Saturday, July 16, 2011
By The Post
Sat 16 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
“The laws governing the system currently do not give independence to the public media and it is only when laws are aligned in a manner that will give independence to these media institutions, that is when we shall have the right thing.”
This is a quote from Anthony Mulowa, the president of the Zambia Union of Journalists, when he was attempting to explain what is going on at the state-owned and government-controlled media institutions in Zambia.
Anthony further added: “As long as the appointing authority for media heads is the powers-that-be, there is nothing which is going to happen; you can resist and be fired then tomorrow the other person who is going to come up, what is he going to do?
So long as we allow a situation where the appointments in the public media are done by the government, it is not going to work. The laws are correct but we need to move a step further and find an independent board which will be running the appointments of these media heads so that they can be professionally and independently employed. That way the public will hold these institutions accountable.”
Arising from what Anthony is saying, it is clear to us that as journalists, we should never cease to celebrate the principles of democracy. Indeed without those principles, journalism would simply not exist.
You can be a scribbler or a writer or a hack. But without an adherence to democracy and human rights, you cannot be a journalist. Writers who do not accept the principles of democracy and human rights are not deserving of the name journalists but rather are paid hacks or propagandists.
Of course, it remains true that governments are a significant threat to freedom of speech and human rights in general. But it is not governments alone that pose that threat.
That threat is posed by coalitions of power which include governments, political parties, religious groups, large corporations and so on and so forth – indeed any organisation that has something to lose. Any group with something to lose will sooner or later come into conflict with the democratic role of the media.
We believe it is impossible to grasp the role of journalists and the challenges they face without starting from this position.
It is very important to recognise the fact that the production process of news in all media does not lend itself to rigid control. Whether it be in radio, television or print, the time in which material can be prepared and broadcast and published is a fairly narrow window.
This places great reliance on the journalists or broadcasters to utilise their professional judgement.
It should also be recognised that the creation of media content is a highly skilled job and cannot be done under rigid supervision.
For this reason, journalists need an autonomous space under which to operate. And in all this, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that the job of working in the media tends to attract people who take on the job because it is something they want to do and because they believe in the principles that underpin the job.
The need for an autonomous space has led journalists to come up with codes of ethics as a way of imposing the principles of their craft. These involve an assertion of journalistic principles and an acknowledgement of the primacy of the judgement of one’s peers.
A journalist, as a matter of principle and conduct, is expected to have respect for truth and the right of the public to truth as his first duty. A journalist is also expected to report only in accordance with facts of which he or she knows the origin.
A journalist is also expected not to suppress essential information or falsify documents. And a journalist and the institution he works for can earn the public trust through accuracy, honesty, promise-keeping and independence. This is so, and in accordance with the journalist’s commitment to democracy, because people can govern themselves and guarantee their liberties only if they are accurately informed.
Therefore, in order to strengthen democracy in our country and ensure informed public dialogue about issues of public importance, journalists should accept the sacred duty to serve the people by providing information and by guaranteeing a public forum in which issues of common concern can be addressed.
Journalists worthy of that name shall deem it their duty to observe faithfully these principles and recognise in professional matters the jurisdiction of their colleagues only, to the exclusion of every kind of interference by government or others. We say this because respect for truth and the public’s right to information are overriding principles for all journalists.
That is, in making professional decisions, journalists should rely on their own collective judgement, not that of their employers or of government. In committing themselves to these principles, journalists are collectively asserting their rights to that autonomous space within the media.
They are asserting that they have a loyalty to something greater than the newspaper or broadcaster they happen to be working for from time to time. They have a loyalty to fundamental principles and that loyalty commands a primacy over the demands of their employers or government.
There is need for all our people to realise that the media is a unique undertaking or business which imposes on it responsibilities to the community.
And the chief responsibility of the media is to provide news that is as accurate, fair and complete as possible and comment that reflects the diversity of opinions within the community.
We can only properly claim the prestige and influence a newspaper or broadcaster may command if we fulfil the responsibilities it entails. Even commercial success depends on a reputation for meeting the responsibilities and being seen to meet them.
We agree with Anthony that there is need to change the way things are done, the way the top management of the state-owned media are appointed. It is true that the current system politicises the jobs and inhibits journalistic independence.
But there shouldn’t be a temptation for intervention in managerial processes which do not result in any meaningful structural changes. We shouldn’t allow this to become battles over individuals, over who should be editor, rather than over structural changes.
In 1991, the Press Association of Zambia succeeded in removing the top editors and managers of the Times of Zambia, Zambia Daily Mail and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation. Individuals were removed but no structural changes were made. And where are we today? Back to square one.
We therefore urge Anthony and his colleagues in the Zambia Union of Journalists to speak and advance the issues of editorial independence in the institutions where their members work. Without that, there will be no journalistic independence and integrity in these institutions.
Of course, they are a trade union and are expected to deal with the matters of bread and butter, but they should not ignore the professional matters affecting the primary work of their members.
We say this because it is not possible for them to have one without the other. Unless they fight for professional issues – to create spaces for diversity, professionalism and freedom of speech – the work they do loses all its value. We say this because in the struggle for editorial independence within media organisations, these two issues come together.
And it is in this struggle that they should use the principle of trade union action to advance the professional interests of their members. This requires continuous vigilance and struggle. And as long as they are prepared to contest this terrain, they are likely to succeed.
Of course, we cannot ignore the subjective factors in all this – the critical issue is the strength of mind of the editor. All these things depend, to a large extent, on the strength of mind of the editors.
Some editors are strong and respect the traditions of their profession. Others are weak and see their job as a stepping stone to all sorts of social climbing. It is incumbent upon journalists to do all they can to keep editors up to the mark.
To someone who is not a journalist, many of our comments will seem to be self-servicing arrogance, giving the impression that we know better than our masters, our elected representatives, our ministers and our president about what is right or wrong. To that we respond, well, we do.
We are the only stakeholders or players in the media who have no interests other than the professional tenets of our craft. We don’t have a particular stake in anything. So it may be professional arrogance, but we do believe that our interests in editorial autonomy and independence are also the nation’s interests.
And it is this self-supervision or regulation, this independence, more than any external supervision or regulation, that is the best guarantee that a free and independent media in our country will ultimately reflect our people’s interests.
Musokotwane urges debt sustainability analysis
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 16 July 2011, 14:00 CAT
THE lower middle income status puts Zambia at a risk of falling into another unsustainable debt position if there is no prudent borrowing, says finance minister Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane.
The World Bank has reclassified Zambia as a middle-income country on account of increasing copper output coupled with favourable international metal prices and increasing donor aid to the country.
Zambia, with an average gross domestic product of US $1,200 per person was ranked 27th among the 63 countries which the World Bank has reclassified as middle-income countries since the year 2000 while economically-diversified Ghana, whose GDP per capita, according to CIA, is about capita US $1600 trailed Zambia at 28th on the same list.
Dr Musokotwane said the graduation of Zambia from category of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) would aid the country to borrow more for expenditure to make a dent on the huge infrastructure bottlenecks in the country.
He said there was need for proper assessment and prudence in contracting new loans to avoid the risk of falling into another debt trap like the about US $7 billion foreign debt which shackled Zambia until it was liquidated in 2005 via painful fiscal austerity measures.
With Zambia’s graduation to lower medium term status, the country’s ability to borrow from the soft-loan window of key multilateral lending institutions would be limited.
“That is risk is there. The most important thing for the government is to make sure that even when we can now borrow on commercial (basis), we do it prudently,” Dr Musokotwane told journalists yesterday.
“Before any new loan is obtained, we do a debt sustainability analysis – ‘can we sustain this debt with this extra new loan we are acquiring?’ If the answer is yes, you borrow. If no, you don’t. Sometimes people are alarmed to say we are borrowing so much, the ability of the poor man to borrow and that of a rich man are completely different. As our economy expands, the capacity of the economy to borrow has also improved. In certain cases, you need to make this borrowing for the growth to continue.”
Dr Musokotwane said Zambia would still access cheap sources of finances from the concessional windows, although the facilities would be reduced.
“With what we are now, we are a hybrid – which means we still get concessional financing but you can also now begin to access non-concessional financing which is much more available,” he said.
“However, concessional financing is limited because people don’t want to give handouts. The only money available from the World Bank to us, it is no less that US $70 million per annum which is very small amount.”
The current regime has in the last few months exhibited increased expenditure on fiscal projects and programmes outside the budget estimates.
Unplanned expenditure such as the US $53 million expenditure on procurement of mobile hospitals from China and the current populist expenditure on urban roads especially in opposition strongholds, according to analysts, would compromise the government debt sustainability programme.
Dr Musokotwane also admitted that poverty levels in the country still remained high despite Zambia’s positive macroeconomic credentials. He said World Bank rating would help the country to attract more foreign investments to aid economic growth to make a dent on poverty reduction efforts.
“With the up-scaling like this, people will have been pulled out of poverty. Yes, there are others who have remained behind but there are many others who have pulled out of poverty,” Dr Musokotwane said.
