Saturday, September 04, 2010

(MnG) SACP: Zuma surrounded by 'wrong people'

SACP: Zuma surrounded by 'wrong people'
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA Sep 01 2010 17:48

The public sector strike turned ugly because President Jacob Zuma was surrounded by people who failed to advise him correctly, the South African Communist Party (SACP) in KwaZulu-Natal said on Wednesday.

"The strike has gone ugly because the president is sitting with wrong people. He is surrounded by people who don't advise him correctly and that make his office vulnerable," said SACP provincial secretary Themba Mthembu.

He was speaking during the South African Democratic Teachers' Union (Sadtu) general council in Durban on Wednesday afternoon.

Mthembu said if Zuma had good advisers, they could have advised him that the strike would be nasty because workers' pockets had been hit by the recession.

"Zuma should have been advised that there was a need to handle wage negotiations professionally," said Mthembu.

He described Public Service and Administration Minister Richard Baloyi as a bad negotiator who caused militancy among striking workers.

"Baloyi is a bad negotiator. The way he has handled the strike and negotiations was like he was watching the Olympics," said Mthembu.

He called for the speedy resolution of the wage dispute.

"Sadly, for now, it seems that the cowboys are in charge." --Sapa

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MMD expels Mpombo, Magande

MMD expels Mpombo, Magande
By Joseph Mwenda
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 18:00 CAT

GEORGE Mpombo and Ng’andu Magande have today been expelled from the MMD. The decision to expel Kafulafuta parliamentarian Mpombo and his Chilanga counterpart Magande was made at the MMD national executive committee (NEC) meeting held at State House. MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya confirmed the duo’s expulsion from the party.

“The MMD wishes to inform the nation that at the NEC meeting a decision was made to withdraw the support and privileges given to the member of parliament in Kafulafuta, that is Honourable George Mpombo as well as Mr Ng’andu Magande,” Siliya said.

“The NEC decision was to withdraw the support of those members of parliament because we do not wish these members to represent us, therefore expelling them too from the party.”

Siliya said the decision to expel Mpombo and Magande from the party had already been communicated to Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa.

“For Kafulafuta, the decision was made after the failure by Mpombo to effectively defend himself in terms of accusations made to him that he was bringing the name of the party into disrepute and making disparaging remarks to the President and the party through various media,” Siliya explained.

“And in the blanket response provided, we still felt that as a party there was still a case to withdraw the membership of Mr Mpombo. For Honourable Magande, efforts were made, if he was remorseful in terms of his behaviour… and after much deliberation it has been quite clear that Mr Magande is not a desirable member of the MMD. Because of these issues in terms of contravening our party regulations, the MMD has therefore decided to withdraw the membership of Mr Magande as well.”

When asked on the chances of the MMD retaining the two seats, Siliya said it was too early to start looking at elections. Siliya said what was paramount was that the disciplinary issue at hand had been dealt with.

Mpombo, former defence minister, and Magande, former finance minister, have been ardent critics of President Rupiah Banda’s government on various governance and party matters.

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Sata warns against clinching deals through State House

Sata warns against clinching deals through State House
By George Chellah
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 18:20 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata yesterday warned foreign investors against cracking deals through State House because President Rupiah Banda will not be in office forever.

Commenting on revelations that Bharti Airtel through one of President Rupiah Banda’s sons is seeking State House’s intervention to force the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have the share price for Zain Zambia reduced, Sata advised foreign investors to be extremely cautious with the manner in which they were conducting their business transactions.

“This idea of conducting transactions through State House should be discouraged if not halted immediately. My advice to foreign investors that are in a habit of cracking deals through State House is that they should desist from such business practices,” Sata said. “My appeal to all those investors that are coming to Zambia through State House should be very, very careful because Rupiah will not be President of Zambia forever.

Let them be mindful that Zambia is not a monarchy. Therefore, the people of this country decide which leadership is needed every after 5 years and Rupiah is definitely vacating office after next year’s general elections.”

He said true investors are mindful of the processes and procedures involved in investing in a foreign country.

“The only problem I have with some of these so-called foreign investors who come to this country is when they want to use State House. Every country has investment laws that need to be respected and honoured by investors,” Sata said.

“For instance, in Zambia we have investment agencies that deal with matters of investment. But it becomes highly suspicious when investors opt to negotiate their deals with State House and not the investment agency.

“The question is, why is State House at the centre of almost every investment that is coming to this country? Why does the President’s name keep coming up whenever there are such matters? And why are these so-called investors comfortable to deal with State House and not the technocrats at the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA).”

Sata said it was unfortunate that President Banda seems to be involved in most business transactions.

“I have in mind the Philips deal with the Ministry of Health...we later came to learn and Rupiah even admitted it that he was once their representative in Zambia. We have the issue of RP Capital on Zamtel, which is now under Lap-Green and currently we are faced with the issue of Bharti Airtel and the Zain shares. The man is literally in everything. What is happening?” Sata asked.

He said the market should be left to determine the share price of Zain.

“Let's take politics out of the stock exchange because if we don’t, the consequences of such actions will be too ghastly to contemplate,” he said.

And Sata urged President Banda to tell Zambians the benefits accrued from the sale of Zamtel.

“Rupiah was boasting that we are going to create 2,000 jobs but we have already lost almost 1,700 jobs and there is even no protection of the interests of the workers from this government,” Sata said. “And Rupiah is busy gallivanting and sending his wife around the country to distribute money as our people wallow in poverty.”

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Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse

Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 04:02 CAT

SACCORD has observed that Zambia has not had a leader who has truly been a servant of the people since the re-introduction of multi-party democracy. And SACCORD said Zambia lacks strong systems to protect citizens from abuse.

During the training of voter education facilitators by Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) at Lukasha Lodge in Kitwe on Thursday, programmes officer Edgar Mainza observed that democracy was about leaders serving the interests of the people.

“A democratic government should be accountable in terms of the way it uses public resources and also fulfilling campaign promises,” Mainza said. “Since we attained democracy, I don’t think we’ve had a leader who has been a servant of the people.”

Mainza said it was difficult to have a servant of the people for a leader in Zambia because of weak institutions that made individuals bigger than institutions.

He said in a democracy, no individual was supposed to be bigger than an institution.

“But in Zambia, we have a situation where the anti-corruption systems, institutions like DEC Drug Enforcement Commission have been weakened because individuals have become bigger than such institutions,” Mainza said.

He said in other countries especially in the developed world, people were able to demand accountability from their leaders and they also understood that their role was to be servants of the people.

Mainza observed that a lot of people were discouraged from taking part in the process of voting because of the leader’s failure to be servants of the people and provide for their needs.

He urged workshop participants to ensure that they educated citizens in various constituencies on the importance of their vote even if their preferred candidates did not emerge victorious.

“There are a lot of ill feelings amongst citizens especially those who have always been voting for losing candidates but it is your duty to tell them that there is still value in their vote even if their candidate loses,” said Mainza

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(HERALD, RT) The world is changing, the US is not— Ortega

The world is changing, the US is not— Ortega

Washington has an expansionary policy in which Latin America is simply a backyard for US military bases, believes Nicaraguan leader Daniel Ortega. In an exclusive interview with RT, he said it is time for Latin American countries to unite against what they call a policy of aggression.

RT: Comandante, thank you for joining us today. Regarding the coup d’etat in Honduras, did you see it as an isolated incident, or could such situations possibly reoccur?

Daniel Ortega: I believe that our nations cannot remain calm. The Honduran coup was a blow for all Latin American countries which, just a few weeks prior to that, had a meeting with President Obama in Trinidad and Tobago, where the latter proclaimed the beginning of new relations with Latin America.

That coup meant a fight against intentions expressed in Trinidad and Tobago, not just against the Latin American people but against policy proclaimed by President Obama as well. If the US forces of reaction are capable of organising and doing such a coup openly in front of their president, we cannot even talk about what would happen in the future. These forces are trying to establish their power in spite of suggestions and obligations taken by President Obama in relation to Latin American and Caribbean countries.

RT: You mentioned changes in US policy regarding Latin America. How would you define those changes; and how would you assess the US role in the politics of Latin American countries?

DO: I believe the situation in Latin America makes the US dialogue different from what it was before the Bush epoch. But US policy hasn’t been modified. I’d say that we need a dialogue based on the objective reality of Latin America. In Trinidad and Tobago, President Obama said he wanted our relations to be based on mutual respect, and so on. But how can anyone explain US involvement in the coup in Honduras just a few months later? And how can we explain the fact that the US was fighting to recognise the Honduran government? The only thing we see is that the US hasn’t changed in its essence. The world is changing, the US isn’t. This isn’t a problem just for Latin America, but rather for the entire world. This country has military and economic power, and at the same time, it’s not changing its expansionary and imperialistic policy.

RT: Do you mean that so far, changes happened only in words, not in deeds?

