Saturday, April 30, 2011

President Banda has gone bonkers, says Mpombo

President Banda has gone bonkers, says Mpombo
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 30 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

Yamunyokola njala Mpombo, says President Banda

THIS “chap” Rupiah Banda lies through his teeth, George Mpombo has charged. But President Banda says Mpombo is a mad man.

Reacting to President Banda’s attacks on him at Lusaka’s City Airport following the US$100 million arms deal exposé, Mpombo said it was actually President Banda who had gone bonkers. “He is the one who is actually mad.

And very clearly he is degenerating into a situation called senile-dementia and the man has no morality. It is a serious disadvantage to this nation. He wants proof to be produced, obviously he won’t get that in my letter of resignation but there is enough proof both at Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Defence,” Mpombo said.

He said President Banda permitted him to travel to South Africa to negotiate the deal because no minister could travel out of the country without the President’s permission.

Mpombo said he travelled to South Africa with army specialists and the defense attaché Brig Gen Chapewa. He said the leaders of the group from South Africa were Miles Chambers and New Business Development president Sally Gallagher.

“In fact, when we were in South Africa, the Mail & Guardian newspaper reported that this same company was involved in the arms supply scandal in South Africa and we were warned to be careful,” Mpombo said.

“This was brought to our attention by people in South Africa that ‘this is a very dirty company and these are very good friends to James Banda President Banda’s son’.” Mpombo said finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane was aware about the deal because there were documents at his ministry on the arms proposals.

He said Ministry of Defence permanent secretary Nicholas Kwendakwema and then deputy minister Dr Eustarkio Kazonga warned that they smelt a rat in the deal.

Mpombo said President Banda was therefore just bluffing by attacking him instead of responding to the issues he raised. He said the nation knew the role President Banda played in other deals like the one involving RP Capital Partners.

Mpombo said the nation also knew the role President Banda’s other son, Henry played in the deal. “To say that njala President Banda’s attack on him that he was hungry is the clearest sign that the President has gone bonkers, because since I left government I have been able to look after myself.

It’s the President who ran away from Lusaka because people were chasing him for money and he could not make ends meet,” Mpombo said. “That is why he went to Chipata to stay in a koloboi lit house.

The farm was almost dysfunctional to the extent that when he joined Cabinet, his first declaration included bicycles, including his head was only worth K1.5 billion.” Mpombo said President Banda was a very greedy person who instead of thanking the people for saving him from perpetual poverty, went ahead to amend the law to access full gratuity. “I think this is a criminal undertaking and daylight robbery.

He just wants to divert attention. If he is really genuine that I have defamed his integrity, let him take me to court,” Mpombo said. “The man is a trickster; he is a fraudster, full of fraudulent activities…if he was not involved, how did he allow me as Minister of Defence to travel? Only that mudala akalipa (it’s only that the old man is angry).

So actually the person who is mad is Rupiah Banda. He is sliping into a situation we call senile-dementia, you are ageing, you are growing old and there is a deterioration in your mental activities.”

Mpombo said President Banda was sleep-walking the country into a major disaster. “His accidental presidency is a complete theatre of absurdity. It is a big curse to have this chap as President because he lies through his teeth. He is a pathological liar,” Mpombo said.

“Like Dr Chongwe said, it is a personal attack on his integrity. So the chap is mad.” Mpombo said President Banda wanted to push through the arms deal using the excuse that the country did not have enough equipment for peace-keeping.

He said there was a sense of urgency from President Banda to push the deal through. Mpombo said he had saved President Banda from many political and social scandals when he served as defence minister. He said one involved a chief in Luapula Province, saying he would go public should President Banda try to act funny.

Mpombo said he was brief in his resignation letter as defence minister. He said he remembered an occasion in 2009 when President Banda went ballistic during one Cabinet meeting, until community development minister Michael Kaingu asked him to cool down.

He said despite sitting next to him, the President could not allow him to contribute to debates during one of the meetings although he raised his hand on four occasions.

Mpombo said he decided to discuss the issue with intelligence chief Reggis Phiri over the deteriorating personal chemistry between him and the President.

He said Phiri told him that he had talked to President Banda and the President was going to call him but never did. Mpombo said following that he chose to resign from Cabinet. Speaking to journalists earlier at Lusaka’s City Airport yesterday, President Banda sarcastically reacted to Mpombo’s revelations on the arms deal.

“I have refused to answer that man because I think there is some insanity in him because the letter which he wrote to us resigning does not have that. And he should prove to you, I am not the one who said it.

Let him prove to you,” he said. President Banda said the government had not procured arms worth US$100 million because the nation would have seen them. “So I don’t think he deserves to be answered but I hope the public will ask him to give a copy of the letter in which he resigned and what did he say in his letter, or to produce a letter where I told him to procure US$100 million to procure arms,” President Banda said.

“Where would we get 100 million for arms? Our country is not at war and we don’t spend so much money on that.” President Banda said Mpombo was an angry man. “You can add that that man is mad.

I saw him on TV the other day. Niokalipa mudala ula that man is angry. I don’t know what is wrong with him, as if I asked him to leave.

He left on his own. Now chamubaba (it’s hurting him). Yamunyokola njala (hunger has hit him),” said President Banda. Notable among those who accompanied President Banda to Solwezi was former Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele.

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‘Vote for genuine leadership’

‘Vote for genuine leadership’
By The Post
Sat 30 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

Dr Fred Mutesa, the president of Zambians for Empowerment and Development, says “we want authentic and genuine leadership which is in contrast to the current leadership which usually thinks about their stomachs…We do not want change that just improves the lives of politicians and their small circle of friends”.

Truly, what the Zambian people are seeking is genuine democracy in which the leaders are servants of the electorate and not its masters. And such a democracy can only occur when we have honest and humble leaders who see politics as a vocation to serve the people.

And no one deserves to be elected unless they love their country more than themselves; a leadership that regards politics as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good. The ruler is supposed to be God’s servant working for our good (Romans 13:4).

Therefore, politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. And for these reasons, we must vote wisely and only for people who are known for their honesty, ability, dedication and concern for the welfare of all. Therefore, we have to make full use of our right to vote and consider it a great responsibility to do so. And our participation in the politics of our country should be guided by noble sentiments and ideas.

As for those who want to lead us, continue leading us, we remind them of Mark 9:35: “Whoever wants to be first must place himself as last of all and be the servant of all.” We need people who care for others in government; we don’t need selfish people in government. We say this because the government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good. And as such, government is supposed to act for the benefit of all; it has a duty to serve the people and to equitably distribute goods and services among all of the people. To do this, people with high credibility, people who are conscious of their specific and proper role in the political community, are needed in government and in politics.

Political leadership must aim at the promotion of the common good and the service of all the people. We read in the scriptures that “…You know that the men who are considered rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. This, however, is not the way it is among you. If one of you wants to be great, he must be the servant of the rest; and if one of you wants to be first, he must be the slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served; he came to serve and to give his life to redeem many people” (Mark 10:42-45). Politics should therefore focus on programmes to improve the life of the nation rather than on personality issues.

The proper role of political leaders is to serve the people and not to serve themselves; to pursue the interests of the people and not their own interests. They do this by creating opportunities that benefit all citizens without discrimination. And overall, citizens should be concerned with the way leaders lead them and administer public affairs. That is why elections are very important.

There is need for our political leaders to conduct their business with love and respect for one another. A person chosen for political responsibility as a leader must remember that he or she is simply a servant or steward entrusted to offer humble service to others as opposed to owning power or the people he or she is serving. Our leaders should therefore be accountable to the people who chose them; they should work for the common good. The greatest challenge for bringing about justice and peace in our country consists in good administration of public affairs, in politics and the economy. We need leaders who profoundly love their own people and wish to serve rather than to be served. We don’t need leaders who are preoccupied with: ‘what is in it for me?’ We need leaders whose mission is to serve the people wholeheartedly and never for a moment divorce themselves from the people. We need leaders who in all cases proceed from the interests of the people and not from one’s self-interests or from the interests of a small group. We need leaders who are above vulgar interests, leaders who are of value to the people. We need leaders whose every word, every act and every policy conforms to the people’s interests. We need leaders who have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart.

We don’t need leaders who are not willing to hold themselves responsible to the people. This is why for us, democracy means that governments are closely linked to the people, arise from the people, have the support of the people and devote themselves entirely to working and struggling for the people and the people’s interests. Democracy implies the defence of all the rights of citizens, including the right to dignity and honour.

And corruption, abuse of people and their resources by those in power must disappear before we can have real democracy. As long as there is corruption, abuse of people, power and public resources, there can’t be any democracy.

Therefore, to us, democracy is both a promise and a challenge. It is a promise that if we work together as free human beings, we can govern ourselves in a manner that will serve our aspirations for personal freedom, economic opportunity and social justice. It is a challenge because the success of the democratic enterprise rests upon our shoulders as citizens of this country and no one else. Government of and by the people means that the citizens of a democratic society share in its benefits and in its burdens. If things are not well in our country, we should take responsibility for that and work to correct them. If we have bad leaders in government, it is our duty to correct this by voting them out and selecting better ones in their stead. We must take responsibility for the fate of our country. In the end, we get the government we deserve.

