Saturday, May 21, 2011
Friday, 20 May 2011 22:32
From Munyaradzi Huni in Windhoek, Namibia
ZANU-PF is "totally against the idea of a new election roadmap" and maintains that the GPA, which clearly states that elections should be held this year, remains the only roadmap, the party's chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo has said.
The party's position paper to the Extraordinary Summit being held here states that the three political parties to the GPA have failed to work together for the development of the country and elections should be held this year.
"As a party, we maintain that the GPA remains the only election road map.
"We are totally against the idea of a new election roadmap as it means re-negotiating the GPA instead of implementing it," said Cde Khaya Moyo.
He added: "It is a fact the three parties to the GPA have failed to work together as a team for the development of the country.
"They have failed, for example, to fight the illegal sanctions together, to support the agrarian reform together, and have failed to speak with one voice on the indigenisation and people's economic empowerment thrust led by Zanu-PF . . .
"The party will religiously adhere to the tenets of the GPA and ensure its full implementation.
"This is the reason why we are saying we need to go for elections this year and not next year as this is consistent with the provisions of the GPA.
"The GPA clearly stipulates that elections should be held two years after the formation of the inclusive government and this is the reason Zanu-PF is maintaining that elections should be held this year after the completion of the constitution-making process.
"The GPA envisaged the completion of the constitution-making process within 18 months after the GPA came into force.
"This has not been achieved because of MDC-T's strategy to delay the holding of elections by boycotting sessions of Copac on very flimsy excuses.
"In addition, the donor community and the Government through the Ministry of Finance which is under the control of the MDC-T have delayed releasing funds for the process."
He said Zanu-PF was disturbed that the MDC formations were not lobbying for the removal of sanctions which "they continue to call restrictive and targeted measures," adding that sanctions were affecting every Zimbabwean including even MDC supporters.
He said Zanu-PF abhors violence in whatever form and from whom so-ever.
Said Cde Khaya Moyo: "The only way forward is for the parties to the GPA to speedily conclude the constitution-making process and allow the people of Zimbabwe to proceed to a referendum and harmonised elections.
"The current delaying tactics employed by the MDC formations is a recipe for political and economic instability. Zimbabwe cannot afford such political gimmick.
"There is no cohesion in the inclusive Government and prolonging the constitution-making process can never be the solution."
l See full text of Zanu-PF's position paper on Page 5
By Sydney Kawadza and Munyaradzi Huni
Thursday, 19 May 2011 23:36
PRESIDENT Mugabe's emissaries to the Sadc re-gion have started returning home with the message that all Sadc leaders were impressed with political and economic developments in the country.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces re-cently sent envoys to the region that briefed heads of state and government on the situation here.
They were sent ahead of today's Sadc Summit in Windhoek, Namibia, which has since struck off Zimbabwe from the agenda.
In a statement yesterday, Sadc said the extraordinary summit would discuss the report of the Committee of Ministers of Justice and attorneys general on the Sadc Tribunal.
The summit will also deliberate on Principles, Guidelines and Institutional Framework, Declaration and Roadmap towards the establishment of the Grand Free Trade Area between Comesa, East Afri-can Community and Sadc.
Agenda items of the summit were agreed on during the Ordinary Summit in Windhoek last year.
A progress report on the impact of the global cri-sis on the Sadc region will also feature in the discussions.
The Sadc Troika chairman, Zambian President Rupiah Banda, will present a report on Zimbabwe based on its meeting in Livingstone.
The Zimbabwean issue will however, not be discussed in Windhoek.
Zimbabwe will be discussed on the sidelines of the tripartite Comesa-Sadc-EAC meeting in South Africa next month.
The decision was taken after South African leader and facilitator President Jacob Zuma asked to be excused from the extraordinary summit because of elections in his country.
The summit's agenda includes the critical review of the Sadc situation, including Madagascar, the Sadc Tribunal where justice ministers are said to ha-ve received a report from a consultant on its future and the general review of the region's economic situation.
Sadc facilitator on Madagascar, former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano will present an election roadmap for the country.
The Sadc Tribunal will be put before the Council of Ministers effectively meaning that there will be two reports, one from justice ministers and the council of ministers' report.
The tribunal's future, what has to be done on its previous determinations and whether it will be suspended or stopped from taking new cases will be discussed.
The meeting will also discuss the Tribunal's jurisdiction. President Mugabe was accompanied by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development Minister
Nicholas Goche, Zanu-PF national chairman Cde Simon Khaya Moyo and senior Government officials.
He was met at Windhoek International Airport by Ambassador Chipo Zindoga, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mmbengegwi and Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
President Mugabe also paid a courtesy call on his Namibian counterpart President Hifikepunye Pohamba.
President Mugabe sent Vice President John Nkomo to South Africa and Botswana to appraise his counterparts on the Zimbabwe situation.
Presidential Affairs Minister Didy-mus Mutasa went to Tanzania, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa (Ango-la and DRC), National Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi (Mozambique and Zambia while Lands, Land Reforms and Resettlement Minister Herbert Murerwa travelled to the Seychelles and Mauritius on the same mission.
In interviews yesterday, Ministers Mutasa and Mnangagwa said Sadc countries have a genuine appreciation of the situation in Zimbabwe.
Minister Mutasa, who met Tanzanian Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister Bernard Membe, said Tanzania appreciated the need to expedite implementation of the Global Political Agreement.
President Jakaya Kikwete attended Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's inauguration in Kampala and met President Mugabe there.
"We had a very productive meeting where we discussed and agreed on various issues, especially the expediting of the constitution-making process and the referendum, strictly follow the election roadmap and the reported violent activities," said Minister Mutasa.
The minister said Tanzania took note that much of the violence was being perpetrated by the MDC-T and there was no State-sponsored violence.
"The minister, however, expressed his worries that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai could be used to follow the violent activities being perpetrated in North Africa by the United States and their allies," he said.
Minister Mnangagwa met the Angolan second vice president, foreign affairs minister and his defence counterpart.
He held meetings with officials from the MPLA including the vice president and secretary general.
The defence minister also delivered President Mugabe's special message to DRC President Joseph Kabila.
"We highlighted the progress made by the inclusive Government especially in the areas of the economic and political situations.
"Our economy continues to grow despite the illegal sanctions and is on a recovery path after registering an eight percent growth.
"We are also expecting to rise above nine percent this year," he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said the political situation in Zimbabwe was extremely stable.
"We cannot wish for anything better. Yes, there have been reports of isolated incidents of violence.
"An exercise was carried out and it indicated that of the 121 violence cases reported, 101 were blamed on the MDC-T, 20 by Zanu-PF and none from the other MDC formations," he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said the envoys also discussed the issue of the illegal sanctions.
"All the countries are in agreement that Sadc should continue agitating for the immediate removal of the sanctions."
On PM Tsvangirai's whirlwind tour of the region before the Sadc Troika Summit in Livingstone, Zambia, Minister Mnangagwa said the MDC-T leader was representing his party not Government.
"The region feels encouraged by the progress made and is very supportive. They have had the opportunity to listen to both facts and fiction and the Sadc countries are in a position to discuss positively on the situation in Zimbabwe," he said.
Minister Mnangagwa dismissed reports that Zimbabwe's service chiefs snubbed South African President Jacob Zuma's negotiator Mr Mac Maharaj.
"These things are just coming from the media. The Zimbabwe Defence Forces never received a request for a meeting from the facilitators.
"After all there are no military issues on the GPA. There are six negotiators from all the parties involved in the process and they would cover all those issues.
"Security reforms are discussed through the National Security Council because these are policy issues," he said.
Mr Tsvangirai went around the region telling leaders that President Mugabe was incapacitated to run the country and that there was a silent coup in Zimbabwe.
The MDC-T leader also claimed that there was a resurgence of unmitigated violence against his supporters.
However, police investigations have indicated that much of the violence in Zimbabwe was attributed to the MDC-T.
The violent activities heightened ahead of the MDC-T congress in Bulawayo.
Friday, 20 May 2011 22:36
From Munyaradzi Huni in WINDHOEK, Namibia
THE Sadc Tribunal was dissolved at the regional grouping's extraordinary summit here yesterday with leaders tasking Jus-tice Ministers to reconstitute the tribunal to give it a new mandate. Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mbengegwi said: "We are very happy because we have fought for this decision for a very long time.
"So today we have completely and totally dissolved the tribunal." The tribunal was suspended last August pending proper reconstitution this year.
This came in the wake of complaints and objections raised by Zimbabwe over its rulings that sought to nullify the revolutionary land reform programme laun-ched by the Government at the turn of the millennium.
Some white former commercial farmers took their cases to the tribunal in a bid to reverse the land reform programme after the State acquired their farms for redistribution to the landless majority.
The tribunal subsequently courted controversy when it passed judgments that contravened Zimbabwe's constitutional position on land reform.
Government made it clear that it was not bound by the rulings as the tribunal's constituting treaty had not been ratified by two-thirds of Sadc members as required.
