Saturday, January 08, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T attacks Zanu PF-supporting embassies

COMMENT - The MDC urges the use of NGOs as a conduit for gifts? That is a bit rich.

MDC-T attacks Zanu PF-supporting embassies
by Staff Reporter
07/01/2011 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party has launched an astonishing attack on unnamed foreign embassies for allegedly sponsoring Zanu PF. The party warned that it would “never forget any lines of support to a sunset party like Zanu PF”.

The MDC – which has faced Zanu PF accusations of being funded by western countries -- singled out Libya for special mention. Other unnamed embassies, the party said, “have sided with Zanu PF citing, deceptively, what they have termed their historical links with that party as the main reason for open support.”

The party added: “Because of Zimbabwe’s post-colonial history, any country that hobnobs and tries to breathe life to a dictatorship and a humanly-hazardous party, such as Zanu PF, must realise that the people of Zimbabwe always take such actions seriously.

“They shall reserve their natural right for an explanation when the sun rises in a new Zimbabwe.”

A recent donation of nine tractors to Information Minister Webster Shamu’s Chegutu East constituency by Libya appeared to torch off the MDC’s fury.

The MDC said Libya’s donation in aid of Shamu’s re-election bid exposed Zanu PF’s duplicity over foreign funding.

“Zanu PF openly receives foreign donations and funding for its programmes while (crying) foul when other parties merely receive unsolicited endorsement and solidarity messages from foreigners and numerous universal human rights defenders,” the party said in a statement.

“(The) Libyan donation represents a rising pattern in Zanu PF involving officials who abuse their ministerial positions to cajole Harare-based embassies to donate money, equipment and a plethora of trinkets to Zanu PF’s rural supporters.”

The MDC claimed the donation was arranged by Mugabe’s chief of protocol, Munyaradzi Kajese.

“We were dismayed by the involvement of Kajese, a civil servant and Zimbabwe’s chief of protocol, in the sourcing of the Chegutu tractors on behalf of Zanu PF.

“Kajese’s contract with government binds him to serve all Zimbabweans in their diversity.”

And in an apparent veiled reference to China and Russia, the MDC further warned that countries that continue to fund Zanu PF due to supposed historical links with the party would be made to account for undermining the country’s fight for democracy.

“The MDC calls on the inclusive government to urgently stop the illegal practice and urges foreign embassies to use state institutions and non-governmental organisations as agents and conduits for gifts meant for development assistance and poverty alleviation,” the party said.

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Who’s Panji to make such big statements - Rupiah

Who’s Panji to make such big statements - Rupiah
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

President Rupiah Banda says nothing gives Colonel Panji Kaunda the right to express concern about violence in the nation. Responding to questions from journalists at Lusaka's City Airport before departure for Eastern Province, President Banda said the government was handling national affairs well.

“What gives him the right to make such big statements? Who is he? That's my question,” President Banda said yesterday.

Asked to comment about Lusaka acting MMD provincial chairman William Banda's open declaration of violence on critics of the party's leadership, President Banda refused to answer the question.
When pressed further, President Banda still maintained that he could not talk since Banda was around to answer the question.

“No, no, no, don't put those words... William is here, go and ask him. No, no, all the same, I'm saying William is here, go and ask him. He's not here to justify that statement. But you want me to comment on that statement and you don't want me to advise you on who should be the candidate where? Anyway, William is over there, I can't, go and ask him,” said President Banda, in apparent reference to The Post’s lead story of Friday January 7, 2011, which revealed his move to impose Kennedy Zulu as his preferred choice of chairman at the forthcoming provincial conference.

And President Banda said there are no leadership wrangles in the MMD in Eastern Province.

He said the party conference would be peaceful.

The comment on Col Panji comes after he expressed fears that this year’s general elections would be the bloodiest if the government did not act on the violence and threats that were currently being experienced in the country.

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Nawakwi underscores need for windfall tax

Nawakwi underscores need for windfall tax
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

RUPIAH Banda’s government’s indifference to the plight of Zambians will be the deciding factor in the 2011 general elections, says Edith Nawakwi.

In an interview, Nawakwi, who is FDD president, said it was saddening to see that the government had refused to listen to the people’s demands on many issues like re-introducing windfall tax on the mega profits the mines were making from copper sales.

“Can you imagine Nigeria is a far much greater economy than Zambia but they have introduced windfall tax on their oil, but here we don’t have? The people in front of us (leaders), they have eyes but they can’t see, or they can see but are not just interested,” Nawakwi said.

They are indifferent, because if we have more money we will put up another university in Namushakende. We will build bridges. People are living in squalor in Misisi; we will build new houses as our friends are doing in other countries. But somebody is sitting in an air conditioned office at the Ministry of Finance and says ‘we can’t collect windfall tax’, and the President is watching.”

Nawakwi said while other countries were introducing windfall taxes on their resources, the Zambian government was busy arguing that doing the same here would distort the budget.

She said copper prices had hit an all time high of almost US $10,000 dollars per tonne and yet the “so-called professionals” like finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane and Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Caleb Fundanga had failed to properly advise the nation to reintroduce windfall tax.

“These people must be fired before the people of Zambia fire the President this year. This is why I said we can’t continue subsidising the mines, can we dollarise the economy so that these mining companies can bring dollars to pay wages. When they are paying workers K400,000, that’s about US $100. When we dollarise they will be too embarrassed to pay the workers that amount,” Nawakwi said.

She said the government was failing to collect money from the mines and yet they were taxing Zambians through the nose.

“They say we don’t understand. Don’t we understand that our hospitals don’t have medicine, that our children don’t have jobs? He Musokotwane has not issued a single treasury minute on the new graduates from UNZA to be employed this year…now we just hear KCM, KCM and the money is going to London and India,” Nawakwi said.

“How much is remaining here? Throwing effluent in the Kafue river, they give us K10 million, is that ‘corporate governance’?”

Nawakwi said when the government sold the mines; the price of copper was hovering around US$2,900.

She said when she argued that the price was too low; the buyers said it was uneconomical for anyone at that time to invest into the Zambian economy, saying that was why the mines were sold for a song.

Nawakwi said the buyers projected that in their lifetime of 15-20 years, the price of copper would not go beyond US$3,000.

“That is how the story of windfall tax came in, ‘what would happen if their theory was proved to be wrong’? And all concerned said ‘let’s exploit the concept of sharing the profit unexpected at the time of the sale’,” Nawakwi said.

“Truly it has come to pass that the dip in copper prices was temporary. The price of copper has grown by over 100 per cent. What is in it now is not the royalty because the royalty was fixed. You can increase it by 10 per cent, it is nothing compared to the opportunity cost of a Zambian not owning a mine.”

Nawakwi said the country needed sober-minded people who were not self seeking to critically analyse the benefits of the mines on Zambians.

“I think the IMF should stop lending them government money because why are we getting into more debt when we can collect money? Why are we making shareholders in England, America and Australia richer than the shareholders in chief Mungule in Masaiti?” asked Nawakwi.

Some of these issues will be the deciding factors on polling day. Of course how can you refuse to take money from the air, windfall tax, to buy medicine, to drain Misisi, to patch up Great North Road?”

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Know, admit where the Barotse problem lies

Know, admit where the Barotse problem lies
By The Post
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:00 CAT

We may not share or even understand the agenda of the Barotse Agreement activists.

And we don’t need to share or understand their agenda to defend their inalienable rights and fundamental freedoms. These people, whatever their agenda – palatable or unpalatable, popular or unpopular, have the right to the full enjoyment of their inalienable rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and the right to equal protection before the law.

And no government grants these fundamental freedoms because they are endowed to all of us, without exception, by the Creator. And since these rights or freedoms exist independently of government, they cannot be legislated away, nor are they subject to the momentary whim of those in government, of George Kunda or Mkhondo Lungu. And this is why individuals may be free when their government is not.

It can never be treason for the Barotse Agreement activists to hold a meeting without George’s approval. We know that it is a common tactic of tyranny to charge opponents of governments treason. For this reason, the crime of treason must be carefully limited in definition so that it cannot be used as a weapon to stifle dissent or criticism of the government. Abusing the criminal justice system will not in any way create a peaceful atmosphere in any part of our country. Respecting the rights or fundamental freedoms of our people will not in any way weaken government or make it incapable of enforcing the law and punishing offenders. On the contrary, the criminal justice system in our country will be effective to the degree that its administration is judged by the population to be fair and protective of individual rights, as well as of the public interest.

As we had stated in our editorial comment of Wednesday, the ideals of free expression, assembly and citizen participation are easy to defend when everyone remains polite and in agreement on basic issues. But dissenters – and their targets – do not agree on basic issues, and such disagreements may be passionate and angry. And as we have stated before, the challenge then is one of balance: to defend the right to freedom of speech and assembly, while maintaining public order and countering attempts at intimidation or violence.

To suppress peaceful meetings in the name of order is to invite repression and tyranny; to permit uncontrolled violent assemblies is to invite anarchy. Again, there is no magic formula for achieving this balance. In the end, it depends on our commitment as a nation to maintaining the institutions of democracy and the precepts of individual rights. We all have a duty to defend each other’s rights when they are threatened. And by doing so, we are not doing anyone a favour but simply fulfilling a duty. We have always thought that if one cannot sacrifice oneself for others, one is incapable of sacrificing oneself for anything; a person that cannot sacrifice himself for others is incapable of sacrificing himself for his own sake; a person that is not willing to fight for rights and freedoms of others will never be ready to fight for his own rights and freedoms.

