Saturday, April 23, 2011

Zambians should give power to friends of the poor, says Mambo

Zambians should give power to friends of the poor, says Mambo
By Sandra Lombe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

ZAMBIANS should get back their power this year through the ballot box and give it to those who are friends of the poor, says Bishop John Mambo. And Bishop Mambo, who is former Church of God Overseer, said the country was currently in an intensive care unit (ICU) and called for violence-free elections.

“Not turning up to vote is retrogressive. Let’s get back the power and give it to those who are friends of the poor. Being in power shouldn’t change you from being a servant,” he said in an interview.

Bishop Mambo said if people did not change government this year, they will regret for the next five years.

“We are heading for another five years which everyone will regret if government is not changed. Let’s get back our power, rethink, pray and bring power to the friends of the poor. We are in intensive care, this is the time that people should be speaking with one voice, people should be speaking peace,” he said.

Bishop Mambo reiterated that the major problem in the country was poverty.

“Most Zambians have reached a position where they can lie, shine someone’s shoes with your tongue so that they get something. We need fresh-minded people this year. We don’t want a situation like Egypt, Iran, Libya…We don’t need leaders who are 200 kilometres away from the electorate,” he said.

“It is important to guard jealously the electoral process. People are not donkeys that you just move them in any direction, they think with their minds…”

Bishop Mambo said some bishops had become so compromised with a cup of black tea such that they stopped speaking for the poor and were attacking their colleagues.

“In 1991, people said they would rather die than have kickbacks,” he said.

He urged all the clergy to join the oppressed and speak for them.

“We shouldn’t allow politicians to call us names. But now they (government) are trying to blackmail us that we join politics. Why have they not joined us? That’s cheap politics. Government should approach bishops with the respect they deserve. We are all preaching peace,” said Bishop Mambo.

Labels: ,


The Easter love story

The Easter love story
By The Post
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

Many people around the world are anticipating with happy excitement the April 29 wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. This marriage has come about because of their love for each other. Prince William is a potential king, second in line to the throne.

No reasonable person would wish him anything less than a wonderful wedding day and a fulfilling married life with Catherine. Considering this over against Easter, we find a great contrast. In the Easter story, we meet another king, the King of kings, but this One gave up everything for love. His love for sinful humanity meant taking our place and dying for sin.

Instead of funfair heralding the Messiah, Jesus was confronted by an angry crowd stirred up by jealous and misdirected leaders who called for his death by execution.

No wedding bells for Jesus Christ, but, rather, a horrid and lonely death on a Roman cross.

Yet the story of Jesus Christ is one that will be told and retold across the globe.

The grave could not hold him. Jesus rose from the dead! And he promised to return, this second time as King.

His love for every person on this planet, both small and great, has made salvation possible for all.

At this time of the year, we share the greatest love story ever told. It’s not about a boy-girl or man-woman relationship. It’s about a father and son.

In our world today, people are craving for love.

They have a hunger for love. Sadly in many families, love is a missing ingredient and some are unable to find love in a relationship.

The Easter story is the great love story told about a father – in this case God – and His Son Jesus Christ.

In John 13:1, it is recorded: “It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.”

The love of God is not just a story to be told; it is a love to be experienced and it is an extensive love that reaches to all. In John 3:16, it is recorded: “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

The author of love is God – for God is love. The object of His love – the world. The demonstration of His love – His only Son died on the cross. The recipients of His love – whoever believes in Him. The security of His love – everlasting life. This is a true story; the greatest love story ever told.

For those with ears to hear, the groaning of creation has become a roar: violence, terror, inequitable access of the world’s people to life’s basic necessities and environmental degradation – so many people have reason to echo Jesus’ gut-wrenching cry from the cross: “My God, why have you abandoned me?”

This Easter, as always, Christians will inhabit the core story of the faith: empty tomb, puzzlement, fear, hope, resemblance, disbelief, amazement and so on and so forth.

Easter provides the distinctive basis for hope in the Christian faith – the faithfulness of God who not only bears our sorrows and is acquainted with our grief, but who works to bring life out of death and hope from despair.

The vocabulary of Easter precludes denial about the depth of the world’s brokenness and yet saves us from despair.

It is the great, nevertheless, that affirms that ultimately the last word in life and death belongs to a gracious God.

We are called and empowered to bear witness in our worship, in our efforts to seek justice, in our service to the God who makes all things new.

Therefore, this Easter, what is expected of us is to experience, each of us in our unique personal way, an authentic expression of our faith with the community of this world; a community which becomes perfected in the liturgical community of His love.

However, as mere persons, we are never certain as to what is authentic, for it is not given unto us to know the fullness of truth, as we are sinful and possessed of all our human frailties.

For this reason, Christ is our only measure, the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).

The murdered Christ is here in the person of all who struggle for justice and for life. In the drama of the world, all the actors are human beings.

We are all of us equal, as well as different, in God’s eyes.

And yet, the two together – equality and difference – are hard to come by in our history.

Then suddenly, through the heroic deeds of those who struggle every day to improve the lives and dignity of our people, we see something of it.

Men and women are repressed, oppressed and humiliated in Zambia.

Men and women have raised their lamentation to God and begged God to hear the cries wrung from them by their oppressors, abusers, humiliators.

Men and women have thrown in their lot with the struggle for justice – for a more just, fair and humane society.

And men and women have fallen in that struggle. Here is the most profound quality of all: equality in suffering and in hope.

This is what Easter brings us and teaches us. Christ’s entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings.

It is through our fellow human being, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identifies.

Therefore, there is no contradiction between the struggle for justice and the fulfillment of God’s will. One demands the other. All who work along that line of God’s scheme for life are considered Jesus’ brothers and sisters (Mark 3:31-35).

This is the best way to follow Jesus, especially in our country’s present situation. Jesus had a spirituality of the conflict – that is, a vigour in his commitment to the poor and to the Father who granted him immense eternal peace.

What Easter teaches us is that true peace is not obtained by erecting walls; it is the result of trust in God. Courage is not the opposite of fear, faith is.

That faith gave Jesus the necessary will for carrying out the scheme of life, even by sacrificing his own life in confrontation with the forces of death, such as abuse, oppression, injustice and religion made sclerotic by rules and rights.

Labels: ,


Mongu cop vows to continue the Barotse fight

Mongu cop vows to continue the Barotse fight
By Roy Habaalu in Mongu
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:02 CAT

WE will continue fighting for what belongs to us in Barotseland and no amount of intimidation will stop us, says Mubita Sikwa.

Sikwa, a police superintendent who was charged for treason in connection with the confusion over the Barotseland Agreement, said the people of Western Province should carry on with the struggles that he and others were detained for.

Addressing mourners at the burial of 71-year-old Mwiya Sihope whose leg was amputated after he was released from prison, Sikwa warned that it was the last arrest government had made because next time people will react.

“Don’t be intimidated, I am a police officer and superintendent for that matter. I am not released yet and they (government) will not because I am strong and they can’t match me. We've lost a person who was fighting for all of us and those who loved him should carry on with his struggles so that Barotseland is liberated,” said Sikwa.

“His (Sihope's) soul will only rest in peace if you people carry his torch of struggle. We're not afraid of anything because it is correct to be arrested over our land Barotseland. We demanded development and we told them (government) the truth and this is what has caused this death,” he said.

Earlier mourners denounced government officials for allegedly causing the death of Sihope. During the laying of wreaths when government representatives were called, mourners protested saying there was no need because they caused the death.

Mourners also demanded that members of Linyundandambo, Barotse Freedom Movement (BFM), Movement for the Restoration of Barotseland (MOREBA) be called to lay wreaths.

Sikwa, who repeatedly referred to Western Province as Barotseland, said Sihope’s asthmatic condition worsened in Lusaka Central Prison due to congestion and lack of ventilation.

He said it was surprising that asthma could lead to one’s being amputated.

“When he came into prison he was moving on two feet and due to bad conditions in prison, 15 others who were detained collapsed shortly after entering the cells. After they refused to take Sihope to hospital, we organised ourselves and met the officer-in-charge who was junior to me in rank and told him Sihope was not fine and that it was the last arrest they had made…after the minister was informed he was taken to UTH but it was late though he was happy with the medication than when he was in Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu,” he said.

And Liamba Nayoto, a former Barotseland activist who was a close friend of Sihope, said people among themselves betrayed him and those in incarceration.

He said a few known MMD political cadres were paid to point at anyone they thought contributed to the Mongu riots.

“Whoever reported us won't live longer before he's known. Because of the love of money they've caused this death. I know that tomorrow police will come and pick me for saying this but I’m not scared,” he said.

Meanwhile Caritas Mongu director Nathaniel Mubukwanu who frequently visited Sihope in detention said some police officers told him that those arrested were living better than their dogs at home and had no reason to complain.

He said during one of his visits to the prison, Sihope complained to him of pain in the leg but the government denied him treatment.

Labels: ,


Child Barotse detainee dies

Child Barotse detainee dies
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:21 CAT

A 16-year-old Limu-lunga boy detained in Mumbwa over the January 14, 2011 Barotseland Agreement-related Mongu fracas has died in police custody. And PF national chairperson Inonge Wina says Kabayo Kabayo's death, apart from being a family tragedy, reflects the terror state that the country has been plunged into.

