Saturday, August 28, 2010

(NEWZIMBABWE) We must not abandon farmers — President

We must not abandon farmers — President
By Takunda Maodza

President Mugabe has called for Zimba-bweans to put their heads together and come up with a planned agricultural financing strategy to enhance productivity.

Officially opening the 100th edition of the Harare Agricultural Show yesterday, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces said there were too many money-related bottle-necks hampering production.

"Financial support for the agricultural sector remains a sore challenge with limited resources being availed as costly agricultural loans.

"The result is that our agricultural commodities are purchased at very low prices, despite the relatively high production costs.

"Thus the need for properly planned agricultural financing still calls on all of us to put our heads together and come up with appropriate strategies and solutions," he said.

The President said farmers increasingly felt abandoned when after harvesting they found the market prices for their produce did not match production and sustenance expenses.

"For cotton farmers, growers of our ‘white gold’, the prices that were being paid for the produce were very discouraging.

"For the long-suffering maize farmers, delayed payments at times mean they have to contend with bank demands for overdue loan payments.

"In the process, some of the farmers succumb to the temptation to sell to unscrupulous lenders or buyers who either pay unprofitable prices or fail to pay at all," President Mugabe said.

He added: "Our challenge is to engineer solutions to the funding impediments and to assist in adding value to farmers’ produce.

"As we celebrate the 100 years of exhibition excellence in our 30th year of Independence, we should ask ourselves if we have produced the quality of farmers we desire."

President Mugabe said Government and the private sector should make the 2010/2011 main cropping season a success.

"We need to overcome the perennial problem of failing to provide inputs on time as we also need to seriously address the limited credit lines from banks and agro-industries plus the high costs of borrowing which often means limited working capital for farmers," he said.

He said while the 2009/2010 agricultural season had such facilities as the US$210 million scheme for seed and fertilisers and the US$55 million Government inputs programme, supply of the necessities remained a challenge.

President Mugabe said few farmers accessed loans from banks resulting in the majority reduced areas of planting.

He said climate change has also affected productivity as farmers were often caught wrong-footed by the weather’s vagaries.

"Accordingly, Government believes that top priority should be given to irrigation infrastructure rehabilitation and development in order to mitigate the impact of climate change.

"While the irrigation master plan shows that we have the potential of developing up to two million hectares of irrigable land in the country, the costly nature of the exercise means the work can only be carried out on a phased basis.

"But a start has to be made sooner rather than later," President Mugabe emphasised.

He added that mechanisation was also key to improving crop yields.

He said despite the mid-season dry spell in the 2009/2010 farming season, there was a lot to celebrate at this year’s agricultural show.

President Mugabe said tobacco sales had already exceeded 110 million kilogrammes, surpassing the 70 million kg envisaged earlier.

He noted that despite the sector’s challenges, cotton production continued to grow while poultry and broiler output had also risen.

President Mugabe said sheep breeding, and the dairy and pork industries had also performed well.

President Mugabe, who is the Zimbabwe Agricultural Show Society patron, said this year’s edition was by far the most engaging as it marked a whole century of exhibition excellence.

"It also should mark the distance we have walked as an independent, majority-ruled country.

"Thank you to all those who have carried the show over the years," he said.

President Mugabe said he was impressed by the standard of exhibits and the air of confidence among participants.

Over 700 exhibitors participated at this year’s event held under the theme "100 Years of Exhibition Excellence".

The show this year runs for ten days rather than the traditional six, with each day marking 10 years of existence.

The show ends today.

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(HERALD) Sibanda: Exorcising the heresy of Matabeleland

Sibanda: Exorcising the heresy of Matabeleland

THE National Heroes Acre in not a facility for bleaching darkened political souls. It is a site and recognition of honour: honour irrevocably achieved and thus honour which cannot be reversed or undone through subsequent transgressions.

Zanu-PF, the sole creator of that Acre, indeed the deserved sole author of rules of entry to that shrine, relies on death for this irrevocability. For Zanu-PF, life has to have been snuffed out, to have gone extinct, for heroism to be recognised, proclaimed, honoured and then celebrated.

Before then, uh uh!

I had the privilege of following the whole debate on this very matter as it unfolded in Zanu-PF. I recall that the debate was quite emotional, albeit with its own moments of humour and memorable brilliance.

Zvobgo and his "chema"

One leading figure in this whole debate was the late lawyer-minister and the then Secretary for Legal Affairs in the party, Cde Eddison Mudadirwa Zvobgo, who also lies at the Heroes Acre.

I particularly recall his witty answer on why heroes could only be honoured posthumously, never in their lifetime, a good many of whose twilight years often got quite rough and penurious. And examples of national heroes, who only became great and comfortable in death, having lived a hard, patched life, were summoned to buttress this emotional and emotive debate. But Cde Zvobgo would not be ruffled, hiding his well-known stubbornness beneath sheer brilliance of intellect, for which he will always be renowned, well beyond his lifetime.

To do so, replied the inimitable lawyer, "for me recalls a bizarre incident involving my own young brother, Abisai who, upon getting remarkably reduced both in purse and in personality, accosted me for his "chema" so he could enjoy it in his lifetime!"

It turned out that Abisai, also late, badly needed some small change for a small drink with which to fend off a raging, fanged hangover that "sat" him, to use local parlance. Unfortunately his pocket was out, which is how he ended up inventing this modest proposal of strange appeal.

Consistency, persistency

The sheer brilliance of the argument, so aptly backed by personal and even confidential family experience, simply staggered the Politburo which laughed as much as it took in all its threads. Whether this was a "live" example summoned from beneath the hard-to-fathom mind of the lawyer, or just fiction favoured and populated with living beings for pseudo-veracity, only the Zvobgo family can answer. But it did the trick. Except Cde Zvobgo would not end half-done.

He knew that one visit would not make a baby. Matters had to be seen through, and he hurried forward to clinch his point in typical eloquence, characteristically hidden beneath his seemingly unkempt, Karangarised pronunciation, but one steadied by complex syntactical construction: "A person, once declared a national hero, should be incapable of negating that status and verdict, which is what death comprehensively does for us.

They being dead; doth not sinneth! The accent on the selection of heroes must fall on those persons to have pursued and promoted the ideals of the liberation struggle consistently and persistently, without deviating from the same, right through to the bitter end . . ." That did it and the debate ended with the lawyer’s recommendations sailing through, un-amended. So were born the rules of selection and access to the Heroes Acre, themselves subject of much debate and altercation today.

Sibanda the nationalist

As I write, there is a sizeable debate regarding the status in death of Gibson Sibanda, the deputy president of MDC-M. The Sibanda’s profile as proffered by those involved in pushing for his recognition, rested on his career as a veteran trade unionist and trade union leader who cut his union teeth in the railway sub-sector of transport industry.

They also highlighted his role as a welfare officer in Zapu, as a result of which they say he got detained at Whawha and Marondera. The exact circumstances of that detention were not disclosed, as also was not the duration of that detention.

Significantly, the two MDC formations have staked their demand on Sibanda’s nationalist credentials, itself an admission that what he did beyond Zapu, Whawha and Marondera, may not have been that salutary as to be heroic, as to go and count towards this sought after status. More of that a little later.

A brawl over the dead

What begs preliminary debate is the whole moral of enjoying a brawl above the cold and still body of a man not yet buried, a brawl so replete with self-interest and self-positioning. And I find myself in an invidious position where to make the point, I actually have to participate and extend parameters of this same blameworthy brawl. In fact I had resolved to let the disgrace pass without me, until I saw an article reflecting the views of the Sibanda family on the matter.

The late Sibanda’s daughter, given as Thandi, has been reported as asserting her father’s entitlement to a national hero status.

Thereafter I became convinced that indeed the late Sibanda had been sacrificed by those closest to him, had been made fair game for public comment.

By volunteering their opinion over a matter and debate which is patently political, the Sibanda family, through its family spokesperson, has traded in the sanctity of his death and body for public scrutiny. They have invited tongues, and yes tongues do belch anything between praise and censure.

I hope the family will like what follows as this matter gets turned over, and with it, their own father’s life and career.

The Matabeleland heresy

But I have another reason for jumping into the fray. Both formations of the MDC are playing on the symbolism of Sibanda’s assumed regional identity. For far too long, there has been an inexplicable reluctance to debate issues and concerns coming from the so-called Matabeleland region.

So-called because "Matabeleland" is neither a geographical place nor a socio-cultural entity, it is political construct which is as convenient and self-serving as those peddling it.

The truth is that "Matabeleland" is a politically fraught fiction; as fictional as is Manicaland, Masvingo, and all the Mashonalands with all their pretensions to scientific compass bearings. I challenge anybody on this earth and beyond to tell me what Matabeleland, Mashonaland, Manicaland or Masvingo mean, or what it is on the ground that validates such stupid nomenclature we did not have to perpetuate after colonialism, we did not need to sanctify as identity markers, patently false though they are.

Let’s debate that. I remove my gloves for a hard-knuckled debate.