There are moments when difficult and bitter decisions have to be made, and for us there will never be any hesitation if what is at stake are rights and freedoms of any individual wherever they may be on this planet. We believe that defending the rights and freedoms of individuals boosts the prospects for peace in any place as it helps to prevent the political and social calamity that may result from the violation of such rights. Whoever is incapable of fighting for others will never be capable of fighting for himself.

Furthermore, the suppression of freedoms of speech and assembly of those Barotse Agreement activists in Mongu that those in government find offensive today is potentially a threat to our exercise of these same rights and freedoms tomorrow – which someone else might find offensive.

There are compromises that can be made to maintain peace and order without totally stopping the Barotse Agreement activists from having their meetings. For instance, we are very uncomfortable with them holding their meeting next Friday in Limulunga, where the Litunga’s palace is located. This is not an ideal place for such a meeting. And out of respect for His Majesty, the King of Barotseland, this meeting should be taken somewhere else and leave the Barotse royals to enjoy their peace. Anything that lowers the standing, the prestige of the Litunga should be avoided. Holding a meeting in Limulunga that is likely to result in chaos will end up reducing the prestige of His Majesty and, as such, should be avoided. This meeting can be taken somewhere else where the Litunga or anyone else for that matter will not be disturbed. Such a meeting can be taken to Sesheke or Ngonga plains or anywhere mwa sana. This is something that even the authorities should be agreeable to unless their intention is to totally stop these people from holding their meeting regardless of how peaceful it is. In that case, it will not be the meeting they are against because it may disturb the peace, but it is the agenda they are opposed to.

If it is the agenda they are opposed to, then stopping meetings is not the best way to kill this agenda, to destroy this idea. They had better find another effective way of destroying this Barotse Agreement agenda because stopping meetings of these activists will not do. The best way to address this issue is to meet the people involved in it, listen to them, hear their grievances and remove the cause of dissension. There is no alternative to dialogue, to negotiations. We say this because negotiated solutions can be found even to conflicts that might have come to seem intractable. And solutions emerge when those who have been divided reach out to find a common ground. If the government’s own approach is that of repression, then it won’t see peace in Western Province. If the government truly wants to see peace in Western Province, it has to take a path that leads to peace because repression leads to conflict and not to peace.

The government may not want to be seen to be talking to nonentities behind this Barotse Agreement tension or unrest. But these are the people they need to talk to. They shouldn’t forget that the exercise of power must be the constant practice of self-limitation and modesty. The problem they have is with these nonentities, non-persons they are not talking to and they don’t seem to be willing to talk to. These are the people they need to be talking to. We say this because these are the people they have problems with. These are the people they should be talking to and whose concerns they should be trying to address.



Barotse Agreement is valid, says Sata

Barotse Agreement is valid, says Sata
By George Chellah
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:02 CAT

THE Barotse Agreement is still valid and must be honoured, Michael Sata (left) has declared. Commenting on Vice-President George Kunda’s meeting with the Litunga, the Ngambela and some senior Barotse Indunas in Limulunga on Tuesday, Sata said the Barotse Agreement was real.

“The Barotse Agreement is still a valid agreement,” Sata said. “How can you ignore an agreement that was signed, sealed and delivered almost 47 years ago?”

Sata maintained that the Barotse Agreement was still legitimate and President Rupiah Banda simply needed to show honour by acknowledging its validity and existence.

“There is no honest person who can deny the existence and validity of the Barotse Agreement. And those with honour and integrity honour valid agreements they have entered into whether they still like them or not,” Sata said.

“The PF government will honour the Barotse Agreement without hesitation because we have no problems with it. We see nothing wrong with it.”

Sata said Zambians needed to learn to live in a country of diversity and that it was also a fundamental principle even in international law for successive governments to honour agreements they find.

“We have always said we have nothing to fear about the Barotse Agreement. It is a decent agreement that must be honoured,” Sata said. “Only crooks, dictators who want everything to be controlled by them from Lusaka can fear the Barotse Agreement.”

Sata said the Barotse Agreement was not about secession but a higher and advanced form of national unity.

“How can an agreement that brought our country together as a unitary sovereign state, be seen to be a divisive instrument; to be about secession and treason?” Sata wondered.

“The Barotse Agreement united and brought together what was not united; what was divided. It is an agreement that brought unity in diversity to our people and as such must be honoured and respected.”

He said intimidation and threats of treason would not resolve the matter.

“How can an agreement that exists be treasonable? That agreement is real, so what’s treasonous about that? In fact, the peace and unity that Zambia has enjoyed since independence as a sovereign state can be partly attributed to the Barotse Agreement,” Sata said.

“PF would like to see to it that Zambia remains an oasis of peace by engaging the people of Barotseland over the Barotse Agreement and ensure that their grievances are resolved once and for all.”

And reacting to Vice-President George Kunda’s statement that politicians should stop exhibiting double standards on the independence of the judiciary, Sata said Vice-President Kunda should keep “his dirty hands” off the judiciary.

Sata urged Vice-President Kunda to be sincere.

“Yes, the judiciary’s independence is an anchor to the rule of law and constitutionalism but George Kunda is certainly not the right person to lecture anybody on the importance of judicial independence or autonomy because he has failed the judiciary. We know what we are talking about here,” Sata said.

“Let the government not meddle in the affairs of the judiciary. We are well informed; hence we know what is currently obtaining. Let them also fund the judiciary adequately because it’s only when the judiciary is comfortable that we are going to get impartial justice. So Kunda should keep his dirty hands off the judiciary.”

He said government should not intimidate the judiciary.

Sata said Chief Justice Ernest Sakala’s statement that poor funding was undermining the autonomy of the judiciary was a serious indictment on Vice-President Kunda.

“The judiciary is under George Kunda since he is also the Minister of Justice. Therefore, for the Chief Justice, who is the head of the judiciary to openly complain about poor funding, it’s a clear vote of no confidence in Kunda’s leadership. In short, the judiciary has passed a vote of no confidence in Kunda,” Sata said.

“I commend justice Sakala for his bravery. He has complained to the Vice-President and Minister of Justice publicly that the judiciary is under-funded. George Kunda should just resign because the judiciary has passed a vote of no confidence in him.”

He said Vice-President Kunda should not divert attention from justice Sakala’s exposure of his inefficiency as minister in charge.

“The Chief Justice didn’t complain about not being respected. He complained about funding, so George Kunda should not escape by dragging politicians in the matter. Let him just swallow his pride and own up,” Sata said.

“In any case, what can be worse than having those respectable people in wigs begging? Let George Kunda and friends not reduce the judiciary to beggars. The state should not put undue influence on the judiciary by not funding them.”

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Appreciate govt’s efforts - Ronnie

Appreciate govt’s efforts - Ronnie
By Misheck Wangwe
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE congestion on the roads in Lusaka is a sign that the government is creating wealth for the people, according to Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha.

Featuring on Radio Phoenix’s Let The People Talk programme yesterday, Lt Gen Shikapwasha, the chief government spokesperson and information minister, said the MMD government under President Rupiah Banda had done a lot to improve people’s livelihood.

“If you pass through the roads in Lusaka, there is a congestion on vehicles which is a sign that government is creating wealth for its people and the country. President Banda’s administration has come up with several developmental programmes that are touching the lives of citizens,” Lt Gen Shikapwasha said.

He said the government had embarked on infrastructure development programmes such as building schools and health institutions around the country.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha said people should appreciate the government’s commitment to national development.

Lt Gen Shikapwasha maintained that anyone calling for the secession of Western Province would be committing treason.

But economist Bob Sichinga said the influx of vehicles on the streets was not a sign of economic growth.

Sichinga, who featured on the same programme, said although it was commendable that the government had put more resources for infrastructure development in this year’s budget and recorded considerable economic growth in the country, there was need to ensure that the growth translated into tangible human integral development.

“You can have growth like the current eight per cent. It’s not the highest in the region but it’s positive growth. But you can have growth without development unless people are able to have money in their pockets,” Sichinga said.

He also said the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 was a good document because it emphasised on devolving power so that the people could have a greater say in governance issues.

He said the aspirations of the people in Western Province and other parts of the country must be listened to.

Sichinga said there was no reason for the government to threaten the people who were calling for the recognition of the Barotseland Agreement.

“I don’t agree with government that this issue should not be discussed. We need to discuss the Barotse Agreement, resolve it and close the issue. I agree with government though that we cannot do it in anarchy. I totally condemn violence,” said Sichinga.

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Kazabu urges sustained calls for abuse of office reinstatement

Kazabu urges sustained calls for abuse of office reinstatement
By Florence Bupe
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

IT is a fallacy for anyone to feel comfortable over the removal of the abuse of office clause from the Anti Corruption Commission Act, says Luxon Kazabu.

In an interview, the former Kitwe mayor said those that supported the removal of the abuse of office clause from the ACC Act should know that nothing had changed as far as people’s demands for the law were concerned.

“They may have changed the law but Zambians have not changed,” he said.

Kazabu urged Zambians to sustain their demand for the abuse of office clause to be reinstated in the ACC Act.

He said it was saddening that the government had gone against the wishes of the majority Zambians who were opposed to the removal of the clause from the law.

He said the suggestion from the government that the Penal Code could be used to follow up cases of abuse in the public sector was not good because the Penal Code was inadequate and ineffective in addressing the problem.

“We know that there are so many cases that have been brought under this code but in most cases, the culprits have gone scot-free,” Kazabu said.

“On the other hand, we know of a number of people who have been successfully convicted under the abuse of office clause, simply meaning the clause was an effective instrument in the fight against corruption.”

Kazabu said the removal of the clause was retrogressive to the corruption battle but stressed that Zambians would not go to sleep over the matter.

The government last year removed the abuse of office clause from the ACC Act despite opposition from a wide section of the public.