Meanwhile, Charles Milupi says the MMD government's brute force against the people of Western Province is akin to genocide.

Kabayo Kabayo, a cousin to the deceased, who is also Kabayo Kabayo said in an interview from Mumbwa yesterday that the boy detained at Mumbwa State Prison died in Mumbwa District Hospital early yesterday morning.

Kabayo said his cousin was not sick at the time he was arrested in Mongu over the Barotse riots.

“He died in Mumbwa Hospital at around 05:25 hours. I don't know what he was suffering from,” Kabayo said. “I came four days ago but for the past four days he was not talking. He did not know that I was around. The doctor said he had an infectious bacteria in the blood.”

Kabayo said according to the death certificate, doctors attributed his cousin’s death to septicemia.

“I tried to ask the nurse what this was but she said I should ask the doctor,” Kabayo said. “He was on drip and he was not eating. The last time he had food, an orange, that is Friday.”

Kabayo said on Thursday medical authorities placed a tube in his cousin’s nose to enable him feed.

“He had hiccup for the past two days,” Kabayo said. “At the time he was arrested he was just okay.”

Septicemia is a systematic infection, usually caused by bacteria of various type contaminating a person’s blood. When septicemia is not treated with the appropriate antibiotics, the infected blood can then contaminate other organs or tissues of the body, creating life-threatening infections. There are many things that can cause septicemia, most notably cuts that have become infected.

Kabayo said the boy's mother passed away but that his father, a Mukelabai Kabayo, was also critically ill in Limulunga.

“The other grandfather from the mother's side has been informed,” said Kabayo. “We are taking the body to Limulunga.”

The deceased’s uncle Silukena Simui of Lusaka's Makeni area said in an interview yesterday that they expect the government to facilitate the taking of the body to Limulunga where the boy was arrested.

“They know where they arrested him from and so the people are waiting,” Simui said. “The people have no transport to come to Mumbwa.”

Simui said his late nephew, who was arrested in Limulunga on January 23, was almost granted bail on medical grounds but that the State objected.

And in an interview from Mongu yesterday, Wina said it was a great pity that Kabayo died, especially after the police turned down his fellow detainees' request for him to be granted bail so that he could be close to his relatives in Mongu.

“This is really a big challenge to the young people of Western Province and it is a very negative reflection of the quality of service that the Police are giving to this country,” Wina said.

“The use of live ammunition seems to be the order of the day and until President Banda intervenes to stop this carnage at the hands of the state, we are precipitating violence that we may not be able to control in future.”

Wina said it was imperative that President Banda, as Commander-in Chief of the Armed Forces, takes swift action to curb the killings that were going on in the country.

Wina said the problem started in Mongu, before it was witnessed in Mazabuka and that the same issue had emerged in Mansa.

“Who knows, next it will be somewhere,” Wina said. “This is creating a terror state. Unless and until the President as the Commander, is on top of this situation, this country will be plunged into a lot of trouble.”

Wina also urged the government to address the issue of unemployment.

“In Mansa, I have seen a lot of looting and that is not a normal situation when people help themselves to things that really don't belong to them,” said Wina.

“For the young person who has just died it is a tragedy for the family, a very big tragedy for the family in Limulunga because he died under very suspicious circumstances because of the bad prison conditions where he died and where we are not sure whether he received adequate medical attention. He died even before his case had gone through judgment. He was still awaiting judgment.”

General Malimba Masheke says it is time the people of Western Province took decisive action against President Banda’s brutal government because they cannot continue to lose their children.

Gen Masheke, a former Zambia Army commander and prime minister in the UNIP government, said Kabayo’s death was a serious development.

“This is a very serious development, we can't lose our children like that and our representatives from home who are in Parliament are quiet because of silver coins,” Gen Masheke said.

“Silver coins are making them behave in a manner where they behave like Judas Iscariot.”

Gen Masheke said it was as if the people of Western Province had no parliamentary representation.

“What are they representing?” Gen Masheke asked. “They can only go to the Kuomboka because it is a ceremony, when we are mourning they are not there. The people of Western Province must make a decision whether these are the people who will represent us. They are part of a government that is ill-treating and killing people.”

Gen Masheke said what this entailed was that the government had lost control.

“They have lost control, even the police are not obeying them. Do they still want to remain in-charge of the country if they are not effective?” Gen Masheke asked.

Meanwhile, Milupi said he felt aggrieved by Kabayo's death because he was from his Luena Constituency in Mongu.

“He is a child, 16-years-old, detained and he has died in detention. The offence he was arrested for was a bailable offence,” he said.

Milupi said had the boy not been detained hundreds of kilometres away from his home in Limulunga, he would not have died the way he did.

“That shows the levels of brutality to which President Banda and his administration can sink and we hope a death like that will haunt them for the rest of their lives,”Milupi said.

“We call upon civil society organisations that deal with human rights to take this matter very seriously and this includes Amnesty International. What is happening to these people is akin to genocide. This administration has got to be made aware that these issues, when they leave government will be looked at.”

Milupi said he did not understand why the government was arrogantly refusing to set up a commission of inquiry over the Mongu riots.

“They have refused to reason and as a result people are dying,” said Milupi.

Labels: , ,


Kavindele calls on ZICTA to take over Zamtel

Kavindele calls on ZICTA to take over Zamtel
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:07 CAT

ENOCH Kavindele says LAP Green-appointed managers should be removed from running Zamtel and urged ZICTA to appoint new officials in the transition period. And Kavindele has advised Zamtel managing director Hans Paulsen not to speak on behalf of the government as that amounted “to one attending his own funeral.”

Kavindele, who is former Republican vice-president, said Zambia risked facing international sanctions if it continued to be seen to be abrogating the United Nation’s Security Council Resolution 1973 of 2011.

“The UN sanctions as they relate to Libya’s assets include 75 per cent of Zamtel which currently is owned by LAP Green,” Kavindele said in an interview. “This means the situation at Zamtel is not as normal as it should be.”

Kavindele also dismissed assertions by transport minister Geoffrey Lungwangwa that the government had enough money to continue to run Zamtel even in the face of the UN sanctions.

“Even as we heard from the minister of transport that there are funds to run the company up to next year…as long as the funds come or associated with Libya, they fall under the sanctions imposed by the UN,” he said. “Instead, ZICTA Zambia Information and CommunicationsTechnology Authority should take over the running of Zamtel in this transition period until the situation in Libya changes, or when the UN reverses its current position.”

Kavindele said the sanctions against LAP Green, which Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and his inner circle used to spread political hegemony in Africa and as an investment vehicle for windfall revenues from the oil boom, did not only affect share transfers or payments of dividends from Zamtel.

“It affects everything associated with that 75 per cent,” he said. “It means management put in by LAP Green cannot continue to exist. Those who were put there to serve the interest of LAP Green have to give way, just as it has happened in Uganda and Rwanda.”

Last week, Rwandan took custody of Libyan-owned shares in the Laico Hotel in Kigali and announced the appointment of a professional manager to take over from the Libyan-appointed managers.

Recently, the Bank of Uganda appointed Ugandan managers to run Tropical Africa Bank, one of the companies in Uganda with ties to the Libyan government.

This came as a result of Uganda’s compliance with the relevant UN resolution to freeze the assets of Col Gaddafi.

Western countries, the United Nations and the European Union have frozen assets of the Libyan government and the family of Gaddafi as part of sanctions imposed after Gaddafi launched a crackdown on an uprising against his tyrannical rule.

Kavindele said Zambia currently lacked economic muscle to handle any possible international sanctions that might be imposed as a result of the country hesitating to “properly freeze” Libyan investments in the country.

“We are not like Zimbabwe where with sanctions in place they have continued to exist to some extent,” Kavindele said. “They Zimbabweans are able to survive because of the resilience they learnt during the UDI Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith, the spirit of self-reliance which has continued up to now.”

Kavindele said the Zambian economy was too dependent on international community for trade and aid, and could not afford to antagonise the “co-operating partners.”

“We should not be seen to be showing intransigency to the rule of international community because doing so might result in a serious reverse in the gains achieved thus far,” he said.

And Kavindele has advised LAP Green-appointed managers led by Paulsen at Zamtel not to speak on behalf of the government.

“Mr Paulsen must just accept that the situation is beyond him and the Zambian government,” Kavindele said.

“For him, he must accept that he cannot attend his own funeral. Things have changed, and any continued statements from him and LAP Green on behalf of the Zambian government will cause this country untold misery because even if we pretend to announce that we have frozen LAP Green assets but still allow them to run the assets, the UN has mechanism to track the usage of funds from Zamtel.”

Given Lubinda last week revealed that there was “impeccable evidence” that Zamtel was still being run by Libya’s LAP Green managers who are externalizing money despite Zambia freezing LAP Green’s 75 per cent stake in Zamtel.

Lubinda, who is also Patriotic Front Kabwata member of parliament, said there was need to remove LAP Green-appointed top officials in Zamtel to halt further “siphoning” of the money.

Labels: , , ,


No politician is worth dying for - ZEC

No politician is worth dying for - ZEC
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

NO political leader here on earth is worth dying for, says the Zambia Episcopal Conference.

In an Easter message, ZEC spokesperson Fr Paul Samasumo said there were many Christian politicians in the country and asked them to lead the way in encouraging tolerance among the people.