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Vote for genuine leaders - Mutesa

Vote for genuine leaders - Mutesa
By Bright Mukwasa
Sat 30 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

ZAMBIANS must strive to vote for a genuine leadership contrary to the current crop which is desperate to only enrich itself and its circle of friends, says Dr Fred Mutesa.

Dr Mutesa, who is president of Zambians for Empowerment and Development, said the people this year must be keen on choosing a leadership that had demonstrated interest for their numerous problems.

We want authentic and genuine leadership which is in contrast to the current leadership which usually thinks about their stomachs,” Dr Mutesa said in an interview prior to his rally on Monday.

He said people should seek change that would address unemployment and poverty prevailing in the country, and not just for the sake of it. “This is what is at stake; ... we do not want change that just improves the lives of politicians and their small circle of friends,” he said.

Dr Mutesa said the MMD was too embroiled in numerous scandals to be the people’s choice in this year’s election. “That’s why we disagree with the ruling party’s propaganda of showing us schools and clinics that are being built around the country.

It is not that these things are not good, they are simply too little, too late,” he said. Dr Mutesa said poverty and corruption had become characteristics of the MMD throughout its reign.



Rupiah happy with mining sector

Rupiah happy with mining sector
By Misheck Wangwe in Solwezi
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 19:10 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda says it is gratifying that the mining sector has become viable again and contributing significantly to the economic growth of the country.

Speaking on arrival at Solwezi Airport where he went to officially open First Quantum Minerals multi million dollar, Kalumbila Mine, President Banda hailed the project as a boost to economic and social wellbeing of people in North Western Province and the country as a whole.

“We are happy about this project because our people will benefit greatly.

It will create about 2000 jobs for locals; schools and roads will be constructed because of these mining activities. We want our people to live well, to come out of poverty to live well together with their families, hence the investment,” President Banda said.

He said it was gratifying the copper projections and output have continued to rise in the mining sector thereby creating employment for the people particularly young men and women who needed jobs. He said the significant growth the mining and agriculture sectors were recording should inspire all well-meaning Zambians to join the process of development.

President Banda said his government had demonstrated real commitment to the fight against poverty and underdevelopment by constructing schools, hospitals and other important infrastructure for the rural population.

Kalumbila Mine, through its business units, has since employed 596 workers and it would attract more than 2,000 jobs. Full scale operations were expected to begin by the year 2014. The mine is located in Chief Musele's area.

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Chitala certain of PF victory

Chitala certain of PF victory
By Patson Chilemba
Sat 30 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

PF will certainly win this year’s general election because they are well represented and have a progressive national programme, says Dr Mbita Chitala.

And Dr Chitala said President Rupiah Banda’s decision to appoint education deputy minister Dr Boniface Kawimbe as his national campaign manager was a very desperate move to win Northern Province votes.

Featuring on a Hot FM radio programme yesterday, Dr Chitala, who is Zambia’s former ambassador to Libya and a co-founder of the MMD, said the PF would win going by the current analysis and work already put in.

“Yes, the PF will certainly win. They are much more represented everywhere and they have got a progressive programme which citizens support, and I think we should give them the credit, the support. And we shall work towards ensuring that they win massively,” Dr Chitala said.

He said leaders of PF were well meaning to serve Zambians saying that was why patriotic citizens were endorsing PF president Michael Sata. “In any case, even my travels as I go around I can see the PF winning with a landslide,” Dr Chitala said. He said an alliance would be a much easier way of defeating the MMD, but the PF still stood a better chance of winning if they went it alone.

“They just lost by 35,000 last time, I think they have done their work and they are much more experienced and organised… in my view, even as they are now on their own, they are quite afar from MMD in terms of winning,” Dr Chitala said.

“I have been travelling across the country, I feel time for change has come and it is based on concrete programmes to achieve.”

Dr Chitala said President Banda should not take credit for programmes which were concretised by the late president Levy Mwanawasa. He said any leader that would have come on board after president Mwanawasa would still have enjoyed the benefits of his hard work.

Dr Chitala said after the country qualified for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative during president Mwanawasa’s reign, a condition was given that the money should be channeled into sectors such as health and education. He said had President Banda continued where president Mwanawasa left the country’s growth could have tripled.

Dr Chitala said President Banda had negated on the issue of windfall tax for the mines and was still determined to give the Zambian people a one-party constitution when the people were calling for a totally new one. He said poverty in Zambia was still riding high at 73 per cent, while zero-tolerance against corruption had been abandoned through the removal of the abuse of office clause from the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) Act.

Dr Chitala said he found the PF manifesto keen on tackling poverty and reviewing taxes on the country’s minerals, as well as taking steps to deliver a people-driven constitution within 90 days.

Asked by the interviewer where the true blue MMD members were when the party was being taken over by the ‘UNIPists’ led by President Banda, Dr Chitala said ruling party members were naïve to allow such a situation to happen because they should have stopped it.

He said the challenge was about what to do next. Dr Chitala said the current scenario was retrogressive because it did not allow for the expansion of democracy. “What has happened is that there is inertia in government and we are partly to blame that we allowed it.

It is us who installed Mr Banda to be President and we regret,” Dr Chitala said. “Yes, I think we should apologise to our members that we assumed we would improve on what Mwanawasa had left.

But we have not, we are to blame.” Dr Chitala said the MMD had been turned into UNIP such that people like UNIP parliamentarian Mkhondo Lungu was now running the Ministry of Home Affairs, while William Banda was provincial chairperson in Lusaka.

Dr Chitala said he found Chanda Chimba’s documentaries on the state-owned and government-controlled ZNBC obnoxious, saying someone should file in an injunction to restrain the airing of the documentaries just as the MMD did in 1991.

On the decision by President Banda to drop parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga as his campaign manager after differing on the candidatures of Sylvia Masebo and Major Richard Kachingwe at the recently-held MMD national convention, Dr Chitala said the appointment of Dr Kawimbe in Mwaanga’s place was a misplacement of skill. He said knowing Dr Kawimbe as he did, he might have accepted the position under duress.

Dr Chitala said he knew Dr Kawimbe would want to be with him in the PF because they both stood for the advancement of the country. “I would just request him to decline. Let them appoint somebody else. It would be in his own interest that he declines this offer and joins progressive Zambians that want change.

As a Catholic, he knows what I mean,” said Dr Chitala. “As a Catholic he should not embarrass the multitude of Catholics who have already decided for change and are supporting PF.”

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British envoy backs PVT

British envoy backs PVT
By Bright Mukwasa
Sat 30 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia Tom Carter has backed the use of parallel vote tabulation (PVT) in this year’s elections, saying the system could legitimise the election results.

Speaking to journalists during the week, High Commissioner Carter said the move must be allowed as it bore the potential to avoid violence and discontent. “Parallel vote tabulation could ensure results are accepted.

Parallel vote tabulation worked well in 2006, worked well in 2008, why not this year?” High Commissioner Carter asked. High Commissioner Carter said his government would support the capacity of the Electoral Commission of Zambia to deliver a fair, free and transparent poll.

He said in that regard, his government had decided to contribute in various areas in a bid to buttress the growth of democracy in Zambia. “We are contributing something in the range of US $10 million for all the measures aimed at improving democracy in Zambia.

It’s a huge sum of money,” High Commissioner Carter. He expected this year’s election to be violent-free. “I think from the international perspective any election should be free of violence and we want to make sure the election result is accepted by all,” High Commissioner Carter said. He said his government was working closely to train stakeholders of the electoral process.

High Commissioner Carter’s support follows a recent position by US Ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella also supporting the PVT which drew sharp reactions from the Zambian government who through President Rupiah Banda banned the electoral monitoring system and branded it as illegal.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Jealously guard your independence - Odinga

Jealously guard your independence: Odinga
Posted by By Our reporter at 30 April, at 02 : 48 AM Print
Jealously guard your independence: Odinga

THE visiting Kenyan Prime Minister, Raila Odinga paid a courtesy call on President Robert Mugabe and said Zimbabwe is a sovereign state capable of running its internal affairs without outside interference. “Zimbabwe is quite capable of resolving own internal issues without external influence,” said Odinga.

“I am here to strengthen ties between our two countries who have enjoyed cordial relations since the time of the liberation struggle,” said Odinga, who has been a harsh critic of Zanu-PF. The two leaders shared tea at State House.

Odinga delivered a message from Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, and exchanged notes on political and economic developments in the two countries.

“We had a very good meeting with his Excellency (President Mugabe). We basically compared notes about developments in Zimbabwe and Kenya as you know that the two countries have a number of things in common,” said Odinga.

Speaking to journalists after a closed door meeting with President Mugabe, Odinga who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe told journalists that he had a “fruitful meeting” with the President as they discussed “the tough trajectories the two countries travelled to dislodge imperialists and how we can jealously guard our independence” as African countries.

He said Zimbabwe and Kenya share a common history adding that among issues discussed was how the two countries can assist each other in dealing with the current constitutional and other reforms.

Asked about his view on the inclusive Government in Zimbabwe, Odinga said: “Zimbabwe is a sovereign state which should make its own decisions not to be dictated to by foreigners.”

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(TALKZIMBABWE) MDC-T violence: Tsvangirai blames Zanu-PF

MDC-T violence: Tsvangirai blames Zanu-PF
Posted by By Our reporter at 30 April, at 02 : 56 AM

MDC-T Party President, Morgan Tsvangirai has shifted blame for violence in his party, claiming that Zanu-PF “elements” were responsible for it. This despite issuing an earlier statement saying MDC-T party thugs would be expelled from the party.