“The economy must grow. Let’s continue to open ourselves that more investors are coming. If we continue on this growth process, certainly in the next 5 to 10 years, this country should show a remarkable progress in the fight against poverty. With this upgrading of our income status, we are going to see more investors coming to our country and therefore the growth is going to be sustained. As you become healthier, donor assistance to Zambia is going to come down. This is good for us because any self-respecting person does not want to become a beggar forever.”
According to World Bank ratings, countries with GDP per capita of less than US $1,005 are LDCs while those of between US $1,006 to US $3,975 are in lower middle income group.
Upper middle income groups are those countries with GDP per capita of between US $3,976 per person to US $12,275 per person while countries with above US $12,276 are classified as high income country.
At independence in 1964, Zambia was classified a middle income country before the erosion of the country’s key economic base – copper mining through maladministration and low international copper prices degenerated the country into the LDC category.
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, July 15, 2011, 1:10 pm
Patrick Mwanawasa has responded to former vice president Enoch Kavindele’s advice for him to learn to respect elders by describing him as A finished old politician who should be the last person to give him advice. Patrick said that he respects Mr. Kavindele as former vice president and successful businessman but advised him to save himself from being embarrassed.
Reacting to advice given to him by Mr. Kavindele that he is too young to engage himself in a confrontation with republican President Rupiah Banda, the late president Levy Mwanawasa’s eldest son observes that Zambia is a democratic nation stating that he will talk to any person in whichever way that pleases him.
Patrick, who recently defected from the ruling MMD to the opposition Patriotic Front, says Mr. Kavindele should realize that the political dispensation in the country is changing.
He says the last elderly leader to be given a mandate to run the country will be PF leader Michael Sata, who he says should also serve only five years and leave office for the young generation.
Friday, July 15, 2011
(LUSAKATIMES) Zambia’s re-classification means reduction in Donor Aid and increase in Foreign Investment-MusokotwaneCOMMENT - It never seizes to amaze me how neoliberal economists can define 'growth' without taking into account the masses that will hang them in the streets when they are going to be forced to wait for an end to poverty for another generation - poverty will not be reduced in another 30 years following the MMD's policies, according to the finance minister. As if they have another 30 years in office. 'Per capita income' merely means that they take GDP and divide that by the number of citizens. As we know, the mining sector is now foreign owned and does not pay taxes. It is utterly meaningless when there is massive inequality, which results in 40% of the population being malnourished. FDI is just another heist.
Zambia’s re-classification means reduction in Donor Aid and increase in Foreign Investment-Musokotwane
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, July 15, 2011, 1:55 pm
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane (right) talks to Deputy Minister Chileshe Kapwepwe after he addressed journalists in Lusaka
Finance and National Planning Minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has described the classification of Zambia to the lower Middle Income status country by the World Bank as a clear manifestation that government’s economic policies are materializing.
Speaking to Journalists in Lusaka this morning, Dr. Musokotwane said this classification means a reduction in donor Aid to Zambia and increased foreign investment.
Dr. Musokotwane says Zambia will now be able to access non concession loans adding that previously the country had been constrained by concession financing which is limited.
The minister has further explained that the country now lies in the range of 1,600 to 3,975 dollars per capita income adding that the target for government is to reach up to over 1,200 dollars per capita income which is for a high income status country.
And Dr. Musokotwane has said the economic reform process has not been easy for government and that this achievement is as a result of political will towards driving the country to economic prosperity.
On whether Zambia’s classification translates into poverty reduction in the country, the minister says the effects on the average household will slowly manifestadding that even in the High Income status countries, problems of the effect are there.
Friday, 15 July 2011 02:00
By Farirai Chubvu
AS we brace for the homestretch towards the make or break elections that will mark the demise of the inclusive Government either late this year or early next year, it's vital that we all bear in mind the importance of unity of purpose and the inviolability of patriotism.
We must never forget what is at stake in our country. We are in the midst of finalising the liberation struggle but this time the Rhodesian Front has taken a strategic retreat and pushed forward its lackeys in the two MDCs so that it will appear like what we have is a mere electoral contest yet what we will be deciding in the ballot box is the fate of Zimbabwe for which over 50 000 patriots paid the ultimate sacrifice in the Second Chimurenga.
Should we be the generation that spits on the wailing bones of Chibondo, Tembwe, Nyadzonia, Chimoio, and Freedom Camp? We must never forget that the challenges we faced since 2000 came about because the erstwhile coloniser wants to retain mastery over our resources.
It was never a conflict between a tyrant and long-suffering democrats as packaged by the West but a fight between Zimbabwe and Rhodesians by proxy. Its time we engaged ourselves in the national healing process that will help us rebuild the country some among us helped shatter by allowing ourselves to collaborate with those external forces that sought to strangulate our economy.
The denunciation of President Mugabe has become a secular doctrine in the West, and that fulmination is all rooted in the imperial commitment to world domination and the establishment of client states in place of the fallen colonies.
After Claire Short's infamous letter of November 5 1997, the British government of Tony Blair decided to embark on misplaced economics where they thought it prudent to fund an opposition puppet party to unseat Zanu-PF than to fund the land reform programme. They thus invested heavily in the illegal regime change agenda. This was a snorting effort at halting what Tony Blair saw as Mugabe's "land invasion policy".
The rascality of the regime change project became apparent when the United States weighed in with a sanctions law, ZDERA, and Australia's John Howard came in with his rancorous campaign for the expulsion of Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth.
In 2000, as we prepared for a parliamentary general election, our country was hit by a disastrous sabotage campaign targeted at basic commodities like sugar, fuel, salt and cooking oil. The calculation was to create conditions for a protest vote against Zanu-PF and in favour of the British sponsored MDC. We fought back en masse.
We confronted the enemy's material superiority and abundant supplies with a collective political and revolutionary determination. The vanguard of our national revolution - the war veterans, the defence forces, the youth and the masses decided against fighting from the same corner with the imperial aggressors.
It was a time to unleash a collective sense of genius, and the strategies adopted have written heroic deeds into the pages of African anti-imperialism history - albeit with a sad and dear price on the welfare side of our country.
This is how the revolution was protected. It was protected because it was under attack, and as Zimbabweans we owe our country protection day and night. We defended the country not as a duty to protect Zanu-PF, but as a duty to defend the revolution - to fulfil a revolutionary duty left upon us by those who set the revolutionary fires as founding fathers of the nation.
The economic warfare waged against us over the past decade, manifest in the illegal economic sanctions, is nothing but an extension of the west's politics of destructive engagement. Our politics were extended and became a generalised popular defence of the revolution and the country.
Two political lines confronted each other and the end result so far has been the GPA and the inclusive Government led by the West's number one enemy, President Mugabe, and which includes arguably Africa's number one puppet, Morgan Tsvangirai, a man cut from the same cloth as Moise Tshombe the charlatan who precipitated the problems the DRC faces to this day.
Now it is time to think about all those who succumbed to death as the economy of the country was shattered by the ruinous sanctions onslaught. To us these people should be viewed as having fallen on the field of honour. It is time to spare a thought for all those who were injured in political conflict, about the tearful families, our people from across the political divide who were touched by this confrontation.
Each of us must make an effort to repel the enemy - the real enemy behind this confrontation. Surely we can all tell that it is only the Western community that stands opposed to the inclusive Government and our efforts to rebuild our nation. We have the blessing and good will of all members of the family of nations but the West.
Every patriotic Zimbabwean must win the ultimate victory by killing all seeds of hostility and enmity within us towards fellow citizens. This is an important victory to win - bigger than any election victory that anyone can ever dream of. It is time to invoke the spirit of Murenga, the War Spirit.
Together we can win this war.
In 2008, we almost let the country go because of disunity within the ranks of the revolutionary party, struggles within the struggle as it were. We must unite to repel the unwanted external enemy.
On behalf of our country we must boldly tell the world that there are no more problems in our country and none of us should ever again posture as an asylum seeker of any kind. We must make it clear that we can return to Zimbabwe when and as we wish, in total freedom and pride.
We did not fight against the imperial onslaught in order to create refugees and economic prisoners. We fought to repel the enemy and we are happy that we ran him out of town.
Now that the enemy can be fully repelled by our one voice, it is time we realise that we are one family as Zimbabweans. We are our own liberators and together we will always triumph.
It is time to avoid being dragged and diverted into fights that are not for the benefit of our country and our people. It is time to avoid being involved in concerns that are not concerns of our people in this mad race toward aid money and all manner of sponsored campaigns.
It is when we stop all self-defeating behaviours that we can successfully repel the enemy.
The Western media, in reality the imperialist press, has often said of Zimbabwe that recovery of the economy would take decades. Now the same media has passed a sentence on itself by reversing its opinion - albeit in an attempt to create an economic wizard out of Tendai Biti whose only claim to fame so far is denying civil servants an increment. The economic reality on the ground clearly shows that most of what they wrote about the state of the economy in the last five or so years were blue lies.
We can rebuild our country fast if we stand as one. We can live freely and happily as a family and the enemy who wrote that we were a pariah state will have to come face to face with his own slander.
