Saturday, February 26, 2011

(STICKY) Mopani lacks accountability - Sichinga

Mopani lacks accountability - Sichinga
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

MOPANI Copper Mines lacks accountability evidenced by its reaction to the recent audit which revealed glaring irregularities in the books it submitted to ZRA for tax administration, according to chartered accountant Bob Sichinga.

And Sichinga praised the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) for summoning accountants and auditors at Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) to appear before its disciplinary committee over alleged tax avoidance.

Meanwhile, Vice-President George Kunda said the MMD government did not want to lose power the way former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd did after he imposed punitive taxes in the mining sector.

Mopani Copper Mines chief executive officer Emmanuel Mutati this week labelled as “flawed and incomplete” a recent pilot audit which revealed irregularities and inconsistencies in production and revenue figures it submitted to ZRA for tax administration.

Mopani “refuted conclusions” of the independent findings of the audit conducted by lead auditors Grant Thornton Zambia and Econ Pöyry – a Nordic branch of a global consulting and engineering company – most of which hinged on its links to Glencore AG, which resulted in massive transfer pricing.

Commenting on Mutati's reaction, Sichinga said Mopani failed to address the real issues raised in the audit.

“Emmanuel Mutati did not respond to the real issues raised by the independent auditors,” Sichinga said in an interview. “He did not address the defects in what they are doing at Mopani.”
He dismissed Mutati's claims that Mopani was committed to accountability.

Sichinnga said a lack of accountabilty at Mopani was evidenced by the independent auditors who complained of hostility from the mining firm during the audit conducted in 2009.

“Why didn't they Mopani respond to the queries raised by the audit team during the periods of investigations,” he said.

“Accountability is being able to disclose things without being asked. And in any case, was Mopani going to follow up these differences raised by the report if the audit report was kept a secret?”

Sichinga also criticised the lack of accountability on the amount of mineral resources leaving the country's borders.

“There is simply no verification process on the volumes of the minerals leaving the country and what the mines are declaring to ZRA. I just wonder how they calculate taxes like mineral royalty, even the so-called variable profit tax,” he said. “Let the ministry of mines and finance show us the verification results.”

Sichinga, who is also a business consultant, said the recent independent reconciliation which revealed an absolute discrepancy of K247 billion between what mining companies paid and what the government received in 2008 confirmed the high level of revenue leakage the country was suffering in the mining sector.

“The report also confirms there is no verification process in what is leaving our land,” he said.

Sichinga commended the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants for summoning officers in the finance department of Mopani. He said accountants had a duty to uphold high accounting and professional ethics that hedge them against undue influence from employers.

“This is very good move by ZICA because in practice and according to international accounting standards, the accounting officers have to uphold personal accountability and responsibility to professional ethics,” said Sichinga.

On Wednesday, ZICA president Chintu Mulendema said auditors and accountants at Mopani would soon appear before its disciplinary committee for alleged breach of the accountants Act of 2008.

Mulendema said ZICA's practice review committee was compiling a report on the Mopani audit and should a prima facie case be established against accountants and auditors at the mining firm, they would be put on their defence.

The accountants at Mopani risked losing their practising licences or suffer other punishments should they be proven guilty, Mulendema said.
And during the Vice-President's question time in parliament yesterday, Vice-President Kunda said the government had put in place a reasonable and equitable tax regime.

Vice-President Kunda was responding to Nchanga PF parliamentarian Wylbur Sim-usaa and Pemba UPND parliamentarian David Matongo's concerns on the tax regime in the mining sector, particularly the recent audit involving Mopani Copper Mine's tax payments.

Vice-President Kunda said there was some confidentiality between a taxpayer and the Zambia Revenue Authority ZRA when it came to matters of paying tax.

He said there was currently an on-going verification within the ZRA on the issue involving Mopani's tax audit.

“The Zambia Revenue Authority and the company you are referring to have engaged and they are still trying to come up with the correct position,” he said. “So don't give credence to leaked reports.

On Matongo's question that the pathetic poverty situation in the countryside was a result of the government not getting the required revenue from the mining sector, Vice-President Kunda said the government was concerned with the equitable development of the country.

“At the same time we need to get benefits from the mining sector. Over the years our revenue from the mining sector have improved tremendously,” Vice-President Kunda said. “We don't want to impose punitive taxes . . . the prime minister in Australia lost his job because of imposing punitive taxes. We don't want to make the same mistake.”

And mines deputy minister Boniface Nkhata said the alluvial diamond mining licence ML56 given to Spirit of the River on a 25,000-square-kilometre land space in Western Province was cancelled in August last year.

Nkhata said in response to Luena Alliance for Democracy and Development ADD parliamentarian Charles Milupi's query that the cancellation followed an issuance of a default notice on the investor in June last year.

He said records at the Ministry of Mines showed that the company had never declared any production returns and the government did not raise any taxes from the investment.

Mines Minister Maxwell Mwale said the government allowed the mining company to operate across such a large area due to the nature of alluvial mining.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T says Mbeki had 'role' in split

MDC-T says Mbeki had 'role' in split
by Staff Reporter
26/02/2011 00:00:00

THABO Mbeki had a “role” in a 2005 split in the Movement for Democratic Change, the larger faction of the party claimed on Friday after stinging new revelations of Morgan Tsvangirai’s dependence on American advice by the former South African leader.

The MDC said it was not surprised by Mbeki’s claims made in an interview with the writer, Blessing-Miles Tendi, accusing the man who brought Zimbabwe’s feuding political leaders to the negotiating table of an “unexplained and historical lack of respect for Tsvangirai”, now Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister.

“Mr Mbeki has always deployed effort to discredit, rubbish and weaken the MDC. We are also well aware of his disposition and role in the destabilisation of the MDC in 2005,” the Tsvangirai-led MDC said in a statement, reflecting on a damaging split in the party.

Tendi torched off a storm on Wednesday when he addressed the Frontline Club in London, revealing details of his recent interview with Mbeki who told how Tsavangirai broke off crucial talks on forming a coalition government in 2008 to consult the former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee.

Tendi said Mbeki told him Tsvangirai would ask to be excused, then go to a phone at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare and call the US embassy. Unbeknown to him, Tendi said, the calls were recorded by the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Tendi concluded: “Mugabe’s narrative all along has been that the MDC is a stooge of the West. What is that then? And people are surprised when SADC leaders don’t take the side of MDC, it’s things like that, that mediocrity. It’s really pathetic that a leader would call the US embassy and ask for advice.”

[Actually it is President Mbeki who was quoted as saying that, not the writer Blessing Miles-Tendi. - MrK]

Stung by the attack, the MDC went on the offensive on Friday. It vented long-suppressed anger over Mbeki’s handling of the Zimbabwe crisis.

The party said in a statement: “It is clear from what Mbeki selectively told Blessing Miles Tendi, a Zanu PF apologist, that Mbeki exposed his true colours, his soft spot for Zanu PF, and his unexplained and historical lack of respect for president Tsvangirai.

“It is a matter of public record that Mbeki … has always had a low opinion of the MDC and its president.”

The MDC suggested Mbeki relied on “discredited and unauthentic” intelligence.

“Naturally, it may well be that his conclusions were based on faulty, fabricated and doctored material. He has always regarded … the MDC and its president as unoriginal, unpatriotic and unreliable. We cannot change Mr Mbeki’s borrowed negative views on our party which are well documented,” the party said in a statement issued by its information department.

Presented with the MDC’s attack, Tendi said: “I stand by my assertion at the Frontline Club on February 23.

“I would also like to add that my remarks … drew from a wide range of interviewees in the higher echelons of the former Thabo Mbeki-led ANC government. Over the past four months, and in two separate trips to South Africa, I have been interviewing senior ANC officials and some members in South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation.

“It is striking that they ALL express misgivings about how the MDC is hamstrung by its relationship with Western powers. This is not about Mbeki. This is about how the MDC’s relationship with the West is widely recognised by ANC elites, and how it has proven detrimental to the party’s image and standing among many current and former ANC and Southern African leaders.”

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai and McGee: Tendi replies to MDC

COMMENT - Morgan Tsvangirai: "The international community should have insisted on democratisation rather than regime change. When they spoke of democratisation, what they really meant was regime change." That is because they have no interest in whether the Zimbabwean people can vote or for whom. They are only interested in getting Zimbabwe's diamonds, and keep land redistribution from catching on, so 'their' diamond deposits in South Africa and Botswana remains safe. If land redistribution spread to Namibia, imagine how many diamonds would be flooding international markets. And land would be redistributed in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, probably in Malawi and Tanzania too. All the West is interested in, is a regime that keeps most resources out of the hands of Africans.

Tsvangirai and McGee: Tendi replies to MDC
by Blessing-Miles Tendi
26/02/2011 00:00:00

Speaking at the Frontline Club in London on Wednesday, Blessing-Miles Tendi, author of Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media, recalled a recent interview with former South African President Thabo Mbeki who revealed how MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai would walk out of power sharing talks in 2008 to consult the former United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee [Read Story and See Video].