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WASCO blocks Lusaka Water tariff increase

WASCO blocks Lusaka Water tariff increase
By By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Sat 08 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

NATIONAL Water and Sanitation Council has barred the Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company from increasing tariffs due to poor services to its customers. In an interview, council director Kelvin Chitumbo said the embargo on the water utility would not be lifted until service delivery was improved.

“Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company has failed to fulfil guaranteed services to its customers. They will not be allowed to increase tariffs until we see them improve,” Chitumbo said.

He said the water utility was supposed to provide services for at least 12 hours a day but had failed.
“The required period for service varies depending on the area. The guaranteed hours in Chelstone and Avondale are supposed to be 12 hours per day but they have failed to provide that service to the two areas,” he said.

Chitumbo said NWASCO would not allow water utilities to increase tariffs and continue providing poor services to the customers.

“We are monitoring the utilities and we want to see an improvement in terms of services after we allowed them to increase tariffs,” Chitumbo said.

He urged customers to continue demanding better services from water utilities.

NWASCO last year approved tariff raises for four commercial utility companies to be implemented in the next three years.

Eastern, Mulonga, Luapula, and Western Water and Sewerage companies were given an approval to increase their water tariffs by between
eight and 50 per cent.

And Chitumbo said NWASCO needed infrastructure to harvest rainwater and make it useful to the community.

He said the harvest of rainwater would help reduce the floods that were experienced in different parts of the country.

“We need to work closely with the planning authority to see how best we can utilise rainwater,” he said.

However, Chitumbo said it would be a big challenge to successfully harvest rainwater because places that were earmarked for such had been developed and people were living there.

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Friday, January 07, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) Gbabgo seeks Mugabe’s support

Gbabgo seeks Mugabe’s support
by Staff Reporter
07/01/2011 00:00:00

AN envoy of embattled Cote d’Ivoire leader Laurent Gbabgo was in Zimbabwe on Thursday to meet government officials, sparking rumours that the strongman is seeking President Robert Mugabe’s support to hold on to power.

The Ivorian ambassador to South Africa Zogue Abie met acting President John Nkomo to brief him on the situation in his country. The envoy flew back to South Africa soon after the meeting that was also attended by Zimbabwe’s acting minister for Foreign Affairs Hebert Murerwa.

An official said Zogue was told that Zimbabwe would stand guided by the African Union (AU) position on Cote d’Ivoire. Nkomo is the acting president because President Mugabe is on his annual vacation.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said Cote d’Ivoire “was asking for an international commission to come in and evaluate the whole process on voting and where to get the truth on what happened.”

“He said there must be a recount of votes and a peaceful resolution to the crisis.”

The Ivorian leader who has ruled the world’s biggest cocoa producer for close to a decade has refused to hand over power to his bitter rival Alasane Ouattara despite losing in the November 28 elections.

Gbabgo has previously likened his plight to Mugabe who accuses former colonial power, Britain and the United States of leading efforts to get him out of office.

The Ivorian leader says former colonial ruler, France is out to get him.

“When you go through what I’ve been through, you tell yourself: ‘Perhaps Mugabe wasn’t completely wrong after all,” he said last month.

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(STICKY) Dr Mpande urges removal of MMD over windfall tax

COMMENT - if you have an estate agent who cannot collect rent, what do you do with them? You fire them,” Dr Mpande said. - I couldn't have said it better. Also, the estate agent should be prosecuted for collusion and fraud.

Dr Mpande urges removal of MMD over windfall tax
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 07 Jan. 2011, 04:00 CAT

DR Mathias Mpande says there is need for Zambians to remove the current regime over its failure to properly tax the mining sector. And Dr Mpande says the closure of Bwana Mkubwa mine after the unit exhausted mineral deposits is a clear warning of the potential fate most areas could face as the government continues to prioritise mining growth over economic development.

The international copper price has continued to surge to all-time high of within sight of the US$10,000 per tonne with analysts predicting the metal which is the country’s chief foreign exchange earner would touch beyond US$12,000 per tonne mark on the backdrop of increased global demand.

In an interview, Dr Mpande, the country’s prominent mineral economist, said there was no need for the government to continue disregarding calls for a taxation policy to enable the Zambian people benefit from the current high metal prices, which he warned would not last forever.

Dr Mpande said mineral resources belonged to the people and the government had a duty to collect rent on their behalf.

He wondered why Zambian workers were paying Zambia Revenue Authority higher taxes of about 18 per cent of their total income basket while the mining companies were contributing nothing.

“The government is like an estate agent and if you have an estate agent who cannot collect rent, what do you do with them? You fire them,” Dr Mpande said.

“And that is the attitude the Zambian people should have because the current government is not collecting rent on their behalf.”

And Dr Mpande said Bwana Mkubwa had closed with nothing to benefit the Zambian people who will be paying heavily for the environmental degradation left by mining operations in Ndola.

Bwana Mkubwa mine, owned by First Quantum Minerals (FQM) officially closed after it “exhausted" mineral deposits and had naturally come to the end of its life.

"That is the potential problem. Every mine will come to an end and the government doesn't even know when the mines would close," he said. "If you have a government that doesn't tax the mines, if the ore get exhausted, all you will have are big holes filled with water and mosquitoes breeding in them."

Dr Mpande's said the government's insistence on maintaining the variable profit tax at the expense of windfall tax was only abating cheating by mining companies and encouraging inside trading.

"How do you have a system that depends on the production cost of the mines when these same mines are also determining the price?" said Dr Mpande.

"Glencore buys the copper from its mine - Mopani Copper Mines, the Chinese parastatals own some mines here and they are they are the major suppliers of the mining equipment and capital and also buy the copper. That is inside trading."

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What are the conditions for peaceful, free and fair elections?

What are the conditions for peaceful, free and fair elections?
By The Post
Fri 07 Jan. 2011, 04:00 CAT

IF electoral violence is to be curbed, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of animosity, conflict, dissension and violence among our political parties, their members, cadres and supporters.

The calls for peaceful elections, and politics in general, should not remain mere words; they have to be visible in concrete actions where those in government and in the ruling party have to show the way.

And in this regard, Tilyenji Kaunda, the president of opposition UNIP, has a point when he says: “If people are cheated out of victory in an election, they get violent…all this points to those in authority who are not putting things in order. So, the MMD leadership should not blame those expressing concern over violence, but blame themselves for not acting accordingly.”

If this is so, then the only potent cure of electoral violence is the holding of truly free and fair elections.

The principal mechanism for translating our desire for peace during and after elections is the holding of free and fair elections. Simply permitting the opposition access to the ballot is not enough.

Elections in which the opposition has its rallies harassed or its activities not being fairly covered by the state-owned and government-controlled news media organisations; elections in which state-owned news media organisations have been turned into mouthpieces for the ruling party to the exclusion of the opposition cannot be said to be free and fair or to promote peace.

The ruling party may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but the rules and conduct of the election contest must be fair for peace to be guaranteed.

If this is not so, the elections will not be able to produce results that those in the opposition and their supporters will accept as being accurate and a true reflection of the will of the people. Peace can only be guaranteed if we are able to hold elections whose results the losers accept as reflecting the true judgement of the voters.

The unwarranted use of vast public resources, including the state-owned media, by the ruling party for its own benefit to the exclusion of rival political parties is tantamount to corruption.

This tendency is increasing in magnitude and so eroding the democratic processes of political development in Zambia. The MMD’s victories in all the elections held after 1991 are marred by these abuses, as well as by the use of violence against political opponents.

The top MMD leadership has not attempted to discipline some of their members and cadres who have resorted to violence against the opposition. In fact, they have pledged the party’s support for their violent members and cadres.

The implications for democracy of all this violence and abuse can be summed up by pointing out that the normal democratic processes are likely to be constrained considerably if the violence and abuses of last year are anything to go by.

Political intolerance is fast growing, and efforts at instituting for tyrannical rule are evident in various forms.

Another worrying thing is the state machinery’s open support for the ruling MMD.

The police, the Drug Enforcement Commission, the Anti Corruption Commission, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Attorney General’s chambers, and all other law enforcement agencies, including our courts of law, all appear to be on the side of the MMD and its leaders.

This is not a recipe for peaceful, free and fair elections.

We cannot have peaceful elections under such a political environment because peace is the fruit of that right ordering of things in a manner that is fair and just.

It is therefore very important to maintain and strengthen our democratic and electoral structures if we are to witness peaceful politics.

And for this reason, we should value the democratic system in as much as it ensures the participation of all our people in making political choices and in guaranteeing them the possibility of electing and holding accountable those who govern them, and of replacing them through peaceful means during elections.

As Tilyenji has correctly observed, there’s bound to be violence if people feel cheated out of victory in an election. Peace is the fruit of honesty and truth in the way we conduct the affairs, political or otherwise, of our country.

And since the peace we are all talking about, we are all yearning for depends on the way we conduct our politics and our elections, there’s need for us to do things the right way even if it calls for maximum effort.

There will not be peace in our country if we continue to hold elections whose results are always hotly disputed because the process is not seen to be free and fair.

Free, fair and constructive elections will only become a reality when our politicians, especially those in government and in the ruling party, take their responsibilities seriously.

Our politicians would make a positive contribution to peaceful, fair and free elections if they addressed themselves to the real issues, to their manifestos, so that voters could judge what ideas the parties and their leaders had on problems that really matter: cost of living, unemployment, corruption, poor services in education, health, government and also on the constitution reviews or amendments they intend to make.

They would also do so by rejecting violence in the strongest terms.

They should respect truth and their political opponents.

They should learn to be tolerant with people who have different political opinions. In this connection, we deplore the fact that violence is still going on at an alarming level despite growing public opposition to political violence.