Gukurahundi monologues

But my point goes further. Starting off from this false consciousness, certain individuals who claim to speak for this fiction called Matabeleland have been mischievously tendering false claims of injury and entitlement, all unchallenged. We fear challenging flawed thinking from this part of Zimbabwe, with the result that potentially political dangerous misconceptions have congealed and settled by sheer default. I will illustrate.

The conflict in the early part of our Independence which pitted Zanu against Zapu, Zanla against Zipra, and for which everyone including the President regretted and regrets, has spawned a one-sided, monologue-debate, led by variegated interests, including Rhodesian and foreign ones, for self-serving ends.

How Zapu and Zipra became Matabeleland, remains a mystery to me. Was Zapu and its Zipra not active in Hurungwe and even Zvimba, the President’s birth place? Was it not national? Yet this thinking, driven by people who had nothing to do with Zapu or Zipra, asserts so in order to achieve their narrow interests. It has become a real blackmail, an unchallenged vehicle for pursuing ignoble interests while using guilt and tribal sentiment to claim immunity from rigorous scrutiny and challenge.

Somehow, those in Zanu-PF have gagged themselves on this debate, mistakenly thinking that their silence on this very matter safeguards the Unity Accord.

For that reason the debate has proceeded without them, and has been used against them and the Party. Who does not know that the Justice and Peace report — Breaking Silence — became the MDC’s launch manifesto in that southern region of Zimbabwe?

Second cousins theory

Then comes a related but separate debate centred on well cultivated mis-perceptions of "Matabeleland" as deliberately underdeveloped, as "a second cousin", to use Eric Bloch’s phrase. In fact I am wrong to call this an Eric Bloch phrase. Eric merely recalled it from colonial history.

Go to any issue of the Rhodesian Herald, from the days of the British South Africa Company administration right up to Independence. You will notice a raging and often divisive debate involving white Rhodesians located in the southern part of Rhodesia against the rest of their kind in the country, asserting their rights and entitlements as southerners, against the much reviled administration of the BSAC.

Curiously, the argument did not make any reference to the place, fate and fortunes of Africans living in that part of Zimbabwe, Africans we now glibly refer to as Ndebeles. It never did. How certain persons from that part of the country consider themselves successors to those "white second cousins" of Rhodesia; remains a mystery to me. And this whole debate on Matabeleland-Zambezi water project had its origins in that intra-white colonial debate. It is not the genius of post-independence politics, led by Dabengwa or lately, Sipepa Nkomo.


But the debate was not and will never be a unique one. It was and will always be a debate between any national capital anywhere in the world and its satellite zones again anywhere in the world, for as long as we follow the capitalist model of hub-and-spoke, as opposed to spatially balanced and spread, development to urban planning. And it is sheer folly to blame any one tribe, or any one post-independence political party or arrangement, for the way Harare and Bulawayo are, for the way both capitals are, in relation to the rest of smaller cities and towns in the country.

Where others are not even second cousins

What is worse, national statistics on development after independence do not bear out this second cousin theory which is so mistaken and so political fraught, to be left alone. Go to Buhera, specifically between Murambinda and Birchenough Bridge, and tell me what you witness there by way of opportunities for livelihood. Compare these to any place in the southern part of our country and tell me what your conclusions are.

Outside Ruti Dam built by Rhodesians, you will not find any of the dams you get in "Matabeleland South".

What then do you call that stricken stretch of Buhera, if you decide to call the southern part of Zimbabwe a second cousin? Mubvakure, perhaps? Walk between Birchenough Bridge and Chakohwa, including northwards to cover the whole of Mafararikwa right up to the shores of Save, and find for me any one dam, any one irrigation project as new and as big as any you find in the southern part of our country.

Test all the human development indices in that sorry habitat and tell me what you come up with. Or the whole of Rushinga; the whole of Lower Guruve; the whole of UMP; the whole of Mberengwa; the whole of Kariba. Or Chiredzi. In all these areas and regions — whatever tribal or regional names you care to give them — life is simply inert and enervated, the habitat too brittle and brutal to support life. Yet no great theories of deliberate underdevelopment have emerged from these areas which do not merit the tag of cousins of any number at all.

The myth of Ndebele-ness

Thirdly you have the myth of Ndebele-ness running hard on the heels of the aforesaid, with the attendant accessories of language, culture, myths and symbols to buttress it.

Recently we have had a fire gutting down the kraal of King Lobengula, himself part of our country’s founding myths, alongside Mbuya Nehanda and Sekuru Kaguvi. It is a fire that started in the environs of the revered kraal, clearly through sheer neglect and indifference which makes all those living close to the kraal culpable.

The fire was not imported from a heath in Harare or any part of the so-called Mashonaland, in order to torch this cultural symbol. Those with the responsibility to put out the fire did not have to come from Chipinga or Chakohwa. They had to come from communities within the kraal’s circumambient universe, and for whom that facility was meant. They include the Khumalos who trace their origins to that place and by that reason whose responsibility towards ensuring its safety doubles.

Then comes infantile politics

No one did anything to safeguard the recreated monument in this dry season we know to come every year, until it got gutted to ashes by uncontrolled fires so common in this dry season.

Witness what followed! A huge and emotive debate blaming those in Harare "who do not want to see our culture incorporated and visible"! Aah! What a way of abnegating oneself from responsibility!

Meanwhile, you have a huge-equally emotional debate on the statue of Umdala wethu which must not be touched by anyone else, placed anywhere else except where "Matabeleland" — the "rightful" owner of that iconic, national figure — approves.

What is the rhyme, what is the reason? Clearly you can see how crass arguments, infantile arguments, simply gain decency by default, by the silence of men and women whose duty it is to eschew such childishness.

The Swazi saga

And it’s not like this grotesquery will go away through indifference. Far from going away, it is actually overstretching itself, getting bolder and bolder. The constitutional outreach progarmme illustrates this. Recently we had an individual — interestingly the country’s former ambassador to many capitals including, Addis — seeking to bar outreach teams from gathering views in his area, until questionnaires came in a certain language spoken by locals there.

Apparently the former national envoy has now become a chief of a sub-ethnic group. A whole holder of a PhD, happily receding into antediluvian chauvinism! And he is not alone. We have whole professors who tell you that to make it politically, you have to wear the tribal mantle!

The issue of leadership

To that add the shrill demand for the so-called devolution of powers by way of a federal constitutional arrangement. This, we are told, is a sure panacea to the so-called underdevelopment. Not the colonial legacy, not capitalism, not sanctions, not neo-colonialism.

Much worse, you had Tsvangirai’s ill-fated recall of MDC ministers from Government, and the spurts of anger this triggered from Matabeleland. Regardless of the fact that those recalled came from all over, including Masvingo, Chitungwiza and Mhondoro, the argument centred on a proposition that Tsvangirai, like Mugabe, was pruning the leadership from "Matabeleland". You had the likes of Conte Mhlanga stretching their long necks to make a hoarse, tribal point. Everyone is Ndebele! Really? And that is what must matter only in making appointments. It cures all misdemeanours, all other foibles, including pilfering cell-phones! Again I am ready for a rough take on this stupid argument, calculated to blackmail those in authority.


Which takes me back to the subject broached at the very beginning.

Why didn’t the MDC formations predicate their demand for Sibanda’s hero status on his oppositional profile as the founder and president of the original MDC? Why did they seek to stretch his uneventful association with Zapu to make a case for his going to Heroes Acre?

Secondly, how do formations which only yesterday were trading insults, suddenly gang up on

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this one matter? If both knew and regarded Sibanda that highly, why was he not their leader, indeed the voice they listened to in the run-up to their split? Why should a hero they derided and toppled only yesterday be held high in Zanu -PF, the party he organised against, and only in death?

When he could not be accommodated as a minister of government, thanks to their bickering, was the burden of justifying his continued stay in Government not thrust on the President who ended up being Sibanda’s only defender? Where was Mutambara; where was Tsvangirai, both of them co-principals? Or did they need to be consulted first before defending his continued stay in Government, without a seat? Thirdly, is there a link between Mutambara’s stridency on this matter and the MDC-M congress which is around the corner? Is there any connection between Tsvangirai’s stridency on the same matter, and the pressures his party is facing in Matabeleland in the wake of Zapu and a restructured MDC-M?

Heroes Acre as a cleansing tool

What is not coming through the current debate how these leaders are using the late Sibanda as a pretext and excuse for dealing with the issue of legitimacy facing the two formations. The image of a quisling party serving foreign interests won’t go way. It won’t go away not because someone stubborn keeps pasting it back the two formations’ foreheads. It won’t go away because of the conduct of one of the formations which keeps cultivating and watering this reviled identity through its puzzling conduct.

Mistakenly, the MDC leadership thinks getting a salute from Service Chiefs, themselves war veterans, or one or two errand war veterans to its ranks, will bleach its darkened soul without any material changes to its politics as a proxy party opposed to the ideals of the liberation struggle. The role the MDC played from its formation in 1999 was and remains ignoble and treacherous.

It is a role that saw MDC, led by Sibanda and Tsvangirai, fighting the return of the land, taking money from sponsors of Rhodesia which resisted and killed those lying at Heroes Acre. Above all, it is a role that brought us sanctions responsible for the gnawing misery we face to this day. These, not Zanu -PF, are the compelling issues standing between Sibanda and the shrine, indeed between the MDC politics and the regard its leadership seeks to levy from all of us.