The MDC released a statement on Friday, dismissing Tendi as a “Zanu PF apologist” and accusing Mbeki of engineering a 2005 split in the party.Here, Tendi responds to the MDC statement:

DURING a debate entitled “Zimbabwe 2011: An Opportunity for Change?”, which was held at the Frontline Club in London on February 23, 2011, I made the assertion that Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai consulted with James McGee, the former US Ambassador to Zimbabwe, during the power-sharing negotiation phase in 2008.

On February 25, 2011, the MDC’s Information Department wrote to attack the credibility of my assertion and branded me a “Zanu PF apologist”. I write to state that I stand by my assertion at the Frontline Club on February 23.

I would also like to add that my remarks on February 23, in fact, also drew from a wide range of interviewees in the higher echelons of the former Thabo Mbeki-led ANC government. Over the past four months, and in two separate trips to South Africa, I have been interviewing senior ANC officials and some members in South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation. It is striking that they ALL express misgivings about how the MDC is hamstrung by its relationship with Western powers.

This is not about Mbeki. This is about how the MDC’s relationship with the West is widely recognised by ANC elites, and how it has proven detrimental to the party’s image and standing among many current and former ANC and Southern African leaders.

Still, we must not view the aforementioned perception of the MDC as working with the West as solely belonging to some ANC elites or regional leaders. Even in British academia – where I work – this view has gained and continues to gain currency.

The shift of thought in British academia began most palpably in 2008 with Professor Stephen Chan of the University of London when he wrote [Read Article]: “I admire Tsvangirai. I wrote a book about him, based on many hours of face-to-face interviews, which was distributed underground in Zimbabwe to help the MDC's 2005 campaign. I attended those elections and acknowledged the book was mine. I was and am prepared to stand up for Tsvangirai.

"But I also want to say that he screwed up. Tsvangirai’s main source of advice was the US embassy in Harare, especially after Mugabe’s government arrested Biti on treason charges and imprisoned him two weeks before the run-off. The deliberate effect of the arrest was to deprive Tsvangirai of local guidance. I want also to say unequivocally that the Americans screwed up.”

While the aforementioned critique of the MDC’s links to the West has gained validity since Chan’s intervention in 2008 – through the ongoing WikiLeaks revelations most effectively - the party has been woefully unable to formulate and propagate a counter narrative.

The MDC’s refuge is to dismiss those who propound a critique of its relationship with the West as “Zanu PF apologists”, as happened to me in the party’s statement of February 25, 2011, further reinforcing my most important assertion during the Frontline Club debate: that mediocrity reigns in the MDC.

I want to close with a passage from page 233 of my book “Making History in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe”, in which the MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai said to me in a 2006 interview: “The international community made the mistake of insisting on regime change, and this damaged the MDC’s credibility because some Africans viewed the party as a vehicle for regime change.

"The international community should have insisted on democratisation rather than regime change. When they spoke of democratisation, what they really meant was regime change."

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai and McGee: MDC statement

COMMENT - So the MDC's response: denial. Attack the messenger, though not the message. They are basically attacking Blessing Miles-Tendi and President Mbeki, but they do not deny that Prime Minister Tsvangirai consulted with the US ambassadore, James McGee. How sad.

Tsvangirai and McGee: MDC statement
by MDC Information Dept.
26/02/2011 00:00:00

SPEAKING at the Frontline Club in London on Wednesday, author Blessing-Miles Tendi recalled a recent interview with former South African President Thabo Mbeki, who told him MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai broke off power sharing talks in 2008 to consult the former United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee [Read Story and Video]. In a statement to New on Friday, the MDC responds as follows:

THE MDC dismisses the alleged assertion attributed to former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki that President Tsvangirai consulted former US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James McGee during the negotiations ahead of the formation of the inclusive government. President Tsvangirai was widely consulting his team of negotiators and the party leadership that was always stationed with him at the venue of the talks.

It is clear from what Mbeki selectively told Blessing Miles Tendi, a Zanu PF apologist, that Mbeki exposed his true colours, his soft spot for Zanu PF, and his unexplained and historical lack of respect for President Tsvangirai. It is a matter of public record that former President Mbeki, who scored a first when he was recalled as President of South Africa by his party, the ANC, has always had a low opinion of the MDC and its President.

Assuming that Mr Mbeki relied on sources in Zimbabwe, those sources are discredited and unauthentic. Naturally, it may well be that his conclusions were based on faulty, fabricated and doctored material. He has always regarded the people’s Party of Excellence, the MDC and its President as unoriginal, unpatriotic and unreliable. We cannot change Mr Mbeki’s borrowed negative views on our party which are well documented.

However, we derive comfort from the fact that the people of Zimbabwe do not hold the same unproductive, corrosive and dangerous views as those held by Mr Mbeki. That is why Zimbabweans overwhelmingly voted for President Tsvangirai in March 2008. Mr Mbeki has always deployed effort to discredit, rubbish and weaken the MDC. We are also well aware of his disposition and role in the destabilisation of the MDC in 2005.

Mr Mbeki cannot be allowed to cover up for his shortcomings on the Zimbabwean issue by engaging in mendacity and untruths. His record as an honest broker is perforated.

For the record, in Zimbabwe’s democratic struggle, President Tsvangirai continues to keep the people’s determination for freedom and democracy intact by involving Zimbabweans, at all levels, in decision-making processes through constant consultation. Consultative and deliberate democracy is the hallmark and character of our politics as the MDC.

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‘All govts must always listen to the people’

‘All govts must always listen to the people’
By The Post
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:00 CAT

“I think all the governments must always listen to the people.” It’s Rupiah Banda saying this! What a beautiful, wonderful, correct statement!

“Please, listen to me. Try to understand me.” This is the cry of most Zambians at this moment. Arrogance, lack of humility, corruption, greed, vanity, fears, prejudices, hatred, suspicion, divisions and repression have closed our ears and hearts to one another, even to the people we are elected to lead or represent.

Yet each one of us wants to be heard and understood. Probably, we are all saying the same thing, but since we do not even make the effort to understand what others are saying, our problems and differences keep on growing from day to day. The result is what we are experiencing: intolerance, indifference to the plight and humanity of others, misunderstandings and a general atmosphere of hostility and suspicion.

The enjoyment of the right to peace requires that we resort to a genuine dialogue, and not a cosmetic dialogue, with each other. It is genuine dialogue that will bring about the end to intolerance and indifference to the plight of others. Such a genuine dialogue requires that people from different groupings, political or otherwise, open their ears and hearts to listen to each other, to learn and unlearn from each other.

But to listen, there has to be someone speaking. It is not possible to listen to nothing. One has to listen to someone speaking. Even for governments to listen, there must be some citizens speaking. Without citizens being able to exercise their freedom of speech, their freedom of assembly and protest, there will be nothing for any government to listen to.

Rupiah says that “all the governments must always listen to people” but he doesn’t want to allow people to speak. When people want to speak or express themselves, he harasses them, he sets his policemen on them to kill and maim.

This is our experience in Mongu. The Barotse Agreement activists were not listened to by Rupiah. They tried in so many ways to hold meetings and speak. But all such attempts were stopped by Rupiah’s government. The Barotse activists were totally denied their rights to assemble and express themselves on issues that matter to them. And in their pursuit of this right, some of them were killed or maimed for life by Rupiah’s government using brutal and disproportionate force. So we wonder what listening Rupiah is today talking about!

Probably he is not talking about his government but other governments in a ‘do as I say not as I do’ style and fashion. We say this because Rupiah doesn’t listen to anyone other than his own inner demons.

We all know that humankind’s ability to speak, speak up, speak out is the bedrock of civilisation. Even in the Gospel according to John, we are told: “Before the world was created, the Word already existed; he was with God, and he was the same as God. From the very beginning, the Word was with God. Through him, God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him. The Word was the source of life, and this life brought light to mankind” (John 1:1-4).

It is a person’s self-expression as a political being in a society with the propensity to contribute to the decisions that affect one’s life and with the desire to live in a stable and peaceful society that is at a stage when the rights to expression and assembly are violated. The Barotse activists were denied every opportunity to express themselves. Even radio stations were not allowed to give them an opportunity to air their views. And to date, Radio Lyambai remains closed for simply giving Barotse activists a voice. And yet Rupiah is saying that “all the governments must always listen to the people”. Listen to nothing? We ask this question because when people try to speak so that they are listened to, Rupiah sets policemen on them to kill and maim, he arrests over 100 of them and charges them with treason. So what does he them want to listen to? Sweet nothings?

In a civilised society, citizens have a right to gather peacefully and protest the policies of their government or the actions of the other groups with demonstrations, marches, petitions, boycotts, strikes and other forms of direct citizen action. Direct action is open to everyone in a democracy. But in Zambia today, only those who support Rupiah and denounce his political opponents are allowed this direct action and enjoy unlimited state-owned television and radio airtime and unlimited space in government and ruling party-controlled newspapers. But we all know that by and large, protests or demonstrations are recognised and accepted by the people as an effective and powerful weapon. What meaningful political participation can citizens have if they are not allowed this direct action?