There can be no talk of free and fair elections whilst the present situation of violence and abuses persists; and we join other citizens of goodwill in challenging the government and the ruling MMD to rectify this threat to our future, immediately and with all its moral and physical powers.

There’s need also for all our political parties to educate their members, cadres and followers to be tolerant.

It is only in that way that, after the elections, Zambia will remain stable, united and peaceful.

Let us set an example in this year’s elections that will win us the respect of the whole world.

Let everyone involved have in their hearts the desire that all will benefit and not just the leaders, members, cadres and supporters of the political party that wins this year’s elections.

And as we have stated before, and we will continue to do so, for us to have peaceful, free and fair elections this year, certain conditions have to prevail in our country and in our hearts.

There ought to be conducive atmosphere. The major players have to agree on the conditions under which this year’s elections would be held.

The contestants have to conduct themselves in a manner that does not put others at an unfair disadvantage. There ought to be transparency in the organisation of this year’s elections.

We also need to ensure that political parties keep to pertinent issues, for example, service to the poor, social welfare, agricultural issues or economic recovery, issues of corruption and good governance, during their campaigns.

Those who campaign outside these issues – politicians only interested in lies, calumny, deceit, manipulation, mudslinging their opponents – are not promoting peaceful elections and should not be voted for.

We should continue to demand that all political parties publicly denounce violence of any sort.

And constructive dialogue should be encouraged at all times on key electoral issues, such as the Constitution, the electoral Act, and voter registration.

All parties should have equal access to the state-owned media, and the state-owned media have a duty to report political campaigns fairly and accurately.

Only in this way can we reasonably harbour any hope of avoiding violence and of holding peaceful, free and fair elections this year.

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Take blame for violence, Tilyenji tells MMD, govt

Take blame for violence, Tilyenji tells MMD, govt
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 07 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

MMD should blame itself for failing to control violence instead of attacking those who express concern over the matter, says UNIP president Tilyenji Kaunda. Responding to MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya's statement that violence ended with the UNIP era, Tilyenji said the MMD leadership should put things in order to promote peace.

“When man fell from the Grace of God, man became violent. So, violence is part of us if we don't handle ourselves correctly. If people are cheated out of victory in an election, they get violent. And when food prices go up, people become violent. All this points to those in authority who are not putting things in order,” Tilyenji said.

“So, the MMD leadership should not blame those expressing concern over violence, but blame themselves for not acting accordingly. The Mufumbwe situation is another example that Zambians are not immune to violence when things go bad. What I'm saying is that MMD should accept that they are in the right position to control the situation.”

Tilyenji said the country should have strong institutions that could curb violence.

He said the spirit of One Zambia, One Nation should be promoted the way the UNIP government promoted it.

“If we allow ourselves to preach tribalism, to be partisan all the time, then we are not going anywhere.

Those condemning violence are not the ones calling for it, but it is the MMD government which is not reacting to people's needs. We have been peaceful since independence and those in charge should ensure that the peace prevails,” said Tilyenji.

And Citizens Forum executive director Simon Kabanda said the government should heed Tilyenji’s warning instead of demonising him.

Kabanda said the ruling party should have acknowledged Tilyenji's concerns and taken measures.

“Dora Siliya is in short saying they are interested in violence. MMD leaders claim that they don't want violence but they do the opposite. Recently, we saw violence at their own provincial party conference in Lusaka. It was all an MMD affair; there was no other political party, so why should Dora refer to the UNIP era when we have seen so much violence under MMD?” Kabanda wondered.

He said for the MMD leadership to be seen to denounce violence, they should discipline culprits.
Recently, Tilyenji asked the government to address the flaws in the electoral Act to guarantee free and fair elections this year.

Colonel Panji Kaunda also said this year’s elections would be the bloodiest if the problem of violence was not controlled by the government.

But Siliya said violence ended in the UNIP era.

“Zambians are not interested in the politicians of doom. Why are they talking about the violence they have not seen? Zambians are only interested in politicians who have a positive vision for the country,” said Siliya.

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Govt retires Times news editor Sakala

Govt retires Times news editor Sakala
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 07 Jan. 2011, 04:00 CAT

PRESS Association of Zambia president Andrew Sakala has been retired from the Times of Zambia. Sakala, 45, who served as News Editor in Lusaka for over two years, was retired on Wednesday in ‘public interest’.

Well-placed sources within the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services said there was a scheme by the government to weaken PAZA, which had been part of the media bodies fighting for self-regulation.

The sources said the government had been hunting down individual editors in the public media who had been opposing statutory media regulation.

The sources disclosed that there was a scheme by the government to weaken the Media Liaison Committee by targeting and influencing its members like the Zambia Union of Journalists and the Zambia Union for Broadcasters and other Information Disseminators (ZUBID) to pull out of the consortium.

“We know that some of the individuals in these unions are principled, but they may be forced to choose between their jobs or principles,” a source said.
When contacted, Sakala, who had served Times of Zambia for 20 years in several positions, confirmed having been retired but declined to comment further on this retirement.

However, Sakala said the government should this year allow freedom of expression even to those who appeared to be a nuisance to them.
Sakala said the government should also stop intimidating media practitioners, especially those in the public media.

“As a media we are still battling and the signals from government are bad. We have to press on for media freedom. Government has an obligation to ensure that people have access to information, and that people express themselves freely," Sakala said. "This is 2011 and I appeal to the government to accommodate even those views they don't like. Even media houses that seem to be critical of government should be allowed to exist because that's the essence of media freedom. Government should not intimidate the public media by retiring editors they seem not to like. Let the media operate freely."

He said the Zambia Media Council (ZAMEC) was not about an individual person or organisation.

Sakala said the proposed media body's origin was very clear; it was about promotion of professionalism and protection of the public.

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Barotse royals express their feelings to Kunda

Barotse royals express their feelings to Kunda
By Mwala Kalaluka and Agness Changala
Fri 07 Jan. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE Barotse Royal Establishment says feelings of anger over the exclusion of the Barotseland Agreement 1964 from the new constitution will make dialogue with the government on the issue difficult.

But Vice-President George Kunda says the government will clamp-down on anybody intending to hold a public meeting in Limulunga next week over issues arising from the Barotseland Agreement. Meanwhile, home affairs minister Mkhondo Lungu, says anyone agitating for the secession of Western Province is committing treason.

Sources that attended the close to five hours closed-door meeting held between Vice-President Kunda and the Barotse traditional leadership at the Litunga’s palace in Limulunga on Wednesday, said the BRE leadership demanded that Vice-President Kunda immediately states the government’s position on the matter.
The sources said two separate meetings were held within the Litunga’s palace.

They said the first meeting with Vice-President Kunda attended by the Litunga, his younger brother Anang’anga Imwiko (chief for Lukulu district), the Ngambela prime minister and some indunas including Professor Oliver Saasa Induna Kaluwe was held in the Litunga’s house Kwandu.

They said the second meeting, which was more open, was held in the conference room Kashandi within the Litunga’s palace. The sources said the meetings took place from 11:00 hours to 15:00 hours.

The sources said Vice-President Kunda was accompanied to the meeting by home affairs minister Mkhondo Lungu, provincial minister Richard Mwapela, the president’s legal advisor Joseph Jalasi and a Mr. Kaumba from Office of the President (OP).

“Some of the issues that were raised by the BRE were that of leaving out the Barotseland Agreement in the NCC National Constitutional Conference. They said the exclusion was hurting and had angered their children in the area,” the source said. “They said there might be no hope that there will be dialogue with the government.”

The sources said Vice-President Kunda replied that the government was of the idea that the issue of the Barotseland Agreement is discussed between it and the royal establishment.

They said Vice-President Kunda explained that taking the Barotseland Agreement issue to the NCC constitution route would lead to it being shot down because other people did not understand it.

“The Ngambela didn’t seem to understand the explanation from the Vice-President because what he wanted was for the government to immediately agree that the Barotseland Agreement would get into the Constitution,” the source said. “But the Vice-President said that is not how things were done. He said he has been sent by his boss President Rupiah Banda to find out what the tension was all about and to report back.”
The sources said Vice-President Kunda told the meeting that the government was ready to discuss the matter and they were surprised that people in the province had been fighting and calling for secession.

“There was no agreement. He just came to find out what the problem was and if there was something the government had not done right,” the sources said.

And on the intentions by Barotse activists to hold a public meeting at Limulunga next week, where the Litunga’s palace is located, Vice-President Kunda urged for the cancellation of the meeting.

“He said the government would charge those people with treason if they hold the meeting. He said those that were released on a nolle prosequi last time were lucky because the Litunga intervened,” the sources said.

The sources said in response the Ngambela said in as much as they were willing to discuss the Barotseland Agreement issue with the government, their children were agitated and they were causing problems.

“On January 14, 2011, the Ngambela said the issue of the meeting would cause problems for the BRE. He said ‘those children Barotse activists will come and beat us. If you (government) allow them, they will come and harass us and force us to secede’,” the source said.

Meanwhile, Lungu at a press briefing yesterday warned that anyone agitating for the secession of Western Province was committing an act of treason.

He has warned that the government would not allow the January 14 meeting being mooted by Barosteland activists to discuss issues surrounding the Baroste Agreement as it would only cause probems in the country.

And a former Ngambela for Western Province during the reign of the late Litunga Ilute Yeta IV says the Barotse activists’ meeting will go ahead next week.

Maxwell Mututwa said in an interview from Mongu yesterday that the Barotse activists could not talk to the government over the Barotseland Agreement 1964 without getting the people’s feelings over the matter.