Violence was witnessed during the party’s provincial elections held before the MDC-T Congress, leading to an executive travelling to Bulawayo a week before the Congress. While addressing the youth at their Congress at the Amphitheatre, Tsvangirai admitted to the prevalence of violence in his party.

However, on the same day in his main address at Bourbourfields Stadium during the Congress, Tsvangirai blamed Zanu-PF for the violence in his party claiming that MDC-T structures have been infiltrated.

“They (Zanu PF) want a certain outcome but we have survived infiltration before and we will overcome forever.”

Tsvangirai said his party was in the last mile of the democratic struggle to create a “New Zimbabwe”.

Violence in the MDC-T party in Matabeleland started during the Bulawayo provincial elections.

Supporters of Gorden Moyo (from Bulawayo) who has since been endorsed as the provincial chairman and supporters of Matson Hlalo (from Masvingo) clashed, citing that Gorden Moyo rigged the elections.

Tsvangirai and his executive have supported Moyo’s election.

Almost all MDC-T provincial elections have been marred by violence.

In response to the allegations, Zanu-PF Bulawayo Province Chairman, Isaac Dakamela said the MDC-T is an independent party and Zanu-PF is not in any way aligned to it, adding that Tsvangirai’s change of statement is evidence of his failure to control his party.

Chaos still reigned at the party’s Congress on Friday as some delegates were still not accredited on the second day of the three day congress.

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(MnG) Uganda riots reach capital as anger against Museveni grows

Uganda riots reach capital as anger against Museveni grows
KAMPALA, UGANDA - Apr 30 2011 06:50

Riots have swept across the Ugandan capital as protesters called for an Egyptian-style uprising against their autocratic president.

At least two people were killed and more than 100 wounded in Kampala after soldiers fired live bullets and tear gas and beat demonstrators with sticks. Civilians fought back by blocking roads with burning tyres and pelting vehicles with rocks.

The growing unrest, sparked by rising food and fuel prices, gained fresh impetus after the brutal arrest on Thursday of top opposition leader Kizza Besigye. But President Yoweri Museveni, in firm control for a quarter of a century, has met the challenge with an aggressive show of force.

His military police were accused of attacking innocent spectators on Friday. One victim could be seen lying in a pool of blood, apparently after being shot in the head at a local market.

In Karwerwe neighbourhood, police chased teenager Andrew Kibwka with heavy wooden sticks and brought blows raining down on him.

"I thought the police were going to kill me," he said minutes later, his arm bruised and finger bleeding. "I was telling them I'm harmless but they just carried on. I did nothing to provoke them. They beat me because I was running away."

The 18-year-old, wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt and jeans, added: "I'm in pain all over my body. The police are being too brutal. I think Uganda will get worse if the president does not resign."

A minibus taxi and other vehicles that tried to travel up the street were pelted with stones. Then soldiers in armoured vehicles appeared and fired tear gas to disperse the crowd. People ran away in panic.

Standing at a market, Robert Mayanja, who described himself as an activist, said: "What they are doing now shows that Museveni rigged the last election. If you look at Uganda, why should we vote for him after 25 years? We have high prices, we have hospitals without medicine. Is there anything to vote for?"

Mayanja (31) said a repeat of the revolts in Egypt and Tunisia was "definitely" possible. "What we are seeing here are people who are not armed but are taking a stand against armed forces. People are ready. It's just a question of time.

"We know they are going to arrest many people and put them in torture chambers. We know this regime has expired. These are the signs."

Eric Mbiro (20) a student, agreed: "We are tired of this government because of the price of commodities. There is is no presidency in Uganda. The president rules the country like his own home. He is a dictator. We need change."

But he was more sceptical about the prospects for an uprising: "We will not manage to do what they did in Egypt because people here are poor. There is too much poverty in Uganda."

Military police fired live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas at numerous burning barricades blocking the main road out of Kampala to the international airport in Entebbe and sprayed adjacent residential areas with bullets. Shell casings littered the highway, tear gas hung in the air and security forces beat local residents.

In Ntinda, angry youths shouted and hurled stones and chunks of concrete at passing cars. On one corner, a man ran up to a council vehicle as it drove by and smashed the driver's window with a rock, raising cheers from onlookers.

A coded sign language is already in place. Motorists who hold two fingers aloft in a "v for victory" symbol, showing they support the rebellion, are allowed to pass unharmed. But a single raised thumb is interpreted as a pro-Museveni gesture.

There were road blocks in the form of rocks, cones, debris and burning tyres. A bare-chested young man lay face down on the grass, receiving bandages to his head from Red Cross medics.

An eyewitness said the man had been the victim of another unprovoked attack. "The military police were making people clear the road and this boy worked for 30 minutes," said Timothy Ssenfuma (35) an electrical engineer. "He said he wanted to go but they beat him on the head and back until he collapsed. They were also beating up even women and young ladies just to clear the road."

Ssenfuma went on: "They are killing innocent Ugandans who are not even involved in the uprising. We appeal to the rest of the world to help Ugandans as they have in Libya and elsewhere."

A teacher, who gave his name only as Nixon, claimed the security forces had launched an indiscriminate attack. "The military police came and started beating up people. Some had to run away and others had to fight back to defend their friends. People have terrible anger at the way they were treated."

The 32-year-old said he could not imagine an Egyptian-like revolt in the short term. "But in the long term, I believe it can happen. The military is still strong and many of the soldiers are unwilling to turn to the side of the people. But in time they might get tired of beating the people.

"I really look forward to it. As your friends are beaten and arrested, the professionals need to come out and organise the people."

Red Cross official Richard Nataka said more than 100 injured people had been taken to five centres, including 78 at the Mulago Hospital, of whom 10 had gunshot wounds.

He said one person had died and a pick-up truck brought in a second body shortly afterwards. Red Cross vehicles were arriving at the Mulago Hospital every few minutes with more casualties.

Besigye has held five "walk to work" demonstrations against rising prices and what he calls a corrupt government. Demonstrators on Friday carried posters praising Besigye, and questioned why police needed to use violence to arrest him.

Besigye has been released on bail but is said to be in poor health and still unable to see after pepper spray was fired into his eyes. - © Guardian News and Media 2011

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(MnG, SAPA) US prosecutor accuses Kansas man of Rwanda killings

US prosecutor accuses Kansas man of Rwanda killings

Jurors were offered conflicting views on Friday during opening statements in the trial of the Kansas man accused of participating in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.

Prosecutors painted Lazare Kobagaya as a leader and organiser who ordered brutal ethnic killings and instructed followers on which of his neighbors' houses to burn, while the defence described him as a peaceful, God-fearing man who protected others from the violence that had engulfed the region.

Which portrayal prevails will be determined in the next 10 weeks during Kobagaya's trial in a federal courtroom in Wichita. The 84-year-old Topeka man is charged with unlawfully obtaining US citizenship in 2006 and with fraud and misuse of an alien registration card in a case prosecutors have said is the first in the United States requiring proof of genocide.

"The only reason he was able to come here is because he lied about his actions in Rwanda," prosecutor Christina Giffin said in her opening statement. "Those lies are the centre of these charges here."

An estimated 500 000 to 800 000 people were killed in Rwanda between April and July 1994. Most of the dead belonged to an ethnic group known as the Tutsi, while most of the killings were carried out by ethnic Hutus. The events related to the charges allegedly occurred in a rural area known as Birambo, where Kobagaya and his family lived at the time of the genocide.

Defence lawyers, in their opening statement, sought to cast doubt on the credibility of admitted killers upon whom the prosecution has built its case. Attorney Melanie Morgan said her client, a Hutu born in neighbouring Burundi, married a Tutsi woman who would be his companion for 57 years and the mother of his 11 children until her death six years ago.

Morgan told jurors Kobagaya protected two Tutsi women during the genocide, and she recounted how he never forgot what had happened in his beloved Burundi even when he was more than 12 800km away from his homeland.

Kobagaya and one of his sons helped set up an orphanage in Burundi for Hutu and Tutsi children whose parents were killed during the violence that engulfed both African countries.

"While the evidence in this case will be of desperation, corruption and revenge, it is also a case of love, hope and perseverance," Morgan said in her opening statement for the defence.


Immigration case
If convicted, Kobagaya faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250 000 on each of the charges. But the indictment also seeks to revoke his US citizenship, a move that would subject him to deportation. Family members have said they fear that could lead to his death.

Mark Larkin, an agent with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, testified that the case is being prosecuted as an immigration case because the time limit had already passed under US law for it to be a genocide case.

More than 50 witnesses from five countries are being brought in under tight security to testify in the case.

Prosecutors told jurors Kobagaya was 67 at the time of the genocide and a wealthy man by Rwandan standards. The government contends he used that influence to lead others in his small community.

According to the allegations, Kobagaya on April 15 1994, ordered a gathering of Hutus to burn the houses of local Tutsis, and the next day ordered a man to participate in the killing of Tutsis.

When the man refused, Kobagaya allegedly stabbed him in the leg. The man then followed the orders and killed another man he did not know at a place called Ruhuka, according to prosecutors.

Kobagaya is also accused of participating in attacks between April 16 and 19 1994, against Tutsis who had fled to Mount Nyakizu to escape the genocide. Hundreds were killed in those attacks.

