built on the shifting sands of evasions, illusions and opportunism.

We know it is very difficult for many Zambians to understand and appreciate why the President of their country can have for his friend a man who has stolen and abused public funds and other resources; a man who the government took to court in London and obtained a judgment against him of stealing public funds.

To understand why this is possible, the first thing the Zambian people should do is to try and understand the nature and character of Rupiah himself. As Fr Cletus Mutunu has correctly observed, Chiluba has caused enough pain in the lives of many poor Zambians for him to be the best friend of their President.

But why is Rupiah befriending Chiluba with all that is known about his corruption and abuses? Why is Rupiah ignoring even the biblical advice which says: “Don’t be envious of evil people, and don’t try to make friends with them. Causing trouble is all they ever think about; every time they open their mouth someone is going to be hurt” (Prov. 24:1-2). It is also said that a leader who makes friends with good-for-nothings is a disgrace to his people.

Leadership is very vital to the future of our nation. But in the end, putting aside all the theories and concepts, good leadership will be achieved, not by the formality of structures, but by the integrity of the participant and his willingness to be inspired by a larger version.

And of all the properties which belong to good leaders, not one is highly prized as that of character. Rupiah’s friendship with Chiluba speaks volumes about his character. And leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions.

The type of people a leader keeps company with is an ethical issue. Not everyone can be a friend to a leader because this is a leadership issue and the president must set the example. A man of real character is imbued with a basic integrity and a firm sense of principle.

Example is not the main thing in a leader being able to influence other citizens, it is the only thing. It is really poor judgement on Rupiah’s part to declare Chiluba as one of his best friends and sing about it wherever he goes. Those who wish to sing, always find a song. But reason and judgement are the qualities of a leader.

Rupiah has clearly demonstrated that his personal interests take precedence over his obligations to the people. A leader’s obligations to the people must always take precedence over loyalty or commitment to a friend, to an individual.

What does it mean for a leader to be found all the time in the company of those who have robbed government, who have stolen from the people? What is the basis of that friendship? What makes Chiluba and Rupiah friends?

Well, some define a friend as someone with whom we share the same interests, values, or beliefs. Others say a friend is someone in whom you can confide intimate information about yourself, without risking embarrassment.

These characteristics of friendship are generally valid, but they do not explain the real basis of friendship. The foundation of friendship is, quite simply, shared experiences. The more activities two people share together, the more they become friends.

Look at the friendship described in the Bible. David once described a close friend who had betrayed him as one with who he frequently talked and went to the Temple with (Ps. 55:13-14). Jesus called His apostles His friends, because of all the teaching He had shared with them over the years (John 15:15). Paul and Timothy became closer than a father and son because of their years of work and travel together.

Soldiers on the battlefield often become close friends because they share very real life-and-death experiences with each other. And this is despite the very different backgrounds many of them come from.

Look at your own circle of friends. The one, and possibly only thing they have in common is that they all share experiences with you in some way.

Whether work, church, politics, or recreation, your friends are those with whom you spend time talking, laughing, working, arguing, crying, building, playing or just sitting around. Whatever else you may or may not have in common, life has somehow thrown you together, and the time you spend together doing things has allowed a relationship to develop that we call “friendship”.

But look at this from another direction. Think of the people who were your friends in the past, but no longer are. Whatever may have contributed to the parting, whether there was some disagreement or you just drifted apart, one thing is certain – you no longer share experiences together.

Friendship cannot survive in the absence of shared experiences. This principle has serious implications in maintaining our social well-being. If we want to have friends in this life, we must open ourselves up to sharing experiences with others.

And to maintain those friendships, we must continue to share experiences. Those experiences may change over time, but the nature of the experiences is less important than the mere fact that we have them. Otherwise, the friendships wither and die.

So friendships between people show us where they are coming from, where they are and where they are headed. This is the way we look at the friendship between Chiluba and Rupiah and try to understand what binds them together.

For Christians, we say we are here on earth as pilgrims, on a journey towards heaven. All our wisdom consists in identifying and following the path that leads to heaven.

