Saturday, March 05, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Survey shows collapse in support for MDC-T

COMMENT - Reuters mentions that Freedom House is "a U.S.-based research body" - so is the CIA. In fact, Freedom House is closely linked to the CIA, and they are not some independent polling organisation. Former CIA director James Woolsey used to be their chairman.

Survey shows collapse in support for MDC-T
by Reuters
05/03/2011 00:00:00

ZIMBABWEANS want a new election this year, despite violence it could unleash, while support for the opposition group that entered into power sharing with President Robert Mugabe has crumbled, a survey shows.

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, in power since 1980, was forced into a power-sharing government with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai after disputed elections in 2008.

"Three quarters of Zimbabweans fear election campaigning will unleash higher levels of violence," Freedom House, a U.S.-based research body, found in results released on Friday.

"Despite this, (the) majority of Zimbabweans want elections in 2011 as a preferred alternative to continuing the government of national unity."

The findings also show that support for the once-popular MDC had dropped to 38 percent last year from 55 percent in 2009 while ZANU-PF's popularity increased to 17 percent in 2010 from 12 percent in 2009.

Freedom House's survey was conducted in Zimbabwe's 10 provinces in November and December last year among 1,200 people and follows a similar study conducted in 2009.

Mugabe, 87, wants elections this year but the MDC has warned that this will devastate the economy which has only started to recover from the hyper-inflation of two years ago. Mugabe blames sanctions from the West for the country's woes.

Analysts have warned that early elections could spark clashes between the political rivals, as they did during the previous election campaign, and say the situation on the ground is not conducive for polls.

"The infrastructure for elections is not in place. If we don't have elections in mid- or end- October, it is likely that elections will be deferred to after March 2012," said Eldred Masunungure from Zimbabwe's Mass Public Opinion Survey.
Masunungure said the MDC had lost ground because its senior members who are now part of the government paid more attention to matters of state than to building up the party.

The European Union and United States have imposed a travel ban and financial sanctions on Mugabe and his ZANU-PF allies over suspected human rights abuses spanning more than a decade, as well as for election fraud.

Mugabe has threatened to take over foreign firms and a to boycott products in retaliation for the sanctions.

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NAPSA, the new Zamtrop

NAPSA, the new Zamtrop
By The Post
Sat 05 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT

If a foreign investor can be granted 5,000 hectares of land for nothing, why should pension contributors to NAPSA be made to pay US $15 million for 1,500 hectares of vacant land?

When we informed the nation about the rotten US $15 million NAPSA and MMD fund-raising land deal being championed by Robinson Zulu’s Meanwood, we were called all sorts of names.

When we questioned the morality of a state-run pension scheme buying land from a private entity at exorbitant prices, NAPSA tried to dismiss our observations as nothing.

They wanted the public to believe that what we were raising was not important.

As for Rupiah Banda, he did not even have the courage to address the serious issue that had arisen.

Instead he chose to attack us. NAPSA took out full-page adverts in this newspaper and in the two state-owned but government-controlled newspapers to denounce our exposure of their criminal scheme.

One of the issues that we raised and continue to raise is that it does not make sense for NAPSA as a state-run but public-funded pension scheme to buy land the way that an individual would purchase land.

To us, the behaviour of NAPSA clearly demonstrated that there is something criminal about this transaction.

It is no wonder that even people in Rupiah’s own MMD are raising concerns about this blatant abuse of state power in the name of financing politics.

We say in the name of financing politics because it is clearly understood even by those closest to Rupiah that these so-called fund-raising schemes for the party are actually money-making ventures for individuals.

It did not take very long after we questioned the logic of NAPSA buying land from Robinson before the same government, through one of its agencies, proudly announced that it had granted 5,000 hectares of land for nothing to a Saudi Arabian firm or company called Menafea Holdings.

This grant of land to Menafea was published in the latest issue of the Zambia Development Agency spotlight publication.

The state-owned but government-controlled Zambia Daily Mail carried this story prominently in their Wednesday, March 2, 2011 edition at page four.

It was not us who published this story but it was the state-owned media.

And yet the very next day, the same media was being used to denounce us and call us all sorts of names for questioning the NAPSA transaction.

NAPSA director general Stanley Phiri tried to put up a brave face in defending what could not be defended.

Their Meanwood transaction is nothing but naked theft of public funds.

We continue to ask: why should NAPSA have to buy land to build houses when companies coming from as far as Saudi Arabia are being given huge tracts of land for nothing?

We know that when people are caught doing what is wrong, they try to attack those who are exposing their wrongdoing instead of attending to their failures.

We will not be surprised if somebody says that the land which has been given to the Saudi Arabian company is not prime land but is land in some remote corner of the country in North Western Province.

But before these defenders of what is wrong get carried away, we want to remind them to look again at what Zambia Development Agency has announced.

Zambia Development Agency did not only announce the grant of 5,000 hectares to this Saudi Arabian company; they have also said that this Saudi Arabian company has entered an agreement to construct 2,000 housing units in the Lusaka South multi facility economic zone.

How much is Menafea Holdings paying for this prime land in Lusaka to construct 2,000 housing units?

It would be interesting to see the kind of agreement. Certainly, they are not paying Zambia Development Agency anything near US $15 million which is being paid to Robinson by NAPSA, if they are paying anything at all.

Rupiah and his minions should not think that our people are not able to read what is happening to their country.

It is said that you can fool some people sometimes but you cannot fool all the people all the times.

It is clear that the schemes to steal government money are many and varied. Most of them are being passed in the name of legitimate business transactions.

The tender processes within government and parastatal sectors have been cornered and rendered irrelevant in the protection of public resources. Rupiah’s clique is doing whatever they like.

We know for a fact that Robinson’s rotten deal is not the only dirty single-sourced MMD fund-raising transaction at NAPSA.

As we said, it is not the first time that public resources have been abused in this way. Frederick Chiluba did the same.

Maybe that is why he is Rupiah’s consultant.

And probably this is the reason why Rupiah had to do everything possible to ensure that Chiluba was let free in all his corruption cases and allowed to keep his loot.

Rupiah and his friends don’t seem to see anything wrong in what Chiluba did because they are doing the same things.

To them, power is there for personal enrichment, for abusing public resources.

What they are doing are no longer hidden things. It requires a little intelligence – if a little is all one has – to realise that the NAPSA land scam cannot be justified in any sense, legal or otherwise because it simply doesn’t make sense even to the least reasoning person.

These people have become so courageous in their stealing that they have started mistaking daylight for night.

They think nobody is seeing their criminal schemes when what they are doing is clear for all to see.

The problem with impunity is that those who engage in abuse of their offices start to believe that they are entitled to the benefits that they are extracting criminally.

They forget that there are many people who are watching what they are doing.

They also forget that not everybody is happy with what they are doing. People simply don’t like criminals.

What is worse is that the money they are stealing right now belongs to pensioners, to everyone who makes a monthly contribution to NAPSA.

They are simply stealing our people’s monthly contributions to NAPSA.

We are still waiting for Phiri to answer some simple questions we gave him yesterday.

But whilst he is working on that homework, we want him to also tell the nation: when and how, if so at all, did NAPSA ask Lusaka City Council or Chongwe District Council for land?

But also since some Saudi Arabian company is being given land to develop 2,000 housing units in Lusaka South through Zambia Development Agency, has NAPSA ever approached the Zambia Development Agency to be treated the same way?

We don’t expect any honest answers on these questions from Phiri, but we are asking them anyway.

We say this because what Phiri and his masters are involved in are not honest schemes, they are dishonest deals that cannot be explained with truth but can only be defended with lies, half-truths and calumny.

From the way Phiri is behaving, it seems he is a very bad student of history.

If he was a good student of history, he would have known that Chiluba and his tandem of thieves tried the kind of schemes they are doing.

As we said the other day, security was a preferred cover for their criminal scheme. Xavier Chungu, Chiluba’s disgraced chief of intelligence became a big contractor to government, claiming to install all sorts of security gadgets to safeguard government installations when in fact they were just stealing government money.

This is the scam that this newspaper exposed when we exposed the Zamtrop account.

There might be some variations in the execution, but it seems to us that NAPSA is another Zamtrop.

It is a can of worms waiting to be fully exposed.

But greediness blinds people from reality and impairs their capacity to learn from other people’s experiences.

The Lozis say micomibi isize ng’wanyi kwa litindi, meaning greediness got the eagle entangled.

Pomposity and arrogance makes people believe that they are better than the thieves before them.

Those were caught because they were not smart, ‘but we are smart, we have followed all the regulations’.

The last question for Phiri’s homework is this: if a Saudi Arabian company can be given 5,000 hectares and huge tracts of land to build 2,000 houses for nothing, why not NAPSA? Phiri should be careful.

What he is doing is what was happening in Zamtrop and we are right to conclude that NAPSA is the new Zamtrop!

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Govt should have given land to NAPSA in the same manner they gave a Saudi firm - Milupi

Govt should have given land to NAPSA in the same manner they gave a Saudi firm - Milupi
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 05 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE government should have given land to NAPSA in the same manner they did with a Saudi firm Menafea Holdings for the investment of a pineapple plant, says Charles Milupi.

Commenting on the giving out of 5000 hectares of land to Menafea Holdings in North-Western Province by the government and the selling of land to NAPSA by Meanwood Property Development Limited at a cost of US $15 million (K75 billion), Milupi said the deal did not appear clean and smelt of corruption.