“The government should not in any way try to block this public meeting because we want to get the people’s views,” Mututwa said. “That is when we shall call for a meeting with the President or his representatives. We don’t want to preach our own views but the views of the people of Western Province. The meeting will take place whether the government like it or not.”

However, Lungu said that government would not allow the meeting the Barostseland activists had mooted for January 14 called to discuss issues surrounding the Baroste Agreement of 1964.

He said the police command in Western Province took the right course of action by telling them not to proceed.

“Doing so is actually breaking the law and constitutes a treasonable offence,” Lungu said.

He said the government was aware of the meeting as it had received information through its security agencies.

Lungu said the discussions between the Litunga, Vice-President George Kunda and the rest of the people who attended went well.

However, he was unable to go into details of the meeting because Vice-President Kunda was yet to report to President Rupiah Banda.

President Banda sent Vice-President Kunda to meet the Litunga to find out abo\ut the recent disturbances that had occurred in the province.

Lungu said the government was determined and resolved as always not to allow any person or group of persons to disturb the peace and security which the country had enjoyed from 1964 to date.

He also said circulating of seditious material was an offence and that the law shall take its course on all persons involved in such activities.

And Lungu said his ministry was ready to provide an enabling environment to all political parties to market themselves to the electorate.

He said the year 2011 presented an opportunity for the citizens to exercise their democratic right of voting for leaders of their choice at all the three levels.
Lungu said political gatherings are expected to be free of any form of violence so that the right to assemble is not abused.

He said political leaders must also ensure that they conduct their campaigns and package their messages in a manner that will not be suggestive of any form of anarchy.

Lungu called on the media to ensure the information disseminated does not cause panic and anxiety among the general citizenry.
He said those aggrieved were encouraged to seek amicable means to resolve matters.

The minister also called on all Zambian citizens to abide by the law irrespective of political, social or security diversity.

Commenting on Colonel Panji Kaunda who stood by his statement that 2010 elections would be the bloodiest if the government does not put in place measures to stop violence, Lungu said it was wrong for anyone to predict violence in the forthcoming general elections because it may scare away voters from taking part in the electoral process.

Lungu said leaders should stop making statements that would incite people to be violent and discourage others from going to the polls.

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(GOWANS) Leftist overthrow advisor Lester Kurtz: “I talked with the CIA”

what's left
Leftist overthrow advisor Lester Kurtz: “I talked with the CIA”
January 6, 2011
By Stephen Gowans

Lester Kurtz is a professor of sociology who sits on the academic advisory board of the International Center for Non-violent Conflict, an organization that trains activists in the use of mass civil disobedience to take power from foreign governments.

The ICNC was founded by former Freedom House head, Peter Ackerman, Michael Milken’s right-hand man at the Wall Street investment banking firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. Ackerman became ridiculously wealthy organizing the KKR leveraged buy-out of RJR Nabisco. [1]

These days Ackerman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, along with former US secretaries of state, defense, and treasury, and CEOs, investment bankers and highly placed media people. When he’s not helping formulate foreign policy recommendations at the CFR, he’s lending a hand on the Advisory Council of the United States Institute for Peace, a phoney U.S. government peace outfit headed absurdly by the U.S. secretaries of defense and state.

As you might expect of a wealthy investor who hobnobs with the US foreign policy establishment, Ackerman defines protection of private property rights as an integral part of democracy and believes the United States has a lot of teach the world. [2]

After learning investment banking at the knee of Milken, Ackerman turned his energies to training foreign activists in the use of the nonviolent resistance techniques of Gene Sharp, probably the first person to situate mass civil disobedience in the context of military strategy. [3] This earned Sharp the sobriquet the Clausewitz of nonviolence, after the Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz. [4]

An interviewer working for a Canadian nonviolent resistance magazine once pointed out to Sharp — with some incredulity — that people say a government cannot fund or sponsor the overthrow of another government.

Sharp replied, “Why not?” adding, “What do they prefer that the U.S. spend money on?” [5]

Gene Sharp, the Clausewitz of nonviolence, who sees no trouble with the U.S. government spending money on overthrowing foreign governments. When Sharp was accused of advising right-wing Venezuelans on how to topple Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, the head of the ICNC academic advisory board, Stephen Zunes, sprang to his defense. Sharp is old and sick, Zunes explained. Besides, he has adopted a “transpartisan’ position that cuts across political boundaries and conceptions and (talks) to essentially anyone”. It used to be that leftist peaceniks were against the US government and other rightist forces. Now they advise them.

Nonviolent resistance – also more aptly called nonviolent warfare – is about taking power, not making a point. It’s not pacifism or a principled religious or ethical position based on abhorrence of violence. It’s power politics. Ackerman and other nonviolent warriors believe that mass civil disobedience – the shrewd use of strikes, boycotts, demonstrations, and nonviolent sabotage backed by sanctions and demonization of target governments – can be more effective in taking political power than military intervention. [6] That makes them instrumental nonviolence advocates. They advocate nonviolence, not because they hate violence, but because they think nonviolence works better than armed revolt or military intervention.

With the help of people like Lester Kurtz, the ICNC trains a modern cadre of mercenaries, who travel the world in the pay of NGOs, Western governments, wealthy individuals and corporate foundations, in order to train local groups in regime change through nonviolent warfare. [7] Ackerman, Kurtz and company, sit at the head of a kind of imperialist International, whose aim is to spread the US system, US influence and ultimately US capital around the world, under the guise of “promoting democracy.” It calls to mind a line from Phil Ochs’ condemnation of US imperialism, “We’re the Cops of The World”. Ochs sang, “The name for our profits is democracy.” Of course, the ICNC isn’t admitting to any of this. ICNC members say they’re just handing out information on nonviolence to anyone who will listen.

Last April, Kurtz posted a comment to my blog, calling my linking of Ackerman and his ICNC to US imperialism a “non sequitur.”

Lester Kurtz, another academic pony in Peter Ackerman’s ICNC stable. Kurtz talked to the CIA because they asked him to.

I replied. In my reply I pointed out that Kurtz discloses on his CV that he gave workshops to the CIA and the U.S. government- and corporate- funded think-tank, the RAND Corporation. Nine months later, Kurtz replied, with a bombshell. Sure, he talked with the CIA and RAND, he said, because they asked him to.

Albert Szymanski, also a professor of sociology, would never have received an invitation from the CIA to conduct a workshop on anything, and if he had, we can be pretty sure he would have turned them down. So why Kurtz (an academic advisor to an outfit founded by a wealthy CFR member who celebrates the overthrow of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, an act which cleared the way for a US-backed pro-capitalist government to come to power to sell off state and socially-owned assets to investors like Ackerman) and not Szymanski (a Marxist-Leninist who deplored imperialism)? If ever there was a sign you’re part of the problem, it’s being asked by the CIA for advice. Giving it erases all doubts.

Here’s the exchange. It begins with Kurtz’s comments on my article, “Washington Post: North Korean, Iranian nuclear capability threatens US imperialism”, on April 5, 2010.

It’s no surprise that US foreign policy is somehow linked to the economics of things is not a shock – what is surprising is Stephen Gowans’ effort to link “pro-democracy nonviolence activists,” and Peter Ackerman, with US imperialism! What a non-sequitur! Those activists (with the aid of only educational resources from the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict that Ackerman funds) have taken on oppressors of all political stripes, many of them (like Marcos, Pinochet, etc., etc.) part of the US orb. While Washington no doubt has a hit list, it has nothing to do with providing information and resources to people who would organize for their rights regardless of who is thwarting them. The kind of imprecise thinking that links these activities through some leap of logic simply distracts from other aspects of the argument and leaves me puzzled as to the point of the article.

I replied the same day.

I’m assuming the above was written by Lester Kurtz, Professor of Sociology at George Mason University, and a member of the academic advisory board of Peter Ackerman’s organization, the ICNC. In March, 2005, Kurtz ran a workshop on religion and violence for the CIA and RAND.

I wonder whether Kurtz sees the connection between RAND and the CIA on the one hand and US imperialism on the other. Probably not.

While it may come as no surprise to Kurtz that US foreign policy is somehow linked to the economics of things, showing that this is so is much more difficult than showing that Peter Ackerman is linked to US imperialism. The latter is easily demonstrated.

(1) US foreign policy is imperialist,
(2) The Council on Foreign Relations plays a major role in shaping US foreign policy, and
(3) Peter Ackerman is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

We could add other observations (e.g., Ackerman’s previous role as head of the CIA-interlocked Freedom House, hardly what you would call a non-imperialist organization, and his privileged position atop the economic order of things) but the points above should suffice.

What comes as a surprise to me is that while Kurtz can grasp the nexus between the economics of things and the imperialist nature of US foreign policy, he can’t see the much more obvious connection between Ackerman and US imperialism, but perhaps that is so because to see it, would mean acknowledging his own connection to it.

Nine months later Kurtz responded.

Of course there’s a connection between RAND, the CIA, and US imperialism – that’s why I talked with them when asked to do so. What good does it do to sit in a corner and talk to ourselves? I used to complain to my students that nobody ever asked me about important policy questions – do they ask you? I’d ask. So, when they asked me to speak, I did. I’d not work for them, but will talk with them, with you, with the devil, with anyone who will listen. The whole system is rotten, but won’t be replaced or transformed until people stand up and speak out.

Interestingly, Kurtz used the same defense that the head of the ICNC academic advisory board Stephen Zunes used on behalf of the Clausewitz of nonviolence, Gene Sharp, when it was revealed that Sharp had advised right-wing Venezuelans on how to bring down Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. Sharp, explained Zunes, had “taken a ‘transpartisan’ position that cuts across political boundaries and conceptions and (talks) to essentially anyone” [8], apparently just as Kurtz does. If that’s a defense, the world dodged a bullet when Zunes turned down a career in law.