Libya, Iraq, Guantanamo, Palestine and Afghanistan have shown the world who the real human rights abusers are. It is all now too clear.
It is time we all realised that the best form of protest is not burning the flag but washing it.
Those who detest the revolution for various illicit reasons will not stop causing confusion. Their manoeuvres will continue and so we must brace ourselves for the battles that await us as a nation.
The next election is not just about voting our representatives into office; it will be about putting an exclamation mark to our revolution. It will be about driving Westerners out of our politics. The people's victory must be resounding. It must be fundamental.
Friday, 15 July 2011 02:00
RECENT utterances by Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba are his personal opinions that do not reflect the views of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zanu PF chief whip Cde Joram Gumbo said yesterday. Cde Gumbo said Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba was entitled to air his views as enshrined in the constitution without any hindrance.
Addressing journalists yesterday, Cde Gumbo said the bringing of the motion on security chiefs by MDC-T was ill- informed. Mbizo MP Mr Settlement Chikwinya (MDC-T) moved the motion on Wednesday arguing that service chiefs were making "unconstitutional statements that were treasonous and called for authorities to carry out investigations into the said utterances."
However, Cde Gumbo said it was important for the MDC-T to know that Brig Gen Nyikayaramba was not speaking on behalf of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces or Zanu-PF.
"Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba is allowed by the constitution of Zimbabwe to express himself freely without infringements. Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba is not a service chief as alleged and his statement does not represent the views of service chiefs. Furthermore, he is not the spokesperson of the ZDF. His statements therefore, must not be regarded as the views of or legal position of the ZDF," he said.
Cde Gumbo said the ZDF upheld the law and its obligations under various local and international statutes under the UN, AU and Sadc.
"Pursuant to this role the ZDF will always seek to detect, dissuade and defeat any threats to Zimbabwe, be they from external aggressors working in cahoots with internal groupings (political parties included) or from internal aggressors," he said.
Cde Gumbo said any political party or individuals caught at cross-purposes with the ZDF would become enemies of the State.
"It will be an unfortunate scenario if any of the local political parties, organisations or individuals are caught at cross-purposes with the demands of Zimbabwe's security as these will invariably become enemies of the State by preference," he said.
Cde Gumbo said it was public knowledge that some members of the then opposition went all out to lobby for the imposition of illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
He said the continued existence of the sanctions posed a threat to the country's national security.
"In essence, they are intended to achieve a total collapse of the economy, a situation meant to force the population to revolt against the inclusive Government.
As such, the ZDF regards these illegal sanctions as an asymmetric threat to Zimbabwe's national interests and a deliberate ploy to put national sovereignty at stake," he said.
The Zanu-PF chief whip said the ZDF would therefore not tolerate any unconstitutional change of Government irrespective of which political party attempted to do so.
He said even Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had once threatened to remove President Mugabe through violence.
Cde Gumbo said Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba's statements were views he held dearly and was allowed to do by the country's constitution.
He denied that the statements would incite violence in the country and said it was up to the leadership of all parties to rein in their supporters.
He said there were violent elements in all the major parties in the country adding the situation would not be solved by finger-pointing.
Debate on the motion is expected to continue next week.
Brig-Gen Nyikayaramba recently was in the news after he challenged the MDC-T Mr Morgan Tsvangirai that there was no way service chiefs would remove uniforms and contest against him in the political arena.
He argued that the country's challenges needed him and others in the security sector to confront them while in military uniform.
He said MDC-T leader was not a political threat but a national security threat.
Labels: ARMED FORCES
Friday, 15 July 2011 02:00
Parliament on Wednesday questioned the alleged sale of 80 percent of stockpiled Zisco iron ore to Essar Africa Holdings, as part of the takeover deal.
The iron ore stockpiles are believed to weigh more than 20 million tonnes.
In February, the Government sold its controlling stake in Zisco to the Indian conglomerate.
Under the takeover deal, Essar pledged to pay the whopping US$750 million required to recapitalise Zisco. The conglomerate also undertook to settle Zisco's huge debt overhang, estimated at US$240 million.
Industry and Commerce Deputy Minister Mike Bimha could neither confirm nor deny that the Government had parcelled out substantial iron ore reserves to the Indian steelmaker.
"The intricacies on whether Government sold reserves to Essar are areas subject to discussion with various ministries which include the Ministry of Mines," he said.
"The whole sense of Government selling shares to Essar was on the premise that Essar wanted to take over Zisco's US$240 million debt. Our principals saw no reason to stop the deal," he said.
Kwekwe Central Member of the House of Assembly Mr Blessing Chebundo had sought clarification on the issue.
Essar has said it plans to construct a slurry pipeline from Zimbabwe to the Mozambican port of Beira, to facilitate the smooth exportation of ore from Zisco.
Mozambique has already approved Essar's plans to build the pipeline. Essar would be able to export 20 million tonnes of iron ore annually.
Similarly, the Indian firm would export the same amount of coal from Zimbabwe to Mozambique every year.
The company has vibrant steel works in Canada, the USA, India and Indonesia. It plans to ramp up steel production at Zisco to 2,5 million tonnes over the next three years.
Essar has not started work at the Zisco plant as it is asking Government for guarantees of consistent power and water supplies, in addition to tax concessions.
Before its collapse in 2000, Zisco was the largest integrated steel- works in Africa, with capacity to produce one million tonnes every year.
The revival of Zisco is expected to create jobs and boost Zimbabwe's export earnings.
- New Ziana.
By The Post
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:00 CAT
Four of the 20 or so Barotse detainees have died within a space of three months.
We do appreciate that people are dying all over the country but there is something that appears strange with this group of people.
In a group of 20 people who were fit to be arrested and detained by the police and prosecuted by the state for participating in the Mongu riots, four of them dying within a space of three months is something that deserves probing. Twenty per cent of the Barotse Agreement activists who were arrested and detained in Lusaka and Mumbwa have died! Is this a normal rate of death?
These people were arrested mid-January this year. On April 18, 70-year-old Mwiya Sihope died in Mongu’s Lewanika General Hospital as a consequence of health complications that developed at Lusaka Central Prison where he was detained on treason charges. On April 22, 16-year-old Kabayo Kabayo died from suspected septicemia in Mumbwa Prison where he was detained.
And last Saturday, 92-year-old former Ngambela of Barotseland Maxwell Mututwa, who was released from Lusaka Central Prison where he spent over a month, died in Senanga. And before Mututwa could be buried, 26-year-old Pelekelo Likezo died on Tuesday due to illness that his relatives say started in detention. Whatever crimes these people were thought to have committed, they are human beings with the right to life.
We cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life and yet watch people dying one after another in circumstances that raise many questions about the nature and conditions of their arrest and detention.
Life is sacred, a gift from God to be valued from the moment of conception until death. Human life is a precious gift from God, the Source of all life, and maximum care must be taken to preserve it. Every human being should have the chance to enjoy the wellbeing necessary for their full human development.
And consequent on his dignity as a human person and a creature of God, a human being has certain rights, which nobody can take away. The roots of human rights are to be found in the dignity that belongs to each human being. There is need to find out why all these people have died shortly after being released from detention. These are poor people but they are not without human dignity.
Every human life has a unique value. Human life is a precious gift from God, the Source of all life. In the book of Genesis, we read about creation: “God saw all the creation and indeed it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The last and the highest form of life that God created was human life. “Let us make human beings in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves” (Genesis 1:26).
Consequently, every human life is sacred and demands the greatest respect and protection. Among the commandments given to Moses was: “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17). This is a commandment which has been fully endorsed by Jesus himself (Mark 10:19; Matt 19:18; Luke 18:20).
And we are mindful of the covenant that God made with us: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today: I set before you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, so that you and your descendants may live in love of Yahweh, your God, obeying God’s voice, clinging to God” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
Choose life and not death! God calls us to protect and preserve human life. Indeed, we rejoice to find that this Christian teaching is also built in the United Nations convention on human rights.
The suspicious deaths of these Barotse Agreement activists who were detained in our prisons should not go unprobbed. There is need to investigate the cause of the death of every one of them.
And a competent commission should be set up to investigate what led to the deaths of those people in such a short time – within a period of three months, we have lost 20 per cent of these detainees.
By making this demand, we risk being accused of trying to fan trouble for the government and the ruling party, especially in the period of elections.
We are not accusing anyone of anything. We are simply demanding for that which needs to be done to be done. Even animals when they die in large numbers, veterinary experts are sent to investigate the cause of their deaths. If we can do that for animals, domestic and wild, what more for our fellow human beings?
We want peace and reconciliation in our country.
But we shouldn’t forget that the Lord Jesus Christ spent his public life going about doing good – healing, forgiving, comforting and showing compassion and concern for all human suffering. At the same time, he openly confronted the evils that oppress and dehumanise people.
There is need for a change of heart. Efforts should therefore be made to instill in people’s hearts a respect for God’s commandment of “Thou shall not kill,” a respect for the principle to the effect that God has entrusted us with the lives of our brothers and sisters.