Where he faltered

If Sibanda worked with Zapu at some point in his remote past, and got arrested for it, well and good. This, together with his role in national healing, most probably explains why he was granted a state-assisted funeral. But the important thing is that he blotted his escutcheon by the dim role he played subsequently, which made him fail the consistency, persistency test, indeed which made him deviate from those ideals that saw him detained at Whawha and Marondera. That is the heart of the matter.

The debate which will not change anything

Yes, Heroes Acre was created by the two, sole liberation movements which will continue to dominate the supply of rules and candidates for that Acre. It is a prerogative of history which no other party shall enjoy. It is the benefit of the sacrifices the two liberation movements made, the price the two MDC formations have to pay for being late-comers shunting hostile foreigners into the home. It is an Acre steeped in an emotive history which the MDC has challenged. The values and history embodied in that Acre are too important, too sensitive, too immutable to be renegotiated or altered, less so on the promptings of the MDC, given its role. One is touching the very soul of the two liberation movements and the response just gets irrational.

More adjustments in offing?

The two leaders know this truth. The question is why they proceeded to make the request regardless. This is where the whole matter gets tasteless. Each had his own selfish reasons. Mutambara, who faces the rebellion of 11 out of 12 of his party’s provinces, had to be seen to be peddling hard for the late Sibanda, in order to recover some modicum of respectability at his party’s congress, in order to ingratiate himself with the southern part of the country.

Yet this gesture does not redeem his place within the MDC-M. Nor will it endear him to Zanu-PF whose goodwill he may badly need a few weeks from now, the same way Sibanda needed the President after his appointment fell because of changed circumstances. All indications point to the fact that after that congress, MDC-M will have a new president who becomes its new principal in the Inclusive Government. That means someone has to crack their brains on where to place Mutambara who I must admit has served the equation remarkably well. But he must know that leadership is not about succumbing to a mere sentiment and pushing an absurd position.

Riding high, not higher.

Tsvangirai who faces a backlash in Matabeleland and who is desperate to overwrite the humiliation at Windhoek, sought a new, distracting political cynosure in the debate on Sibanda’s status. His effort only serves to alienate him further from the region he seeks to court. His ousting on Sibanda and Ncube from the original MDC decided his fate, which is why even Chief Ndiweni turned against him.

Welshman Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa, who curiously have been quiet on this whole matter, stand to reap the most from it. Presently they ride high on the regional sentiment I have raised up for debate. What their role is in stoking it, I am not so sure. But the narrow horse they enjoy riding for now, will not take them any higher. Trapped in the integument of narrow politics, their fate may be sealed in being underdog regional politicians, fighting for the right to negotiate with the victor. I wait to see how both, pursuing same politics in the present form, will escape this verdict.


nathaniel.manheru ***

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Swedish Ambassador refutes sanctions claim

COMMENT - I have e-mailed Violet Gonda and others at SW Radio Africa on the false claim published by them, that Zambia's bumper maize harvest was the result of white Zimbabwean farmers, when it was produced by small scale African farmers. They did not respond to that e-mail, nor have their retracted their misinformation. Also, there has been no comment from SW Radio Africa on the existence of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, even after the introduction of the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act of 2010 by senator Jim Inhofe. Violet Gonda did an extensive interview in which she asked interviewees whether they 'felt' that there were economic sanctions against Zimbabwe. SW Radio Africa is located in the UK, and is funded by the UK and US governments. Prepare for more back-paddling and sidestepping and obfuscations from the ambassador. Who at this time can still talk about 'so-called sanctions'? The game is up, mr. Ambassador.

Swedish Ambassador refutes sanctions claim
28/08/2010 00:00:00

OUTGOING Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander has refuted claims made in the state-run media that he called for the lifting of European sanctions against Zimbabwe. Rylander also denies allegations that Sweden helped “sponsor the split in the opposition vote in the 2008 elections” by providing financial backing to Dr Simba Makoni’s presidential bid. He speaks to SW Radio Africa’s Violet Gonda for the programme Hot Seat.

Gonda: Ambassador, you have concluded your term in Zimbabwe, what would you say you have achieved and do you have any regrets?

Sten Rylander: Well I’m leaving after some few years here and I leave on a note of optimism and positive achievement.

We’ve been through so many difficulties and problems but right now I feel that Zimbabwe is turning a corner and that we are on the right track and moving in a better and good direction.

Gonda: There are others who may feel a bit different from what you have said in terms of the achievements you have seen. Can you spell some of them out for us and also, do you have faith in the inclusive government and on what basis?

Rylander: Well of course there are differing views on this but we have the government of national unity up and running although there are some tensions and some lack of implementation still of the Global Political Agreement but the constitution making process is on-going, we have a efforts to heal the nation, healing and national reconciliation also going on.

There is much less violence now than what it used to be certainly in 2007 and 2008 which was a very bad and very dark period in Zimbabwe’s history, and we have contacts going on between Zimbabwe and the European Union and the United States about the restrictive measures.

They have not yet resulted in a positive outcome but that will come after some time.

Gonda: Critics ask how you can say there is progress when there is still complete arrogance and also disregard of the rule of law and little progress on social issues. How would you respond to that?

Rylander: Well I think that you see some very nasty negative examples still but democratic space is opening up and it’s more tolerant in the society. I certainly see a clear trend in that direction.

We have the media reforms coming, we have the media commission up and running, we have permission for the new dailies coming out and hopefully soon also community-based radio, so space is opening up and there is another climate in the country.

Gonda: From your observations, where does power reside in Zimbabwe right now?

Rylander: Well that is a difficult question to answer because we don’t really know but we have the government of national unity.

I said they’re supposed to run the country, but we also have the military sector exercising quite a lot of influence, I think.

And we need to proceed with further reforms in that area in order to reach back to a normal situation. Security sector reform in particular, I would think is very important.

Gonda: And you are widely reported as saying that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted immediately as they are not serving any good and this was in The Herald newspaper.

Rylander: That is not the correct quote from me, I never said that.

I said that there is a process going on, there’s been a visit by Zimbabwe in Brussels, contacts are going on and I can foresee that after some while and with intensified dialogue on both sides that we could have positive results sooner rather than later.

I never called for an immediate lifting of sanctions. I think we need to have some more progress, certainly on the Zimbabwean side.

I have pointed out the fact that implementation of the GPA and the solving of outstanding issues is a key factor in this regard.

Gonda: So at what stage do you think the European Union and other western countries, who have imposed the sanctions, should start thinking about this?

Rylander: Well we are thinking about that all the time in various capitals and I think you have picked up that there’s a new government in London, for instance. There is some movement in Washington.

We are trying to find ways and means to think outside the box.

I think we need some more progress though until we can see definite results in this dialogue.

Gonda: What exactly do you mean when you say ‘we need to find ways to think outside the box’?

Rylander: Well I cannot go into that in this interview now.

I think we have been stuck on both sides and we’ve been pushed into corners and I think there is a need to realise that the situation cannot continue for long.

And on our side I think we need to recognise the fact also that the government of national unity have a solidified unit and common position on this now.

That was not the case last year for instance when MDC-Tsvangirai was fairly quiet on the whole issue of so-called sanctions.

That has now changed and so there is a common position, we have a common view also in SADC and the region and we need to take that into account I think.

Gonda: And do you believe that conditions in Zimbabwe now warrant some sort of removal of the sanctions?

Rylander: Well I see them coming together on a common position on this and that is a new factor that we need to recognise.

What is very important in the next few months is to see how the constitution making process goes and how the healing efforts proceed and so on.

I think that is very important.

Gonda: Right, and so far, how do you see things in terms of the constitution making process because some of the reports we’ve been getting show that people are still being abused in some of the rural areas in the country?

Rylander: That is true, there have been quite a few examples of negative developments.

But the overall assessment that I make at this point is that this process is going better than what we had expected and that it is under control and that these difficulties are being dealt with.

But I think there are some problems but the main trend I think is positive.

Gonda: How do you respond to people who say Robert Mugabe has stolen elections; he has used extreme violence against his own people and is still being allowed to get away with it?

Rylander: Well I say, as I see it there has been a lot of violence and the elections have not been credible and they’ve not been free and fair, certainly not the last election according to regional observers and so on.

But it’s been a very, very difficult situation to deal with and the way out in Zimbabwe was to find ways and means for the three parties to negotiate and form the government of national unity.

I think it was a good step in Zimbabwe but I cautioned also against this as a problem solving mechanism in Africa as a whole, because if you do that in every situation when you have stolen elections you undermine democracy and you cannot have such situations develop in Africa as a whole.

Gonda: So in what way was it a good step in forming the government of national unity with what you have said?

Rylander: Well, because the problems have been so entrenched and there has been deep divisions in the country for a long time, for many years … for them to come together to talk about the nation and the problems in the nation and how to solve these problems has been a good thing.

And that has been, we can see that on a daily basis and also in my interactions with the Prime Minister and Mr Mutambara and others, I can see that they are coming together, they are making it more easy to deal with the national problems.