Here’s more of Zunes defending Sharp:

Unfortunately, Sharp – who is now well into his 80s and whose health is failing – appears to show little discernment as to who he meets with and his audience has sometimes included some right-wing Cubans or Venezuelans who have sought him out to see if any of his research would be of relevance in their efforts to organize some kind of popular mobilization against the Castro or Chavez governments. Some of those may have indeed been later found to have engaged in assassination plots. [9]

Since Kurtz isn’t well into his 80s, how do we explain his lack of discernment in who he meets with? Or does age have anything to do with it? Meeting with right-wing Venezuelans, right-wing Cubans [10], followers of Reza Pahlavi, the son of the deposed Shah of Iran [11], and the CIA seems to be standard operating procedure for nonviolent warriors. The New Republic’s Franklin Foer pointed out that “When some of State’s desk officers don’t want to create international incidents by advising activists on how to overthrow governments, they gently suggest visiting Ackerman, who has fewer qualms about lending a helping hand.” It seems that if there’s a nationalist or socialist government to be overthrown, the nonviolent warriors are always willing to step up to the plate. They’ll talk to anyone: right-wing assassins, followers of a former US-backed Iranian dictator, the CIA. Adopting a position that “cuts across political boundaries and conceptions” means that where leftist peaceniks once were against the US government and other rightist forces, not they advise them.

On January 5, I responded to Kurtz’s latest comment.

Good work Les. Maybe after you deliver a few more seminars, the CIA will see the light, and decide that taking down foreign governments that refuse to subordinate themselves to Washington’s dictates isn’t such a good thing after all… Oh, but I forgot, that’s no longer a CIA function, is it? It’s now your job, and that of your ICNC colleagues.

Exactly what is it you’re standing up and speaking out about to the CIA anyway: that organizing nonviolent warfare campaigns against foreign governments is more effective in achieving US foreign policy goals than taking out wedding parties with predator drones?

You are, indeed, making the world a better place, Les. Keep accepting those CIA invitations.

Kurtz and some other ICNC academic advisors seem bewildered that they should be so vigorously criticized for trying to show the powerful that nonviolent overthrow movements are a better alternative to armed intervention. After all, what could be wrong with trying to persuade Washington that there’s a nonviolent way to achieve its foreign policy objectives? What they fail to grasp is that the tools the US government uses to prosecute its foreign policy aren’t the problem. The problem is US foreign policy.

1. Franklin Foer, “Regime Change Inc. Peter Ackerman’s quest to topple tyranny,” The New Republic, April 16, 2005.

2. Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, “Interview with Peter Ackerman, founding chair of the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict,” October 19, 2006. .

3. Eli Lake, “Iran launches a crackdown on democracy activists,” The New York Sun, March 14, 2006.

4. Peace.Ca, “Gene Sharp: A Biographical Profile.”

5. Spencer, Metta, “Gene Sharp 101,” Peace Magazine, July-Septmeber, 2003.

6. Peter Ackerman, “Paths to peace: How Serbian students brought dictator down without a shot fired,” National Catholic Reporter, April 26, 2002; Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, “The nonviolent script for Iran,” Christian Science Monitor, July 22, 2003; Peter Ackerman and Jack DuVall, “With weapons of the will: How to topple Saddam Hussein – nonviolently,” Sojourners Magazine, September-October 2002 (Vol 31, No. 5, pp.20-23.)

7. Mark R. Beissinger, “Promoting democracy: Is exporting revolution a constructive strategy?” Dissent, Winter 2006.

8. Foer.

9. Foer.
10. Stephen Zunes, George Cicariello-Maher and Eva Golinger, “Debate on the Albert Einstein Institution and its Involvement in Venezuela”,, August 5, 2008.

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(ZIMPAPERS) Officials jostle for positions following Tsvangirai's declaration

Officials jostle for positions following Tsvangirai's declaration
Wednesday, 05 January 2011 20:21 Top Stories

A PRESS conference called by Mr Gorden Moyo, to do damage control on factionalism that is tearing MDC-T apart in Matabeleland was much ado about nothing as the former civic society activist failed to articulate himself well.

Mr Moyo, the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, called a Press conference at his house Number 14, 19th Avenue in Famona in an attempt to clear the smoke surrounding his involvement in the alleged plot to unseat, MDC-T deputy president, Ms Thokozani Khupe.

Our sister paper, Sunday News revealed at the weekend that some senior MDC-T national executive members among them, Mr Moyo, Speaker of House of Assembly, Mr Lovemore Moyo, Mr Norman Mabhena, who is in the national council and Mrs Theresa Makone, the women’s wing chairperson, were positioning themselves for Ms Khupe’s post at the next congress scheduled for 10 May. Yesterday Mr Moyo was at pains to try and mend his party’s battered image.

When journalists fired questions about his political ambitions and appraisal of his deputy president’s capabilities, Mr Moyo tried to be slippery and continuously said he was not interested in the post.

“I want to set the record straight, I am not stampeding, I am not part of the pack if ever it is there, that is jostling for the deputy presidency in my party,” said Mr Moyo.

“I am only available to land a post when deployed by the party and the people even at the lowest post. Let everyone learn from me that I am not and I am not in that contest and there is no division or animosity in my party.”

When pinned down by journalists on alleged tensions and leadership crisis in his party and what he would do should people choose him as vice-president, Mr Moyo referred questions to the party spokesperson, Mr Nelson Chamisa.

The battle for the second top post is said to have fomented after the party leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai declared during a national council meeting “anyone who is my vice will take over my post when I leave power.”

According to party insiders, Ms Khupe’s main fault has allegedly been her “lack of strength and capacity” to face President Mugabe, Vice-Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo as well as Professor Welshman Ncube of MDC.

Serious campaigning is said to be taking place among the structures, a development that has given birth to divisions in Matabeleland as party supporters are torn apart between Mr Gorden Moyo and Mr Lovemore Moyo.-Chronicle

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) WikLeaks expose Western plot to plunder Zim resources

COMMENT - This is a very confused article from Ann Talbot of the World Socialist Wesite, because she has bought into the corporatist propaganda about Zimbabwe. She doesn't even acknowledge the existence of economic sanctions or their effect, nor does she mention the land redistribution program. So much for her 'socialism'.

WikLeaks expose Western plot to plunder Zim resources
by Ann Talbot
06/01/2011 00:00:00

THE US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks contain revealing details of how the United States and Britain sought to further their commercial interests in Zimbabwe.

WikiLeaks has released 12 cables, which originate from the American embassy in Harare in addition to others from the South African capital Pretoria, London and the State Department commenting on the situation in Zimbabwe. They range in date from September 2000 to February 2010.

This was a decade in which President Robert Mugabe’s regime came into increasing conflict with the Western-backed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by white agribusinesses and headed by former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The present power-sharing government was ultimately established in 2008, with Robert Mugabe as president and Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Inflation in Zimbabwe had by then reached the figure of 40 million percent. The infrastructure was breaking down, and the country had been devastated by a cholera epidemic. Thousands were fleeing across the border into South Africa every day to escape unemployment, poverty and hunger. Approximately 1.5 million Zimbabweans are now thought to live in South Africa.


A country that had once been among the richest in Africa, with an effective health service and educational system, had slipped to the lowest point in the UN Human Development Report for 2010.

In 2006, life expectancy was the lowest in the world at only 34 years for women and 37 for men, according to the World Health Organisation. Since then, there has been some improvement, and life expectancy now averages 47 years. But in 2010, UNICEF estimated that one third of Zimbabwe children were at risk of dying as a result of malnutrition.

The cables track this human tragedy through the indifferent eyes of American diplomats, whose main concern was always for the potential profits to be made from Zimbabwe’s natural resources.

They chart the efforts of US, British and European diplomats, often working through the UN, to establish a regime that will open up the country to international investment.

In reality, this was a tragedy largely manufactured by the international financial institutions that Washington sponsors.


When the International Monetary Fund attempted to impose a structural adjustment programme in Zimbabwe at the end of the 1990s, Mugabe broke from it because he realised that it would mean dismantling the system of patronage on which he depended to remain in power. “Let that monstrous creature get out of our way,” he declared, and attempted to find other sources of international finance.

He has succeeded in remaining in power by enriching the clique around him at the expense of the majority of the population.

Finally, after 10 years the IMF is back in town—insisting on a programme of structural reforms that will address what they refer to as “labour market rigidities” and establish secure property rights for foreign investors. Mugabe’s bid to go it alone has failed, under circumstances that can only be described as disastrous for working people.

The cables that WikiLeaks has published reveal that throughout this decade the US was quite prepared to come to an accommodation with Mugabe and ensure him a lucrative retirement.

Regime Change

They note the human rights abuses that his regime has committed, but show no desire to pursue justice in Mugabe’s case. They treat, matter of factly, the process of engineering regime change without reference to the popular will. Creating a new strong man in Africa is all in a day’s work for the US diplomatic corps.

Britain appears to play a minor role in the story told by the US cables, because they represent the American point of view. Yet, the relationship between the two powers is ever present.

All of the cables are copied to Joint Analytical Command at RAF Molesworth in Cambridgeshire, England, where AFRICOM is based—demonstrating the close military and intelligence links between the US and UK. British companies, too, clearly look to the US as a friendly power that will protect their interests.

In 2000, the US embassy in Harare reported that elements in the ruling ZANU-PF were interested in a deal with the MDC that would involve Mugabe’s departure.

The board of Lever Brothers (Unilever) had informed the MDC that Kofi Annan, then head of the UN, had offered Mugabe a deal if he would step down. It included a financial package and safe passage to Libya.