Zimbabwe is among 10 countries that had not ratified the protocol that seeks to give the tribunal force.
Zimbabwe's position was backed at an Extraordinary Sadc Summit in Pretoria, South Africa, in August 2008 where leaders resolved that the tribunal's standing be reviewed.
The review was not forthcoming, forcing the summit to restate its position when it convened in Kinshasa, DRC, last year.
Meanwhile, Sadc chairman President Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia deferred discussion on the political situation in Zimbabwe to next month.
He said the issue would now be dealt with on the sidelines of the Comesa-Sadc-EAC Tripartite meeting in South Africa next month.
This followed an invitation by President Pohamba to chairman of the Troika, Zambian leader President Rupiah Banda, to make submissions on Zimbabwe.
President Banda said it would not be meaningful to discuss Zimbabwe in the absence of the facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma. The move was seconded by Mozambi-que.
However, Botswana President Seretse Khama Ian Khama wanted the discussion to continue without the facilitator.
He said there were disturbing reports that came out from the Livingstone Su-mmit and he wanted the chairman of the Troika to brief them on what transpired.
Sources said President Mugabe then took the floor and agreed with President Banda to defer the issue.
President Mugabe reportedly said Zimbabwe had a strong view on the whole matter, particularly what happened in Livingstone.
The sources quoted President Mugabe as having said: "To us Livingstone is a bombshell, there were serious inaccuracies."
He also said Zimbabwe supported the postponement, saying other parties to the Global Political Agreement were absent.
"We will not want them to think that we are waylaying them," President Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Thursday, 19 May 2011 21:48
WHEAT farmers are facing a critical shor-tage of inputs, a liquidity crunch and constant power cuts, a development likely to see the production for the 2011 winter cropping season further declining. The crop planting deadline of May 15 has already lapsed with less activity on the ground.
Zimbabwe Farmers' Union chief economist Mr Prince Kuipa said this season's production was expected to further decline as most farmers were failing to access inputs from the Grain Marketing Board.
"Only a few farmers have already planted and these include those with own resources and those with good farming records who managed to secure loans from their banks.
"Some are still planting but it is not advisable to plant after the deadline," he said.
He said nothing had improved as farmers continue to experience problems in acce-ssing finance.
"This season the majority of farmers can not finance their projects as banks are demanding collateral to get loans.
"Moreover most banks are not willing to fund irrigated wheat production because of the risks associated with the crop," he said.
This year Government released only US$10 million towards wheat production, which agricultural experts say is a drop in the ocean.
The money is enough to cover 10 000 hectares translating to about 50 000 tonnes, leaving a deficit of 400 000 tonnes.
Zimbabwe requires 450 000 tonnes for consumption. Wheat farmer, Mr Godfrey Chingwe said this season he only managed to plant three hectares of wheat due to the absence of financial assistance.
"Banks want collateral while subsidised inputs are not available at the Grain Marketing Board depots," he said.
Mr Chingwe said most farmers in his area of Chabwino were wholly depending on the GMB inputs and some of them may even fail to plant wheat this season if they are distributed late.
"We had to reduce hectarage also because of power cuts. We want to plant manageable hectares in terms of irrigation," Mr Chingwe said.
Mr Kuipa, however, said wheat production remained a profitable business venture if inputs are made available on time.
"Comparing the local producer price with those in the region, wheat production gives a farmer higher returns," he said.
Currently, GMB is paying US$466 per tonne.
Some agricultural experts have since suggested that Zimbabwe suspend wheat production and use the money to import the commodity.
However, Mr Kuipa said wheat was a strategic crop hence the country could not depend on imports.
"Of course it may seem cheaper to use the money meant for production to import the final product but this is not reasonable.
"What will happen in the event countries that export to Zimbabwe decide not to sell to us?
"It is better for Zimbabwe to produce its own food," he said.
Friday, 20 May 2011 23:12
By Aguy. C Georgias
After China's current phenomenal economic growth, that it is now the world's second largest economy after the US, it is believed the next 15 to 20 years will see Africa emerge as the "next frontier''.
Yet, if one looks at the state of affairs on the continent, this would seem, at face value, to be quite an elusive dream. Not so anymore.
The widely held opinion, that Africa remains a hotbed of political and economic instability, is now making way - according to reputable research by internationally renowned business and economy think tanks - to a new thinking that because of its vast economic resources, Africa is the continent of the future.
There are positive numbers to support this view, based on independent research, that Africa's "trade turnover could have reached nearly US$400 billion'' by 2015 from the current US$ 129 billion, which itself represents a tenfold increase since 2000.
The Economist Intelligence Unit projects that Africa will record a growth rate of an average five percent for the next five years.
From about less than two percent of world foreign direct investment (FDI) at present, it is estimated by researchers that by 2015, FDI in Africa will be around US$40 billion.
There is more happening in Africa than just the widely held perception, fed by recent developments in Tunisia, Egypt, the Ivory Coast, Libya and many other political hotbeds, that Africa is incapable of achieving political and economic stability.
The "scramble'' for Africa's resources, particularly minerals, continues to spur economic growth against great odds.
China is currently leading the pack with FDI into Africa officially estimated at US$10 billion.
In a generally power-politic world, the stranglehold on Africa's economy by Western powers foisted by the imperialist colonial project is however set to remain for some time to come.
It can indeed be argued that Africa, by and large, is still hostage to the imperial powers, which paradoxically, remain the single most potent threat to Africa's political and economic development, independence and sovereignty. And yet are the most interested in exploiting Africa's resources.
The meddling and interference by former colonial powers, unfortunately, is the debilitative impediment to Africa's demographic and indeed democratic transition.
How Africa responds to this new post-independence neo-colonial threat, a clear and present danger, is crucial to determining the continent's future.
This year alone there will be elections in about 17 African countries. Nigeria and Uganda have already held successful plebiscites, albeit with the usual murmurings and disgruntlement with the fairness of the polls from the losing parties.
That these elections are being held however is being seen as a positive development towards democratic transition in Africa.
But is it so, given the obvious interest and desire shown so far by the former colonial powers to influence, if not manipulate the outcomes of those elections?
The recent events in the Ivory Coast are a case in point, where in the event of disputed election results, one side, because it is preferred by the former colonial power France, is inauspiciously declared the winner.
Before the matter is settled by the AU, the UN, perhaps to confirm its portrayal, at least historically, as a vehicle for neo-colonial Western domination, facilitates the military overthrow of the sitting government by the opposition in a brutal military operation masterminded and backed by French legionnaires.
The question therefore arises: is it possible for the small nations of Africa to chart their own course to self-determination and sovereignty without hindrance by the imperial powers?
How is genuine democratic transition possible in Africa, given Western military and economic power and the apparent vested imperial interests based on a continuing desire to keep the continent in a state of neo-imperialist dependency?
What then are the implications for the UN, the AU, for the regional groupings, Sadc in particular and to be specific Zimbabwe?
What can the AU, as the anchor to pan-African ideals and objectives, do to face up to the new challenges?
These are the vexing questions for Africa, indeed for Zimbabwe, as the continent positions to become the new frontier for economic growth and investment.
Africa, it stands to reason, appears caught up in a conundrum, the quandary being either to acquiesce to the whims and caprices of the former colonial powers or to pursue the nationalist, pan-African liberation agenda of self-determination and sovereignty, an unaccepted notion most punishable by any means possible and expedient, without any qualms?
Economic considerations are frequently the driving force behind political decisions. It is easy to be sceptical of the AU, given its many doubters and critics.
When one looks at the continued conflicts, the on-going economic and social misery it is all too easy to get discouraged or to dismiss the AU as inadequate, misguided and impossibly idealistic.
It all goes to say the organisation must adapt to the rapidly changing international scene, because Africa cannot do without the AU.
Never has there been such a time as this when the need for African solidarity, collective action, clarity of vision, unity of purpose and resoluteness been so critical for the survival of the peoples of Africa, where the law of the jungle prevails and may be the history of the future that approximates what Shakespeare was perhaps imagining when he wrote in Hamlet of a tale that would ‘'harrow up thy soul, (and) freeze thy young blood.''
The new mantra for Africa, championed by the financially well resourced and western-backed "civil society'' is democratic transition, as the way out of the rut of dictatorship.
Its core content is the neo-liberal agenda couched in the pro-democracy themes of promoting human rights guarantees, freedom of expression and of association, rule of law, economic laissez-faire, property rights and so on.
No longer is emphasis placed on other matters to do with the promotion of the quality of human existence, or the encouragement of national self-determination, all core functions of the UN.
The traditional patterns of dominance are hardly challenged with the economic demands of the smaller and poorer nations of the south largely ignored.
It is ironic that many of the founding fathers of the AU faced the wrath of the different colonial regimes with extended periods of incarceration in political detention, without trial, for demanding the same freedoms now being foisted on the free and independent countries of Africa, with little or no regard to nationalistic sentiment and/or aspirations.