Gonda: Some senior MDC officials have said that some Nordic countries, especially Sweden, played a role in the delay to a democratic transition by sponsoring the split in the opposition vote in the 2008 elections and that it’s now not a surprise to hear you calling for removal of sanctions right now. What is your response to this?

Rylander: Well I cannot understand, I did not hear this before that we have been sponsoring a division of the opposition.

We have been in favour of opening up democratic space, in favour of free and credible elections and that’s the only thing we’ve been going for.

We have a close and good relation with all parties along the whole political line.

Gonda: Some in the opposition or in the MDC say that you were a key figure in supporting private talks in South Africa before the formation of the GNU and that it was your alternative approach that helped produce a stalemate. Can you comment on this?

Rylander: I never, never heard that before and I take the strongest exception to that.

It is true that there have been platforms operating in South Africa through various organisations that we have been also been supporting.

But that has been a helpful avenue in the difficult road to opening up space and to find a more normal situation in Zimbabwe and the two MDC formations, Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni, all people who have been involved in this, have been participating in these talks and I think they have found them very valuable and useful.

Gonda: So did you go on a venture to sponsor the Simba Makoni presidential campaign and later on the MDC-Mutambara’s role in the unity government?

Rylander: We have never supported political parties like that.

There has never been any direct support to the Mavambo Movement, but I was one of many who looked upon this as an interesting situation when Simba Makoni came out late 2005 and I’ve been following his efforts with a keen interest but there’s been no support as such.

Gonda: You are quoted in the Herald newspaper also saying that the MDC-Tsvangirai’s disengagement from government last year was a major set back to negotiations between Zimbabwe and the European Union. Can you explain?

Rylander: Well it was a set back in the sense that we were just about to strengthen and intensify the dialogue between the European Union and Zimbabwe at the time.

Sweden held the EU presidency if you remember from July to December last year and we had a good team in place in Harare and we were trying very hard to find ways and means to reach results but then came the disengagement by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and it meant that there was no counterpart on the other side, the government was not working properly so we lost momentum and we lost some time.

For the rest of our EU presidency we couldn’t achieve much so we just had to wait until the government of national unity was back up and running again.

Gonda: But do you not believe their reasons for disengagement were legitimate?

Rylander: I can, I don’t question that.

It’s just a statement of fact that it was not possible to pursue the dialogue and to negotiate under these conditions but I’m quite sure that MDC-Tsvangirai had good reasons to do what they did.

So I’m not criticising them per se just because of that.

Gonda: Even though they returned to the negotiating table, what progress has been achieved since the time that they disengaged and later went back to work in the GNU? Has there been any progress in terms of the fundamental issues that they were calling for?

Rylander: Not enough progress but what was achieved by the disengagement was that that prompted a much more determined line on the part of SADC and the South African government.

If you remember there was a meeting in SADC I think in Mozambique towards the end of the year and it was a much more hands-on effort by SADC and South Africa to help the parties to make further progress, so in that sense you can say that.

Again there were efforts by the South African mediation to pinpoint the outstanding issues and try to deal with them and that has been a protracted and difficult process ever since but I think after the disengagement we have had more interaction between SADC and

South Africa on the one hand and the Zimbabwean parties on the other hand.

Gonda: And in your opinion, what strategy would work right now to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe because there is this stalemate.

Rylander: Well I wouldn’t call it a stalemate.

They are stuck on some issues but they are still dealing with the outstanding issues, they are discussing them, there are progress here and there, they are discussing electoral reforms for instance and there’s quite a large degree of agreement on those and the commissions are up and running and as I’ve said before, the constitution making process is there.

They are also dealing with a very difficult issue about the sale of diamonds and how to deal with that in the future and there we also see some progress although we are a long way from an orderly, transparent and accountable system for that.

Gonda: And on the issue of diamonds that you have just mentioned, do you think that the diamonds in Zimbabwe, which are now being sold, do you think they will benefit the finances of the nation?

Rylander: Well according to what has come out in the media and from my interactions with the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti and others, steps have been taken and some money is now coming into the national fiscus, and you can imagine that this is a very delicate and difficult process and will take some time until you come back to a system that is perfect so this is also progress.

What I take note of is that good negotiations and talks are going on and they reach results and there is gradual progress in this.

Gonda: It’s been said that ten percent of the diamonds sold will go to the fiscus. Is this what you are referring to, this ten percent?

Rylander: That is what I am referring to. It’s not all money from this sale coming into the national fiscus but a large step has been taken.

Gonda: Do you think this ten per cent is enough to run the country?

Rylander: No I don’t think so. You want to have a normal situation that you have in other countries. Look at Botswana; look at Namibia; look at South Africa.

It’s a long way to go until, and I don’t want to discuss in terms of percentages, but there must be transparency and accountability in this whole operation as it is in most other countries.

Gonda: Right, and you also, you also talked a bit about the constitution, do believe with what you’ve seen on the ground in Zimbabwe so far, believe there’s a chance of Zimbabwe actually having a decent constitution after this process?

Rylander: I believe so, yes. I’m not underestimating the difficulties but I’m rather positively surprised to know by the openness and the process that has taken place so far.

I think there is an open debate on many very sensitive issues in most places where these discussions are going on.

Gonda: But is there really an open debate when people are being forced to follow a particular angle, a particular line, especially in the rural areas - where they are being intimidated by war veterans and other partisan groups?

Rylander: Well we have to follow what is happening and these so-called war veterans, some of them are really not very helpful and they must be dealt with. They must not be allowed to disturb the process as has happened on a few occasions already.

Gonda: And do you think more could have been done to express Europe’s view over the rigged elections of 2008 and the consequent violence?

Rylander: Well I think we had done a lot, not only us but in the broad international community has expressed their very firm views about what happened in 2008 and certainly about the widespread violence that we saw, especially in May/June 2008 and that came not only from the so-called west but it came also from the African observer missions and from the South African government.

Gonda: And there have been calls for elections in Zimbabwe, in your view, is Zimbabwe really ready for elections or the only option right now is this inclusive government?

Rylander: I have been cautioning Zimbabwean friends not to rush into new elections too quickly because there is a very great chance that you can slide back into old negative patterns of a lot of violence and so on, but this is for Zimbabweans to decide but my hope is that you lay a good foundation first by having a new constitution, pushing through electoral reforms and then go for elections.

That will mean not before end of next year, possibly later, 2012 or so would be a safer solution I think and a better election that would be credible and democratic.

Gonda: And Ambassador Rylander you are ending your mission in Zimbabwe, lessons learned?

Rylander: Well there are many lessons learned.

I’ve been in this region, dealing with this region for 30 years and I lived in southern Africa for 20 years but one lesson that I picked up also in Namibia and other places is that liberation movements have difficulties sometimes to make the transition into a modern democracy and to a democratic party and they have been struggling with that, both the ANC, SWAPO, ZANU and so on and that has been very interesting to follow and I think there’s been particular difficulties here in Zimbabwe on that score.

Gonda: And a final word?

Rylander: I wish this nation good luck and I really hope that the positive trends that we see now in the direction of coming together as a nation and national healing that this will continue during the next year or two.

That will be very critical for Zimbabwe.

Gonda: Where to from here? Are you going to another country or what next for you?

Rylander: I’m going back home and I will retire very soon.

Early next year in February I’ll reach the upper limit, age limit, 67 so then I will retire and I will have more time to nurture my African roots and reflect on my vast experiences from this region.Feedback can be sent to violet ***

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe must hand-over power: Malema

Mugabe must hand-over power: Malema
by Staff Reporter
28/08/2010 00:00:00

THE powerful leader of the young wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) has railed against “permanent leaders” as he called on Zimbabwe’ President Robert Mugabe to “hand over to young chaps”. And speaking at the ANC Youth League’s annual convention in Midrand on Friday, Malema also warned ANC leaders they could be removed at any time.

"In as much as we support the revolutionary programme in Zimbabwe,” Malema said, “President Mugabe must hand over to those young chaps so that we engage with [them] on the same level. We will never agree with permanent leadership.”

Malema visited Zimbabwe earlier this year and met Mugabe. He used the trip to attack Zimbabwe’s opposition parties, saying they would “never find friendship” in the ANC.

A key proponent of the nationalisation of mines and land reforms, inspiration of which he found in Zimbabwe, Malema however insists leaders must respect popular will.

"You must be careful, you'll be on the streets if you don't respect the power of the masses," Malema told Youth League delegates at the convention where he received an emphatic new mandate.

"Sometimes power makes you drunk."

Malema has pointedly refused to give President Jacob Zuma his backing ahead of an ANC congress in 2012 at which the Youth League is also plotting the ouster of the party’s secretary general Gwede Mantashe and replace him with Fikile Mbalula, a past leader of the League.

“Permanent leaders or old horses refusing to leave are not welcome,” Malema said. “To lead is a privilege not a right. We are the future; we want to inherit the ANC which is intact."

Malema told delegates that they must constitute over 70% of the ANC’s mid-term policy gathering in Durban where the League hopes to add impetus to the land redistribution agenda as well as the nationalisation of mines push.
“You must be guaranteed that everything we discuss here will be adopted by the ANC," he said.