But how many deceptions! Wide is the way that leads to perdition, and many enter into it. Narrow is the path that leads to heaven, and few take it! (Matt. 7:13-14). God, Jesus Christ, and the church cry out to us: “You have in front of you the way of life and the way of death; choose therefore life” (Dt. 30:19).

Human life is a continuous battle on earth. Therefore fight like good soldiers of Christ. None will be crowned except one who fights in the lawful manner: “I have fought the good fight; for the rest there is laid up for me a crown of justice” (2Tim. 4:7-8).

These are the texts which should take the lead in the present consideration. Life is a battle, and in this battle there are those who fight like ordinary soldiers, they are the captains represented by the priests, and there is the forward sentry represented by the religious.

There are also the deserters who, tired and lacking in confidence, flee the arena; they are the shirkers who, under a thousand pretexts, hide themselves; and finally those who idly stand watching, applauding or sneering. There are also the traitors who take the enemy’s side.

The name Christian means: like Christ, follower of Christ. Now, Jesus Christ was humble, most pure, poor, meek: how can his disciple and imitator be proud, arrogant and corrupt, dishonest and greedy?

Alexander the Great once said to a soldier who also had the same name but was sluggish, mean and cowardly: “ Either change your name or change your behaviour.”

Here is a thought that converted a great knight who would rather worldly: Jesus Christ is crucified, and I want to satisfy myself; Jesus Christ is very poor, and I am ambitious for riches and gluttony; Jesus Christ is on the cross, and I am lying on a feather bed. Ah! I do not deserve the name of Christian! I want to change my life; I want to follow the Divine Master.

How many Christians are there who have no more than the name and the baptism of Jesus Christ, while they live like pagans! What shame, what remorse! And why?

He who does not imitate Christ does not love Christ: love is imitation. The persons who really love Jesus are those who follow Him to Calvary, in His private life of obedience, in His humility. Imitation is the infallible character to distinguish the lovers of Jesus. And so, there is no middle path.

In saying all this, we are not in any way trying to compete with our priests, pastors, reverends in preaching the Gospel. We are merely trying to use the same language Chiluba attempts to use to confuse our people, to hide his heinous deeds and the crimes of his league.

To defend the truth, to articulate it with humility and conviction, and to bear witness to it in life are therefore exactly an indispensable form of charity in truth; it is the principle driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity.

Chiluba’s friendship with Rupiah should be seen for what it is – a criminal, evil and corrupt friendship!

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Resist alliance between Rupiah, Chiluba - Fr Mutunu

Resist alliance between Rupiah, Chiluba - Fr Mutunu
By Misheck Wangwe
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

LUANSHYA'S Martyrs of Uganda Parish priest Fr Cletus Mutunu has called on Zambians to resist the alliance between President Rupiah Banda and Frederick Chiluba. Fr Mutunu warned that Chiluba's continued participation in active politics and his campaigns for President Banda had the potential to create chaos, hence the need for all well-meaning Zambians to resist the alliance. He charged that Chiluba had caused enough pain in the lives of many poor Zambians.

“He Chiluba has completely lost it. He still has a case with the Zambian people and now he has embarked on a campaign trail for Rupiah, this is unacceptable. Dr Chiluba has failed to play the role of a former president in a democratic dispensation. He is so desperate that he is now campaigning for President Banda as a way of paying back for the favours he has received,” said Fr Mutunu in an interview on Tuesday.

“This is unacceptable; it has potential to cause chaos because majority poor Zambians are not happy with him. He should not be given chance in the political arena.”

He said as a former president, Chiluba was expected to be non-partisan and lead an exemplary life, offering guidance to the nation when necessary and not to campaign or sympathise with the government.

“If someone has retired as president, he is not expected to actively participate in politics like we are seeing with Dr Chiluba. He may from time to time give advice to government but it is not his job to campaign for the sitting president. He has failed lamentably and what we are seeing is purely moral decay in him,” he said.