Prosecutors also charged Kobagaya with ordering a Hutu man in May 1994 to kill a Tutsi man who had been found hiding and brought to Birambo. Kobagaya is accused of threatening to kill the Hutu's wife if the man did not kill the Tutsi as ordered.

The defence contends Kobagaya is innocent of those allegations, noting he had difficulty even walking at the time and suffered from diabetes. - Sapa-AP

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(MnG) IMF executive board approves administrative budget

IMF executive board approves administrative budget

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) net administrative budget for the financial year ending April 30 2012 has been set at US$985-million, and compares with US$933-million in the 2011 financial year.

The IMF's executive board announced the approval of the 2012 financial year administrative and capital budgets on Friday. The board also endorsed budgets for the 2013/14 financial year.

The US$985-million covered all administrative expenses net of receipts primarily from donors to help support technical assistance activities. The budget also included a small increase in the fund's structural or underlying budget to enable it to carry out new responsibilities assigned to the IMF by its membership in the areas of crisis prevention, surveillance of the global economy, and financial sector analysis.

The IMF would continue to provide funding for a temporary spike in bilateral crisis-related activities to assist members directly affected by the ongoing global crisis, it said.

The capital budget was set at US$162-million, which included initial financing for major building repairs to the older of the fund's two headquarters buildings. -- I-Net Bridge



(MnG, SAPA) Minister halts all fracking applications

Minister halts all fracking applications
PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - Apr 29 2011 14:08

Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu has halted all applications for licences to prospect for shale gas in the Karoo using the hydraulic fracturing (fracking) method, her department said on Friday.

Until the conclusion of a feasibility study, no new applications would be accepted, nor would existing ones be finalised.

"Given the intensity and scale of the issue and the fact that this [shale gas exploration] has never been done before on our shores, my department will conduct a comprehensive study which will assist us to formulate our approach, after which we will go back to Cabinet," Shabangu said in a statement.

She was considering sending a team of experts to other jurisdictions so that they could "draw lessons with regard to shale gas exploration".

There was initial confusion that a recent moratorium applied only to new applications.

Many South Africans have voiced concern about fracking, particularly the agricultural sector, saying it could affect the economic survival and quality of life in rural communities.

Cabinet endorsed the department's decision to place a moratorium on licences. Shell was among those applying for exploration rights. -- Sapa

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Bad elections lead to bad leadership

Bad elections lead to bad leadership
By The Post
Wed 27 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

We are aware that politics is an area of great importance for promoting justice, peace, development and community among all. And as such, politics should be regarded as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good.

We say this because an authority is needed to guide the energies of all towards the common good. And government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good.

For this reason, whoever wishes to be a leader must be willing to be a servant of all.

And we are reminded in Mark 9:35: “Whoever wishes to be first among you must be slave of all.”

Politics, therefore, needs people with high credibility; people who are willing to be servants of others.

Their presence in the political arena can bring good values to the political process.

Our participation in politics should be guided by the good values of respect for human dignity, human rights, common good, social justice, solidarity, integral development, concern for the poor and non-violence in resolving conflicts.

We agree with Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, a member of the national executive committee of the African National Congress, who is visiting our country, when he says that “politicians have a very critical role to play in society because they can change people’s lives if they do not put their own interests first”.

This being the case, the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of every politician.

Politics should be a genuine way of being at the service of others for the integral development of the country so that every human being would have the chance to enjoy the wellbeing necessary for their full development.

It is necessary to remind all our politicians and their political parties that politics should be for the good of the people and the country and not for the political survival of any individual or political party.

If this spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate all our politicians and their political parties, we would certainly see a different type of politics – politics that place the interests of the people above self; we would stop seeing all these slanderous, malicious and violent election campaigns that we are today witnessing and that leave our people dismayed and disheartened.

Politicians who put the interests of the people before self serve the people wholeheartedly and never for a moment divorce themselves from the masses.

They proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one’s self-interest or from the interest of a small group as is the case in our country today.

We say this because if those running our government had put the interests of the people first, they would have listened to the people and would not have spent over K200 billion on that disastrous ego-trip constitution review that George Kunda championed for close to 10 years.

Good politicians see it as their duty to hold themselves responsible to the people.

And they see to it that every word, every act and every policy of theirs conforms to the people’s interests, and if mistakes occur, they correct them promptly.

This is what being responsible to the people means.
Our politicians should have the interests of the people and the sufferings of the great majority at heart.

If they do this, they cannot behave the way Rupiah Banda and his minions behave, squander public resources, abuse public resources and defend corruption and all other schemes that rob the people of their very limited resources.

Politicians who respect the people always listen to the people; they are not arrogant. We don’t see this in our politicians, especially those in government today.

A good politician should have largeness of mind and should be staunch and active, looking upon the interests of the people as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the people.

Good politicians are always more concerned about the masses than about any individual, and more concerned about others than about themselves.

This is not the case with our politicians – they are more concerned about themselves than about the masses.

There is need for our politicians to realise that the supreme test of their words and deeds is whether they conform with the highest interests and enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the people.

Rupiah and his minions are not bothered by considerations of this nature.

What matters to them is what they want; their interests matter more to them than those of the people.

If this was not so, they would not have wasted those hundreds of billions of kwacha on a constitution review process that the great majority of our people opposed.

This is clear testimony that Rupiah and his minions place their personal interests first; they never subordinate them to the interests of the nation and of the masses.

Good politicians must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth. We say this because truth is in the interest of the people.

But what we hear from Rupiah and his followers are lies and the twisting of truth to a point where it can’t be recognised.

Good politicians must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes.

Again, we say this because mistakes are against the interests of the people. But what we see with our politicians is arrogance, lack of humility and defence of all that is wrong.

Good politicians should set an example in being practical as well as farsighted.

For only by being practical can they fulfil the appointed tasks and only farsightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward.

They must be the most farsighted, the most self-sacrificing, the most resolute and the least prejudiced in sizing up situations, and should rely on the majority of the masses and win their support.

They must listen attentively to the views of other people, including those outside their political parties, and let them have their say.

If what they say is right, they ought to welcome it and they should learn from their strong points; if it is wrong, they should let them finish what they are saying and then patiently explain things to them.

This is why it is important to maintain and strengthen democratic structures in our country if we are to enjoy a peaceful and developing future.

And Mkhatshwa says “good leaders will not allow malpractice to characterise elections; they will ensure that the people’s choice is the government that is put in power. Politicians who just want to be in power for their self-enrichment should not be given the mandate to rule any country”.

In democratic states, authority comes from the people who have the power to elect their leaders.

And this process should be as free and fair as possible so that the true will of the people prevails.

Elections that are marred with malpractices, unfairness, intimidation of the opposition and its supporters, abuse of public resources and institutions like the state-owned media and other government facilities cannot be said to be truly free and fair.

Good electoral processes lead to good leadership and bad electoral processes lead to bad leadership.



Budding LA-based actress aims at promoting Zambian art

Budding LA-based actress aims at promoting Zambian art
By Andrew Mulenga
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 11:50 CAT

Meeting Gloria Huwiler at her Los Angeles base for the first time, one would expect to be confronted with some aloof rich girl swagger. After all she was born into a successful business family known for the Pilatus BMW dealership and Le Soliel health spa in Lusaka, to a Swiss German father and Zambian mother. She is an aspiring stage and film actress in Hollywood and pursued acting training at Oxford School of Drama (OSD), Oxfordshire in the UK after she completed school at ISL in Lusaka when she was just 17.

But this young lady is nothing short of courteous, no ostentatious seduction or calculated detachment. She is in fact direct and relaxed, and for this particular interview wore no make-up. And as if trying get a foothold on the LA acting scene, a feat that has made and broke many, she is also attempting to promote contemporary African art with a focus on Zambian artists.

“I started organising exhibitions with a gallery I was working for called Millenia Fine Art at the Times Warner Centre in New York. I organised a show with Zambian artists for eight painters and two sculptors, in 2008. The exhibition ran for a couple of months and was very successful.” says Gloria who after completing the foundation course at OSD, studied International Relations at Brown University, Rhode Island in the US where she was an active member of the theatre and filmmaking community, appearing in several theatrical productions playing Hecuba in The Greeks, Lady Montague in Romeo and Juliet, and the Priest in The Trial.

“The exhibition in New York was my introduction to the world of contemporary art, but I also discovered how under exhibited contemporary African art is in New York and the US in general. There are very few galleries that specialise in contemporary African and Millenia were one of the few galleries doing so, and the big auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s where the major collectors come, do auction African art but its mainly tribal artifacts, antiques, masks, that kind of thing so I wanted to concentrate on contemporary African art.¨

To help support the numerous innovative artists who rarely get a chance at international exposure, Gloria created Anajuwa Gallery in Los Angeles, she conceptualized the exhibition Integration for Anajuwa Gallery; the opening reception was hosted by Sydney Tamiia Poitier and attended by Hollywood actors Sir Sidney Poitier, Oz Scott and Bernie Casey. Anajuwa Gallery is currently working with Audis Husar Fine Art on the exhibition Afrika that will open later this year.

"Since I left Millenia I have had two shows so far, and I intend to continue promoting Zambian artists here in Los Angeles as well as continue trying to link them to New York galleries. The purpose is to work with museums and galleries with hopes to get sales so that the artists back home can get some sort of livelihood."