Milupi who is Alliance for Democracy and Development (ADD) president said it was criminal for the government to make the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) to buy land from Meanwood Property Development Limited at such an exorbitant price as doing so was robbing the poor retirees.

“The ministries of local government and lands have got so much land, why not give it to NAPSA which is a quasi-government institution? These are the inconsistencies we see in the administration of this government, it is clear that the country has been taken over by people who don't believe in sacred things such as land. And the finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane has the audacity to say this is not a form of colonisation, let him go to Saudi Arabia and ask for this land to see if it will be given to him,” Milupi said.

Milupi said the decision by the government would rob Zambians of their vital God-given resource of land.

“To make NAPSA buy this land is criminal, irresponsible and robbing the poor retirees because NAPSA looks after investment for workers,” Milupi said.

Milupi said Zambia already had serious issues of land from the colonial times in places like Southern Province where the indigenous people were pushed to mountains.

“If the government continues to dish out land like this, we are likely to see what happened in Zimbabwe happening here. In future, the off-spring of these people whose land is being taken away from, willrise up to demand the land. At the moment foreigners are benefiting more from investment than the locals,” he said.

He said it was even debatable if people's lives in places like North-Western Province would be improved following this investment.

Milupi said there was need for the government to also concession land to local investors so that they could also benefit.

MMD members recently expressed concern over what they termed “scandalous” transactions at NAPSA, which President Rupiah Banda wants to use to raise campaign funds for the MMD.

The sources said President Banda was using his friends to mobilise funds from parastatals for campaigns, but the money was not getting to the party.

The sources said Meanwood Property Development Limited has sold land to NAPSA at a cost of US $15 million (K75 billion).

The sources said that with the influence of President Banda, NAPSA had signed a contract with Meanwood to buy land at an exorbitant price, although the firm did not have immediate plans to use it.

And according to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA)'s latest issue of Spotlight, a Saudi firm Menafea Holdings intends to invest US $125 million in the 5,000 hectares of land it has been given in the North-Western Province in building 2,000 housing units in Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (MFEZ).

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MMD is now melting - Sata

MMD is now melting - Sata
By George Chellah in Kasama and Chibaula Silwamba in Mporokoso
Sat 05 Mar. 2011, 04:02 CAT

MMD is now melting, says Michael Sata. And Sata says the hour has come for the MMD to go. During a special progranmme on Kasama's Radio Mano yesterday, the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) leader said the MMD was involved in a lot of electoral malpractices in Mporokoso, but still lost the election.

“The MMD is now melting. Even if another by-election came up today, kuyabebele,” Sata said.

“After the Mporokoso by-election, we now know our strengths and weaknesses as a party.”

He thanked the people of Northern Province and Mporokoso district in particular, for the unity exhibited during the by-election.

“We even caught some women who were involved in malpractices and we handed them over to the police,” he said.

Sata urged Zambians to wake up ahead of the fourth coming general election.

“If we did not unite in Mporokoso, we would have failed. The MMD had deployed a government Land Cruiser per command post during the campaigns. I even saw one Land Cruiser with former local government minister in the Chiluba administration and former Northern Province MMD chairman Bernard Mpundu. They also killed buffaloes to give voters, mealie-meal, cooking oil and sugar,” Sata said.

Sata said the money President Banda spent in Mporokoso if properly utilised could have worked in the development of the road infrastructure in the Province.

“I have passed through Chambishi market, you can feel sorry because the neglect is as if the country is at war,” he said.

Sata said President Banda was destroying the MMD himself.

He said President Banda was selective in dealing with plunderers.

“Katele Kalumba has been thrown in the mud. According to Rupiah Banda there are even better plunderers to teach him dribbling tactics, but a thief is a thief,” he said.

He said President Banda and his political consultant Frederick Chiluba have no shame.

“If in 1991 Kaunda had wanted to dribble, would MMD have ruled? We know why he is close to Rupiah Banda. I've stayed in prison myself, he is afraid of going to jail with his wife. People now know that if you don't have 300 pairs of shoes or 150 suits, you can't be a consultant for MMD,” Sata said.

“Chiluba is trying to please Rupiah Banda. We have defeated them, both in Kawambwa and Samfya ward elections. So, we are waiting to hear what lies they will now tell Rupiah Banda about Luapula.”

And Sata urged people to go out and register as voters before the deadline.

“Zambians need to prepare themselves for change now. If people didn't prepare themselves for change in Mporokoso and Luapula we would not have won.”

On the latest Auditor General's report, Sata said people responsible for that mismanagement of public resources would have to account once there's a change of government.

“They won't manage to conceal the evidence as they leave office. Even the dribbler will be around, just wait. Batila 'don't kubeba'. Our plan is for resources to go to the poor,' Sata said.

“Michael Kaingu community development minister will account for the money he is distributing to women's clubs. We are just remaining with a few months. If not, those women he is giving money will explain, it is Kaingu and his permanent secretary who will account for the money.”

Sata also thanked the state media for the negative propaganda against him.

“Tell Mr Chanda Chimba that his message is going down very well with the people. And I want to thank him for advertising for me free of charge. He is proving to be a very effective campaign manager for me in 2011. In fact he should ask ZNBC Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation to double the frequency for the entire country to watch the programme, because even in Mporokoso they watch ZNBC; and people have acted in this manner because of the free publicity I'm enjoying,” he said.

When asked whether he was ready to be challenged at the PF general conference, Sata who began by praising party secretary general Wynter Kabimba's contribution to the democratisation process in the party said once PF is done with provincial conferences they would hold a general conference by the end of May.

“Nobody is stopping anybody from challenging me at the general conference. Let them come and challenge me because we have to select new leaders of the party including the president, since at the moment we are all interim leaders.”

And there was jubilation in Kasama as early as 06:00 hours yesterday when word filtered through that PF had grabbed the Mporokoso seat from MMD.

Scores of residents danced and cheered on the streets of Kasama as motorists honked for about an hour.

Meanwhile an elated Maynard Misapa said his victory as Mporokoso Constituency MP was an indication that Sata would win the presidential elections.

In an interview yesterday shortly after being declared winner of Thursday's parliamentary by-election following his polled 2, 844 votes against MMD candidate Dominic Musonda's 2, 217, Misapa said this was the year for the PF leader Sata to be in State House.

Misapa, who was MMD Mporokoso parliamentarian and sports deputy minister before he defected to the PF about three months ago, and his victory on an opposition party ticket signified that the PF's popularity was growing in Northern Province and countrywide.

“Mr Sata is definitely going to win and it will be a landslide victory. Come September 2011 or whenever the elections will be held, Michael Sata will be in State House. Everything has time, I am sure we are going to have a thunderous victory when presidential elections are held,” Misapa said.

He said despite the ruling MMD abusing public resources and distributing goods in the campaigns, they still lost, meaning that people did not want MMD.

He said he was happy with his victory which he attributed to his party's support.

“I am very happy indeed. I thank God for this. I am really humbled. I thank all the people who came to this place. Without them I wouldn't have done this,” Misapa said. “As PF, we are going to do wonders in this country; we are going to bring development which people have been crying for, for a long time since independence in 1964. We are really going to do it with Michael Sata.” When contacted for a comment, MMD candidate Dominic Musonda responded: “I will call you back, I am in a meeting.”

Returning officer, Felix Kaluba, announced that UNIP's candidate Anthony Nkonde got 71 votes, NAREP's Joyce Mukando got 435, Musonda 2217 and Misapa 2844 while 47 ballot papers were rejected as invalid.

“I, therefore, declare that the said Misapa Maynard to be this day duly elected as member of parliament for Mporokoso constituency,” announced Kaluba, re-igniting jubilation among PF supporters that gathered at the tally centre, singing and dancing, throughout the night.

Bonnie Tembo, executive director of Anti Voter Apathy Project (AVAP) which had election monitors in all the 33 polling stations, said the Mporokoso by-election outcome was very indicative of 2011 elections and had set precedence in the manner Zambians organise and conduct elections, and campaign.

“It shows that people can't be cheated anymore,” said Tembo. Fr Patrick Chibuye, director of Caritas Zambia for Mpika Diocese, the Catholic Church's wing involved in voter education, said the MMD had lost the Mporokoso elections because it had imposed a candidate on the people.

“The imposition of candidates is very costly and leads to losing elections. It's very undemocratic to impose a candidate on people. This is a lesson for all political parties,” said Fr Chibuye. “This will happen in 2011 where people want to impose themselves as sole candidates.” Several people - young and old - on foot, bicycles and in vehicles went round the market and townships dancing, ululating and chanting pro-PF slogans after Misapa was declared winner. And MMD acting national secretary Chembe Nyangu on Thursday, the voting day, went to Mporokoso Police station where he threatened cops after they temporarily detained suspected MMD cadres that were allegedly involved in electoral malpractices and dishing out money to would-be voters.

Nyangu demanded for the release of MMD cadres, who were later freed.

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DPP disapproves private prosecution in Total case

DPP disapproves private prosecution in Total case
By Maluba Jere
Sat 05 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT

THE Director of Public Prosecutions has re-jected an application by private prosecutors to co-prosecute a case where four former Total Zambia employees are in court for 13 counts of theft, theft by servant and fraudulent false accounting.

According to a letter from DPP Chalwe Mchenga, the private prosecutors' application had not been approved although he the DPP had instructed the Divisional Prosecutions Officer to allow them interact with the public prosecutor handling the matter.