Fr Samasumo said the politicians must resist any attempts to stoke the fears of the people by dangerously exploiting tribal or regional sentiments.

“As experience has shown elsewhere in Africa, when violence erupts everyone is a loser. Violence destroys lives, cities, villages and retards development. We must begin now to work hard and prepare for peace. If we do, peace will surely prevail even after our elections. If we prepare for violence, it too can surely come,” he said.

And Fr Samasumo said the message of Easter also gave hope to people's lives.

“For example, the universal fear of death is conquered by Christ. This is because one of the most important implications of the resurrection of Christ is that if we are in relationship to Christ, we no longer have to be afraid of death. When we die, we will be raised in the same way Jesus was. We will be united with our relatives and our friends. Life has meaning,” he said.

Ft Samasumo said the Easter story was the story of Christ. He said the word of peace must bless the lips of everyone in Zambia this Easter in order to create conditions for peace for everybody.

“We must not sow seeds of suspicion in what we say and do. We must speak and act in a manner that builds confidence in our nation. We have had elections before and come out as a united people. This should be our goal this time around as well,” he said.

Fr Samasumo said free, fair and transparent elections were a process and this process should start now. He said there must be sufficient time given from the time the election date is announced for everyone to prepare themselves for this big day.

“Similarly, the playing field for all contesting parties must be fair and level. As priests and pastors, we need to embrace all our people and all our Christians regardless of what political party they belong to. We should tell our flock that no political leader here on earth is worth dying for. Christ has died for all of us once and that is enough,” said Fr Samasumo.

He also urged the MMD government and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to quickly embrace parallel vote tabulation (PVT) and cast aside any resistance they might have.

Fr Samasumo said the reason for this was because resistance of PVT was sowing a bad seed of suspicion among the people. He said Zambia was not an island and other countries had used the system successfully.

“Why would it fail in Zambia if everyone follows the rules of PVT? In fact, it is the ruling party that needs PVT the most. Would it not be reassuring to hear from independent tallies that indeed the ruling party did win freely and fairly?” asked Fr Samasumo.

Labels: , ,


Saboo pins underdevelopment on improper use of resources

Saboo pins underdevelopment on improper use of resources
By By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 03:59 CAT

FORMER Rotary International president Rajendra Saboo says Zambia is a rich country inhabited by poor people. In an interview, Saboo said Zambia had a tremendous potential to develop but resources were not properly utilised.

Saboo who led a delegation of Indian Rotarians to Zambia to carry out specialist treatment in different health fields said there was need to generalise resources so that the country could develop.

“It is sad to see that Zambia is a rich country but inhabited by poor people. This is a rich country that has got a lot of potential to develop. There are so much opportunities but the country's wealth needs to be generalised,” Saboo said.

He said any country in the world had its own challenges but it was possible to develop if right steps were taken.

“You are slowly getting there but there is need to work extra hard to develop,” Saboo said.

He said Africa was the next global economic driver after Asia, and Zambia would play an important role in ensuring that Africa plays its part in the world.

And Saboo said his mission to Zambia was not complete because there was a low turnout of patients seeking specialist treatment.

He said most of the doctors on his entourage did not perform their work because they had no clients.

“We could have done better but the only doctors who had overwhelming work were the ones doing dental work and gynaecology. Maybe the primary health care is so good that there are no referrals to secondary health services.

But it was sad to see some doctors doing nothing after coming all the way from India,” said Saboo.

Meanwhile, Rotary International district governor Moses Malunda said he was happy with the work done by the Rotarians despite the low turnout.

Malunda said the important thing was that operations were done for free on people who could have not afforded to pay for the services at private clinics.



Senanga wants regime change

Senanga wants regime change
By By Brighton Phiri in Senanga
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 03:59 CAT

SENANGA residents have called for regime change during the forthcoming presidential and general elections.

During the newsmakers forum organised by the Press Freedom Committee of The Post at Senanga Safaris lodge, Senanga residents said this year’s elections provided an opportunity for Zambians to elect into office leadership that would serve them better than the MMD.

“Time has come for regime change. This change must be beneficial to all. We do not need a change that will only benefit politicians and their relatives,” Edwin Shipanuka said. “It is time to mobilise ourselves for regime change.”

Shipanuka observed that many rural people lacked information that would assist them make informed decisions.

He commended the PFC for having chosen to organise their newsmakers forum in Senanga where the local people needed information to make the right choice during this year’s elections.

“We need more of such educative information to assist us take the right decisions,” said Shipanuka.

Reverend Daniel Nawa said Zambians should demand for a conditional change from all the political parties aspiring to serve them.

“We must not rely on good men and women to govern, but good laws and policies. Hence, we must demand for a good constitution and equitable resource distribution,” Rev. Nawa said.

“We must guard against ushering into office leadership that will only turn to be worse than MMD.”

Economic consultant Robert Sichinga reiterated that the opposition Patriotic Front (PF) stood a better chance of dislodging MMD.

“I am not a member of PF. But I think that it is much wiser to rally behind a political party that stands a better chance of meeting our desire for regime change and this is PF,” he said.

In Mongu, former Nalikwanda member of parliament Simasiku Kalumiana said it was time for Zambians to stand up and set up the pace for national development.

“It is a blessing that the draft constitution failed to win the majority vote in Parliament because it gives us chance to reflect and chart our way forward,” said Kalumiana.

And Sichinga said Zambians should acknowledge that their desire for regime change was a struggle for power and control of natural resources.

“Therefore, a party that is running government maybe resistant to losing authority and power,” said Sichinga.

Labels: , , , ,


Women’s Lobby Group trains female politicians on credibility

Women’s Lobby Group trains female politicians on credibility
By Edwin Mbulo in Choma
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

NATIONAL Women’s Lobby Group (NWLG) has embarked on a training programme to make political women candidate’s credible leaders as they go into campaigns.

In an interview at Choma’s Riverside Lodge where 45 women drawn from different political parties in Southern Province met, NWLG vice-chairperson Hellen Kalikeka said she was looking at a situation where more women would offer themselves to aspire for different political offices during this year’s elections.

“We as women can only offer meaningful development if we participate in the highest political offices,” Kalikeka said.

She said women faced a challenge in politics due to bad language and violence which were becoming the order the day.

“We wish politicians could concentrate on issues. With the mushrooming of political parties, we are also challenging women to make serious decisions on which political party ticket they should avail themselves as some of these political parties have uncertain future,” she said.

Kalikeka said the women’s lobby group was holding countrywide workshops to prepare women for this year’s election and have so far held workshops in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Luapula, Northern and now Southern Province.

“We are bringing together all women candidates before this year’s election so that we make them credible leaders,” she said.

And NWLG Southern Province board chairperson Joyce Mwachiyeya Mushe said many women in the province had shown willingness to contest in this year’s elections and were ready to challenge men.

“We have 45 women from different political parties and I urge men and voters to support the women because they are humble and do not insult like men. We are looking at how the women should approach voters and also public speaking as we approach this year’s election,” Mushe said.

Labels: ,


Rupiah is only interested in people’s votes - Fr Tembo

Rupiah is only interested in people’s votes - Fr Tembo
By Misheck Wangwe and Bright Mukwasa
Sat 23 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda should not expect priests to keep quiet when he is busy manipulating the poor says, Fr Charles Tembo.

In an interview, Fr Tembo, who is the parish priest at Chingola’s Twelve Apostles Catholic Church, said it had become clear that President Banda was more interested in securing votes for himself and the MMD than addressing the huge challenges facing the majority poor.

He said President Banda’s directive that all outstanding balances for housing units on the Copperbelt must be written off and sitting tenants be given letters of sale was not a genuine offer but a clear political gimmick to win people’s support ahead of the elections.

Fr Tembo said many people on the Copperbelt would not be swayed at the last minute to vote for President Banda because it was apparent that he was only interested in people’s votes and not their welfare.

He said if President Banda was really concerned about the vulnerability of the people in terms of accommodation, he would have started by building decent accommodation for those in shanty compounds in Lusaka and other areas.

“The President wants to be seen that he is working at the last minute.

Unfortunately, it is too late. Zambians have suffered enough at the hands of the MMD. He knows that he doesn’t have support on the Copperbelt and now he wants to start enticing them with offers so that they can vote for them. If he is a true leader, why didn’t he buildhouses first for poor people in Chibolya, Kanyama and many other shanty compounds instead of rushing for the miners? Zambians must be wary of insincere leaders who want to pretend as if they are concerned about the people when in fact not,” he said.

Fr Tembo said it was too late for President Banda to appease Copperbelt residents because the MMD had brought more misery in their lives than good.

He said people had seen that they were not benefiting from the mining sector in any way looking at the high levels of poverty, unemployment and dilapidated infrastructure.

Fr Tembo said people must not vote for leaders who have resurfaced and trying to impress because of the forthcoming elections.

And PF Kantanshi member of parliament Yamfwa Mukanga said President Banda has started rigging.
Mukanga said that President Banda’s move was an act of appeasement but in vain.

“We cannot allow a situation where President Rupiah Banda is openly kicking off rigging now. He did not give that instruction because he loves the people of Copperbelt but he expects to be a trade off,” said Mukanga.

“It’s a scheme that I am sure is being orchestrated by Chiluba, but I tell you come 2011 the people of Mufulira will not vote for him over those houses. People have woken up now.”