She explains that currently Anajuwa does not have a show and it is at times such as these that she enters agreements like the ongoing one with Fairmount Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in Santa Monica, California to display the work in their lobby and if someone is interested in buying, they can contact the concierge and make a purchase. She does however mention the challenges that Zambian art faces in the US.

“One of the challenges is that in LA people want to see cutting-edge stuff they really have a taste for conceptual work. So I try to encourage the artists to be bold and to push the frontiers and ask a lot of questions like the way Yinka Shonibares work does, Shonibares work is very political and really gets noticed. But the market does differ; some look for decorative work and others look for the more thought-provoking or shocking art... so we really have to start creating the Damian hursts of contemporary African art.” she explains.

She says another challenge is that viewers in the US often want to question the authenticity of African art, something they don't do when it’s the work of a European artist. She is bothered because it appears for to be called "African" it constantly has to reference Africa. This is something that collectors often raise and it irritates her, because she feels an artist should be free to express himself without being bound to referencing the continent.

“But anyway, right now, video art has become quite popular here. That’s why it is important for Zambian artists to have exposure to get to grips with what’s going on, the new trends. Video and film have a certain intimacy. It’s a very unique and important medium that allows you immediately to enter the thoughts of the artist, to know how they think.” Says Gloria.

And she says despite her sometimes hectic work schedule, she will remain dedicated to promoting Zambian art because it is her passion and also because it has the potential to grow. She emphases that for her, art is a lifetime commitment which she probably picked up from her mother who still lives in Zambia and used to organise exhibitions. What Gloria is doing is literally flying the Zambian flag and needs to be encouraged. The least we can do is wish her all the best in her endeavours and watch how far she will go with it.

In addition to acting, she studied filmmaking and screenwriting, and while in New York she appeared in several productions including a two person show with Nigerian actress Okwui Okpowasili called Pent up: A Revenge Dance which went on to win a Bessie Award.

She recently formed the company Sunchild Productions with actor Patrick Ssenjovu. Based on their connection to Africa, Sunchild Productions was created to produce film and theatre based on themes from the African Diaspora with a strong original voice. Currently Sunchild is working on its first feature Muzungu Houseboy written by Gloria, which will be co-produced with award winning South African producer Joel Phiri. Sunchild also recently produced the play Valley Song, by Athol Fughard, in which Gloria played the role of Veronica.



Government officials shuns KK’s day

Government officials shuns KK’s day
By Bright Mukwasa
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE government yesterday shunned birthday celebrations and the unveiling of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s statue at his pre-independence house in Chilenje, Lusaka.

And Dr Kaunda expressed sadness at the news that both Patriotic Front president Michael Sata and tourism minister Catherine Namugala could not turn up for his birthday.

The unveiling of the monument at his former house, 394 Chilenje, was supposed to be graced by Catherine Namugala.

Kabwata PF member of parliament Given Lubinda said he was informed that Namugala was not going to attend the event because Michael Sata would be in attendance.

Lubinda, who apologised to Dr Kaunda, told Chilenje residents who had gathered to witness the event that initially there had been a hoax circulating that the unveiling of the statue had been cancelled, without disclosing its source.

Lubinda expressed sadness at the absence of the two leaders at the event.

“Namugala said she will not be here if president Sata will be here. I am extremely sad, Mr. President,” Lubinda said amid shouts of shame from the audience.

He said Sata opted to stay away from the event so that he doesn’t spoil the party following Namugala’s reservations.

“Let me apologise for the absence of president Sata and let me also apologise for the absence of the minister Namugala. Indeed, I apologise for the the two leaders Sir," he said.

Lubinda said it was sad political frictions were extending to non-partisan functions like the birthday of Dr Kaunda.

He said Sata had directed Lubinda to let the event continue as Dr Kaunda was bigger than the individuals involved owing to his sacrifice for the country’s struggle for independence.

Lubinda said Dr Kaunda would be remembered for his humility.

And Dr Kaunda expressed sadness at the news that both Sata and Namugala could not turn up for his birthday.

Dr Kaunda called on Zambians to embrace the philosophy of “One Zambia, One Nation”.

He apologised that his wife, Betty, could not attend the event.

“Let me apologise for the absence of my girl (Betty), sorry for amai minister Catherine Namugala, president Sata. I think we have been told the reasons why they are not here, let’s learn from that,” Dr Kaunda said.

Dr Kaunda called on Zambians to obey the law of God and to love one another regardless of tribe, race or religion.

“We must continue to build Zambia on the ‘One Zambia One Nation’, on that basis, without that there is no hope for us. Let us remember that it’s not tribe that’s important,” he said.

Dr Kaunda said Zambians ought to love each other as they just emerged from reflecting on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Easter) whose life they must emulate.

Meanwhile, Dr Kaunda says Zambia needs peace even through this year’s elections.

In an interview on Wednesday prior to his 87th birthday which fell yesterday, Dr Kaunda called on Zambians to bear in mind the philosophy behind the struggle for independence.

“We want our people to maintain our peace in Zambia. Even during this election we need that peace,” Dr Kaunda said.

He challenged youths to be more patriotic and take part in efforts to propel the country to economic prosperity.

“The most important thing is to follow the teaching of God your creator and follow His laws. There is peace in following that and in disobeying them there’s death,” he said.

Dr Kaunda advised Zambians to follow the Bible teaching of the Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would like them do unto you”.

And Dr Kaunda, who attended South Africa’s Freedom Day on Wednesday, urged South African President Jacob Zuma and his government to remember the purpose for the struggle of that country’s independence.

He said South Africa was the most oppressed during the apartheid era and he was glad that Africa had joined together to clamp down on that brutality.

Dr Kaunda said he was glad that South Africans were getting over the oppression of apartheid.

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Kalulu is new local government PS

Kalulu is new local government PS
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda has appointed Christa Ursula Kalulu as permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

State House special assistant to the President for press and public relations Dickson Jere stated that Kalulu was Lusaka district commissioner prior to her appointment.

Jere stated that President Banda had further transferred Timothy Hakuyu from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security in the same capacity.

He stated that the transfers were with immediate effect.

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The Church will never be intimidated - Matale

The Church will never be intimidated - Matale
By Brina Manenga
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 04:01 CAT

THE Church will never be intimidated by government and will continue to be a voice of the voiceless, says Reverend Suzanne Matale. Rev Matale, who is Council of Churches in Zambia general secretary, said the Church played a pivotal role in ensuring that the needs of the majority poor were addressed. She urged the Church not to give in to government’s intimidation.

“The Church will continue talking about what is necessary but that does not mean we will be interfering in the work of the government. We are just stakeholders who are working towards improving the lives of the Zambian people. So we will never be intimidated by government, we will continue promoting justice for the people of Zambia, especially social economic justice,” she said.

Rev Matale said it was the responsibility of the Church to stand and fight for the poor in the country.

“The Church is an institution that has been around for a long time and has always stood on promoting issues of justice, peace and development. What we want is to promote peace, justice and development which are the most important elements of human life,” Rev Matale said.

“We will not relent, because we strongly believe that we will help in enhancing the dignity of people. The decisions that are made by politicians have an impact on human beings and human beings have a right to peace and that is why it is our role as a Church to fight for the people.”

Rev Matale said the Church would continue talking until the lives of the Zambian people were improved.



President Banda is a killer - grieved Mongu resident

President Banda is a killer - grieved Mongu resident
By Roy Habaalu in Mongu
Fri 29 Apr. 2011, 04:02 CAT

PRESIDENT Rupiah Banda must go this year before he finishes killing us, says Phillip Lubasi. Lubasi, who is the grandfather of the late juvenile Barotse detainee Kabayo Kabayo, said people in Western Province want change of government. He said the province is yearning for a president who will respect them.

“This year President Banda must go, he’s a killer. We’ve put him on suspension since January but very soon we’re expelling him from State House through the ballot and vote in a president who respects us.

There is nothing we’re benefiting from the MMD government. Banda was not born a president,” said Lubasi in an interview shortly after the burial of his grandson Kabayo on Sunday.

“He should send more police officers because we’re ready to go to prison.

The death of my grandchild is straight from his hands and the blood of those who’ve died is on his head. He has killed them,” he said.

Lubasi said President Banda had failed to show leadership over the Barotseland Agreement related Mongu riots.

He said people in the province will not accept the wasteful expenditure of taxpayers’ money buying guns, killing people.

“It’s time for him (President Banda) to go, the hour has come for him to go.

Everything has time and his time to leave is now. We’re tired of the MMD government killing people without developing Barotseland. Who does he want to occupy our land when we’re all dead? He should not come here to campaign because he bragged that he didn’t solicit for votes from us,” said Lubasi.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai to shake-up MDC-T leadership

COMMENT - Reuters is majority owned by the same family that is the largest single shareholder in Anglo-American De Beers, which ownes 90% of rteh world diamond trade. Zimbabwe has the potential to export $1 billion in diamonds a month, which could severely depress diamond prices. I'm putting put the conflict of interest, because Reuters won't.

Tsvangirai to shake-up MDC-T leadership
by Reuters
29/04/2011 00:00:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s will shake up the top leadership of his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party at a congress starting today, seeking to strengthen its base as it prepares for another fight to unseat President Robert Mugabe.