Fr Mutunu advised President Banda to forget about politics and campaigns for a while and concentrate on addressing the plight of the poor.

He said President Banda's government's performance especially on the fight against poverty was below par.

He said the majority poor in rural areas felt betrayed by those in the government because they had continued to wallow in abject poverty.

“… Poverty has reached alarming levels and it seems there is no tangible plan to address this challenge facing the people from those holding government power. People want to see results from this government and not politics and unnecessary campaigns,” Fr Mutunu said.

He said it was disappointing that the government had failed to manage initiatives meant to touch poor people's lives such as the fertiliser support programme now called the Farmer Input Support Programme.

He said it would be difficult for President Banda to gain public confidence in the context of such problems and underdevelopment.

“Take for instance the fertiliser support programme. It's the MMD cadres that are managing this initiative in rural area. How do you fight poverty if cadres are being entrusted with such sensitive programmes? President Banda must put his house in order,” said Fr Mutunu.

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ESAMI Alumni bemoans Zambians’ lack of interest in MBAs

COMMENT - There has been a long standing criticism of MBA programmes, because conceptually they separate management from the business that is being managed. It is often better to give management courses as part of professional education, and keep MBAs for academics.

ESAMI Alumni bemoans Zambians’ lack of interest in MBAs
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

EASTERN and Southern Africa Management Institute (ESAMI) MBA Alumni Association – Zambia Chapter interim president Christopher Mulenga has expressed concern over the falling standards of higher education in the country.

In an interview ahead of the official launch of the Zambia chapter at Pamodzi Hotel this evening, Mulenga also bemoaned the lack of interest among many Zambians in pursuing Master of Business Administration programmes (MBAs). He said it was regrettable that even the few people with MBA qualifications were not working as a team.

“Our education standards have really fallen, hence the reason for our concern as an association. There are very few Zambians currently with MBAs and that’s why we want to create an enabling platform for networking, exchange of ideas that add value and stand to offer solutions to society where needed.

We’ve worked individually in our own capacity, but now we want to make a team that will help promote high levels of education, especially in business studies,” Mulenga said.

“I know that many people may not be aware of the benefits of studying for an MBA. It’s a multi-skilled profession where you get to understand a lot in the business world. We therefore want to make sure more Zambians understand the programme and aspire for it so that we move the country forward together. Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Caleb Fundanga will grace the occasion as guest of honour.

Also expected to attend the ceremony is the director general of the Eastern and Southern African Management Institute Professor Bonnard Mwape and other academic staff from Arusha, Tanzania.”

ESAMI MBA Alumni Association constitutes MBA graduates and students from ESAMI whose core objective is to create an enabling platform for networking ,exchange of ideas that add value and stand to offer solutions to society.

Membership of the Association is drawn from a variety of backgrounds with the only common ground of being schooled as business managers who shall by and large endeavour to share the same basic principles grounded on innovation, inventiveness and value additions.

The Association seeks to function as a voluntary organisation whose identity shall mainly be aligned with offering of business solutions and also attend to charitable and other credible philanthropic activities.

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Empowering small-scale farmers will improve food security – IDE

Empowering small-scale farmers will improve food security – IDE
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA just needs to empower 10 per cent of its over one million small-scale farmers with irrigation facilities to make a serious dent on extreme rural poverty and attain sustainable food security, a senior International Development Enterprises (IDE) official has said.

Announcing the branding of the IDE’s pressure pumps to be called Mosi O Tunya pumps, country deputy director Peter Lungu said Zambia needed to increase land under irrigation through empowering small-scale farmers unlike currently when irrigation farming was the preserve of commercial farmers and a few elitists.

Lungu said it was unacceptable that the country that boasted of 40 per cent of water resources in the southern African region only had five per cent of over 2.7 million hectares of land arable for irrigation farming.

“Right now only 20,000 of the over one million local small-scale farmers have access to irrigation facilities,” Lungu said.