Labels: , , , , ,


Friday, April 22, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) 20 held in Bulawayo MDC-T clashes

20 held in Bulawayo MDC-T clashes
by Staff Reporter
22/04/2011 00:00:00

TWENTY MDC-T youths were arrested in Bulawayo as rescheduled elections to choose a provincial executive turned violent with youths supporting rival candidates engaging in street battles and smashing cars in the city centre.

Witnesses said fights broke out between dozens of youths backing chairmanship candidates, Senator Matson Hlalo and State Enterprises minister, Godern Moyo.
It’s the second time the elections have had to be aborted due to violence.

Moyo was elected chairman at the first time of asking last weekend, but the rest of the executive could not be filled after clashes broke out between the rival factions. Hlalo, who was beaten by ten votes, dismissed Moyo’s election as a farce claiming at least 58 delegates had been barred from voting.

The party’s national executive has allegedly refused his request to nullify Moyo’s election.

Meanwhile, Friday’s re-arranged polls were meant to elect the rest of the executive but violence started after delegates from the Mpopoma and Pelandaba wards were barred from voting because they failed to conduct district elections.

Police were then called in as fist fights broke out between angry party youths, some of them pelting each other with stones and smashing cars. Twenty youths were arrested for public violence.

At least ten people were said to have been injured in the melee which took place outside the city’s Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions offices where the elections were supposed to be held.

Hlalo was later quoted as saying the elections would never take place as long as some wards were barred from voting insisting he would have won the elections if Mpopoma and Pelandaba delegates had been allowed to vote.

He said party leader and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai must resolve the dispute before the MDC-T national congress scheduled.

The party was last week forced to nullify elections Masvingo and Midlands North after they were also marred by violence.

Analysts have warned that Tsvangirai needs toget a grip on violence in the party saying these clashes show that the MDC-T could no longer continue to play innocent and blame political disturbances in the country on its Zanu PF rivals

Labels: , ,


(NEWZIMBABWE) Sanctions threat to election roadmap

Sanctions threat to election roadmap
by Staff Reporter
22/04/2011 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE’S three main parties said they had agreed broad rules for the holding of free and fair elections, but disputes remained far from resolved after Zanu PF anchored its adherence to the pact on the lifting of western sanctions on the country.

Negotiators from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, and the two MDC factions led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, met on Wednesday and Thursday to hammer out the agreement aimed at lifting obstacles to free and fair elections.

The parties agreed that a new constitution must be in place before elections are held; that a travel ban on Mugabe’s supporters and trade sanctions on state-owned companies be lifted and a raft of amendments must be made to the Electoral Act.

But the MDC factions said they could not agree with Zanu PF negotiators over security sector reforms. The MDC negotiators wanted police powers to stop political rallies curtailed and a commitment by Zanu PF -- which maintains a stranglehold on the army and police -- that soldiers would not be deployed in rural communities or play a part in the electoral process.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu PF’s top negotiator, emerged from Thursday’s talks to declare that they had “finalised the election roadmap”.

“We produced a report that we signed and would be submitted to the three principals [Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube] and the South African facilitation team after the Easter Holiday," he said.

"The report identifies activities that had to be undertaken before elections are held. These are: the lifting of sanctions; completion of the constitution-making process and enactment of amendments to the Electoral Act. Those are some of the critical issues.”

Elton Mangoma, a negotiator from Tsvangirai’s party, said: “We disagreed on security reforms and deployment of soldiers in rural areas during elections."

The MDC parties also say they want election observers from the regional trade bloc, SADC, to be in Zimbabwe six months before and after elections. They also want retired soldiers taken off the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The six negotiators, two from each party, travel to South Africa on May 6 for two-day talks with President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team which has been mediating in Zimbabwe after former President Thabo Mbeki nudged Mugabe into sharing power with his rivals following disputed elections in 2008.

Should the parties finally find common ground on all aspects of the roadmap, a SADC summit set for May 20 in Namibia will rubberstamp the agreement.

Zanu PF’s insistence on the lifting of western sanctions could yet turn out to be a deal breaker. Western countries, led by Britain and the United States, have previously resisted calls by regional leaders to lift the embargo which includes travel restrictions on Mugabe and over a 100 of his close aides accused of human rights abuses.

Mugabe’s rivals fear the sanctions clause could be used by Zanu PF to break off from the roadmap and call early elections if the embargo is not lifted.

Mugabe has previously said he wants elections this year, but he has shown more flexibility in recent weeks by reaffirming his party’s commitment to the constitution reform exercise.

Labels: , ,


(NEWZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe to block British KP monitor

Zimbabwe to block British KP monitor
by Staff Reporter
22/04/2011 00:00:00

MINES Minister Obert Mpofu has said Zimbabwe will resist attempts to appoint a British monitor as the Kimberly Process’ compliance monitor for the Marange diamond fields.

Mpofu said there were plans to have British national Simon Gilberts replace Abbey Chikane of South Africa as the KP’s point-man in the controversial Marange fields.

But Harare would not work with Gilberts, Mpofu said. Zimbabwe is apparently concerned Gilberts would succumb to pressure from his country to produce negative reports in support of Western efforts to maintain the ban on Marange.

"I have heard about him (Gilberts) but he will never come to Zimbabwe as a monitor …. he is welcome as a tourist," Mpofu said.

“We still regard Chikane as the legitimate monitor because he was appointed at the same time the (Kimberley) joint monitoring work plan was set up. So if there’s no Chikane then there’s no monitoring.”

KP chairman Mathieu Lapfa Lambang Yamba of the Democratic Republic of the Congo last month gave Zimbabwe permission to export the stones in a move that is being resisted by the United States, Britain and Western human rights organisations. The KP takes decisions by consensus.

Leading diamond trade groups such as the World Diamond Council, Jewelers of America and the Diamond Manufacturers & Importers Association of America have also instructed their members to stay away from Marange diamonds.

Again the US and EU warned diamond companies against buying Marange gems with the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers all US sanctions procedures, saying it would scrutinise any transactions.

Marange has been at the centre of controversy over the last three years after the KP banned exports of diamonds from there over allegations of human rights abuses and failure to comply with its minimum requirements for trading in precious stones.

The Zimbabwe government insists that all the minimum conditions have been met and has the backing of countries such as Brazil, China, India, Russia and South Africa as well as other African producers.

However, there were indications the stalemate might end soon after India and China reportedly brokered a possible solution at a KP Working Group of Monitoring (WGM) meeting held recently in Dubai.

India and China are member countries of international diamond regulatory body KP Certification Scheme (KPCS).

Sources who attended the WGM meeting, said a consensual draft of the Joint Work Plan (JWP) was prepared by the member countries and submitted to the KP chair Mathieu Yamba of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The KP Chair is supposed to send the draft to the Zimbabwe government for acceptance in order to resume the exports of diamonds from Marange.

"India and China have played a key role in brokering a solution for Zimbabwe. If the Zimbabwe government accepts the consensual draft agreed by the KP member nations, including US and EU, then it could resume the rough diamond exports," a senior official in the India diamond industry said recently.

Labels: , ,


‘UPND, MMD members form over 60 PF committees’

‘UPND, MMD members form over 60 PF committees’
By Edwin Mbulo in Kalomo
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

UPND and MMD members in various parts of Kalomo Central Constituency have formed over 60 PF ward committees, says Kelvin Chilufya. And Clara Chakufola says she decided to defect to PF because of tribalism which was rampant in UPND.

In an interview, Chilufya, who is Kalomo district PF secretary said her party was doing fine despite the area being a UPND stronghold. He said many people in Kalomo rural now knew the PF.

“In Bongo area, we had 60 committees formed by a combined team of MMD and UPND members. In Simayakwe ward, we have Clara Chakufola with Dorothy Kayumu, who organised women to defect from UPND to the PF, this is strengthening the participation of women in the PF,” Chilufya said.

He said despite the people of the district not being happy with the break-up of the PF-UPND pact, more people had expressed willingness to join the PF.

Chilufya, who was flanked by constituency treasurer Justine Sampa, vice constituency treasurer Lazarus Mulenga, youth district chairman Paul Silungwe and constituency secretary Aaron Sichela said the five-kilometre stretch from Kalomo town to the district commissioner’s office took 30 minutes for motorists due to its poor state.

Chilufya said the MMD government had neglected the mining potential of the district.

“We have the best amethyst in Mapatizya but these are being neglected by the MMD, hence depriving our youths of jobs,” he said.

And Chakufola, from Kalomo’s Nazilongo area, said she decided to join the PF because it was embracing people across tribal lines.

“In the UPND, they do not want anybody who is a non-Tonga to hold positions. In the PF, I’m the treasurer for the women’s committee,” she said.

And Dorothy Kayumu said she was shocked that the UPND told her during the ward adoption process in 2006 that she could not be selected because she was single.

“Under the PF, I will aspire to contest for Chonga ward and not in the UPND where they don’t want single women to be leaders,” Kayumu said.

Meanwhile, Choma PF chairperson Felix Chilufya said defections from UPND to PF in Choma had marked the beginning of more defections to come.

“Come this year’s elections, UPND will be embarrassed and HH will never contest the elections ever again,” Chilufya said.

