Saturday, May 29, 2010
by Danielle Nierenberg
Monday, May 3rd, 2010
In the US, it seems like we only hear about what’s going wrong in Africa. We see and read stories about famine, HIV/Aids, disease, or conflict. In fact, few Americans will ever step foot in countries like Malawi or Zambia, largely because our media often scares people away.
As I travel across Africa, working as a senior researcher for the Worldwatch Institute as co-project director of Nourishing the Planet, I am hoping to show a different side of the continent.
Instead of stories of despair, we are looking at and sharing stories of success and hope, highlighting African-led innovations that are helping to alleviate hunger and poverty in an environmentally sustainable way.
After spending time in Lusaka meeting with non-governmental organisations, non-profits and projects on the ground, I discovered that this country is filled with incredible individuals and organisations — making my job very easy, and in many ways serving as a model for the rest of the continent.
Here are some examples:
Comaco, an organisation founded over 30 years ago to conserve local wildlife, helps farmers improve their agricultural practices in ways that can protect the environment — such as through conservation farming — while also creating a reliable market for farm products.
It organises the farmers into producer groups, encouraging them to diversify their skills by raising livestock and bees, growing organic rice, using improved irrigation and fisheries management and other practices so that they don’t have to resort to poaching elephants or other wildlife.
The United Nations World Food Programme’s Purchase for Progress (P4P) programme, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Howard G Buffett Foundation, and the Belgian government, is working with the private sector, governments and NGOs to provide an incentive for farmers to improve their crop management skills and produce high-quality food, create a market for surplus crops from small and low-income farmers and promote local processing and packaging of products.
Mobile Transactions, a financial services company for the “unbanked” in Zambia, allows customers to use their phones like an ATM card. Over the last decade, cellphone use in Africa has increased fivefold and farmers are using their phones to gain information about everything from markets to weather.
By using Mobile Transactions, farmers are not only able to make purchases and receive payment electronically; they are also building a credit history which can make getting loans easier.
And Mobile Transactions also works with USAid’s PROFIT programme to help agribusiness agents make orders for inputs, manage stock flows and communicate more easily with agribusiness companies and farmers.
Perhaps most importantly, the partnership helps agents better understand the farmers they are working with so that they can provide the tools, inputs and education each farmer and community needs.
Care International’s work in Zambia has two main goals: increase the production of staple crops and improve farmers’ access to agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilisers. But instead of giving away bags of seed and fertilisers to farmers, Care is “creating input access through a business approach”, not a subsidy approach, according to Steve Power, assistant country director for Zambia.
One way they’re doing this is by creating a network of agro-dealers who can sell inputs to their neighbours as well as educate them about how to use hybrid seeds, fertilisers and other inputs. At the same time, “we are mindful” of the benefits of local varieties of seeds.
Jan Nijhoff of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and Michigan State University, who is also an advisor on Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project, says Comesa’s mission is to promote regional economic integration through increased co-operation and integration of trade, customs, transport, communication, technology, energy and gender, as well as agriculture, environment and natural resources.
Throughout most of my meetings, a theme I hadn’t heard as much in other African countries continued to surface — linking farmers to markets.
Though at times I was sceptical about this focus on the private sector, the more I talked to farmers, NGOs, development workers and policy-makers, the more convinced I became that farmers need not just inputs to grow their crops, but a profitable — and sustainable — market to sell those crops.
In developing this model, it’s clear that Zambia is leading the way and creating examples that could work and be scaled up in other countries across the continent.
IN line with the land reform programme, the Government is now implementing a new mechanisation phase that deals with a farmer’s specific requirements while seeking to boost production and value addition to the produce through irrigation development and strategic marketing. Herald Features Editor Isdore Guvamombe (IG) talks to Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made (JM) on this and other issues.
IG: Minister, what exactly is your ministry doing at the moment?
JM: Firstly, let me explain that agriculture mechanisation and irrigation development must be seen in the context of President Mugabe’s strategic intention to take the land reform programme as a process to empower our people. The land reform gave our people the chance to own land and it is a process that is not complete. It is on-going.
So we must immediately address issues of production and productivity.
Direction was given that we modernise agriculture if we are to empower those who benefited from the land reform programme. We must give them the tools of the trade; we must give them the right equipment for proper and maximum production.
You might also be interested to know that in 2004 we looked at Zimbabwe and its 30 years horizon of agriculture and came up with a strategy. That strategy is what anchors the activity that we are now working on.
IG: Is that the time you were with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe?
JM: Yes, RBZ worked well that time, with us giving the technical expertise of what was required by the new farmer, the communal farmer, the old resettlement farmer, and the small scale farmer.
IG: Has RBZ handed over the reins to you?
JM: Yes, the RBZ has handed over the programme to this ministry.
IG: So there is a new phase of mechanisation?
JM: Yes, but let me quickly emphasise that there is going to be nothing for free this time. The farmer has to pay a certain deposit first.
Where something is not for free people become more responsible. I am not saying we are abandoning our farmers but they certainly should pay something, this time around. The equipment coming is not for free; it is for serious farmers, small or big. You must make a down payment of some sort and I know our serious farmers want to pay.
IG: Is this a lesson from previous phases?
JM: We have to learn from previous experience. What you have not worked for is easy to destroy or dispose off. Of course, I know our farmers have problems but some of the equipment has been deliberately vandalised or stolen in an act of sabotage.
Some of the things that happened to the farmers were meant to short-change them.
IG: At what stage is the new phase?
JM: With immediate effect needy farmers should indicate their machinery, equipment and irrigation requirements at district and provincial level.
Not at the head office in Harare, no! All activities and assessments must be done at district level so that the assessment is a reflection of the real situation on the ground.
I don’t want anyone to apply in excess of his or her actual requirement. We want our field officers to check on the ground.
We risk giving a small farmer a huge pump or motor, we want to give the right size, of course with room for expansion.
We are now busy collecting information on the needs of the farmer. Specific needs in their totality as regards the type of equipment and size the individual farmer requires as well as the size of irrigation. There is no need to give someone something too big for a small project; of course we must leave room for expansion.
IG: Is irrigation becoming our main thrust?
JM: Yes, irrigation should be the main anchor so that we increase our land utilisation throughout the year. The bulk of our crop will remain our summer crop but we want to increase effective winter period production. Summer is having problems with climate change, change in weather patterns.
Wherever we are going in search of new equipment we are looking at effective energy saving equipment. Energy is a serious matter so we are looking at centre pivots, drip and flood irrigation.
If you bring equipment that requires a lot of electricity you have problems.
IG: Where is the equipment?
JM: We are currently undertaking visits to other countries to negotiate for appropriate resources and appropriate technology.
IG: Which countries are helping you?
JM: This is not a secret. Leading countries supporting us technically and strategically are China, India, Brazil, Iran, Russia, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and Egypt. These countries have made it clear that they want to strategically help us develop.
As we are talking we have 10 specialists from China at national level and we are soon going to have 10 Chinese experts for each province in Zimbabwe.
Each of the countries we are visiting we have specific areas of interest in relation to infrastructure, cotton, tobacco and livestock production. We have a serious thrust for food security crop production. We also need to look at the global market and bring our produce to this market for our country to be self-sufficient.
We have a team of experts leaving for Brazil next week. My recent visit to Brazil was very constructive. It gave us an opportunity to see how strategically the Government does not give chance to failure when there are other options.
It gave us an insight into how to develop infrastructure for grain and crop marketing, the production of machinery and equipment so as the marketing of agriculture commodities.
We saw in Brazil how three ministries related to agriculture marketing, production and fisheries get details on the day to day running of the projects through state agencies.
The ministries are involved in the management of things and make the farmers gain maximum profits. This is why as Zimbabwe we are now advocating the reintroduction of product marketing boards to avoid what we are seeing in tobacco, cotton, beef and dairy sectors and in the running of irrigation schemes.
Strategically, Zimbabwe is not far away from these things, the problem is that they are on paper and we need to implement them.
IG: Like the case in tobacco marketing?
JM: If you look at what is happening in the tobacco marketing and cotton is analysed, you will see our efforts going down the drain.
We have middlemen, that instead of farmers getting better prices, there are actually many problems in transport and packaging material. The marketing and pricing is what should give the farmers the impetus to go back to the fields.
IG: What should be done?
JM: The Government must take an interventionist approach so that as our farmers grow, we protect them, without necessarily overprotecting them.
We have to return to very strong strategic intervention, even in partnership with the private sector.
We cannot leave the farmers to the vagaries of those we deposed off the land. They want to come back and destroy our farmers, our country and our sovereignty. Agriculture has to take a leading role in the defence of the country, through food security and employment.
This is the basis on which the youth are supported and empowered.
IG: Which other sector has great potential in Zimbabwe’s agriculture?
JM: Livestock production. When I was in Brazil recently, I noticed that Brazil has 200 million head of cattle. Yes, I mean 200 million head of cattle. In Zimbabwe our calving rate is just around 35 percent when it should be between 60 and 85 percent.
JM: Because we are not doing proper animal husbandry. We are not dipping our cattle enough, we are not de-worming our cattle and we are not feeding them well. We need to improve on that area.
We have cattle that do not conceive for up to two years. We also need to improve on dairy production. Livestock and poultry in particular have quick returns. So we are mechanising in that area.
We are not seeking to reinvent the wheel we want to learn from others. We have the potential because we have the land.
Back to Brazil we have signed a memorandum of co-operation in areas such as training, food security, rural development, research and extension services and technical assistance.
You should see the type of equipment from Brazil that will be displayed at the Harare Agricultural Show in August. It is good equipment.
Our meeting in Brazil concentrated on manufacturing and procurement of equipment for the small to medium dairy farmers too.
There is another great potential there.
Indonesia has done a lot about their slaughter-houses and with the infrastructure left by Cold Storage we surely should do something about it and develop.
Finally, in short, we are proceeding with mechanisation on specific farmer requirements and we are working with our technical partners to ensure that the vision of empowering the people becomes reality.
We now have enough wheat seed for two years and I am sure we are going towards the same direction in the production of maize seed.