As we have stated before, protests, demonstrations and all sorts of other assemblies are a testing ground for any country or society that aspires to be democratic. The ideals of free expression and citizen participation are easy to defend when one remains polite and in agreement on basic issues. But protesters – and their targets – do not agree on basic issues, and such disagreements may be passionate and angry. But still they should be allowed to enjoy the freedom of expression and assembly. And this should not be arbitrarily taken away from them because someone in government or in the ruling party fears they will lose power as a result of that. It cannot be denied that protests can be effective political weapons because everyone is seeing that today in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Bahrain and so on and so forth. And probably this is the only explanation why tyrants and dictators of all hues detest them because they can lead to a loss of power.

All citizens should be equal in dignity and have equal rights. No person, situation, event or thing should be allowed to take away this dignity. Leaders who respect human dignity guarantee basic rights to all the people they rule and create opportunities for citizens to exercise their responsibilities. For this reason, human dignity transcends any social order as the basis for rights and is neither granted by society nor can it be legitimately violated by society. A just society can exist only when it respects the dignity of the human person. And the social order and this development must invariably work for the benefit of the human person. Therefore, the protection and promotion of the inviolable human rights should rank among the essential duties of government. The roots of human rights are to be found in the dignity that belongs to each human being. There will be no peace in Barotseland or in any other part of our country if this disrespect for the dignity of every citizen continues. We say this because peace is the fruit of honesty, truth and solidarity; it is the tranquility of order. And to guarantee peace, all are called to maturity, tolerance and responsibility. And responsibility entails that those who killed those innocent young people in Mongu, and those who injured or maimed many others should be brought to bear responsibility for their actions. In a word, the killings in Mongu should not go unpunished. Those who gave the orders to kill and those who pulled the trigger all deserve to be punished for their parts in these crimes. But it does not seem that this government is interested in seeking justice in this matter. Why? Is it because it is the policy of this government to kill and maim those who don’t agree with them, those who oppose them? Or is it because it is probably the highest authority in this government that has ordered those killings? We need an inquiry to answer conclusively all these questions for us.



Hospitality and peace are vital to Zambia - Rupiah

Hospitality and peace are vital to Zambia - Rupiah
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda says the hospitality industry is dependent on key infrastructure which the central government needs to provide.

During the opening of Protea Hotel in Chipata, President Banda said it was the responsibility of the central and local government to provide necessary infrastructure for the growth of the industry.

President Banda said the government was pleased to support the formal opening of the new hotel because of the socio-economic changes and benefits that would unfold in the district.

“Apart from the international standards of service to be expected under this highly reputed brand name, the hotel will provide an exemplary lead from which local hoteliers may learn a number of things about operating in the hospitality industry,” he said.

President Banda said the new hotel, built at a cost of K20 billion, represented an important phase for the hotel group’s expansion in Zambia.

He also urged Zambians to play their part in discouraging and opposing violent language and behaviour.

President Banda said that without conditions of lasting national peace, it would not be possible to plan and build.

“I would encourage you all to see to it that we cherish and uphold this divine gift of nationwide peace. My goal is for Zambia to achieve a better standing in the world. We will achieve this through establishing security, stability and prosperity for all Zambians,” said President Banda.

Chairman of Protea Hotels Zambia Mark O’Donnell said Protea Chipata was the seventh Protea Hotel in Zambia.

O’Donnell pledged that Protea would continue to provide quality accommodation.
Tourism minister Catherine Namugala said the country had seen accelerated development in the sector because of President Banda’s visionary leadership.

She said potential investors were always happy whenever they interacted with President Banda.

They have told us that they feel that their investment are safe in this country because they have met a President who is focused on economic development and poverty alleviation. Your Excellency, therefore it is in the interest of all Zambians that you lead this country beyond 2011,” said Namugala.

President Banda also presented two cheques for K5 million each to Chipata Cheshire Homes and the Network for Zambian People Living with HIV and AIDS.

President Banda also paid a courtesy visit to paramount chief Mpezeni at Laweni in Mtenguleni.

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Rupiah’s language is belittling Zambian politics - Inonge

Rupiah’s language is belittling Zambian politics - Inonge
By Edwin Mbulo
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

Inonge Wina says it is unfortunate that President Rupiah Banda belittled Zambian politics by using demeaning words against Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata in an attempt to win votes.

Commenting on President Banda’s statement in Lumezi on Wednesday when he said Sata "was a bad-hearted person just like his ugly face", Wina said the statement was not the kind that should be made by a President.

“The statement attributed to President Banda is very unfortunate and demeaning to be uttered by a leader of any stature. It is unfortunate that we can go to such lengths to say things just to win votes,” she said.

Wina said President Banda should concentrate on speaking about policy issues, such as how he intended to reduce mortality rates and how best he wanted service delivery to reach each and every Zambian.

“We should be looking at issues and not how somebody looks. Personal attacks belittle the political arena and are not fair on any politician,” said Wina.

And Wina, who is PF national chairperson, said the MMD cannot claim it will win this year’s elections in the current state of affairs.
She said the MMD government was responsible for bad governance.

“I don’t think that in the current state of affairs the MMD can claim credibility because of bad governance,” she said.
Wina said the MMD government had denied the Zambian people many of their wishes, especially the benefits of natural resources and the 50 per cent plus 1 per cent constitutional clause.

“People expressed a lot of things they wished to be added in the constitution, such as the benefits from their natural resources, especially copper via the windfall tax. The MMD has not listened to the people,” Wina said.

She said there was a general feeling among Zambians that the MMD was not a listening party.

Wina said the MMD government also failed to listen to people's cries over delimitation of huge constituencies.

“We have vast constituencies, especially in the rural areas, where people are not well represented. Service delivery is not reaching them and the MMD has failed to divide these constituencies,” said Wina.

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Rupiah’s tyranny will consume him, warns Miha

Rupiah’s tyranny will consume him, warns Miha
By Misheck Wangwe
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda's growing tyrannical tendencies will consume him in the end, says Father Miha Drevensek. Speaking in an interview yesterday, Fr Miha, who is Mission Press director, said President Banda's style of leadership within the MMD and the country did not match with what was expected of a democratic leader.

Fr Miha said the perception of many Zambians was that critical institutions of governance, such as the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), the public media and the judiciary, were being controlled by State House.

“The political terrain in the country is not inspiring because it is no longer democratic.

"President Banda has given himself so much power. He doesn't care about what the people want, whether within his party or in the country at large,” he said.

“Even ECZ cannot guarantee free and fair elections in its current state because it has been weakened by his government. The public media is no longer public. It’s busy disseminating hateful messages against the opposition and people with divergent views who are not given a chance to defend themselves. Surely this is dangerous to democracy and must be corrected.”

Fr Miha said sincere senior members of the MMD must appeal to their conscience not to allow President Banda to destroy the ideals of democracy on which the MMD was founded because it was detrimental to the growth of meaningful democracy in the country.

He said the sacking of Mike Mulongoti as works and supply minister spoke volumes about the undemocratic and dictatorial tendencies that had been adopted by the president and his supporters.

“What we are seeing is that bootlickers of the president are busy threatening the lives of people who criticise his style of governance. But one thing for sure is that people will not stay quiet in a society full of injustice. People will talk and eventually good will defeat evil. It happened when Jesus was persecuted, crucified and killed. The hope we have is that our Jesus conquered evil and it will happen in this land one day,” said Fr Miha.

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Mulongoti’s dismissal is shameful - Hansungule

Mulongoti’s dismissal is shameful - Hansungule
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

Professor Michelo Hansungule has described President Rupiah Banda's dismissal of Mike Mulongoti as works and supply minister, the revocation of his parliamentary nomination and suspension from the ruling MMD as shameful.

Commenting on President Banda’s dismissal of Mulongoti from both Cabinet and parliament last Saturday for challenging Vice-President Kunda in the race for the MMD vice-presidency, the Pretoria-based human rights law lecturer said Mulongoti’s dismissal shows that President Banda fears Vice-President George Kunda.

“He has exaggerated respect for Kunda. Anyone who touches Kunda must go. What shame for a president. President Banda should not act emotionally when challenged. He should have allowed Mulongoti the chance to contest the election and strategises to beat him there,” Prof Hansungule said.

“But of course he is so scared of political competition, he cannot stand it. He says nine MMD members are vying for the vice-presidency. How many are vying for the presidency? The MMD will reclaim its direction once it gets rid of insecure non-original members from its ranks.”

Prof Hansungule said MMD members should expel President Banda from the party before he frustrated all of them.

“The problem is that President Banda is not an original MMD member and he is awake to it. He came to the MMD through the back door and this is a common story.

He is insecure because he knows he is not MMD. He doesn’t believe in any of the principles of the MMD, foremost among them ‘democracy’ which is one of the words in the name of the party,” Prof Hansungule said.

“Again, where was he when MMD was formed? It is a simple question. Original MMD members should chase Banda before he chases all of them from the party.

Drive him Egypt/Tunisia style back to his farm and tie him on trees there. If they don’t do this, he will drain the party of its original members. He will chase them all if they don’t chase him because he is foreigner in the MMD.”