Labels: , , ,


Easter reflections

Easter reflections
By The Post
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

This is a long weekend and it gives us enough time to do a lot of things. But this is not time for excessive drinking and merriment. Easter is the time when, above all other times, we should pause to remember the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

That first Easter, as light was breaking through the darkness of night, the resurrection was slowly dawning on the followers of Jesus.

Today there are many dark places in our country where people find themselves feeling isolated and alone, longing for a ray of light to pierce the darkness and new possibilities to emerge.

Humanity lives in the shadow of death, and the start of this year has reminded us of this fact all too starkly.

While natural disasters hit our brothers and sisters in some parts of our planet through floods, cyclones, landslides and earthquakes, our brothers and sisters in North Africa and the Middle East have wrestled with political upheaval and civil unrest.

This Easter, our world is coming to terms with the terrible natural disasters that have struck our planet, as well as the wave of political and social unrest in North Africa, Middle East and the atrocities occurring in Ivory Coast.

We hope you will spare some time praying for the victims of these tragedies and offering your support in whatever way you can.

And still famine, drought and war shape the living and dying of so many people around the globe every day.

It is into this world of darkness and death that we should proclaim the light of Christ.

The Easter story is no fairytale which papers over the stark reality of human life.

Christ’s Passion and death echoes our own encounters with death, with the abuse of power, with the experience of desolation and helplessness, with the sheer challenge of peace-making and justice-seeking.

St Paul wrote that if we have shared in Christ’s death, we shall also share in Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:5).

This Easter, may we accompany Christ through death and the tomb to the promise of life in all its fullness.

May we discover once again the sorrows of this world giving way to the joy that comes from life with God, who is making all these things new.

This is the time to remember the sacrifice of others on our behalf, through selfless love and commitment.

This is time to remember those who gave their lives for our wellbeing, for justice, peace and freedom.

And this is time to honour those currently serving to defend justice and rebuild nations ravaged by conflicts.

At Easter, we should remember a sacrifice that goes to the ultimate and transcends territorial disputes.

We should remember the life and death of Jesus Christ, who was deployed by God on a mission to establish peace and hope for a world that has lost its bearings.

His sacrifice of death on a cross achieved a peace that was much deeper than the mere absence of fighting.

He achieved a restored relationship with God who loves us unconditionally and believes in our future.

This Easter, let us thank God for the service and sacrifice of Jesus, which has enabled us to experience ultimate freedom and peace through the forgiveness of God.

When you look at the way Jesus Christ challenged the status quo and advocated a different way of life, it is little wonder that the authorities felt threatened and compelled to silence him.

His suffering on the way to the cross when he was beaten and crowned with thorns only serves to demonstrate his humanness and the capacity of the powerful to crush the powerless.

But in his powerlessness, Christ becomes powerful by saying his purpose in coming into the world was to “bear witness to the truth”, which, as Pope Benedict writes, means “giving priority to God and to his will over and against the interests of the world and its powers”.

Violence, natural disasters and the ordinary difficulties of life can become the grid through which we view our lives. They impact our moods, our work, our families and our sense of self.

We all know that the darkness of life can be overwhelming.

When hope is dashed, we view life as a burden. The Easter story, however, is about hope born out of despair.

The disciples did not believe that Jesus would rise from the dead, that light would outshine darkness, that hope would triumph.

There is much injustice in the world and we are called by the Lord to follow his footsteps.

He says to us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30).

We are called to be a voice to the voiceless and the oppressed. We have a duty to defend their dignity and human rights.

And this must be done with Christian love and charity at all times.

We have a duty towards the poor and the suffering to find practical means to alleviate their pain.

We have a duty to do good wherever we can.

This Easter, we should pray to Christ to teach us to love and care as he did, and to be compassionate towards each other; we should pray and work for peace and harmony amongst all people of the world.

What God has done at Easter is much more than all the floods, cyclones, fires, earthquakes, wars and tsunamis which have hit our world so ruthlessly in the last few months.

Taking our place in this world of uncertainty and conflict, the son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, died and was raised again to open up life from death, to give us a new start and hope in him.

Christ liberated us so that we can be free. He liberates us in truth, from sin, death and our own selfishness.

Easter to us means a new creation. By virtue of the exaltation of the Lord, we are new creatures who march toward the completeness of our being, in a similar way to Christ, the perfect image of the Father. Therefore, also by virtue of Easter, we are “God’s image”.

Recreated by the death and resurrection of Christ, we are integrally liberated.

This liberation comes into all aspects of our being and necessarily transforms the structures of sin.

The inner conversion expresses a rapport to what is social.

Converts, recreated in love, know their way to their brothers and sisters through new forms of unity and of meaningful solidarity.

True justice and holiness are the essential qualities of a new human being.

We live as one immersed in the fertile stream of a continuous rebirth, which gets us nearer to the realisation of the promise.

Therefore, it is more of a reality when we talk about the person-we-will-be than when we talk about the person-we-are-today.

The true person is a possible conquest to the grace of God.

Easter enables us to see the very sense of freedom, which is possible only by our approach to God and others.

We are free when we know the way to enter into communion with others, supported and prodded by means of a deep communion with others.

It is false to claim that there is a choice by means of which we should choose between being true to God or to humankind, just as if the first option would make servants of us, or subjects.

Easter is a somewhat real experience which, in fact, the disciples had. It was one experience of Jesus and of his freedom in a way that was absolutely new to them; they felt themselves beginning to share that liberty of existing for their neighbours.

The statement: Jesus is the Lord…liberates from enslavement, the centre of relative loyalty…

His own history will not be seen, but the history of all humankind, in the light of the unique history of Jesus of Nazareth and Easter…

The disciples found themselves caught in something like the freedom of Jesus himself, transformed into free beings even to face death without fear.

Easter leads to victory in a dramatic fight between light and darkness for the liberation of that complete being called human, body and soul, present and social.



Magistrate Banda convicts and jails 7 Barotse activists

Magistrate Banda convicts and jails 7 Barotse activists
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mumbwa
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:02 CAT

LUSAKA chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda has sentenced seven Mongu youths to four years imprisonment with hard labour after finding them guilty of having been involved in the Barotseland Agreement-related Mongu riot of January 14, 2011.

This was despite the defence lawyers’ appeal that the court impose a suspended sentence because the case upon which the seven had been convicted had political undertones.

Delivering his judgment, magistrate Banda said it was not in dispute that a riot took place in Mongu on January 14, 2011 where property was damaged and some people injured.

This is in a case where Vindongwe Chipango and six others were charged with the offence of rioting said to have occurred between January 1, 2010 and January 13, 2011 in Winela area of Mongu.

Magistrate Banda said he was satisfied that the state had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt based on the evidence given by three Mongu-based police officers.

He said after considering the evidence of the accused persons in their defence, he had found that there were inconsistencies, concoctions and contradictions in their testimonies.

“PW 3 Mr Kayumba Kaibala , I must state as far as the evidence is concerned was categorical. He was right in the middle of the mob,” magistrate Banda said. “I must indicate here that I can’t fathom why PW2 Detective Pamela Kalasa would want to implicate falsely A1 Vindongwe Chipango. It was in the morning, broad daylight, when all this was happening and the question of mistaken identity is remote.”

Magistrate Banda said the evidence of most of the accused persons was clearly an afterthought.
He said the evidence on record was very clear because Kalasa and Kaibala were at the scene of the riot and did not find the reason why the police officers could single out the accused persons if they had not participated in the riots.

In this case, the accused persons were charged with the offence of having taken part in the Mongu riots on January 14, 2011.

Magistrate Banda said Kaibala was able to identify all the accused persons and that he apprehended all of them at the scene of the riot.

He said the issue of mistaken identity could therefore not arise.

“I find each one of you guilty and I accordingly convict you,” magistrate Banda said.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Muleya Kashewe implored the court to consider a suspended sentence for all the seven.

“The persons who have today been convicted were by the time they were apprehended in Mongu up to the time they were brought to Lusaka, subjected to untold brutalities. To impose a sentence of imprisonment will in my humble opinion be punishing them several times,” Kashewe said. “I wish without appearing to submit but really to mitigate, to the attention of this honourable court that the case of the seven convicted and the rest of the other has political undertones.”

However, the state objected the line of mitigation on grounds that there was no evidence to show that there were political undertones.

But Kashewe maintained that the case had political undertones because it arises from issues surrounding the Barotse Agreement of 1964.

“Denying this will be closing our eyes to reality which is as clear as sunshine,” Kashewe said.

Magistrate Banda guided Kashewe to move away from this line of mitigation because he was not comfortable with him bringing the political aspect in connection with the case.

He told Kashewe to mitigate within the basic confines of mitigation as it was known.

In response, Kashewe said he wanted to draw to the attention of the court the case of Nelson Mandela in the Rivonia trial where due to political underpinnings, the trial judge imposed a life sentence instead of the prescribed death penalty.

“For this reason, I am imploring the honourable court to be lenient by imposing a sentence that will not be seen to add more suffering over and above what these people suffered in Mongu, what they have suffered in Mumbwa,” Kashewe said. “This honourable court should be alive to the fact that because of the bringing of this case to Mumbwa, it has been very difficult to find witnesses who should have testified in favour of these people.”

In passing sentence, magistrate Banda said the offence of rioting was a serious one, which explained why the law prescribed up to seven years in prison with hard labour for anyone convicted.