“This will enable you facilitate and get involved in the pre-trial preparation of the case with the prosecutor,” said Mchenga.

In this case, Claire Mulwanda Mwale, Julius Phiri, Edward Musonda and Fredrick Nyirenda all pleaded not guilty to all the 13 counts involving huge sums of money.
When the case came up before Lusaka senior resident magistrate David Simusamba a representative from the private law firm informed the court that the complainant in the matter had engaged the law firm to co-prosecute the case.

But the defence sought the court’s guidance on the application saying they failed to discern Total Zambia’s interest to engage the private prosecutor saying the matter was in able hands of the state prosecutors.

Magistrate Simusamba told the parties that he would relax the straight rules regarding private prosecutors intending to join a matter.

However, magistrate Simusamba told the private prosecutor to sit in and observe the proceedings but that she would not have a role to play in the case on that day. It is alleged that Mwale, 25, who told the court that she is a student, is in the first count charged with fraudulent false accounting contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

It is alleged that Mwale on September 3, 2009 being employed by Total Zambia Limited as a clerk, with intent to defraud, made false entries for 25,000 litres of unleaded petrol and another 10, 000 litres purporting to show that the same had been issued and delivered to Alick Nkhata Total Filling Station when in fact not.

In counts, two, three and four, Mwale is alleged to have issued and delivered thousands of litres of petrol and gas oil worth millions to several filling stations in Lusaka when in fact not.

The matter comes up on March 24, 2011.



FRA bemoans challenges in selling maize

FRA bemoans challenges in selling maize
By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Sat 05 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE Food Reserve Agency has admitted that the biggest loser from the 2009/2010 bumper harvest is the Treasury.

During a discussion forum organised by Economics Association of Zambia, FRA marketing manager Lazarous Mawere said the government had spent more money in handling the bumper harvest than what was used to produce the grain.

He said instead of using a budget of K600 billion, the agency spent about K1.14 trillion in managing the harvest.

Mawere said the government had been forced to buy maize at K65,000 per 50 kilogramme bag and sell at lower prices in order to help the farmers who produced the crop.

“The Treasury has taken a knock because we are buying high and selling low. The other problem was our storage facilities. We don't have enough facilities and the private sector was charging high fees to rent their sheds,” he said.

Mawere said the FRA still had about 880,000 metric tonnes of maize in their sheds which was supposed to be sold.

He said the agency was facing difficulties to find a market for the maize where they could sell at a profit.

“If Zambia has surplus, chances are that everybody else in the region has got maize enough or a surplus. Exceptions will be countries where there are problems, like political problems especially Zimbabwe and Congo DR and those were the potential markets we were looking at. Otherwise everyone else has maize,” Mawere said.

He said the agency was getting more worried because there was another anticipated bumper harvest coming while there were still huge tonnes of maize in the sheds.

Mawere said the government would lose more in handling the next bumper harvest if the issues of storage were not addressed.

He however revealed that the government had engaged some private entities to build more sheds that would accommodate the anticipated bumper harvest.

Mawere said most of the sheds would be complete in three months’ time.

“We need a long-term solution to this problem. We can't keep on building and building for the maize that we can't sell,” said Mawere.

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Friday, March 04, 2011

(HERALD) Committee seeks legal framework for SMEs

Committee seeks legal framework for SMEs
Thursday, 03 March 2011 19:23
Business Reporter

PARLIAMENTARIANS have called for the creation of a legal framework that supports the growth of the small to medium enterprises sector. The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on SMEs said laws relating to the sector were "too fragmented".

They said there was need to have them harmonised for the sector to obtain substantial benefits. Committee chairperson, Luveve Member of House of Assembly, Mr Reggie Moyo, said this when he presented its report on the status of the SMEs in Parliament last week.

He said stakeholders had told them during meetings that the sector had been affected by laws such as the Regional and Town Planning Act, Land Use Act and Environmental Management Act.

"In one instance, small-scale miners were being hampered in their operations by stringent regulations imposed by EMA," he said in his report.

"The committee was told by the permanent secretary that the legal and regulatory environment can only improve with the support of other line ministries.

"Secondly, the committee noted with concern that the SME sector was operating in an environment without any supporting policy or Act peculiar to it."

The committee recommended that local authorities should consult traders on issues pertaining to rates and lease agreements so as to improve relations between council and traders.

The committee also urged the parent ministry to conduct a study on the linkages of SMEs and put them into clusters.

"This will enable the ministry to develop strategies aimed at promoting the growth of SMEs.

"There is need to create institutions that relate to the operation of each sector of the SMEs," he said.

The committee noted that creating clusters for SMEs would help key stakeholders to channel resources or ‘trouble shoot' challenges affecting a sector," he said.
The committee also urged Zesa to charge SMEs

tariffs commensurate with the size of growth of business.

Municipalities were also urged to establish departments specifically dealing with SMEs.

It was recommended that a financial institution be established which would focus solely on the funding of SMEs.

"There is need to restructure the country's financing and banking structures to explicitly acknowledge the structural shift in the economy where SMEs play a pivotal role in the economic growth," he said.



(HERALD) Land reform: Debunking Western distortions

Land reform: Debunking Western distortions
Thursday, 03 March 2011 20:57
By Gregory Elich

FOR years, western journalists have castigated Zimbabwe's land reform programme.
From afar, they pronounced land reform a failure for having brought about the total collapse of agriculture and plunging the nation into chronic food insecurity.
Redistributed land, we are continually told, went to cronies with political connections, while ordinary people were almost entirely excluded from the process.

Farmland went to ruin because of the incompetence of the new owners. These were simple messages, drilled into the minds of the western public through repetition. For western reporters, certain that they owned the truth, emotion substituted for evidence.

Those of a more curious frame of mind, however, were left to wonder what conditions were like in the field, where no reporter bothered to venture.

Now this gaping lacuna has been filled by two recent studies. In a report issued just over a year ago, the African Institute for Agrarian Studies (AIAS) details the results of its extensive field investigations conducted in six districts from 2005 to 2006.

The other field study was done in Masvingo province beginning in 2006 by the Livelihoods after Land Reform project, with multinational assistance, including that of the Great Britain-based Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

What both studies found was that the facts on the ground were at variance with popular western perceptions. As the IDS study noted, "Those of us exposed regularly to the international, especially British, media found it hard to match what we heard on the TV and radio and read in the newspapers with what we were finding on the ground".

There were a number of misperceptions, which in large part the team felt were due to "a simple lack of solid, field-level data". Although it is true that there has been such a lack, this factor alone does not account for the inaccuracy of western news reports.

The ideological factor is paramount, as always. For that reason, even though concrete information is now available, the tone of western reports is unlikely to change. It can never be stressed enough that Zimbabwe inherited a highly unequal land ownership pattern from apartheid Rhodesia.

By 2002, 70 percent of the richest farmland still remained in the hands of just 4 500 white commercial farmers, focused mainly on producing crops for export.

Meanwhile, one million indigenous families eked out a bare existence, crowded into an arid region of limited suitability for agriculture, known as the "communal" areas. Fast-track land reform redistributed much of the commercial farmland to some 170 000 families.

Whatever its faults in execution, the process has undeniably created a significantly more equitable distribution of land than what prevailed before.

That is not the story the western audience hears. Instead, we are told that fast track land reform was a "land grab" by "cronies," bringing about a more unequal distribution of land than what had preceded it.

Yet the surveys conducted by the AIAS and the IDS found that most beneficiaries of land reform were ordinary people, whereas those who might be categorised as "elites" constituted a small minority. According to the IDS, this minority amounted to less than five percent.

But it does leave open the question of how one determines who an "elite" is and who is not. That one works for the Government does not in itself mean that one is an "elite" or a "crony," nor that one has necessarily ignored the application process and simply bullied one's way into being granted land. Such cases did occur, but they hardly constitute the typical experience of resettled farmers.

"That some of the beneficiaries are ‘elites' is undisputed,"notes the AIAS.
"What is in dispute is their character and the extent of their benefit. The tendency to generalise the notion of an ‘elite' leaves unexplained the social content of the concept, and assumes that it lacks differentiation in a dynamic process of class formation."

Government job holders, war veterans and Zanu-PF members are lumped together with high ranking officials as "elites," or "cronies".

It is assumed that all bypassed the land application process in order to seize land.
The AIAS points out that the empirical evidence shows "a more differentiated pattern". This finding is confirmed by the IDS team: "The composition of land reform beneficiaries is highly varied. The claim that the land reform was dominated by politically well-connected ‘cronies' is simply untrue.

"Nor are war veterans a dominant group. Although many took leadership roles during the land invasions, the majority came from rural backgrounds where they had been farming in the communal areas.

"While some civil servants and business people are members of the elite, many are not. Teachers, extension workers and small-scale entrepreneurs have joined the land reform, adding new skills and capacities. And farm workers too have been important beneficiaries."

There were two resettlement schemes implemented during fast track land reform: the A1 model, in which small farms intended to benefit the landless or disadvantaged were allocated, and the A2 model, which were larger farms that were expected to be more immediately productive.

The AIAS found that most of the beneficiaries of land reform came from the communal areas, about 62 percent. Other ordinary people accounted for the majority of the remaining percentage.

Applicants for A2 farms "were required to submit a business development plan and a proof of capacity to finance farm operations".

For this reason urban residents unsurprisingly accounted for a far higher percentage of applicants for A2 farms than they did for A1 farms. Still, even in the A2 farms they rank second to communal farmers.