It seemed that “a shady white businessman,” thought to be John Bredenkamp, had also offered Mugabe a retirement deal. It was not known whether Bredenkamp had sufficient resources to finance the package himself, but it was believed that he worked for MI6 and might become a conduit through which the British could channel money to Mugabe.

The cable noted that shortly afterwards, they were informed, probably by Bredenkamp, that “key members of the private sector here could prevent a political and economic train wreck.”

The businessman claimed that Britain had £36 million available for land reform, but would probably not be able to act as an honest broker in securing a settlement. He appealed to the US to find someone to play this role, so that businessmen could set up negotiations between the MDC and Mugabe.

The US embassy interpreted the businessman’s discussion with them as a ruling party back-channel approach and believed it was probably genuine because elements of ZANU-PF had become convinced that Mugabe had become a liability.

Unity pact

In November 2000, the embassy reported a discussion with Tsvangirai, in which he stressed the need for a unity government with ZANU-PF remaining in power but with some MDC ministers brought into office.

Mugabe would be removed by a convergence of ZANU-PF, the military and regional leaders such as President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa. Tsvangirai agreed that mass action would be dangerous and said that if it became necessary the MDC would organise a general strike for the Christmas holiday when schools and most businesses were closed anyway. In the event, the MDC cancelled such plans.

In July 2007, US Ambassador Christopher Dell made his final report before leaving the country. According to the cable, the task for American foreign policy was to “stay the course and prepare for change. Our policy is working and it’s helping to drive change here. What is required is simply the grit, determination and focus to see this through. Then, when the changes finally come we must be ready to move quickly to help consolidate the new dispensation.”

Dell paid tribute to Mugabe’s tactical ability. “To give the devil his due, he is a brilliant tactician and has long thrived on his ability to abruptly change the rules of the game, radicalise the political dynamic and force everyone else to react to his agenda.”

He traced Mugabe’s increasingly desperate measures to stay in power and the damage they had done to the economy, predicting that the collapse of the Zimbabwean dollar as a unit of trade would ultimately bring about his downfall. The cable is headed “The end is nigh”.

Events were to prove that Mugabe had not, as Dell supposed, entirely run out of options. A cable from 2008 describes how the ZANU-PF regime elite were looting the Marange diamond fields.

Andrew Cranswick, the CEO of the British-based African Consolidated Resources, told the US embassy that leading figures in the regime were engaged in illegal diamond trading.

First Lady Grace Mugabe is currently suing a number of media outlets for suggesting that she was involved in this activity. According to geological study carried out for de Beers, the field has a carats per hundred tons ratio (CPHT) of 1,000 compared to Rio Tinto’s Zimbabwean diamond mine at Murowa, which has a CPHT ratio of only 120.

Cranswick’s motive for informing the American embassy was that the government had taken away his company’s concession in Marange, but a specialist sent to this restricted area found his report generally credible.

Another cable the following year reported that the army had moved into the Marange diamond field, taking control of the trade, and that Mugabe was planning to visit Russia in an attempt to get hold of foreign exchange in a diamond deal.

Whipping boy

By then, a power-sharing agreement had been signed along the lines envisaged earlier by the US ambassador. The military remained powerful, and by October 2009 Tsvangirai was asking the Americans to contribute to a trust fund that would “buy off securocrats and move them into retirement”. Tsvangirai said that he would approach the Germans and the British with the same request.

In another cable, Tsvangirai appealed for the easing of Western sanctions against Zimbabwe. That view was echoed by a member of ZANU-PF, who told the embassy that sanctions only provided a convenient “whipping boy” for Mugabe. ZANU-PF, he said, was like “a troop of baboons incessantly fighting among themselves, but coming together to face an external threat.”

The cables demonstrate how a form of neo-colonial domination continued to exist in this nominally independent country.

Events did not always go according to Washington’s plans, but the power-sharing agreement that is now in place is essentially in line with the ideas mapped out by successive US ambassadors over the last decade.

Tsvangirai emerges from the cables as a creature of Washington, who is useful to US interests because his background as a trade union leader provided the means of averting an independent political movement among urban workers that might provide leadership to the rural poor.

Washington was prepared to offer Mugabe a peaceful retirement, since it was better to let the old liberation fighter leave the scene with honour than to antagonise the mass of population by making too public a demonstration of US power. Tsvangirai was entirely in agreement and was prepared to extend the same consideration to other members of the elite.

Mugabe has used every possibility open to him to remain in power, but he is still ultimately subordinate to the dictates of the world market and international financial institutions that were designed with American interests in mind.

Competition for Zimbabwe’s natural resources has given him very limited room for manoeuvre—by turning to Libya, Russia and China. But hyperinflation brought his regime to the point where he has had to make a deal with Washington.

The analysis that the World Socialist Web Site has made of Zimbabwe over the past decade has been entirely vindicated.

We refused to back the MDC opposition and have consistently pointed to its reliance on Washington.

Nor did we endorse the nationalist agenda of ZANU-PF or identify it with socialism, insisting that only an independent working class movement based on an international socialist programme can defend the interests of the mass of the population throughout Southern Africa.

This article was published by the World Socialist Web Site.

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Wednesday, January 05, 2011

(STEEL GURU) Zambia may over shoo ax collection target for 2010 on mining bonanza

Zambia may over shoot tax collection target for 2010 on mining bonanza
Sunday, 02 Jan 2011

Zambia envisions realizing more than 9% of the total revenue projected in 2010 because of increased tax collections from mining companies and other domestic taxes, which it may plough into other commitments including ensuring food security.

Finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, in his letter of intent to global lender International Monetary Fund managing Director Mr Dominique Strauss Khan said that it was government’s projection that revenue collection this year would exceed nine percent projected because the country has performed well, given the fiscal and monetary policies implemented by government to grow the economy.

The performance is attributed to higher collections under income and value added taxes arising from tax arrears and an increase in tax collections from mining companies. Following the maize output of 2.7 million tones during the 2009/10 season, the highest in more than two decades, the government has set aside more than USD 250 million (ZMK 1.3 trillion) to purchase the grain.

The expenditure which was not budgeted for and accounted for about 1.7% of the country’s economic growth is said to have put pressure on the national budget for this year. The Food Reserve Agency, the grain storage and purchase wing of the government, intends to sell the bulk of the grain, particularly maize to deficit countries in the region and beyond in 2011 and thereafter, repay the government.

He said the government decided to increase its expenditure outside the planned fiscal year 2010 to prevent the grain from going to waste by remaining unsheltered in the fields with the onset of the rains in the country.

Dr Musokotwane added that government would secure more than USD 100 million from the mine tax arrears to finance the purchase of the maize and borrow a further USD 100 million from lending institutions through government securities including treasury bills and bonds.

Foreign mining companies, he said agreed to pay USD 1.3 million (ZMK1.4 trillion) in tax arrears arising from the 2008 mining tax regime as the signed 1 year mine stabilization tax agreements. The government reiterated its unwillingness to re introduce the windfall tax regime, waived in 2009, adding that the current taxes at play were adequate to ensure that enough revenue was generated from the mines to compliment the economic growth program.

The Lusaka-based Bank of Zambia, the country’s reserve bank, was currently working out modalities of mopping excess liquidity from the market so that the high fiscal expenditure on maize purchases does not fuel inflation, from the current single digit of about 7.1% at the end of November this year and the projected economic growth of more than six percent of Gross Domestic Product during the fiscal year, 2010.

(Filed by Mr Kapembwa Sinkamba SteelGuru Correspondent Zambia)

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COMMENT - The US is using Kenya and Uganda to send T-72 tanks to the SPLA in Southern Sudan. Just as they are using Uganda and Rwanda to haul Coltan out of the DRC.

7/29/2009 14:42
Subject: gok/goss agree on timetable for second tank shipment
Classified By: CDA Robert Whitehead for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d)

¶1. (C) GOSS xxxxxxxxxxxx has admitted that, on the margins of the Washington "Forum for CPA Partners," he pressed Kenyan Foreign Minister Moses Wetangula on the need to expedite delivery to South Sudan of tanks off-loaded from the MV Faina. Three months had passed since Nairobi initially agreed -- albeit in a staggered fashion and only under cover of darkness -- to ship the SPLA its second order of tanks (REFTEL Khartoum 00378). According to xxxxxxxxxxxx upon xxxxxxxxxxxx instruction he told the Kenyan ForMin that if the tanks did not start moving by Juli's end, the GOSS would be forced to "reevaluate its relationship with Nairobi. Despite such threats, xxxxxxxxxxxx maintained that the meeting was largely positive. "The Kenyans are relieved that we will be routing them through Uganda -- keeping them out of the spotlight."

¶2. (C) Asked whether he was any more confident of actual delivery, given how earlier promises from the Kenyans had vaporized, xxxxxxxxxxxx responded in the affirmative. xxxxxxxxxxxx and newly-appointed xxxxxxxxxxxx had met in Nairobi as xxxxxxxxxxxx returned from Washington to again discuss the transfer with Kenyan Department of Defense counterparts. "We are certain that this time they will move." xxxxxxxxxxxx further confirmed that weapons, armaments, and the spare parts and support packages for the T-72 tanks had already been moved out of Nairobi into Sudan's South, although he would not divulge their location. xxxxxxxxxxxx

¶3. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx optimism appears to be merited. xxxxxxxxxxxx travelled to Kampala xxxxxxxxxxxx in order to meet with Ugandan counterparts on unspecified business. xxxxxxxxxxxx remains an integral member of the SPLA's tank procurement team, despite the SPLA's May reshuffle which pushed him into the xxxxxxxxxxxx. SPLA Affairs Minister Nhial Deng Nhial admitted to A/CG xxxxxxxxxxxx had been granted extraordinary authorities to handle the totality of the SPLA's outstanding contracts in order to ensure the circle of those involved in the tank procurement remained small "for obvious security reasons." xxxxxxxxxxxx The decision to extend such authorities xxxxxxxxxxxx would appear to indicate the entire "adminstrative chain" of the SPLA has been shielded from the decision. END COMMENT). At a July 23 farewell dinner, xxxxxxxxxxxx confirmed the Kenyans had begun trans-shipment of tanks to Uganda, but could not speak to when they would arrive in the South.