All politicians and leaders should be made responsible for their actions. Those responsible for the reckless way in which the grievances of the Barotse activists were handled and the way in which the Mongu riots were policed should be brought to justice.
So far, those in government have tried to buy peace in Barotseland with money, buying their victims all sorts of gifts, yet these deaths we are today witnessing are a concrete example of how political carelessness has caused deaths and untold and continued misery which we are experiencing now.
The government is indicting itself by not probing the causes of these deaths and arresting anyone for causing them. They want reconciliation, they want peace without anyone taking responsibility for what happened and is happening. We are aware that reconciliation is a long and difficult process.
We are also aware of the obstacles and difficulties set up on this road. The process of reconciliation and forgiveness involves the seeking of truth that ensures sincere and lasting forgiveness. It also presupposes justice.
As Pope John Paul II once observed, “There is no contradiction between forgiveness and justice. Forgiveness neither eliminates nor lessens the need for the reparation which justice requires”.
A human person should not be subjected to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. The way the Barotse activists were treated does not accord with the dignity of the human person.
The Mongu riots require a critical appraisal of the deep roots of their causes. We know that the police brutality that the Barotse activists were subjected to was a result of those in government trying to preserve their hold on political power – the lust for power. Those who hunger for power can kill for it and do kill for it.
If peace is to return in Barotseland, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of the riots and disturbances that took place in Mongu. And in our view, it is important to maintain and strengthen democratic structures if we are to enjoy a peaceful and developing future as a nation.
If the Barotse activists were allowed space to exercise their freedom of expression and assembly, those riots would not have taken place and no lives would have been lost as a consequence.
Therefore, the pursuit of justice must be a fundamental norm of the state. And this calls for justice to be given to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the inhuman conditions under which they were detained. And those responsible for this drama must humbly accept their wrongdoings and ask for forgiveness.
There is no need for them to pretend everything was done well as George Kunda told Parliament in an effort to justify this government’s brutality – the brutality and intolerance that has so far caused the deaths of not less than four people and left many of our brothers maimed for life.
Mututwa sought dialogue. He consistently called for dialogue over the Barotse Agreement. What did he get in return? He was arrested and detained. Dialogue, listening to others and sharing our own beliefs with others, is not a choice for us.
It is a must. Dialogue is an essential path for the promotion of peace and unity in our country. We say this because dialogue is rooted in the nature and dignity of human beings. In dialogue, one can compare different points of view and examine disagreements.
Peace is the fruit of honesty, truth and solidarity; it is the tranquility of order. And to guarantee peace, all are called to maturity, tolerance and responsibility. This is the spirit in which these deaths should be approached.
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Thu 14 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
ANOTHER former Barotse detainee has died from a health condition that relatives say manifested shortly after his release from Mumbwa Prison where he was remanded over the Barotseland Agreement-related Mongu riots.
And burial of 92-year-old former Ngambela of Barotseland who was early this year arrested and charged with treason by the government over the Barotseland Agreement issue takes place in Senanga today.
Family members confirmed to The Post in Mongu that 26-year-old Pelekelo Likezo died at his Malelekwa home at around 19:00 hours on Tuesday after succumbing to his illness.
The deceased's brother, Lubinda Likezo said in an interview as sympathisers were waiting to take his body to Mongu Central Police and subsequently to Lewanika General Hospital Mortuary, that Pelekelo was not in poor health when he was taken to Mumbwa Prison over the Mongu riots.
“My brother was arrested on January 14, 2011 over these Linyungandambo riots. When he came back he stayed for about a month and he started having a problem of dizziness,” said Lubinda as his brother’s body lay on the roadside on a thin mattress with sombre-looking people surrounding it.
“He was admitted to hopsital on April 3, 2011 and after two weeks he started having fits and looking like someone who was getting confused.”
Lubinda said his brother was discharged from Lewanika General Hospital on April 16, 2011.
“About a week later the fits started again and he was taken to the hospital again. He was admitted and within a week, he was discharged again. The problem never stopped until after five days. Today afternoon we started noticing that he was not okay,” Lubinda said.
Lubinda said doctors at Lewanika Hospital had advised the family to take Pelekelo to the University Teaching Hospital UTH for specialist medical attention.
“But we told them that we had financial difficulties to do that,” said Lubinda. “We were still trying to do that when he died. My brother was okay when he was taken to Mumbwa over the Mongu riots.”
Pelekelo’s death brings the death toll of Barotse detainees to four within three months.
On April 18, 2011, 70-year-old Mwiya Sihope died in Lewanika Hospital early this year as a consequence of health complications that developed whilst detained in Lusaka Central Prison on a treason charge.
On April 22, 2011, 16-year-old Kabayo Kabayo died from suspected septicemia whilst detained in Mumbwa Prison awaiting the disposal of his court case in the Mumbwa surbodinate court.
Last Saturday, 92-year-old former Ngambela Maxwell Mututwa, who was also arrested and charged over the Barotse treason and remanded in Lusaka Central Prison for over a month died in his bed at his Silele Village in Senanga.
And family members have confirmed that Mututwa would be put to rest in Senanga today after lying in state at Silele Village.
Mututwa was among over 20 Lozis that were in January this year taken to Lusaka and charged with treason on allegations that they wanted to secede the Western Province from the rest of Zambia using unlawful means.
Following his release from remand prison via a nolle prosequi, Mututwa asked President Rupiah Banda's government to explain why it arrested him when all he was trying to do was to find a peaceful resolution to the Barotseland Agreement controversy.
In later interviews with The Post Mututwa had called for the unconditional release of all those detained over the Barotseland Agreement discourse so that they participate in the dialogue process.
Mututwa was emphatic that dialogue over the Barotseland Agreement issue should take place before the country went to the polls later in the year.
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
PATRICK Mwanawasa says former Republican vice-president Enoch Kavindele has been compromised by Rupiah Banda’s contracts and have successfully turned him into a hypocrite.
Reacting to Kavindele’s statement that he should tone down on his language against President Rupiah Banda, Patrick said yesterday it was sad that the country’s former vice-president had lost his principles.
“I have a lot of respect for Mr Enoch Kavindele, firstly because he was vice-president of this country and secondly because he has a rich business acumen which makes him stand out in this country. But I take great exception to what he said about me on ZNBC Television news last night Wednesday,” Patrick said.
“When we go back into the archives, we will find that this is the same man who not too long ago was appearing in The Post newspaper almost on a daily basis belittling President Banda. But today he has got power to advise me. He is being hypocritical because we all know what he used to say about the same President he is defending now.
He had perhaps even used a language that could be described as worse than what I said. But now that President Banda has given him a contract to construct the North Western railway line he has even lost his principles.
Who is he to be asking me to tone down? Am I also benefiting from his contract that I should abandon my fight for the good of this country?”
Patrick said Kavindele had abandoned the principles he stood on simply because things were now working well for him. He said it was always frustrating to have such politicians in the country who only looked at what they would benefit from the government.
“Kavindele must just concentrate on what he is doing, and let him not enjoy his acquired benefits at my expense. This is very frustrating in Zambian politics because we have politicians who want to show principles only when it suits them. They can say this and that about the government, but once they get some business, they lose all their principles,” said Patrick.
“Remember even Nchelenge member of parliament Benny Mwila BY used to be critical of my father’s administration. But ever since President Banda started giving him some contracts, he has also changed. And these are the kind of politicians who want to be advising us today. What a shame!”
Patrick on Tuesday vowed that President Banda could not bring him down.
This was in reaction to MMD-orchestrated allegations that Kitwe mayor Elias Kamanga gave him fuel for campaign purposes in Kafulafuta Constituency.
Patrick warned that the head of state’s stubbornness would be his downfall and he would be removed from power as did happen to Ivory Coast’s Laurent Gbagbo.
“I can’t go down. I don’t see myself going down because I am going to fight to the hilt. Rupiah Banda cannot bring me down; in the end it will be him who is going to bring himself down because he is stubborn,” said Patrick.
And commenting on Patrick’s statement, Kavindele on Wednesday said the late president’s son had resorted to using strong language against elders.
“Patrick has a right to belong to a party of his choice although he should have remained in the MMD. However, the language he has picked on is wrong and Patrick is too raw and junior to say what he said in The Post newspaper,” said Kavindele.
By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
AMERICAN ambassador to Zambia Mark Storella says change of government will not affect the investment pattern in the country. In an interview Storella said Zambia had the basics for any investor to set up business in the country. Storella said investment in Zambia did not entirely depend on government good policies but the necessary basics that attracted investors.
“Whether there will be change of government or not does not matter. Zambia is able to attract investment not because of the good government policies but because of the basics of investment that the country has,” Storella said.
He said the country's long record of peace and political stability was good enough to attract investors regardless of who was in power.
He said the country would continue to receive a lot of investors as long as it maintained its peaceful nature and political stability.
He said the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia would ensure that the country receives a lot of investors from America especially after hosting the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) conference last month.
He said the chamber had observed that Zambia had the potential to grow economically.