Despite a lack of infrastructure, beneficiaries were quick to take up farming operations. For instance, nearly 72 percent of those allocated land in 2002, the peak year of land resettlement, began operations that same year.

This, despite resistance by evicted commercial landowners, and the refusal of many of them to vacate the land.

By 2003, the percentage of these resettled farmers that had begun farming had risen to almost 96 percent, a far cry from the popular image of land going to waste.

Agricultural productivity, we are so often told, has been dismal since the launch of fast track land reform. The not always unstated implication of western reports is that the land would have been best left in the hands of the few wealthy commercial landowners, as only they were capable of producing bountiful outputs.

That view is a manifestation of the free market philosophy that is so comforting to the entitled: that the greatest good should go to the privileged few.

From that vantage point, the many who suffer the consequences of an extreme and narrow concentration of wealth are deemed unworthy of consideration.

There has indeed been a decline in agricultural production in recent years, although for varied and complex reasons.

Certainly one of the key factors responsible for the decline is that Zimbabwe's entire economy has shrunk by around 40 percent since the year 2000.

By abandoning the destructive western-initiated structural adjustment program, and then by accelerating land reform efforts in order to achieve a more equitable distribution of land, Zimbabwe triggered western hostility.

Neo-liberal sensitivities were offended, and punishment was not long in coming.
By late 2001, president George W Bush signed into law the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which instructed US officials in international financial institutions to "oppose and vote against any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the government of Zimbabwe".

The US wields enormous influence in the decisions of the IMF, World Bank and other international financial institutions. Great Britain and other western countries were of like mind, and Zimbabwe found itself shut out of the kind of normal credit operations that are essential for any modern economy to operate.

Western meddling did not stop there, and the net effect was to cause the Zimbabwean economy to take a nosedive, a trend which unavoidably had an adverse impact on agricultural operations.

Agriculture does not exist in isolation. In myriad ways it is interrelated to the general economy, and it cannot remain unperturbed by a deep economic downturn.

For all of their expressed concern for Zimbabwe's agricultural productivity, western leaders must bear a major portion of the responsibility for its decline.

But then, that is what sanctions are intended to do: sow economic ruin in the target nation.

Another not insignificant factor in the decline of crop production is that much of the region in which Zimbabwe is situated is especially susceptible to the effects of climate change, and over the last decade there has been a sharp increase in the frequency of major drought conditions. According to the AIAS, "the period from 2001-2005 was characterised by poor rainfall distribution, the worst in the post-independence period".

As this chart illustrates, rainfall and agricultural production in Zimbabwe track quite closely. Maize is measured in the chart, as this is the staple crop in Zimbabwe. (Source: Sam Moyo presentation - "Zimbabwe's Agrarian Reform and Prospects for Recovery".

The drought in the 2007-8 agricultural season was particularly nasty, and national maize output plummeted to 470 000 metric tonnes.

Yet in the following season, the nation enjoyed good rainfall and as a result more than two and a half times as much maize was produced.

It is impossible to consider the correlation between rainfall and agricultural output and then continue, as western reports do, insist on its irrelevance.

In Masvingo province, the area the IDS studied, the "production since settlement, for all farmers outside the irrigated plots, has been highly dependent on the pattern of rainfall, and the droughts in many of the seasons since 2000 had a huge impact on people's ability to establish themselves.

"By contrast, the good rainfall years resulted in substantial harvests and were vitally important in the pattern of accumulation, allowing for the purchase of new inputs, equipment and livestock".

Western media have distorted the pre-land reform picture as well. Contrary to the rosy picture painted of the apartheid-era inherited land ownership pattern, most commercial farms focused on export crops such as tobacco, while the bulk of food for domestic use was grown by communal farmers.

In more than half of the years in the two decades preceding fast track land reform, Zimbabwe needed to import food. It is simply untrue that the import of food is a new development in Zimbabwe's history.

It is inaccurate to attribute a drop in agricultural production entirely to resettled farmers. The "pattern of low yields based on inputs' constraints," the AIAS reports, "also affected communal area farmers . . . Indeed, a large proportion of the marketed maize and cotton in recent years is found to have originated from the newly resettled areas".

The evidence in the AIAS survey, as well as according to the views of farmers and extension workers, "is that yields have declined mainly because of the shortages of (and failure to access) inputs" by new farmers due to inadequate credit and personal savings.

[Personal savings in Zimbabwe Dollars would have been destroyed by the hyperinflation caused by ZDERA. - MrK]

"Yields were also affected by frequent bouts of inclement weather."

The shortage of draft power, too, "is a key constraint to timely and adequate ploughing".

Historically, the success of any land reform effort depends on the support new farmers are given. Adequate agricultural inputs are essential.

Unfortunately, Zimbabwe has had to deal with some daunting challenges in that regard.
The AIAS found that less than half of the farmers it surveyed relied on inorganic fertiliser, production of which has sharply declined in the nation.

"Fertiliser and agro-chemicals use have been most affected because they require some imported content yet foreign currency resources have been scarce."

And the supply of foreign currency is low due to western sanctions. As the IDS study points out, other factors include "frequent plant and machinery breakdowns and power cuts, and the reduced capacity of the National Railways of Zimbabwe, leading to increased costs of moving raw materials from mines and ports by road".

Sanctions have reduced Zimbabwe's access to spare parts to keep machinery running, and the poor supply of foreign currency limits the amount of electrical power that can be imported from neighbouring countries.

Furthermore, the AIAS notes, "the majority of the new farmers are resource-constrained and thus cannot afford to meet their input requirements from the market even when the inputs are available".

Prior to the fast track land reform process, large commercial farms received strong credit line support from both state and private financial institutions, while nearly all smallholders lacked such support.

After fast track land reform, most of the private financial companies withdrew altogether from offering credit to farmers.

Only two percent of resettled farmers "benefited from private sector crop input schemes and none were beneficiaries for livestock programmes".

Financial support for the burgeoning number of farmers fell to the state, which was ill equipped to meet the need, with its financial resources stretched to the breaking point by economic sanctions.

As a result, only a small percentage of resettled farmers were able to benefit from adequate credit support, compelling most of them to rely on their own savings to manage.

International NGOs for the most part refused to provide any services to resettled farmers, and focused their efforts elsewhere.

Relying for their funding on western governments hostile to the land reform process, NGOs were loath to support the beneficiaries of a process they preferred to see fail. Less than three percent of resettled farmers in the AIAS study sample received extension support from NGOs.

"Input assistance from NGOs was even lower with 1,7 percent of the beneficiaries having received such support." AIAS interviews with NGO officials revealed that the organisations were opposed to operating in resettled areas because they regarded land reform as illegitimate.

These humanitarian organisations, it seems, were much happier with the old system, in which the many suffered hunger and privation while the wealthy few thrived.

And yet, despite all obstacles, many resettled farmers have managed to prosper. According to the IDS study, "impressive investments have been made in clearing the land, in livestock, in equipment, in transport and in housing".

Indeed, the IDS argues, "the scale of investment carried out by people themselves, and without significant support from Government or aid agencies, is substantial, and provides firm foundations for the future".

"Cattle holdings have a direct impact on crop production", notes the IDS study, and "the value of draft power, transport and manure is substantial".

In the IDS study sample, herd sizes in the resettled areas have grown, while households without cattle have declined.

One of the primary goals of land reform in Zimbabwe was poverty alleviation, a deeply unpopular concept in the US and Great Britain, but one that still means something in much of the rest of the world.

While not every farmer is succeeding, the majority of resettled farmers have experienced real change in their lives.

As one farmer explained, "We are happier here at the resettlement.There is more land, plots are larger and there is no overcrowding. Last season I got very good yields, and filled two granaries with sorghum.

"Following resettlement, there is now a future for my family, and my sons will have land".

Another man had "little land to farm" prior to resettlement, and relied for help from his relatives in order to survive.

He and his wife have managed to clear four hectares on their new farm. "Before I had no cattle", he said, "but now I own five , all purchased through farming. I have also managed to buy a plough".

[For some context. A 250kg beef cow can be sold in the US for $1250,-. In theory, 5 cows would represent a cash value of $6250,-. A major difference in a country where most people earn $1 per day or $365 per year. - MrK]

In a turnaround, no longer needing support from his family, it is he who helps family members back in the communal areas during periods of drought, and sends cash to pay for his young brothers' school fees.

"The new land has transformed our lives", he remarks. According to another farmer, "Life has changed remarkably for me because I have more land and can produce more than I used to".

These are typical comments from resettled farmers.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Chihuri fingers Khupe in violence

Chihuri fingers Khupe in violence
Super-charged ... Chihuri gesticulates while talking to MPs on Thursday
by Eddie Chihwape
03/03/2011 00:00:00

POLICE chief Augustine Chihuri has sensationally accused Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe, a cabinet minister and four parliamentarians of fomenting violence around the country.

A supercharged Chihuri told the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Home Affairs that Khupe and her colleague in the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were behind most reported incidents of violence around the country.

“It’s wrong for you to call me before your committee. You, the politicians of MDC are causing all the trouble we are having. The political party you are leading is causing problems to the public,” a finger wagging Chihuri said after hearing accusations from MPs that the Zimbabwe Republic Police was partisanly serving Zanu PF interests.

“The police are only reacting to the crimes that you would have committed and it is wrong for you to accuse us of siding with one political party.”