DO: That’s right.
They carry on the same policy as always. They’ve been acting just like in the past. Their policy is of unwelcome intervention, of coups and threats. It’s the so-called policy of carrots and sticks. And today, Latin America has more power and dignity to oppose and resist this policy. We have more strength and more dignity, whereas this policy remains unchanged. They stick to their style, and they don’t feel embarrassed to talk about it openly. In their speeches, they publicly express their opinions and assessments of whether a particular government is democratic or not. On what grounds are they speaking?

RT: You talked about basing your relations with the US on mutual respect. Is there any progress in this matter? Has anything changed in this regard?

DO: What has changed so far is the method. At present, they don’t have any means for organising a coup in Nicaragua, for instance. If they had, they would’ve tried doing it. But they don’t have the tools for it; they cannot rely on the army, or the police; they don’t have the military vehicle to provoke a coup. Otherwise, I’m convinced they would’ve tried doing it. They cannot start a war against Venezuela, or against Bolivia, or Ecuador, or Nicaragua. They do have the means within the US, but the situation in Latin America wouldn’t let it happen, even though the US always keeps it in their plans.

RT: Does it mean the risk is always there?

DO: Yes, it does. The threat is always there.

RT: What could have been done to find a way out of this situation?

DO: It is necessary to strengthen unity and mutual integration of Latin American countries. The more we are united and integrated, the more we will be respected, it is logical. I think that the main thing US policy did was to divide us to rule us. If we are really integrated and united, the partner will not be Nicaragua, nor Venezuela, nor Cuba, nor Bolivia, or Ecuador; the partner will be Latin America and the Caribbean countries. Such a partner will be more authoritative and will have the opportunity to look for ways to reach an agreement respecting each other and feeling equal.

RT: What can different Latin American countries do to continue fighting for the implementation of their policies? What can they do to reach an alliance while there are fundamental points of dispute like between Venezuela and Colombia?

DO: You know, I think that there is a principle which we all share, taking into consideration that processes in different countries have their own peculiarities, which we are to respect. There will always be issues which we view differently, but there will be issues which we view in a similar way, especially in relations between the people of Latin America, governments and the international community.

All of us condemn any kind of military aggression on the part of the US. We all condemned plots against Latin American governments and takeovers, which, for example, were organised in Venezuela and Honduras. We all support lifting the embargo on Cuba, a country where Fidel has turned into a doubtless leader who protects the ideas which are shared by all Latin Americans. In other words, there are a number of issues which we view in a similar way.

All of us support the new format of relations with the US Whenever I speak to presidents of Latin American counties, no matter how conservative they are, in private they condemn the United States’ attitude towards them; they are against the fact that the US government attributes points to them in their own classification. What government can support the idea of the US acting like a great judge which gives you points for democracy, human rights and fighting against drugs trafficking in your country? Who in turn will judge the US? Of course it gives way to emotions.

When we speak about economy, about the protectionist policy of the US and European countries, nobody agrees with it. The thing is that we have not learned so far to organise our Latin American area, to consolidate our able Latin American people which will enable us to negotiate with Europe and the US, and with developed countries on reasonable terms.

RT: Let me make it clear. If I understand you correctly, you say that all presidents without exception shared this viewpoint?

DO: Yes. At least in my experience of talking to them in private, I heard all of them criticising American policy. They do not agree with it. Of course at the moment I cannot say for all the presidents of Latin America, but I am sure that they cannot agree with a policy which contradicts the interests of their people, countries and economic interests.

RT: For example, your decision on Nicaragua’s recognition of the independence of the Caucasian republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was also disputable. Many people doubted that there was any sense in it for Nicaragua. Some even called it an "exotic step". What lay behind your decision?

DO: Our principles, our national identity, our idea of struggle for independence of other nations, irrespective of how small they may be, and a respect which every nation, even the smallest ones, deserve. Here, in Latin America, we continue waging a struggle for the independence of Puerto Rico, whose people are fighting because the United States is occupying its territory in the 21st century.

We continue fighting to force the British Empire, or what is left of it, to be more precise, to leave the Malvinas Islands. It’s a tiny territory. But is it the reason for us to stop fighting for it and give it up? No, this territory belongs to the Argentine people and should, therefore, go back to them. The same is true of the Guantanamo territory in Cuba.

It’s a small territory, perhaps as small as the territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but, naturally, it belongs to Cuba, an independent Cuban state. In this case, we are talking about the independence of two small nations who have their own national identity and history and who have risen to fight for their independence many times. Therefore, we didn’t hesitate to recognise the independence of those two nations.

RT: Now, after some time has passed, do you think that your decision to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia was right?

DO: Every day I am becoming more convinced that the decision we made was right. Of course it was right.

RT: Russia couldn’t stay neutral when the events occurred in those two republics because it came under a direct attack from the Georgian troops. In this connection, many interpreted Nicaragua’s position as an expression of solidarity with Russia. What can you say about that?

DO: Yes, it’s necessary to take into account that Nicaragua and Russia had developed their relations long before the events in South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Historically, we used to have very warm relations with the former Soviet Union, and those relations developed intensively between 1979 and 1990. I would describe those relations as extremely fair, an example of what relations between the developed and developing countries should be like.

In those days, we applied a principle which is so much talked about today: the principle of honest trade, exchanges and mutually complementary relations. This is the principle that was applied. So, in the cases of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which is the only country that could protect those peoples who were attacked and defend the popular will? So, in this context, we are embarking on the same path of relations with Russia, we are restoring our historical relations with the Russian people in new conditions.

RT: What prospects do you see at this new state of relations because, indeed, there was a period of cooling in Nicaragua’s relations with Russia?

DO: We are already seeing the results. I would say that we see the benefits which the Nicaraguan people have gained from cooperation with Russia. We think about digging a canal. We, in Nicaragua, cannot imagine doing it without Russia. But Russia’s participation is a priority. Venezuela has fully agreed to participate in the construction of the canal that will run through Nicaraguan territory.

The canal’s construction has always been on the agenda and the conditions of this construction have always been Nicaragua’s main sin. Why? Because it has always been sinful in the eyes of the United States that Nicaragua wants to control every movement via the Central American region. I feel that relations with Russia are progressing in all directions. Our visit to Moscow was very important. All the treaties that we signed were also important, just as the format of developing cooperation between Russia and Nicaragua was.

RT: Thank you very much for being with us today.

DO: Thank you very much.


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(HERALD) Parliament ready to decentralise sittings

Parliament ready to decentralise sittings
Herald Reporter

PARLIAMENT is ready to convene sittings in provincial centres across Zimbabwe after securing the necessary logistical support. The idea of having parliamentary debates outside of Harare is part of Government’s strategies to bring the legislature closer to the people.

House of Assembly Speaker Mr Lovemore Moyo yesterday said: "We want to take some parliamentary debates to the provinces. Everything is now in place and only the itinerary remains. We want to demystify Parliament.

"People should be able to identify themselves with the institution. All these plans are part of parliamentary reforms that started way back in 1996."

A senior parliamentary official said they would have to write to the Presidency as a procedural requirement before rolling out the programme. Parliament has completed digitalisation as part of its efforts to modernise the institution.

The commissioning of the new equipment is likely to take place in three weeks’ time.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Tobacco sales end with record crop

Tobacco sales end with record crop
by AFP
03/09/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S tobacco sale closed on Friday with a record crop of 122-million kilograms having been sold, which officials attributed to the increase of small-scale farmers joining the industry.

Rodney Ambrose, CEO of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, said indications for the next cropping season were that the Southern African country would produce 140-million kilograms.

"The tobacco selling season comes to and end today (Friday) with 122-million kilograms of the leaf having been sold," Ambrose said.

"If we get good weather without too much rain, just like we had this year, the country could produce between 140-million and 150-million kilograms."

The association also said the significant increase could be attributed the fact that about 51 000 small-scale resettled farmers had helped produce the crop.

According to government estimates, tobacco accounts for more than 50 percent of agricultural exports - which translates to about 30 percent of Zimbabwe's total exports.

At the beginning of the selling season, prices ranged between $3.50 and $4.50 per kilogram. However, these declined to $1.90 and $2 per kilogram. This year's crop output has surpassed the initial 77-million kilograms anticipated at the start of the year. Last year, Zimbabwe sold 56-million kilograms.

Over the years, tobacco production and earnings declined due to President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms, which he said were meant to address colonial imbalances between white landowners and the black majority.

[Actually that's untrue, they declined in 2002, when the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2001 put a credit freeze on the Zimbabwean government's finances.

Tobacco (US$ m)

2000 548.8
2001 594.1
2002 434.6

2003 321.3
2004 226.7
2005 203.8
2006 206.9

Source: Table 1: Zimbabwe - Key economic indicators, 2000–2007

Notice that even though land reform started in 2000, tobacco output actually rose in the year 2001. Only when ZDERA froze the government's credit (all international business is done on credit) in 2002, did tobacco output fall, and fall sharply, in that same year. This is about economic retaliation against the highly successful land reform program, to serve as a deterrent against real economic reform throughout Africa, by the criminal Bush Administration and it's lapdog Tony Blair, nothing else - MrK]

Production has also suffered as a result of successive years of drought.