“We will support Zambia in any way possible. Even after the elections, regardless of who wins, the American government will continue to support Zambia in different areas of the economy. The economy is doing fine, the inflation rate is reducing and all these indicators are good supporters of investment,” Storella said.
He however said that it was up to Zambians to ensure that they kept the momentum going after the AGOA conference adding that the conference was just a platform to exchange ideas while the real work lied ahead.
“That was just a forum to dialogue and nothing more. There is need to ensure that everything was discussed at the conference is put in practice because a lot ideas were exchanged and we learnt a lot from each other,” he said.
The MMD government has been saying the huge investment that the country has received is due to its good policies.
By Bright Mukwasa and Gift Chanda
Fri 15 July 2011, 11:40 CAT
THERE is nothing exciting about the re-classification of Zambia as a middle income country, says Civil Society for Poverty Reduction executive director Patrick Mucheleka.
And International Labour Organisation (ILO) officer-in-charge Jealous Chirove says Zambia still has a long way to go in achieving the 2030 vision especially with the prevailing uneven income distribution patterns despite it being elevated to the middle income status.
But President Rupiah says the decision by the World Bank to reclassify Zambia as a middle income country is the latest in a long line of economic achievements which are directly impacting the people of Zambia.
Commenting on the report by the World Bank, Mucheleka said the re-classification amounts to nothing as poverty levels in rural areas remained high.
“You can celebrate if poverty levels are going down, but what does that mean to people in the villages? We would like the World Bank to tell us by how much has poverty reduced,” Mucheleka said.
“We should be talking about equity distribution of wealth and proper funding of the agriculture, education and health sectors which have been neglected going the levels budgetary allocation.”
He said the government must stop the corruption that had prevailed in the social sectors which were crucial to the reduction of poverty as cited by the Auditor General’s report.
“The money that we are raising from the mines is very little. Is the money from the mines remaining in the country to help us fight poverty? The answer is no. And most of our capital projects are funded by the donors,” he said.
Mucheleka said the announcement by the World Bank was just mere statistics with nothing to show on the ground as far as poverty levels in Zambia were concerned.
And during a high level forum on investment and employment in Zambia held in Lusaka yesterday, Chirove said Zambia still had a challenge to ensure even distribution of income.
Chirove said in spite of the recent “relatively strong economic growth” the country had recorded, poverty levels remained unsustainable high at over 64 per cent.
“...however, we all agree it is still some way to go before we achieve the vision 2030 goal, especially in view of the prevailing distribution patterns,” said Chirove.
In last week’s World Bank annual assessment of poor countries, Zambia was the 27th country to be re-classified since the year 2000 as a middle income country – ahead of Ghana at 28.
The report states that the number of children in primary school has climbed along with literacy rates, and infant mortality has fallen in both in Zambia and Ghana.
“New middle-income countries this year include Ghana and Zambia. Lower middle-income countries are those with per-capita GNI’s of between $1,006 and $3,975 per year. Upper middle-income countries are those with per-capita GNI’s between $3,976 and $12, 275,” the report states.
And in a statement issued by special assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Dickson Jere, President Banda said his government had been working tirelessly to deliver economic prosperity to all Zambians by providing more education and employment opportunities and encouraging international investment in the country.
“This decision is the latest in a long line of economic achievements which are directly impacting the people of Zambia. Our economy is delivering growth of more than seven percent despite continued recession in many parts of the world, thanks to sound government policies, and it is good that this is being recognised again on the world stage,” President Banda said.
“I now want to lock-in the stability that our new status brings; I want all Zambians to start feeling the benefits of better salaries and a better standard of living.”
He said the government was also in the process of establishing multi-facility economic zones and industrial parks to promote the manufacturing sector.
“…Having a stable economy which will yield jobs and increase foreign investment, erode poverty and maintain steady food production and lower prices is critical, and my government will continue to work hard to achieve this on behalf of all the Zambian people,” said President Banda.
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:02 CAT
EASTERNERS must understand that there are serious signs of wind of change, says former works and supply deputy minister Lameck Mangani. Featuring on Breeze FM’s Political Hour programme yesterday, Mangani said Easterners should not suffer the consequences of failing to be associated with the wind of change like was the case in 1991.
“In 1991, we UNIP all remained behind and when our friends formed government, we were blocked and we were outside. It had to take us more than 15 years to negotiate to find ourselves in government,” Mangani said.
“MMD has been in power for 20 years and when there is a serious competitor in politics, chances of a political party bouncing back after 20 years are very minimal.”
Mangani said UNIP survived 27 years because Dr Kenneth Kaunda was the first president and then within his reign he introduced a one party state.
“This time around, whether President Banda or somebody else in MMD to go beyond 20 years is extremely difficult,” Mangani said.
“You see this level of reaction and agitation because people say you have done your part but enough is enough.”
Asked by a caller Joseph Mbewe about the chances of MMD of scooping this year’s election, Mangani said the ruling party was in a very vulnerable position.
“The only support base of MMD is mainly in Eastern Province.
I have talked about Northern, Luapula, Copperbelt and Lusaka which are mostly the support base for the opposition and Western Province which used to be a support base of MMD is now a split province.
Others are supporting PF while some are supporting UPND. So the chances of MMD winning are very difficult to determine because the numbers are not favourable, unless they work very hard,” Mangani said.
He said the opposition PF would be going into this year’s election with 70 per cent average support from Lusaka, Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces.
Mangani said he would weigh the strengths and weaknesses between PF and UPND before choosing a party to join if he has to remain relevant in politics because so far the only credible and respected political parties are PF and the UPND.
Mangani said this year’s election would be quite different from any other election but would be similar to the 1991 elections. He said the wind of change was blowing over Zambia and urged the people to respond to it.
“God will guide us properly that as we go to these elections, it should be peaceful and it should be free elections. Zambians have enjoyed peace and elections should not be anything different because it is just a mere competition of political parties.
I don’t see why people from the opposition and the ruling party should start fighting. That is old politics. Here we want mature politics where people can elect mature leaders and the people can decide where they want to go,” Mangani said.
On his perceived differences with President Banda, Mangani said some traditional leaders observed that there was a serious problem between him and President Banda at the MMD convention in April this year.
“So there was an initiative by our traditional leaders to go and find out ‘what is it’. So they travelled and there was an assurance that he (President Banda) was going to call me,” Mangani said.
“The traditional leaders called me and told me that ‘we had some discussions with the President; we want you to meet him and see what you can do’. I had hope, possibly the last hope was when we had the funeral here when he lost the uncle.
I thought during the funeral I would have time to discuss what the chiefs have been saying… But remember from the time when we had the convention up to this stage and interventions that have been done in between we never had the opportunity to meet. It’s either he was too busy or he discovered that the differences were too minor, but somehow as a human being they differences were eating into me,” Mangani said.
“Then there was a pronouncement by my sisters and brothers, that he (President Banda) didn’t want me. So I had this feeling that there is something wrong that is happening. Then came the interviews (for parliamentary elections). I decided to participate. I took part in the constituency, district and province.
I was happy that in all these structures they chose me as a preferred candidate. They put me on number one. All of a sudden, rumours started coming up that the President is looking for a candidate to stand in Chipata Central.
Then I said ‘no, no I don’t think you are fair to this man’. The next thing I heard was that some of the elections at ward level (in Chipata Central) that had passed through the ward, constituency and now are out of province were nullified.”
Mangani said he got a lot of reports on President Banda’s hunt for a candidate in Chipata Central.
“After these rumours were too much I checked from other sources and I found out that it was true, that there was a serious search for an alternative candidate. So I concluded that here there is a problem of trust, ‘our trust between me and my President is broken. There is no confidence and I felt so vulnerable that I cannot continue under those circumstances.
So I had to look at other alternatives. Hence my decision to resign as MMD candidate so that I give my President a free hand to do what he wants because these things have been brewing time and again and they were a source of worry to my supporters,” Mangani explained.
A lot of callers expressed happiness with Mangani’s move and about the works he had done in Chipata
Siliya justifies abuse of state-owned media
By Abigail Chaponda and Kabanda Chulu
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
Dora Siliya has declared that it is now time for the ruling MMD to be exclusively covered on ZNBC television because even when PF leader Michael Sata comes into power, ZNBC will be covering him alone.
And Siliya, who is MMD spokesperson and education minister, has accused Post employees of having potholes in their heads because they are supporting Sata, whose only legacy is that of giving ‘pangas’ to youths who hacked people in Chawama.
Meanwhile, some MMD officials on the Copperbelt have expressed disappointment with the way Siliya conducted her meetings in the area because she seemed to be supporting the adoption of ‘outsiders’ to stand as parliamentary candidates at the expense of genuine members.
Addressing a meeting at Kansenshi Secondary School on Wednesday, attended by civil society, the Church and teachers, Siliya justified the continued biased coverage of the state-owned but government controlled media towards the MMD.
“A lot of people are busy saying the MMD government is abusing ZNBC because ZNBC only covers the MMD government.
Yes, ZNBC has to cover us because it shows government developmental projects,” Siliya said. “Even when Sata comes into power, ZNBC will be covering him alone. This time is our time.