The Police Commissioner, a former freedom fighter, has publicly stated that he supports President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

He said police had recorded 121 cases of violence against MDC supporters compared to “just over 20” blamed on Zanu PF.

The police chief named Khupe, Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone, deputy minister of Youth and Indigenisation Tongai Matutu and three MPs - Douglas Mwonozra, Paul Madzore and Rogers Tazviona – as perpetrators of violence.

Mwonzora and Tazviona are languishing in remand prison following their arrests separately on violence charges.

Makone is in charge of the police but last month had to abruptly cut short her visit to Mbare, where she was assessing the damages wrought by violence blamed on Zanu PF sympathisers. She told journalists travelling with her that she had to rush business “before Zanu PF supporters come for us.”

Chihuri absolved police of any wrongdoing and poured cold water on claims that the ZRP was applying the law selectively. Instead, he blamed the MDC MPs and their supporters for instigating most violence in their constituencies.

The committee chairman Madzore, whom Chihuri fingered in the alleged violence, had a heated exchange with the police chief.

“Commissioner Chihuri let us not personalise issues. We want you to give the details to us on what has happened in Harare and not for you to be pointing fingers at us - the MDC’s MP who are victims of the political violence,” said Madzore.

Madzore challenged Chihuri to explain the pre-June 2008 presidential run-off violence and re-emergence of “militia bases” in Harare’s townships.

I have come to talk about political violence that is happening in the country and the issue you now want to talk about is being handled by the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation,” said Chihuri.

“I don’t know about the torture camps you are referring to.”

Accused ... Deputy Prime Minister Khupe at a Harare hotel with Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara in Harare on Thursday

Civic and pro-democracy groups have slammed a wave of recent arrests and rising incidents of political violence which they blame on Zanu PF. Only on Wednesday, Prime Minister Tsvangirai expressed frustration at what he sees as police partisanship.

“State security agents such as the police, the army and the Central Intelligence Organisation have become part of a cabal that is at the centre of a well-orchestrated partisan operation to instil fear in the people of Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai said.

“The arrest of Munyaradzi Gwisai and 44 others, Hon Douglas Mwonzora and 23 others in Nyanga, and many other innocent villagers and activists across the country is at the centre of impunity, violence and the selective application of the law which has conspired to poison the political atmosphere in the country.”

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(ALLAFRICA) Mozambique: Calls for Renegotiating Mega-Projects

COMMENT - Neoliberalism is under fire in Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia.

Mozambique: Calls for Renegotiating Mega-Projects
31 January 2011

Maputo — The Governor of the Bank of Mozambique, Ernesto Gove, has claimed that the economic and social conditions now exist in Mozambique for the government to renegotiate contracts signed with some of the mega-projects that have come to dominate the economy.

Speaking on Friday at the closing session of a meeting of the Bank's Consultative Council in Mozambique, Gove said "In investment everybody has to win, otherwise social tensions are created".

Cited by the independent television station STV, he stressed he was not suggesting that a law be passed one day and amended on the following day. "That's not what I'm saying", he declared. "But the conditions do exist for us to rethink what we did 10 or 15 years ago".

The early mega-projects, notably the Mozal aluminium smelter on the outskirts of Maputo, and the processing of natural gas in Inhambane province by the South African petro-chemical giant, Sasol, have come under frequent criticisms for the generous tax exemptions granted by the government.

The government's reply has been that, in the negotiations (mainly with the company BHP-Billiton) to set up Mozal, the fiscal exemptions were a sine qua non. Without them, the smelter would not have been established, and the country required such a flagship project in order to announce to the world that it was a safe destination for investment.

Up until now, government officials have tended to dismiss suggestions that the time has come to renegotiate the Mozal and Sasol contracts. Gove has broken with that apparent consensus, suggesting that the time has come to remove the tax exemptions.

He also called for "assessing the participation by Mozambicans in the mega-projects". Some of them exploited non-renewable resources (such as natural gas and coal) "and their exploitation must take account of future generations".

Gove was caustic about a model of regional integration that simply meant importing more goods from South Africa. He noted that some South African companies had set up establishments in Mozambique that simply exist to sell South African goods.

"Regional integration that should not imply that we are the ones being integrated", he said. "Regional integration must be a process in which everybody wins. We have to see where we have competitive advantages and bet on that sector".

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(ANSA AFRICA) Bulk of mining taxes comes from workers

Bulk of mining taxes comes from workers
15 February 2011
The Citizen

Dar es Salaam: Despite claims of a boom in Tanzania's mining industry, the bulk of taxes paid to the government comprises deductions from the workers' wages and not levies on extracted minerals, it has been revealed.At least 54.5 per cent of the taxes collected from mining, gas and oil companies in the country is being paid by ordinary workers in form of various taxes, according to a new report released here yesterday by the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI).

According to the report, the government depends more on labour tax than production by mining companies to boost revenue from the sector.

Commenting on the report, a development analyst criticised the government for concentrating on attracting investment in mining instead of planning the sector's development. "We have established that minerals, gas and oil are not contributing as required to the national income," said Mr Bubelwa Kaiza, executive director of Concern for Development Initiatives in Africa (ForDIA.

He told a mining stakeholders' meeting here yesterday that most of the income attributed to the sector was collected as pay-as-you-earn (PAYE) taxation on wages.

Researchers have established that most of foreign investors in the sector were not contributing effectively to the government revenue, Mr Kaiza asserted.

According to the TEITI report, apart from labour taxes which account for over 50 per cent of receipts from the mining sector, stamp duty contributes a mere 0.3 per cent, mining lease 0.9 per cent and import duty adds 34 per cent. "There are many investment attractions in the mining sector than the profit which is expected to be generated from projects. We are paying more than we get," said Mr Kaiza.

For nearly 50 years of national independence there has been no strong presence of local investors in the exploration and exploitation of minerals, gas and oil deposits in the country. "Investors are always coming from abroad because Tanzanians have neither the technology nor the required capital to run such enterprises which are capital intensive," Mr Kaiza observed.

In his opinion, Tanzania's failure to capitalize on its abundant mineral wealth was due to lack of strong mining policies and information on the part of the government while the population generally was not enlightened about mining issues.

In 2009 Tanzania became EITI candidate country, a preliminary stage towards membership.

Mr Kaiza hailed the report as a very important tool for the development of the mining sector saying "it provides a direction on where the sector is heading to."

The report notes as an outstanding issue the fact that mining companies recorded huge amounts of money paid to the government while the treasury had no evidence to verify receipt of the payments.

"The report shows that no single cent has been paid to the treasury by these mining companies," said Mr Kaiza, suggesting that the government should order investors to deposit their cash in local banks in order to boost the country's economic development.

While the government claimed it received a paltry amount of money, he said it has been established that the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) and the ministry of Energy and Minerals have been collecting taxes from mining, gas and oil companies.

In July 2010 the MSG called on all major mining, oil and gas companies to submit reports on all payments that they made to the Government and its agencies. The companies obliged accordingly within a two-week deadline.

It was revealed last week that over Sh24 billion which mining companies claim to have paid in taxes could not be traced on government books. An audit conducted by Hart Nurse Ltd confirmed that the Government acknowledged receipt of less amount of money than what the companies claimed they had actually paid.

Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) of the Tanzania Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (TEITI) contracted Hart Nurse Ltd to examine the payments made by the major mining and gas operating companies to the government for the period of July 2008 -June 2009. Chaired by retired Judge Mark Bomani, TEITI operates as a local affiliate of global Extraction Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI). Hart group has established that the extractive companies paid about Sh89 billion to the government, which, in turn, reported to have received Sh64 billion only.

At the launch of the report, Mr Bomani said that copies of the document would be handed to relevant authorities so that the discrepancy could be investigated and ironed out.

In addition, Mr Bomani said the report would be submitted to the Controller and Auditor General's office for further evaluation to establish the causes of such differences in revenues.

But, he said that the reconciler was also making efforts to find out the cause of discrepancy. "After further assessment we will establish whether there were cases of improper accounting, conversion from US dollars into shillings or misuse of the money collected," he added.

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Enforce taxation on mines - World Bank

Enforce taxation on mines - World Bank
By Mutale Kapekele
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:00 CAT

WORLD Bank senior economist Julio Revilla says Zambia needs to improve its technical capacity to enforce taxation on the mines. And the World Bank has launched a new support programme for Africa which will focus on improving the continent's competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience as well as governance and public sector capacity.

Responding to questions from journalists at the launch of the Bank's strategy for Africa, Revilla said the major economic problem Zambia had was growth led by a single sector.

He said there was need to redistribute copper resources through taxation to help other sectors develop.

Revilla said to do that, Zambia needed to improve its technical capacity to enforce taxation.

Currently, the multi-billion dollar rich miming sector only contributes about nine per cent to the Gross Domestic Product and less than three per cent to the country's tax revenue.

He also advised the country to convince investors in the mining sector to re-invest their profits locally.
“It is happening all over the world (investors externalizing profits).

The (mining) sector can contribute more to the country if the government convinces them to reinvest their profits within the country,” said Revilla.

“The revenue should be translated to other sectors such as tourism that could grow with increased funding. The Bank is working with the government to improve revenue collection from the copper sector. The country should improve its business environment which will make the country more attractive and both foreign and domestic investors will invest their money here.”

And World Bank vice-president for Africa Region Obiageli Ezekwesili yesterday announced the new assistance strategy for Africa with layout in three main business lines.