“If only we could grow, increase this number to 100,000, just about 10 per cent, you wouldn’t believe the amount of impact we would make in terms of alleviating the high extreme poverty levels in rural areas and also ensure that the country has sustainable food security throughout the year despite what happens to the weather patterns.”

Lungu said empowering 100 small scale farmers with irrigational facilities would also help the country to increase the area under irrigation from the current five per cent of land arable for irrigation farming to about 33 per cent.

The Mosi O Tunya pumps are distributed in Southern, Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces.

IDE is a local project that works with rural small-scale farmers providing over 8,000 pressure pumps since 1997 to enable farmers grow irrigation crops, especially exotic types, and at the same time help to establish market linkages as a way of helping the farmers with ready market.



Zuma won’t attend Nc’wala ceremony, says Ngoni elder

Zuma won’t attend Nc’wala ceremony, says Ngoni elder
By Sututu Katundu
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

A NGONI elder Lidoda Rabson Jere of Mfumbe in chief Nzamane’s kingdom has expressed delight that this year’s Nc’wala traditional ceremony will not be marred by politics. In an interview yesterday, Jere said reports that South African President Jacob Zuma would grace the occasion were not true as he had turned down invitations sent to him.

“Whatever was reported by chief Madzimawe in the press has no truth in it. Zuma can’t come. He is not scheduled to come to Zambia anytime this month,” he said.

Jere said even President Rupiah Banda would not attend the ceremony as he had other programmes to attend to and seeing that this was not an election year, he would only attend next year.

“I am happy that this year’s Nc’wala ceremony will be free of political interference. Last year’s was overshadowed by political interference. Zuma gave a long speech and the people were not happy. He just came to campaign for his foreign policy,” said Jere. “Even Banda knows very well because this is not an election year, he will come in 2011.”

The Nc’wala traditional ceremony organising committee recently said they had invited President Zuma and King Mswati III of Swaziland to grace this year’s ceremomny.

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I don’t dislike Chiluba as a person but his dubious activities – Sata

I don’t dislike Chiluba as a person but his dubious activities – Sata
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 04:00 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata with his UPND counterpart Hakainde Hichilema
PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata yesterday said he does not dislike Frederick Chiluba as a person but his dubious activities.

Reacting to President Rupiah Banda's assertion that Sata would not force him to dislike former president Chiluba, Sata said there was nothing to force President Banda to hate Chiluba about. He said Chiluba's activities had earned him more enemies than friends.

“I don't dislike Chiluba, I dislike Chiluba's dubious activities. When he goes to the Copperbelt telling lies, 'if you vote for Sata and UPND president Hakainde Hichilema, they are going to bring war', those are naked lies. Those are criminal lies,” Sata said.

“So the point is nobody is forcing him to like Chiluba, or dislike Chiluba. We don't dislike Chiluba, but Chiluba's activities which makes Chiluba to have more enemies.”

Sata observed that President Banda was using Chiluba's name in Luapula Province because he thought that it would help him to win the hearts and minds of the people from that area.

He said it was sad that President Banda had again wasted the people's time, saying the President was spending more time talking about (Sata) him instead of telling the people what his government had done and intended to do for the people.

“Every leader worth his salt is supposed to tell the people what he intends to do for them, but everywhere he has gone he always diverts…the people of Luapula are not invited to State House, so when he is in Luapula he should not waste his time on me,” Sata said.

“He has gone to Luapula to seek a vote well in advance before he declares the election. And when he is in Luapula, the issue which he has to use is Chiluba and Sata, because Sata has a political party in Luapula which dominates Luapula, and he would like to get that dominance in Luapula.”

Sata also said it was sad that poverty had hit lawyermakers who went to parade themselves before President Banda at Mansa Airport.

He said they had left their constituencies, which were miles away from Mansa just to keep up appearances so that they could benefit financially and desperately seek adoption on the MMD ticket.

“Now if those are so-called opposition, and they go and kneel down before Rupiah Banda, how can they complain about what is lacking in Luapula? ...It's Rupiah Banda who has financed them to Luapula, it's Rupiah Banda who financed them in 2008. They are members of parliament representing their pockets, not the people,” Sata said of some PF rebel members of parliament who were with President Banda on his tour to Luapula Province.