Those who want to be feeling bad about themselves when they wake up every day, they should be buying The Post newspapers because it always talks about negative things, saying things are bad in the country when the economy is doing well. But we all know that Post employees have potholes in their heads because they are supporting Sata.”
Siliya wondered why people on the Copperbelt loved Sata when everyone in the country didn’t want him.
“Everyone is refusing Sata but how come you people are busy supporting him? And I always hear people say ‘Sata is a man of action’. I have never seen this action that you always talk about.
The only action I have seen with Sata, which is also his legacy, is giving pangas to youths in Chawama to butcher people. Is this the action you talk about?” Siliya asked.
And Siliya warned teachers not to be ‘closet’ politicians.
Earlier addressing MMD cadres in Lubuto, Siliya expressed disappointment that many people were benefiting from MMD handouts like chitenge materials but refused to vote for the party during elections.
And MMD sources said confusion has characterised the adoption process because Siliya seemed to be comfortable with aspiring candidates that were rejected by the grassroots.
“Siliya came with her own style of conducting campaigns. No wonder she was being booed because most people who attended her meetings were picked from bars and taverns since there is reluctance among genuine members who feel sidelined by what is happening whereby some people who recently joined MMD and were not interviewed at lower organs are preferred to stand by Lusaka people,” the source said.
In her campaign trail that has been disguised as inspecting government projects, Siliya was seen at meetings with provincial chairman Joseph Chilambwe and recent defectors Ronald Manenga, Divo Katete and Joe Kalusa, who are now aspiring to be adopted despite being rejected by MMD grassroots.
By Mwala Kalaluka in Mongu
Fri 15 July 2011, 14:01 CAT
MMD parliamentary contender for Mongu Central, Dr Mwilola Imakando yesterday testified in the Mongu magistrates’ court that four MMD cadres that attacked him during a market visitation recently wanted to kill him.
This is a case where MMD councillor for Kanyonyo ward in Mongu and four ruling party cadres have pleaded not guilty to six charges of assaulting and unlawfully wounding a Lusaka-based Mongu Central MMD parliamentary contender, Dr Imakando and his supporters, on July 5, 2011.
Before magistrate Zulu, was Mbangu Mbangu, a 33-year-old businessman, Vincent Mapunga, a 32-year-old businessman of Imwiko Stage One, Manton Matuka, a 38-year-old businessman of Kapulanga, Bernard Kazunga, another 43-year-old businessman and Yowano Chisambwe, a 48-year-old businessman but is the MMD councillor for Kanyonyo ward.
Testifying in the matter as the first prosecution witnesss, Dr Imakando, 51, a consultant of plot number 412 Lilelelo area in Mongu, said four of the accused persons followed him to Mongu Central Market on the material day, verbally and physically threatening to kill him.
Dr Imakando said he was on a visit to Mongu Central Market with ZANAMA officials with a view to being introduced to the marketeers as their consultant.
He said as he approached one Chakale Musowafu's stall, he heard shouts from behind.
"They were shouting, 'we are going to kill him. We are going to sort him out,'" Dr Imakando said. "Yes, they were saying 'Dr Imakando yo, lukamunata, lukamulikita kacenu we shall beat Dr Imakando."
Dr Imakando said he sought refuge inside Musowafu's stall together with some of his supporters and that he shut the door to bar the MMD cadres from getting inside.
Dr Imakando said that the MMD cadres started throwing objects at him through the open window.
In cross-examination by Muyenga, Dr Imakando said he was in the said market as part of his consultancy job.
He said although he was aspiring for the Mongu Central parliamentary seat on the ruling MMD ticket, he was not campaigning at the time he was attacked. Hearing continues.
By Christopher Miti in Chipata
Fri 15 July 2011, 13:59 CAT
MMD cadres on Wednesday locked Chipata Central constituency National Assembly office at the old civic centre block shortly after Lameck Mangani received a hero’s welcome in Chipata. The MMD cadres accused one of the officers in the National Assembly office of being pro-opposition.
According to sources, the MMD cadres who were led by some members of the youth wing arrived at the National Assembly office around 12:55 hours and ordered the staff to move out of the office.
“These people burst into our office in a very uncompromising mood.
They brought their own padlock which they fixed and locked us out of the office. They said the office will remain closed until the next member of parliament comes in,” one of the officers who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
The sources said the cadres seemed to have been instructed by some MMD officials who were not happy with the thunderous welcome that Mangani received in Chipata despite his resignation from both MMD and government.
The matter had since been reported to Chipata Central police station.
Acting provincial MMD chairperson Chembe Daka who was among the people who locked the office could not comment on the matter.
But earlier, Daka told Breeze FM that MMD would not allow a situation where officers who were supposed to be non-partisan engaged in active politics.
By Ndinawe Simpelwe
Fri 15 July 2011, 12:50 CAT
STANDARD Bank has again been named Africa’s top bank in The Banker magazine’s 2011 rankings of the world’s top banks by their Tier One capital. Standard Bank rose from 106th place to 94th place in The Banker’s list of 1000 top banks in the world.
The Banker reports in its July edition that Standard Bank had increased its Tier One capital to US$12.06 billion, an increase of 26.15 per cent on the previous year and almost twice as much as the second ranked bank.
The Banker Magazine is a leading global journal of the banking sector and the aim of the annual top 1000 world banks survey is to show banks’ soundness in relation to the Basel requirement of a minimum ratio of Tier One capital to risk-weighted assets of four per cent (increasing to seven per cent by 2019), and a minimum ratio of total capital to risk-weighted assets of eight per cent.
Standard Bank Group deputy chief executive Sim Tshabalala said the continued rise in rankings table demonstrates the group’s significant strength and ability to implement its strategy across Africa.
“It is particularly pleasing to achieve a top ranking on the basis of objective criteria applied by an independent journal. The ranking points again to the substance in our strategy to keep Africa firmly at the core of Standard Bank,” stated Tshabalala in a statement.
“The strong capital position, highlighted by The Banker’s rankings, provides a stable platform for further growth. We will continue to build first-class, on-the-ground banking franchises in chosen markets in Africa, investing in people, branch networks and systems.”
By Joan Chirwa-Ngoma
Fri 15 July 2011, 12:40 CAT
SOUTHERN African nations need to agree on a common operational system to manage energy in the region or they will experience power shortages leading to economic deficits, says a senior industry official.
Zesco Limited’s chief environmental officer Mellon Chinjila said during a meeting for environmental experts from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), an ambitious regional initiative encouraging electricity sharing and the sale of surplus power to neighbours in need.
“Our governments have been trying to harmonise the SAPP system, but complex inter-governmental negotiations are drawing out the process,” Chinjila said, as quoted by ESI Africa News, an online power journal for Africa.
He further said some progress had been made to improve the operations of the SAPP initiative.
“The SAPP is in the process of constructing a new power line that will connect South Africa with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) via Namibia and Zambia. This should de-congest the existing line that is running at full capacity further east from the DRC through Zambia and Zimbabwe to South Africa,” said Chinjila.
SAPP aims to expand regional trade in electricity, thereby reducing energy costs and providing greater stability. But lack of co-operation between member countries has hampered the smooth operation of the project.
And Catherine Fedorsky of the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town agreed that a regional power pool was important.
“A pool arrangement will determine the day-to-day and hour-to-hour plan of what is happening, and that way there can be better use of electricity,” explained Fedorsky.
Friday, 15 July 2011 02:00
By Elita Chikwati
THE volume of tobacco sold so far has surpassed last season's cumulative output, an indication that Zimbabwe is slowly retaining its status as one of the leading tobacco producers in the world.
After 98 days of sales, tobacco output now stands at 123 147 753kg, marking the second time in eight years that tobacco production has surpassed the 100 million kilogrammes mark.
Last season, 119 813 490 kilogrammes were sold at the close of the auction floors. The marketing season lasted eight months and was spread over 127 days. The continuous increase in tobacco production has been attributed to an increase in the number of tobacco growers as a result of the land reform programme. High prices offered for the crop have also attracted many farmers to go for tobacco farming.
Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president, Mr Stan Kasukuwere, said this was a positive development with special consideration that agriculture was Zimbabwe's economic mainstay.
"This is positive sign and shows the sector is improving,' he said. Mr Kasukuwere, however, lamented the absence of a sound financial support programme for tobacco growers.
"Tobacco growers lack financial support and are struggling to produce. I wonder what could have been the output had the farmers been adequately financed."
He said production could continue to increase as long as farmers get viable prices for their crop.
"I hope growers will continue to get viable prices so that they will be able to go back to the land and increase on quantity and quality of the leaf," he said.
The tobacco-selling season opened in February this year after the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board tried to cushion farmers who needed ready cash. The industry was prepared for high volumes of tobacco after six other suppliers of tobacco wrapping material were licenced to avoid shortages that occurred last season.
No shortages of the packaging material was reported this season. However, the booking system put in place to reduce congestion at the auction floors was not as effective as growers continued to bring their tobacco without registering. The board had decentralised its booking offices but still some farmers failed to take advantage of the arrangement.