With appropriate equipment, we will get there.
isadore.guvamombe *** zimpapers.co.zw
By Isdore Guvamombe
Government has embarked on a new-look multi-million-dollar farm mechanisation and irrigation development scheme to complement the previous schemes and maximise agricultural production.
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made yesterday said this time around farmers would pay a deposit first before they get any implements. He said the equipment would be farmer-specific.
"Let me quickly emphasise that there is going to be nothing for free this time. The farmer has to pay a certain deposit first. Where something is not for free, people become more responsible.
"I am not saying we are abandoning our farmers, but they certainly should pay something this time around. The equipment coming is not for free, it is for serious farmers — small or big.
"You must make a down payment of some sort and I know our serious farmers want to pay,’’ said Minister Made.
He said needy farmers should start visiting district and provincial offices with their specific requirements for in situ assessment and that the decision to make farmers pay arose from lessons learnt from the past schemes.
"We have to learn from previous experience. What you have not worked for is easy to destroy or dispose of. Of course, I know our farmers have problems but some of the equipment has been deliberately vandalised or stolen in an act of sabotage. Some of the things that happened to the farmers were meant to shortchange them.
"With immediate effect, needy farmers should indicate their machinery, equipment and irrigation requirements at district and provincial level. Not at the head office in Harare, no!
"All activities and assessments must be done at district level so that the assessment is a reflection of the real situation on the ground.
"I don’t want anyone to apply in excess of his or her actual requirements.
"We want our field officers to check on the ground. We risk giving a small farmer a huge pump or motor. We want to give the right size, of course, with room for expansion,’’ he said.
Minister Made said the new scheme would be centred mainly on irrigation development, product value addition and strategic marketing.
"We are now busy collecting information on the needs of the farmer. Specific needs in their totality as regards the type of equipment and size the individual farmer requires as well as the size of irrigation. There is no need to give someone something too big for a small project, of course we must leave room for expansion.
"Yes, irrigation should be the main anchor so that we increase our land utilisation throughout the year. The bulk of our crop will remain our summer crop, but we want to increase effective winter period production. Summer is having problems with climate change.
"Wherever we are going in search of new equipment we are looking at effective energy-saving equipment. Energy is a serious matter so we are looking at centre pivots, drip and flood irrigation,’’ said Minister Made.
A delegation of Communist Party of China Politburo members is expected in Zimbabwe tomorrow and will hold meetings with President Mugabe and the Zanu-PF leadership as part of a three-day friendship visit.
Cde Wang Gang, a member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, will lead the delegation.
In a statement yesterday, the Chinese Embassy in Harare said: "The Communist Party of China will send a friendship delegation, led by Honourable Wang Gang, member of the Politburo of the CPC Central Committee, to visit Zimbabwe from 31 May to 2 June 2010."
Accompanying the delegation will be an arts troupe of handicapped people that will hold performances in Zimbabwe.
Apart from the meeting with President Mugabe, they are expected to meet Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo, party director for external affairs Cde Stan Mudenge and other senior officials.
I AM a proud African of Zimbabwean decent. There is something in me that cannot be swept away by the storms of life or pleasures of the world. It is that something that made me walk with my head held high across the borders, even when there was no sugar on the shelves.
What kept me going is the knowledge that my identity is not tied to the challenges that I go through. I believe it is the same thing that made Kunta Kinte, a slave in chains, to categorically state, "I am Kunta Kinte of the Mandingo tribe," in the movie Roots.
It is also that something that made a British war plane pilot, during the Second World War, write "If I die think this only of me, that there is a corner of some foreign field that is forever England."
What he meant was that wherever his remains were to be interred, in the event that the plane was brought down, that place would be England.
I believe that this something is what Delanyo Adadevoh calls a positive self image. What he means is that as Africans we should take pride in who we are.
We are worth much more than the famines, the droughts, the wars and the floods that the Western media focus on.
We are a people known for our warmth, hospitality and have a history of organised traditional leadership and governance structures.
I believe that until and unless we Africans take pride in who we are, and have a shared vision, the development and integration of the continent will remain a pipe dream.
I, however, suppose that the collective positive identity is learned from culture. In simple terms culture is the way of life of a people. It includes their beliefs, norms and values, behavior patterns, language and arts. Culture changes and therefore it is particular to a given time.
It is said that culture provides one with an identity; right perception of self in relation to others; lenses with which we perceive and interpret things; standards by which we use to evaluate life; and conditions the way we prioritise things.
Ali Mazrui observed that Africa has experienced rapid Westernisation in the post-colonial period.
This implies that the basis of our identity as a people has been compromised in the global village where we interact with various cultures and subcultures.
Some of these sub cultures have taken root in the mind such that they form the basis on which we socialise our children and shape their lives and ours.
Let us take for instance the Hollywood culture that is promoted through the movies and television. This popular culture has cut across most barriers common in the traditional African way of life.
Things that were seen as taboo in the traditional context just spring up on the screen as the family sits together to watch TV.
This implies that the myth around some of these sacred issues has been shattered for better or for worse.
In the past, parents used very simple ways of telling children what to do and not do. I remember that we were told that if you sit on the road you would get boils.
They knew that if the child sits on the road he/she risked being run over by a car. As children we held elders in high esteem, we saw them as people of integrity and therefore we obeyed without questioning.
This is not so with the children of today they are living in a world of experimentation and justifications. The education system demands empirical evidence.
What has also made it difficult is that some adults of today are not men and women of their word. Anyway that is the dilemma that we find ourselves in and this I suppose is a topic on its own.
Judging by the success of the movie industry, I can safely say that the Hollywood culture is playing a big role in bringing up children. I say this because the television is seen as a source of entertainment and relaxation.
The television influences fashion, behavioural patterns and conditions the way we see ourselves in relation to others, the way we see things and evaluate whether they are good or bad.
Our indigenous languages are facing extinction as English has become the language spoken in school, business and even in homes.
This means that culture has changed drastically as language carries cultural values and norms. In this regard it is possible that our great great grandchildren will not be African.
When I say African I am not speaking of colour because what makes us Africans is far beneath the skin. It is not tangible, I believe, but can be discerned.
I am not saying all that is African is good. I am aware of the negative practices, beliefs and attitudes such as gender discrimination that have taken us backwards.
I also add my voice and say that all those negative practices done in the name of culture should be discarded.
I am talking about those things that define us as a people such as the values of ubuntu or hunhu.
There is a wealth of indigenous knowledge on natural cures, environmental conservation and management, conflict resolution as well as building and maintaining social relations.
I am sure each one of us can add to this list.
It is those things that were we have a competitive advantage over other Continents and therefore need to focus on and develop a brand.
Unfortunately modernisation has created a gap between traditional and modern systems.
In my opinion the people who spend most of the time in urban areas have no time and patience to learn from the rural folk.
People are just busy bodies.
There are also greater chances of the educated elite also perceiving all these traditional ways as primitive.
This means that we as a people have not gone back to our roots to try and tap into and develop the existing indigenous systems and structures.
As a result they have remained very basic.
It is therefore not surprising that as Africans, as the old adage says, we have thrown away the baby with the bath water.
A positive self-image starts from knowing our true identity starting as individuals and then collectively we can rebrand our communities, our nations and then our Continent. As Africans we therefore need to visit the beliefs that we have about Africa.
The Shona people say "Huru inokudzwa newayo" loosely translated to mean people prop up their own.
This means that it is you and me that should believe in ourselves so that AFRICA can realise its potential.
Egpha Jokomo is an aspiring writer and motivational speaker.
From Takunda Maodza in VICTORIA FALLS
ZIMBABWE voluntarily joined the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme and can just as easily leave the grouping if the country’s detractors continue to frustrate efforts to have its diamonds certified for export, President Mugabe has said.
Officially opening the 71st Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe annual general meeting here yesterday, President Mugabe slammed the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia for trying to deny the country the right to benefit from its resources.
"To tell you the truth, I have not seen a single diamond from Chiadzwa. None, but I believe that we are piling them; obeying the rules that are set for us to obey since we decided to go voluntarily to the KP.
"It was our choice. Having gone into it and realising the organisation comprises countries not friendly to us, we should do some re-thinking.
"We want to be orderly, to do like what other countries in the region are doing but countries like the US, Britain, Australia and Canada want to take advantage of us by ensuring the process creates the same effect like sanctions on us; that we should not be allowed to sell our diamonds," the President said, adding: "It boggles the mind that you are working with developed countries and you would think that their consciences are also developed and they have a highly developed sense of morality, but no. They become little-minded, narrow and evil-hearted. They do not want us to sell our diamonds.
"They have been heard saying what happens to our sanctions if Zimbabwe sells its diamonds? It is the regime change agenda all the time."
President Mugabe said the regime change mentality had caused untold suffering to millions of Zimbabweans.
"Deal with Robert Mugabe your own way if you want, but he is a product of 14 million people.
"We say no. If our people are going to mine diamonds or gold, surely they should have an open market — an international market to sell their products without hindrance," he said.
President Mugabe once again told the country’s enemies to leave Zimbabwe alone.
"Please, please, please, leave us alone. God did not only create the white race. God also created the black people and gave them their share of wealth.
"We are saying let us be friends and not enemies," he said.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces assured investors that the Indigenisa-tion and Economic Empowerment Act and Regulations were not about nationalisation and should not ignite undue fears.
"Government has no intention of expropriating the mining industry. No mine has been nationalised since independence.
"The record speaks for itself. But it is readily agreed that the war of independence was fought not just for land, but also for our nation to own other natural resources in circumstances in which we can share with other friendly countries as equitable partners.
"Past business modalities and practices of companies that deny our people participation as partners in the ownership of their equity are repugnant to the principles of our national sovereignty."
The President said Government was creating a sustainable win-win partnership beneficial to both Zimbabweans and foreign investors.
"Local investors will have to demonstrate fair value for their equity stake in the process."
He said consultations with the private sector to improve the indigenisation regulations were progressing satisfactorily.