"We are excited about Africa's future. Today's Africa is exemplified by the many success stories and stronger economic growth being driven by the dynamism of its people and economies. We therefore used the opportunity of our new Africa Strategy to listen, learn and define how we could better support the continent's aspiration as it maintains the momentum of economic reforms over the next decade,” Ezekwesili said during a press briefing.

"In implementing the Strategy, the World Bank Group shall remain fruitfully engaged with citizens as they demand greater participation in the benefits of improved economic performance, deploy our partnerships, knowledge and finance to work with governments, private sector, civil society and other partners and help countries to speed up the attainment of the MDGs, expand economic prosperity and reduce poverty."

The plan, titled “Africa's Future and the World Bank's Support to it”, shifts from a more general focus on seeking economic stability and sound fundamentals to emphasising the need for attention in three key areas of competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience as well as governance and increasing public sector capacity.

The Bank says it will also work directly with African governments to help them improve their systems and capacity to deliver basic services and manage accounts.

Significantly, the new strategy reverses the order of importance of the Bank's instruments to support Africa.

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Explain $15m NAPSA deal - Kapijimpanga

COMMENT - The MMD is raiding the pension fund to raise campaign financing.

Explain $15m NAPSA deal - Kapijimpanga
By Patson Chilemba
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:02 CAT

NAPSA should explain to Zambians why they single-sourced K75 billion worth of land from Meanwood, says Judith Kapijimpanga. And a senior MMD official yesterday said NAPSA director general Stanley Phiri should not pretend that he could do such a big transaction without State House knowing about it.

Commenting on National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA)'s claim that President Rupiah Banda did not influence the sale of 1,500 acres of land at an exorbitant price of US $15 million to Meanwood Properties Development Limited without following tender procedures, Kapijimpanga - who is former lands minister - said she smelt a rat in the transaction.

“The board NAPSA board should tell us whose money is kept there, why they single-sourced and why we didn't see tenders in the press. I do smell a rat, especially that there was single-sourcing and I didn't see any tenders in the press,” she said.

Kapijimpanga said NAPSA should explain how they arrived at buying land from Meanwood when they could have gotten it at a cheaper price from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing or Ministry of Lands.

“And being a statutory institution, it wouldn't have bought the land as such. It would have paid statutory fees like lodgment fees, survey fees, especially that it is a quasi government institution,” she said.

Kapijimpanga said Zambian workers should demand accountability from NAPSA on how they were using the people's hard-earned contributions to the institution.

“The people want to know what is happening to their money, especially that they NAPSA have said that they don't have immediate use for the land,” said Kapijimpanga.

She said the NAPSA board must resign should they fail to give a proper explanation on the transaction.

Some senior MMD officials recently expressed concern over what they termed as “scandalous” transactions at NAPSA
, which President Banda is allegedly using to raise campaign funds.

And commenting on Phiri's claim that the transaction was merely commercial and above board, the MMD official said Phiri was pretending.

“If State House didn't know about this deal, Mr Phiri wouldn't have been in that job,” the official said. “And if State House didn't want Mr Robinson Zulu to be paid US $15 million for that land, he wouldn't have received such money. In short, what I am saying is that this is President Banda's deal, an MMD fund-raising deal.

“Our complaint is very simple. These people are doing all these things in the name of the party but we are not seeing benefits to the party. Instead, we are just making ourselves unpopular with the public who are angry about such transactions. People were beginning to forget about RP Capital and Mobile Hospital scandals but now we are bringing NAPSA.”

The official complained that there was too much money being received on behalf of the MMD that was not getting to the party.

“Our cadres on the ground are struggling to carry out party programmes because we are told there is no money and yet money is flowing in the party everyday,” the official said. “Mr Phiri knows what he has done. He knows that this deal stinks. That is why he is fighting so hard.”

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Zambia now has more sources to borrow from - Musokotwane

Zambia now has more sources to borrow from - Musokotwane
By Bright Mukwasa
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

FINANCE minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane says Zambia now has wider international sources to borrow from after getting a credit rating. Dr Musokotwane (right) said the ‘B+’ credit rating by Fitch Ratings would also help to attract more international investors as it will act as an investment reference point.

In an interview, Dr Musokotwane said the rating could have been largely triggered by the stable political and social environment obtaining.

“It’s a good investment reference point. It helps, because even those investors that did not know about our investment climate will be interested to look at our markets,” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said the rating also gave the country a good position in terms of accessing borrowings.

“Now we are in a position to go on the market and borrow money. We can go to actual investors and borrow, not only the IMF and World Bank,” he said.

He said because of the rating, the country was likely to witness a surge in investment interests from global investors.

Dr Musokotwane said with the current rating, the government would now issue the US $500million euro bond.

“It’s a requirement, yes!” he said.

Dr Musokotwane said Standard & Poors and Moodys are also expected to announce ratings soon.

Fitch’s Sovereign Group director Veronica Kalema said: “The ratings reflect the marked improvement in Zambia’s economic performance since 2003 driven by improved macroeconomic stability, economic liberalisation, rising private investment and production in the mining sector, and more recently, a strong agriculture performance.”

Zambia’s real GDP growth has averaged 6.3 per cent since 2006 in line with the ‘B’ median five-year growth average and accelerated to 7.1 per cent in 2010.

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Greed in govt has taken corruption to higher levels - Scott

Greed in govt has taken corruption to higher levels - Scott
By Brina Manenga
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE high levels of greed and misuse of power in government has taken corruption to higher heights, says Dr Guy Scott. In an interview, Dr Scott, who is PF vice-president, said it was unfortunate that the government was full of people who only wanted to fatten their pockets.

“The levels of corruption are higher now than they were during the one party state. There are so many people who want to feed themselves without thinking about the ordinary people,” he said.

“There is too much greed because most people are thinking of making money before they leave power. They only think of themselves and that needs to change. That is why there is need for a new government that will change this type of governing.”

Dr Scott said electoral corruption was at its worst levels.

“The abuse of government powers to get votes is something that we have heard of and it should be stopped because it is illegal. People are using their powers to buy votes from people. The electorate should be careful because these people have money and they will buy their votes,” he said.

Dr Scott said Zambia had the ability to fighting corruption but that it depended on the type of leadership that was governing the country.

He said it was unfortunate that people with divergent views were regarded as enemies of the government.

“This type of treatment was there during the one party state. We thought that it would come to an end when the MMD came into power but it has continued,” said Dr Scott.

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Elect Rupiah at own risk, warns Hatontola

Elect Rupiah at own risk, warns Hatontola
By Bright Mukwasa
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIANS should vote for Rupiah Banda at their own risk, says a South African-based business consultant. In an interview, Patrick Hatontola said President Banda, if re-elected, would further destroy democracy.

He said President Banda had chosen to pay a deaf ear to the demands of the Zambian people, among them the re-introduction of the windfall tax on the mines.

“Had Rupiah been true to his conscience, he could not be seeking re-election following his pathetic record in all major sectors. Rupiah Banda has reduced Zambia from a land of work and joy into a sea of tears,” Hatontola said.

“The blood of the killed innocent Mongu youths is crying on the ground; the youths are crying for jobs. The nation is crying for functional hospitals and not mobile clinics.”

Hatontola said the buying of mobile hospitals was another clear case of going against the demands of the people.

He said history would record President Banda as a national liability and not a former head of state.
Hatontola said it is wrong that Zambians should keep paying for what he termed President Banda’s irresponsible debt borrowed to buy mobile hospitals.

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Don’t allow Chiluba to have upper hand in politics - Rev M’bao

Don’t allow Chiluba to have upper hand in politics - Rev M’bao
By Misheck Wangwe
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIANS should not allow Frederick Chiluba to take an upper hand in the country’s politics, says Reverend Richard M’bao.

In an interview, Rev M’bao, who is the chairman of the Pastors’ Forum for Eastern and Southern Africa, said the recent statement attributed to former president Chiluba that he would use his dribbling tactics to ensure that the MMD wins elections should not be taken kindly.

Rev M’bao said the conduct of Chiluba did not befit what was expected of a former head of state.

“Former president Chiluba has an obligation to sensitise Zambians especially young ones on the importance of democracy. He has a right to belong to a political party of his choice, but above all give moral guidance to the nation.

But it seems he has lost credibility and his active partisan politics is a matter of survival for him. This is dangerous for Zambia’s democracy especially in the election year,” he said.
Rev M’bao said politics of manipulation should not be tolerated.

He said Chiluba was expected to act as a true statesman because he was respected in countries like Congo DR where he played a role in restoring peace and tranquility during his tenure as president of Zambia.

Rev M’bao said Chiluba would only restore his integrity as former head of state if he embarked on a reconciliation process with Zambians who felt injured because of the rampant abuse of public funds the country experienced when he was Republican president.

Meanwhile, Rev M’bao said the Zambian government and the people who support Chiluba risked losing credibility because there was no logical conclusion of his plunder cases.
He said the refusal by the government to appeal his corruption cases would never restore Chiluba’s integrity among Zambians.

Rev M’bao said the suspension of two UK-based lawyers over their involvement in plunder of Zambia’s national resources should be a great lesson to the government and the judiciary.

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It’s media’s duty to expose wrongdoing - Kabanda

It’s media’s duty to expose wrongdoing - Kabanda
By Ernest Chanda
Thu 03 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

The Post should not be blamed for exposing evils in society, says Simon Kabanda. Reacting to President Rupiah Banda's accusation that the newspaper sets the agenda for media institutions in the country, Kabanda, who is Citizens Forum executive secretary, said it was the duty of every newspaper to expose wrongdoing.