¶4. (C) Per reftel, the SPLA is dependent on Nairobi concurrence to authorize the third and final shipment of Juba's 2006 tanks purchase. xxxxxxxxxxxx maintained in mid-July that Nairobi, facing increasing pressure from Khartoum, continued to resist green-lighting the shipment. Notwithstanding xxxxxxxxxxxx contention that the Juba/Nairobi bilateral relationship was weathering the tank-shipment "stand-off," there is growing vidence to the contrary.

¶5. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx that she had access to documents pertaining to a pending bank transfer linked to an unspecified SPLA procurement initiative worth $34 million. According to the contractor, past SPLA contracts consistently included routing information for banks to Kenya. This contract did not -- a first in this individual's tenure with the Finance Ministry. (NOTE: The contractor further advised that the contract would drive SPLA finances into the red; unless the SPLA saw a budget increase next fiscal year, the SPLA would be without financing until April 2010 if this contract moved forward. END NOTE.) As of July 24, the contractor did not believe this SPLA contract had gone forward in the Finance Ministry's internal approval process.

Khartoum 00000881 002 of 002

(COMMENT: We are not sure that the contractor would be privy to information regarding this contract's approval, however, and think it possible that, given Finance Minister David Deng Athorbei's failed attempts to purchase attack helicopters for the SPLA out of Ministry of Roads and Transport monies in November 2008, he might be sympathetic to other SPLA procurement requests despite current GOSS budgeting woes. END comment).

¶6. (C) Comment. Despite extensive coverage of the tank purchases and delivery in local and internationl media, the SPLM continues to treat the matter as a secret matter, perhaps as a concession to Kenyan sensitivities. The existence of the tanks, however, is one of the least secret secrets in Khartoum.

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O 241054Z FEB 09
EO 12958 DECL: 02/24/2019

Classified By: CDA Alberto M. Fernandez for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

¶1. (S) CDA Fernandez was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on the morning of February 24 by Americas Department head Ambassador Nasreddin Wali. Wali said that he had sensitive and worrisome information to relate to the Charge. Reading from hand-written notes in Arabic and referring to a large dog-eared map brought in for the occasion, Wali said that there had been two air attacks on Eastern Sudan in January and February. In the January attack, 43 people were killed and 17 vehicles destroyed. This occurred near Magd, in the Gebeit region of Red Sea state, “the Northern part of an area known as Oku” (phonetic). It is roughly at the latitude of 17 degrees and longitude of 33.5, according to Wali.

¶2. (S) The second attack occurred on February 20 at Bir al-Mansurab (latitude of 17 degrees and longitude of 34, according to Wali). The second attack was 15 kilometers from the site of the January attack. In the February attack, 45 Sudanese were kalled and 14 vehicles destroyed. Both attacks occurred 150 kilometers deep inside Sudan, not near any international border.

¶3. (S) Wali said that “we assume that the planes that attacked us are your planes.” He said that Sudan has had “tight cooperation” with the United States on security matters and any concerns that the USG has about security related issues can be raised within the context of bilateral diplomatic and intelligence relations between the two countries. He added that “Sudan would like to have clarification about this matter. We protest this act and we condemn it. Sudan reserves the right to respond appropriately, at the right time, in a legal manner consistent with protecting its sovereignty.”

¶4. (S) Comment: This complaint by Sudan comes on the heels of the Embassy being tasked by Washington to demarche Khartoum on weapons smuggling issues possibly involving Iran and Hamas (reftels a-c). So it is easy for the regime to assume that the demarches and these kinetic incidents are somehow connected. The initial attack is already the object of gossip by elements of Sudan’s political elite, even outside the tight confines of the regime’s inner circle (reftel d). CDA had already scheduled an Emergency Action Committee meeting on February 24 to discuss the Embassy’s security posture in the runup to the March 4 ICC announcement and this latest news is an additional concern in a very volatile political environment. Embassy requests Washington guidance on what - if any - formal response should be given to the Sudanese. And should this potentially explosive story somehow leak to the sensationalistic Sudanese press, it could very well turn our security situation here from bad to worse. End comment.


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¶1. (SBU) Summary: Just as in southern Brazil (reftel), the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST), and their fellow travelers in the always-disadvantaged northeast region, seem to be changing tactics; with confrontation less appealing, they appear to be re-positioning themselves and trying to get on the government "gravy train." Membership has been affected by President Lula's "Bolsa Familia" program of cash transfers to the poor. Unable to seize any more "unproductive" farms, as agro-industry increases production, the land reform activists opt for reinventing themselves as advocates for small-scale rural development and alternative energy, according to sources in the Catholic Church. End Summary

¶2. (SBU) Father Herminio Canova, who heads the northeast region's Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) for the Catholic Church's National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB), met with the principal officer in Recife May 21. He and one of the CPT lawyers gave an overview of how the land reform movement was changing. Father Herminio had recently been on a march to Brasilia, then visited the conflict area along the Brazil-Venezuela border in Roraima, where clashes took place between indigenous people and rice farmers. The priest said the CPT was launching a national campaign to limit the size of large land-holdings "to defend agrarian reform, territorial and food sovereignty." He explained that the long-standing campaign to seize and divide up "unproductive" farms had reached a dead end; in the current economy, agro-industry was using most land that could increase production. So, according to Father Herminio, the landless movement is now going to focus on consolidation of the lands already seized, demanding faster loans for the members and encouraging them to get involved with alternative forms of energy, mainly bio-fuels.

¶3. (U) The ethanol boom has caught the attention of the settlers in the agrarian reform farms. They are now looking for crops that can be turned into fuel or other ways to produce energy with small-scale technologies. For the CPT, which opposes large scale hydro-electric dams, as well as the "near servitude" conditions of migrant workers on the sugar plantations, only renewable energy from small-scale projects should be pursued in order to preserve the environment and the Amazon region. Father Herminio said settlers in the land along the Sao Francisco River were interested in working with Petrobras to experiment on bio-fuel production. This irrigated area of agro-industry near Petrolina also has large concentrations of the landless movement settlements.

¶4. (SBU) The CPT leader explained that in the northeast region, there are five main land reform groups - the MST, a splinter group known as the MLST, two federations of rural workers - FETRAPE and FETRAF-plus the "Central Syndicate" and nine smaller groups involved in pressuring the government to redistribute land. During this year's "Red April" land invasions, groups from this coalition invaded 14 farms across Pernambuco state. But according to the CPT, the number of invasions and the number of families taking part is declining, partly as a result of President Lula's "Bolsa Familia - which provides cash payments to mothers who vaccinate their children and keep them in school. Father Herminio said the key was giving the money to women, instead of men, thus ensuring it was spent on food. He said, "One woman told me, `I struggle at odd jobs, anything to earn the money that feeds my three children for 15 days, but it's President Lula who pays for the next 15.' That's how people see Bolsa Familia."

¶5. (SBU) The priest said that women in the landless movement are receiving the Bolsa Familia payments even as they are squatting on land, waiting for the legal ownership that may take years to obtain. But families already receiving "Bolsa Familia" have little incentive to take the risks involved in joining a new occupation of land with no immediate hope for better living conditions.

¶6. (SBU) Critics of the landless movement, including one school administrator who met with the consular staff and state law enforcement officers, say the occupations are a shake-down scheme. They say that the occupations in Red April get publicity, then the squatters negotiate certain sums or program concessions to go elsewhere. These critics point to the fact that those occupying contested land rarely plant any crops --not even subsistence beans or manioc which grows everywhere-around their hovels.


¶7. (SBU) Father Herminio's view of the political situation reflects frustration with the slow pace of legalizing land claims and obtaining credit for farmers. He says the Lula government and Pernambuco Governor Eduardo Campos, a Lula ally, may talk about supporting the rural poor, but they don't "have control." He believes that, despite the lack of resources and credit, the settlers must become more productive. Violence in response to the land invaders may have lessened, the priest said, but the CPT reported murders resulting from land conflicts in 14 states last year, instead of just eight the previous year.

¶8. (SBU) "Slave labor" --or entrapment into conditions of near servitude on remote ranches-- is still a major concern for the CPT. Father Herminio was particularly adamant about conditions for sugar cane workers on ethanol plantations in the south and west. He has heard complaints from Pernambuco cane cutters, rounded up when the harvest season ends here and taken south, that they work in inhumane conditions. This is the dark side of ethanol for the priest, who would still like to see the small farmers and squatters producing their own bio-fuel in a program sponsored by the government.

¶9. (SBU) Comment: Brazil's agro-industry continues to expand, and the disparities between the rich and poor remain. While the MST and its offspring operate on the edges of the economy, denouncing large landowners in the name of oppressed, they have lost steam. They expected more support from President Lula, but they can't criticize him because he's too popular with their constituency thanks to his Bolsa Familia program. So the game is played behind the scenes; there are invasions to gain bargaining chips, then some credits or grants to partners of the movement that ensure the peace. Having reached this stalemate, the movement seems to be consolidating their holdings and looking for more popular causes to champion -such as defending the environment. This cable was coordinated with Embassy Brasilia.


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