Traditionally, tobacco sales start in April but this year they were brought forward to February at the request of small-scale growers, who said they needed the money from the sales to finance their next crop.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Foreigners should not threaten indigenisation: AAG

Foreigners should not threaten indigenisation: AAG
By: Our reporter
Posted: Friday, September 3, 2010 6:33 pm

THE Affirmative Action Group says the presence of foreign businesses in Zimbabwe should not threaten indigenous businesses and the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme.

In a statement emailed to the Zimbabwe Guardian on Friday the black empowerment group's president, Mr Supa Mandiwanzira, said AAG was concerned about the number of foreigners who have applied for trading licenses, or are trying to renew them, to run retail businesses in the country.

The statement read: "The Herald of 12 August 2010 carried notices of either applications or renewal of trading licenses by various individuals to run business across a number of retail activities.

"As a black empowerment lobby group, we are very concerned that there is a large presence of foreign nationals who have submitted their applications for either renewal or new licenses in business areas that, in terms of the current indigenization and economic empowerment law, are reserved for nationals."

Mr Mandiwanzira said the regulations published by Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, were very clear on this issue and Harare City Council has an obligation to uphold this law.

He said the council should refuse to issue or renew all applications that fall outside the provisions of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act.

"As it stands, we believe that City of Harare is intending to make decisions on these applications on or before 2 September 2010," said Mr Mandiwanzira.

"However, given that the applications are invalid because of what they seek to do, City Council has no obligation to process them.

"We strongly believe that any further isolation and marginalization of the indigenous people by willfully granting licenses against the letter and spirit of the law, may lead to unnecessary hostility between locals and foreign nationals."

Mr Mandiwanzira said foreigners were welcome to invest in Zimbabwe, but they should stay in those areas of business not reserved for indigenous people.

He said it did not make sense that foreigners were coming all the way to sell cooking oil, cell phone batteries, sugar, salt etc,.

This is "an affront to the whole programme of indigenization and economic empowerment" and "City of Harare needs to give serious thought to making sure that the licensing regime is not used to defeat national goals and objectives.

"We reject unreservedly any attempt to rationalize over this position because our role as an affirmative action group is to promote and champion compliance with the indigenization and economic empowerment laws of the country."

Mr Mandiwanzira express concern that many business opportunities in the country are now being offered in the market place to the highest bidder. "No institution or individual should be allowed to exclude the indigenous people from business by any means other than a fair and equitable system."

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We get the govt we deserve

COMMENT - It is the duty of politicians to differentiate themselves from their colleagues in other parties, so the people are not merely presented with different faces, but with different policies. Democracy does not work, it fails, if all parties have the same policies. Voting is not about voting in 'good chaps', but having a clear choice on the direction of the country and government policy. When both parties present the same platform, democracy has failed.

We get the govt we deserve
By The Post
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 04:00 CAT

THE observation by Edgar Mainza, SACCORD programmes officer, that because of the failure by leaders in Zambia to be servants of the people and provide for their needs, many people were being discouraged from taking part in the process of voting is disappointing.

The feeling that their votes in the past have not made any difference or that their vote was a ticket for others to enrich themselves should not stop them from participating in elections. The feeling that all politicians are the same and therefore there is no reason for them to vote again is defeatist.

We wish to remind all of you that voting is not only your right, but rather your duty. If you withhold your vote, Zambians run a risk of getting into public offices people who have no national interest at heart and who are going to jeopardise the future of your children. Exercise your right therefore and take up your citizen duty. If you haven’t registered as a voter, find a way to quickly register so that you can vote in next year’s elections.

The neglect of the duty of participating in the choice of leaders at all levels brings catastrophic results to the nation. It is a great mistake to shun this responsibility. All citizens who have reached the voting age should register and participate in electing leaders. It should be understood that the neglect of participating in the voting and in the election of good leaders allows unworthy candidates to take leadership positions and brings disharmony in our country. To neglect to vote is to lose a person’s right and the nation’s right.

Let us not forget that political rights consist in the capacity of private citizens to participate in government. They exist for public good and they are not strictly rights but rather privileges. And the most important political right or privilege is the vote. Whether a nation will have good or bad laws, an upright or inefficient government depends on the voters. A person who is able to vote but never votes is guilty of serious omission. Citizens who do not care for their duty of voting are an easy prey of tyranny.

Citizens cannot be required to take part in the political process, and they are free to express their dissatisfaction by not participating. But without the lifeblood of citizen action, our democracy will begin to weaken. Voting in the election of public officials is the most visible and common form of participation in the governance of our country, and also the most fundamental.

The essence of democratic action is the active, freely chosen participation of citizens in the public life of their community and nation. Without this broad, sustaining participation, democracy will begin to wither and become the preserve of the small select number of groups and organisations. But with the active engagement of individuals across the spectrum of society, democracies can weather the inevitable economic and political storms that sweep over every society, without sacrificing the freedoms and rights that they are sworn to uphold.

Active involvement in public life is often narrowly defined as the struggle for political office. But citizen participation in a democratic society is much broader than just taking part in election contests. Whatever the level of their contribution, a healthy democracy depends upon the continuing, informed participation of the broad range of its citizens.

Democracies rest upon the principle that political leaders and their governments exist to serve the people; the people do not exist to serve them.

In other words, the people are citizens of the democratic state, not its subjects. While the state protects the rights of citizens, in return, the citizens give the state their loyalty. Under an authoritarian system, on the other hand, the state, as an entity separate from the society, demands loyalty and service from its people without any reciprocal obligation to secure their consent for its actions.

Clearly, democracy is more than a set of constitutional rules and procedures that determine how a government functions. In a democracy, government is only one element co-existing in a social fabric of many and varied institutions, political parties, organisations and associations. This diversity is called pluralism, and it assumes that the many organised groups and institutions in a democratic society do not depend upon government for their existence, legitimacy or authority.

And a healthy democracy depends in large part on the development of a democratic civic culture. Culture in this sense does not refer to art, literature or music but to the behaviours, practices and norms that define the ability of a people to govern themselves. In a society that is not democratic, the political system encourages a culture of passivity and apathy. The regime and its leaders seek to mould an obedient and docile citizenry.

And by contrast, the civic culture of a democratic society is shaped by the freely chosen activities of individuals and groups. It is therefore very important to step up civic education. And in this regard, SACCORD deserves credit for its commitment to ensuring that there is adequate voter education. Education is a vital component of any society, but especially of a democracy. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never shall be.”

In contrast to dictatorships which seek to inculcate an attitude of passive acceptance, the object of democratic civic education is to produce citizens who are independent, questioning and analytical in their outlook, yet deeply familiar with the precepts and practices of democracy. People may be born with an appetite for personal freedom. But they are not born with knowledge about the social and political arrangements that make freedom possible over time for themselves and their children. Such things must be acquired through education programmes like those being conducted by SACCORD. They must be learned.

And as Mainza has correctly observed, democracy is about leaders serving the interests of the people and a democratic government should be accountable in terms of the way it uses public resources and fulfils campaign promises. One of the most important American contributions to democratic practices has been the development of a system of checks and balances to ensure that political power is dispersed and decentralised. It is a system founded on the deeply held belief that government is best when its potential for abuse if curbed, and when it is held as close to the people as possible.

And judging by the record of the past, the two most decisive factors affecting the future consolidation and expansion of democracy in Zambia will be economic development and political leadership. We say this because economic development makes democracy possible; political leadership makes it real.

There is no need to give up hope in the democratic processes simply because those we have elected have disappointed us by their conduct and practices. What we should realise is that these elections we periodically hold do not in themselves guarantee us anything. They offer us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. In Jefferson’s ringing but shrewd phrase, the promise of democracy is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The holding of elections, as part of our democratic processes, is then both a promise and a challenge. It is a promise that free human beings, working together, can govern themselves in manner that will serve their aspirations for personal freedom, economic opportunity and social justice. It is a challenge because the success of our democratic enterprise rests upon our shoulders as citizens of this country and on no one else. Government of and by the people means that the citizens of a democratic society share in its benefits and in its burdens – and a free person, when he fails, blames nobody. We must therefore take responsibility, collectively and individually, for the fate of the society in which we ourselves have chosen to live. In the end, we get the government we deserve.

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Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse

Zambia lacks system to protect citizens from abuse
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 04:02 CAT

SACCORD has observed that Zambia has not had a leader who has truly been a servant of the people since the re-introduction of multi-party democracy. And SACCORD said Zambia lacks strong systems to protect citizens from abuse.

During the training of voter education facilitators by Southern Africa Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (SACCORD) at Lukasha Lodge in Kitwe on Thursday, programmes officer Edgar Mainza observed that democracy was about leaders serving the interests of the people.

“A democratic government should be accountable in terms of the way it uses public resources and also fulfilling campaign promises,” Mainza said. “Since we attained democracy, I don’t think we’ve had a leader who has been a servant of the people.”

Mainza said it was difficult to have a servant of the people for a leader in Zambia because of weak institutions that made individuals bigger than institutions.