He said it was wrong for President Banda to accuse the newspaper wrongly instead of addressing the issues the newspaper had been raising.

“Why is it that every time The Post exposes a wrong in this country, the paper is blamed by the government? Not too long ago over Finance Bank, The Post was blamed. Instead of admitting that the government had mishandled the Finance Bank issue, our finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane blamed The Post. This is not right,” Kabanda said.

He said if government leaders did not want to be exposed, they should live above board. Kabanda said only those doing wrong things should be afraid of exposure.

“In my view it is the government leaders themselves who are setting the agenda through the wrong things they do. And it is the duty of every media institution to expose to the public whatever is wrong in society. So far as members of the public are concerned, we are happy with what The Post is doing. As for the government, let them avoid making wrong decisions and things will be okay for them,” said Kabanda.

Addressing the media at Lusaka's City Airport before departure for Mporokoso yesterday, President Banda accused The Post of setting the agenda for other media institutions.

The accusation followed his special assistant for press and public relations Dickson Jere's concern over a question from a journalist who wanted President Banda's reaction to Wednesday's lead story in The Post, which exposed a fund-raising scam involving the government's use of the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) in a land acquisition transaction involving about US$15 million.

As President Banda was answering the question, Jere chipped in and called for what he described forward looking questions instead of mere reactions.

As he continued his explanation President Banda said The Post was not the only newspaper available in the country.

“And also they are setting your (other media) agenda. Why every day are you following The Post as if it's the only newspaper here? It's like you are encouraging scandalising other people also,” said President Banda.

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Thursday, March 03, 2011

(STICKY) (HERALD) Business speaks out against sanctions

Business speaks out against sanctions
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:56
By Tendai Mugabe and Tichaona Zindoga

ILLEGAL Western sanctions are hurting the economy with many local firms unable to market their products in the United States of America and Europe, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president Mr Joseph Kanyekanye has said.

In a solidarity message before signing the Anti-Sanctions Petition in Harare yesterday, Mr Kanyekanye said the embargo had nothi-ng to do with human rights abuses as clai-med by the West.

He cited examples of such Western firms as Tesco that had refused to buy farm produce from Zimbabwe.

The sanctions, he said, denied Zimbabwean companies access to lines of credit from multi-lateral lending institutions.

"I have come voluntarily to say no to sanctions. It is part of our 2010 resolutions where more than 300 business people said sanctions are not appropriate for Zimbabwe.

"We believe that sanctions have nothing to do with the human rights situation obtaining in the country. We have a situation where we have ZDERA, which we are having problems with as the business community.

"This law empowers the US Secretary for the Treasury to direct any US executive director sitting on international financial institutions to vote against extension of loans to Zimbabwe and cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by Zimbabwe," he said.

Mr Kanyekanye urged the political leadership to stop politicking and denounce the embargo.

"As Zimbabweans, we must fight the san-ctions and as CZI we had already taken a position a year ago because they have cau-sed unnecessary disunity in the country," he said.

The CZI president said the sanctions are illegal at international law because the Uni-ted Nations did not ratify them.

Vice President John Nkomo expressed dismay over the absence of the two MDC formations, which are signatories to the Glo-bal Political Agreement, at the launch say-ing: "Some GPA signatories did not come. This means they are pro-sanctions.
"During the struggle for independence we had such characters, but that did not derail the liberation struggle."

He said justice was on Zimbabwe's side as the country was being punished for expressing dominion over its God-given resources.

"We shall prosper and all we want is to control our resources. We refuse to be glorified messengers, but owners of our resou-rces."

VP Nkomo said political freedom, which Zimbabwe attained in 1980, needed to be consolidated by economic independence.

He said the anti-sanctions campaign was the first step towards busting the illegal embargo.

The campaign's success, he pointed out, rested on national unity.

Visiting Namibian Minister of Regional and Local Development, Mr Jerry Ekandjo, said Zimbabwe was being punished for re-possessing its land.

"We add our voice to unconditional lifting of the sanctions and we are going to launch the Anti-Sanctions Campaign in Namibia in solidarity with our comrades in Zimbabwe," he said.

Chiefs Council president chief Fortune Charumbira added: "Everyone across the political divide is suffering from these illegal sanctions. And as traditional chiefs we are saying they must go in their totality."

Bishop Trevor Manhanga threw the church's weight behind the campaign.

"We are here to repudiate the myth that sanctions are targeted on selected members of our country.

"Whatever punitive measures on one of us are sanctions against us all.

"Sanctions on (General Constantine) Chiwenga are sanctions on us all because he is our general."

African Apostolic Church Archbishop Paul Mwazha's contribution was: "Sanctions are anti-human and if the whites really love us they would not have imposed sanctions on us. I say Africa forward and backwards never."

Founder of United Fellowship International Pastor Emmanuel Makandiwa said no God-fearing person would support sanctions since they affect God's children and his Chu-rch all of which operate and reside in the country.

Zimbabwe Farmers' Union president Mr Silas Hungwe said sanctions hurt agriculture and must be "removed unconditionally because they are hindering our farming operations".

In his closing remarks, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya said: "Indeed these sanctions are not targeted on the leadership, they are comprehensive and affect all Zimbabweans.

"They are evil, racist . . . they are a crime against the grain of all civilised conduct - they must go.

"Those who have boycotted this milestone launch, obviously per instruction of their masters, have seriously exposed themselves as men and women of no consequence."

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(HERALD) The people have spoken

The people have spoken
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 20:56
By Sydney Kawadza

PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday launched the National Anti-Sanctions Petition Campaign as Zimbabwe steps up its fight against the illegal Western embargo.

Britain and its allies imposed the sanctions after Government acquired land owned by a few white commercial far-mers and redistributed it to some 300 000 black families.
In the National Anti-Sanctions Petition Campaign, the Go-vernment seeks more than two million signatures from Zimbabweans opposed to the sanctions.

People append their names, signatures and identification numbers to register their protest to the West and to demand an immediate end to the widely-discredited embargo.

The campaign will be conducted at district and provincial level while an Internet-based offensive to incorporate Zimbabweans in the Diaspora will also be rolled out.

While no date has been set for the conclusion of the campaign, the petitions will be collated and the final figure submitted to Sadc. The Government will then ask Sadc for a resolution illustrating how the generality of Zimbabweans opposes the sanctions.

Sadc, which has already condemned the embargo, will then be asked to take that resolution to the African Union, which feels the same way about the sanctions.
The AU is in turn expected to then speak with one voice on the matter at the United Nations.

The petitions can also be used as a legal basis for Zimbabweans to sue countries that have imposed the illegal sanctions.

Such legal action can be taken up in both the US and EU.

The petition is an affirmation by Zimbabweans that they are opposed to sanctions, that they are not targeted and that they are illegal.

Zanu-PF and the two MDC formations voluntarily concurred in Article IV of the Global Political Agreement to fight the embargo.

The parties, which form the inclusive Government, ag-reed that "all forms of measures and sanctions against Zimbabwe be lifted in order to facilitate a sustainable solution to the challenges that are currently facing Zimbabwe".

However, MDC-T leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai reneged on this commitment yesterday even though he was scheduled to be among the first people to sign the petition.

Instead, he chose to address the media at his Strathaven home where he dismissed the national anti-sanctions campaign as a Zanu-PF programme.

The petition bears the Government of Zimbabwe coat of arms and is State-sponsored.
Addressing thousands of Zimbabweans at the launch at the Harare Exhibition Park's open car park, the President said Zimbabwe was mulling several options in its fight against the illegal sanctions.

The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces hailed the business community, farmers' organisations, churches and tradi-tional leaders for backing the campaign.

"Tinoziva kuti pfungwa dzedu ranga riri bararamhanya asi tinoda kudziumba kuti dzive pamwechete.

"Tigodzisunda zvino riri bumbiro repfungwa dzevanhu varikuti masanctions hatimade, tinoaramba. Pasi nawo!"

He thanked Sadc and the AU for backing Zimbabwe, but said more needed to be done to oppose the sanctions.

This, President Mugabe said, included taking over the 400 British companies operating in Zimbabwe.

"Tichiti kana vacho varikuchera vane migodhi vachingotuta mari yedu ichibuda kunze?
"Kwete! Izvo ndozvandakati kwete."

President Mugabe said the time had come for Zimbabwe to take drastic measures against companies whose home governments were needlessly punishing Zimbabwe.

He said the indigenisation programme would target such entities.

"Ndikati VaKasukuwere indigenisation and empowerment should start naivavo, makambani iwawo, we must take them over.

"Hapana chatinonyara!"

The President said Zimbabwe could also stop importing from countries that had imposed sanctions.

"Kana tichiziva kuti ava pane zvatanga tichitenga, zvingave zvidyiwa nezvimwe, tisati tatora tinokwanisa kutora action yekuramba, boycotting their products."

He urged British banks like Barclays and Standard Chartered to join the fight against the illegal sanctions if they were truly interested in operating in Zimbabwe.
The British, President Mugabe said, had acknowledged that their banks here were profitable for them.

"But for all that, Britain thanks us by imposing sanctions on us."

He said Britain and its allies wanted to pillage Zimbabwe's natural resources while at the same time making ordinary people suffer - something that would no longer be tolerated.