This resulted in congestion at the Tobacco Sales Floor, which was the only operational auction floor when the selling season opened. Boka Tobacco Floors opened late due to renovations while Millennium Tobacco Floors also came on board although it took long to clear the congestion.
The issue of pricing also came up this season as the sales had to be temporarily suspended after buyers started offering prices as below as US$0,10 to US$0,50. Farmers complained over the decline in prices as they expected prices to continue firming as the quality of the leaf improved. At the beginning of the selling season, tobacco was selling at prices ranging between US$3,50 to US$4,50 per kilogramme during the early days of the selling season.
TIMB chief executive Dr Andrew Matibiri said the season is still progressing and the matter of a closing date has not yet come up.
Millennium Tobacco floor marketing director, Ms Kudzayi Hamadziripi said tobacco was still coming at the auction floors although the volumes had decreased.
"We are now averaging 800 bales per day although the prices have been steady and firm. The highest prices are ranging at US$4,50 to US$4,75 per kilogramme," she said.
Ms Hamadziripi said a survey carried out by her company showed that few farmers still had large amounts of tobacco at their farms.
However, other stakeholders said volumes may pick after the announcement of the closing date as farmers associate the closing with higher prices.
The country expects 170 million kilogrammes to go under the hammer this season as the country continues to register more tobacco growers.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Tax Justice Network chief has seen issue of tax avoidance and havens take off as activists begin to win over public opinion
o Bibi van der Zee
o guardian.co.uk, Thursday 7 July 2011 19.55 BST
John Christensen, director of the Tax Justice Network, said: 'Western leaders look at Africa and blame their leaders for corruption but they don’t recognise that the systems we’ve put in place – above all the tax havens jurisdiction economy – are an open invitation to criminal behaviour, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and non-disclosure.' Photograph: Marcel Mochet/AFP/Getty Images
Perhaps the easiest way to get a picture of John Christensen's daily life is to imagine him in a (very large) boxing ring. In one corner are ranged the UK government, the global financial services industry, a scattering of other governments, and the richest, most powerful people and corporations in the world. In the other, backed up by a handful of non-governmental organisations and activists, plus a small but growing group of members of the public, is Christensen, head of the Tax Justice Network (TJN). He is tall, slightly stooped, with a sweet smile and a habit of saying things such as "crikey" and "holy cow". The competition, it is obvious, is not quite equal.
But to Christensen, who has become the unlikely figurehead of a worldwide campaign against tax avoidance, the growing awareness of the issue has been tremendous, helped by the UK Uncut campaigns against retailers and other businesses .
"If we go back just 10 years I could probably count the number of people who had a genuine sustained interest in this subject on the fingers of my hands. We were a sad and lonely group, who, whilst we understood the issues reasonably well, had no political momentum behind us, and no clear vision of how to gather that political momentum."
Christensen himself realised in the 1970s that "holy cow, these tax havens are very important and no one's studying them". To him, it seemed that tax avoidance and tax havens were a real impediment to allowing developing countries to function properly, and also a moral issue for companies in the developed world; for the Jersey-born Christensen, paying a fair amount of tax was the duty of any good citizen.
On the inside
In the late 1980s he decided that in order to really understand the issue he would need to go inside the financial services industry, so he headed back to booming Jersey, climbing within a couple of years to the position of economic adviser to the government there.
Given his views, was it not astonishing that he should have been given the job by a government described in Nicholas Shaxson's bombshell book Treasure Islands as now being "utterly captured by the financial services industry"? He concedes that life became more and more difficult and that "within a couple of years I was clearly at loggerheads with the main government". In 1998 he gave up trying to hold the line, and headed back to the mainland.
But in 2002, after an encounter with some Jersey residents desperate to fight the takeover of their island by "haughty, unpleasant strangers", the Tax Justice Network was formed with Christensen as one of its directors, and in the years since then tax avoidance and tax havens have moved into public awareness.
Martin Hearson, of Action Aid, says the charity's annual meetings on the subject have gone from half-empty to standing room only, while Christensen says UK Uncut's high-profile campaigns against Vodafone, Boots and Fortnum & Mason among others have been "like a turbo-charge for us". Even the government has made loud noises about curbing tax avoidance, giving £900m to Revenue & Customs to fight it.
But Christensen does not believe the government is willing to tackle the issue and says: "That £900m needs to be set in the context of the £3bn of cuts that are being made to HMRC [HM Revenue & Customs]."
He believes that Revenue & Customs is just not equipped to deal with the growing problem of tax avoidance, estimated to cost the UK between £7bn and £25bn a year. "Many senior officers at HMRC have been telling me for a long time that they don't get the political support they need, that deals are being struck at the highest level, circumventing them, so they'll be in negotiations and they'll get a message from on high saying the deal's been struck. This is what happened with Vodafone," he says, referring to last year's alleged £6bn reduction in the telecoms multinational's tax bill.
Revenue & Customs has had 10 years of cuts, says Christensen, adding: "Many of the people who've gone were their most senior people. So there's a huge loss of expertise.
"The real truth of the matter is that the ones who have got expertise can double, triple, quadruple their salaries by switching to the private sector and joining the poachers," he says.
The focus of Revenue & Customs' tax avoidance campaign will be, as it has acknowledged, small businesses, with the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, telling a Commons select committee in May that "large corporates don't tend to be careless or dishonest".
The government's pursuit of tax competitiveness, where countries vie with each other to offer lower corporate tax rates, puts Christensen's hackles right up. "It's just a race to the bottom, a beggar-your-neighbour return to the protectionist policies of the 1930s, but these days it's not around trade tariffs, but around subsidising multinational corporations through the tax systems.
"It's no coincidence that when this government came into power almost the first thing it did was raise VAT rates so that ordinary people would pay more tax and then cut corporate tax rates.
"What's happening here is that the tax burden is being shifted from capital on to ordinary people."
And for Christensen and TJN, tax avoidance is a problem that is not only taking money out of the pockets of UK taxpayers but directly impacting the economies of developing countries.
"Western leaders look at Africa and blame their leaders for corruption but they don't recognise that the systems we've put in place – above all the tax havens jurisdiction economy – are an open invitation to criminal behaviour, fraud, tax evasion, embezzlement, and non-disclosure."
TJN has set out a list of priorities for reform, which include requiring multinationals to say how much tax they pay in each country they operate in, treating them as one entity for tax purposes (so-called unitary taxation), increased transparency, progressive and equitable taxation, a level playing field in competitive markets, and increased corporate responsibility.
Change of culture
It also wants a change of culture regarding, and over the next year it is launching a number of initiatives: a new social media platform ("the internet has been fantastic for us," says Richard Murphy, another TJN founder whose prolific blogging on tax affairs is followed by thousands), a film and a big conference early next year. "By the end of this year we'll be represented on six continents," says Christensen, possibly more surprised than anyone to find himself at the head of a rapidly growing global campaign.
But can tax campaigners really make an impact against such huge vested interests? Christensen puts his faith in public support.
"I've always felt we're going to make no progress here at all until we have the tanks on the lawns, with public opinion forcing political change and counterbalancing the extraordinary lobbying efforts in Washington, Brussels, London and so on. We do have a hill to climb. But I don't have the luxury any more of being able to say 'bloody hell, this is too big an issue'."
Born 13 May 1956
Education Victoria College, Jersey; Reading University; postgraduate study at Templeton College, Oxford, and the London School of Economics
Career Trained at Unigate; worked in private financial sector in Jersey; economic adviser to Jersey government; work at Menas Associates political risk consultancy; director of Tax Justice Network
Family Married with two sons
Interests Competitive sailing, film, long-distance walking, keeping chickens
Britain cuts aid to Malawi
By Nyasa Times
Published: July 14, 2011
Malawi will no longer receive general budget support from the UK Government, it has been announced. In a statement made available to Nyasa Times, the UK’s Department for International Development said Malawi’s government was suppressing demonstrations and also criticised some of Malawi’s economic management and governance.
“General budget support, which is used to allow governments to deliver their own national strategies for poverty reduction against an agreed set of targets, has been suspended indefinitely,” said a statement signed by UK’s International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell.
Bingu: Says he would not accept insults just because Britain was the country's largest aid donor.
“On governance, demonstrations have been suppressed, civil society organisations intimidated, and an Injunctions Bill passed that would make it easier for the Government to place restrictions on opponents without legal challenge,” reads the statement.
“On the economy, the UK is concerned that Malawi’s overvalued exchange rate has created chronic foreign exchange shortages which are having a serious impact on the Malawian private sector’s ability to drive future growth. There are now daily fuel queues, tobacco exports have deteriorated and Malawi is off-track with its IMF programme.” the statement said.
The World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, Germany and Norway have all suspended or ended general budget support to Malawi.
“The UK provides development assistance in order to help communities lift themselves out of grinding poverty, whether that’s through getting children into school, ensuring women survive childbirth or helping farmers grow enough food to feed their families and communities,” Mitchell said.