The legitimate needs of the African people, to be masters of their own destiny, to have ownership and control over the exploitation of the vast God-given natural endowments, from minerals, oil and gas to good climate and rich arid soils are being swept under. The overwhelming need to re-distribute wealth and redress the skewed colonial ownership patterns is being swept to the backwaters.
But can the warring, uncaring world continue unchanged? The role of the UN in the face of nuclear weapons, persistent poverty, widespread human rights violations, resource depletion and environmental degradation certainly speak of how indispensable the UN is.
It is so with other international organisations that have to do with the development and promotion of laws and norms to govern international relations, such as the AU.
The alternative is the current tendency to the law of the jungle, where all that matters most is a country's military and financial position.
To bring issues closer to home, the disputed elections in the Ivory Coast should be seen as instructive, to the UN, the AU, and Ecowas, and dare I say Sadc.
As has been rightly observed by former President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki in article in the Zimbabwe Independent May 6-12 issue, "The tragic events in Ivory Coast have confirmed the marginalisation of the union (AU) in its ability to resolve the most important African challenges".
Mbeki is indignant, as he should be that "Instead, the AU has asserted the ability of the major powers to intervene to resolve these challenges by using their various capacities to legitimise their actions by persuading the United Nations to authorise their self-serving interventions.''
Mbeki is also uncharitable with the UN when he points to its deficiency on Africa when he says, "It will now be difficult (following the Ivory Coast fiasco) for the United Nations to convince Africans and the rest of the developing world that it is not a mere instrument in the hands of the world's major powers".
Coming late as it does, long after he has left office and thus less able to exert influence, Mbeki's observation is however helpful to my thesis, that the AU is in urgent need of critical review of its role in the face of the current onslaught on Africa; that it is imperative for a rethink by the new crop of African leaders to address and adopt pro-active strategy to counter the renewed onslaught on Africa by the imperial powers.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, we were unable to bring you the weekly column "The Other Side with Manheru". - Editor.
Friday, May 20, 2011
By The Post
Fri 20 May 2011, 04:00 CAT
The police play a very important public interest role in every democratic election. They are required to protect all eligible citizens participating in the electoral process. Their ability to play these roles without engaging in intimidation, coercion or violence against the citizens is crucial to the success of the elections.
If the police are found wanting in the discharge of these duties in any election, the citizens may not have confidence in the electoral process and may question the credibility and legitimacy of any government that emerges from the process and the lack of a credible government is the sine qua non for instability in a polity.
For these reasons, we welcome the announcement by Grace Mulapesi, a commissioner of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, that they expect the police to carry out its mandate in this year’s elections without fear or favour and in an impartial manner.
Mulapesi’s statement is very important because our police have not acted without fear or favour and in an impartial manner when it comes to elections and politics in general. Our police have always sided with the ruling party. The police have allowed members and supporters of the ruling party to get away with crime.
We know very well that the great majority of instances of electoral or political violence in this country have been started by cadres of the ruling party but the police have always turned a blind eye.
However, they have been very quick to react to instances of violence initiated by the opposition and have dealt with them ruthlessly. No one should be above the law. The right to equality before the law is fundamental to any just and democratic society.
Whether political ally of those in power or opponent – all are entitled to equal protection before the law. And under no circumstances should the police impose additional inequalities; it should be required to deal evenly and equally with all political parties, their members and supporters. When this happens, both law and democracy are served.
We also know that the police have been used in electoral malpractices in favour of those in power. They have allowed cadres and supporters of the ruling party to engage in all sorts of electoral malpractices with impunity.
There are cadres and supporters of the ruling party who have been caught with ballot papers, with other people’s voters cards and the police have allowed them to get away with it.
In a word, the police have allowed the rigging of elections in this country. This must stop. It would be very difficult to rig elections in this country if the police were allowed to do their job with independence and integrity.
But we have a police that is an extension of the ruling party, the party to which those who appoint and promote members of the police high command belong. The police is under the command of the President, who is also the leader and candidate of the ruling party.
The police are also under the direction of the Minister of Home Affairs, who is also an appointee of the President and usually a parliamentary candidate himself. Clearly, a police that is totally under the command of a highly partisan group cannot be expected to carry out its duties without fear or favour and in an impartial manner.
We have not had such a police service in Zambia. Those in the police who have attempted to act in that manner have paid a very high price even under the most democratic or fair-minded political leadership.
The police have a very crucial function.
By maintaining law and order and guaranteeing public safety, they ensure that voters can attend or follow the campaigns and rallies so that the candidates and their supporters are able to reach the people and convey to them their visions and programmes.
This helps voters to have a position and decide who among the candidates is suited for them to elect and in so doing make an informed choice among the options they are presented with.
If the police do their work properly, they are able to safeguard the security of lives and property of citizens before, during and after voting. In this way, citizens will not feel unsafe on account of holding, associating with or expressing a political opinion.
This also helps electoral officers to carry out their duties without fear or favour and in a manner that is impartial because they know that nothing will happen to them for having done their job the right way or for refusing to rig elections.
Candidates need security from the police.
The provision of security to candidates during campaigns and elections must be done on equal proportion regardless of whether it is the candidate from the ruling party or opposition. In our country, there is no meaningful protection given to opposition candidates.
Their meetings are often harassed or disturbed by ruling party cadres with impunity, with the police watching but doing very little, if not nothing, to stop them.
There is need for the police to ensure and preserve a free, safe and lawful atmosphere for campaigning by all parties and candidates without discrimination. This is not the case. It’s only the ruling party candidates who receive this protection.
While the police do provide peaceful conditions, law and order around polling and counting centres, they often do so in the interest of the ruling party.
We say this because in areas where the political parties are not well represented, the police have aided the ruling party in one way or another to win elections.
It is the duty of the police to ensure that election materials at voting and counting centres and during their transportation thereto are not stolen, hijacked, destroyed or fraudulently altered by any group or persons.
The police are critical to law enforcement. There is no need to have electoral laws which are not enforceable.
We see so many breaches of the Electoral Code, especially by members of the ruling party, but nothing happens – no one arrests and prosecutes them. It is important that the police be given adequate space to ensure respect for the rule of law as contained in the Electoral Code of Conduct and the electoral Act.
And to be able to function in such an efficient, effective and orderly manner, in addition to maintaining impartiality throughout the whole electoral process, police officers must be alert in carrying out their duties in relation to any electoral processes.
They also need to be proactive and prevent incidents that could lead to disruption of voting or other legally permitted electoral activities.
A police officer on any election duty must be courteous, approachable and accessible to voters and other citizens who may need their assistance. Professional conduct must be maintained at all times by the police service and its officers on any election duties.
The police are obliged to be fair, if necessary firm to all persons within their vicinity of deployment without discrimination on the basis of political affiliation. They must always strive to be fair to all and avoid conduct that could be seen as high-handed, unfair or politically motivated.
We say this because if a police officer’s action is viewed as excessive or unfair, it could lead to serious election-related trouble. And a police officer on election duties must be well-vested with the laws, rules and regulations guiding elections in addition to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In addition to all these, a police officer on any election duties must ensure that the use of force is only strictly necessary and such force should always be proportional to lawful objectives. For this reason, we welcome the initiative to train police officers in what it takes to efficiently police elections.
Consequently, a lot needs to be done before we can overcome the deficiencies of our police in policing elections. And reforming the way of policing elections should be an integral and important aspect of any electoral reforms we undertake. The police need to do their old things in a new way.
By George Chellah
Fri 20 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE MMD is planning to carry out its own parallel vote tabulation (PVT) and intends to spend over K27 billion on the exercise, it has been revealed.
Well-placed sources within the MMD yesterday disclosed that costs for the operation codenamed ‘African Community Project’ include human resource, project equipment and organisational or administrative expenses.
The source revealed that the ruling party would spend over K11 billion on human resource alone for the project.
“Under human resource, we will have a national PVT manager, a national PVT coordinator, a national IT manager and 72 district PVT coordinators,” the source said. “We will also have 150 constituency PVT coordinators, 154 data verification assistants, 300 data entry assistants and 13,000 election monitors or data collectors. This brings the total budget of this item to K11, 377, 200, 000.”
The source disclosed that other costs for the project include equipment, which is expected to gobble exactly K14,362,484,000.
“The equipment that we have budgeted for include 77 photo/printer/scanner/fax, 82 desktop computers and 10 laptop computers,” the source said. “We have also planned for over 13,000 cell phones, 78 motor vehicles, 226 telephone landlines and 13,000 bicycles. This brings the total cost on project equipment to K14,362,484,000.”
The source said approximately K1.4 billion has been budgeted for administrative or organisational costs for the project.
“These costs include fuel and local transport, telephone or fax, accommodation and meals when our officers are on duty, production of manuals and seminar facilitation,” the source said. “Other organisational costs are publicity (including television and radio programmes), stationery or consumables and general administration (contingency, insurance etc). All this has been budgeted at exactly K1,386,000,000.”