On President Banda's statement that 50 per cent of PF members of parliament were finding it difficult to work with their colleagues in the party because of bad leadership, Sata said President Banda was in fact the main architect of the divisions that had beset the MMD because of his bad leadership.

“That is why you find his people are falling away, the Gabriel Namulambes, the George Mpombos, the Sylvia Masebos, the Jonas Shakafuswas, the Lameck Chibombamilimos, he can't count on those,” said Sata.

Speaking on arrival at Mansa Airport for a three-day visit to Luapula Province on Wednesday, President Banda said Sata would not force him to dislike Chiluba.

President Banda said he would continue to respect all leaders, including former leaders whether they were councillors, ministers or vice-presidents.

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Lufwanyama MMD quizzes official for attending pact meeting

Lufwanyama MMD quizzes official for attending pact meeting
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 03:57 CAT

THE MMD in Lufwanyama has given its information and publicity secretary a seven-day ultimatum to exculpate himself for attending a UPND-PF pact meeting or face a six-month suspension.

In an interview on Tuesday, MMD Lufwanyama district chairman Moses Chiyuka accused Mwansa Kunda, the MMD Bulaya ward councillor, of leaking party information when he attended a UPND-PF pact meeting in Lufwanyama on January 31. Asked if it was wrong for Kunda to interact with other Zambians from the opposition, Chiyuka said it was not wrong to interact at a personal level.

“But if one is leaking party information to the opposition, then that is wrong. It simply means that he is not with us,” said Chiyuka.

Chiyuka insisted that it was unacceptable for Kunda to have attended the opposition’s meeting.

“We have not expelled him but if he fails to exculpate himself within seven days, he will have to be suspended for six months. This is just a first step in the disciplinary process. He is a very hard working person and he is still our member if he does not defect,” he added.

Asked if he thought that Kunda’s decision to attend the UPND-PF pact meeting meant that he had lost confidence in MMD, Chiyuka said actions spoke louder than words.

And in a statement, Chiyuka restrained Kunda from performing all party and civic duties in accordance with article 50(5) of the MMD constitution.

“Mr Kunda committed the following offences; being in the company of some district and constituency officials organising and holding a closed door meeting with opposition UPND-PF pact Copperbelt provincial leadership on 31st January 2010; attending opposition PF-UPND pact public meeting held at Makoloi on the same date and divulging of party secrets and confidential information to unauthorised people or outsiders,” stated Chiyuka.

But Kunda yesterday explained that he merely followed his wife who had defected to the UPND and ended up attending the pact meeting to witness what was happening there.

Kunda said he did not go against any party rules and denied ever influencing anyone to defect to the opposition.

He accused MMD Lufwanyama member of parliament Dr Lwipa Puma of instigating his suspension because he recently vowed to finish him Kunda off.

Some MMD councillors in Lufwanyama recently threatened to suspend Dr Puma for allegedly saying that they councillors were illiterates.

But Kunda said the person who made that statement to the media was well-known and wondered why Dr Puma was targeting him.

He expressed disappointment with Dr Puma for allegedly threatening his life, saying he was supposed to learn how to dialogue with people as a man of high calibre.

Kunda said he was not mad to accuse Dr Puma of threatening his life if he did not do so adding that he even reported the matter to police who advised him to be calm.

Kunda said he personally campaigned for Dr Puma with his own resources during the last elections and he had no grudge against him.

Dr Puma denied ever threatening Mwansa saying he phoned him merely to ask why he was causing confusion in the MMD in Lufwanyama.

“I have information that Mwansa was causing confusion in the party, he has been working with the opposition. He is even the one behind that story that I called the councillors in Lufwanyama that they were illiterate, he just concocted the story,” charged Dr Puma. “Mwansa is treading on a dangerous path, we are aware that he is a Congolese and his name is not Mwansa.”