"We are going to take land back... but we will compensate ... that compensation will be determined by the state and not the owner. The willing-buyer willing-seller principle is not working, One needs money to buy land, leading to it being owned by foreigners, because they have the money to do so.”

The ANCYL’s push for the nationalisation of the mines emanated from the Freedom Charter, which states “land shall be shared among those who work it”.

Malema was disciplined by the ANC earlier this year following his Zimbabwe trip after the party said he had publicly criticised Zuma and compromised his mediation efforts in Zimbabwe with his public support for Mugabe’s Zanu PF.

Ironically, Zuma’s deputy Kgalema Motlanthe – seen as the only leader safe at the 2012 congress – was the Youth League’s guest of honour at the Congress. He got a rousing reception as he described the League as a “good problem”.
A "hyperactive" Youth League was better than a passive one, he said Friday.

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It’s Rupiah who should pack and go

It’s Rupiah who should pack and go
By The Post
Sat 28 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

In life it is very important to be clear about things. It is also very important to value yourself at your right worth. It is very dangerous to over-value oneself and to exaggerate one's capacity or strength. And when one is embarrassed, it is not wise to try and hide one's humiliation by blaming others for self-created problems.

It seems to be a terminal illness for troubled African politicians to always blame their differences with the international community on imperialism. Even the most pro-imperialist African politicians – like Frederick Chiluba - will propound empty anti-imperialist rhetoric whenever they are called upon by the international community to account to their people for the way they are handling their resources and the way they are dealing with governance issues.

Even politicians who at one time or another were CIA agents, whenever they fail to meet international norms, they never hesitate to rattle anti-imperialist slogans. Yet these are the same people who cherish so much any little praise that comes from these same people they are referring to as imperialists or colonialists.

They will go round basking in whatever little glory they get from such praise. They will not hesitate to vuvuzela to their people how the donors are happy with them and their programmes; how the donors are happy with this and that they are doing; and how much the donors have given them for this and that project.

We are saying all this in the light of Rupiah Banda’s renewed unwarranted attacks on the donors. It seems that whatever Chiluba has done for Rupiah or has promised to do for Rupiah is so big that Rupiah is prepared to attack the international community in defence of Chiluba.

The international community and those of our people who are demanding that Rupiah and his band of minions pursue this matter to its logical conclusion are not asking Rupiah to do something required by the laws of England or any other donor nation.

Our people are demanding the implementation of the law of this land. And moreover, Rupiah cannot tell us that the London High Court judgment against Chiluba is a colonial judgment that should not be respected or accepted by the Zambian people.

This is a judgment that was obtained by the Zambian government in a case that was initiated by the same government acting through George Kunda, the then Attorney General and justice minister for our country. And today, this same George is Rupiah’s Vice-President.

Is Rupiah telling us something we don’t know about George that he is an imperialist agent? In saying all this and in asking all these questions, we are not in any way defending or justifying imperialism or colonialism. Imperialism has been weighed and found wanting and can never be justifiably defended. And the issue at hand is not imperialism.

If imperialism threatened our country in any small way, we wouldn’t need a clarion call from anyone to join the fight against it. Rupiah’s problem has nothing to do with imperialism. And Rupiah has no problem with imperialism just as much as he has no problem with corruption, regionalism, tribalism and other very dangerous vices that bedevil our politics today.

It is important for us to analyse what Rupiah has said very calmly because that will clearly show that Rupiah’s problem with the donors has nothing to do with protecting national integrity or our independence as he claims.

It is curious that one of the first points that Rupiah makes is why people are asking his government to appeal when, according to him, the government easily accepts cases that go against it? This seems to suggest, that judge Evans Hamaundu’s refusal to register the London High Court judgment was a decision that was in favour of the government. And those who are unhappy should accept it the same way that the government accepts judgments that go against it. This may appear to be a slip of the tongue but it isn’t.

In fact, it is what one might call a Freudian slip, meaning that Rupiah said something that was deep down his subconscious. In the spur of the moment, he said something that he should not have said. It is clear from this statement that Rupiah has fully accepted the role of being Chiluba’s defender. And this is to such a degree that he cannot distinguish between Chiluba and the government of the Republic of Zambia – to Rupiah, a victory for Chiluba is a triumph by the government of the Republic of Zambia.

This also arises from the fact that to Rupiah, the government and himself are not different, they are the same – a friend of Rupiah is a friend of the government of the Republic of Zambia. And equally, an enemy of Rupiah and his friends is an enemy of the government of the Republic of Zambia. Probably one can even correctly say that what belongs to the government of the Republic of Zambia belongs to Rupiah. This is the same mentality his friend Chiluba had. Chiluba got to a point where he could not distinguish between government funds, bank accounts and his personal ones – to him, everything was the same, they were all his.

The donors are not asking Rupiah to do anything that is against our people, that subjugates our people, something that humiliates them. Our people demanded the lifting of Chiluba’s immunity and his prosecution. And this was supported by almost all members of parliament, including his own Vice-President George. It was not the donors that demanded the prosecution of Chiluba, that initiated the London High Court litigation against Chiluba. It was our people and their elected representatives that did so.
Why should the defence of a thief who has stolen from our people require insulting donors who try to help our people in all sorts of ways? The donors are certainly not angels but in this case, they are standing on the side of angels – our poor people that Chiluba stole from. There is nothing wrong with the donors asking Rupiah to explain why his government has decided not to appeal against judge Hamaundu’s judgment. The only simple reason Rupiah has refused to appeal that judgment and is so annoyed with anyone pushing him to do so is because he considers it his victory.

Appealing against that judgment would rob him of his victory. And this is not the first time he has done this. In the judgment of magistrate Jones Chinyama acquitting Chiluba, Rupiah took the same position and defiantly told everybody who wanted him to appeal to go to hell and maintained that he was not going to appeal that judgment. And things have stayed that way.

It is a well known fact that Rupiah’s personal finances and those of his family members have improved tremendously since he became President – far beyond his earned income. But this cannot be said to be true about the majority of our people who are living in abject poverty. Rupiah’s false sense of security brought about by his government resources-driven personal financial improvement should not fool him into thinking that this country can do without the donors at this stage.

Even if we did not need the donors, there is a more decent way of dealing with friends when you no longer need their assistance or when you no longer want to continue your relationship with them. It is childish to go and start telling donors at the airport, on the steps of a plane to pack and go. This type of insolence will not lead us anywhere. And it just goes to show how uncouth and uncultured someone is. Moreover, these donors are not here at the pleasure of Rupiah and his friends; they are not here to serve the interests and desires of Rupiah and Chiluba.

They are here to help address the many problems that affect our people. They are here for solidarity with the Zambian people. International cooperation is needed by every country. Only a fool can think that there is a country in this world that can solve all its problems by itself – not even the United States can solve all its problems by itself.

We all need each other; we are all passengers on this one vessel called earth. We are bound together by this common destiny. And as we have stated before, no one has the right or will have the right to abuse the resources and human rights of his people and try to hide behind national sovereignity and expect the international community to accept that and stand by and watch.

It is a fact that even Rupiah’s government has accepted that public funds that were given by the international community to our health sector, for example, have been stolen, mismanaged, misapplied, misappropriated, misused and so on and so forth. And this is not the only sector where we have this problem.

We have experienced it in our road sector and other institutions of the state. What is wrong with those who have contributed this money speaking out when things are not going well or according to agreements? The truth is that corrupt elements don’t want to be questioned about their corrupt practices. What Rupiah is doing by defending Chiluba and his corruption amounts to corruption.

Rupiah has no right to chase donors from our country because it is not him who brought them here; he found them here and he will leave them.

Rupiah cannot tell us that he does not know that Chiluba stole from our people. And also George, his Vice-President, who took Chiluba to court in London cannot tell us that he doesn’t know that Chiluba stole from the Zambian people. But why are they defending him? They may have their reasons for defending Chiluba, their political consultant, but they should not expect other people, people of goodwill to join them.

Today, Rupiah wants to make the nation believe that he is sincere about fighting corruption. What corruption? He even has the audacity to accuse the British of refusing to bring fugitive Attan Shansonga. Is Rupiah’s government ready to prosecute Shansonga?

We ask this question because Rupiah’s government has decimated the state’s ability to prosecute these types of cases. This is why they disbanded the Task Force on Corruption and lied to the nation that they were fusing it into the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) when they knew very well that no such thing would happen. They have also rigged the ACC in such a way that it is a toothless bulldog that will only act if Rupiah and George say it is okay for them to do so.

This newspaper spent years reporting about the theft of copper and cobalt monies by known persons. Is Rupiah prepared to arrest those corrupt elements and have them prosecuted? His claim that they are serious about prosecuting people like Shansonga is nothing but a diversionary tactic meant to hoodwink those who don’t know much about these matters. The position of Rupiah’s government on corruption is to try and defend them.

The only ones that get prosecuted are those who they think are their enemies or where Rupiah finds it impossible to manoeuvre. Anyway, our people are watching; they do not need the donors to tell them that what Rupiah is doing is wrong. The donors have not done anything wrong. And the one who needs to pack and go is Rupiah himself.