Mugabe, forced into a unity government with rival Tsvangirai after a disputed election in 2008 marred by violence, has called for a fresh vote this year as he aims to rule without the MDC.

But MDC officials have said an election this year would violate terms of the unity government and could lead to a bloodbath that would end a nascent recovery in the impoverished state.

Tsvangirai, whose leadership is not being challenged, will use the two-day congress to try heal a party hit by internal fights over posts and reassure supporters he is still capable of ending Mugabe’s three decades in office, officials said.

“This is a watershed congress which will show the world that we are united and ready to end dictatorship,” MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said.

But results of a survey in Zimbabwe by US-based research body Freedom House released in March showed that MDC support had dropped to 38 percent last year from 55 percent in 2009.

This compared to Mugabe’s Zanu-PF’s popularity, which increased to 17 percent in 2010 from 12 percent in 2009.

The power-sharing government formed in 2009 has stabilised an economy crushed by hyperinflation about three years ago, but it has been hit by squabbles over top posts and reforms.

Mugabe has worried overseas investors in the resource-rich state by pressing ahead with plans to force foreign mining companies in Zimbabwe to surrender 51 percent of their local equity to blacks in the country in the next six months.

Mugabe (87) may be doing this because he needs cash quickly to help him fund his campaign as he tries to defeat the MDC in the poll, analysts said.

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(HERALD) Banking sector set to rebound

Banking sector set to rebound
Thursday, 28 April 2011 21:47

Spiritage Infrastructure and Enterprise Solutions chief executive Mr Kangai Maukazuva (left) explains one of the telecommunication initiatives that the company offers as the group chief executive, Mr Zach Wazara, looks on in the capital yesterday. The company plans to launch a diverse range of telecommunica- tion services countrywide.
By Bright Madera

THE banking sector is expected to continue to enjoy significant growth in relation to the recovery of the mainstream economy, now expected to grow by an estimated 9,3 percent this year.

The introduction of the multiple currency system in 2009 instilled confidence in a market emerging from a decade of hyperinflation.

Since then, confidence in the formal sector has gradually recovered.

A local research company said, using the deposits/Gross Domestic Product ratio as an indicator, the ratio was as low as 5 percent on dollarisation and 23 percent by December 2009 while estimates by December of 2010 were at 27 per-cent.

"It is now a realistic target to reach regional deposits to GDP of above 35 percent, though this highly depends on the confidence levels of depositors on the system," said the research company.

According to the report, advances/ deposits ratios have also been on an emphatic rise on the back of the threat from Finance Minister Tendai Biti to invoke Section 31 of the Banking Act, which gives his ministry the right to prescribe how banks would use depositor funds.

Against this backdrop, the 2010 loans/ deposits ratio represented a marked improvement to an estimated average of over 70 percent by year-end 2010.
As of January 2011, the listed banks accounted an estimated 39,4 percent of the national deposits, which stood at US$2,6 billion.

Of the US$1,4 billion attributed to listed banks CBZH came out tops with 39 percent of the listed banks' total deposits while BancABC, Barclays and Interfin followed with 14 percent, 12 percent and 10 percent respectively, as TNH anchored the list with a paltry 4 percent.

On the advances side, CBZ Bank was also leading, accounting for 45 percent of the listed banks advances while BancABC and Interfin followed at 13 percent each.
This was at a time when most banks returned to profitability last year, as the economy stabilised, following the adoption of the multi-currency system and the transition to a market-driven economy.

High economic growth in 2010 was spurred by strong performance in agriculture, mining and increased availability of consumer goods, which enforced a stable inflation environment.

The sector's net profitability improv-ed 232 percent to US$58,7 million with the bulk of their income coming from non-interest income.

Ideally, the main income stream for banks should be net interest, which should be able to cover their operational costs.

Only two banks made losses, notably Barclays and Premier, compared with seven banking institutions, which were in the negative for the 2009 financial year.

CBZ was the most profitable bank at US$20,9 million, followed by Standard Chartered Bank with US$8,3 million.

Stanbic Bank, a member of the Standard Group, which was voted the Bank of the Year for 2010, stands at US$7,9 million, while Kingdom was at US$4,1 million.

FBC Bank completed the top five list of profitable banks after achieving US$3,7 million in profits. Other noticeable results were realised in POSB with US$3,43 million and BancABC at US$3,39 million.

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(HERALD) Zim now fed up with sanctions!

Zim now fed up with sanctions!
Thursday, 28 April 2011 21:54

Flashback . . . Women from the Johane Masowe weChishanu Apostolic sect (Hatcliffe, Harare) sign the National Anti-Sanctions Petition forms recently.

AT long last, after 10 years of sitting on its hands, the Zimbabwean Government has launched an anti-sanctions campaign aimed at getting the debilitating Western economic sanctions removed. BAFFOUR ANKOMAH was in Harare when an ebullient President Mugabe launched the campaign on March 3.

IN 2001 and 2002, Britain, the USA, EU and their allies imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe in reaction to the country's land reform programme that took land from 4,500 white commercial farmers and distributed it to over one million black farmers. Alongside the economic sanctions were personal ones, including travel bans and asset freezing imposed on individual officials and companies allegedly linked to President Mugabe's Government, and the ruling Zanu-PF party. These individuals and companies have since been prevented from doing business with American, British and EU nationals and firms.

As the sanctions were imposed outside the UN's prescribed rules, the Zimbabwean Government considers them "illegal", and has been calling (without doing much more than that) for their removal for the past 10 years, to no avail. Not surprisingly, the sanctions-imposing countries have been able to use the long tentacles of their media to convince the whole wide world that the sanctions are only targeting individuals and companies allegedly involved in or who have aided and abetted violence and human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. And thus, the sanctions do not hurt the ordinary people of Zimbabwe at all.

But that is so far from the truth that it beggars belief that the world has actually believed it. For example, the USA's Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic and Recovery Act (Zidera), a punitive sanctions-imposing bill hastily passed by Congress in December 2001, and signed into law by President George W Bush, puts a blanket ban on all fresh lending to Zimbabwe and the rescheduling of its debts by International financial institutions, of which the USA is a member, such as the IMF, World Bank and the African Development Bank. The following is the actual wording of subsection 4 (c) of Zidera:

"Multilateral financing restriction - Until the President (of the USA) makes the certification described in subsection (d), and except as may be required to meet basic human needs or for good governance, the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United Sates executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against:

(1) Any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe, or

(2) Any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution".

Zidera defines "international financial institutions" as the multilateral development banks and the International Monetary Fund". By "multilateral development banks", the Act means

" the

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (i.e., the World Bank), the International Finance Corporation, the
Inter-American Development Bank, the
Asian Development Bank, the
Inter-American Investment Corporation, the
African Development Fund, the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the
Multilateral Investment Guaranty Agency".

Thus the world will need a new dictionary to interpret the above as "personal sanctions", because they are not! In fact, since 2001 all Western banks (private or otherwise) have stopped lending to Zimbabwe as a country, and all Western governments and donors - and their allies - have ceased bilateral and other budgetary support to Zimbabwe as a country!

In short, Zimbabwe has been frozen out of the international financial system for the past decade, and it is therefore not true as Western governments always assert that the sanctions are only targeted at individuals and companies.

Or that the sanctions do not hurt ordinary Zimbabweans. They do!

Any government (African or otherwise) that is not able to borrow (or in the case of Africa, receive donor support) is a government in trouble, and cannot meet the needs of its people.

For example, if the British government were prevented (by a Zidera) from having the 22,77 billion pound it borrowed in November last year to balance its books or the 163,4 billion pound it borrowed during the 2008-9 financial year, the British economy would go to pot and the people of Britain be hurt by the effects of that Zidera. Thus, nobody needs the brain of a rocket scientist to deduce that the economic implosion in Zimbabwe in recent years has largely been due to the sanctions imposed on the country by the West and its allies. And it is these sanctions that the Zimbabwean Government now want removed!

New campaign

Since 2002, some concerned Pan-Africanists have been warning and urging President Mugabe's Government to make more than mere verbal calls for the removal of economic sanctions, and that it should carry the people along in the fight for their removal.

But even in a "revolutionary Zimbabwe" in the midst of its Third Chimurenga (third liberation war), the wheels of assimilation and action do move slowly. So it happens that the Government has now woken up 10 full years behind the prescient Pan-Africanist, and wants to do more to get the sanctions lifted.

The new campaign launched in Harare on March 3 was attended by tens of thousands of ordinary people who are now thoroughly fed up with the sanctions because their lives have been blighted by their effects. The campaign hopes to collect two million signatures by Zimbabweans at home and abroad and other sympathetic people in Africa and beyond. The signatures will then be sent to the regional body, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), which will in turn forward them to the African Union, which will in turn transfer them to the United Nations for discussion and a vote by members of the General Assembly, and eventually by the Security Council, as a form of pressure for the removal of sanctions.

The UN Security Council Sanctions Committee has noted that "a great number of states and humanitarian organisations have expressed concerns at the possible adverse impact of sanctions on the most vulnerable segments of the population". But the EU insists that its sanctions target solely those judged responsible for human rights violations and preventing free and fair elections in Zimbabwe. The EU sanctions were recently renewed because of what it calls "a lack of progress in democratic reforms", despite the two-year-old power-sharing inclusive Government run by Zanu-PF and the two formations of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

But speaking at the launch of the anti-sanctions campaign, the president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), Joseph Kanyekanye, said that the sanctions were hurting Zimbabwe's economy and preventing many local businesses from marketing their products in Europe and the USA. He told the crowd that apart from the sanctions denying Zimbabwean companies access to lines of credit from multilateral lending institutions, British firms, like the leading supermarket chain Tesco, have also refused to buy farm produce from Zimbabwe.