The source disclosed that the grand total for the PVT project budget stands at US $6,781,421 million or K27,125,684,000.
“I am sure you can see from the details above that we are busy working. In fact, even these Americans from the National Democratic Institute (NDI), who want to conduct PVT in Zambia will not be allowed unless they agree to work with NGOs aligned to the MMD,” the source said.
“If they don’t agree to work with our NGOs, then I’m sorry they are not going anywhere and their desire to conduct PVT this year will just remain a pipe dream.”
President Rupiah Banda has branded the calls to use PVT by political parties including the international community as illegal. However, the Law Association of Zambia has said there is nothing illegal about PVT.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 20 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE Rupiah Banda administration’s string of scandals is criminal and the next government must make it a top priority to investigate them, says Fackson Shamenda.
In an interview yesterday, Shamenda said the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA) US$98 million transaction with the Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) to refurbish the latter’s Society House was scandalous, shameful and criminal.
“It is shameful that on one hand NAPSA wants to invest in projects which a good number of people are questioning and on another hand, you (NAPSA) don’t have the capacity to service the members who are retiring to which the same scheme was established,” said Shamenda, the former head of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
“World over workers’ capital has become an issue where governments are looking for those resources to use for development but in consultation with the stakeholders,” he said.
Shamenda said in the past, during NAPSA’s forerunner, Zambia National Provident Fund (NPF), the investments were sensible and profitable.
“Investment is the biggest activity of NAPSA because of the pension scheme.
NAPSA gets the money but it shouldn’t keep the resources in the bank because it can’t get returns so it NAPSA needs experts who are supposed to look at how much money is going to be invested so that it gets the returns to pay those who are retiring,” Shamenda said.
“The investments should make sense. The majority of the stakeholders, who are the owners of the money, besides the returns which will accrue, should equally benefit. In this case, the contributors – both the workers and the employers. These are basic business plans of the workers’ capital globally.”
He said the controversial projects that NAPSA had engaged in were unfortunate.
He said NAPSA must be reorganised, depoliticised and made to operate as purely a business entity.
Shamenda said the government must stop interfering in NAPSA’s operations.
“It is high time that the government realised that the success of the company does not necessarily depend on ownership but the business approach and management.
If you have the right persons in place, without political interference and transparency, the company succeeds,” Shamenda said. “There should be no invisible hand in the investments that are being made in the public sector.”
He said there were several questionable investment deals involving parastatals.
“I think it’s criminal. Any new administration which will come must make it as one of its top priorities to investigate what is happening at the moment.
We started with the Zamtel deal; it was very suspicious and nobody has explained. There has been a chain of these scandalous deals,” Shamenda said.
“You can’t run a government like that. No wonder there are a lot of complaints from a lot of Zambians. They say, ‘we are a listening government’ but they are running things with impunity. Nobody is listening even if people complain, it is business as usual.”
Well-placed sources in government disclosed that President Banda pressurised NAPSA to provide US$98 million to ZNBS for refurbishing the latter’s building in Lusaka.
However, NAPSA and ZNBS have failed to convincingly explain the transaction in which a Kenyan firm was allegedly single-sourced to carry out the works.
Labour minister Austin Liato dismissed allegations that President Banda influenced NAPSA in the US$98 million deal, adding that it was false that a Kenyan firm was party to the transaction.
Liato said the transaction would be managed through Zambezi Consortium but did not disclose the names of shareholders of the same entity.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 20 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE government’s sponsored attacks on the Catholic Church will not win them votes from our members in this year’s elections, says Bishop George Lungu (left).
And the executive board of Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) has directed the Catholic Secretariat to monitor the situation and, if the attacks continue, consider engaging lawyers and begin legal proceedings against those who are defaming and vilifying the Church, including the media houses that enable them to do so.
In a letter to all Catholics in Zambia to be read in all Catholic Churches on Ascension Sunday on June, 5 on the constant attacks on Catholics, Bishop Lungu who is ZEC president said Zambians had in the recent few months witnessed a growing barrage of attacks in the public media against the Catholic Church in Zambia, its leadership, priests and even its doctrine.
“Many of you have made representation to us, your Bishops and spoken of your pain at these unwarranted attacks. At a recent Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) executive board meeting held in Lusaka on May, 3, 2011, at Kapingila Guest House, this issue was one of the items on our agenda. It is for this reason that I write you this letter, on behalf of my brother Catholic Bishops, in Zambia,” he said.
Bishop Lungu said it had become clear that these attacks on the Church were co-ordinated and planned.
“We know, for example, that the likes of Chanda Chimba III (a Catholic!) would never on their own accord have the operational and financial ability to carry on the kind of attacks being waged against Catholics.
We also note the growing but steady stream of individuals, journalists and questionable organisations that are ready to parade themselves before the public media vilifying innocent citizens and the Catholic Church,” he said.
He said these individuals and organisations were given puzzling and unfettered access to the public media and were allowed to despise, with venomous passion and impunity, more than three million Catholics in Zambia (a third of the country’s entire population).
“How can this happen in a country where we, the Zambian people, as taxpayers are supposed to be the owners of these public media? Since all public media are owned and controlled by government, we can safely conclude that these attacks on our Church are sponsored by government. Whatever the case, this is not the way of winning the Catholic vote in an election year,” he said.
He said the gist of the attacks, clearly, was meant to discredit and cast aspersions against the leadership and general membership of the Catholic Church in Zambia.
Bishop Lungu said in the process, this was meant to create despondency, division and confusion among Catholics.
“Whoever is behind these attacks is working on the principle of divide and rule – trying to divide Catholics in Zambia. When these attacks distort the Catholic Church’s moral doctrine on celibacy or homosexuality, we all have cause for alarm.
With regard to homosexuality, let me re-state categorically that Catholic teaching does not promote homosexuality,” he said.
He said the Catholic Church’s constant and firm teaching on homosexual acts was unequivocal.
“Homosexual acts are seriously wrong and sinful. Under no circumstances can homosexual acts be approved. The fact that the Catholic Church makes a distinction between the homosexual act and homosexual orientation or inclination is not promoting homosexuality.
Homosexuals are human beings with their problems and their joys, that as human beings they deserve respect, even though they have this inclination, and must not be discriminated against because of it. Respect for man and woman is absolutely fundamental and decisive,” he said.
Bishop Lungu further said their engagement in politics was only motivated by their divine obligation to speak on behalf of the voiceless in the country.
He said in exercising this prophetic ministry, the Church would be neutral insofar as partisan politics were concerned.
“When we speak, as Bishops, our message has nothing to do with any perceived dislike or preference for any particular sitting President or any political party. We therefore refuse to be intimidated, cowed into silence or to compromise or be silenced on national issues –important issues that affect poor people!” he said.
Bishop Lungu said having said this and faced with endless attacks on the Church which they expected to grow as the election date drew near, he urged all Catholics in Zambia to embrace a calm spirit and an attitude of forgiveness and reconciliation when provoked.
“It might help to remember that this public slandering of the Catholic leadership, its Catholic faithful and doctrine is nothing new – although this time around, the attacks are more vicious and aggressive. Catholics are an Easter people and we subscribe to Jesus’ teaching when he says; “But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.”
(Matthew 5:39) To turn the other cheek is neither humiliating nor a weakness,” he said “As your Bishops, we will not respond in shame nor resort to the language of anger that those attacking us use. We have dignity in Christ. Our dignity in Christ does not consist in hitting back. It is in forgiveness and reconciliation. This is not to say we will be quiet when there is need to speak out,” he said.
He said forgiveness, reconciliation and justice go hand in hand and it was for this reason that the executive board of ZEC has directed the Catholic secretariat management to monitor the situation and if the attacks continue, to consider engaging lawyers and begin legal proceedings against those who are making a habit of defaming and vilifying our Church, including if necessary, the media houses that enable them to do so.
By Abigail Chaponda in Ndola
Fri 20 May 2011, 03:50 CAT
IT is not my fault that I cannot speak English; God made me that way, says MMD Ndola district chairman Victor Konie.
Reacting to MMD protestors who said he was a bad leader who could not even express himself in English, Konie said it was not his fault that he could not express himself in the language.
Last Friday, MMD members in Chifubu insulted each other and almost fought after supporters of the suspended constituency chairman Joseph Mukosela were prevented from attending a meeting at Mpezeni Hall chaired by Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha.
Chifubu Constituency information and publicity secretary Hagai Bwalya described Konie as a bad leader who was busy persecuting MMD members he perceived to be his enemies.
He charged that Konie had brought more harm than good to the MMD.
“Konie knows nothing, he can’t even express himself in English and these people are calling him district chairman. If this continues, we will not campaign for anyone except President Rupiah Banda. We will just fold our arms and watch the PF and other people do the campaigns,” Bwalya said.
Some of Mukosela’s supporters vowed not to campaign for the MMD because of mistreatment they were getting from Konie.