"Government has also accepted the principle of empowerment credits as an integral component of the 51 percent and this is detailed in Section 5(4)(c) of the regulations.
"I am thus amazed by the rush of negative
publicity towards this policy of indigenisation when, in fact, its regulations provide for flexibility where necessary.
"Local procurement and capacitating industries and new companies owned by indigenous persons constitute premier initiatives that qualify for empowerment credits.
"Corporate social investment in communities also creates a visible platform for local empowerment thus achieving broad based and transformative empowerment," President Mugabe said.
He said the construction of dams and irrigation schemes, approved scholarship and skills development programmes were among initiatives that qualified as empowerment credits.
President Mugabe singled out Rio Tinto and Zimplats on the social arena as illustrative of the merits of well-designed and beneficial community development projects.
The Rio Tinto Foundation has several projects like the Rupike Irrigation Scheme, Sanyati dam construction, Empress RioZim Agricultural College among others.
Zimplats has constructed roads, schools and clinics in Mhondoro-Ngezi.
President Mugabe took a swipe at Anglo-American Corporation for not engaging in such activities saying the conglomerate was "just taking gold away".
President Mugabe said the Chamber of Mines AGM was taking place at a very important time in Zimbabwe’s history with Government affirming the importance of mining and its central role in turning the economy around.
"Indeed, Government is aware of the current challenges constraining the growth of the mining sector, thus slowing down the recovery momentum.
"In response, Government has instituted a package of economic stabilisation measures under the Short-Term Economic Recovery Programme and having achieved stabilisation, will now roll out further economic reforms for sustainable recovery and growth of the economy."
The President said the finalisation of the Mines and Minerals Act was progressing well and the amendments would improve administration and management of mineral titles.
The 71st Chamber of Mines AGM was held under the theme "Rebuilding the mining industry for sustainable growth, development and empowerment".
Malawi pardons jailed gay couple
A gay couple who were jailed in Malawi have been pardoned by President Bingu wa Mutharika.
Mr Mutharika, speaking as UN chief Ban Ki-moon visited Lilongwe, said he had ordered their immediate release.
Steven Monjeza, 26, and Tiwonge Chimbalanga, 20, were given 14-year jail terms after being convicted of gross indecency and unnatural acts.
The case has sparked international condemnation and a debate about homosexuality in the country.
Mr Ban said he welcomed the president's decision.
Correspondents say Malawi is a deeply conservative society where religious leaders equate same-sex liaisons with Satanism.
Mr Mutharika has himself dismissed homosexuality as alien.
But aid donors and human rights groups have been putting pressure on his government to respect the rights of minority groups.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said on Friday the government would not expropriate mines and was refining a controversial empowerment laws to enable miners to expand their operations.
"Government has no intention of expropriating the mining industry. No mine has been nationalised since independence," Mugabe told an annual mining conference in the resort town of Victoria Falls.
The government early this year published regulations requiring foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, to cede 51 percent shares to locals, a move which divided the coalition administration and spooked investors.
"The implementation of the empowerment initiative will take cognisance of the need to promote growth of the mining industry," Mugabe said.
"Accordingly, mechanisms are being refined to ensure that investors find it attractive to expand current operations and bring in new investment into the country."
The regulations took effect on March 1 and require foreign-owned companies to submit plans to show how they will sell 51 percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans within five years.
But the power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last year is deeply divided over the regulations, which Tsvangirai has said frighten investors.
PRESIDENT Jacob Zuma has told South African MPs that Julius Malema was admonished for supporting Zanu-PF, and reiterated that the ANC Youth League leader's views on nationalisation of mines were not ANC policy.
Members of parliament asked Zuma if Malema's visit to Zimbabwe last month, in which he expressed support for President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and denounced Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T, had hampered his mediation role in Harare.
Inkatha Freedom Party MP Velaphi Ndlovu asked: "If a person under your leadership, being your child, says something different to what you are doing what should you do as an elder?
"How do you explain this to those who have mandated you (to mediate in Zimbabwe)... about the problem of a child differing with you as an adult?"
Zuma insisted that he had dealt with Malema about his conduct in Zimbabwe.
"In fact, when your child steps out of line you admonish him and I admonished the child. Secondly, this is not a matter to be reported to the SADC.
“What is important is that I'm going to table a report in the SADC that is directly related to my work. Even though the children were admonished, that did not interrupt our work there," Zuma said.
Questioned on Malema's remarks that the ANC Youth League's views had always prevailed and that was why they were confident they would win the nationalisation debate within the ANC - Zuma insisted that those were Malema's views.
"We have said that Mr Malema, like any other South African, has a right to his views and his views are his views. It could be the views of the ANCYL as well. Historically, the ANC Youth League has had views, very strong views. It does not mean that all views were accepted,” Zuma said.
The South African leader reiterated that nationalization of mines – which Malema is pushing - was not ANC policy.
"In the ANC we are a democratic organisation. On this matter the ANC has a policy. We don't have a nationalisation policy as the ANC,” he said.
Malema was disciplined by the ANC over the remarks but the outspoken youth leader claimed that he had emerged stronger from the Saga.
His intervention on Zimbabwe angered Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party with officials saying Malema’s comments put into question Zuma’s impartiality.
The South African leader was mandated by the regional SADC grouping to facilitate dialogue between President Mugabe and his rivals.
Houston, TX - Antonia Juhasz, lead author and editor of The True Cost of Chevron: An Alternative Annual Report was forcibly dragged from Chevron's annual meeting yesterday as shareholders and their proxies chanted, "Chevron Lies, People Die." CEO John Watson abruptly ended the meeting. Juhasz was released from jail this afternoon at 1:15 pm CDT after being arrested in Chevron's annual shareholder meeting yesterday morning around 10:00 am CDT and kept overnight. She and other True Cost of Chevron Network members were there to share their stories of human rights and environmental abuses due to Chevron's operations.
The other four arrestees from the network, Juan Parras of Houston, TX; Reverend Ken Davis of Richmond, CA; and Mitch Anderson and Han Shan of San Francisco, CA, were released early this morning at 3:30 am CDT. They were arrested after being barred from the meeting.
"As a Houstonian, I am proud to be part of this global network. Chevron cannot silence the truth about its operations in Houston or anywhere else," stated Parras.
The other four arrestees from the network, Juan Parras of Houston, TX; Reverend Ken Davis of Richmond, CA; and Mitch Anderson and Han Shan of San Francisco, CA, were released early this morning at 3:30 am CDT. They were arrested after being barred from the meeting.
"As a Houstonian, I am proud to be part of this global network. Chevron cannot silence the truth about its operations in Houston or anywhere else," stated Parras.
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
IT can no longer be denied that Frederick Chiluba presided over the most corrupt regime in the history of our country.
Almost all the key people in his government have been found wanting in one way or another. All his generals have been convicted for corruption. And this week the entire top leadership of his Ministry of Finance has been found to be corrupt and accordingly convicted.
Even private citizens like Faustin Kabwe who were Chiluba’s financial advisors have also been found wanting and accordingly convicted for corruption and theft of public funds. Every court where Faustin and his accomplices have gone, they have been found wanting. The London High Court found them wanting and our own courts have convicted all of them for corruption and theft. Can all these courts, all these magistrates and judges be said to have issues with these characters, to harbour any hatred or grudges against them?
These are the characters Rupiah Banda has turned into friends and is today trying to protect in all sorts of ways. Why? The Zambian people need to reflect and meditate deeply over why Rupiah has been telling them that Chiluba was “a damn good president” when he knows very well that Chiluba presided over the robbery and plunder of government resources. Rupiah also knows very well that Chiluba was found to have abused Zambian tax payers’ money in the case which the Zambian government took to the London High Court. And that judgment, and all its details, are in Rupiah’s hands.
All these convictions bring into question magistrate Jones Chinyama’s acquittal of Chiluba. There’s no doubt that Chiluba’s acquittal was not right. And this was clearly shown in the grounds of appeal that were filed by the prosecutor but subsequently withdrawn by Chalwe Mchenga, the Director of Public Prosecutions, in complicity with his political masters. Enough analysis of Chinyama’s judgment has been made by very competent legal brains and it has been found to be highly jaundiced. And as has been stated before, it is very difficult to accept that Chinyama’s acquittal of Chiluba was simply a failure of legal judgment on his part. It rather looks much more to have been a deliberate decision to do so. And this is a matter that we think Chinyama will need to be probed for in the future and tell the nation what really happened.
There’s nobody who is not accountable to the people. Every public officer, whatever their constitutional protections, is in the final analysis accountable to the people. What makes Chinyama’s acquittal of Chiluba even more questionable is the behaviour of Rupiah, his own conduct following this acquittal. Rupiah was already asking the Zambian people to accept the judgment in Chiluba’s case before even the magistrate had finished reading it. Rupiah did not hide his pleasure at that acquittal and immediately started a campaign that was joined by some of his ministers to legitimatise it. And in tandem Chalwe Mchenga withdrew the appeal against that acquittal. This was clearly not an independent decision by Mchenga but one that was taken by Rupiah. And Rupiah made it clear that it was him who had stopped the appeal. There’s a prima facie case of corruption over Chiluba’s acquittal for which Chinyama, Mchenga, Rupiah and George Kunda should be made to account. We know that Rupiah has immunity but the time will come for him to be stripped of his immunity and made to answer for this gross abuse of power to protect corrupt elements.
But things don’t stop here. There’s still the matter of Xavier Chungu. Xavier was a key element in the corruption that rocked Chiluba’s regime. Today Xavier is a free man interacting with these same people freely and he is part of their political strategies. It is clear that Rupiah’s government does not want Xavier to be prosecuted. They are clearly seeking a way to let him off the hook. And this explains why Mchenga decided to terminate the services of prosecutors who clearly understood this case. Part of the reason is to ensure that Xavier is not effectively and efficiently prosecuted, if ever he is prosecuted. These matters are not simple cases. These are issues of grand corruption and they require a lot of time to study and understand them. A new prosecutor will have a lot of difficulties to understand these matters and may be at sea for a long time and consequently lose the cases.