Prof Hansungule said there was no need for President Banda to fight Mulongoti to the extent of dismissing him. He said political parties should learn from the episode – that they ought to nurture their own leaders rather than import from outside.

“It is called ‘thieves fighting in the kitchen’. This is what President Rupiah Banda is engaging in by fighting Mike Mulongoti, his former Minister of Works and Supply. Thieves are fighting for power and spills in the kitchen … The main mistake Mulongoti made was to remind him he was not at Garden House in 1991, which is correct,” Prof Hansungule said.

He said Mulongoti’s sacking had exposed flaws in the Republican Constitution. Prof Hansungule said nominated members of parliament would always live at the mercy of their appointing authority.

“Mulongoti was a minister and nominated member of parliament, all of which are at the President’s discretion. In other words, Mulongoti was in government on President Banda’s benevolence,” said Prof Hansungule.

“How can you live like that? How do you live your whole life on the goodwill of another? There are others like that in the government. Dr. Situmbeko Musokotwane, Minister of Finance, is in government on those terms. The Constitution is fundamentally flawed. It is too clearly on the side of dictatorship,” Professor Hansungule said.

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People will revolt if poll is rigged, Sondashi warns

People will revolt if poll is rigged, Sondashi warns
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

RUPIAH Banda should expect an uprising if this year’s election is rigged, says Forum for Democratic Initiatives president Dr Ludwig Sondashi.

Commenting on President Banda’s remarks that the press should help not push Zambians to emulate the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt, Libya and parts of the Middle East, Dr Sondashi said President Banda’s conduct and those in government was unimpressive when it came to holding of a free and fair elections.

“If these elections are rigged and people clearly see that he has lost, is clinging to power; he should expect what happened in Egypt to happen,” he said.

Dr Sondashi said he was advocating change because President Banda embraced corruption and had failed to perform. He said the government forced judge Florence Mumba to resign as Electoral Commission of Zambia chairperson because she was credible and could not be manipulated.

“I think that justice Mumba was better than the person he is replacing her with. When it comes to her handling the electoral office, Mumba is more firm than the one he is replacing her with,” Dr Sondashi said.

He said President Banda’s government was working to frustrate his businesses. Dr Sondashi also alleged that suspected intelligence officers broke into his office recently and stole documents.

He said he was not working to remove President Banda through unlawful means, but lawful ones. Dr Sondashi said he was better than President Banda who assumed the presidency through the backdoor.

Commenting on the events in Egypt, where Hosni Mubarak was forced out of office by pro-democracy demonstrators, and now Libya, where demonstrators want Muammar Gaddafi out of office, President Banda described the developments as sad.

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Kunda justifies Mongu killings

Kunda justifies Mongu killings
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

Vice-President Kunda yesterday justified the Mongu killings, saying Zambia Police officers are allowed to use firearms in exceptional circumstances.

He was responding to a parliamentary question raised by Luena Alliance for Democracy and Development ADD parlimentarian Charles Milupi over the Mongu riots. Vice-President Kunda said police had blocked the Barotse activists' meeting after suspecting it could generate violence or loss of life as indicated on some flyers.

Vice-President Kunda (right) said the Litunga's Limulunga palace was to be overrun and the Litunga deposed, while the Barotse flag would be hoisted before declaring Barotseland independent from Zambia contrary to the Constitution.

“Huge crowds of people seemingly militant and determined to carry out the purpose of executing their desires gathered and marched towards Mongu town centre and Limulunga chanting slogans of secession from the Republic of Zambia by force,” Vice-President Kunda said.

He said some people were armed with machetes, catapults, spears and sjamboks to use against the police.

Vice-President Kunda said police used tear gas to disperse the charging mob but the long batons that the police had could not match machetes and spears.

“The mob could not be moved even when the police fired in the air,” he said. “The police officers' lives were in danger. As a result, they had no choice but to use reasonable force to protect life and property and arrest the rioters.

Vice-President Kunda said the mob ran towards the filling station at Mongu town centre, where one of them picked a piece of burning tyre with the intention of setting the petrol tanks ablaze.

According to Vice-President Kunda, police officers shouted at him to stop and warned him they were about to use a firearm.

“The man did not stop. The police decided to stop him by disabling him with a bullet, unfortunately the bullet hit him in a wrong part of the body and he later died in hospital,” Vice-President Kunda said. “The security agencies performed their duties professionally and forestalled further loss of life and property.”

He said there was no justifiable basis to call for the dismissal of the Minister of Home Affairs, Inspector General of Police, the commanding officer Western Province and other officers.

Vice-President Kunda said the government deemed it necessary to move detainees charged with minor offences from Mongu because on previous occasions whenever accused persons appeared in court on related charges, they engaged in riotous behaviour.

“As regards claims for compensation for injuries and death arising from these riots, all those affected are at liberty to pursue such claims through the courts of law, if they can prove their claims,” Vice-President Kunda said. “The state shall be at liberty also to explain its side of the story in such court proceedings.”

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State enters nolle, police re-arrest treason Lozis

State enters nolle, police re-arrest treason Lozis
By Namatama Mundia
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

CELEBRATIONS by the 23 Lozis accused of treason were short-lived yesterday when they were rearrested immediately after the state entered a nolle prosequi in their case.

And Vice-President George Kunda claimed police acted professionally when they shot dead a man who allegedly wanted to set a filling station ablaze during the January 14, 2011 Mongu fracas.

When the matter came up for mention before acting chief resident magistrate Sharon Newa, public prosecutor Mwewa Musonda first called the case of 54-year-old Lusaka-based police officer Maybin Sikwa, who was separately charged with treason.
Musonda said Sikwa was appearing for mention awaiting a certificate of committal to the High Court from the Director of Public Prosecutions.

“However, I have received a nolle prosequi in respect of the accused,” he said.

After magistrate Newa told Sikwa he had been discharged because the state had entered a nolle prosequi, Sikwa tried to walk to freedom and was seen waving his hands, but Musonda asked him to stay in the dock to the amazement of people who were in the gallery.

Musonda then called the case of Muyangana Muyangana and 21 others who were also facing similar charges.
He told the court that the 22 were also appearing for mention awaiting a certificate of committal from the DPP.
Musonda again said he had received a nolle prosequi in respect of all the accused.

One of the accused persons’ lawyer, Dr Rodger Chongwe, said that while the defence welcomed the decision, it wanted to put on record that the offence his clients was charged with was very serious and there was a danger of rearresting and detaining the people who had been in detention for over two months.

“I hope this is not the intention of the state,” he said.

Another defence lawyer, Moses Chitambala, added that there was no legal basis either in the Penal Code or any other law upon which the state would seek to have the accused persons held in custody after a nolle prosequi had been entered.

“It is our humble submission that the state, having entered a nolle prosequi, the accused persons should be freed forthwith,” he said.
In response to the defence’s concerns, Musonda said, “That is what the state is exactly doing, they are free with regard to the nolle prosequi which has been issued, however, when the state has reasons and believe that other charges can be slapped on the suspects, it’s just reasonable to keep such accused within our reach.”

But Dr Chongwe complained this was something completely new under practice and law.“If this trend is not stopped, then we will all be prisoners of the state,” he said.

Dr Chongwe said Article 13 of the Constitution protected the freedom and integrity of all citizens who reside in Zambia.
He said there was no charge before the court against the accused after the nolle prosequi was entered which asked the court to detain them. The state was fishing for fresh charges in the Kafue River or near Kalabo.

Dr Chongwe asked the court to discharge the accused adding they could easily be traced. He said three quarters of them did not even have passports to leave the country.

Ruling on the application, magistrate Newa said the state had entered a nolle prosequi and all the accused persons were discharged.
“If the state wishes to rearrest you, they have the powers. The concerns by the defence can’t be addressed before this court,” magistrate Newa said.

Musonda requested magistrate Newa to leave the courtroom and ordered that all the people in the gallery go outside.
As the people were leaving, about 20 plain clothes police officers entered the courtroom and escorted the discharged Lozis to a holding cell.

In the meantime, about 20 armed police officers went outside and formed a barricade so that neither journalist nor relatives of the discharged Lozis could approach the holding cell.

After a few minutes, the discharged Lozis left the holding cell under tight security and were forced to board a Nkwazi Football club bus between two police vehicles carrying armed officers and drove off as the discharged Lozis waved to their sympathisers who looked on in astonishment.

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TIZ urges incorruptible, impartial judiciary

TIZ urges incorruptible, impartial judiciary
By Sututu Katundu
Sat 26 Feb. 2011, 03:59 CAT

PEOPLE are seeking a judiciary that will not be influenced, corrupted or compromised, Transparency International Zambia says.

During celebrations to mark a decade of its fight against corruption and building integrity, TIZ executive director Goodwell Lungu said the independence of the judiciary was a major image of the professionalism and personal integrity exhibited by the persons who occupy different judicial offices.

He said judges appointed to the bench should be fearless advocates of justice for all and should be prepared to be courageous in defending the rule of law and the cause of justice.

“As ordinary Zambians, we seek a judiciary that will not be unduly influenced, corrupted or compromised, but one that dispenses justice regardless of the status and positions of all those who approach it,” Lungu said.