But Konie, a former Ndola District Commissioner, refused to comment but referred all queries to provincial chairman Joseph Chilambwe.
“Awe teti ndande ifingi, temulandu wandi nga teti ndande ichisungu. Lesa efyo ampangile (no, I can’t say much, it’s not my fault if I can’t speak English. This is how God made me). Ba provincial is handling everything, I cannot comment more,” he said.
But Chilambwe said leadership was not about people knowing how to speak English.
He said if one was born a leader, then English should not be a barrier to being a leader.
“Leadership is not English, it is given knowledge and when a person is born a leader, English is not supposed to prevent them from being leaders. English is just an added thing, it is not a must for one to know English if they are good leaders,” he said.
Chilambwe said MMD would not tolerate misbehaviour and warned Bwalya to behave in a proper manner.
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 20 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE police should try by all means to enforce the Electoral Code of Conduct during this year’s elections, even though it is a loose one, says Bishop Paul Mususu.
In an interview, Bishop Mususu, who is former Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia executive director, said the issue of revising the current code of conduct was a dead one because there could be no amendments that can be made.
“The point of revising it is a dead one. I don’t see the current electoral code being amended. We are likely to go into this election with the old law. It will be helpful if our leaders could appeal to their cadres not to engage in violence. We are all Zambians I don’t think we need to kill each other,” Bishop Mususu said.
“Cadres should be disciplined to ensure that life is protected.”
And Bishop Mususu said it was evident that the campaigns had already started even before the election date could be announced and that there was no party which was innocent.
“Campaigns have already started and it is clear that the provisions of the law are not being respected, there is no party which is innocent. Everyone is in campaign mood, except maybe Heritage Party president Brigadier General Godfrey Miyanda. It is clear that the practical aspect of the law is not being followed.
One would have expected these parties to observe the law but that is not the case and at this stage, not even the ECZ Electoral Commission of Zambia can do something about it,” Bishop Mususu said.
During the launch of the election related programme of training of law enforcement agencies at the Taj Pamodzi Hotel on Wednesday,
ECZ said it expected the police to carry out its mandate in this year's elections without fear or favour and in an impartial manner.
ECZ commissioner Grace Mulapesi said the legal framework was already in place to support the work on the police.
Commissioner Mulapesi said the ECZ had noted with regret the growing incidences of violence that have been observed in the past few years especially during by elections such as in Mufumbwe.
“This has shifted the attention on how elections should be policed in Zambia. Elections are premised on the exercise of free preference manifesting itself in various forms of political expression,” Commissioner Mulapesi said.
And Inspector General of police Francis Kabonde at the same function warned that police would arrest any person who may attempt to incite or participate in any act of violence regardless of their political affiliation.
Kabonde, who called on the media not to incite people to breach the public peace, also urged stakeholders, political parties, civil society organisation and other interest groups to work closely with the ECZ if the country was to attain a violence-free election.
Meanwhile, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) country director Viola Morgan said the maintenance of law and order enabled candidates and voters to participate in political campaigns.
Morgan said a peaceful environment was a complement to a transparent, free and fair electoral process.
by Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe says South Africa, Nigeria and Gabon were “naive” to vote for a United Nations Security Council resolution which has been used by Western countries to carry out a sustained bombardment of Libya.
“Our African countries were naïve, absolutely naïve, to vote with the West when the West had its interests, you know, its own motives ... ulterior motives,” Mugabe said in an interview published on Friday.
“These motives include wanting to re-occupy our countries. They are in search of our resources, in search of political control. It's now the reversal of the freedoms that we attained through various struggles, in some cases political but in others armed struggles.”
The three countries, which currently occupy Africa’s three allocated rotating seats on the 15-nation Security Council, voted for UN Resolution 1973 authorising the use of “all necessary measures" to protect civilians in Libya from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.
The resolution’s promoters -- the United States of America, Britain and France -- sought authorisation to maintain a “no-fly-zone” over Libya to curtail Gaddafi’s ability to clamp down on a rebellion to the east of the country.
Brazil, China, Germany, India and Russian abstained, while the African bloc voted in favour along with Portugal, Colombia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Britain, the United States and Lebanon.
“We should by now have been very much aware that these aggressors and colonisers of yesterday had not repented, relented on their past ways of relating to us, and that they were still enemies,” Mugabe told the state-run Southern Times newspaper.
“Once an enemy, once an imperialist, always an imperialist. Is it not [Kwame] Nkrumah who said an imperialist is never a good friend? He's only good when he is dead -- the only good imperialist is a dead one.”
Mugabe claimed there was a strong hand of external interference in uprisings witnessed in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.
“We are seeing that achievement, that status of liberating Africa, now being reversed by the same people who colonised us yesterday, our erstwhile colonisers. They are coming back now using our own people and presenting to the world that it is we, the Africans, who would want to see change, when in fact they are using that pretence as a way of paving entry back into Africa, perhaps entry in search of resources -- oil or other forms of wealth.”
South African President Jacob Zuma has faced criticism at home – notably from his ruling ANC party’s Youth League which said he had failed to notice the “inconsistencies being applied to Libya” in voting for the resolution.
Belatedly, Zuma said “operations aimed at enforcing the no-fly zone and protecting civilians should be limited to just that”, adding: “They should not harm or endanger the civilians that Resolution 1973 sought to protect.”
Mugabe is critical of the African Union’s inability to take a united stand on Libya and force the reconvening of the Security Council to relook into the scope of the resolution.
He said: “It [African Union] should have at least protested by now, protested vigorously and caused the United Nations to have an emergency session ... But I understand that the exercise to get countries to meet has not succeeded.
“Our African countries don't seem to want to meet and discuss this vital issue on the absolutely devastating events that are happening to the north of us, and which require our immediate attention. Not all of us seem to be moved by them; or perhaps some of us support them? And, if we are in this state of silence, naturally the world will say we are expressing happiness with what is taking place.”
With France, Britain and the United States now seemingly set on toppling Gaddafi, the International Criminal Court has appeared on the scene seeking his arrest for crimes against humanity over his forces’ violent clampdown on the rebellion.
But Mugabe insists the ICC is now a weapon being used by Western countries against weaker African nations who defy external interference in their domestic affairs.
“This court seems to have been established for Africans. Though we have seen Europeans commit crimes of far greater magnitude than you can ever imagine, it's just the African leaders they are going for, or should I say leaders from the Third World, since they have also been trying leaders from lesser Europe, lesser European countries and so on,” Mugabe said.
“We have seen greater offences committed by the likes of [George] Bush and [Tony] Blair when they attacked Iraq illegally and they used false reasons for that attack. They knew that the excuse they were proffering [weapons of mass destruction] was meant to use their troops as a way of entering Iraq and committing aggression, and Saddam [Hussein] is gone, and with him the oil too is gone.
“They are still at it, they said they were doing it to bring peace, to bring democracy. Where is the democracy? There is still lots of fighting going on in Iraq up to today. But anyway, the issue is who will ever try Blair and Bush? They are scot-free after committing that very serious act of aggression -- a criminal act of aggression.”
Mugabe admitted Gaddafi’s Libyan administration was “not a democratic system” but added: “We all recognised it. We recognised also that given time, there would be change in Libya as there has been change in other African countries. That's why his country was a legit member of the African Union.
“But there they are, again using false pretences to attack. And, who are in the forefront? It's France, led by Sarkozy; Italy led by Berlusconi; and Cameron of Britain. Sarkozy is the leader of the Three Musketeers. They are supposed, according to the Security Council resolution based on Chapter 7, to police the Libyan air zone and ensure that Libya does not use its aircraft to cause deaths of civilians.
“We know now, it is very clear that the motive is to overthrow the Libyan government, overthrow Gaddafi and have a free opportunity to enter Libya and of course, share the resources that they so direly need in Europe.”
Thursday, May 19, 2011
By Bright Madera
Wednesday, 18 May 2011 21:42
RIOZIM Limited says it is restructuring its US$50 million debt by converting its metal stocks into cash in the next 12 months. Managing director Mr Josphat Sachikonye told Herald Business the group's operations were in a profitable mode. The company would use internal resources to settle its debts.
"We are in the process of restructuring our debt and we are also going to convert our huge metal stocks into cash and be able to retire our local expensive debt in the next 12 months," he said.
"We are also expecting Empress Nickel Refinery to be profitable and generate cash, which would be expanded to retire the local debt."
He said the group still required a strategic partner and joint ventures to undertake growth projects.
RioZim said it was pinning its hopes on the collapsed Essar Africa Holdings deal. Essar had planned to take control of 51 percent of the company.
RioZim had wanted Essar to underwrite its intended US$40 million rights issue, of which US$15 million was to be channelled towards debt repayment.
Mr Sachikonye also revealed that they were negotiating with potential investors after the fallout with Essar.
"We are talking to serious investors, who have shown interest in investing in the company, but I cannot divulge the details," he said.