Therefore, there’s need for the Zambian people to take a keen interest over these matters and ensure that what needs to be done is done and no one gets away with corruption. And as we said yesterday, short of violence, everything should be used to confront corruption.
Members and supporters of MMD should learn to place their country and their party above individuals. It is clear that the current leadership of their party is a corrupt one, it is one which defends and supports corrupt elements. For a long time their party’s chief executive officer was a corrupt element. And as things stand today, Katele Kalumba is still their party’s secretary general.
Despite his conviction for corruption, the MMD has not repudiated or suspended him. Their acting party president, Rupiah, is on record defending corrupt elements. What does this say of the MMD and its leadership? It is nothing but a corrupt party led by corrupt elements and serving the interest of corruption – it is a party of the corrupt, by the corrupt, for the corrupt.
These are not people who can be trusted to lead this country and preside over its resources. They will steal them. Whatever they do is accompanied by corruption because wherever they go, they are accompanied by corrupt people like Chiluba. What can one think of a political party and government whose chief consultant is Chiluba – a disgraced, an unrepentant and shameless thief?
What can Chiluba advise Rupiah and the MMD? What can Chiluba teach them other than corruption and abuse? They have turned to Chiluba to learn how to abuse public resources and offices. That’s all they can learn from Chiluba because he has nothing else to offer other than corruption and abuse. But where will this take them? If the MMD wants to survive as a political party, there’s need for them to revert to honest leadership and honest politics. This corrupt leadership they are clinging to will destroy them and their party. It is a leadership without morals; it is a leadership without ethics. It is a leadership that doesn’t hesitate to resort to criminality for political survival. Look at their defence of the crimes of their cadres! They don’t hesitate to kill, maim to win an election. They are going on as if it’s business as usual after presiding over the deaths and injuries of so many people in the Mufumbwe parliamentary by-election. And they are not even ashamed to petition the result of that by-election and are accusing the UPND of violence. They know very well that they were behind the violence that rocked the Mufumbwe campaigns, but they are not ashamed to blame others for it. It is the same things they are doing over their protection and defence of Chiluba’s corruption. They know very well what they have done, but they still want to go and accuse other people of hatred for Chiluba.
They are not even shamed to come out and attack a prosecutor they themselves had hired to take charge of the corruption cases. It is now easier for everyone to understand why they have been going around attacking Mutembo Nchito, a man they had hired to prosecute the cases of these corrupt elements. Instead of celebrating the efficient, effective and orderly manner in which Mutembo has conducted with these prosecutions and the near 100 per cent record convictions he has achieved, all they have for him is hatred, slander and harassment. Why?
It is because he has helped to secure the convictions of their friends, their political allies. It was too late to stop him but nevertheless they had to do something to ensure that he doesn’t prosecute Xavier and he is not there to argue the appeals lest their friends will stand no chance of escape. That’s all it is to all this. But whatever they say, whatever they do, they will never succeed in taking away the fact that Mutembo has discharged his duties with sufficient honour, integrity, efficiency, effectiveness and orderliness. For this the defenders and supporters of the corrupt like George and Mchenga are choking with envy and jealousy. They will never have such a record.
We are saying all these things not to ridicule them but to help the Zambian people understand what is going on in their country and why things are happening the way they are. As we have stated before, there’s a lot to say on these issues and more will be said as days go by.
By George Chellah
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:01 CAT
CITIZENS Forum executive director Simon Kabanda yesterday said the conviction of Frederick Chiluba’s servants justifies the demands for the appeal against his acquittal.
Commenting on the sentencing of former finance minister and MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for corruption, Kabanda welcomed the conviction.
“The conviction of Chiluba’s servants, I would like to call them servants because that’s what they are. So their conviction actually leaves a lot of unanswered questions about Chiluba’s acquittal. How do you convict the servants alone when the boss was stealing with the servants?” Kabanda asked.
“You acquit the boss to say there was no wrongdoing but you convict the servants. That itself leaves a lot of questions and as a people we are intelligent enough to see that something is wrong. What we are seeing now are double standards because the cases Katele has been accused of, they are the same cases Chiluba was accused.”
He said the appeal against former president Chiluba’s acquittal must be permitted.
“Those convictions justify our demands that Chiluba’s appeal must go ahead. We are repeating our demands that the appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal should be taken to the High Court,” said Kabanda.
“And these convictions have sent a message to Chiluba that what the people have been saying that he was guilty is true. He should be very, very worried by now because these are not good signs for him.”
This week, Lusaka High Court Deputy Director of Operations Edward Musona sentenced MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba and three others to five years imprisonment for corruption.
Musona, sitting as a magistrate, handed Kalumba a five-year sentence with hard labour after being found guilty on one count of corrupt practices by a public officer.
He sentenced former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda to five years simple imprisonment on five out of the nine corruption charges while Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) directors Aaron Chungu and Faustin Kabwe were also jailed for five years each with hard labour.
Magistrate Musona also sentenced former Ministry of Finance chief economist Bede Mpande, former finance ministry director of budget Boniface Nonde and former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene to five years imprisonment with hard labour but suspended for 24 months.
This is in a case in which Kalumba, a former finance minister, Chibanda, Mpande, Nonde, Prof Mweene, Chungu and Kabwe were facing 23 charges on payments made to US security companies Wilbain Incorporated and Systems Innovation totalling US $20 million.
The offences were contrary to section 29 (1) of the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act number 42 of 1996 in respect of the former public officers and section 29 (2) of the same Act in respect of the former AFSL directors.
Kalumba faced three counts, Chibanda faced nine, Mpande faced two while Nonde was charged on three counts.
Prof Mweene faced one count, Chungu faced two while Kabwe faced three charges.
The prosecution called a total of 34 witnesses.
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:01 CAT
MINES minister Maxwell Mwale has said the government and all players in the mining industry have a challenge to ensure that the sector’s growth is translated into tangible benefits for all stakeholders.
And Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Peter Daka has said the government has placed the agricultural sector at the centre stage of the country’s economic development agenda since it is seen as the engine for overall economic growth and poverty reduction.
Speaking after a tour of exhibition stands at the 53rd Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS) on Thursday, Mwale said the extractive industry had continued to be the anchor of Zambia’s economy and a strong stimulant of the economic development.
He said Zambia had subscribed to the International Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) aimed at enhancing transparency and good governance in the sector.
“These developments are indicative of the projected growth of the mining sector and underscore the importance of the mining sector to the economic development of the country but the challenge for all players in this industry is to ensure that the sector’s growth is translated into tangible benefits for all stakeholders,” said Mwale.
“Government on its part is committed to maintaining a favourable investment climate by ensuring a stable regulatory framework based on international best practices and this is why we have put in place a public-private-partnership framework for private companies to work with government in developing the much needed infrastructure that will help reduce the operating costs of doing business in the sector.”
And Daka said a well-performing agricultural sector would contribute to employment creation and income generation for the majority of the people.
“Majority Zambians live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihoods, so developing the sector is seen by government as one way of fostering economic growth and it is for this reason that we are encouraging people on the Copperbelt to engage in agriculture,” said Daka.
“I am therefore glad to see that overall maize production on the Copperbelt was 150,248 metric tonnes and 177,629 metric tonnes in the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons.”
By Florence Bupe
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
FORMER Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Fackson Shamenda has said the increased industrial unrest in the country is a clear sign that the economy is still limping.
In an interview, Shamenda said the government’s declarations that the economy was growing were only statistical as the picture on the ground showed otherwise.
“The increased unrest is a clear indication that the economy is still biting and when people talk about the economy growing, it is just statistics,” he said.
Shamenda said the benefits of the economy were still not trickling down to the majority of Zambians who were still poor. He also said the rise in the cost of necessities like energy impacted negatively on the living standards of many Zambians, most of whom get a meagre income. Shamenda challenged the government to lead by example and revise the minimum wage threshold from the current K268,000, as this figure was unsustainable.
“People are singing about an improvement in the country’s economy, yet when you look at what is happening the picture is different. The cost of energy and other services is going up every day when workers’ salaries have remained low,” he said.
Shamenda charged that the government’s expenditure was worrying and there was need to direct resources towards the improvement of ordinary citizens.
“When you look at government expenditure, you can tell that there’s no tomorrow. It is really worrying,” said Shamenda.
Over the recent weeks, there has been increased industrial unrest characterised by protests with workers in various sectors calling for improved working conditions and higher wages.
By Fridah Zinyama
Fri 28 May 2010, 08:00 CAT
THE Central Statistical Office (CSO) has revealed that Zambia recorded a trade surplus valued at K1.1 trillion last month. And the annual rate of inflation, as measured by the all items Consumer Price Index (CPI) has reduced slightly to 9.1 per cent this month from 9.2 per cent last month.
The recent increase in fuel prices will be reflected in the June 2010 CPI.
Releasing the monthly bulletin yesterday, CSO director Efreda Chulu said the trade surplus meant that the country exported more in April than it imported.
Chulu attributed the slight decline in inflation to the decrease in some food prices that the country experienced.
“Of the total 9.1 per cent annual inflation in May 2010, food products accounted for 3.2 percentage points, while non-food products in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) accounted for a total of 5.9 percentage points,” she said. “The annual food inflation rate was recorded at 6.5 per cent in May 2010, a decline from 7.3 per cent in April 2010.”
Chulu said the annual non-food inflation rate was recorded at 11.6 per cent in May 2010, an increase from 11.2 per cent in April 2010.
“Regarding disaggregate groups, the annual inflation rates declined for clothing and footwear, household fuel and lighting, furniture and household goods and services,” she pointed out. “But the annual inflation rates increased for medical care, transport and communication, recreation and education.”
Chulu added that a comparison of retail prices between last month and this month, shows that the national average price of a 25 kilogramme (kg) bag of white roller meal declined by 5.1 per cent from K48,940 to K46,459, while the average price of a 20 litre tin of maize grain declined by 14.2 per cent, from K23,871 to K20,473.