He said the judiciary should attract sharp legal minds, with necessary adjudicative competences and sufficient exposure to litigation to enable them discharge the functions of their offices effectively. On forthcoming general elections, Lungu said there was a need to strengthen the punishment for anyone who found him or herself violating the prohibitions of the Electoral Code of Conduct.

He proposed that the enforcement of the code should not be the preserve of ECZ and the Zambia Police Service, but said the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) should have its independent section on issues of enforcement in the code of conduct, which clearly spelled out what they needed to do.

Lungu said the code should also guide the public on reporting mechanisms for wrongdoing.

“We are grateful that the Electoral Commission of Zambia in September last year, hosted a stakeholders' meeting in Livingstone to discuss and agree on the contents of the electoral code of conduct which we hope will be put to good use.

“We support and endorse Livingstone workshop resolutions that the code of conduct should bar traditional leaders from exerting undue pressure on their subjects to support a particular political party or candidate,” Lungu said.

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Friday, February 25, 2011

(LUSAKATIMES) Prof Chirwa’s prediction on MMD, PF and UPND

COMMENT - 38.1% and 19.34% don't add up to 100%.

Prof Chirwa’s prediction on MMD, PF and UPND
Friday, February 25, 2011, 7:43

THE MMD will win this year’s presidential and general elections if the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) participate in the polls separately, UPND chairman for international relations Clive Chirwa has said.

Professor Chirwa puts the MMD’s popularity surge at 38.1 percent and the PF-UPND pact’s collective performance at 19.34 percent. He advised the alliance to work “extremely hard”.

He warned that figures from the last 55 by-elections show that the MMD has an edge of about 50 percent over the pact, and urged the two parties to take his analysis seriously.

And the MMD has hailed Prof Chirwa’s advice to the pact partners as a true reflection of the current political reality in the country, and a confirmation of the ruling party’s strength.

In a letter addressed to PF president Michael Sata and his UPND counterpart Hakainde Hichilema dated February 15, 2011, Prof Chirwa told the pact not to ignore his figures “as they give a very clear outcome if it does not function to the ability expected by the people of Zambia.”

He said the figures are based on the results of the three parliamentary and 52 local government by-elections conducted between August 2009 and September 2010.

Prof Chirwa outlined the calculations that helped him arrive at the two figures.

“Taking into account these weightings, MMD has clocked 38.1 percent success, while UPND has 16.54 percent and PF 2.8 percent,” he said.

Prof Chirwa said the results do not mean UPND is now the favoured party over the PF.

“However, what these figures clearly show is that if we had to go it alone as PF or UPND, MMD will be voted into power yet again as our (pact) total resurgence is 19.34 percent, which is approximately half that of MMD (38.1 percent),” he said.

Prof Chirwa also expressed worry at the voter registration list of January this year.

“We are seeing a complex picture emerging, which tells us a simple message that requires the pact to work extremely hard in order to achieve the aspiration level the Zambian people are yelling for,” he said.

He discussed many other issues related to the pact in the letter, including proposals on how positions should be shared between the two partners.

MMD national chairman Michael Mabenga commended Prof Chirwa for telling the truth over the party’s strength.

“I am happy that Clive Chirwa has supported our assertions that the MMD is powerful and will beat both the PF and UPND even if they stand as a pact,” he said.

Mr Mabenga said it is good the information is coming from the pact’s own member and not from the MMD.

“Even if they stand as a pact, we are not shaken in any way. Even without us speaking, their own member has conceded that we are a powerful party and will win the elections. This is really good,” he said.

[Zambia Daily Mail]

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai sought McGee's advice during GPA talks: Mbeki

Tsvangirai sought McGee's advice during GPA talks: Mbeki
by Staff Reporter
24/02/2011 00:00:00

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai consulted the US Ambassador in the heat of negotiations about Zimbabwe’s future in 2008, according to author Blessing-Miles Tendi, who interviewed former South African President Thabo Mbeki recently.

Mbeki, who oversaw the formation of Zimbabwe’s coalition government to end a political stalemate over disputed elections, also reveals that he wanted President Robert Mugabe to stay on as a ceremonial president with vastly reduced powers, but this was shot down by a splinter faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara which did not want Tsvangirai as an executive Prime Minister.

Tendi, author of Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media, sat down with Mbeki last month for an interview on a forth-coming book.

And speaking at the Frontline Club in London on Wednesday, Tendi revealed Mbeki had a less than good impression of Tsvangirai, whose conversations with former US ambassador James McGee were reportedly recorded by Zimbabwean intelligence and passed onto their South African counterparts.

Tendi said: “These are the power sharing negotiations in 2008, this is from my interview with Thabo Mbeki, they sit around all the various parties and they agree on a clause. Tsvangirai stands up and says I need to go outside for a bit to consult others in the MDC.

“He goes out there at the Rainbow Hotel in Harare and what does he do? He picks up the phone and calls the US embassy to ask for advice from the US ambassador. What does he not know? That the CIO has taped the phones!

“So they get a transcript of everything, they pass on the transcript to South African intelligence, and they in turn pass the transcript to Mbeki’s lap and he passes it onto other SADC leaders.

“Mugabe’s narrative all along has been that the MDC is a stooge of the West. What is that then? And people are surprised when SADC leaders don’t take the side of MDC, it’s things like that, that mediocrity. It’s really pathetic that a leader would call the US embassy and ask for advice.”

Mbeki, according to Tendi, wanted Mugabe to stay on as President with diminished powers, having lost a first round vote to Tsvangirai in the March 2008 general elections.

Tendi revealed: “Mbeki wanted Mugabe to be a ceremonial President; Mugabe would have had no power. Who shot down Mbeki’s proposal? The other faction of the MDC, because they did not want Tsvangirai to be an executive Prime Minister.”

Tendi said the two MDC factions were responsible for a string of “strategic errors” which had allowed Zanu PF to regain momentum. One critical error, he said, had left them unable to stop President Robert Mugabe calling elections this year.

He added: “When Zanu PF came to the table, they wanted five years straight, there was to be no two years that the Global Political Agreement would end, and then possibly be extended. Had that passed, we would be talking about stabilisation and economic growth. Who shot that down? The MDC again.

“People talk of the MDC playing catch-up, a lot of it has to do with the MDC’s own strategic errors. The problem has been the way the opposition has tackled Zanu PF from a strategic point of view.”

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ZICA to summon Mopani accountants

COMMENT - The Zambia Institute for Chartered Accountants is getting involved - this is an excellent development.

ZICA to summon Mopani accountants
By Mutale Kapekele
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

Accountants and auditors at Mopani Copper Mines will be summoned to appear before the ZICA disciplinary committee for allegedly failing to report irregularities that were revealed in the company’s independent audit report which was conducted by Grant Thornton on government insistence.

The audit report revealed irregularities and inconsistency in production and revenue figures that Mopani submits to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). Mopani is owned by Glencore AG of Switzerland, a company that is headed by Marc Rich, who has been convicted of tax evasion before.

In an interview on Wednesday, Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA) president Chintu Mulendema said accountants and auditors at Mopani will soon appear before the institute’s disciplinary committee for alleged breach of the accountants Act of 2008.

Mulendema said ZICA practice review committee was compiling a report on the Mopani audit and should a prima facie case be established against accountants and auditors at Mopani, they would all be put on their defence and risk losing their practicing licences or suffer other punishments should they be proven guilty.

Mulendema urged all accountants to carry out their work diligently as professional misconduct raised suspicion and was not acceptable by ZICA standards.

He said accountants and auditors at Mopani were supposed to report any wrongdoing on the part of that company to ZICA and ZRA.

“Our duty to the profession and to the public is to do our work properly,” Mulendema said.

Basically, it's fraud to submit wrong information to ZRA and we expect our members to report to us for protection because at the end of the day it is our reputation that is at stake.”

Mulendema also said mines should be paying more tax compared to what they were currently contributing, considering that they had the best investment incentives from the government.

“The tax that is coming from the mines is dismal when they have the best incentives, their contribution is not adding value to the country’s revenue,” he said.

“They (mines) should not evade tax. That is not acceptable! They should comply with the laws and regulations of the country.”

According to ZICA submission to parliament’s estimates committee a few weeks ago, despite been the biggest economic sector (with gross copper export earnings of US$7.2 billion in 2010), the mines only contributed a pitiful 4.4 per cent to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

ZICA reported that agriculture contributed the largest number to the country’s GDP at 19.8 per cent, while the struggling manufacturing sector contributed 9.8 per cent.

“How can the mining sector contribute less than the agricultural sector to GDP?” Mulendema wondered.

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Formalising SMEs will reduce lending rates - AfDB

COMMENT - Formalization of the SME sector to this present crop of politicians will only serve to make them an easier mark for the taxman. As long as the MMD protects the mines from taxation, they have no business 'broadening the tax base' by sucking more money out of the economy through taxation of SMEs. They are already contributing more to the economy than the goverment is, and unlike Foreign Direct Investment, they don't expatriate their profits, but spend them in Zambia. So no to 'broadening the tax base' by having more workers pay taxes, until the mines are paying every cent they are owed or are nationalized.