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Ndola council decided to sell houses before Chiluba went to cheat – Mushili

Ndola council decided to sell houses before Chiluba went to cheat – Mushili
By George Chellah
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 03:52 CAT

NDOLA Central PF member of parliament Mark Mushili has disclosed that the Ndola City Council had decided to sell the houses to sitting tenants long before Frederick Chiluba went to cheat them.

In an interview on Tuesday, Mushili dismissed Chiluba's attempts to hoodwink tenants of Itawa flats and Chinese complex in Masala that he would talk to President Banda to sell the houses to them.

“As usual he wanted to dribble politically as a political engineer as he calls himself,” Mushili said.

“But I want to inform the public that when Chiluba came he visited the sitting tenants of Itawa flats and sitting tenants of a Chinese complex in Masala during which period he told them that during the time he was a president, he promised them that he was going to offer the houses to them for sell and that he was going to talk to President Rupiah Banda to consider giving the same to the sitting tenants.”

Mushili emphasised that it was not the decision of Chiluba to offer the houses to the sitting tenants.

“This is the matter that has been vigorously discussed in the council that these houses should be given to the sitting tenants because the council hasn't got the capacity to maintain the houses and the flats,” Mushili said.

“And this is why the sitting tenants had resisted to accept increases in rentals because the houses, some of them, are in a dilapidated condition. We accepted that as a council since we cannot maintain the houses we decided that we must ask the Minister of Local Government and Housing to revoke the instrument that was there that stopped us as a council to offer houses for sale.

“So we have been discussing this. Now Chiluba came across this information and went and pre-empted that by coming out in the public that I am going to fulfill the promise, this is not so. It's a decision of a council. Besides, who is Chiluba now?”

He stressed that credit should go to the councillors.

“In this particular case, it is the councillors who have decided that the local government minister revokes the standing instruments so that those houses are offered to sitting tenants,” said Mushili.

“It's a council decision to offer the houses to sitting tenants and not Chiluba. If this materialises, people should not be cheated that it is because of the promises that Chiluba made before he left presidential office."

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TIZ advises ECZ not to gag media from disseminating poll results

TIZ advises ECZ not to gag media from disseminating poll results
By Namatama Mundia
Fri 12 Feb. 2010, 03:50 CAT

THE Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) should not gag the private media in disseminating already declared results at polling station and constituency level, Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) has said.

Making a submission to the parliamentary committee on legal affairs, governance, human rights, and gender matters on Wednesday, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said the ECZ should not restrain the private media from informing the public on already declared results because it fuels unnecessary suspicions.

“We have in the past noted with concerns the inordinate delays in announcing election results which are earlier officially declared by the returning officers,” he said. “We strongly recommend to ECZ to devise the fastest ways of announcing results.”

Lungu said the declaration of a winner in an election should not be rushed because it gives rise to unnecessary suspicions.

“We recommend that all queries should be cleared before declaring the winner. The law should be amended to provide for such,” he said.

Lungu urged the ECZ and law enforcement agencies not to pretend that the current laws were not adequate in dealing with election malpractices.

“What we see lacking is action in enforcing such laws,” he said.

Lungu said political parties must actively participate in combating electoral corruption.

He said the ECZ should make full disclosure of all election logistics and declassify the electoral registers from being confidential.

Lungu said it was necessary for the ECZ to enforce the corrective mechanisms on media coverage, especially the bias in particular the public media, which is publicly owned.

On issuance of national registration cards, Lungu submitted that the decision to start the registration exercises on June 1, 2009 in Eastern, North-Western and Western provinces fell short of credible criterion on how the provinces were arrived at.

“Such a decision also hardly made economic justification. It would have been prudent for the government to publicise the plan clearly indicating among others how many citizens they had targeted to issue NRCs to and the duration for each province,” he said.

Lungu said the use of traditional chiefs to campaign for parties has been common in the past elections, contrary to the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He added that TIZ’s media monitoring captured a lot of chiefs in the media openly declaring their support to preferred candidates, contrary to the electoral Act.