“The national average price of a 1kg of tomatoes declined by 5.1 per cent, from K4,011 to K3,806, while the national average price of a 1kg of dried Kapenta Siavonga increased by 3.6 per cent from K51,982 to K53,874,” she said.
Meanwhile, Chulu said Zambia’s major export products in April 2010 were from the intermediate goods category accounting for 76.9 per cent comprising mainly copper cathodes and sections of refined copper and copper blister.
“The raw materials category was second with 18.2 per cent comprising mainly of copper ores and concentrates; and cobalt ore concentrates,” said Chulu. “Other exports were consumer goods and capital goods collectively accounting for 5.0 per cent of total exports for April 2010.”
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:01 CAT
ALL Peoples Congress (APC) leader Ken Ngondo has said he did not attend the Africa Freedom Day celebrations because President Rupiah Banda’s government is following the footsteps of the Frederick Chiluba regime.
Briefing the press in Chipata on Thursday, Ngondo refuted media reports that he attended the commemorations that were held in Lusaka on Tuesday.
“I want to comment on what came out in the public media especially the Daily Mail also on ZNBC television that All Peoples Congress president attended the celebrations. This is a lie, I wasn’t there. I have been in Eastern Province since last Saturday,” Ngondo said.
“I did not attend Africa Freedom Day celebrations as Ken Ngondo and my family that was invited by the government of the day because I feel President of the Republic of Zambia Rupiah Bwezani Banda and his government of the MMD is following the footsteps of the Chiluba government where they never respected the freedom fighters.”
He said it was bad that the government did not care for the people who fought for the country.
“Hardly a month ago, we lost Honourable Haswell Mwale, one of the founders of UNIP and the founders of this nation. He was among the gang of the people who produced UNIP. The men never got respected by the Chiluba government, neither the Rupiah Banda’s government,” Ngondo said. “He late Mwale was in UTH, the President of the day never visited him. I don’t know, he couldn’t be sent to South Africa for major spinal operation. At the same time he was in Intensive Care Unit I was also in Intensive Care Unit for pneumonia. Now coming to Haswell Mwale, it pains me so much. If we talk of Africa Freedom Day, these are the people the government should respect. Yes, they are entitled to state funeral but I would have expected the Head of State, to have him at the graveyard, to bury our colleague, but it was only Dr Kaunda, myself and others. To me they do not care about these freedom fighters.”
He said a few days after Mwale’s death, Vice-President George Kunda was flown to South Africa for medical review.
“As I am talking to you now in Eastern Province, we have Dr Siteke Mwale who is still working as Ambassador Great Lakes Region. He is very sick; he was taken to South Africa by a son. He has come back, he is not well. He is at home. He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit. The government of the day has not even considered to continue with the medication that he was getting in South Africa,” Ngondo revealed. “Can we say we love each other? Can we say we are not tribalists? Can we say we love the people of Zambia? Can we say we love freedom fighters? So to me Africa Freedom day for this year does not make any sense at all. It’s one of those calendar days that have no meaning and this is why I didn’t attend. I have been attending all Africa Freedom Days in the past.”
He said the government needed to reflect on Africa Freedom Day and its meaning.
Ngondo also said briefcase companies had invaded most parts of the country because of the government’s delays to start buying crops.
“We have seen briefcase companies buying maize. Where is the government of the day to buy the maize? We are seeing figures of US $150 million provided, but they are not buying maize from the people. They are telling them to wait until it’s dry, it’s too wet. Meanwhile, the so-called briefcase companies are assisting our people. Our people have got hospital bills, school bills and other bills to pay,” Ngondo said. “What can we do? Tell me young people of today. Is this the government that is caring? We need a deep reflection of what is going on in the nation. The judiciary when it wants to act it acts, but this interference from the executive will create chaos.”
He said although the three arms of government appeared separated in theory, they were practically not.
“Anybody who criticises the government of the day is an enemy, let’s not forget this is a multiparty country. We need people who can provide checks and balances. Let’s not, because of poverty, regard those in opposition to be enemies of Zambia. Let’s persist in protecting everybody. Let’s have everybody have the freedom of speech,” Ngondo said.
He also said APC did not participate in the Milanzi by-election because it was called at short notice.
Ngondo said he was seriously preparing for next year’s general election.
He said the politics of the Chiluba government who thought that money was everything needed to go.
“We are preparing seriously for next year. We are all recruiting young people. Why young people? There had been so many policies by the government assuring empowering of young people. Tell me, who has been empowered? Citizens empowerment that is being talked about, tell me how many people have been empowered.” asked Ngondo. “So politics of compromise have to go, politics of provinces they have to go, politics of Chiluba government who thinks money is everything has to go. We know that during elections money is dished anyhow, young people should think about this. Is this what you want your country to be?”
By George Chellah in Lusaka and Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema yesterday said a pact between the MMD and UPND is not possible.
Reacting to MMD parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga’s statement that UPND members in 11 districts in Southern Province want an alliance between the UPND and MMD, Hichilema dismissed Mwaanga’s assertions.
“It is not possible because MMD is on its way out. UPND is on its way in with PF as a pact. So why would I be a prostitute? When Levy Mwanawasa was alive, Levy Mwanawasa may his soul rest in peace, in my assessment was a better president than Rupiah Banda. Levy Mwanawasa offered me to work with him, I declined,” Hichilema said. “Why should Hakainde work with Rupiah Banda when I have less confidence in his ability to run the country? I had more confidence in Levy to run the country yet I did not agree to join Levy. I did it on principle! There are times that you are in opposition. There are times that you are put into public office. Our time is coming. We are patient enough, it’s only 15 months from now.”
He said Mwaanga does not run UPND.
Hichilema said the UPND national management committee (NMC) made a conscious decision to go into a pact with PF.
“Mwaanga must learn to know his limits. He is overstepping his limits because the decision to go into a pact with PF is not his. He must also know that in the national management committee of UPND there are people from Southern Province who come from the grassroots,” Hichilema said. “Unlike him, he doesn’t know the grassroots. He left the grassroots about 50 years ago. UPND decides using its democratic structures who to go into a pact with and Mwaanga shall not change that. Mwaanga is divorced from the people of Southern Province. After 50 years today, he wants to represent the people of Southern Province. I don’t think he understands how Southern Province works. He detached himself 50 years ago I don’t think he understands Southern Province. He may have relatives but it doesn’t mean he understands… those people endorsed the pact.”
He maintained that the UPND held a general assembly, which endorsed the pact.
“The general assembly sent representatives from Southern Province and they generally endorsed the pact overwhelmingly, the minutes are there. So which people of Southern Province is he representing now? Which village is he representing?” Hichilema asked. “I don’t think he understands what those people want. Those people like other Zambians, they want development. I don’t think VJ understands those things. I am being polite, I choose to be polite in answering VJ, that’s the choice I make so I hope he will not misconstrue me.”
Hichilema said it was clear that the MMD was having sleepless nights over the pact.
“VJ was saying that pacts or alliances in Africa don’t work. But in the same vein he says UPND and MMD must work together. Isn’t that a contradiction? What did they have with those parties in 2008?” Hichilema asked.
On Wednesday in Livingstone, Mwaanga said his recent trips and meetings with Southern Province chiefs, the business community and other stakeholders revealed that people wanted an alliance between the MMD and UPND.
Mwaanga said Southern Province could only successfully produce a Republican president in 2016 through an alliance between UPND and MMD.
“I have travelled to ten or so district in Southern Province and I have met chiefs, many headmen, farmers and the business community and the general view I have gathered is that people of Southern Province want to see an alliance with the MMD as opposed to PF. This is a general view I have gathered as a result of the consultations I have had,” said Mwaanga in an interview at Zambezi Sun Hotels.
Asked whether or not he would push for a coalition between the UPND and MMD if approached, Mwanga said he would encourage the MMD to go into that alliance as long as the UPND agreed.
“I would encourage my party to enter into talks with the UPND as long as the UPND shows willingness. It is not about personalities, it is about Zambia,” he said.
He said Zambians must scrutinise all leaders ahead of next year’s general elections so that they could vote for those that did not insult others.
“As we prepare for the 2011 elections I hope that the Zambian people including the media will scrutinise the leaders on what they say in terms of content and substance instead of calling each other names. Zambians are not interested in insults but service delivery. They are interested in what leaders will do in the agriculture, road infrastructure, Zambians are not looking for people who are insulting others,” Mwaanga said.
He added that coalitions or pacts had greater chances of failing in Africa due to political parties’ differences in ideologies and policies.
“Coalitions and pacts are not easy especially with issues of policy and ideologies. Coalitions or pacts have greater probability of failure on the African continent as the manifestos are diametrically opposed. Others would be championing socialism, while others want us to return to nationalisation. These have to be harmonised to sell one common agenda,” he said.
Mwaanga also said the UPND’s manifesto was stolen from the MMD as the people who wrote it came from the ruling party.
“The general view of people is that the MMD and the UPND have similar policies, as opposed to the PF who are threatening to nationalise companies such as Zamtel to name a few but there are many others,” he said. “The MMD and the UPND have similar policies because the UPND manifesto was written by people who came from the MMD, they stole ideas from the MMD. So the general perspective is that the only way we can have a president from the province is for UPND to go into a coalition with the MMD.
“If you recall what President Rupiah Banda said when he went to open the nickel mine in Mazabuka, he said that Southern Province had the right to produce a president in future. In my view the only credible thing for Southern Province to produce a president probably by 2016 is to go into an alliance with the UPND as opposed to the PF.”
He said Zambia had recorded gains economically which should be sustained by making the private sector the driving engine.
“We need to improve the roads, we need to see the agriculture sector develop, we need to see growth in commerce, public financing, road development and general infrastructure in the entire Zambia. Zambians are looking for service delivery,” Mwaanga said.
On the appointment of Lundazi UNIP parliamentarian Mkhondo Lungu as home affairs minister, Mwaanga said the Constitution stated that the President would appoint ministers from within Parliament.
“I would like to congratulate my brother Honorable Lungu on his appointment as new Minister of Home Affairs although he is not MMD. Unlike what is being portrayed in some sector of the media that the appointment was not constitutional, I would like to say that the appointment was done in the confines of the Constitution,” said Mwaanga.