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Zambians will recover what belongs to them – Sata

Zambians will recover what belongs to them – Sata
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 09:50 CAT

PATRIOTIC Front (PF) president Michael Sata has thanked President Rupiah Banda for confirming that he had no programme for the country when he assumed the presidency. And Sata said not all was lost on the corruption fight against former president Frederick Chiluba, saying Zambians will soon recover what was stolen from them.

Commenting on President Banda’s statement that his presidency was an example of a miracle from God, Sata thanked President Banda for being sincere.

“He is sincere and honest by telling the Zambian people that he had no programme of running this country, it was imposed on him. It was bequeathed on him when he was not ready. And because of that, that is why he has been very casual, he travels aimlessly,” Sata said.

“He enjoys going everywhere and the things which other people built with sweat he just gets rid of them like Zamtel, optic fibre. And everything he brings can show that the man has no programme. He doesn’t care for this country.”

Sata said President Banda’s statement also showed that he did not belong to any political party because he was just awakened from retirement. He said because he came from retirement, President Banda had in the same vein appointed retirees to control sensitive positions in the country.

Sata said President Banda had even failed to show appreciation to late president Levy Mwanawasa who privileged him with the appointment of vice-president.

“He has abandoned everything for the person who woke him because if he appreciated what Mwanawasa did to him, he should have respected Mwanawasa’s legacy. But he is an opportunist,” he said.

Addressing a joint public meeting with Namwala UPND member of parliament Robbie Chizhyuka in Namwala on Tuesday, President Banda said miracles were read about in the Bible and that they do happen.

He said he had retired to his farm in Chipata when president Mwanawasa invited him to become Republican vice-president.

President Banda said today he was President, and that was an example of a miracle that could happen to someone. On President Banda’s statement that 20 of his 42 members of parliament had left him, Sata said the ‘rebel’ PF members of parliament President Banda was relying on had no political influence.

He said in Nchanga, a former PF rebel Charles Chimumbwa cheated president Mwanawasa that he was popular, but the PF overwhelmingly recovered that seat. Sata said the same happened in Kasama, which was a rebel held area but PF emerged victorious.

“And we went to Chifubu that was another rebel held territory, we recovered it without any difficulties. And I would advise him, he is very close to them PF rebel MPs, why doesn’t he tell them to resign? If they want they can resign enmass,” Sata said.

“And the 20 he is talking about, they are not 20. He should go to night school. They are 14 so where does he get the 20 from? That is what he would wish to have. He is saying 20 probably because he is adding Chizhyuka, and MMD members of parliament George Mpombo, Ng’andu Magande.”

On the government’s refusal to appeal High Court judge Evans Hamaundu’s decision to allow Chiluba go scot-free by failing to register the London High Court judgment against him and others, Sata reminded the nation that the Attorney General, Abyud Shonga, who said he would not appeal the case was the same man who represented President Banda in the presidential petition case.

“The fact that the Supreme Court did not grant a recount, Abyud Shonga was rewarded by Rupiah Banda. And Rupiah Banda asked the people of Zambia to accept the judgment. If Rupiah Banda says ‘don’t accept’, who is Shonga to go beyond Rupiah Banda?” he asked.

Sata asked Zambians not to lose hope because they would recover the money that was stolen from them. He said the Zambian people were very determined.

Sata said the people liberated themselves from the hands of foreigners, from the federation of Nyasaland and Rhodesia and the one-party system.

“This is not the end. We are not very far away. The Zambian people cannot be fooled by miracles. The Zambian people will be liberated one day and will recover what belongs to them,” he said.

On first lady Thandiwe’s campaigns for the MMD, Sata said a truth commission would be established once the PF was elected into office.
He said Thandiwe would be made to account for the taxpayers’ money she was using in the campaigns.

“She has no NGO, so why should she be spared. In fact, why doesn’t Rupiah Banda start his campaigns in Matero and Chawama where his wife does not need to use a government helicopter?” asked Sata.

“I am challenging her to deny if she hasn’t given K5 million to registered women’s clubs in Nakonde and K2.5 million to those who are not registered. She has left K40 million in Nakonde. She is saying that Rupiah Banda has sent her and given her the money to give to women. She has spent all this money to de-campaign Lameck Chibombamilo and campaign for her husband. She is going with bloody money and people are not interested in bloody money.”

And one of the women who is a beneficiary of the donations but refused to be mentioned said Thandiwe asked the women to repay President Banda by voting for him.

“She said the President has sent me that ‘please, please vote for us’ so that he can remain President and I will remain First Lady. She was in Nakonde yesterday Wednesday. From there today she is in Isoka saying the same things and giving women the money and Chitenges,” said the woman.
“On Friday, she will be in Chinsali and Saturday she will have a meeting with women in Mpika.”

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Rupiah calls for efficient operations of the Chipata-Mchinji railway

Rupiah calls for efficient operations of the Chipata-Mchinji railway
By Ernest Chanda and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sat 28 Aug. 2010, 15:10 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has appealed to Central and Eastern African Railways (CEAR) Limited of Malawi and Zambia Railways to ensure efficiency in the operations of the newly commissioned Chipata-Mchinji railway line. Commissioning the railway line in Chipata on Friday, President Banda warned that if there was no efficiency, it could discourage potential users.

“And therefore I wish to appeal to the operator Central and Eastern Africa Railways the managers of this railway to ensure that operations are done in an efficient manner with minimal delays in the transportation of goods and services. If efficiency erodes this service, it will discourage potential users of this huge investment,” President Banda said.

“Therefore, should you require any assistance or experience any difficulties in its operations you require interventions of our three governments, do not hesitate to consult us. It is indeed a wonderful occasion for me and other leaders in government and my colleagues from the ruling party, MMD we feel proud to conclude this task. We have concluded and now we will go forward to Katete and wherever until this rail line joins the rest of the country.”

The Chipata-Mchinji rail line project was initiated by the Kenneth Kaunda administration in the late 1970s.

Construction works were then started in 1983 and later abandoned in 1990.

However, late president Levy Mwanawasa revived the project in 2006, which he unfortunately didn't live to see completed.

Earlier in the day, communications and transport minister Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa and his two counterparts from Malawi and Mozambique, Sidik Mia and Paulo Zucule respectively, signed a tripartite regional agreement on the Chipata-Mchinji railway line.

And Malawian President Professor Bingu wa Mutharika said the railway line was an important and historic milestone in the development of transport infrastructure between Zambia and Malawi.

He said the railway line was also a realisation of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) programme of strengthening regional economic integration.

He said the railways in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia played an important role in the economic development.

Prof Wa Mutharika thanked Dr Kenneth Kaunda the initiator of the Chipata-Mchinji railway project for his vision.

“Dr Kaunda sung a song called ‘Tiyende Pamodzi’ and in Malawi we also sing the same song. Today, we have to be together Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique we are moving together forward to development,” President Mutharika said.

He said both Zambia and Malawi were landlocked countries and as such the development of the infrastructure especially the railway was of vital importance to the development of the two countries and Mozambique.

“This railway line will also provide connectivity among the people of
Zambia and Malawi right to the Port of Nacara and also when the Zambezi-Shire Water ways project is completed Zambia will be linked to Beira and other ports. It is therefore expected that this initiative will enhance the transport capacity of the three countries and also help in the reduction of transport costs which is currently very high,” President Wa Mutharika said.

He said the project was in line with the Malawi road and development strategy under which transport infrastructure is accorded the highest priority.

“It is in this context that I would urge the members of the African Union to speed up the implementation of the programme for infrastructure development in Africa especially in utilising resources for the construction and rehabilitation of the existing ones as well as highways, waterways to link up the continent with the rest of the world,” President Mutharika said.

Mozambican transport minister Paulo Zucule said the commissioning of the railway line would help reduce poverty among the three countries.

“Hunger and thirst are difficult things, starvation and poverty must go forever and for good,” he said.

Zucule said the railway line would further improve economic development among Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique.

“Today, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique have done one more significant thing to materialise the vision of the generation of our freedom fighters,” said Zucule.

The commissioning of the railway line attracted diplomats, traditional
leaders and other important dignitaries.

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London judgment still in force – British govt

London judgment still in force – British govt
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 28 Aug. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE London judgment is still in force, British High Commissioner to Zambia Tom Carter stated yesterday.

Responding to a press query on President Rupiah Banda’s scathing attacks on the donors, asking them to pack their bags if they are fed up with Zambia following their demands to have judge Evans Hamaundu’s judgment in favour of former president Frederick Chiluba appealed, High Commissioner Carter stated that the London High Court judgment had not been overturned.

“The London Judgment is still in force. It was not overturned on appeal. The Zambian government won the case. Appeals were allowed only on two sub-sections of the case relating to alleged money-laundering offences by two defendants,” High Commissioner Carter stated.

“The Zambian government have already recovered, in Belgium and elsewhere, substantial sums of money as a result of the London Judgment.”

High Commissioner Carter stated that there had been allegations about a request to extradite former Zambian High Commissioner to the United States Attan Shansonga from the United Kingdom.

“The British government cannot comment on extradition issues. It is longstanding policy and practice that the United Kingdom will neither confirm nor deny that it has received an extradition request unless and until the subject of the request has been arrested in relation to the request,” he stated.