“But poor people in Malawi and British taxpayers alike have been let down. In these circumstances I cannot justify the provision of general budget support for Malawi.”
Last year, the UK government gave £19m ($30m) in budgetary support to Malawi.
Mitchell said the UK will now “use other means to ensure that programmes to protect poor Malawians, amongst the poorest people in the world, and deliver basic services like health and education are able to continue.”
He said: “The UK has a long and deep commitment to the people of Malawi and we are keen to see the country resume the good progress it has made in recent years. I remain willing to reconsider our approach as and when our concerns are addressed.”
The UK has helped improve food security in Malawi for over seven million people a year by providing them with high yielding maize and legume seeds via the Farm Input Subsidy Programme.
UK support to strengthen the health service has helped save the lives of 3,200 pregnant women and 40,000 children since 2004. UK funding has built over 3,200 primary school classrooms and 4,800 toilets since 2001, helping keep more girls in school.
President Bingu wa Mutharika expelled UK diplomat Fergus Cochrane-Dyet after he was quoted in a leaked cable as saying the Malawi President does not tolerate criticism.
But Malawi government announced recently it had initiated dialogue with Britain.—(Reporting by Thom Chiumia, Nyasa Times)
By Nyasa Times
Published: July 14, 2011
A wind of change is sweeping across Southern Africa. The stage is set it appears for a revolution. This is not the famous orange revolution, though. It is its own kind of change, possibly a generational take over. The youth are now loudly demanding political space, claiming time has come for them to take a leading role in initiating change on the political arena.
The change agenda is fast becoming a fashion statement and may lead to the rebirth of politics in Malawi and across the border. In a society where the demand for more jobs and access to better education for the ever increasing youth population remains an issue, the message is more than appealing to many.
Atupele: Generation take over
In Malawi 80% of the population is under the age of 40, the majority of whom will be first time voters come the 2014 general elections. This population segment is a sleeping giant.
The crop of the old time politicians in Africa has failed to give hope and inspire young people, except for a few rare examples of African leaders led by the South African political icon and former president, Nelson Mandela.
United Democratic Front (UDF) deputy leader in parliament, Atupele Muluzi, has not hidden his belief and resolve to fight this battle. He makes mention of it at any opportunity, saying the youth deserve better and need to be given a chance.
”The world is changing, Africa is changing and Malawi must change as well,” he told parliament recently in response to President Bingu Wa Mutharika’s 2011-2012 budget opening speech. Very unusual for him, he went further to warn, ”If you resist change, you must expect to be pushed aside.”
Although he normally avoids use of strong language preferring to be moderate, not common in Malawi politics, the Machinga North East legislator sounds upbeat about leading this change.
”My generation is prepared to mobilise politically in order to push for the change,” said Atupele.
Further, he told Nyasa Times that ”Every day that comes brings its own challenges and we must be steadfast in coming up with new ways of dealing with the new challenges. We cannot continue to do more of the same but move with the changing times if we are to achieve success as a nation.”
The son of former president Bakili Muluzi, added: ”We must change our ways of thinking and accommodate new ideas in order for us to achieve maximum development for our country.”
Atupele continues to reveal his philosophies through the social communication network. He recently wrote on his Facebook wall that Malawi should move away from a system where the presidency presides over an extensive patronage network through powers to appoint.
He suggested, for example, that power to appoint the public University Council should be shared with the legislature.
His proposal might have been ignited by events taking place at the University of Malawi in relation to the academic freedom saga.
The ‘younganisation’ concept, as Chancellor College associate professor Blessings Chinsinga calls it in one of his columns in the Sunday Times is fast becoming widespread.
The controversial leader of the African National Congress Youth League, Julius Malema, has joined the fray. At an ANC party youth conference held recently Malema was blunt.
In the presence of President Jacob Zuma, Malema led the onslaught warning that the Youth of the ANC will take full control of the proceedings at the party’s next congress.
Young Muluzi and Malema are not one of a kind in terms of their approach to political issues. Malema is reknown for his militancy style while Atupele has chosen to be moderate, a character than has made him win the hearts of many regardless of age. However, the two have found themselves singing a common song.
Perhaps Atupele has been advised him that character is critical in political leadership and he has perfectly followed that to the letter. The song Atupele and Malema are singing is not a praise song. It is not the controversial one. It is a song that resonates well with the generation of the 21st century. This is about the change the two and their peers are yearning for.
They are asking the old guard to pave way for a new breed of leadership and politics.
In South Africa, Zuma 68 is serving his first term and the next elections will take place in 2015. It is not clear, though, whether he will have a challenger at the party National Congress scheduled for 2014.
In the UDF, the concept is facing strong resistance from old guards. Former diplomat and party’s National Executive member, Ziliro Chibambo, told Capital Radio’s Straight Talk programme recently, “Atupele must grow with the party first and seek nominations in the elections after 2014.”
His sentiments are a sequel to what other, considerably older, gurus in the party have said before. They include Secretary General Kennedy Makwangwala and founding member, Sam Mpasu.
But as if responding to these assertions, the young Muluzi says, ”It’s not about me but the future of the people of this country.”
He is never short of answers purposefully designed to advance his new ideas and reveal his hunger to fight the battle for change. There are all indications on the ground that the demand for new ideas is a new fashion trend. Young people are desperately looking for one of their own to lead a new Malawi. Whoever mobilises this group in the population will be a force to reckon with and it is a political miscalculation to underestimate such a person.
Atupele’s speeches in Parliament are appealing. He does not load them with political bombast or ‘Dausi-tic’ to create unnecessary tension in the House. His admirers say he has proved to be a man of his own as opposed to be his father’s political parrot as certain quarters had feared.
If it is a political strategy, then it seems to be working well for him. This has earned him high respect across the political divide. The demand for change has left no sector of life untouched — including the business sector and even the religious.
Looking at the British politics of today as an example, one could conclude that it is a renaissance. In the language of Atupele, the youth will drive the change in the2014 elections. However, he has only promised to make his position as regards his political future in a month’s time.
Will this be the time he will announce his intention to compete as presidential candidate at his party’s next convention? Malawians are waiting with bated breath. Only time will tell.—Nyasa Times
Labels: JULIUS MALEMA
Sunday, 10 July 2011 02:07 Top Stories
By Itai Mazire
POLICE have arrested five Ministry of Finance officials on allegations of fraud and criminal abuse of office after it emerged that they could have embarked on unsanctioned foreign trips while they also corruptly procured goods for use by the ministry.
Police sources said the first official to be arrested was a desk economist, Petronella Chishawa, who was picked up last Thursday on allegations of going on unsanctioned foreign trips which had seen her staying out of the country for a cumulative three months between December 2010 and May 2011.
Next to be arrested the same day was Linda Kembo (designation not given), who along with Chishawa is being charged with flouting tender procedures during the procurement of clothing material for use by the ministry.
Three more officials whose identities are still being withheld were arrested on Friday after Chishawa and Kembo reportedly implicated them in the shady dealings while police are also keen to interview a sixth official who is said to be out of the country on business.
Police could not be reached to comment on the issue yesterday, but sources in the force said the five were still in custody yesterday, adding that they were likely to appear in court for initial remand tomorrow.
Preliminary investigations by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) show that Chishawa, who is mired in a messy divorce and reportedly enjoys close links with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, spent one month in Swaziland between
December 2010 and January 2011 on undisclosed business. In February this year, she also spent four days in Sudan after which she spent three weeks in China between March and April.
In May and June, she reportedly spent six weeks in Tanzania where she was allegedly completing a master’s degree programme at Esami Training Institute.
All this time, Chishawa was reportedly drawing daily Government allowances at a special rate of at least US$500 per day.
Chishawa and Kembo are also being probed for allegedly defrauding the ministry over US$4 000 after they flouted tender procedures. It is alleged that on March 1, the pair approached one Sekai Manyepwa, a finance manager with Mick
Davies, a clothing retail shop, intending to purchase some uniforms for ushers for the Euro Money Conference hosted by the ministry a week later.
Chishawa and Kembo indicated that they needed to purchase clothes for 26 people, but the shop attendants said they did not have sufficient stocks.
The two ministry officials indicated that they would source the clothes from other stockists and, in turn, supply Mick Davies, who would then raise an invoice for the full consignment.
Chishawa and Kembo are said to have supplied the stocks in the
form of 26 shirts, 13 pairs of shoes, 20 pairs ladies shoes, 40 ladies blouses, 40 roll-ons, 10 men’s shirts, five pairs men’s shoes and five men’s roll-ons within a week.
The items were purchased by the finance ministry for a total of US$9 848 resulting in the ministry suffering a prejudice of US$4 628 which Chishawa and Kembo allegedly converted to their personal use.
On this count, the police will charge Chishawa and Kembo under Section 172 (1) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 which deals with corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal.
Police have recorded statements from two Mick Davis employees, who are Mrs Manyepwa and Mr Lovejoy Kahungwa, who is the shop manager.
Mrs Manyepwa declined to comment on the issue yesterday while Mr Kahungwa’s mobile phone number was not reachable .-The Sunday Mail