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Sat 29 May 2010, 04:00 CAT
SCAW Limited managing director Rameshwar Gupta has said there is need to make the Zambian manufacturing industry self-sufficient through innovation in order to sustain the current economic growth.
In an interview at the 53rd Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS), Gupta said Scaw Limited, which won four prizes at last year’s event, had recently commissioned two new plants for manufacturing of high chrome mill balls and deformed bars.
“As a major steel company in the country we want to build Zambia by making the local manufacturing industry self-sufficient through innovation in order to sustain the current economic growth and currently we are producing high chrome mill balls which are used for crushing copper ore at Mopani and Konkola Copper Mines and Kansanshi Mines Plc,” Gupta said.
“In order to support the mines in Zambia in reducing the cost of copper production, Scaw Limited is selling high chrome balls at 20 per cent cheaper the price of imported ones and our mill balls are manufactured under strict quality control procedures which include optical metal analysis for achieving the desired chemical composition, hardness and micro structure.”
He said Scaw Limited had recently installed a state-of-the-art induction furnace in order to expand its capacity to produce 24,000 metric tonnes of high chrome balls per annum.
“We have developed chilled cast low chrome grinding balls and these mill balls are most suitable for smaller mills being installed by small copper processing plants in Zambia and the DR Congo and these balls are produced under strict quality control procedures and have proven their superiority during tests conducted at KCM and Mopani mines,” said Gupta.
Scaw Limited is one of the largest manufacturer of grinding media, iron and steel castings in the region and the Foundry which is located in Kitwe has an installed capacity of 36,000 tonnes of grinding media and 5,000 tonnes of steel and iron castings per annum.
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Fri 28 May 2010, 07:50 CAT
LIVESTOCK and fisheries minister Bradford Machila has said the government will this year focus on the operationalisation of the livestock disease-free zones and establishment of fish breeding and distribution centres in high potential zones.
In his message to mark the 53rd Copperbelt Mining, Agricultural and Commercial Show (CMACS), Machila stated that this year’s theme 2010: a new decade with renewed hope was appropriate since the creation of his ministry had given hope to the development of the livestock and fisheries industry.
“Last year, the ministry embarked on the creation of livestock disease-free zones in Lusaka, Central and parts of the Copperbelt provinces which have been identified as suitable areas to begin this venture and this will be the main thrust in 2010; to operationalise the livestock disease-free zones, establishment of livestock breeding and service centres, rehabilitation of camp houses for extension officers and procurement of transport,” he stated.
He stated that the Fisheries Department would focus on the establishment of fish breeding and distribution centres in high-potential zones.
“In addition, fisheries co-management structures will be strengthened for the sustenance of fisheries resources and enhancing public-private partnerships,” stated Machila.
“Rehabilitation of a security wall at Mwekera in Kitwe and rehabilitation of infrastructure at Ibenga Fish Farm in Mpongwe are some of the strides being taken for the provision of fingerlings on the Copperbelt.”
Labels: CATTLE DISEASE
Friday, May 28, 2010
EDITOR — I would like to add my voice in response to the letter from the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe regarding the recent elections in his country and Zimbabwe, in particular the letter from Tirivavi (The Herald May 26, 2010). Tirivavi hit the nail on the head. It is practically impossible for Zimbabwe to hold free and fair elections at present.
In fact, I think President Mugabe and Zanu-PF must simply tell Tsvangirai, and his allies in the USA, UK and EU that there will be no elections in Zimbabwe for at least two years after they remove their illegal sanctions.
Only then can we have a free and fair election. PM Tsvangirai and his party must not talk about having elections unless the illegal sanctions are removed.
I am also surprised that there is still debate in Zimbabwe and elsewhere on whether Zimbabwe as a country is under sanctions or not.
These are not targeted sanctions at all. ZDERA and EU sanctions are targeted on the whole of Zimbabwe.
I urge The Herald and other Zimbabwean newspapers to publish ZDERA in its entirety and kill this debate once and for all.
Sanctions, coupled with direct funding of certain opposition political parties are a direct way of telling people not to vote for a certain party. This does not happen and is not allowed in British or American politics.
Zimbabweans had no say or influence in recent American and British elections.
So why should the USA and UK governments influence the outcome of elections here? If this is not direct interference in the electoral process, can the learned ambassador tell us what it is?
If their argument for doing this is lack of resources in Zimbabwe for funding democratic activities, then they should distribute the funds to all political parties in Zimbabwe through the UN where they can be scrutinised, as is the case with the funds for the on-going constitution making process.
I also urge all Zimbabweans, during the constitution-making process, to seek to bar any candidates clandestinely funded directly by foreign governments and donors from contesting in the elections.
Zimbabweans must remember that developed countries are what they are today because they broke all known human rights.
All monies that are circulating in their economies are ill-gotten proceeds from the slave trade, colonialism, wars and other immoral activities undertaken in other countries over several decades.
That is why they can afford to give US$46 billion to a country the size of Greece at the click of a finger.
All aid given to Africa over the last 50 or so years does not come anywhere close to this. Western democracy is not an ingredient for economic prosperity or human emancipation.
This version of democracy is now being used by the West to stifle economic growth in Africa. Africans must realise that it is our own version of democracy, that of empowering our people, that will get us to where the West is not the so-called democracy and aid.
Just as the Chinese are doing.
No one tells China what to do or not to do and their economy is the fastest growing economy in the world. We have to do it our own way. Africa can do it, but we need a couple of leaders like President Mugabe to take us forward.
It is for this reason that our President is unpopular and called all sorts of names in the West and the likes of Tsvangirai are preferred.
Plot 19 Eskbank Farm, Harare.
THE Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has requested Zimbabwe to re-deploy its troops in the central African country to replace of a United Nations (UN) force that has been stationed there since 1999.
The DRC wants the UN mission, known as MONUC to start winding down its operations by June 30 when the vast country marks 50 years of independence from Belgium. DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mwampanga Mwanananga told the weekly Financial Gazette newspaper that SADC troops – to include Zimbabwe - should replace the UN force.
This comes eight years after Zimbabwe withdrew from the DRC after a costly adventure which some analysts blame for helping trigger the country’s economic collapse.
Mwanananga said the SADC deployment had helped avert disaster in his country.
"I would like to give credit to the SADC troops and (clarify) that the continuous massacres in the Congo are nothing but an illustration of the reason why SADC sent troops. It is time that the world woke up and congratulated SADC troops," Mwanananga said.
Zimbabwe deployed its troops to the DRC in September 1998 to help the late Laurent Desire Kabila ward-off rebels that were backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
The intervention by Zimbabwean troops helped prevent the fall of the Congelese capital Kinshasa into rebel hands while Angolan forces also fought back rebel advances in the eastern parts of the country.
A series of peace accords were later signed between the warring countries leading to elections that saw Kabila’s son, Joseph, take over as President.
Then defence minister Sydney Sekeramayi announced the withdrawal of Zimbabwean troops in October 2002.
The foreign troops were replaced by the MONUC but the DRC government now wants the UN forces to leave the country.
But Mwanananga said the UN mission was too “costly and ineffective”.
"Why is the DRC asking the forces (MONUC) to leave? It is because they are not efficient. They cost too much for very little. SADC forces including Zimbabwe would be much more efficient than MONUC forces.
“We would want SADC forces back because when Zimbabwe, Namibia, South Africa and Angola were in the DRC the death toll was reduced and there was relative peace in the DRC," Mwanananga said.
However UN officials have warned that a hasty pullout could undermine humanitarian efforts and lead to an escalation of rebel violence against civilians.
A JOHANNE Marange Apostolic Faith meeting descended into a brawling contest near Gokwe centre when church members beat-up an MDC-T Councillor for allegedly
“preaching opposition politics” during services.
Witnesses said the incident happened last Saturday when Councillor Onias Marisa - a church elder who represents Gokwe town’s Ward One - defied a directive not to attend services. Councillor Marisa also confirmed the incident, adding he had filed a report about the assault at Gokwe Central police station.
“I had gone to attend a church service with the intention of worshipping my God but the matter was turned into a political issue when some senior church members attacked me in front of the whole congregation,” Councillor Marisa said.
Church members said Marisa had been barred by sect elders for allegedly violating church rules by “preaching MDC-T politics” during meetings.
A sect member who identified himself as Madzibaba Joseph said: “The norm within our church is that we don’t get involved in politics but pray and support the leader of the day, who in this case is President Mugabe. But Cllr Marisa was now bringing in opposition politics into the church because of his political affiliation.”
Madzibaba Joseph said Marisa had been warned against delving into politics following his election as an MDC-T ward councilor in 2008.
“This (engaging in politics) is against our church doctrines. (After he won the elections) the elders stripped him of the church garments and told him to repent or risk being kicked out of the church for good,” he said.
However, efforts to dissuade Marisa from politics failed and matters came to a head during last Saturday’s church service when he defied an order to leave the gathering.
“Marisa tried to resist the directive and the elders were not amused. They immediately confronted him and proceeded to administer a thorough beating,” Madzibaba Joseph said.
Another witness who asked not to be identified said the Councillor had at one time threatened to close the church if the elders insisted on kicking him out.
“He always insisted that as a Councillor for the area the elders had no authority to chase him away from the church. However last Saturday they decided he had gone too far and chased him away after the beating,” he said.
Marisa said he sustained back injuries following the attack by his colleagues.
“When I sensed that I stood no chance against the church elders I tried to runaway but they grabbed me and continued with the beating," he said.
Midlands Police spokesperson Inspector Patrick Chademana said an assault report was made at Gokwe police station on May 15 adding investigations were underway.
“Police in Gokwe are investigation a case of assault that was reported on 15 May. The case was however not politically motivated as implied in certain quarters,” he said.
By The Post
Fri 28 May 2010, 07:10 CAT
Short of violence, everything should be used to confront corruption.