“These are the instances that make the exercises of strengthening the law in futility if compliance is extremely low by key stakeholders but much effort needs to be focused on enforcement,” Lungu said.

Responding to Kasama Central member of parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba who claimed that the public media was biased and only gave coverage to the opposition on negative things and not positives, Lungu said it was true that certain public media were biased.

Lungu said there was need to come up with a monitoring body which would be bold in ensuring that fair coverage was given especially by organisations like Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), where people were required by law to contribute K3,000 monthly.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) No to conditional donor funding

No to conditional donor funding
Thu, 11 Feb 2010 16:07:00 +0000

THE Constitutional making process nearly faced a premature death after donors threatened to withdraw funding following major disagreements over the extent of the donors involvement in the constitutional making process.

The Constitutional Making Management Committee snubbed the donor agent’s scheme of developing talking points that were to be adopted as guidelines in gathering public views during the outreach phase.

The major donors viz the European Union, USAID, Germany, United Kingdom, the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), Sweden and France through UNDP had come up with a document which the committee felt undermined Zimbabwe’s sovereignty as it gave donors direct influence over the final document.

Although the stalemate was resolved and the process put back on track, the question still remains as to what extend should donors interfere in the constitution making process.

The donors who, by virtue of their financial muscle, had already anointed themselves as custodians of national psyche, mood and feeling needed to be reminded that Constitutional Management Committee retained the autonomy in spearheading the writing of a new constitution.

It should be borne in mind that Zimbabwe has been using the Lancaster House Constitution of 1979, which was basically a negotiated political settlement and did not reflect the views, and aspirations of the masses.

Consequently because of the inadequacies, the constitution has been amended a record nineteen times and it would be madness to allow Zimbabwe to adopt another shuttle service approach to the constitution making process after 29 years of independence.

Like most African countries, Zimbabwe does not have the financial muscle to fund some of its programmes and most donors would want to exploit this avenue, swathed with stringent conditions.

The donor community should know that Zimbabwe does not want a Constitution of Zimbabwe by donors for Zimbabwe; Zimbabwe wants a homegrown constitution making process that will reflect the national identity and ethos of Zimbabweans.

The constitution making process is supposed to bring to light the post colonial responses to the colonial debasement of our cultural heritage including all that was once demeaned as a way of a primitive people by our colonial masters.

Instead their emphasis and focus will be on freedom to assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press amongst others.

These “freedoms” are important democratic rights that have been prominent in the Zimbabwe crisis, yet these rights are not anyway near the heart of the villager in Chendambuya whose key concern is access to clean water access to inputs in time for the next season.

These freedoms are bound to make lots of sense to the urbanites that seek the production of a constitution that disappears right into the splendid model of Western constitutions.

Without taking away anything from the above freedoms, they fall short of the expectations of the majority whose key concern is access to clean water, right to land, access to inputs, basic education and shelter.

Still engulfed in their ambitious campaign to democratize the “uncivilized countries” the donors thinking is because the West has four-year presidential terms therefore Zimbabwe should follow suit; because Britain does not outlaw homosexuality therefore Zimbabwe should legitimize it.

What the donor refuses to appreciate is Zimbabwe can, without interference, produce a constitution that will wipe out neo-colonialism capitalist mentality and the negative aspects of the traditional mentality.

Zimbabwe has the capacity to produce a constitution that fights and defeats oppression, superstitions, individualism, poverty, corruption and hunger amongst other needs without assistance.

The reason why these donors will never be allowed to chart the constitution for Zimbabwe is because these people openly and clearly seek the production of a constitution that fits in the model of Western constitutions.

They have bestowed upon themselves guardianship or position of mentor in the constitution making process and this can be allowed to take place.

All said and done, it is everyone’s hope to craft a constitution that defines us as people.

We cannot have a constitution that will make us disappear into the colonial western model. We take no pride in such psychosis.

Allowing the donor to provide consultancy and secretariat work is tantamount to prejudicing the outcome of the whole programme by reflecting the wishes of the donors

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