He said in a democracy, no individual was supposed to be bigger than an institution.

“But in Zambia, we have a situation where the anti-corruption systems, institutions like DEC Drug Enforcement Commission have been weakened because individuals have become bigger than such institutions,” Mainza said.

He said in other countries especially in the developed world, people were able to demand accountability from their leaders and they also understood that their role was to be servants of the people.

Mainza observed that a lot of people were discouraged from taking part in the process of voting because of the leader’s failure to be servants of the people and provide for their needs.

He urged workshop participants to ensure that they educated citizens in various constituencies on the importance of their vote even if their preferred candidates did not emerge victorious.

“There are a lot of ill feelings amongst citizens especially those who have always been voting for losing candidates but it is your duty to tell them that there is still value in their vote even if their candidate loses,” said Mainza.

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COMESA ministers endorse proactive approach in handling external shocks

COMESA ministers endorse proactive approach in handling external shocks
By Mutale Kapekele
Thu 02 Sep. 2010, 14:40 CAT

COMESA ministers of foreign affairs have observed that the region should develop some financial and economic muscle if it is to be shielded from external economic shocks.

Moving a vote of thanks on behalf of her counterparts, during the official closing of the 10th meeting on Monday at Royal Swazi Spa Hotel, in Ezulwini, Swaziland, Malawi foreign affairs minister Professor Etta Elizabeth Banda said the region had economic potential which was yet to be realised.

“I believe our region has a lot of economic potential but these can only be realised if we comprehensively address the conflicts in our region,” Prof Banda said.

“As you are aware, we cannot certainly sit back and wait to feel the impact of external economic crisis because it will not only be too late to be able to do much, but it will also be much more costly.”

Prof Banda said Africa was endowed with abundant natural resources which were not only good for agriculture but also supported the harnessing of technologies like geothermal and solar technology.

She added that Comesa should take advantage of the region’s vast market, a wealth of human resource and affordable labour to generate projects that would benefit the region, saying these were the tools that could help make the region an economic powerhouse.

Prof Banda urged Comesa member states to unite if the goals of regional integration were to be achieved on time.

“We, however, also need to see ourselves as one region and not as 19 member countries because there is strength in unity,” said Prof Banda.

“On our part as ministers that consider the modalities of peace and security for the region, we would like to reassure you that we shall play our part and do everything possible to create an enabling environment for the development and integration of our region.”

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CUTS International recommends more investment in mineral refineries

CUTS International recommends more investment in mineral refineries
By Fridah Zinyama
Thu 02 Sep. 2010, 14:40 CAT

CONSUMER Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International has said Zambia needs more investment in refineries to improve copper and cobalt into finished products if real benefits of trading these extractive products is to be realized.

In a press statement, CUTS - International acting centre coordinator Patrick Chengo stated that trade in some countries like China had led to poverty reduction, which was why there was increasing concern that trade is yet to benefit poor countries like Zambia.

“Zambia heavily relies on the extractive industries, copper and cobalt, for its trade, but the impact on poverty reduction has been minimal,” he stated.

“The underlying factors have mainly been that the country has not fully diversified from its traditional exports which are mostly in form of raw and not finished products.”

Chengo stated that this was why investment in agriculture was also important if Zambia was to manage her diversification agenda.

“The Maputo Declaration of 10 per budget allocation to the agriculture sector is a starting point for Zambia’s strengthening of the diversification process,” he noted.

Chengo, however, stated that despite the fact that the country had recorded some steady growth steered by improved performance of the extractive industries, this growth had not translated into poverty reduction.

Poverty levels in Zambia still stand at over 65 per cent.

“This now brings closer the issues raised by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where African countries, Zambia inclusive, have been challenged to consider engaging and replicating developing countries’ experiences that have translated into growth of their economies,” he stated.

Chengo noted that it was important that trade with countries like China, India and Brazil resulted in economic diversification rather than simply the sale of African commodities and raw materials, as indicated in the UNCTAD 2010 Africa trade report.

The report stated that growing trade, finance and investment with other developing countries was an opportunity for Africa to diversify production, acquire technology and develop regional markets.

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ZNFU refutes claims of soya bean shortage

ZNFU refutes claims of soya bean shortage
By Mutale Kapekele
Thu 02 Sep. 2010, 14:40 CAT

THE Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has refuted claims by livestock farmers that the country has a shortage of soya beans, a primary ingredient for the production of animal feed.

According to a statement from ZNFU, the union met with officials from the Ministry of Agriculture to discuss the matter, after which it was concluded that the country had sufficient soya supply.

“Following concerns reaching the Ministry of Agriculture that there may not be enough soya beans to meet local demand and lack of maize bran for livestock farmers, the ZNFU held a consultation meeting on Tuesday August 24, 2010 with all the key stakeholders, namely, traders, processors, farmers and MACO,” the ZNFU stated.

“The meeting concluded that there is enough soya beans to meet domestic requirements with a slight surplus for export as well as room to export soya cake that has no demand locally.”

The union observed that there was a need for the price of soya beans to be adjusted upwards to discourage exports of the commodity.

“It was also agreed (at the meeting) that the local price of soya beans needed to rise to encourage sales and diminish any prospects of exports,” the union stated.
“With regards to maize bran, millers reported that maize bran was in short supply while wheat bran was in abundance. It was then agreed that for maize bran, priority should be given to meeting local demand by reducing on exports while export of wheat bran could continue.”

The ZNFU stated that in future, the domestic requirement for maize bran would be established through a study.

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William Banda vows to go for Post, Fr Bwalya

William Banda vows to go for Post, Fr Bwalya
By Salim Dawood
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 14:00 CAT

MMD Lusaka Provincial Chairman William Banda has vowed to ‘go’ for The Post Newspapers accusing the paper of creating ‘a lot’ of problems in the country. But Post Newspapers managing editor, Amos Malupenga wondered how the paper was causing a lot of problems in the country by reporting truthfully and objectively.

Banda issued the threat when he addressed stage-managed defectors at Matero Community hall on Wednesday.

We have been talking, talking, talking but since this paper is in Lusaka and am in charge of Lusaka I think I must go for it,” Banda said in an apparent reference to The Post to the applause of the cadres.

“We are not creating problems, they are the ones creating the problems by insulting our President.”

Banda said other people that were insulting second republican President Fredrick Chiluba like Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata should instead thank the former president for exposing him to the world.

“Anso bamene batukana ba president Chiluba (in fact some of those that are insulting Chiluba) like Sata, he was nothing, he must praise President Chiluba for picking him and making him known to the world. He became a national secretary, he became a director in one of the banks, where did he get the money from?” Banda asked.

And in apparent reference to Change Life Zambia (CLZ) director Fr Frank Bwalya, Banda warned that they would go for him for “having joined politics.”
“Even a father now, as a father if you have declared yourself a politician we are going to take you on,” Banda charged.

But Malupenga described as total nonsense Banda’s claim that The Post was causing problems in the country.

“He’s just not happy because The Post is exposing that which they want to be buried and for them that is confusion,” he said.

Malupenga said he was not worried about Banda’s threats but would not take them lightly saying the The Post reserved the right to defend itself.

He said should Banda go ahead and carry out his threats against The Post, the country will have no difficulties in telling who was causing confusion between The Post and Banda.

“We know William Banda is a thug, he can easily carry out his threats but should William Banda and his thugs come near our facilities during the course of our work, we will be more than ready to defend ourselves,” he said.

Malupenga said Banda’s threats had the blessing of his boss, President Rupiah Banda.

“We know that William is doing has the blessing of his boss and when I talk about his boss am talking The President. There has been so many times that he (Banda) has issued threats against President’s Banda’s ministers and the President has been quiet,” he said.

Malupenga said the work of The Post could not be judged by Banda but that he would leave it to the public to judge.

“But over and above, we know that this is just a fundraising venture, for Banda and the thugs that are under his command. For him to issue even those threats that he issued, he has made a bit of something for his living. He will call his sponsors and say have you heard how we are putting them under pressure,” he said.

Apart from just politicking, it’s source of livelihood, the more he seems to be fighting the Post, the more money in his pocket, so we are not worried about those threats it’s not the first time he is saying that but we can assure him that we are ready for him should he decide to demonstrate against us,” he said.

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K213 billion aid to 1,000 retrenched Zamtel workers

K213 billion aid to 1,000 retrenched Zamtel workers
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 04 Sep. 2010, 04:01 CAT

About K213 billion has been paid to over 1,000 former employees of privatized Zamtel, Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) director for investment promotion privatization Muhabi Lungu said yesterday.

Reacting to concerns about the delays to pay former employees of Zamtel that were declared redundant by the new management under Libya’s LAP Green Network that bought the telecommunication company’s 75 per cent shareholding, Lungu said ZDA and LAP Green Network was doing everything possible to pay all former employees their dues within the agreed 60 days.

He explained that money to pay for redundancy packages was deposited into an escrow account, from which others had been paid.