Formalising SMEs will reduce lending rates - AfDB
By Mutale Kapekele
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:00 CAT

THE African Development Bank says formalising the small and medium enterprises will drastically reduce lending rates. According to latest figures, the SME sector boasts 90 per cent of Zambia’s commerce.

In an interview, AfDB resident representative Dr Freddie Kwesiga said when SMEs, who operate informally, are formalised, the number of people seeking finance will increase which will result in cost sharing that will reduce the rate of lending.

He said with the AfDB general capital increase to US $100 billion for Africa for the next three years, his bank was working towards improving access to money for the private sector and had developed a programme that specifically targeted the SMEs.

“We would like to get the SMEs to formalise through registration and good corporate governance so that they can also contribute meaningfully to the national economy,” said Dr Kwesiga.

AfDB has partnered with the International Trade Center to train counselors and bank lending officers in financial management to provide the service to the SMEs who will benefit from the latter’s credit facility that is being implemented by Zanaco and Investrust banks.

Commenting of the exercise, Zambia Development Agency director for micro and small enterprise division Windu Matoka said the training will improve competitiveness of the SME sector and improve their access to finance.

He said 100 companies stand to benefit from the funding of the AfDB credit facility to the SMEs.

Matoka urged other international organisations to consider developing financial and non financial products in the country.

He said the AfDB project will target women owned or managed groups in tourism, agriculture and agro-processing, construction and micro finance.

“This is exciting to ZDA as the SME sector is a key pillar in facilitating development and it has come at the right time when the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development Programme is being implemented,” said Matoka.

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It’s not newspapers that cause revolts, it’s injustice

It’s not newspapers that cause revolts, it’s injustice
By The Post
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:00 CAT

Realities do not arise in the world through someone’s whim. Revolutions, real revolutions, do not arise by the will of one man or one group. Revolutions are remedies – bitter remedies, yes. But at times revolution is the only remedy that can be applied to evils even more bitter.

The ongoing Egyptian revolution – and we are very right in calling what is going on in Egypt a revolution – is a reality in the world that cannot be ignored by anyone, including the Zambian people and their leaders.

The Egyptian revolution is already a reality for the history of the world.

The Egyptian revolution that we are today witnessing is a reality just as the people’s support of it is a reality, just as the lives that were lost in advancing and defending it are realities, just as the men and women – young and old – who were willing and are still willing to die for it are realities.

Equally, what is going on in Libya today and other parts of North Africa and indeed the Middle East are revolutions that cannot be ignored by anyone – whether one likes them or not.

Trivialising what is happening in North Africa and the Middle East, trying to reduce its importance through some misguided wishful thinking does not reduce the reality of what has happened.

We say wishful thinking because this is what Rupiah Banda was engaging in when he commented on those historically important events in the Northern hemisphere.

People have laid down their lives to make a statement, to change things for the better for themselves, for their children and their children’s children; they have died in defence of their dignity, humanity and in honour of their homelands.

These are cataclysmic events in the history of politics in the world. It is not usual for a whole region to erupt the way that North African and the Middle East have erupted. But there are lessons to be learnt.

It is an insult on the dignity and honour of those heroic men and women, young and old who have died in these revolutions unfolding in the northmost part of our continent for Rupiah to suggest that the Zambian people can be pushed by the press to emulate the pro-democracy demonstrations going on in Libya and other parts of the Middle East and what the Egyptian people have so far achieved.

It’s also sad for Rupiah to trivialise such important issues. We say this because we expect Rupiah, as a President, to watch those events very closely.

He needs to think very deeply what would cause a young person armed only with his fist to take on the might of a bullet.

What conditions exist in that part of the world that have led to such an angry revolt against the status quo?

It is cheap to think that a few newspaper articles, even many newspaper articles, can cause young people with a whole life ahead of them to jump in front of a bullet for nothing.

We can only explain this by borrowing from Fidel, we mean Fidel Castro, when he said that ideas do not generate crises and that it is crises that generate ideas.

In other words, we can apply that analogy in this way; newspaper articles do not generate crises but it crises that generate newspaper articles. We do not write things from our heads not anchored on the news taking place around us. We report what is going on and that is our duty.

It is helpful to stop and think what it is that has created the crisis that we are witnessing in North Africa. What is it that has turned the Libyan people who everyone for over 42 years thought were docile and could not rise up against Muammar Gadaffi?

What is it that made the Egyptian people, who had for over 30 years put up with Hosni Mubarak’s tyranny and sometimes fake democracy where elections are rigged all the time, rise up?

But before we look at what has caused this problem, it might help arrogant people like Rupiah to look at the spark that has lit this blaze of revolution that is engulfing North Africa and the Middle East today.

An educated young man who could not find a job in his homeland, in Tunis – the capital city of Tunisia, resorted to street vending, to selling vegetables on the street.

Insensitive government officials grabbed the man’s goods.

This is what stood between him and abject poverty, total helplessness. This is the man who represented a voiceless army of frustrated young people who could not look to their government for help.

Their government did not even allow them to demonstrate and vent their anger at the injustices that they saw.

When this man could not receive justice, he did not resort to violence against anybody, he did not burn any government property or attack anyone. He burnt himself in an act of utter helplessness and resignation to his plight.

He had nowhere to vent his anger.

All he could do was turn the anger inward. But the torch that his body lit has come to expose the injustice and unfairness that has covered a whole region if not the whole continent of Africa.

The fire from his body has been used to burn up injustices in other countries beyond the borders of his homeland of Tunisia. Today, many of us don’t know his name but we know his story.

But what is important about his story is not necessarily what he did. It is what he represents. It is that, that should make people like Rupiah stop.

The story of that Tunisian young man and, by extension the Tunisian young people, is the story of our young people here.

Many of our young people are living a hopeless life. The conditions that led that nameless young hero to do what he did exist here.

That hero is a nameless hero not because he has no name but because what he stood for, what he did is bigger than whatever name he was given or could be given.

The question that Rupiah and those that surround him should be asking is what is it that makes a person so angry at his government that he or she is ready to die rather than accept the status quo?

Those are the lessons that need to be drawn from what has happened in North Africa.

Cheap talk about how we have democracy and therefore do not need that kind of reaction is simply that, cheap talk – nonsense.

You cannot tell a person who is starving that he has eaten because he has democracy; you cannot tell a person who is drinking water from a contaminated shallow well that he is okay because he has democracy, which was delivered by Frederick Chiluba in 1991.

You cannot tell a citizen of a country where the great majority live on less than one dollar a day while those who are entrusted with the leadership of the country and the management of its resources are stealing almost everything with impunity not to emulate what the Africans who live on the Northern part of our continent are doing.

Rupiah should be serious. His arrogance won’t help him or the country.

This is a President who is presiding over a government that is prepared to ignore all the legitimate demands of our people on matters that they feel very strongly about.

As we write this comment, his government has taken a constitutional bill to Parliament that is ignoring all the principle things, the things that matter most to our people, the things they have clearly and consistently demanded. Rupiah and his friends know that our people do not want a minority government.

The 50 per cent plus 1 clause that Chiluba fraudulently removed from our constitution is something that our people have been demanding to be reinstated. But Rupiah will not listen to this.

Our people have been demanding a more credible and more representative Electoral Commission that would ensure that the results truly reflect the will of the electorate, but again Rupiah will not listen to this.

Many of our people are legitimately angry at the way their votes are disrespected.

There is a feeling among many of our people that the government is prepared to ignore them completely.

But Rupiah will do nothing to address these feelings of frustration.

We have a government that is refusing to relate with mining investors on an arms length basis to ensure that they collect all the revenue that is due to our nation and channel it to development.

Many of our people feel that there is unfair profiteering in the exploitation of our country’s natural resources. But Rupiah and his friends see no need to address this anger.

It is simmering and even boiling but they ignore it because according to them, that is what democracy means; they are the rulers and what matters is what they want.

Rupiah and his friends are underestimating the anger of our people. But when anger is coupled with frustration, no one should be surprised when we end up with an Egyptian style revolt.

Rupiah and his government have grown accustomed to ignoring the legitimate demands of our people and when they revolt, they expect them to revolt politely.

We think it’s important to look back at Rupiah’s short tenure in office and observe the number of things that have happened that show how arrogant and insensitive to public demands and basic decency this government is.

Rupiah and his friends know that our people are tired of corruption in the high places of government.

And yet it is now clear to everybody that they have no shame in embracing corruption and the corrupt.

This is what gives Chiluba the courage to stand up and tell our people that they are going to dribble them in the next election.

How can a decent government associate with such a person?

If our people revolt, will it be their fault or that of Rupiah and his arrogant friends?

Our people are still angry about Rupiah’s refusal to allow the appeal of Chiluba’s questionable acquittal.

But Rupiah sees nothing wrong with what he is doing.

He expects our people to accept this as a normal part of democracy.

Today, Rupiah’s government is working hard to try and give back to Chiluba everything he stole from our people.

As though what they have done on Chiluba is not enough insult to an already angry and frustrated population, Rupiah’s government has given its blessing to abuse of government resources and power by removing the abuse of office clause from the Anti-Corruption Commission Act.