“The court, in my view, has a duty to bring to stop this growing trend in our country of violence and riots that endanger people’s lives and property,” he said.

Magistrate Banda said although citizens in a democracy were entitled to pursue their civil rights in their pursuit for socio-economic development, that must be done within the parameters of the law.
He said if this trend was allowed to continue, peace and order would be substituted with anarchy and chaos, saying this was unacceptable.

Magistrate Banda sentenced six of the accused persons to 48 months imprisonment with hard labour with effect from the date of arrest. Magistrate Banda said as for accused number five, who is a juvenile, he ordered that he go to Katombora Reformatory School for appropriate re-correction.

Labels: ,


Rupiah wants to tarnish PF councils’ image - Katema

COMMENT - " all councils were agents of the central government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. " I would say there is room for decentralization, and it will not happen under the MMD.

Rupiah wants to tarnish PF councils’ image - Katema
By Misheck Wangwe and Kabanda Chulu
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

IT hurts to see that Zambians have a President who propagates lies on the performance of PF-controlled councils, says Dr Joseph Katema.

Commenting on President Rupiah Banda’s remarks that Patriotic Front-controlled councils on the Copperbelt had failed to deliver the much-needed development, Dr Katema, who is Chingola member of parliament, said it was sad that the country had a President who could not take responsibility over the failures of his government.

Dr Katema said President Banda’s government was holding on to money which was meant for developmental programmes such as the rehabilitation of roads to make people feel that PF-controlled councils were not performing.

“We are ready to work and we’ve done what we can within our means. We can’t construct the roads because we don’t have enough money and it’s solely the responsibility of the central government and its line agents, the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the National Road Fund. Rupiah is simply politicking; he wants to tarnish the image of the PF because his government has failed the people,” said Dr Katema.

And Nchanga parliamentarian Wylbur Simuusa said President Banda would not gain political mileage by blaming the PF over lack of development on the Copperbelt.

He said people were already aware that the government had failed to deliver development’ hence they had opted to support the PF.

“Unfortunately, Zambia has a leader who claims to be a president for all but national wealth is distributed in a discriminate manner because he wants people to change their minds and vote for the MMD. These are cheap politics that will not in any way help him to woo the electorate to vote for him,” said Simuusa.

And Roan member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili said councils were failing to meet the needs of people in many ways because President Banda’s government was not releasing enough money for development.

Kambwili said it was not feasible for councils to operate effectively when the government was not providing sufficient funds.

“Rupiah is like a bad carpenter who always blames his tools. If there is no money coming from central government, he should not expect the councils to perform. The budget of Luanshya Municipal Council is K14 billion. To do one kilometre of a road is 2.5 billion.

You should ask Rupiah what he expects us to do to meet all these demands of our people if his Cabinet is holding on to money. Surely our people want us to attend to their needs not politics every time,” he said.

Kambwili said the wisest thing for the electorate to do was to vote out President Banda and his government because he had failed the people.

And Nkana parliamentarian Mwenya Musenge said President Banda’s directive will not sway the minds of voters who have already made their choice.

Musenge described President Banda’s press conference as an embarrassment to the nation because it failed to address issues affecting people on the Copperbelt.

“His (President Banda) decision will have minimal impact because most people have already paid for the houses and the very few with balances have also paid over 80 per cent and it is cheap propaganda to think that over 3,000 people who shall benefit from the write-off will sway the minds of voters on the Copperbelt because they have already decided to do away with MMD,” said Musenge.

“If anything, President Banda has landed himself into trouble because he should also address the plight of former UBZ, CH, Monarch Steel, Mpelembe Properties and many retirees who are suffering and sleeping at Intercity Bus Terminus while waiting for their pensions.

Actually, we expected him to present findings of audit reports because he made similar allegations last year.”

And Kitwe mayor Elias Kamanga has said President Banda’s criticism of PF-led councils on the poor state of the roads is misplaced since the service was withdrawn and given to the RDA.

Kamanga said there was nothing like PF-controlled councils since all councils were agents of the central government through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

“Problems affecting councils are the same. In fact, they are worse in MMD-led councils like Kalulushi, Luanshya and Chililabombwe and why criticise councils on the state of roads when this service has been taken over by the RDA and councils just submit work plans?” wondered Kamanga.

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Profusion of splinter unions worries MUZ

Profusion of splinter unions worries MUZ
By Mwila Chansa in Kitwe
Fri 22 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

HIDDEN forces are promoting splinter unions in the mining industry to divide the voice of workers, observes Mineworkers Union of Zambia (MUZ) General Secretary Oswell Munyenyembe.

In a statement released yesterday, Munyenyembe expressed sadness that while multinational corporations were conglomerating in larger and complex organisations, the opposite was obtaining in Zambia.

“We would like to note with grave concern the mushrooming of splinter unions in the mining industry on grounds that they are likely to weaken the hand of labour,” he stated.

“All over the world trade unions are merging to form strong and formidable trade union organisations to stand the powers and complexity of the firms we are working for.”

He stated that world trends now favoured mergers and strong voices in the union and that the mushrooming of unions was detrimental to the solidarity and strengthening of Zambian workers.

Munyenyembe urged union leaders to prioritise the interest of mergers to build strong and formidable unions if they were to stand the power and complexity of employers.

He observed that the mushrooming unions were not offering anything tangible in terms of ideas or strategies but were merely dividing and weakening the hand of labour in industrial relations.

“We would like to appeal to our employers that the promotion of rival trade unions is a recipe for industrial strife because very soon, no union will possess the legitimate voice of workers in their united sense. We would like to advise that productivity and safety in mine operations can only be guaranteed and promoted by strong and formidable unions that have a large following than the splinter unions that are currently being encouraged,” stated Munyenyembe.

He also appealed to all mine workers to work towards using the democratic ideals of their forefathers in building one strong union if their interests were to be secured.

He further stated that unity was the only way they would fight and conquer vices such as casualisation, outsourcing, sub-contracting and union busting that was currently taking centre stage.

He also urged MUZ members to remain united and focused if they were to extract tangible benefits from rising copper production and the high metal prices.

Labels: , ,


Thursday, April 21, 2011

(NEWZIMBABWE) Malema pushes Zim-style land reforms

Malema pushes Zim-style land reforms
by Staff Reporter/Sapa
21/04/2011 00:00:00

THE ANC Youth League (ANCYL) is pursuing a campaign for Zimbabwe-style land redistribution without paying compensation, its president Julius Malema said in his hate speech trial on Thursday.

In response to questions on the subject, Malema said the current official policy of willing buyer, willing seller, was not working and a “more radical” policy was needed.

“But now there is a discussion document we have launched as the youth league on taking over the land without compensation,” he said.

He would not be drawn on repeated questions about whether this meant land would be taken from whites.

On further questioning, he said: “The revolution I pursue seeks to transfer power from the minority to the majority.”

In an earlier interview with the BBC’s Hardtalk programme Malema said South Africa could learn from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe’s “courage” in seizing land from white commercial farmers without paying compensation.

“The only thing we can learn from him (President Mugabe) is his courage… we don’t agree with the method used … forceful and beating up of people but we need to take over the land without compensation,” he told the BBC.

Critics blame the land seizures for Zimbabwe’s economic melt-down over the last decade; allegations denied by the government which insists that Western sanctions were responsible for the collapse.

However, Malema said South Africa would ensure that beneficiaries made productive use of the land.

According to the ANC's Freedom Charter, which Malema described as the Bible of the party, the land should be shared by all who work it in South Africa.

He also conceded that the ANCYL was pursuing the nationalisation of mines and was “going there” with banks and other monopolies.

Malema is on trial under the Equality Act for alleged hate speech for singing the lyrics “awudubhule ibhunu”. He said he did not recognise the translation from isiZulu as “shoot the boer”.

“When it is translated, it does not mean the same,” said Malema, who is defending his right to sing the lyrics based on their significance during the struggle against apartheid.

Malema sang the lyrics four times in South Africa and once in Zimbabwe.

Labels: , ,


(NEWZIMBABWE) Malema surprises critics in witness stand

Malema surprises critics in witness stand
by Marius Bosch I Reuters
21/04/2011 00:00:00

SOUTH African youth leader Julius Malema, on trial for "hate speech", surprised critics with a polished performance in the witness box, denting perceptions that he is simply a dangerous militant.

"Be warned, this man is not insignificant," popular radio talk show host John Robbie, a long time critic of Malema, said on Thursday after his testimony on Wednesday.

Malema faces "hate speech" charges brought by the Afrikaner civil rights group Afriforum over his singing of an anti-apartheid song containing a reference to "shoot the Boer (Afrikaner)".

The trial in South Africa's Equality Court in Johannesburg began 10 days ago and saw several leaders of the ruling African National Congress defend Malema, who arrived at court flanked by several bodyguards carrying assault rifles.
The judge last week banned the bodyguards from court.

Malema's drive for nationalisation of the country's giant mines has unnerved investors in the world's No. 4 gold producer and his militant speeches nearly 17 years after the end of apartheid have scared many white South Africans.
The government has repeatedly said nationalisation is not its policy.

Malema took the stand on Wednesday, deftly answering questions from Afriforum's advocate and even relating how he was given a pistol by the ANC at age 9 to attend the funeral of venerated ANC leader Chris Hani -- gunned down by a member of the white right wing in 1993.