“The joint signatories to the escrow account are ZDA and LAP Green, and I am a co-signatory to that account. I have actually been signing cheques from our bank to employees’ accounts. We receive a lot of acknowledgments that they have received the money,” Lungu said.

“According to the transaction documents, the process of paying off the redundancies was supposed to happen at least within 60 days upon the take over of new management. We are still within that 60 days; it has not elapsed and it is our intention to try and meet the deadline of 60 days and pay everyone who has been declared redundant.

“So far, as of Wednesday and everyday we are processing, we have paid 1, 130 employees and about K213 billion has been paid out from our escrow account to the employees.”

He noted that the process would take long because of the rigorous verification systems.

“We want to ensure that this thing is done as smoothly as possible. In some cases we have made it but in some cases there will be some hitches but for people to use it as a threat it’s not fair; that is not how decent human beings in a civilized country are supposed to live,” he said. “We want every employee that has been declared redundant paid.”

Lungu said during the Zamtel privatization, ZDA had been as transparent as possible.

He asked journalists to cross check their information with ZDA concerning the Zamtel transaction before publishing stories that might be inaccurate.

“We have tried to keep the press always informed of what is going on at any given time,” said Lungu. “Whoever went to tell The Post reporter was deliberately being malicious, to say that nobody has been paid is not true because we have paid employees; we started this process about two weeks ago and we have a very rigorous process.”

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Friday, September 03, 2010

(SF BAY VIEW) Outsourcing a U.S. war: Ugandans in Iraq

Outsourcing a U.S. war: Ugandans in Iraq
August 24, 2010[Vertaal]
by Ann Garrison

KPFA News report with Milton Allimadi and Michael Kirkpatrick broadcast Aug. 22, 2010 KPFA 94.1 reports on the involvement of Uganda in the war in Iraq and the recruitment of Ugandans by military contractors. – Video: Ann Garrison

Ugandan recruits hoping to work as private security guards in Iraq undergo basic firearms training in Kampala, Uganda. – Photo: Max Delaney, CS MonitorLast week the Pentagon proclaimed that the last U.S. combat forces had left Iraq. This after an armored unit drove out of the country and crossed the border into Kuwait. However, there will still be 50,000 U.S. troops in Iraq.

An Iraq veteran turned war critic, Camillo Mejia, said that 4,000 U.S. troops who are leaving Iraq will be replaced by 7,000 employees of private military contractors. Other observers say the U.S. has long outsourced the Iraq occupation to troops from some of the world’s poor nations, such as Uganda, Angola, India and Bangladesh, and that many of the mercenaries due to replace other U.S. troops will also come from those countries, especially from Uganda.

The New York City-based Black Star News publishes many critics of U.S. foreign policy in Africa, and Black Star’s Ugandan-American Editor Milton Allimadi is among the most outspoken critics of U.S. use of Ugandan mercenaries, elsewhere in Africa and in Iraq.

“This is not surprising,” declares Allimadi. “It’s a disturbing development and something needs to be done to really stop this because Ugandans are being victimized by the dictator, Yoweri Museveni, and now in collusion with the United States government.

“And another reason why this is very disturbing: It’s an extension of what the U.S. has been doing for a couple of years now with respect to Uganda – outsourcing of torture of people interdicted by the United States to Uganda. And this was well documented in a report by Human Rights Watch that has not garnered sufficient attention.

“The report is called ‘Open Secret: Illegal Detention and Torture’ by the Joint Anti-Terrorism Task Force in Uganda. It was published last year, April 8, 2009, and it says that the United States provided not only training, but also $5 million for Ugandan security agents to torture individuals detained in Uganda, which is illegal according to the Leahy Amendment, an amendment by Sen. Patrick Leahy, which prohibits U.S. cooperation or funding or training for any government that is torturing its individuals or committing human rights abuse.

“It needs to be investigated by the Senate and by Congress.”

In Kampala, former Ugandan soldiers fill out application forms for jobs with the Dreshak company in Iraq. Ugandan security guards make $600 to $1,000 per month over a year-long contract in Iraq, reports Middle East Online, far less than the $15,000 that Western recruits are paid but 20 times the average income in Uganda. – Photo: Middle East OnlineBlack Star News contributor Michael Kirkpatrick has traveled in Northern Uganda, the wartorn home of the indigenous Acholi people, and written about Blackwater, Dreshak and KBR’s recruitment in refugee camps, otherwise known as Internally Displaced Persons or IDP camps, which he first observed in 2007.

“Back in 2007, I traveled to Northern Uganda at the invitation of some Acholi friends of mine,” says Kirkpatrick. “This was an opportunity for me to see how that part of the country was rebuilding after a 20-year rebel insurgency.

“While I was there, I met a young woman who was there from the British High Commission, and she was studying a local language in the city of Gulu, which is the largest city in Northern Uganda. And she was there to learn this obscure tribal African language because she needed to train translators in Iraq. Well, I thought this was odd, that the Acholi language was being spoken in Iraq.

“Well here what I learned was that there were Acholi, young Acholi men, being recruited by military contractors to go to Iraq and they obviously needed translators because these young men did not speak English, so they needed translators in Iraq to be able to instruct and direct these military contractor employees.

“I’ve come to learn even since then that the recruitment of Ugandans is a very common practice by these military contractors. There are a lot of things going on in East Africa that require the U.S. presence there. And currently, right now, there are recruiting stations in the capitol city of Kampala and there are regularly long lines of Ugandans waiting to get jobs.

“For Ugandans, this isn’t an act of fighting Al Qaeda. This isn’t an act of justice or spreading democracy in the Middle East. For them it is purely an economic issue. They need the jobs; they need the money. From my point of view, we are exploiting a desperate people. We’re bribing them with money to carry weapons into a war that is not theirs.”

Asked whether recruiting stations belong to private military contractors or the U.S. military, Kirkpatrick responded: “They are private. They are not U.S. military. They are not manned or stationed by U.S. military. But believe me, the U.S. military is paying their bills.”

Kirkpatrick also says that private for-profit companies do not have to report casualties or open their accounting books to anyone.

San Francisco writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Digital Journal,, OpEdNews, Global Research, Colored Opinions and her blog, Plutocracy Now. She can be reached at This story originally appeared in Black Star News.

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(LUSAKATIMES) Rupiah is using ZAMTEL money to campaign – Sata

Rupiah is using ZAMTEL money to campaign – Sata
Friday, September 3, 2010, 9:27

Patriotic Front, PF, president, Michael Sata, has mockingly praised President Rupiah Banda for being sincere in his statement that the benefits from the privatization of ZAMTEL have already started coming in.

The PF leader has accused President Rupiah Banda of using the money from the sale of ZAMTEL to send First Lady, Thandiwe Banda, to go round the country to campaign for him. Mr. Sata explains that all the money that came from the sale of ZAMTEL has been consumed by President Banda.

In an interview with QFM, Mr. Sata says President Banda’s sincerity that the sale of ZAMTEL has already started benefiting the country is good.

He says so far one of the benefits the President is talking about is the loss of 1, 669 jobs at ZAMTEL.

Mr. Sata further says the President is the only one who has benefited from the privatization of ZAMTEL by government.

Mr. Sata explains that all the money that came from the sale of ZAMTEL has been consumed by President Banda.

He adds that ZAMTEL is still using Zambian tax payers’ money despite the new owner Lap Green Networks taking over running of the company.

He has since challenged president Rupiah Banda to show Zambians the benefits of ZAMTEL’s privatization, apart from the loss of 1, 669 jobs at the company.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) A different argument for devolution

A different argument for devolution
by Lovemore Fuyane
02/09/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S current system of government creates a rather complex relationship between the elected officials and the electorate as far as effective representation is concerned.

Many have made proposals to reform the system, including the much-debated devolution of power to provinces. There is need for a radical, yet logical change in the role of elected constituency based representatives. This change will bring about a greater degree of democratisation and on the ground participation and accountability overall.

From the president, cabinet, governors right down to appointed district administrators, there is far too much distance between the elected officials responsible for delivering development on the ground and the electorate.

In our current system, the responsibility for development is delegated to appointed administrative officials through far too many layers such that it eventually loses meaning.

While indeed development must ultimately be delivered by professional administrators, it makes sense that the electorate are given much more of a say on a region by region basis. If you speak to people standing in voting queues during virtually all our elections since independence, most would probably tell you that the reason why they are voting for so and so is that they believe that their preferred candidate will deliver a better life for them and if it’s a parliamentarian, for their constituency in particular.

However, according to Sections 49 to 57 of the Zimbabwe constitution, the role of parliamentarians is clearly that of legislators, in other words the architecture of new and amended legislation. If indeed these constituency elected representatives truly represent their constituencies via this process, it’s very difficult to envisage a scenario where the best possible constituency representative actually crafts and persuades his colleagues to vote into a law a piece of legislation aimed at advancing the interests of his region in isolation. No single Member of Parliament can ever have a law passed on his own.