"I have come here voluntarily to say no to sanctions," Kanyekanye said. "It is part of our 2010 resolution where more than 300 businesspeople said sanctions were not appropriate for Zimbabwe. We believe that sanctions have nothing to do with the human rights situation in the country . . . As Zimbabweans, we must fight the sanctions; and as CZI we had already taken a position a year ago against the sanctions because they have caused unnecessary disunity in the country."

Brian Tengwa (44) from Harare, believes he was laid off from his job at a car assembly plant in 2005 as a result of the sanctions.

"We were told that the company could not import necessary parts for the assembling of cars because it was linked to influential people in Zanu-PF."

Innocent Makwiramiti, a Harare-based economist and former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), agrees: "Many problems that Zimbabweans have suffered and still experience are direct and indirect offshoots of the sanctions."

According to him, the restrictions on the operations of some local businesses and the withholding of financial aid contributed to the collapse of Zimbabwe's economy after 2001, which was followed by a collapse in social services and severe food insecurity. "Zimbabwe receives no budgetary support from donors," Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Zimbabwe's minister of Regional Integration (one of the MDC-M's ministers in the inclusive Government) told an international conference in Rwanda in February 2011. And yet the Western donors insist there are no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe.

War of words

The anti-sanctions campaign has already led to a war of words between the EU and USA on the one hand, and the Zimbabwean Government on the other. In early March, the EU bought two full pages of adverts in some local newspapers in Zimbabwe to match those run by the Government and the ruling Zanu-PF party. The EU adverts insisted that there were no economic sanctions on Zimbabwe even though it admitted that the sanctions regime imposed on the country was broader than the measures taken against individuals, such as "suspension of government-to-government cooperation".

The EU, however, disingenuously refused to mention that in April 2007, its own Evaluation Services had published a study commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and supported by France, Belgium and the UK, in which the EU admitted that it had "rushed to impose measures against Zimbabwe" before allowing for dialogue as required by Article 8 of the ACP Cotonou Agreement.

On its part, America's response to the anti-sanctions campaign came via its ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, who wrote to criticise the state-owned newspaper The Herald for publishing adverts on the campaign allegedly placed by Zanu-PF's Information Department but disguised as "Government" adverts and adorned with the country's coat of arms.

"Zanu-PF is a political party which does not speak for the Government of this great country," the ambassador, an African-American, intoned.

"Publishing such misrepresentation in advertising offends the dignity and intelligence of The Herald's readership," Ambassador Ray continued.

"This is a political messaging campaign pure and simple. It is planned and executed by one political party, Zanu-PF, to the perceived advantage of its members."

And the ambassador was not finished: "For more than 10 years," he went on, "Zimbabwe has been ineligible to receive any type of international loan, regardless of US and EU opinions, due to its leaders' failure to make payments on its debts. Zimbabwe's unpaid debts to the African Development Bank, IMF and World Bank put a stop to lending long before there were sanctions." And then came the climax: "Fewer than 120 Zimbabweans are named on the legal US sanctions list, almost all of them Zanu-PF leaders who had a hand in political violence against their fellow citizens. They may not travel to the US or do business with US companies because Americans do not want them to enjoy the fruits of their corruption on our soil. This does not hurt other Zimbabweans."

It was clear that Ambassador Ray was either merely playing politics or had not read his own country's punitive law, the Zidera. But either way, he was not going to get away with it, not with President Mugabe's agile press secretary, George Charamba, lying in wait. Charamba hit back hard in his newspaper column challenging the sanctions-imposing countries to stop lying to the world.

"Of course the EU narrative makes no reference to the EU study that clearly admitted that the EU was in too much of a British hurry to get to Article 96 before allowing for dialogue as required by the Cotonou Agreement," he wrote.

Turning to the American Ambassador, Charamba said the African-American envoy had made issue with the fact that a Zanu-PF advert run by The Herald had a national coat of arms embossed on it.

"What a point to make Mr American Ambassador! Can a publisher alter (an advert) without bringing risks upon himself? I thought America is where the signs of paid communication achieved excellence," Charamba said.

"More fundamentally, why is (the ambassador) threatened by two logos which are laid out coextensively? How does that pose ‘a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the interests of the United States of America'? What has that to do with representing America in Zimbabwe. . .? ‘This is a political messaging campaign pure and simple,' bellows the ambassador. Yes, it is, Mr Ambassador.

"Where is the problem?" Charamba asked sarcastically. The US government claims that it imposed its sanctions on Zimbabwe because the alleged lack of democracy in the country poses "a continuing unusual and extraordinary threat to the interests of the United States of America".

That is what the preamble of Zidera said in 2001. And it is still the stand of President Barack Obama's administration, which has since coming into office two years ago, twice renewed the sanctions? Addressing the Ambassador on the other substantive issues he had raised, Charamba said that if indebtedness were the basis for being made ineligible for fresh loans, America would be in serious trouble currently, "with its anaemic economy". If that stopped Zimbabwe from getting loans, Charamba argued, why did the USA insert in Zidera the clause that orders US representatives in international financial institutions to oppose the granting of fresh loans to Zimbabwe?

"How many states in Europe are getting loans after defaulting? How many countries - including dictatorships - have benefited from American generosity against defaults and (a) poor human rights record, since 2001? Why make duplicitous arguments, sir?" Charamba wanted to know.

Interestingly, much of what Ambassador Ray said was in sync with the views of Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minister in Zimbabwe's inclusive Government, who did not attend the campaign launch because he claimed it was a Zanu-PF activity.

In fact, none of the opposition ministers in the inclusive Government attended the launch, even though the Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutamabara (from the smaller MDC faction), said in a speech a day later that sanctions were in fact real, and were hurting the country and people as a whole.

Days later, Tsvangirai admitted to Alec Russell of The Financial Times (London) in an interview in his home in Harare:

"We (the MDC-T) are in a vicious position. We want the sanctions removed but Zanu-PF is doing everything to ensure they are retained".

How? Tsvangirai did not elaborate, and Alex Russell, who did his utmost in the interview to get Tsvangirai to say bad things about Mugabe without success ("I used to think that he (Mugabe) is callous and all that. But you know what? He's human after all. He's very humane. . ."), said Tsvangirai ‘‘sounded less convincing" on the sanctions. - New African

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(TALKZIMBABWE) MDC Congress marred by violence

MDC Congress marred by violence
Posted by By Our reporter at 28 April, at 20 : 10 PM Print

The MDC-T National Congress which started in Bulawayo today has been marred by violence, vote-buying and rigging. Theresa Makone, who is vying to retain the National Women’s Assembly chair, allegedly wielding influence on some MDC-T youths to thwart her rival Editor Matamisa’s efforts to take over the powerful post.

She is said to have threatened to close or take over the MDC-T headquarters Harvest House if not elected as she has been bankrolling activities there and paying for all bills.

At the race to elect a new executive for the MDC-T at the on-going congress in Bulawayo, violence has continued to rear its ugly head.

Journalists, who are part of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation crew which is covering the event, were heavily attacked by some thugs from the MDC-T party.

The crew was denied accreditation which was only given to private media journalists sympathetic to the MDC-T.

They were later force marched out of Barbourfields Stadium, the venue of the MDC-T Congress.

Reports coming from the Congress show that elections for the Women Assembly Chair have been hit by massive vote buying and rigging with the Theresa Makone family allegedly being on the forefront.

Makone is eyeing to retain control of the Women’s Assembly and has threatened to take back the Party’s headquarters Harvest House if she is not re-elected.

Kadoma House of Assembly member, Editor Matamisa, who wants to wrestle the post from Makone said in a telephone interview that her rival is using everything at her disposal to retain the post, splashing money and handing out special gifts to lure votes.

The Makone family is alleged to have resorted to use of violence to wield influence over her challenger.

Matamisa alleges people are reportedly fed up of her bossful nature.

Matamisa also revealed that the issue of Harvest House has come under the spotlight with delegates demanding answers and clarification on logic of registering the MDC-T headquarters in the name of the Makone family.

Observers noted that this issue of Harvest House could split the part apart as delegates are reportedly breathing fire about what they described as high level of looting the party’s properties by the Makone family.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rupiah, MMD's carnage

COMMENT - Excellent.

Rupiah, MMD's carnage
By Mbita Chitala
Wed 27 Apr. 2011, 04:00 CAT

Other than the few misguided colleagues in the MMD led by a UNIP clique that have taken over the party and a few nuisance one- man NGOs created by the MMD to fan trouble and led by such obnoxious characters as Edwin Lifwekelo, Gregory Cifire, Moses Kalonde, Chanda Chimba, Mulenga and whose despicable mouthings are the in trade of the MMD government controlled Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and the ZNBC television and Radio networks, all peace loving Zambians organised in all church organisations, women’s movement, workers organisations, young people and student organisations, professional organisations and all those underemployed village farmers and unemployed citizens in the informal sector – are agreed that change in our country is an inevitable historical necessity, that the bad governance of President Rupiah Banda must come to an end as the country goes to the polls.