Whites calling into Robbie's show on Thursday said they were surprised by Malema's testimony.

"Having been a critic of him for a very long time ... he did come across to me as very, very sincere," said one caller who gave her name as Annie and said she was an Afrikaner.
On microblogging website Twitter remarks showed Malema had changed the view of many South Africans.

"I think this case has proven that Malema is a lot smarter than some in the media might have believed," said Twitter user Mxolisi Jaza.

Malema, leader of the ANC Youth League since 2008, says he is only fighting to improve the lives of the poor and jobless.

To remain relevant to the Youth League and its constituency, he had to be militant and radical, Malema told the court.

"I belong to a very radical and militant youth organisation and if you are not radical and militant, you risk being irrelevant.

Independent political analyst Nic Borain said by taking Malema to court, his Afrikaner opponents have shot themselves in the foot.

"The fact that he has landed up in court as the person accused of singing (the song) is such a coup for him," he said.

"Don't underestimate the guy ... he serves a political purpose for the ANC."

Malema’s interview with the BBC HARDtalk programme last week also surprised an international audience for whom, from the media reports, Malema was nothing other than a Robert Mugabe disciple bent on reverse racism.

“Steven Sackur thought he had come to unravel this new black buffoon on the block, but instead it was him who ended up scurrying from the weightier issues seeking refuge in personal trivia,” said the UK-based Zimbabwean blogger and researcher, Innocent Chofamba Sithole.

Labels: , , ,


Matabeleland separatists burn flag

Matabeleland separatists burn flag
by Thabo Kunene I Radio Netherlands
21/04/2011 00:00:00

MORE than 500 Zimbabwean exiles in South Africa marched for an independent Zimbabwean state on Wednesday. The protest was organised by the Matabeleland-based secessionist organisation, Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF). In the past few months, the MLF’s increasingly popular campaign has led to the arrest of three of the movement's senior leaders.

Separatists from Matabeleland province say the people of the region have suffered from marginalisation and discrimination under Zimbabwe’s unitary system since the 1980’s. They demand an independent state which they want to name Mthwakazi.

President Robert Mugabe has said Zimbabwe will never be divided into two ethnic based states. The arrested MLF leaders Paul Siwela, John Gazi and Charles Thomas are currently facing charges of treason. They could face the death sentence if convicted.

During the march, protesters sang struggle songs which brought business to a standstill along Johannesburg's Sauer and Bree Streets.

“Our march was very successful and attracted many Zimbabweans living in South Africa,” said MLF spokesman, Sabelo Mavikinduku Ngwenya, a lawyer by profession.

Although the police closely monitored the march, protesters managed to burn a Zimbabwean flag, which they said was a symbol of oppression and discrimination against ethnic groups in Matabeleland province.

This act was received with mixed feelings. Some Zimbabweans, even those from Matabeleland, said while they supported the group’s campaign for a free Matabeleland, they opposed the burning of the flag.

“The burning of the flag by the secessionists could increase repression against our people by Mugabe’s government. The same people who burnt the flag are still using Zimbabwe government passports - why did they not burn their passports too?” said Dumisani Moyo, a Zimbabwean living in Johannesburg.

But Professor Sabelo Gatsheni Ndlovu, a political analyst and a history lecturer at Johannesburg’s Wits University, told Radio Netherlands Worldwide that the burning of the Zimbabwean flag was a clear signal by the secessionists that they don’t want to be part of Zimbabwe anymore.

“The burning of the flag has symbolic significance. It means they are indicating their separation from that country. The flag is not just a piece of cloth. It represents the spirit of the country and identity. It’s a statement by the protesters.”

The organisers of the march also sent a delegation to the Zimbabwe Embassy in Pretoria to deliver the group's document outlining how the state of Mthwakazi would be created and which districts in Zimbabwe would be part of that country.

Ambassador Phelekezela Mphoko, who also comes from Matabeleland, has openly opposed the campaign of secession. He was not available for comment. One official at the embassy said they did not receive any document from MLF.

Labels: ,


Magande blames Rupiah for Mwiya Sihope’s death

Magande blames Rupiah for Mwiya Sihope’s death
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 21 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

RUPIAH Banda should take the blame over the death of Barotse treason detainee Mwiya Sihope, says Ng’andu Magande.

Commenting on the death of 70-year-old Sihope from Mongu, whose right leg was amputated shortly after his release from Lusaka Central Prison on Barotseland Agreement-related treason charges, Magande said President Banda’s government should tender an apology to Sihope’s family and the other Zambians who were victims of police shootings, brutality and torture.

“The head of state takes blame for things which are abnormal, and police shooting people who are defenseless…he has to own up, yah, because he is commander-in-chief and he looks after the police. He is head of the police,” Magande said.

“Immediately now they should tender an apology, and a public apology which we all know, not to say this one apologised, this one didn’t. I think they should. Although I know you can’t bring back life, but I think it will show at least that they are remorseful over the cause of the death.”

Magande said it was historic in Zambia that defenceless people were being killed by police, such as the recent shooting incidents in Western and Southern provinces.

He said this symbolised the failure to manage the state on the part of the government.

Magande said people who were only watching football were recently shot at by the police.

“So we just hope that the law enforcement agencies can continue to be professional, when they are given wrong instructions they don’t obey them. There is a law which says ‘you will obey lawful instructions’, and that means if they are lawful then they have to be within the law,” Magande said. “But somebody later on says ‘no, there is no government policy on whether to use live bullets or not’.”

Magande said President Banda was the manager of the country and everyone else was working under his instructions, saying when a citizen was shot at by the police it was onerous for him to come out and condemn the action.

“But for him to wait for reporters to ask him at the airport and then he says ‘I don’t know’, that means there is breakdown in communication because he should know when Zambians are being killed anywhere. He is the commander-in-chief,” said Magande. “Whenever a Zambian dies for some kind of an intended death, he himself must know what happened.”

Mwiya Sihope’s 54-year-old wife, Inonge, said in an interview at the house of mourning in Mongu’s Mbuywana plots that her husbnand died at around 22:00 hours on Monday in Lewanika General Hospital.

He will be buried today at 14:00 hours.

Labels: , ,


Mwiya Sihope dies

Mwiya Sihope dies
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Wed 20 Apr. 2011, 04:06 CAT

THE 70-year-old Mon-gu man whose right leg was amputated shortly after release from Lusaka Central Prison on a Barot-seland Agreement-related treason char-ge has died.

Mwiya Sihope’s 54-year-old wife, Inonge, said in an interview at the house of mourning at Mongu’s Mbuywana plots yesterday that her husband died at around 22:00 hours on Monday in Lewanika General Hospital. Inonge said Sihope completely lost his speech five days before he passed away.

“From Sunday and Monday the condition worsened and he was even put on oxygen for two days,” Inonge said. “We have since informed most of the relatives and they are coming to the funeral house.”
Inonge said the family was very devastated by Sihope's death.

“It is us who have been left with this problem and there is nothing to be happy about such a death,” said Inonge.

The family said burial arrangements would be announced later.

Following The Post’s expose of events leading to Sihope's amputation at Lewanika Hospital shortly after he arrived in Mongu from a 56-day detention at Lusaka Central Prison on a treason charge, Police Inspector General Francis Kabonde vehemently disputed that the amputation had any connection to the detention.

Kabonde said in a statement last Wednesday that when Sihope was released on a nolle prosequi he had both legs.

Kabonde claimed that Sihope was admitted to Lewanika General Hospital for asthma-related complications, which later forced medical experts to amputate his right leg.

However, in her reaction to Kabonde's claims, Inonge maintained that her husband's amputation was necessitated by a medical condition that started whilst he was in detention and that this was not a lie.
Inonge, in an interview last Thursday, said the reaction from the Police as published and broadcast in the Zambia Daily Mail, radios and television was just propaganda.

“How can I lie about my husband when I am the person who is closest to him and knows him better?” Inonge asked. “If he was in that condition before he was detained, they would not have arrested him in the first place.”

Inonge further wondered how asthma and gangrene were related for Kabonde to say that her husband was a known patient of asthma.

Inonge said the position that she gave to The Post that the medical condition that led to her husband's amputation occurred whilst he was in detention was the correct one.

“That is what we even told the people that were interviewing us in the theatre,” she said. “I am not lying and this is why even the family is very angry because they knew that my husband was a smart man before he was arrested.”

Inonge said even some people that were detained together with her husband in Lusaka attested to the same position.

According to hospital sources, gangrene, which is a condition that develops when the flow of blood is disturbed, was in no way connected to asthma.

Nayoto Liamba, another Mongu man who together with Sihope and others were on the night of January 13, 2011 arrested and taken to Lusaka where they were charged with treason, said Sihope's condition was connected to his detention.

Liamba said in an interview last Friday that almost all the Barotse detainees, himself included, sustained swollen feet because they were unable to lie down in the cells during the night for the over 50 days they were detained.

Liamba, who attributed Sihope's condition to the congestion in the prison, said he would not have been amputated if he had not been arrested.

Liamba, who revealed that Police officers initially refused to allow Sihope seek medical attention, wondered where the Human Rights Commission HRC were when they were living under such conditions whilst in detention.