And the courts remain the most effective way of fighting corruption. Outside that, arbitrariness may set in. And we know from history that without strong adherence to the rule of law, tyranny sets in under the guise of protecting society.
Give it to Levy Mwanawasa and to our magistrates and judges and indeed to all the law enforcement officers who investigated the many corruption cases that have ended in almost a 100 per cent conviction of all those who were accused of corruption. A strong legal and political precedent has been set in our country for us to follow and for others to emulate.
The set of corruption cases that were concluded with Wednesday’s conviction of former finance minister Katele Kalumba, former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene, former Ministry of Finance permanent secretary (budget and economic affairs) Boniface Nonde, former Ministry of Finance permanent secretary (finance and administration) Stella Chibanda, former Ministry of Finance chief economist Bede Mpande, former managing director Access Financial Services Limited Faustin Kabwe and his assistant Aaron Chungu have set a precedent of great value to our country.
These cases took a long time to conclude. But they have been concluded in a manner that is fair, justice and humane. The accused persons were accorded all the opportunities to defend themselves which they sometimes abused. Of course, this is not to say our judicial system is perfect. There are a lot of things that urgently need improvement and we hope lessons have been learnt.
And that said, what now needs our deepest reflections and meditation is the meaning and purpose of these convictions.
Most of the people who were convicted yesterday were public servants at the time of the crimes they committed. With the exception of Kabwe and Chungu, the rest were employed and paid by the state. It was not too much to expect that they would do their duties with full commitment and faithfulness to public interests.
But as magistrate Edward Musona rightly observed, these public servants used their positions to participate in siphoning public funds for all sorts of uses. What they did is a fundamental breach of the all-important fiduciary position they occupied in relation to our people. As fiduciaries they were our trustees, people who were meant to act in the best interest of all of us, but they gave in to the base instincts that drove them to theft and plunder of our national resources.
The crimes that Katele and others engaged in are very serious and should not be viewed lightly. These crimes illustrate the pernicious nature of corruption.
These public officers received amounts ranging from US$ 2,000 to US$ 50,000 but gave away public funds in excess of US$ 20 million to unscrupulous businessmen and colleagues. For peanuts, they were ready to compromise public services in the service of their thieving boss – Frederick Chiluba. Yes, this is what it was about. Chiluba is not far away from the conviction of Katele and others.
It is the kleptocracy that he presided over that gave rise to the kind of theft and plunder of public resources that people like Chibanda and Katele engaged in. It is difficult to understand how highly educated and otherwise very intelligent people like Prof Mweene could allow themselves to be bought for a pittance and tiny pieces of silver to betray our people. The gatekeepers, the people who were supposed to guard what belonged to our people became the looters. The whole thing had become free-for-all. Anybody who wanted could get what they wished with Chiluba as Father Christmas.
They thought they had got away with it and some of them mocked our people as they demanded justice. They have laughed and belittled the charges that they have been facing. But it is said that the wheels of justice grind slowly, but grind they do and yesterday their false and vain claims of innocence were dashed. The veneer of invincibility that they carried around was exposed for what it is. These chaps are nothing but common thieves and hoodlums who should not be trusted with public responsibility.
What this tells us is what happens when a nation is led by people who have no loyalty to those they lead. These are people who feel no real sympathy for the suffering and deprivation of the masses of our people. If they did, they would not steal and abuse public resources with the impunity that they did and their successors and friends still do today.
Magistrate Musona, who is now Lusaka High Court Deputy Director of Operations has demonstrated that there is always a small number of people in any society that are truly committed to seeing that injustice is punished and the law upheld.
We have no illusion about the amount of pressure this magistrates’ court must have felt in deciding this matter. There were very important people involved. It is also common knowledge that Rupiah Banda’s government is not supportive of the fight against corruption and the conviction of such high profile characters.
In deciding as it did, this court swam against the current and for that deserves all the respect and recognition. If only more of our people in responsible positions could muster the courage of their convictions and do the right thing, the future prospects for our homeland would look much better. Far too many important offices are occupied by spineless wimps who are scared of their own shadows and are not prepared to stand for anything, to do the right thing. There are many examples of this we can give.
Look at the conduct of Chalwe Mchenga, the disgraced Director of Public Prosecutions, who no future honest government should tolerate even to continue in that office that he has disgraced. If Mchenga was the magistrate in that court, Katele would have gone scot-free and so would all the other well connected thieves. We say this because of the way Mchenga has conducted himself in these corruption cases.
Mchenga played complicity in George Kunda’s efforts to try and get corrupt Kashiwa Bulaya off the hook by extending a nolle prosequi in his favour. We also saw Mchenga’s shameful behaviour over the acquittal of Chiluba and his withdrawal of the appeal that was correctly and legitimately filed in our courts.
This country cannot continue to have a Director of Public Prosecutions who is on the side of the corrupt as long as they are defended or backed by those in power. We shouldn’t also forget that Mchenga has in many ways tried to frustrate the effective and efficient prosecution of these criminals.
As we have stated before, we will not be surprised to see Mchenga come up with a scheme that will deliberately bungle the appeals of these corrupt elements. Again, we say this because Mchenga has deliberately removed the prosecutors of these matters before the appeals are concluded so that he can have control over the proceedings.
It doesn’t make sense to remove a prosecutor who has achieved a record of almost 100 per cent convictions from being able to argue the appeals. This is not an oversight on Mchenga’s part. It’s simply a part of the designs over their syndicate to defend the corrupt.
Anyway, as always, time will tell. Their actions should now be clear to all. And in saying this, we are not in any way express hate for anyone. We are simply trying to let our people know the truth about the way their public officers are conducting their affairs.
When we used to write about the corruption and abuses of Katele and his friends, including their boss Chiluba, we were being accused of hatred and all sorts of things. But today almost every court in our country has found them to be corrupt, to be thieves. And most of these people have also been found wanting by the London High Court.
So where was our hatred? The same crooked elements will today accuse us of hatred for Mchenga. It’s alright, time will absolve us because in the end time will reveal that Mchenga has not conducted the duties of his office with sufficient honour and integrity.
And this explains why the Law Association of Zambia has demanded Mchenga’s resignation. Even they have seen that his actions are not consistent with the demands of his office – he is a disgrace to his office and the legal profession as a whole. What keeps Mchenga in that office today is only the support of his political masters – the ones who use him to do all sorts of dirty jobs.
Otherwise, Mchenga would have been out of that office a long time ago because he is a disgrace and a pathetic excuse for a prosecutor. How can a self-respecting prosecutor be at the forefront of defending wrong and wrongdoers?
There is something fundamentally wrong with the way Mchenga relates to the powers-that-be. He is what is known as his master’s voice. It is not difficult to see that Mchenga does not act alone in the evil schemes that he comes up with to defeat the course of justice.
We know and have always known that Mchenga is Kunda’s puppet. It is Kunda who pulls the strings and plays the music to which Mchenga dances. Kunda has been a relentless supporter of what is wrong. But one day both Kunda and Mchenga will have to answer to the Zambian people for their dedication and consistent defence of criminals using their public offices.
It is also clear that Kunda and Mchenga have found a perfect partner for their schemes in Rupiah. Rupiah is on record praising Chiluba and calling him “a damn good president”. Rupiah is also on record saying he stopped the state’s appeal against Chiluba’s acquittal. Clearly indicating that Mchenga was merely a transmission belt and not the decision maker on this matter. We wonder what Rupiah will now say because his “damn good president” just happen to have been running a Ministry of Finance with ‘damn good thieves’.
All these things will come up and will be decided by the Zambian people because in the end people will know what happened in all these matters. We can only hope all these characters will live long enough to answer for their parts in these criminal schemes! As for Rupiah, he has to explain why he thinks that a president who staffed the whole important Ministry of Finance with thieves is supposed to have been a damn good president.
This is why we say that Rupiah is trying to defend Chiluba in the hope that no one will look into his own conduct. It does not make sense for a president to publicly or even privately defend criminality. But this is what Rupiah has been doing.
There is a lot to be said about these convictions. The only thing that remains for us to say today is that we are developing a jurisprudence for fighting corruption.
And some of our magistrates and judges, together with our lawyers, are making a tremendous contribution to this process. And their contribution should not be lost under the burden of expedience, legal or otherwise. And this reminds us of the precedents that were set by judge Phillip Musonda in this regard.
It is difficult for us to understand why people involved in grand corruption like Prof Mweene, Nonde and Mpande should be given suspended sentences when judge Musonda had clearly directed that cases of grand corruption should always receive custodial sentence. According to judge Musonda, nothing other than custodial sentence could demonstrate the seriousness of the offence of corruption.
This was in the case of Lt Gen Wilford Funjika who was given a suspended sentence on account of having suffered a stroke and had also repaid the money. Judge Musonda, exercising his supervisory jurisdiction, recalled the Funjika case and imposed a custodial sentence. Funjika went to jail on crutches having suffered a debilitating stroke.
What is special about Prof Mweene, Nonde and Mpande? Too much lenience has been shown. Anyway, the public will be waiting to see what judge Musonda does since he is now the judge-in-charge. These ‘damn good thieves’ do not deserve any lenience.
By George Chellah, Mwala Kalaluka and Namatama Mundia
Fri 28 May 2010, 07:10 CAT
PF leader Michael Sata (left) yesterday urged former president Frederick Chiluba to celebrate Katele Kalumba’s conviction with the same zeal he showed over his dubious acquittal.
And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka has said the sentencing of Kalumba and others to five years imprisonment on corruption charges raises a lot of questions about president Chiluba’s acquittal.
Commenting on the sentencing of MMD national secretary Kalumba and three others, Sata said the conviction of president Chiluba’s key finance officers was a reflection of bad supervision by the appointing authority.
“The English people have a saying that birds of the same feather flock together. I have no doubt in our judicial system and I can only hope that what we have seen on Katele the law will apply without discrimination even for the cases that are on appeal stage.
There should be no sacrificial lambs. We need confidence in our judicial system,” Sata said. “Let Chiluba continue celebrating his dubious acquittal. We want him to celebrate Katele’s conviction just like he celebrated his acquittal. Let him celebrate with the same zeal he had over his acquittal. He is the creator of these problems facing those people. Chiluba is the source of this corruption.