Our people were angry about this but Rupiah did not care. Our people are not even allowed to demonstrate peacefully to express their constitutional right.

The only demonstrations that are allowed in this country are those in support of Rupiah. What is happening in Egypt is a lesson for Rupiah and those like him.

Our people are watching and learning.

You cannot stop people expressing their views in the way Rupiah did with the young people of Barotseland and expect them to accept that and glorify your government in return.

You cannot kill and maim unarmed young people demanding to exercise their freedom of expression and of assembly and expect them to love you and never fight back in defence of their rights and dignity.

The blood of those young people they spilt in Mongu will one day come to hound them.

Rupiah should listen to his own advice. He is right when he says “…governments must always listen to people.”

Rupiah’s government must learn to listen to the people.

If this is impossible, Rupiah must at least listen to this one simple advice of his, and we repeat: “…governments must always listen to people.”

It is not newspapers that cause people to revolt, it is injustice.



Don’t blame media for revolts - Kazabu

Don’t blame media for revolts - Kazabu
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

LUXON Kazabu says President Rupiah Banda should not blame the media on the revolutionary activities that have engulfed some North African countries.

Commenting on President Banda's caution that the Tunisia, Egypt and Libya uprisings should not come to Zambia, Kazabu - a former Kitwe mayor - said people were bound to react to any bad governance. He said the best way of preventing such developments is by giving people what they want.

"What is happening in North Africa is spontaneous; people are just reacting to bad governance in their respective countries. That's what happens when the populous become enchanted on issues of good governance,” Kazabu said.

“This has absolutely nothing to do with the media because when people are not happy with their government, they will not wait for the media to tell them. And that depends on what people get from their government. If people believe in what their government is giving them then they will stay quiet. But if they are not happy with things, they will always react. So it is wrong for President Banda to blame that on the media."

Kazabu said the lesson the government should learn from the North Africa press to help not push Zambians to emulate the pro-democracy demonstrations in Egypt, Libya and parts of the Middle East.

He said it was sad that Libya seemed to be heading for violence.

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We don’t rig - VJ

We don’t rig - VJ
By Staff Reporter
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

MMD does not rig elections, says Vernon Mwaanga. And Mwaanga said dismissed works and supply minister Mike Mulongoti forgot who appointed and put him in government.

During a press briefing yesterday at the party secretariat, Mwanga, who is the parliamentary chief whip, said those who claim that the MMD rigs elections should present evidence.

He wondered why organisations such as the Anti Voter Apathy were beginning to raise issues over the elections which were conducted in 1996 when they failed to present evidence when the cases went to court.

Mwaanga said those who were claiming that the MMD rigs elections should present evidence to the contrary because the MMD had always conducted free and fair polls.

He refused to comment on Frederick Chiluba’s statement that he would revive his dribbling skills, saying he was out of the country when those statements were made at the MMD card renewal exercise.

Mwaanga also said those who will not follow rules and regulations of the party will get in trouble.

“The MMD has a code of conduct and if anoyone will operate outside the constitution they will be writing a prescription for trouble, disaster. We are not an anarchist party but we’ve rules and regulations and if they are not followed they will get you in trouble,” Mwaanga said.

He said party members who were in the habit of attacking its leadership are playing in the hands of the enemy.

Mwaanga said the electoral college should reject members who have attacked fellow members and those not in good standing with the party.

“The MMD is more important than any of its members. There is no person in our party who is more important than the MMD, the party itself. We have a duty to ensure that we leave the party in a stable condition,” Mwaanga said.

He said he decided not to contest any position at the forth-coming convetion because he wanted to give an opportunity to young people to reconnect and rebrand the party to ordinary members of society.

Mwaanga said he will ensure that the party remains the most dominant in Zambia.

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I’ll cry if Sata wins - Rupiah

I’ll cry if Sata wins - Rupiah
By Chibaula Silwamba in Lumezi
Fri 25 Feb. 2011, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda says he will cry if he loses this year’s election to PF leader Michael Sata. And President Banda has said Sata is a bad-hearted person just like his ugly face.

Addressing a political rally when he commissioned the tarring of a 91-kilometre stretch of the Chipata-Lundazi road and a Zesco power substation on Wednesday, President Banda said Sata was shameless for continuing to ask Zambians to elect him president despite losing three times.

“There is no way the Zambian people will permit someone so vividly and openly argumentative, bitter, hateful of the society around him to allow him to be president,” President Banda said. “And the other day he Sata was saying, ‘Rupiah Banda will cry when he loses the elections in 2011’. I told him, ‘yes, I will cry if I lose the elections because I have got tears in my eyes’. I have never cried before but he has been crying for three times.”

President Banda said Sata was a bad man who misguided then president Frederick Chiluba in 2001 to run for a third term when in fact he knew that one could only serve as president for two five-year terms.

He said Sata was now attacking Chiluba daily because the former president did not choose him to be his successor, preferring the late Levy Mwanawasa.

“That is the bitterness that you are seeing in this man. Kuipa mtima ngati kumenso kwake mambala (This crook Sata is a bad-hearted person just like his ugly face),” President Banda said.

And President Banda misled the public that the maximum terms of office for parliamentarians and councillors were two five-year terms like the President, before one of his aides walked to the podium to guide him, after which he corrected the statement.

President Banda said the tarring of the Chipata-Lundazi Road was the first part of developing the Chipata-Lundazi-Nakonde route, which was part of the strategic development of Northern and Eastern provinces.

The contract to tar the 91-kilometre stretch at a cost of K97.7 billion and Lundazi District township roads was awarded to MMD-favoured contractor, Sable Constructions.

However, as President Banda was explaining to the public that Sable would undertake the works within two years, some people were heard murmuring saying they wanted Reubex Construction, a better contractor, which tarred the other half of the Chipata-Lundazi to carry out the works.

Following the public discontent, works and supply deputy minister Lameck Mangani walked to the podium, briefly discussing with President Banda, after which the head of state quickly changed, saying Sable had cut by half the duration of construction works.

“I was talking to my brother and colleague, Lameck Mangani, he was telling me that ‘when you say to people that this road will take two years to build, it looks like they were not happy and the contractor Sable says that ‘all I need is the support of the government, I can finish this road in one year’,” President Banda said.

And according to a source in the Ministry of Works and Supply, the delay in finishing road works unjustifiably enabled contractors make more money.

“It’s a simple trick and we know it. The more they delay the project the more money they make,” the source said. “Maybe the people now know about these things, that is why they are able to protest.”
Sable Contractors carries out almost all road construction projects in Eastern Province including part of the Great East Road from about Nyimba District to Mwami on the Zambia-Malawi border, township roads in Chipata town, Chipata-Mfuwe Road, and now part of Chipata-Lundazi Road, among others.
This has raised displeasure among some easterners and other contractors because the government seems to have exclusively reserved road projects in Eastern Province for Sable.

President Banda also said Zambians must not listen to people he purported were advocating for street protests to remove his government from power like what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and ongoing anti-Gaddafi demonstration in Libya and the Middle East.

“They are asking you to follow what is happening in Middle East but they forget, it is the other way round, that the people of the Middle East are actually emulating you the Zambians for what you did in 1991,” President Banda said. “Since 1991, we have had democratic, transparent and good peaceful elections in our country and we will do it again this year.”

President Banda said Zambians would be given the opportunity to elect their leaders from any political parties of their choice.

Earlier, unveiling a plaque at the newly constructed x-ray department and theatre facilities at the Catholic Church-run Lumezi Mission Hospital, built in the 1950s, President Banda thanked the Catholics for the help the church rendered to the government in the provision of health and other services to Zambians. He asked the mission hospital management to have nurses that could be on standby to help in provision of health services through the government’s mobile hospitals.

President Banda told Catholic Church’s Eastern Province former Vicar General, Fr Gabriel Msipu, and Lumezi mission hospital sister-in-charge Hermenegilda Mbaga that apart from the nine mobile hospitals from China, about two more would be coming in from the United States.

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Thursday, February 24, 2011

(ZIMPAPERS) New dawn for tobacco farmers

New dawn for tobacco farmers
Saturday, 19 February 2011 22:40 Agriculture
By Lovemore Chikova

TSF managing director Mr James Mutambanesango inspects tobacco bales on the first day of the selling season.

THE 2011 tobacco selling season kicked off last week with auction floors being strict on procedures that are expected to transform transactions for the better. But the emphasis on the procedures seems to have upset farmers, some of whom have been caught unawares and end up spending many days at the auction floors.

The Tobacco Sales Floor (TSF) will accept tobacco only from farmers who would have registered with the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) as growers before they bring their crop to the market.

The farmers would be expected to have submitted estimates before the selling season started and are supposed to book their tobacco for sale before delivering it.

Some farmers said last week that the information about the rules had not reached them before they came to the auction floor.

A Shamva farmer, Mr Mapepa Chari, who had brought his crop to the TSF, said he was stunned to be told by authorities that he could not deliver before following the procedure.

“I have no choice but to leave my crop outside the auction floor so that I can go and register with the TIMB,” he said.