Rupiah meets Mpezeni

Rupiah meets Mpezeni
By George Chellah
Wed 20 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT [2441 Reads, 0 Comment(s)]

President Rupiah Banda has summoned Paramount Chief Mpezeni of the Ngoni people in Eastern Province to make peace with him following reports that the paramount chief is now in the habit of making negative statements about the head of state.

Well-placed sources revealed yesterday that Mpezeni travelled from Chipata on Sunday and met President Banda at State House the following day.

“This was a very secret trip for Mpezeni. He was phoned by Dickson Jere who informed him that the President wanted to meet with him to discuss reports that Inkosi is now publicly making very negative statements about the President,” the source said.

“So the meeting took place on Monday at State House around 17:00 hours. But what emerged in the meeting was that actually Inkosi is not against the President. He told the President that actually what was of concern to him and the people in Eastern Province was the perceived sour relationship between the President and honourable Lameck Mangani.”

The source said Mpezeni told President Banda that the people have failed to appreciate the reason for his differences with Mangani and now fear that this could cost the MMD in Eastern Province.

“He said it will be suicidal for us to go for elections with a divided province because Hon Mangani has a lot of influence and following in the province, not just in Chipata,” the source said.

“This whole Mangani issue worsened after the party convention in Kabwe early this month. Most people from Eastern Province who attended the convention realised how honourable Mangani was mistreated by the President. You guys have been writing that the President attempted to block Sylvia Masebo from contesting at the convention. Masebo is not the only one the President didn’t want. There was what was called ‘the preferred list’ and a number of people he didn’t want. But the two most hated on his list were Hon Mangani and Masebo.

“Before the results were announced, the President was informed that both Masebo and honourable Mangani were headed for victory. So an urgent meeting was convened. In attendance were Dickson Jere, the President’s political advisor Dr Chigunta, VJ Mwaanga and a Dr Mtonga. In this meeting, VJ is reported to have advised that it would be inappropriate to make both Mangani and Masebo lose because people could suspect something.

“The President said ‘it’s ok Masebo can go ahead, I will just deal with her later but something should be done about Mangani’. That’s why you probably heard that delegates to the convention protested when it was announced that there was going to be a two-hour break after voting at 16:00 hours before counting could commence at 18:00 hours. All election agents were told to leave the polling centre apart from security personnel. So Hon Mangani knew about his losing before counting was done.”

The source said most delegates from Eastern Province were very upset and talking continued after they returned to their various stations.

“I am sure it must have been from this point of view that Mpezeni must have been complaining because Angela Cifire who is very close to him (Mpezeni) is also not wanted by President Banda. The President only preferred Dora Siliya, Peter Daka and Maxwell Mwale. Even Dr Kazonga contested without blessings from the President although he won. But these are cowards, so he can’t complain. In fact, I will not be surprised to hear him say he was supported by the President,” the source said.

“But these issues are very well known in Eastern Province to the point that some senior government officials advised the President when he travelled to Chipata just after the convention that he should handle honourable Mangani with care otherwise MMD could lose the grip in the province. Most people in the province also know that as a result of this advice, President Banda said for now he will try to make peace and work with honourable Mangani just for the purpose of winning elections. After the elections, the President intends to either frustrate or dump honourable Mangani. As for Masebo, we are not sure what his plans are now that honourable Mpombo has exposed the fact that the President didn’t want her in his NEC.”

The source said President Banda was preparing for one of his sons to replace Mangani in Chipata Central Constituency.

“If plans for his son fail, the alternative is Professor Patrick Mvunga. Robinson Zulu is thinking twice after you exposed his land deal with NAPSA,” the source said.

“That is why you see that lately, each time the President travels to Eastern Province, he includes Professor Mvunga in his delegation. I hope honourable Mangani is not too blind to see all these machinations because these politicians sometimes can easily be misled not knowing that the President is just following advice for him to normalise relations.”

The source further said Mangani was just a victim of circumstances because the main issue was between paramount chief Gawa Undi and President Banda.

“I will not elaborate this point because the President knows that there are issues between him and Gawa Undi. Gawa Undi is principled and so he is not gullible. The President can succeed in tossing around or manipulating Mpezeni who is unprincipled, not Gawa Undi,” the source said.

“But because honourable Mangani is very close to Gawa, he is the grass that is suffering when the two elephants are fighting. Those who know the issues will understand what I’m talking about.”

Labels: ,


There’s a limit to oppression, says Mutesa

There’s a limit to oppression, says Mutesa
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Thu 21 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

THE freedom of human beings cannot be suppressed forever, says Dr Fred Mutesa. Commenting on Vatican Ambassador to Zambia Archbishop Nicola Girasoli’s statement on Tuesday that the recent events in Africa had shown the world that the culture of repression had definitely failed and that people especially the youths were becoming more and more aware that democracy was based on participation and respect for diversity, Dr Mutesa who is Zambians for Empowerment and Development president said human beings were created to be free.

“In this case, freedom means to be free of many things like poverty and rid ourselves of corrupt governments because within each one of us, there is a longing for a further kinder and more just world,” he said.

He agreed with Archbishop Girasoli and said leaders on the continent needed to look again at how they were conducting themselves.

Dr Mutesa said leaders should not take people for granted because there was a limit to which people could be oppressed without reacting.

He said the recent events in Africa were a timely lesson for those who think they had it in their bags. Dr Mutesa said there were many unmet needs in the country and the government should not brag with propaganda that it was doing much.

“People are seeing how those in leadership are acquiring wealth which they cannot account for and abusing power such as changing laws to dictate the fight against corruption and wasting enormous public resources on a constitution-making exercise which they knew from the beginning had no hope for success,” he said.

He said the people of Zambia would one day call them to account for everything.

Dr Mutesa said Zambians were observing the recent events in Africa and learning that it was possible to free themselves of corrupt and inept governments.

And Dr Mutesa said the new wave of democracy posed a serious challenge to all aspiring leaders and leaders needed to understand what people were longing for and harness the capacities and potentials of the people to bring about progressive change.

“So it’s all about increased freedoms, better governance. In short, I would say people are looking for authentic and genuine leadership so you can’t conduct politics in the same old way of name-calling and attacking one another,” he said.

He said there was need to pay special attention to the needs of young people whose views of the world had greatly expanded as a result of the revolution in information, communication technologies such as social media.

Dr Mutesa said young people need employment, better training opportunities and an assured future.

Labels: ,


Tembo implores youths to reject ‘violent politicians’

Tembo implores youths to reject ‘violent politicians’
By David Chongo in Solwezi
Thu 21 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

BONNIE Tembo has urged youths to make a decisive vote against politicians who promote violence ahead of this year’s polls. In an interview in Solwezi, Tembo bemoaned the fact that Zambia did not have a vibrant youth movement that could dictate political change.

According to Tembo, despite being dominant players in most political parties, the youths have remained divided on important matters of political and economic revolution.

Tembo, who is also Anti-Voter Apathy Project executive director, said most political parties had succeeded in their campaign strategies based on the effectiveness of zealous youths.

But Tembo observed that the status quo in the country was not inspiring positive change as youths continued being used as tools of intimidation and violence.

“Youths are the deciding factor because they are unemployed, the economy has been harsh for them, they are bitter and they feel they should not be cheated. Youths are a daring force; they have the energy; they are zealous. Anything to do with change, youths are daring. But we don’t have a strong youth movement in this country,” he said.

“The youths themselves are divided. What we have are youth wings, security wings and militia groups which are illegal. So the youths are being diverted to somewhere else.”

And Tembo urged the Electoral Commission of Zambia to create a deliberate working relationship with councils whereby it could update its voters' register by removing the names of deceased people based on information from the local authorities.

He urged ECZ not to bother relatives of deceased registered voters to help with information on the latter’s demise, but create a parallel deregistration system in order to maintain a current voters roll.

“At the moment we are talking about fake numbers; we need a high level of accountability in the election process,” Tembo said.

And Tembo noted that the high number of registered voters recorded this year might not all be attributed to massive campaigns but it was an indication that people were not satisfied about something and wanted to use their vote to make a decision.

Labels: , ,


(NEWZIMBABWE) Attorney General set to drop Gwisai treason charges

Attorney General set to drop Gwisai treason charges
by Staff Reporter
21/04/2011 00:00:00

THE Attorney General is set to drop treason charges against former Highfield MP Munyaradzi Gwisai and five others, but they could still face prosecution for the lesser crime of holding an illegal gathering.

At a routine remand hearing on Wednesday, Edmore Nyazamba of the AG’s office indicated the five men and a woman would stand trial before a regional magistrate on July 18.

But only the High Court can try an individual for treason, a clear indication, said legal observers, that prosecutors were climbing down from the heavy charge of treason which carries the death penalty.

Gwisai was originally arrested and charged with 45 others after they attended a lecture in Harare on February 10, organised by the International Socialist Organisation (ISO), at which prosecutors say they watched videos of uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.

Prosecutors accused the 34 men and 11 women of “attempting to circumvent a sitting government” through unconstitutional means, namely by engaging in Egyptian-style illegal street protests.

But a magistrate dropped charges against 39 of the group, while indicting Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo, Eddison Chakuma, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara and Welcome Zimuto to stand trial for treason.

The magistrate found that there was a prima facie case that the six had uttered “treasonous statements”, but said the group of 39 had committed no crime by simply “listening to treasonous utterances”.

Labels: , ,