On recent reports that several banks were exposed to risk after RioZim borrowed US$50 million, Mr Sachikonye said in a statement the group's resources, asset base and capacity to produce were considered sufficient to cover the current exposure to the banking sector.
"The debt situation has always been made public as published in the audited financial statements for the year ended 31 December 201," he said.
"RioZim has not defaulted with any bank and is servicing its debts on terms and conditions agreed with the various financial institutions. It remains a viable company with sufficient resources and capacity to perform well in future and deliver value to its shareholders."
In the short term, the company is buoyed by prospects at Cam and Motor Gold Mine with an estimated one million ounces of proven gold deposits.
Darwendale Chrome deposits also confirmed the existence of an inferred alluvial resource in excess of six million tonnes of ore.
Further developments at Renco are expected to uplift production to 44 000 ounces a year.
RioZim are sitting on an asset base of US$200 million, Sengwa coal deposits (1,3 billion tonnes), a 22,2 percent interest in Murowa Diamond Mine, Cam and Motor Gold Mine, Darwendale Chrome deposits and Empress Nickel Refinery.
Investment analysts yesterday said RioZim remained an attractive company given its potential and mineral deposits.
They said most companies had been borrowing and that there had been no substantial fresh capital into companies since the introduction of the multiple currency system.
Most companies have been struggling to retire expensive local debt and to attract fresh capital.
"Very few companies have managed to capitalise because there has been minimal fresh capital into companies," said an investment advisor with a local bank.
"There are a number of micro-economic issues when it comes to refinancing debt."
By The Post
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:00 CAT
The MMD is trying very hard to reverse its declining political fortunes. A lot of work is being done by ministers and other top party leaders to halt the party’s declining popularity and improve their chances in this year’s elections. This is a good thing.
It is not good to deceive oneself that all is well even when things are clearly not what they should be. It is always good to accept reality, the situation on the ground as it stands and then work to make it what one wants. But to change things, one has to understand the reality and what has caused it.
Of course, one’s political opponents are always alert to know what those weaknesses are that have caused one’s problems. They will try to exploit them politically and otherwise. When those weaknesses are recognised and subjected to honest analysis, political opponents may still take advantage of them but in a different way, in a less crippling way.
When weaknesses are recognised and subjected to analysis and criticism, they may be used by political opponents, but in a very different way. This is so because when weaknesses are acknowledged, they stand a better chance of being corrected.
And when weaknesses are corrected, a party gains strength; where it was unpopular, it starts to become more popular. This is why we say the approach the MMD is taking to try and find out its weaknesses all over the country and correct them is good.
And we hope they will carry out this exercise with utmost honesty, at least to themselves. But there is a bad side to what they are trying to do and that is their use of public resources in this whole exercise.
Ministers who are part of the party’s leadership have been dispatched all over the country for an exercise that will last many days. They have left government work for which they are paid by the taxpayer to pursue personal party interests. Government automobiles, fuel and drivers employed by the government are being used in this exercise.
The government is being made to pay allowances to all these people and also pay for accommodation and food. And this is for an exercise that is purely an election matter for the MMD. This is not a government exercise; it is an MMD campaign issue. Why should the government be made to pay for this? Why should the taxpayer be overburdened with MMD campaign expenditure?
We know that the MMD will try to deny that this is a party issue and claim that the ministers are doing government work, inspecting government development projects. This will not be true. This will be a lie. We say this because of the nature of the work that these ministers are carrying.
They are there campaigning. None of them can deny that they are campaigning for the MMD and its candidates using government resources. And MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu let the cat out of the bag when he disclosed that the ministers who were part of the party’s supreme body had been sent across the country to re-organise the party grassroots.
According to Nyangu, “originally, it was supposed to be 15 days. They were supposed to have started on the 1st of May, 2011 but most of them travelled on the 3rd, 4th just like that. Ministers are NEC (National Executive Committee) members. There are other people who are NEC members like Maggie Musonda. She is not a minister but she is out there.
Mrs Katele Kalumba, she is in Central Province”. Nyangu said the organs would inform the party on the popularity of people in constituencies:
“This time we are not going to get it from the constituencies or the district, we want to get it from the grassroots. As a party, we are looking at the grassroots. We don’t want to impose.”
According to Nyangu, this is what this whole exercise is about. Clearly, this is not a government exercise or programme. It is an MMD one.
We do appreciate the fact that the party in power may enjoy the advantages of incumbency, but their use of government facilities and resources should be within the law. They should not in any way use government resources in a manner that is not legally permissible. And moreover, their use of government resources and facilities should not in any way disadvantage their opponents.
The conduct of the election contest must be fair. However, where government resources are abused by those in power, the contest cannot be said to be fair.
There is need to create a thick line marking the distinction between the government and the ruling MMD. Lack of distinction between the ruling party and the government creates a climate of abuse which will lead to difficulties in us having free and fair elections.
For these reasons, the leaders of the MMD should not use government resources in a manner that puts others in an unfair disadvantage. There ought to be transparency in the use of public resources and facilities.
And we make a special appeal to the MMD and its government to realise that they have a serious responsibility. As facilitators of the elections, they should ensure that they carry out their work in a manner that does not disadvantage their opponents. They should also ensure that the concerns of all key players are adequately addressed.
It is not in dispute that today’s government comprises elements who are MMD. But there is a distinction between MMD and government. There is also a distinction between the government work and MMD campaign efforts. It is very easy for one in power to be tempted to abuse public resources to keep oneself in office. The MMD is under pressure and the temptation for them to abuse public resources to win this year’s elections is very high.
But as we have stated before, the exercise of power must be the constant practice of self-limitation and modesty. They should not just think of themselves; they should also think about others, about their competitors. When people think only of themselves and their own group, then there is division and frustration.
There is need to focus on the common good. We say this because authentic democracy promotes the common good of all. And the common good of all requires that the MMD stops using or rather abusing public resources and facilities for its election campaigns.
By Patson Chilemba
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:00 CAT
THE use of public resources in the MMD’s campaigns is daylight robbery for which Rupiah Banda as high priest of corruption will be probed, says George Mpombo. And Mpombo said Zambians should demand to stop paying ZNBC TV levy because it is clear that the institution is being used as a propaganda tool for the free-falling President Banda, who he said has been a "terrific disaster".
Commenting on the use of public resources by ministers who were recently on a three-week campaign programme to reorganise MMD party structures, Mpombo, who is Kafulafuta MMD member of parliament, said President Banda and his ministers would one day be made to account for the abuse of public resources.
“This is daylight robbery of scarce public resources, and the Auditor General should probe how public resources have been used to cater for MMD cadres staying in high profile lodges, while carrying out party activities. This is an unacceptable return to the one party state where party and government functions were fused,” he said.
Mpombo said the new government should speedily deal with the abuse of state resources which President Banda and his government were committing right before the people’s eyes.
He said when a minister went on a party mission, the funding should come from the party and not government.
“To use government resources for party activities is criminal and an obstacle to the development of transparency and accountability. For instance, we have information minister Ronnie Shikapwasha; he is was on the Copperbelt assessing the performance of sitting MPs and also looking at possible candidates,” Mpombo said.
“This is totally unacceptable because the money being paid on a daily basis for party work, his driver is being paid and we don’t know how he is going to handle his imprest.”
Mpombo said President Banda knew very well that he was presiding over the abuse of resources and that was the reason he found it hard to digest PF leader Michael Sata’s declaration that he would speedily pursue plunderers.
“He is aware the people of Zambia are in an uncompromising mood to see who has been swimming naked as far as corruption is concerned when the tide is over,” Mpombo said. “President Banda as high priest of corruption and intricate deals, complex deals must be worried that he will be asked to account for the massive wealth he has amassed in just two years.”
He said the new government should move speedily to reinstate the offence of abuse of office in the Anti Corruption Act which was removed by President Banda to legalise corruption in the country.
Mpombo said President Banda was taking the country backwards.
He said initially they lied that ministers had been sent to monitor government projects, but what the nation witnessed were campaign messages from the ministers asking people not to vote for Sata.
Mpombo wondered if insults from the likes of education minister Dora Siliya were also part of government programmes.
“What we saw was a stream of insults against Mr Sata. Is that part of her Ministry of Education or governance programmes? It is shameful that political lightweights, upstarts like Dora Siliya derive some sort of sensual thrill in insulting senior citizens like Mr Sata. You can’t pay a person all the way to go to Northern Province to go and insult Mr Sata,” he said.
Mpombo said it was reckless for Siliya to attack Catholics that they supported homosexuality.
He said the Church would not be intimidated for speaking out on the ills being committed under President Banda’s regime and added that Siliya should in fact weigh herself if she was the right person to lecture others on moral conduct.
Mpombo said President Banda was not interested in serving the people of Zambia.
“It is Gen Shikapwasha who admitted that he went through hell after being dismissed, so what he is doing now is not to help people of Zambia but to please the appointing authority. For him as long as he has bread on his table, it’s shalom, shalom,” Mpombo said.