“Only those who were humble and God fearing like myself resisted this temptation. I was just a mere police constable who feared the law, that’s why today I can walk the streets of Lusaka with my head high because my hands are clean. But the doctors and professors we had, where are they today?”
He urged Lusaka High Court Deputy Director of Operations Edward Musona to be brave.
“What we need most is not hero-worshipping. We have to be very sincere because Katele and others have families too just like other people who have gone scot-free. Crime is the same, there is no discrimination. If you are corrupt, you are corrupt!” Sata said.
“If we go down in history, I think in the entire Commonwealth, this is the first time a former finance minister has found himself in an awkward position like this one. Anyway, the conviction of Katele and others is a reflection of bad supervision by the appointing authority.”
Sata said it was a pity that President Banda did not listen to advice.
“The problem is that Rupiah is not capable of learning because when all these things started he was with Levy but he abandoned Levy’s path, he is creating his own path. Katele was a sponsored presidential candidate but in one way or another he must give way for the freedom of one person,” Sata said.
“The MMD must be very, very careful because there will be a lot more sacrificial lambs. All Rupiah wants is re-election and he will do anything including passing a vote of no confidence in his own party or government like he just did on Mr Mukondo Lungu’s appointment.”
He said the current happenings would backfire on President Banda.
“On corruption Rupiah Banda is behaving like a Bemba man who wants to kill a monkey but he starts by cutting trees around before he can kill the monkey, which is his target. Rupiah knows the target in this fight against corruption,” Sata said. “But Rupiah must know that we still have a long way to go and the person he is relying on cannot be trusted. The person is only interested in his own glory and not other people’s glory. So it’s up to Rupiah to create more friends than enemies because right now he is creating a lot of enemies.”
Sata advised Katele to be strong.
And Lifuka said it was amazing that Chiluba, who presided over national matters at the time the convicted public officers were serving, was let off the hook.
“The president himself has been let off the hook despite having been the leader of the time, which is under scrutiny. So it raises a lot of questions about his acquittal and these questions will not die in a long time. They will be questions, which people will ask for a number of years,” Lifuka said. “The conviction of Katele and others is something that is expected in any investigation of this nature. We honestly see this as a natural process. The important thing is to pick vital lessons from this whole episode.”
Lifuka said some of the vital lessons that needed to be picked from the corruption convictions should not only be in the way that public resources were managed but also to do with probity among public officers.
Southern Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) executive director Lee Habasonda said the convictions were a victory against corruption in the country.
“But an indictment on the judicial process because all these people were serving in the Chiluba regime and president Chiluba was also charged with similar cases,” Habasonda said. “So, it does put them judiciary on the spot. In fact they were serving his Chiluba regime and so it puts our judiciary on sharp focus.”
Habasonda said the people would be interested to see the conclusion of the issue because it involved a senior member of the ruling party.
“It is a lesson that those in public office must observe probity,” he said. “Those leaders who have been jailed have disappointed so many people who took them as role models. It leads to a lot of questions really on how our society will reconcile these difficulties that the people who are role models are the ones yet seen to be mismanaging resources through corruption.”
Habasonda said corruption undermined the very security that the convicted public officials purported to preserve.
“You remember this was the Zamtrop account,” Habasonda said. “While these gentlemen were trying to protect the security of the country through Zamtrop, the corruption totally undermined the very security they were trying to protect.”
On Wednesday, magistrate Musona said prosecution evidence to the effect that convicted former finance permanent secretary Stella Chibanda was very close to president Chiluba during her time in office was not considered in his judgment.
This was in a matter in which Kalumba, a former finance minister, Chibanda, former ministry of finance chief economist Bede Mpande, former finance ministry director of budget Boniface Nonde, former secretary to the treasury Professor Benjamin Mweene, former directors of the defunct Access Financial Services Limited (AFSL) Faustin Kabwe and Aaron Chungu were facing 23 corruption charges.
These charges related to payments made to US security companies Wilbain Incorporated and Systems Innovation totaling US $20 million.
Magistrate Musona sent Kalumba to five years imprisonment with hard labour on one count out of three while Chibanda was sentenced to five years simple imprisonment on five out of nine counts.
Mpande, Nonde and Prof Mweene were sentenced to five years imprisonment with hard labour but suspended for 24 months on two counts, three counts and one count respectively.
Chungu and Kabwe were sent to prison for five years with hard labour.
Kalumba was charged in counts 18, 19 and 20, Chibanda was charged on counts one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine while Mpande was charged on counts 11 and 12.
Nonde was charged on counts 13, 14 and 15, Prof Mweene was charged on count 16, Kabwe was jointly charged with Chungu on counts 21 and 22 while Chungu was solely charged on count 23.
Kalumba was found guilty on count 19, which involved the receipt of 4,000 pounds from the Zambia Security Intelligence Services (ZSIS), which according to Kalumba’s explanation was for clandestine government works outside the country.
Magistrate Musona noted that Kalumba explained that the money was meant to be paid as a “thank you” to low-ranking informers apart from organising cocktails, meetings and dinners.
Magistrate Musona said this was not a job for Kalumba as a minister at the time.
However, he said Kalumba had placed the responsibility of retiring this money on himself, but he did not do so.
Kalumba was acquitted on counts 18 and 20 involving the alleged receipt of a total of about US $10,000.
Chibanda was pronounced guilty on five counts, among them the corrupt procurement of farm number 3585 in Kabwe Niseo Farm using public funds and the varying receipt of some funds amounting to about US $57,000 from the ZSIS during the time of the transactions between the government and the two US companies.
Magistrate Musona said he found a lot of contradictions in Chibanda’s defence over the farm.
Chibanda was acquitted on four counts involving US $20,000.
Mpande was charged and found guilty on two counts of receipt of US $27,000 from the ZSIS, which he has since refunded.
Nonde was charged with three counts of receipt of about US $22,000 from the ZSIS and was found guilty on all counts despite refunding the money.
Prof Mweene was charged and found guilty on one count of corruption involving the erection of a cottage at his plot in Lusaka’s Jesmondine using resources from the Zamtrop account at the behest of AFSL. Prof Mweene also refunded the government the amount used to construct the said cottage.
Kabwe and Chungu were jointly charged with two counts of corruption with public officer involving their procurement of a farm for Chibanda in Kabwe and the construction of a cottage for Prof Mweene as gratification.
They were both found guilty on the two charges but Chungu was again acquitted on count 23 where he was alleged to have paid US $10,030 to Chibanda’s son, Regis Kombe Chibanda.
Magistrate Musona said Chungu was acquitted on this charge because there was no evidence to show that the money was given to Stella Chibanda, as his son was an adult at the time of the alleged transaction.
But magistrate Musona said most of the government officials involved in the Zamtrop account and payments to System Innovations and Wilbain Incorporated were also secret agents of the Office of the President.
Magistrate Musona, who described the Office of the President as the thread in all the Zamtrop accounts transactions, said the government officials that were both in the Ministry of Finance and were OP secret agents included Kalumba, Mpande, Nonde and Chibanda.
“At the time the government of Zambia was liquidating its indebtedness to Systems Innovation and Wilbain Incorporated some officers at the ministry of finance are alleged to have received… payments from male Xavier Chungu,” he said. “These payments were drawn from an account called Zamtrop.”
Magistrate Musona said Kalumba and the others were senior civil servants.
“Accused seven Kalumba was a politician. He was a minister of finance. I have no doubt therefore in my mind that these servants and a minister occupied government office. They were holding public office,” he said.
Magistrate Musona said according to prosecution evidence the security contracts were regarded as secret and could therefore not be put on the ministry of finance debt database for inclusion in the financial report.
But magistrate Musona said this was a contradiction because the information for other security contracts were included on the debt database
He said he had noted from the prosecution evidence that junior civil servants that wanted to probe the payments to System Innovations and Wilbain Incorporated experienced difficulties from the senior civil servants.
He said a prosecution witness Bernard Mungulube PW8 had testified how powerful Chibanda was at the time to an extent that even a permanent secretary could not control her.
Magistrate Musona said Mulungube told the court that at one time when he asked for documentation over the security contract payments, Chibanda picked up a phone and said: “Mr President can I come for a cup of tea?”
He said Mungulube took this as some form of intimidation from someone who was powerful and close to president Chiluba.
“I will also not consider the evidence about Stella Mumba Chibanda intimidating PW8,” he said. “Dr FTJ Chiluba was not heard on that.”
However, magistrate Musona said he had considered the evidence of prosecution witness number 13, James Mtonga, despite being an accomplice witness because it collaborated with other prosecution witnesses.
Magistrate Musona then granted an application by the state to have Chibanda’s farm in Kabwe forfeited to the state.
He also granted an application for convicted Kalumba and Chibanda to pay back the money they received to the rightful owner.
When state prosecutor Fred Malambo applied that Chibanda’s farm and money be forfeited to the state, her lawyer Nicholas Chanda argued that the application was immature.
“It has to be made in the next 14 days, so I was for the view that Mr Malambo should have waited. His application is immature. The court has convicted Ms Chibanda and in addition to the five years she should pay back money she does not have,” Chanda explained.
But Malambo said there was no such section, which talks about making an application in 14 days.
“Just there and then, you can make an application,” he said.
Malambo added that Kalumba should have paid back the money to the state the time he was arrested.
“He Kalumba should have said the truth that he received the 4,000 British Pounds if he was ready to pay back but he denied the charge, hence the application to have the money paid back,” Malambo said.
In his ruling, magistrate Musona said the law stated that when an accused was convicted, the state could make applications.
He said he looked at the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act of 1996 where “shall” was used, saying the court had no discretion when the word “shall” is used in an Act.
Magistrate Musona said the word “shall” as used in the ACC Act No.42 of 1996 was mandatory.
He said the court’s duty was to interpret the law.
“In the circumstances, the application by the state is granted in the manner prayed for for the money to be paid back,” ruled magistrate Musona.