Whenever prospective parliamentarians campaign leading up to each election, few if any ever emphasise the fact that they look forward to being great legislators, or architects of great laws. There is an unspoken but common understanding that elected representatives ought to act mainly as agents of development for their constituencies, so why not formalise this and ensure it actually becomes their task officially and constitutionally?

Years ago, an important bridge collapsed in the Gokwe area of Chireya following heavy rains a few years ago, the local people approached their MP for intervention, yet their MP was a legislator and no law he would promote could have delivered a new bridge as quickly as the urgency of the matter required. The matter called for him to mobilise resources and consult the relevant arms of government, and yet it would be much quicker and simpler if in each province regionally elected officials could gather these resources and effect change immediately.

What is also worth noting is that globally, most development in legislation now emanates from ideas held by what I will refer to loosely as interest groups rather than geographical constituency bases. Examples include some of the latest thinking around new permutations on the protection of civil liberties of special groups such as children, gays, women or some other increasingly more prominent socially based groups, or greater security to prevent new forms of sophisticated crimes e.g. cyber crimes, international terrorism, money laundering as well as other areas such as environmental protection, entrepreneurship and international relations.

Very few legislative developments nowadays emanate from purely sub-geographical considerations. It makes absolutely no sense, therefore, particularly for a developing state to elect such highly celebrated officials on that basis.

Granted, when it comes to issues such as the sharing of income streams emanating from tapping into natural resources for commercial gain located in specific regions, at some point or other specific communities may have a more urgent need to address these than others. However, ultimately such natural resources especially in a country like Zimbabwe are to be found everywhere. In this instance, therefore, such an issue becomes of interest across the length and breadth of the country, again centering on groups rather than mere geographies.

The development of most pieces of legislation nowadays knows no geography. The most pressing issue in specific geographies is the accountability of elected officials as far as the delivery of a better life is concerned, and that translates to improved infrastructure, public services, healthcare, schools, public goods. In other words in specific areas people want real stuff and not ‘frameworks’ and language they do not always understand, well at least until they actually encounter a related matter.

Some of the most popular members of Zimbabwe’s parliament are those who, through whatever influence they could exercise respectively, delivered development to their respective regions, as with the guy who got the bridge fixed in time for the cotton harvesting season, it’s what people actually expect. This is the real basis upon which the election of constituency-based representatives ought to be, in other words devolution of responsibility and supporting resources to where it makes the most sense at provincial level and the creation of virtual project managers at constituency level.

On the other hand, the group of individuals concerned with developing legislation can and should really come from appropriate conglomerations of interest groups otherwise known as political parties on a proportional basis.

One might ask if in fact I’m not proposing a South African model and indeed I am, but only as far as the national parliament is concerned where legislators are elected on a proportional representational basis. It is the structure of the provinces where the model I’m putting forward differs from South Africa’s where I’m proposing that regional representatives act as development agents.

I must also emphasise that I’m not for a minute proposing the creation of provincial cabinets mirroring the national cabinet as is the case in South Africa, just merely that elected constituency representatives be given a role in what I would broadly speaking refer to as project management of development in their respective constituencies.

For the time being, I will not attempt to furnish all the finer details and be prescriptive on exactly how these elected representatives ought to work with local professional structures but do know that the argument I’m putting forward is what ought to inform our future direction. Indeed the idea remains open to further refinement by relevant experts.

Someone else might suggest that what I’m saying could be catered for by having provincial governors elected rather than appointed by the president and I would agree that although it’s not my ideal choice it would alleviate somewhat the challenge I’m highlighting by closing that gap between the elected and electors. The most ideal scenario for me however would involve some form of direct accountability for constituency representatives.

There are many aspects of development with a unique local nuance for which the local population needs to hold someone accountable. Indeed as ZAPU’s spokesman Methuseli Moyo, as well as many others recently wrote, aspects such as broad monetary and fiscal policy, foreign affairs and national security, national infrastructure and high level policy formulation ought to reside at central government, but the provision of local infrastructure and the running of development projects ought to be a lot closer to the people, in effect a strengthening of the democratic system.

We ought to make it that much easier for those individuals elected by the people to be accountable and just as easily removed when they do not deliver, period.

Lovemore Fuyane was born in Zimbabwe and lives in South Africa. He writes in his personal capacity

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Parliament goes digital

Parliament goes digital
by Lebo Nkatazo
03/09/2010 00:00:00

RECORDS of parliamentary proceedings will now be available on audio following the completion of the first phase a US$500,000 digitalisation programme.

MPs and Senators will also be supplied with smart cards for voting, with results instantly displayed on a giant flat-screen put up in the Chamber, the Speaker of the House of Assembly Lovemore Moyo said.

The second phase will see the installation of permanent TV cameras, with video recordings of parliamentary debates and portfolio committee meetings stored on DVD. The third and final phase will be the broadcasting of parliamentary debates on national TV and to have parliament sit in the provinces.

The programme is funded by the United States Agency for International Development.
Moyo said: “We have taken the first important steps to the modernisation of our parliament. Since 1996, we have been on this path of reforming parliament to make it accessible to the people.”

Moyo said as part of the changes, MPs would no longer be required to move from their seats to a central podium to speak during debates following the installation of microphones on the benches.

He added: "On top of the Hansard, members of the public can now access audio recordings of specific parliamentary sittings thanks to this digitalisation programme.

“We want to improve our accessibility to the people and when we complete the third phase of this programme, we must have a truly modern parliament.”

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Leaders who can’t lead

Leaders who can’t lead
By The Post
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 04:00 CAT

Fackson Shamenda has raised very important questions about the political leadership of our country. And we agree with him that there isn’t sufficient guidance by the political leadership to help move our country forward.

It would seem the country is on autopilot. And the only time the leadership wakes up to try and guide things is when their interests, their benefits, their hold on power is an issue. What seems to motivate them most is personal interests and not the wider interests of society.

Leaders are supposed to establish the vision for the future of our country and set the strategies for getting there; they are supposed to cause change.

They are the ones who are supposed to be motivating and inspiring us to get in the right direction and they, along with all of us, to make the necessary sacrifices required to get there. A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way. A leader leads but in the end, the people govern.

It is said that leadership is the capacity and will to rally others to a common purpose and the character which inspires confidence. Can one today truly say there is capacity and will on the part of Rupiah Banda and his minions to rally the diverse citizens of this country to a common purpose? And can also one say that Rupiah and his minions have the character which inspires confidence?

Until we realise that leadership is the ability of a single individual through his or her actions to motivate others to higher levels of achievement, we will be moving backwards in very long strides. We have many problems and challenges which require very high-quality leadership to overcome.

We need leadership with a clear vision because when you are in a valley, keep your goal firmly in view, and you will get the renewed energy to continue the climb. The successful men and women of today are men and women of one overmastering idea, one unwavering aim, men and women of single and intense purpose.

Harry Truman once said that “Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.

As Shamenda has correctly observed, our leaders are not in the habit of listening to the truth or wise counsel. Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything.

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a society work. People do not follow uncommitted leaders. When people know that their leader is committed to their future and knows what he is doing or where he is taking them, they will be loyal to him and respect him.

It is said that the whole world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going. The very essence of leadership is that you will have to have vision. You can’t blow an uncertain trumpet. As Henry Kissinger once said, “Leaders must invoke an alchemy of great vision.”

And the best vision is insight. We have always maintained that our political leaders must rely on the masses of the people, on everybody’s taking a hand, and have opposed relying on a few persons issuing orders. Moreover, democracy implies having a government in which all the people participate in the democratic process.

And such democratic politics acts as a filter through which the vocal demands of a diverse populace pass on the way to becoming public policy.

Of course, an authority is needed to guide the energies of all towards the common good. And the government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good.

And those who decide to become leaders must be conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community. They should also never forget the biblical teaching: “Whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all” (Mark 10:14).

Clearly, politics needs people with high credibility and not mercenaries who are out to rape the people. And if our country is to move forward, honest and hard work is demanded from our leaders and indeed from all of us.

And our participation in the political life of our country should be guided by love for our people. And we should be aware that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all.

Politics is therefore a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good. It is necessary to always remind ourselves that politics is for the good of our people and our country, and not for the political survival of any individual or political party.

And all those who decide to enter political leadership should be willing to serve the Zambian people heart and soul and never for a moment divorce themselves from the masses. They should be ready to proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one’s self-interest or from the interests of a small group.

We should never allow the politics of our country to be relegated to trivialities chosen precisely because they salve the consciences of the powerful and conceal the plight of the poor and powerless. It should never be that the anger of the poor should be the finger of accusation pointed at all of us because we failed to respond to the cries of the poor and powerless.

And let us not be mistaken: the best government in the world, the best president, cannot achieve much on their own. And it would also be wrong to expect a general remedy from them only. Democracy, therefore, demands participation and responsibility from us all.

If we accept this, we will understand that it is up to us all, and up to us only to improve ourselves and the lot of our people. In other words, we are all responsible for what is going on in our country and indeed for the future of our country.