“This will mean an extra day while I am here because I cannot take the tobacco back to Shamva as I will not afford the huge transport costs.”

Mr Chari said not all farmers were informed about the rules, which have a huge bearing on whether or not their tobacco would be auctioned.

But he welcomed the price of US$4,20 per kg on the opening day, which he hoped would continue to firm.

Most farmers who sold their crop on the first day on Wednesday last week also commended the “high” price.

They are hopeful that it will go up as the quality of the tobacco delivered improves with time.

Farmers are bringing in leaves from the bottom of the tobacco plant, which are generally considered to be of low quality.

Very soon they will be harvesting leaves from the middle of the plant, which are of better quality. But the best leaves are those at the top of the plant which are normally brought in at the end of the season.

It is the quality of the tobacco leaf that essentially determines the price.
Another farmer, Mr Esau Gaza, said as a new entrant in tobacco farming, he lacked enough information about how to market the crop.

“This is my first time to bring tobacco to the auction floor and I did not know where to get the information,” he said.

“Since I have heard about the issue, I will follow the procedure so that I am able to sell the tobacco.”

On the first day of the auction, all the 1 500 registered bales had been delivered at the TSF, with the sales going on smoothly.

The second auction floor, the Boka Tobacco Floor (BTF), was expected to open a few days later as there were some renovations and refurbishments going on. Farmers are expected to have a wider choice once the BTF opens.

TSF managing director Mr James Mutambane-sango said they were optimistic the season would run smoothly.

He said the decentralisation of the registration of the tobacco growers would enable more farmers to smoothly bring tobacco for auction.

“We expected the delivery of tobacco to firm,” said Mr Mutambanesango.
“The prices have started on a high note and they may improve as the season progresses.”

Mr Mutambanesango said farmers who did not follow procedures always had problems at the auction floors.

“The marketing process should be orderly,” he said.

“As TSL we are decentralising to ensure that our staff is able to communicate with all farmers on what is required. The future of the season is very bright and we are more than ready to handle more tobacco.”

There were problems last year when there were high prices at the start of the selling season, but they suddenly fell, much to the chagrin of the farmers.

Analysts say the problem was caused by the fact that some farmers did not submit estimates of their harvest before the selling season started.

Merchants had budgeted for the declared 77 million kilograms, only to discover along the line that there was more tobacco coming.

The season ended up recording 123 million kilograms worth US$347,8 million.
After the 77 million kilograms were sold, the prices had to go down as merchants failed to get new lines of credit to mop up the reminder.

It is estimated this year that more than 150 million kilograms of the golden leaf will pass through the auction floors, with a potential of raising nearly US$400 million.

At least 60 percent of the crop is expected to be sold under contract, with the reminder being sold under individual sales.

A new development for this season is that the tobacco will be sold without local companies graded as Class B buyers.

The Class B buyers were suspended after it was discovered that they connived with Class A buyers last year to ensure the farmers sold tobacco at lower prices.

Class A buyers are international companies that usually buy the tobacco for export.
Class B buyers would influence Class A buyers to reject the tobacco for different reasons.

The Class B buyers would then buy the tobacco, which they would re-sell to Class A buyers at a profit.

The local buyers were accused of bringing chaos to the marketing season because of their actions. TIMB chief executive officer Dr Andrew Matibiri said the local buyers were short-changing growers.

“The Class B buyers will not be operating for the 2011 selling season after taking into account the views of the farmers and those of the stakeholders,” he said.
The farmers welcomed the dismissal of the local buyers and hoped that the selling season will proceed without a hitch.

Some of the farmers said they had since changed their behaviour after they were accused of being reckless with their social lives in the past.

A number of farmers in the past lost their cash to thieves after they moved around with large sums of money. Others engaged prostitutes who ended up stealing from them after they got drunk.

“I think most of the farmers have learnt their lessons,” said a farmer from Mvurwi, Mr Benedict Svota.

“This time around, the farmers are prepared to bank their money as they are now aware that robbers will take advantage of them.”

Areas around the tobacco auction floors are expected to explode into life as service providers throng them to sell wares to the farmers.

But many are hopeful that the golden leaf’s glitter would be restored as sanity returns to the marketing season.

Zimbabwe is among the top tobacco producing countries that include Brazil and Malawi.
The country is expected to do well in the tobacco growing industry as more small-scale farmers turn to the crop, after being empowered by the land reform programme.

- The Sunday Mail



(ZIMPAPERS) Patriots, revolutionaries, liberators

Patriots, revolutionaries, liberators
Sunday, 20 February 2011 01:25 Top Stories

THE 21st February Movement was born out of a desire to inspire Zimbabwe’s youths to emulate President Mugabe’s revered attributes. As the President celebrates his birthday tomorrow and joins youths at the 21st February Movement celebrations in Harare later in the week, our reporter Itai Mazire chronicles the critical role young people played in the liberation of the country.

WHENEVER people talk about Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle, many are inclined to think of the cadres who were stationed in Mozambique and Zambia during this period as the only liberators who fought for the freedom of the country.

But the truth, of course, is that the liberation struggle was also fought from within Rhodesia by brave young men and women. These young people played an important role.
During the colonial era, youths dotted across the country fought from within Rhodesia’s racist belly to topple the Smith regime by operating underground regiments.

Fearless young cadres in Harare, Mutare, Gweru and Bulawayo, among other major centres, never ventured outside the country’s borders, but still managed to influence the course of history by willingly turning their homes into mini-army bases.
The late Cde Danny Garise was among the heroes of this underground battle.

His death in the United Kingdom on December 23 last year evoked emotional reflection.
Media, Information and Publicity Minister Cde Webster Shamu battled hard to hold back tears as he spoke at Cde Garise’s burial in Mhondoro on January 8.

“Dick Dan (Cde Garise), a fearless warrior whom we forgot to mention in our history and his cadres, was key to the benefits we enjoy today as a country,” he said as it drizzled over the Garise homestead.

“They were young. He was in Mbare — an astute organiser, a centra point for the recruitment of cadres for military training outside the country.”

Most of the mourners only knew Cde Garise as a former teacher who had been strict during his years in service.

Yet the minister’s eulogy opened their eyes to a new view of the greater service that destiny had in store for him. Such was the importance of Cde Garise and his counterparts.

A shrewd campaigner and mobilising agent, he was a vital component of the Zanu-PF propaganda machinery from the days of nationalism right up to the peak of the liberation struggle.

The role of urban youths under the Youth League dates back to September 1962 when Zapu was banned. The leadership then resolved not to form another political party but to wage the struggle from underground.

It was only a matter of time before the Youth League metamorphosed into a close unit of guerillas. And so it did.

The youths announced their militancy as they confronted the settler regime. They also ensured locals did not collaborate with the enemy. In Harare, the youth undertook to subvert the colonial regime with the late Cde Enos Chikowore “General Chedu” as their leader.

Cde Garise’s operations in Harare were also unmistakable. His Mbare home was a springboard for more than 70 cadres who left the capital to join colleagues across the border. The late Brigadier-General Paul Armstrong Gunda was among them.

Cde Garise mobilised cadres around the Mwana Wevhu Campaign and organised many political meetings and rallies in and around Harare as the people rose against the oppressive regime.

The likes of Cde Shamu, the late Cde Ephraim Masawi, as well as other urban youths, operated from Mbare and Highfield where they spearheaded the downfall of the white regime by engaging in operations deemed “subversive and acts of terrorism” by the settlers.

In cow-horn formation, the youths rapidly destabilised the regime using urban guerilla warfare tactics that helped win the war. They burned down tobacco fields while other selected groups forged the movement passes enabling new recruits to train at camps outside the country.

The passes were also used to facilitate the easy movement of cadres who would attack the white regime’s key assets.

The biggest operation must have been the bombing of fuel storage tanks in Southerton. The flame from the blast took five days to douse.

In Mutare, youths also bombed bridges to hinder the flow of settler troops into Mozambique.

Their counterparts in places like Bulawayo and Beitbridge sabotaged railway infrastructure to block the then apartheid South Africa’s aid from reaching the regime.

In rural areas, other members of the league became informants for their brothers and sisters across the borders about the movements of enemy forces.

After independence in 1980, the Youth League became the maturing phase of the 21st February Movement which was formed in 1986.

The movement caters for children between the ages of five and 14 with its key activities centring on education, culture and environment conservation.

Members of the movement automatically graduate into the league upon reaching the age of 15. However, each member is also free to be part of the league.

Today the Youth League has continued to pursue the course charted by its predecessors.

It has pursued programmes of patriotism, revolutionary commitment and the defence of the interests of the grassroots against foreign and domestic exploitation.

Cde Shamu implored youths countrywide to pursue this line of patriotism.

“As a country, we are now worried about the behaviour that has been inculcated into most of our youths across the country by the West and its allies,” he said.

“The role that was played by the youths who fought on the war front and from within was key.

“Loyalty to your leaders brings harmony to the nation and the youths should always bear in mind that another generation of their type shed blood in Nyadzonia and Chimoio to ensure they walked freely in this country.”-The Sunday Mail

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