High Commissioner Carter stated that the British government was pursuing the matter with the Zambian authorities on government-to-government channels.

“However, because Mr Shansonga was resident in England he fell under the jurisdiction of London courts. He was tried as a defendant in the above case, found liable, and the Zambian authorities subsequently recovered significant sums of money from him,” he stated.

High Commissioner Carter stated that the British government had supported the Zambian government in the fight against corruption, and continued to do so.

He stated that through the Department for International Development (DFID), over the last 10 years the British government had provided 12 million pounds to the Zambian authorities to support the anti-corruption efforts.

High Commissioner Carter stated that the British government had been following recent statements in the media relating to the London judgment against Chiluba and others.

“We note with concern that a number of false allegations have been made about the involvement of the British government. The facts are as follows: The case against former President Chiluba and others was brought to the London Courts by the Zambian government. The British government had no role in that,” stated High Commissioner Carter.

“The British government have made no public comment on the issue of registration of the London Judgment in Zambia.”

President Banda on Thursday attacked the donors and Zambians who are demanding an appeal against judge Hamaundu’s decision to throw out the application by the state to register the London judgment against Chiluba and others.

He said some Zambians should be ashamed of being agents of foreign countries.
President Banda said if the donors were fed up with Zambia, they should pack their bags and go where they came from.

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Govt won’t act on Auditor General’s report immediately

Govt won’t act on Auditor General’s report immediately
By Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 14:20 CAT

Finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has said government will not take immediate action on the mismanagement and irregularities cited in the Auditor General’s report until an extensive study of the report is done to avoid making haste actions and decisions.

And Musokotwane has also disclosed that government has still not accessed the colossal outstanding debts running over K1 trillion from mines that are owing from mineral royalty, windfall and corporate taxes.

In an interview with Post Online over the recently published Auditor General’s report which has been charaterised by mismanagement and glaring financial irregularities especially in parastatals, Musokotwane said government would take time to study the contents before it considers any action on erring officers.

“Cases when it comes to human beings you have to take them seriously. You can't take a report at face value you must study it properly a. You have seen when people go to court and present a case they end up losing.

Some people start saying government is interfering with the judiciary, the answer is no! The way you present cases to courts of law is as important as evidence presented and the same goes for those cases of mismanagement and individuals cited in the reports,” he explained.

Musokotwane said that government was studying both the audit on the roads development and the current Auditor General’s report that has highlighted glaring financial irregulaties in most parastatals .

“I think you just don’t act, because you have to study the matter carefully because if you act hastily …you know this is a democratic dispensation. You have to study first to determine that cases are watertight then you act,” he said.

Musokotwane said there was need to study and determine the level of people who were directly responsible where mismanagements were cited and then hand over the matters to law enforcement agencies to investigate.

”...we are not ACC(Anti Corruption Commission) or DEC(Drug Enforcement Commission). So we when we determine sufficient evidence on the irregularities that have been highlighted then we will hand over this issue to specialized agencies. Where there is need for administrative action, it will be taken, “ Musokotwane said.

He was however quick to mention that government was hopeful that that the newly introduced audit committees that have lasted for a year now were the answer to financial mismanagement and accountability in the public service sector.

“ The audit committees in my view though this is the first time that we are introducing this concept in Zambia, I think it should be of help because we will have people outside the establishment sitting on the committees receiving these audit reports so if there was any tendency by people from institutions of glossing over issues, this should be reduced or totally eliminated,” Musokotwane said.
The current auditor general report for the year 2008 and 2009 revealed glaring financial mismanagement.

And Musokotwane said the national treasury has not received the outstanding debts in mineral, windfall and royalty tax due to disputes arising from the latter's decision to review development agreements.

“We are still holding discussions, we will tell you what will transpire but yes it true that mining firms are owing us an amount of money owing from the provisions that existed for the windfall tax,” he said.

“There is also some amount owing as a result of disputes on development agreements. Like the mineral tax was at o.6 per cent , it has changed to 3 per cent. Some mining companies are saying we don’t recognise this 3 per cent and still paid what was in the old agreements but you see we have to move forward,” Musokotwane explained.

He further explained that others were saying that they could not pay the new 30 per cent of corporate tax hike which has increased by 5 per cent in the reviewed development Act which also saw government scrapping off the controversial windfall tax.

“Government is currently having talks with the mining firms. We want to get this matter behind us this year,” said Musokotwane.

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(STICKY) 1,669 Zamtel workers to lose jobs

COMMENT - It should by now be clear that the Rupiah Banda government and the MMD don't give a damn about workers and workers rights in Zambia. ZAMTEL should have been restructured, and should never have been privatized. Privatisation should be reversed, even without compensation for LAP Green. If they are already breaking promises, we should break our promises to them.

1,669 Zamtel workers to lose jobs
By Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 11:00 CAT

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) secretary general Roy Mwaba has disclosed that Lap Green, the new owner of Zamtel, will only retain about 731 workers on three months contracts out of the 2,400 workers retrenched. In an interview yesterday, Mwaba said Lap Green had gone against the agreement it signed with the government to create jobs and make Zamtel viable.

Mwaba also revealed that Lap Green had refused to sign the recognition agreement with the Uganda communications union since they bought a telecommunications company in that country in 2002.

“It is very unfortunate that these people have gone against the promises they made when they were buying Zamtel. Can you imagine out 2,431 workers they retrenched, they have only contacted about 731 and they are only engaging them on 90 days contracts to assess their performances which means after this period there will be more retrenchments,” Mwaba said.

“They promised more jobs and to make Zamtel more viable, that is what made some of us very excited but I can assure that we have already started measures to ensure that this matter is handled carefully to protect the interests of the workers to avoid what is happening in Uganda where Lap Green bought a telecommunications company and disregarded labour laws.”

Mwaba said his team travelled to Uganda and their investigations revealed that Lap Green had refused to sign the recognition agreement with the communications union in that country since 2002.

He feared the trend might come to Zambia because the company had already retrenched all union branch officials in all towns where the National Union of Communication and Industrial Workers had presence.

Mwaba said only the president and the trustee of the communications union had been retained in order to weaken the union’s voice in the company’s operations.

And NUCIW general secretary Clement Kasonde said retrenchments at Zamtel were conditional redundancies and not compulsory.

He said the retrenchment exercise runs up to August 31, 2010 and that everyone, including those that would remain at Zamtel, would have been paid by that date.

“By the end of August, about 2,400 will have received their retrenchment packages. As a union, we want to know how the retrenchment exercise is being implemented,” he said.

Kasonde said his union wanted to ensure that the retrenchment was done in accordance with fair labour practices.

“The union has to ensure that the exercise is credible, transparent and in line with laws. The union has taken cognisance that there is recognition and collective agreement which needs to be respected as we undertake to implement retrenchment exercise,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mwaba urged the government to engage unions before signing anything with investors coming into the country.

He cited the recent outsourcing problems at Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) as an issue that arose from the government’s failure to involve the mineworkers union.

Mwaba appealed to the government to conduct thorough investigations into the organisation and operations of Brazi’s Vale Mining Company, which he said had a record of disregarding labour laws in the countries they invested in.

Mwaba said ZCTU believed that the government was leaving the unions out of negotiations with investors because they had something to hide.

“From now onwards there should be nothing to agree on with the so-called investors without the involvement of the labour movement, they leave the unions because they have something to hide, because we just heard the head of state talking about Vale. Investigations have to be done with MUZ fully involved otherwise there would be no deal for Vale,” said Mwaba.

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Shamenda urges state institutions to restore public confidence

Shamenda urges state institutions to restore public confidence
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 11:00 CAT

FACKSON Shamenda yesterday observed that the state institutions should strive hard to restore public confidence in them because they are currently in a mess. Commenting on the performance of public institutions such as the office of the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), police and the judiciary, Shamenda, who is former Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, said the performance of state institutions in the country left much to be desired.

He questioned the conduct of the DPP for refusing to appeal former president Frederick Chiluba’s acquittal, the police for failing to move swiftly on gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe, the Attorney General for failing to appeal against Chiluba on the London judgment and Lusaka High Court judge Evans Hamaundu’s decision to refuse the registration of the London High Court judgment against Chiluba and others.

“I think we are in a mess, for lack of a better word. I think we are in a mess and we need to quickly start rebuilding confidence which we had before because we are embarrassing even the hardworking innocent judges, those who are principled, the hardworking policemen who are principled,” Shamenda said.

“If we are not careful we are drifting in a very dangerous waterloo. We can cause problems for our country.”

Shamenda said the present conduct of state institutions undermined the principles of democracy.

“Democracy is now not going out through the window but through the main door. You can see the undemocratic tendencies where you can clearly see that you cannot draw a line because the independent institutions of a democratic government are being compromised. You can’t talk about proper democracy, it is not just a matter of holding elections, free and fair as they might be,” he said.

Shamenda said there should be a shakeup in the manner the state institutions were operating.

He said people running these institutions should go back to being professional rather than taking political considerations, especially those that were in the interest of the ruling party, in their discharge of duties.

Shamenda said politicians should let go of state institutions.
He justified assertions that going to court in cases where the government had an interest was now just an academic exercise.