He said President Banda was a very ungrateful man who had gone about obliterating the legacy of the man (the late president Levy Mwanawasa) who saved him from perpetual poverty.
“Banda must understand that God is great because when he was in Chipata, gumboots were his designer shoes, not Pierre Cardin. Or overralls were his Pierre Cardin,” Mpombo said.
Mpombo dispelled President Banda’s statement that he should take credit because he was the one who was finishing late Mwanawasa’s projects.
And Mpombo said the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation’s coverage of news had descended into shocking levels of unprofessionalism.
Mpombo said the news was now about President Banda and the MMD.
“Writers of ZNBC news should talk to their consciences whether their role is to engage in continuous political cannibalism because it is morally unacceptable for ZBNC to continue to demand for the TV levies, the K3,000s, in the face of their clearly partisan political stance and their desire to demonise people like Sata,” said Mpombo.
“They must understand what they are doing is just attracting the Egyptian revolution style. Zambians should demand that they be excused from paying these levies and instead let ZNBC ask MMD as a political party to fill the gap. They are propping up the free-falling career of Rupiah Banda who has been a terrific disaster.”
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE Minister of Labour and NAPSA must make full disclosure of the ownership of Zambezi Consortium concerning the US$98 million deal with ZNBS, says Given Lubinda.
Commenting on labour minister Austin Liato’s claims that it was false that a Kenyan firm had been engaged in the US$98 million NAPSA deal to refurbish Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS), Lubinda said Zambians wanted to know the owners of Zambezi Consortium and how it was picked as the preferred bidder to run the investment portfolio.
“We understand that this is an investment by NAPSA. That is not the issue. But the issue is who is behind this special investment vehicle called Zambezi Consortium. Can Liato categorically say that there is no Kenyan involved in Zambezi Consortium and can he disclose the shareholding of Zambezi Consortium? Who are its shareholders? Can he also disclose the other bidders who took part in bidding to manage that investment portfolio,” Lubinda demanded.
“Can the feasibility study be made public so that other stakeholders can assess the viability of this investment portfolio, bearing in mind that what is being invested is contributors’ money? We are being wary because the experience in Zambia has shown that many pensioners go to their graves early without receiving their benefits because of the mismanagement of these investment portfolios by some of these pension funds. That is the reason why the public is interested and want full disclosure of these investments.”
Lubinda, who is Kabwata PF member of parliament, said US$98 million, which NAPSA was investing in ZNBS, was a lot of money for which the public wanted to know the viability of the investment.
“We are not talking about K98 million but US $98 million; it’s a huge amount of money for NAPSA to invest without making a full public disclosure so that all the members of NAPSA are aware of how their money is being managed. So, please, Mr Liato should not try to wash this issue away by just telling us that there is no Kenyan involved but it’s a consortium called Zambezi. What is important is for us to know who is behind Zambezi Consortium.”
Well-placed sources in government disclosed that President Rupiah Banda pressured NAPSA to provide US$98 million to ZNBS for refurbishing the latter’s building in Lusaka.
However, NAPSA and ZNBS have failed to convincingly explain the transaction in which a Kenyan firm was allegedly single-sourced to carry out the works.
Liato dismissed allegations that President Banda influenced NAPSA in the US$98 million deal, adding that it was false that a Kenyan firm was party to the transaction.
Liato said the transaction would be managed through Zambezi Consortium but did not disclose the names of shareholders of the same entity.
By Bright Mukwasa
Tue 17 May 2011, 04:00 CAT
BIRTHDAY parties in most parts of the world come with grandeur and glamour. It is a time when people get together to celebrate life with food, drink and music.
For other sections of society, it gets worse. Everything, including minute details, is an ostentatious display of wealth. Such lavish events are talked about long after they have passed.
Zambia’s Dr Kenneth Kaunda celebrated his 87th birthday on April 28. Unlike the pomp that should surround such a day, Dr Kaunda’s low-key event was organised at his pre-independence house number 394 in Lusaka’s Chilenje area. It is at this event that his statue was unveiled.
Dr Kaunda was born in 1924. He was Zambia’s first president and he played a big role in its liberation as well as that of southern Africa. Until he left office in 1991, he maintained his position as the leader of a ‘buffer’ country between white-ruled states in southern Africa and hostile, independent black-ruled states to the north.
His birthday party could have been bigger but for some reason, this was just a usual case of letting the country’s history follow the same path that other treasured chapters have traversed en route to oblivion.
One needs to be magnanimous to take time and explain the history behind house number 394.
The house that is fondly referred to as old State House strikes different chords and means a lot to the people who surround it and those who slept in it.
The house is located about six kilometres from Lusaka city centre.
A stroll into the yard lands you into Dr Kaunda’s copper-plated statue perched just at the entrance, with a trademark white handkerchief gripped in its right hand.
A walk closer to the house gives you a feeling of how well the people responsible for it have tried to keep it tidy and unblemished.
To your right there is parked the partially burnt old green Land Rover which was used by Dr Kaunda during the struggle for Zambia’s independence. According to literature:
“The vehicle was a common spectacle to many and the sound of its engine a melodious tune to thousands of supporters who fondly nicknamed it ‘Mama UNIP”.
Inside the house there is an array of collections of utensils used by the Kaundas. The kitchenware and stove which Mama Betty Kaunda used to prepare meals for her family and the people who visited them are properly kept in the house.
The house also has literature on the independence struggle, including party constitutions and Dr Kaunda’s letters.
In what used to be the main bedroom, one sees a bed neatly spread with a white and maroon striped blanket and a wooden wardrobe with a classic leather coat hanging inside.
There are pictures of prominent pre-independence events hanging on the wall.
During the birthday celebrations, people had gathered in the morning to witness the Octogenarian sing songs of glory for his long days. The yard was filled with people from the neighbourhood, the Church, the diplomatic corps, Prliamentarians and members of his party UNIP. There was no representation from the government and there was a hoax earlier that the unveiling of the statue had been cancelled.
Dr Kaunda did not hide his displeasure as this was supposed to be a non-partisan celebration.
"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.
Kabwata PF parliamentarian Given Lubinda initially told the gathering that the government could not turn up because Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata was going to attend the same 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.
However, Lubinda said Sata opted to stay away from the event for fear of spoiling the party following tourism minister Namugala’s reservations.
Aside from the politics, the event was well attended. The celebration was characterised by music and dance.
The singing was complemented by Dr Kaunda who asked for a guitar and sang one of his favourite songs for his “girl”, Betty.
Two of his children - Chaswe and Tilyenji - attended the celebrations.
In an interview later, Tilyenji said visiting his former home evoked pleasant memories.
“This place has fond meaning to me. I attach great relevance to it,” said Tilyenji the UNIP president.
Chaswe, who was overwhelmed with excitement, thanked the organisers of the event.
“Thank you for the respect you have shown my father. It’s good to honour someone while they are alive to see it. On behalf of ba tata, thank you very much,” Chaswe said.
Chaswe said she treasured the place that her family lived in before she was born.
Lubinda said his constituency decided to honour Dr Kaunda based on his humility, sacrifice and contribution to the struggle for independence.
Lubinda said the team also promised to erect monuments at Lubwa mission in his honour.
Dr Kaunda lived and directed the independence struggle from the Chilenje House between January 1960 and December 1962.
Some of the major events he directed whilst at 394 were the Constitutional Conference of 1960, Cha Cha Cha Campaign and the election of 1962
By George Chellah in Kasama
Wed 18 May 2011, 04:02 CAT
PF leader Michael Sata says plunderers have risen. And Sata says the PF-led government will support media freedom in the country. During a special programme on Kasama's Radio Mano on Monday, Sata said plunderers had risen under President Rupiah Banda's government whose focus was to steal from poor Zambians.
“There are a lot of retirees who haven't been paid their benefits. But Mr Banda gets K70 billion and gives his relative Robinson Zulu for land. How can government buy land? Mr Banda again gets US $98 million and gives it to a Kenyan using the same pensioner’s money,” Sata said.
“Ba Banda tabaletontonkanya (President Banda is not thinking). Even on the road contract at Landless Corner he has given ka BY Mwila National Democratic Focus president and Nchelenge member of parliament.”
He said President Banda only cared about himself.
“Rupiah Banda has spent a lot of money. He gave ministers huge sums of money to go round the country because he knows that this year it’s going to be tough for them. Rupiah Banda kuya bebele! (Rupiah Banda is going!).
We have a number of hospitals and clinics here but because Rupiah Banda went to China and brought mobile hospitals,” Sata said. “In this country you don't even have sufficient ambulances so how can the mobile hospital concept work? They got US $53 million for mobile hospitals.”
He said instead of learning from first Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda who did tremendous things for the country, President Banda’s administration was abusing the poor.
“Kaunda put up roads and other infrastructure in the country. Banda has come and he has neglected this infrastructure which Kaunda left in place,” he said.
On his policy of governance once in office, Sata said the PF would bring back the real civil service as opposed to the current one that was littered with MMD cadres.