None of us is simply a passenger in this country; we are all co-pilots or navigators of this country. There is need for us to realise that while the political leaders of our country derive great experience from their duties, they do not have the privilege of being – nor could they be – specialists in all economic and social spheres. They are basically politicians – in itself one of the most difficult tasks in today’s world – and above all, they must be responsible ones.

And moreover, government of the people, by the people and for the people – as Lincoln once defined democracy – implies a government in which all the people participate, a government that arises from the people, has the support of the people and devotes itself entirely to working and struggling for the people and the people’s interests.

And we should not forget that the word “democracy”, of Greek origin, means power or strength of the people. And this is why when the time comes to choose our leaders, we must vote wisely and only for people who are known for their vision, honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all.

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Zambia's direction is unclear because of stubborn leadership - Shamenda

Zambia's direction is unclear because of stubborn leadership - Shamenda
By George Chellah
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIA’s direction is uncertain because of stubborn leadership, Fackson Shamenda observed yesterday. In an interview, Shamenda, who is former Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, said the country was currently on an unclear path.

“The direction the country is taking is not clear because of stubborn leadership. I don’t think there is sufficient guidance by the leadership to guide the country forward,” Shamenda said.

“It’s like we have become so sensitive even to those who are helping us. For example, the issue of donors, surely there should be a better way of handling such matters.” Shamenda insisted on the need for the country to be focused.

“It seems we don’t know what we want as a country. Just like somebody once said that ‘you can’t get lost if you don’t know where you are going’ that’s the situation we are in,” Shamenda said. “We don’t seem to know where we are going.

Instead of people discussing issues, that’s both the opposition political parties and those in government, they have all fallen in the trap of discussing trivialities.

“It’s now 46 years after independence; we should be mature so that our interests should not be personal but the interests of the wider society.” He said the country should avoid situations where even good ideas are ignored simply because people in leadership want to be unnecessarily stubborn.

“Since we introduced a multiparty system, the opposition political parties, the civil society and the media have become part of the governance system. The people in authority should not be too sensitive and think that whatever is being said is to undermine their authority,” Shamenda said.

“We should move as one people. It’s like in a football team; if a captain is stubborn, he can’t win the game. In a similar vein, the way we are moving as a country, it is supposed to be team work.” He stressed the need for continuity in the government programmes.

“There was Kenneth Kaunda, Frederick Chiluba and Levy Mwanawasa and this administration. We have also programmes were left by the previous government. You can’t begin saying that the programmes we are seeing now were initiated by this government, no. It’s too short a period!” Shamenda said.

“It’s a continuation of programmes from the previous government. That’s how the system operates. It's important we work together as a country instead of doing things without a vision.”

He said the country would only have a proper direction if the leadership began to embrace divergent views. “Not where you are becoming suspicious that if it’s something which is coming from The Post…like some leader said that ‘if you are praised by The Post, then there is something wrong with you; you are with the other side.’ Even a mad man can be reasonable sometimes,” said Shamenda.

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Western Province wants MMD out - Duffy

Western Province wants MMD out - Duffy
By Mwala Kalaluka and Salim Dawood
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 04:00 CAT

MONGU Diocese Bishop Paul Duffy has said most people in Western Province feel that now is the appropriate time to change the government. And Bishop Duffy has asked the government to take the London High Court judgment registration matter back into the courts because judge Evans Hamaundu’s judgment was poor.

In an interview from Mongu yesterday, Bishop Duffy reiterated that the people of Western Province thought it was time to change from the current government. “You know I have said here in Western Province it seems that people think it is time for change,” Bishop Duffy said.

“We have had the MMD since 1991 and I think it is time for change.”
Bishop Duffy said this was the general feeling of the people he had interacted with in the area.

Bishop Duffy said President Rupiah Banda’s government was full of contradictions.

“Well, you know I am amazed that the donors have been told to pack up and leave,” Bishop Duffy said. “It will be interesting if all the donors pack up and leave and see what happens.”

Bishop Duffy said it was surprising that the government was telling donors to pack and leave when it kept on borrowing and taking the country back into the debt trap.

“Some of the borrowing is questionable,” Bishop Duffy said. “We borrow from the Chinese to buy these hearses that were supposed to dignify the burial services of the people in rural areas.”

Bishop Duffy said most people in Mongu were opting to hire bigger trucks that take in more people during burials than hiring the hearses.

“We borrowed money to buy these Chinese mobile hospitals. Why do we keep borrowing money from China to buy all these Chinese things? That is the question,” Bishop Duffy said.

“But I think we are just getting deeper and deeper into debt, and we are telling people who are giving us grants to leave this country! Something is wrong. It seems we have got things down and skewed somehow.”

But chief government spokesperson Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha called on Zambians to support President Banda’s stance.

“Specifically as the President spoke, it is necessary for the nation to rally behind the President; donors are partners, and the President was speaking to partners,” he said.

When asked if the government could not use diplomatic channels to communicate to partners, Lt Gen Shikapwasha, who is also information minister, said the President had the prerogative to choose when to speak.

“The President has the prerogative as an executive to choose when he can speak to people and can’t speak to people; which is the right moment for him to speak and which is not the right moment for him to speak… and he chooses the right moment.

He is the only President in the country. God has given him the wisdom to choose when he can speak,” Lt Gen Shikapwasha said.

But Bishop Duffy said it was improper for President Banda to attack the donors considering their contribution to the country’s economy.
“You can’t bite a finger that feeds you, it does not make sense, no!” Bishop Duffy said.

And Bishop Duffy said he does not blame former president Frederick Chiluba for his smiles over the throwing out of the application to register the London High Court judgment that found him and others liable of defrauding the Zambian people of US$46 million.

“We say that the Zambian laws are built on the British law and when Britain has ruled something else we say we have an independent country. We seem to be contradicting ourselves,” Bishop Duffy said.

“Why are we saying that our laws are built on their Britain laws but we seem not to be happy when it comes to a decision that government is not happy with. They government should definitely bring back the case in the court. It was a poor judgment.”

Bishop Duffy said Chiluba could afford to smile because of the Zambian government’s failure to take up the registration of the London High Court judgment.

“You can’t blame him. He should be smiling because he doesn’t have a chance to defend himself now that the case was not taken up by the Zambian government, smile, smile, smile,” said Bishop Duffy.

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Rupiah makes changes to his govt

Rupiah makes changes to his govt
By Post Online
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 07:50 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has made changes to his government at deputy minister and permanent secretary level.

In a statement from State House special assistant for press and public relations, Dickson Jere, President Banda has moved Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe to the Office of the Vice-President as Deputy Minister who will take over from Guston Sichilima.

Sichilima has been transferred to the Ministry of Home Affairs in the same capacity.

At the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, deputy minister Elijah Muchima has been moved to take over Munkombwe’s position as provincial minister in Southern Province(provincial minister position is at deputy minister level).

At permanent secretary level, President Banda has appointed Dr Samson Phiri as new permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services while Ngosa Chisupa, who held the position till yesterday will be redeployed later.

President Banda has also appointed Anthony Undi as permanent secretary Financial Management and Administration at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to India, Keli Walubita, has been recalled to come and head the Police and Prisons Service Commission while Percy Kangwa Chato has been appointed Commissioner of Prisons.

Jere said the appointments and transfers were with immediate effect.

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Chingola priest rebukes Rupiah over donors

Chingola priest rebukes Rupiah over donors
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 04:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda should not deprive poor Zambians of donor funds in the name of protecting the country’s sovereignty, Chingola’s Twelve Apostles Nchanga Parish priest Charles Tembo has said.

In an interview on Wednesday, Fr Tembo said President Banda’s attacks on donors were baseless and aimed at shielding the wrongs of his government and former president Frederick Chiluba. He said it was morally wrong for President Banda to tell donors to pack their bags and leave Zambia for raising genuine concerns on matters of national interest.

Fr Tembo said donors appreciated the fact that Zambia was a sovereign country but needed the help in many areas especially governance.

He said Zambia would only see meaningful development if President Banda’s government started respecting the views of stakeholders and the donors who were touching the lives of many poor Zambians especially in rural areas.

“Without donors we don’t know what this country would have become and it’s immoral for a President to insult donors in the way that he President Banda did. We need to apologise on his behalf because I don’t think he knows the consequences of what he said,” Fr Tembo said.

“These donors know that Zambia is a sovereign state and they respect him as President. They are not in any way trying to make us their puppets, no. The fact is it is on record that leaders have embezzled public funds before and donors who give us this money have a right to raise concerns.”
Fr Tembo said President Banda needed to be reminded always that Zambia could not survive without donor aid.

He added that meaningful development would only be achieved in Zambia if government started listening to the voice of the people and donors who were serving the people with undoubted commitment.

Fr Tembo said the MMD government needed to understand that donors use taxpayers’ money from other countries and they had a right to express displeasure if government was not taking issues of governance seriously.

He said it would be unfortunate if donors pulled out of the country due to continued scathing attacks from the head of state.

Fr Tembo said the prayer of many Zambians was that President Banda make peace with donors for the best interest of the country.