“You can’t blame people for having that perception. I am beginning to think that that is my thought. I used to have a lot of respect in all our institutions. The police, they are the people we run to if we have got a problem. The judiciary, they are the habitat,” Shamenda said.

“But if what we are seeing is anything to go by, any person of average intelligence will have that view.”

Shamenda said the happenings in state institutions were frightening.

He said once people had lost trust in these institutions, as was the case, it became very difficult to rebuild public confidence in them.

Shamenda said people now had suspicions about the operations of state institution.
“So as a result once you erode the confidence of the people, it becomes very dangerous for a country because that is what creates tensions in a lot of countries,” said Shamenda.

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Police refuse to arrest Changwe

Police refuse to arrest Changwe
By George Chellah
Fri 27 Aug. 2010, 09:30 CAT

POLICE have refused to arrest and prosecute gender deputy minister Lucy Changwe for bouncing a cheque worth K10 million in a house purchase transaction. Roger Musonda, the owner of the property disclosed that the police yesterday informed him about their decision not to prosecute Changwe.

“The commanding officer Central province, the commanding officer Kapiri Mposhi who is also in-charge of Mkushi and the divisional criminal investigations officer Mr Bwalya came to Mkushi this morning around 09:30 hours.

They invited me for a meeting at Mkushi police station and I met them in the presence of the officer in-charge herself who was with the criminal investigations officer for Mkushi,” Musonda said. “Mr Bwalya said the reason for their coming to Mkushi was to come and inform me that they can’t proceed any further in the case of bouncing of the cheque by Changwe.

They said that the reason behind their decision was that at the time of issuing the K10 million cheque, Changwe had K23 million in the account on the 21st May 2010.

“They said that because of that she can’t be prosecuted because the cheque, which I deposited the same day on the 21st May, 2010 was given to me when she had money in the account.”

Musonda said the police even showed him Changwe’s bank statement from Finance Bank.

“On the bank statement, I saw that Changwe issued cheques worth K31 million between 21st May, 2010 up to the 27th May, 2010. She issued cheques worth K31 million against her bank balance of K23 million. So by the time my cheque of K10 million reached Finance Bank in Lusaka, her account only had a K2 million balance to which the bank could not effect payment of my K10 million,” Musonda said. “I told the police that according to my interpretation, the cheque bounced because Changwe did not take care of her bank account. She drew more money from her account without the concurrent deposit because my understanding is that this is why the bank could not effect the payment. Therefore, there is no way the police can say they can’t prosecute her because it’s the same Changwe who issued all the other cheques worth K31 million knowing fully well that she only had K23 million in her account.”

Musonda wondered why the police could not leave the matter to the courts for determination.

“They came with the law book, which they were trying to explain to me. But my understanding is that the Zambian constitution only empowers the judiciary to interpret the law and not the police. They came with the law book and they were busy reading the Act to me with a view to justify their action but I am not convinced,” Musonda said. “I still believe that the people were not supposed to interpret the law because that’s the prerogative of the courts. According to me, the bank could not effect payment because at the time the cheque moved from Mkushi to Lusaka there was no money in Changwe’s account.”

Musonda said it was strange that the police who are literally fishing for excuses were now attempting to blame the bank and not Changwe.

“The police who are supposed to enforce the arrest and take the matter to the courts to interpret the law are refusing so it’s up to people to make their own judgment,” Musonda said. “The police have even given me the original banking slip, original bounced cheque and the advice note from the bank.”

Musonda said he was considering taking up other options.

“Since the police are failing to enforce criminal proceedings, I am now considering taking up a civil action against Changwe,” said Musonda.

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MMD in Kabwata accuse William Banda of doctoring elections

MMD in Kabwata accuse William Banda of doctoring elections
By Sydney Mungala
Thu 26 Aug. 2010, 18:40 CAT

THE MMD Kabwata Constituency officials have accused provincial chairman William Banda of doctoring elections in the constituencies to secure his election at the convention.

In a statement, constituency secretary Mwale Daka said Banda was interfering in elections to ensure that only delegates loyal to him make it in the constituency elections.

“Mr. William Banda should not lie to the Republican President that he is ensuring only people who support President Banda are being put in party organs so that he could easily be elected at the convention as party President,” Daka said.

“The truth of the matter is that no sitting president can lose at the convention. Mr. Banda is only securing his position as provincial chairman as he knows that he has lost popularity among all MMD structures in Lusaka.”

During ward elections on 21st August Banda is alleged to have provided a list of officials loyal to him to be elected.

Daka accused Banda of putting non Kabwata residents on his list of preferred candidates during the aborted elections on 21st August.

“…the list provided for by Mr. Banda was full of people who are not residents and therefore incompetent. This angered members who demanded for free and fair elections,” he said.

Daka said when the members protested, Banda opted to elect a committee of his own preference to take over.

“William Banda attempted to convince members that the system worked well during his UNIP days. When members realized that Mr. Banda was being unreasonable, they simply walked away and protested. This embarrassed William Banda who then decided to appoint the committee at his mercy,” he said.

Daka said the scheme had been used in other constituencies putting MMD’s democratic credentials at risk.

He accused Banda of weeding out members he considered a threat to his political.

“Prior to these elections, Mr. William Banda suspended leaders who he considered as a threat to his political survival. As members we are baffled by the fact that constituency elections normally supervised by the district but in these elections the province headed by Banda supervised the elections,” Daka said.

He said that Banda bragged that he had access to the Republican president.

“Mr. Banda threatened people that he had access to the President and he listens only to him. He said he had powers to attack even ministers and nothing would happen to him as was the case when he attacked cabinet ministers at Mulungushi Conference Centre in February,” he said.

Daka appealed to the party chairman of elections Mike Mulongoti to monitor the situation in constituency elections.

“We hence appeal to Honorable Mulongoti to nullify the nonsense put in place by this deportee. We also appeal to the President to discipline Banda who is now a loose cannon,” he said.

Daka said Banda had assumed the position of supreme leader and was doing everything in the party.

Banda could not be reached for a comment on his mobile phone.

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Friday, August 27, 2010

(HERALD) Give farmers loans, banks told

Give farmers loans, banks told
Agriculture Reporter

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Mr Wilson Nyabonda has challenged the banking sector to come up with well-structured medium and long-term loan facilities ahead of the 2010/11 summer cropping season.

Mr Nyabonda was speaking on the sidelines of ZCFU Manicaland Province’s first annual congress in Mutare last weekend. "Lack of financing capacity could hamper the pros-pects of a great agricultural season," he warned.

Mr Nyabonda said the Government should urgently intervene to ensure farmers have access to lines of credit.

He lamented that Government had become farmers’ biggest creditor through utilities such as Zesa, Zinwa and rural district councils that were issuing high bills for services.

"This is rendering farming less and less profitable, which is a threat to the national drive to reclaim our bread-basket status.

"Farmers have the capacity to produce once the playing field is evened-up for them. The prospects of a good season are there with 590kg of seed for irrigated tobacco having already been confirmed sold while there are adequate stocks for maize seed and more than 100 000 tonnes of both top dressing and compound fertilisers in stock," he said.

Mr Nyabonda said the ZCFU would in November convene an all-stakeholders conference to discuss ways of making farming operations easier.

"Despite the assurances that there will be adequate seed and fertiliser, farmers still are not capacitated to buy inputs. This is one of the key reasons behind the conference in November," Mr Nyabonda said.

Provincial congresses have been held in Mashonaland East and West and Matabeleland North and South.

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(HERALD) Give us respect: Chiefs

Give us respect: Chiefs
Victoria Falls Correspondent

District administrators are suppressing traditional leaders, president of the Chiefs Council Chief Fortune Charumbira has said.

In a question-and-answer segment at the Service Delivery Conference for Local Government in Victoria Falls yesterday, Chief Charumbira said even Western countries give their traditional leaders more respect than that accorded Zimbabwean chiefs.

"The DA’s office is suppressing our institution as chiefs. The whiteman came and took away our powers and our land.

"But after independence, the powers were not restored. A culture of copy and paste was adopted thereby sidelining us but surprisingly, the very same white people who introduced this new culture of disrespecting traditional chiefs in the country give respect to their own traditional leaders.

"When David Cameron was elected Prime Minister in England and before he assumed office, he went to visit the Queen after which he told the country that he had been granted permission to become British Prime Minister.

"Those are values that we lost and we will fight as chiefs to have our powers restored because we were wounded by history," he said.

Chief Charumbira said traditional leaders were not against local government institutions such as DAs and provincial administrators, but simply wanted a model that recognises chiefs as the custodians of land and culture.

"There should be no conflict between the chief and the councillor or the chief and DA," he said.

Chief Charumbira also pointed out that traditional leaders were apolitical and do not want to be politicians either.

"Chiefs are now perceived as political because of some people who do not respect us. If you respect a chief, he will respect you. We are political in the sense that we protect those in our jurisdiction just like King Lobengula did in fighting the whites because they wanted to push him and his subjects off their land.

"So if one political party promises us land and the other is supporting people who want to take that land away from us, as chiefs we take a position and people will say we are political," he explained.

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