"Zvicherwa zviripasi zvikomborero. Zvimwe ndinotenda Mwari nemidzimu yedu.
"Dai zvakawanikwa izvozvo nguva iyoyo, madiamond iwayo aya, oh, hondo, Chimurenga chainge chakatitorera nguva ndefu ndefu kwakauya masoja nemasoja kuno.
"But Mwari akazviwanza izvozvo. Neplatinum yanga isati yawanikwa. Saka tinofanira kutenda Mwari kuti zvimwe zvakanga zvakavanzwa."

President Mugabe called for unity in the fight against the illegal sanctions.
"Vasingade havade nyika yavo and munenge muchivao-nawo. Isu tiri venyika isisu. Takazvipira kufira ivhu iri."

He said many people had died, were injured or had their lives disrupted in the quest for total national liberation and these sacrifices should not be in vain.

"Tinoda vanoti tazvipira, nyika yauya zvino tiitonge. Tive vene isu, vayo.
"Tibate basa aya seedu, tizvipe isu macampany.

"Tipinde mumakambani vana vedu vakafunda vatitungamire. Titi ndisu vana bhasi kwete kungoramba tichiti yes sir, yes sir.

"Muchingonzi mabhoyi mabhoyi. Ngatimboita kuti ivo vaiye vachisevenzera isu.
"We must become masters of our destiny, which means we must be owners of our country, our resources, companies that we form and that we hope we can run. Hapana chatichatadza."

He said Zimbabwe was for all Zimbabweans, even those who did not fight the liberation struggle but castigated politicians who always rushed to the West for guidance.
"Hapana anonzi haasi weZimbabwe. Kunyangwe waidududza nezuro, urigwara wakasunungurwawo. Chirega kuramba uchitya nhaiwe-we, dera. Nyika yakauya chisimbawo!
"Kana ukamira shure kwevakachenjera. Kwevasingatye unongonziwo mwana weZimbabwe, wounziridzwa, hapana achanyadzurudzwa.

"Asi kana uchiramba zvino uchimhanya kuvavengi, ah, tinochakabaya chikadii? Hezvoka kovarikupi vamwe vedu? Chatyiwa chii zuva ranhasi?"

He made reference to revelations that MDC-T secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti had been consulted on which people the West should include in the travel ban component of their illegal sanctions.

"Vainyorwa nenhengo dzeMDC zvichinzi aya mazita abve kumasanctions.
"VeMDC vaitiwo ava zvavasisawirirane nehurumende tobva tazemberana navo samba reshandiswe kuti hurumende ibve tigowana mapindiro.

"Ndokusaka tichiti kunevamwe vedu national consciousness yako, yedu, imi weMDC yakagozha zvakadii? Do you have it at all?

"What are your basic principles, fundamental principles? What morality governs those principles? Hunhu hwenyu hunobva papi uchisvika papi?

"Isu tinoti kwete vavengi vavengi ngavagare kunze kwenyika. Hatidi anopindira munyaya dzedu."

President Mugabe said every citizen had the responsibility of protect Zimbabwe's legacy and heritage.

"Kana wakazvipira isu totadza nhasi uno kuzvipira nekubatana tichichengetedza gwara rekuramba masanctions, kuramba kutongwa nemabhunhu, toramba izvozvo zvirikutaurwa kuti izvizvi zvinhu izvi zvinokanganisa hunhu hwedu hwauya neChimurenga.
"Izvi zvinhu zvinopaza hunhu hwedu nekubatana kwedu. Zvinopaza samba redu. Zvinotitorera hupfumi hwedu.

"Mabhunu akaramba arimuno achingo sveta isu takagarwa matumba tichivasevenzera.
"Ndazvatakati pasi nhazvo! Tavakuzvitonga."

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(HERALD) Thousands denounce sanctions

Thousands denounce sanctions
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 21:20
By Peter Matambanadzo and Farirai Machivenyika

Thousands of Zimbabweans yesterday converged at the Harare Exhibition Park's open car park to publicly affirm their opposition to the illegal Western sanctions on the country.

The multitudes - clad in party and church regalia - started arriving at the venue as early as 7am to witness President Mugabe launch the National Anti-Sanctions Petition Campaign.

The young and the old, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with anti-sanctions messages, sang revolutionary songs and denounced the embargo.
Some of them carried placards with solidarity messages that read "Pasi nesvetasimba", "We say no to sanctions", "Sanctions are evil" and "Do away with sanctions".
The lively gathering is the biggest statement yet that the generality of Zimbabweans are opposed to sanctions.
Asked what had brought them out in such huge numbers, individuals said they were fed up with claims that the sanctions were targeted and did not hurt the economy.
Mr Cleoephas Charandura of Highfield said: "The sanctions have never been targeted at all, that is why you see all these people here.
"They have been affected by the sanctions and want them gone.
"It is disturbing that (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai and his party boycotted the event and it is now clear that they support the suffering of Zimbabweans."
Mrs Beatrice Zengwe from Chikomba said the illegal sanctions had destroyed Zimbabwe's economy.
"The sanctions have affected us greatly that is why I am here to condemn them.
"We are failing to provide for our families or even send our children to school because of these sanctions.
"Every Zimbabwean should sign this petition if they have the interests of the country at heart.
"The behaviour of the MDC-T leadership confirms that they want Zimbabweans to suffer for their selfish interests."
Mrs Chipo Mabvuta of Chikore, Manicaland, said sanctions affected their livelihoods so much that rural folk could not send their children to school.
"We cannot make ends meet because of the sanctions.
"Some of us depend on farming but we are failing to obtain inputs because of these sanctions and this has resulted in the hunger we have experienced in the past.
"I expected all our leaders to come out and condemn the sanctions because that is what they agreed (in the Global Political Agreement)," she said.
Mr Spencer Mabheka from Mabelreign, Harare added: "We want to remove the myth that the sanctions are targeted at few individuals.
"They are not. They are meant to foment illegal regime change.
"We came here to show that we support President Mugabe and his leadership and that the sanctions will not deter us from reclaiming our resources and heritage."
Diplomats, Government officials, service chiefs, traditional leaders, business leaders, men and women of the cloth, trade unionists, students and informal traders joined ordinary Zimbabweans at yesterday's declaration of opposition to sanctions.
President Mugabe's arrival at around 11:15am was marked with rapturous applause.
Waving his trademark fist, the President went around the crowd to greet the people as a swarm of journalists tried to keep pace with him.
Musician Sekuru Gweshe and the Police Band matched the high tempo with performances to suit the occasion.

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(HERALD) Thousands denounce sanctions

Thousands denounce sanctions
Wednesday, 02 March 2011 21:20
By Peter Matambanadzo and Farirai Machivenyika

Thousands of Zimbabweans yesterday converged at the Harare Exhibition Park's open car park to publicly affirm their opposition to the illegal Western sanctions on the country.

The multitudes - clad in party and church regalia - started arriving at the venue as early as 7am to witness President Mugabe launch the National Anti-Sanctions Petition Campaign.

The young and the old, some wearing T-shirts emblazoned with anti-sanctions messages, sang revolutionary songs and denounced the embargo.

Some of them carried placards with solidarity messages that read "Pasi nesvetasimba", "We say no to sanctions", "Sanctions are evil" and "Do away with sanctions".

The lively gathering is the biggest statement yet that the generality of Zimbabweans are opposed to sanctions.

Asked what had brought them out in such huge numbers, individuals said they were fed up with claims that the sanctions were targeted and did not hurt the economy.

Mr Cleoephas Charandura of Highfield said: "The sanctions have never been targeted at all, that is why you see all these people here.
"They have been affected by the sanctions and want them gone.

"It is disturbing that (MDC-T leader Morgan) Tsvangirai and his party boycotted the event and it is now clear that they support the suffering of Zimbabweans."

Mrs Beatrice Zengwe from Chikomba said the illegal sanctions had destroyed Zimbabwe's economy.

"The sanctions have affected us greatly that is why I am here to condemn them.

"We are failing to provide for our families or even send our children to school because of these sanctions.

"Every Zimbabwean should sign this petition if they have the interests of the country at heart.

"The behaviour of the MDC-T leadership confirms that they want Zimbabweans to suffer for their selfish interests."

Mrs Chipo Mabvuta of Chikore, Manicaland, said sanctions affected their livelihoods so much that rural folk could not send their children to school.

"We cannot make ends meet because of the sanctions.
"Some of us depend on farming but we are failing to obtain inputs because of these sanctions and this has resulted in the hunger we have experienced in the past.

"I expected all our leaders to come out and condemn the sanctions because that is what they agreed (in the Global Political Agreement)," she said.

Mr Spencer Mabheka from Mabelreign, Harare added: "We want to remove the myth that the sanctions are targeted at few individuals.
"They are not. They are meant to foment illegal regime change.
"We came here to show that we support President Mugabe and his leadership and that the sanctions will not deter us from reclaiming our resources and heritage."

Diplomats, Government officials, service chiefs, traditional leaders, business leaders, men and women of the cloth, trade unionists, students and informal traders joined ordinary Zimbabweans at yesterday's declaration of opposition to sanctions.

President Mugabe's arrival at around 11:15am was marked with rapturous applause.

Waving his trademark fist, the President went around the crowd to greet the people as a swarm of journalists tried to keep pace with him.

Musician Sekuru Gweshe and the Police Band matched the high tempo with performances to suit the occasion.

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