Our country has a historical duty to re-dedicate itself to ideals that advance our nation to peace, prosperity and happiness for all.

The demands of the people of Zambia are simple and uncomplicated. In addition to several democratic demands anchored on the Bill of Rights, the next elections will be contested on three broadly defined people’s demands.

• To provide for Zambia, a multi-party constitution consensually arrived at by the majority of Zambians.

The MMD regime in twenty years in power has failed in spite of wasting more than K500 billion of taxpayers’ money in its last attempt to give Zambia a compromised constitution in which President Banda must take the sole responsibility and be held accountable to the disaster.

Zambians know that the continued reign of President Banda means that there will never be in our country a peoples constitution.

This one reason alone is sufficient to indict the MMD as a blatant failure which must be removed from public office quickly.

Senior Statesmen like Willa Mung’omba, Simon Zukas and others have observed that the failure of the MMD to enact the constitution symbolised a Vote of no Confidence on the MMD regime and called for their resignation.

The MMD government has unashamedly refused to resign or even apologise to the people for this man made disaster.

The people have a chance to send them to the dust bin of history in the coming elections and ensure that they account for their bad governance.

It is immensely gratifying that the people have a choice.

While the people do not yet know the programmes of other political parties, one good choice is to support the Patriotic Front and president Michael Sata whose manifesto has been published and has undertaken to establish a committee of experts to review the recommendations of all previous Constitutional Review Commissions and draft a constitution that will be submitted to a referendum and if accepted by the people, to be enacted as our fundamental law within 90 days of taking office.

This is a patriotic undertaking and that is why all former pact sympathisers such as Col. Panji Kaunda , consultants such as Bob Sichinga, MMD members such as Hon George Mpombo have endorsed Mr. Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front.

This is the best chance to have a progressive party that has committed itself to providing us with a multi-party constitution that will address such issues as devolution of power which is the main grievance of the Barotse question and the need to do away with the one party state infrastructure that has prevented our democracy from blooming and blossoming into a real democracy.

• To reduce the more than 73 per cent poverty incidence in our country. Granted, our country has benefited from the cancellation of our external debt which allowed us to put money in infrastructure as part of the MDGs initiative and allowed us to have over 7 per cent GDP statistical growth in the last few years, poverty, however, still remains widespread and continues to stunt the growth of our people.

In many areas such as Shangombo, Lukulu, Petauke, Chilubi, Chavuma, Luangwa, Samfya, Gwembe, and many other districts, 90 per cent of households live in poverty. Others overcrowd our towns in despicable shanties.

On the formal economy, out of a possible six million employable labour force, only about 500,000 are in employment leaving the rest to hover between suicide and madness, to swell the mountains of angry unemployed and underemployed – the majority of whom are young people and women.

Housing continues to be a nightmare with more than two million houses that need to be constructed to fill the housing deficit, a distant dream, as the MMD have no plans to house our people.

The MMD government under President Banda have refused to tax the mining companies equitably and fairly because of a possible collusion that has continued to disadvantage Zambia.

This gross abuse of power has meant the country losing an opportunity to earn billions of dollars that could have facilitated government creation of employment for our people, ensure that taxes are lowered to enable people have sufficient disposable income and hence fight poverty more meaningfully.

Unless the MMD and President Banda are defeated in the next elections, poverty of our people will worsen as they have no plan for poverty eradication at all.

No quality jobs will be created as has been admitted by the IMF Representative Dr. Kapur and confirmed by Minister of Commerce Felix Mutati.

Poverty will increase despite statiscal GDP growth rates that benefit foreigners at the expense of Zambians.

As all Zambians know, retrenching workers as happened during the privatisation fiasco and lately at ZAMTEL is the trade mark of the MMD.

Even in the next five years, they have promised in their manifesto to create only 50,000 employment opportunities.

Of the political party manifestos that have been published, only the Patriotic Front manifesto addresses the issue of poverty eradication meaningfully.

President Sata and the PF have undertaken to invest massively in the social sector as well as in public works, agriculture, housing development, mineral development, industry and so on.

The manifesto promises to review the mining policy so that Zambians benefit from their God-given wasting asset of copper, cobalt and gemstones.

It is clear our country must revert to the Mwanawasa mining tax regime that provided for fair windfall taxes, a public works programme to create jobs for our young people, active small business promotion and empowerment of Zambians to create a middle class, selective subsidies to agriculture and industry and massive investment in education and health.

The manifesto promises the lowering of taxes- PAYE and zero rating for VAT purposes of essential commodities such as transport, food, medicines, education, agricultural inputs, the increasing of salaries to public servants, the prompt payment of all pensioners, the construction of more than two million houses, the development of one major project per province to create more than one million employment opportunities in the first three years, abolish nuisance taxes such as user fees in hospitals and levies in schools, commit itself to affirmative action, institute media reforms to be in line with democratic needs and so on.

The annual GDP growth rates are expected to exceed 10 per cent and our country’ GDP will more than treble.

These yearnings are attainable and they will be achieved by the PF supported by the people’s coalition.

• To conduct a programme of zero-tolerance against corruption and abuse of office. Mwanawasa’s legacy has been betrayed by President Banda and the new MMD regime.

Grand corruption has become the norm.

The repeal of the mining tax code and policy was an exercise in grand executive mischief which will need to be investigated.

The privatisation of both Zamtel and ZANACO, both opposed by the majority of people in Zambia, lacked transparency.

The award of contracts to supply government with fertiliser, military equipment, build schools and clinics, construct roads, and other properties as occurred at NAPSA had executive collusion imbedded under so called “single sourcing” which is an acronym for grand corruption and fraud, has made some people hitherto poor into dollar millionaires.

All this will need to be investigated and the culprits who have been cheating the people shall be brought to book.

It is gratifying that the PF has promised to implement this zero tolerance against corruption and has promised to re-enact the abuse of office clause in the Anti Corruption Act that President Banda and the MMD removed to hide public abuse and thefts in the public service.

• We founders of the MMD together with many patriotic and progressive citizens, the ideals that the PF manifesto have undertaken to accomplish, are the same ideals and vision we have always stood for until President Banda and a clique of his UNIP zealots conducted a coup against the true blue MMD members and crowned it with the farce at Mulungushi where intimidation, violence, bribery, provincialism and dictatorship were introduced as the new MMD party policy.

We hold President Banda responsible for reversing all the democratic gains of the MMD.

It is therefore necessary to implore all the people, the people in Mbala, Mpulungu, Senga Hill, Isoka, Nakonde , to the people of Western Province and other provinces that clamour for devolution and desire to settle the Barotse question, to the progressives in the MMD, UPND, ADD, NAREP, FDD and all other political parties that want change from this corrupt disaster, to students that want free education and guaranteed job opportunities, to the sick people that desire not to be denied assistance for lack of money, to the pensioners that want to be paid their pensions promptly, to all workers and peasants that want to improve their conditions, to the intellectuals that desire excellence instead of patronage and nepotism, to all citizens that want a united and peaceful Zambia, the Hour for Change has come again.

Examining political work already accomplished, together with the vision as reflected in a manifesto, the PF and President Michael Sata have provided us with a sure way of our country starting afresh and getting rid for good this man made disaster.

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Uganda protests European diplomats' visit to Besigye

Uganda protests European diplomats' visit to Besigye
By Elias Biryabarema KAMPALA (Reuters)
Tue 26 Apr. 2011, 21:00 CAT

Uganda accused Irish and Dutch diplomats of breaching rules to visit detained opposition leaders in jail and said some unnamed countries were funding the opposition to destabilise the country.

Kizza Besigye, runner-up to veteran President Yoweri Museveni in a February presidential election, was arrested last week as he walked to his workplace in protest against the soaring prices of food and fuel.

"They (diplomats) invited themselves to Nakasongola (prison) and through a process I am yet to find out, they got access to the prison but they were not authorized and they didn't get diplomatic clearance," Johnson Byabashaija, head of prisons, told a news conference on Tuesday.

Besigye has been charged with participating in an unlawful assembly and remanded to prison.

He is held with Nobert Mao, another former presidential contender and leader of the Democratic Party (DP), charged with inciting violence and assaulting a police officer.

Both leaders have been at the forefront of a 'walk-to-work' campaign aimed at forcing the government to take urgent measures to reduce soaring food and fuel prices.

The campaign triggered clashes between opposition supporters and the police in the capital, Kampala, and several other towns, in which at least five people were killed and scores injured.

Information Minister Kabakumba Matsiko told the same news conference that the government would convey its unhappiness with the European diplomats' behaviour through diplomatic channels.

Uganda had intelligence indicating that "foreign elements" were funding the opposition to cause trouble, he said.

"Foreigners are supporting the opposition... they're planning to destabilise Uganda and prevent the swearing-in ceremony," Matsiko said.

Museveni, in power since 1986, won a landslide victory with 68 percent of the vote and is due to be sworn in for a fourth elected term on May 12.

On Monday, the Daily Monitor newspaper quoted a senior government official Kintu Nyango as saying Besigye had received money from foreign sources to cause "unconstitutional regime change" in Uganda.

The government has attributed the spike in the cost of food to poor rains that depressed production and soaring retail fuel costs to high crude oil prices on global markets.

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