Fr Tembo said Zambia was a democracy and people had a right to express themselves on matters of national interest.

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Magande discusses how Levy wanted him to be his successor

Magande discusses how Levy wanted him to be his successor
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 03 Sep. 2010, 03:59 CAT

NG’ANDU Magande has revealed that four ministers serving in President Rupiah Banda’s Cabinet had informed him in 2008 that then president Levy Mwanawasa wanted him to be his successor but wondered why these people had not publicly explained the matter.

Featuring on Frank Mutubila’s Frank Talk programme on ZNBC television on Wednesday night, Magande, who is also MMD national executive committee (NEC) finance chairperson and the party’s Chilanga parliamentarian, extensively explained about Mwanawasa’s intentions to have him as a successor in 2011.

“I can confirm as having been told by those who were told. One time we were talking, he Mwanawasa said ‘I wish I could have somebody who could continue where we are when I leave’ and I said to him, ‘it’s up to you to choose, but whoever you choose you have to subject them to people. The people will have to agree with your decision’,” Magande explained.

“Then he said at that moment, ‘how did you know? There are actually three names I am considering and I want to tell you that you are one of them’. And I said to him, ‘thank you very much.’ After sometime, again we had these personal discussions and he told me, ‘I have reduced the number to two’.

I said, ‘am I on that list of two?’ He said, ‘yes you are’. Then I said, ‘when will you have the list of one?’ Then he said, ‘I will not tell because if I tell you then you will start behaving like you are president. I want you for now to behave and continue behaving as a minister of finance. There is still a lot of work to do there’.”

Magande said in June 2008 when Mwanawasa was in Milanzi campaigning for now late Reuben Chisanga-Banda in the parliamentary by-elections, before his Magande’s departure to Egypt, they had a lengthy discussion.

“I was supposed to join the team which was going to the AU in Egypt and as usual, I normally said goodbye to my boss and he said, ‘what do you want to go and do?’ So I had a long two and half hours conversation on the phone with him. The president was in Eastern; we discussed everything. I was privileged to discuss with the president anything I wanted and he would never say I have no comment,” he explained.

Magande explained that on that day, he even discussed with President Banda the problems of Zambian Airways.

“I told him ‘tomorrow the following day, when I am leaving I am writing a letter to the ministry of communications proposing that they defer the debt of Zambian Airways to National Airports Corporation’ and he said, ‘if that is what you think.’ That is how he took it normally when I convinced him that, ‘if that is what you think go ahead’,” Magande explained.

“As we were discussing agriculture, I remember him saying, ‘I want you to make sure that this fertilizer programme succeeds. You must increase the number of beneficiaries.’ And then he said, ‘by the way, I have heard a rumour that you are after all one of the candidates in 2011 presidential seat.’ Then I said, ‘Mr President if you have heard that rumour I am most grateful.’ Then we laughed it off and then I left.”

He explained that other ministers also informed him about Mwanawasa’s intentions to have him as his successor.

“When I got to Egypt there were already a lot of friends who were there. One of them took me for breakfast early in the morning and he said, ‘I want to tell you that while you are here the President wants to talk to you’. I said, ‘about what? We discussed before I came. The President is still in Zambia.

I left him there.’ He said, ‘no! I had a conversation with him; he is talking about you perhaps being one of his successors when he leaves in 2011’. This is a friend who is still in Cabinet. Now, if he was telling me a lie, I didn’t ask him but he has not been able to come out and say, ‘yes, the President Mwanawasa told me this’,” Magande explained.

“When I came back, three ministers came to our house. For two of them because I thought they were so friendly to me, my wife was in attendance and they told us that the day before president Mwanawasa left for Egypt, the night before, they had a meeting at State House and he was telling them, ‘look, I am not feeling extremely well, I don’t know if I will get to 2011 but if I do I want to have a smooth succession.

I am looking for a successor. As you come back from Egypt, those who are going and when I come back, I want you to help the minister of finance to start understanding the people in Kalingalinga, the people in Chadiza, the people in Shang’ombo.’ And one the ministers said, he asked him, ‘why?’ He said, ‘because I think he has achieved a lot and I would like the people to know him. I would like you to help him; if possible in 2011 to campaign for him’.”

He said he did not solicit the information from the three ministers.

“They came to my house. They are all in Cabinet, by the way. So all I have to say is that I believe in God. The truth one day will be told,” Magande explained.

He said it was still possible for him to become president of Zambia.

“If I were to go to the MMD convention, I want to assure you that you will not use that word ‘impossible’. I think it will not be impossible. I believe in hope. I hope that it will not be impossible,” responded Magande when Mutubila asked him about what he would do if it became impossible for him to stand on the MMD ticket.

Magande added: “I still want to serve the Zambian people. I have been minister, I have been an economist, I know this country and I still can provide some services, I will find an avenue to go to the people. The Constitution says, ‘to be a presidential candidate under the party, you just need support of a party.’ There are a lot of parties, which are there. That for me is not impossible to get myself supported.”

He said he had been an effective minister and parliamentarian in the MMD government.

Magande also said the MMD adoption of presidential candidates in 2008 where he lost to then acting Republican President Banda was his first attempt but he hoped to do better next time.

“What I saw during those presidential candidate adoption elections, I leave it for me to perhaps explain in my memoirs if I have the opportunity. As you recall, as we were coming out of the hall, I was asked the question, ‘how were the elections’ and I said, ‘they were democratic, free’ and someone asked me, one of the reports, ‘are you going to say anything more?’

I said, ‘no!’ I have kept my mouth shut since then,” said Magande. “The elections at that time did not give me an opportunity to explain to the members of NEC, who I am, what I am and where I have come from. This time around I am prepared to come before you the Zambians and present myself.”

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Thursday, September 02, 2010

State House has become link in shoddy deals – Kabimba

State House has become link in shoddy deals – Kabimba
By George Chellah
Thu 02 Sep. 2010, 04:02 CAT

Patriotic Front secretary general Wynter Kabimba yesterday said State House has become a bedrock and link in shoddy deals, which are compounding the poverty and misery of Zambians. And Kabimba warned Bharti Airtel that PF shall not allow the perpetration of fraudulent transactions against Zambians.

Commenting on revelations that Bharti Airtel through one of President Rupiah Banda’s sons is seeking State House’s intervention to force the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to have the share price for Zain Zambia reduced, Kabimba condemned the manoeuvres.

An attempt to reduce the value of shares against the Zambian shareholders in Zain is not only an act of fraud but an act of absolute bad faith in the manner that Bharti Airtel intends to conduct its business in Zambia after buying Zain Zambia,” Kabimba said.

“This situation where State House has become the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry in Zambia through people that are not employees of government reminds me of the late Julius Nyerere’s comment during the regime of president Ali Hassan Mwinyi of Tanzania when Nyerere said, ‘it is difficult for us to fight corruption when corruption starts at the door steps of State House’.

“One can therefore ask the question that who then shall save the people of Zambia if State House becomes the bedrock and link in shoddy deals which go to compound the poverty and misery of the Zambian people?”

Kabimba said many Zambians used their terminal benefits to invest in Zain Zambia.

“The majority of Zambian shareholders in Zain bought their shares in that company out of moneys paid to them as terminal benefits after losing employment, which loss of employment was caused by the same MMD government which is now going against their investment which is their only ultimate hope,” Kabimba said.

“This cannot be a government that cares about the people of Zambia and it’s difficult for anyone to believe that the President as head of state may not know what is going on at State House in such matters.”

Kabimba said PF would stand by Zambians in the matter.

“As PF, we would like to caution Bharti Airtel that we shall not allow the perpetration of such a fraudulent transaction against the Zambian people. And if they want to conduct business in Zambia, I would advise them to respect and honour the investment by the humble Zambians in Zain as they buy the company,” Kabimba said.

“Failure to do so, we shall stand by our people and ensure that equity prevails. I am sure this will be a timely piece of advice to Bharti Airtel and they can only proceed with the transaction in question at their own risk.”

Kabimba said it was clear that the Bharti Airtel transaction might just turn out to be another Zamtel and RP Capital saga.

“In the Dora Siliya tribunal there was clear evidence laid before the tribunal that the President’s son Henry Banda was involved in the brokerage of the consultancy for RP Capital in respect of Zamtel outside the prescribed procurement procedures. This matter which involved a payment of colossal sums of taxpayer’s money to RP Capital is still an outstanding matter as far as the people of Zambia are concerned,” Kabimba said.

“As PF we shall insist that the truth should be known. It’s therefore unfortunate that Bharti Airtel is falling into the same trap of using State House as an entry point in its business transaction to the detriment of the Zambian shareholders in Zain Zambia.”

Bharti Airtel is trying to use one of President Banda’s sons in their manoeuvres to have the SEC reduce the Zain share price.

Recently, Bharti Airtel Africa chief executive officer Manoj Kohli came into the country and held a meeting with people at State House on August 21, 2010.

This was after the SEC proposed that they set the price at K1,126 per share for mandatory offer.

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