“All the District Commissioners who are campaigning for MMD will go with MMD,” he said.
He said under the PF government, traditional leaders would be chairpersons of the various development committees in their areas and they would be handsomely remunerated for that task.
When asked whether he would win this year's elections, Sata responded: “God was testing my strength and resilience.
In 2001, we only campaigned for three months, in 2006 we really tried because we increased the number of members of parliament and in 2008, Banda even failed to steal votes in Eastern Province where he hails from. He went and stole in Western Province.
Currently, there are a lot of people that want to see us in a number of places. So we are now meeting our people in distance places.”
And Sata has stressed the need for press freedom in the nation.
“Let Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha shut down radio stations if he wants and we will also come and shut him down.
They closed Radio Lyambai but what have they achieved?” Sata asked. “ZNBC, Times of Zambia and Zambia Daily Mail are all government controlled. So we will encourage you independent media because you are able to reach areas even where ZNBC does not reach.”
Meanwhile, Kasama Central member of parliament Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba popularly known as GBM warned the police against being partisan.
“When people are annoyed you won't even sit in those offices. You watch what is happening on Al Jazeera. Abantu bakali bane!” Mwamba said.
He also advised Northern Province permanent secretary Mwalimu Simfukwe to behave like a civil servant.
He accused the provincial administration of giving contracts to MMD cadres and sharing money.
“When we come into power you will be jailed and we will be coming to watch you in prison,” he said.
Lukashya member of parliament Elfrida Mwamba urged the district commissioner and Simfukwe not to overstep their duties.
By Roy Habaalu
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THIS year’s elections will only be credible if the government allowed the use of the parallel vote tabulation, says FES. Frederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) resident director Heiner Naumann said the parallel vote tabulation (PVT) was a highly accepted means of providing checks and balances during an election.
“Elections will be much more credible if the government allows the use of PVT. I haven’t heard any serious argument why PVT should not be allowed,” said Naumann. “PVT, if professionally conducted, can help create higher acceptance to published results. There shouldn’t be any reason why figures should differ.”
President Rupiah Banda has warned advocates of the use of PVT in the forthcoming presidential elections that anyone computing and tabulating results of the polls would be committing a criminal
But Naumann said it was worrying that some political parties were viewed as enemies and not competitors. He said it was relevant that a national consensus was arrived at in dealing with national issues.
Naumann said politicians should influence their supporters to stick to democratic rules and peaceful elections. He said those seeking power to rule the country should address high poverty and unemployment levels.
The Law Association of Zambia recently joined the debate over the PVT and declared that there was nothing illegal about the system despite President Banda’s insistence that it was criminal.
By The Post
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
Zambian shareholders of Finance Bank are seeking to restrain First Rand Merchant Bank which trades locally as First National Bank - Zambia from taking over Finance Bank.
Following Bank of Zambia’s forcibly takeover of Finance Bank last December on account of the shareholders abrogating Banking and Services laws, managers from First Rand National Bank had been running the bank.
The indigenous shareholders of Finance Bank, Finsbury Investments Limited, Clarkwell Limited, Job Albert Samuel and Chewe Puta the administrator of the estate of Pat Bwalya Puta are contesting that BoZ should not sell or enter into agreement over Finance Bank until the matters before the courts of law in Zambia are disposed off.
First Rand Merchant Bank is expected to take-over operations of Finance Bank, in a deal that was expected to be concluded before the next presidential and general elections largely expected this September.
Lawyers for the minority shareholders, Simenza and Sangwa advocates served the service of petition on First Rand Merchant Bank on May 10, 2011 with the help of Carl Ellis Boden of JJS Manton Attorney of Johannesburg.
The affidavit of service is in respect of the petitioners request that the High Court of Ndola grant them an interim relief in the form of an injunction, until after determination of their human rights and that during the period, both BoZ and First Rand Limited whether themselves, their officers, servants or agents from interfering with or dealing with any manner whatsoever with the Petitioners’ share in Finance Bank Zambia Limited.
The petitioners were also seeking the court’s authority to prevent BoZ or BoZ and First Rand Limited whether themselves, their officers, servants or agents from selling Finance Bank Zambia Limited whether as a going concern or its assets.
By Mwala Kalaluka in Samfya
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
A SAMFYA Court has asked the State to implement a court order that a medical doctor examines the health status of several remandees at Mansa State Prison charged for riotous conduct.
Magistrate Patson Chiluba, sitting as a magistrate in Samfya, on Monday reinforced the order that was issued by another Mansa-based magistrate hearing the same matters after several of the suspected rioters raised health-related complaints during their detention.
Magistrate Chiluba made the order during a plea hearing of a case where 46-year-old Vincent Kalaba of Mansa’s Chikotwe Village was in the first count charged with riot and in the second count charged with house breaking and theft.
Kalaba is in count one alleged to have taken part in a riot with others unknown in Mansa between 18 and 20 April, 2011.
Kalaba leaded not guilty to the charge.
In the second count, to which he also pleaded not guilty, Kalaba on April 18, 2011 broke into the dwelling house of Ibrahim Sanaula in Mansa and stole one air gun with serial number 74181184, one water container and other goods all valued at K1,350,000 belonging to Sanaula.
The matter was adjourned to May 19, 2011 for trial.
Kalaba asked for bail because the police were failing to locate the person who had committed the offence for which he had been brought to court for.
“It is better the police find the one who stole instead of making me suffer like this,” Kalaba pleaded.
State prosecutor Victor Choongo objected Kalaba’s application on grounds that being a Mansa resident, he had not advanced any suggestions of how he would find money to travel to Samfya to attend court sessions.
Choongo said although Kalaba was charged alone, the indictment read that he was acting jointly with others unknown.
“These are the others the police are pursuing to bring to book,” Choongo said.
“The accused person in the dock...is likely to regroup with others who the police are still pursuing to commit various offences as the court has observed.”
Choongo said some of those that had escaped the police dragnet during the Mansa riots were still committing offences.
Kalaba did not say anything in reply to the State’s objection.
Magistrate Chiluba said the bail application was rejected because Kalaba might encounter difficulties travelling from Mansa to Samfya to attend court.
But Kalaba, still in the accused box, said he was sick.
“Even the doctor has not come to visit and even the way we are remanded has affected my right hand,” said Kalaba.
Magistrate Chiluba then asked Kalaba if he had informed the State of his illness and he said that he did.
He said he had not seen a doctor since 25th April when he was detained.
Choongo told the court that prison authorities informed him that a Dr Phiri was unable to attend to all accused persons because he went to the prison late.
Choongo assured the court that further arrangements would be made to recall the doctor so that he conducts medical examinations on all those that he failed to see during his last visit. Hearing in the matter continues.
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Thu 19 May 2011, 04:01 CAT
THE Ministry of Health says it will be conducting aerial mosquito spraying in Lusaka, Chongwe and Kafue using environmentally friendly larvicides which are mosquito larvae specific and not harmful to humans and any other species.
Spokesperson Dr Kamoto Mbewe said the public should therefore not be alarmed when they see small planes carrying out the spraying activity in selected areas.
Dr Mbewe said the exercise would soon be extended to other parts of the country especially in Luapula, Eastern and Northern provinces where malaria incidence was highest.
He said malaria was endemic in all the nine provinces of Zambia with 90-100 per cent of the population at risk.
“Transmission occurs throughout the year with the peak during the rainy season. Northern, Luapula and Eastern provinces have the highest annual incidence of malaria,” he said.
Dr Mbewe said the Zambian government had identified malaria control as one of its main public health priorities and in view of this position, the government through the National Malaria Control Centre (NMCC), had developed a detailed National Malaria Strategic Plan (NMSP), aimed at significantly scaling up malaria control interventions towards achievement of the national vision of ‘a malaria a free Zambia’.
He said to support this strategy, the governments of Zambia and Cuba had signed and established an Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical for the period 2009 - 2011, in which the Cuban government was to assist Zambia in malaria control through larviciding using larvicides.
“In view of this a team of experts from Cuba arrived in the country in 2010 to work with Zambian experts in the Ministry of Health to integrate and scale up the Larval Source Management as one of the strategies in the control of malaria to complement the existing interventions such as long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LITNs) and Indoor residual spraying (IRS),” he said.
Dr Mbewe said for several years, it had long been believed that the best way to interrupt malaria transmission was to target adult female mosquitoes with insecticides.
“But evidence shows that those malaria control programmes have ignored fundamental biological difference between mosquito adults and the immature stages. Adults are highly mobile flying insects that can readily detect and avoid intervention measures. Conversely, immature stages are confined within small aquatic habitats and cannot escape control measures,” said Dr Mbewe.
“It’s for this reason that the Ministry of Health has approved Larval control using environmentally friendly larvicides as an alternative and effective way for malaria control if complemented with adult control interventions.
Larviciding is a general term for killing immature mosquitoes by applying agents, collectively called larvicides, to control mosquito larvae and/or pupae.”