Saturday, August 20, 2011
By The Post
Sat 20 Aug. 2011, 12:20 CAT
It is clear that there is a big problem with the character and conduct of
both Universal Print Group Limited and the Anti Corruption Commission.
It is clear that Universal Print Group is involved in corrupt practices,
bribery and money laundering.
And it is also clear that the Anti Corruption Commission is trying to cover up all this. These are things that are now firmly in the public domain and no one can claim to have no knowledge of what is going on.
And given what is publicly known about the conduct of Universal Print Group that is today being covered up and laundered by the Anti Corruption Commission, there is no way justice Irene Mambilima, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, her fellow commissioners and her management can claim not to know what is going on and pretend all is well.
They cannot, as Given Lubinda told them, continue to bury their heads in the sand in the ostrich style and fashion.
We have reached a point where justice Mambilima has to own up and admit that something is seriously wrong and call all the key stakeholders to decide how they should proceed on the printing of ballot papers for next month’s elections. Failure to do so will put justice Mambilima and those working with her at the Electoral Commission in problems now and in the future.
It would be unreasonable for justice Mambilima to ignore such a serious development. We say this because it is very clear that there has been poorly executed attempt to cover up the criminality of Universal Print Group. Godfrey Kayukwa, the director general of the Anti Corruption Commission, has been at the centre of it. Rupiah Banda has also tried to lend his word to this cover-up.
The natural question that flows from the behaviour of Kayukwa and Rupiah is this: who else is involved in this cover up? If things stand the way they are, can one reasonably say the Electoral Commission of Zambia is innocent in this cover up? If things remain this way, can justice Mambilima retain her integrity and public trust as a senior judicial officer?
We say this because it is clear that for reasons best known to themselves, it is in the interest of Rupiah and Kayukwa to defend and try to launder criminals. And Rupiah is one of the candidates in next month’s election, who also happens to be the President now. Why is it in his interest to defend criminals? Shouldn’t this matter interest justice Mambilima? Why should the Anti Corruption Commission be telling lies about matters that can be proven?
Justice Mambilima has a duty to run this election in a way that demonstrates that it is not only free and fair but can and should be seen as free and fair. Having a criminal perform the most significant part of our electoral process does not give the impression that this election is free of fraud.
Corrupt people, like those at Universal Print Group, who are also capable of bribery and money laundering, cannot be trusted to perform the duty that they have been entrusted with free from the criminality that Kayukwa is trying to help them hide.
We need to guard against an impression being cemented in the minds of our people that the Electoral Commission takes its instructions from Rupiah and cannot act on an issue based on what common sense, decency and honesty dictate.
Assuming that justice Mambilima did not know what Kayukwa knew when the Electoral Commission of Zambia contracted Universal Print Group, she now knows. She should be in no doubt that Universal Print Group are criminals.
As an honest person, justice Mambilima should also be concerned that these criminals are being defended by Rupiah and Kayukwa. That should cause concern for an honest person trying to do an honest job, a job that should be seen by all to be honest.
Justice Mambilima should be asking herself:
why is Kayukwa covering up the criminality of Universal Print Group? And why is Rupiah defending them? Unless she has good answers to these questions, justice Mambilima has no reason to proceed as she is doing.
It will not be possible for justice Mambilima to run an election that will be seen to be transparent, free and fair without meaningfully addressing the concerns of all the key stakeholders over this issue. And should problems arise as a result of this, it will be very difficult for justice Mambilima to escape blame.
And it will not be wrong to hold her accountable for whatever chaos may follow these elections because she has not tried to address the well-founded concerns being raised by key stakeholders over this issue. We have stated several times that for us to hold free and fair elections, certain conditions have to prevail in our country and in our hearts.
The major players have to agree on all key electoral issues and on the conditions under which our elections would be held. And those in government should not be seen to put those in the opposition at an unfair disadvantage.
There ought to be transparency in the organisation of the elections. As facilitator of the elections, justice Mambilima should ensure that the concerns of all key players are adequately addressed.
She is not doing so, especially over the issue of printing of ballot papers. This is not a recipe for peaceful, free and fair elections. It is clearly a recipe for chaos and anarchy.
We are not in any way underestimating the difficult situation justice Mambilima finds herself in.
The challenge before her is a very difficult one. But things can be made easier for herself if she tries to understand that her role is that of a facilitator and not of the sole owner of our electoral process – she is not the alpha and omega of this process. The success of this process does not solely rest on her but on how she brings all the key stakeholders to participate in and make them own this process.
This challenge can easily be resolved by simply calling all the key stakeholders and telling them that there is a problem with Universal Print Group and seek their indulgence on the way forward. In this way, the burden will be shared by all.
In the words of Thomas Daschle, the National Democratic Institute pre-election assessment group’s co-delegation leader, it is important to improve transparency, enhance inclusiveness and expand accountability surrounding the elections in order to buttress the peace and tranquility that this country has enjoyed. Failing to deal with a divisive issue in a transparent and accountable way will do nothing to add to our peace and stability as a nation.
If nothing else, the dictates of the rule of law demand that justice Mambilima deals with all parties in this election in an even-handed way. And that will require her to summon the best diplomatic skills that she can to deal with the crisis that is brewing over the Universal Print Group ballot paper printing contract.
Rupiah and Kayukwa have not helped justice Mambilima. They have left her in a very awkward position for which she may live to regret having accepted that job for a second time. Kayukwa has literally become an accomplice after the fact to the criminals at Universal Print Group by trying to cover up their crimes.
And if justice Mambilima does not change her approach to this problem, she will soon find herself in the same problem, condition or situation as Kayukwa. The time for justice Mambilima to act and redeem herself from the impending Armageddon is now.
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 20 Aug. 2011, 12:01 CAT
VICE-President George Kunda has hailed late president Levy Mwanawasa as a very courageous politician who would be remembered for his dedication to the fight against corruption.
In his remarks at the third memorial service for president Mwanawasa at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross yesterday, Vice-President Kunda also praised the late president for having laid a firm foundation for the economic success the country was currently enjoying.
“He believed in the rule of law, he had a unique personality and character, he was very tolerant to the media. The media was left to operate freely during the time he served us as president, he was able to maintain peace,” Vice-President Kunda said.
Vice-President George Kunda, who was initially not on the programme as one of the speakers, said Mwanawasa whom he said introduced him to politics, played a key role in introducing the development planning, a concept he said was abandoned by the country.
“We had abandoned the concept as Zambians and I think this too was responsible for resuscitating the economy, the fruits of which we are enjoying now,” he said.
Vice-President Kunda said the government would soon construct a mausoleum for Mwanawasa as a permanent reminder of the good things that the late president did.
And Leslie Mbulu, who served as High Commissioner to South Africa and earlier as Secretary to Cabinet during president Mwanawasa’s presidency, attributed the current economic development in the country to a very solid foundation laid by the late president.
Mbula said president Mwanawasa had inherited a very bad economy as the manufacturing and mining industries had collapsed.
“As president of Zambia Dr Mwanawasa laid a very firm foundation for economic development, most of you may not be aware, Mwanawasa inherited a very bad economy, the manufacturing and mining industry had collapsed. It took Mwanawasa and his committee in arranging many workshops and through these workshops, by the time Levy died he had laid a very solid foundation for economic development of our country which we are now enjoying,” Mbula said.
Mbula said president Mwanawasa, did not only lay the foundation for economic development, but also performed his presidential duties with integrity.
“As we celebrate the life of Dr Mwanawasa we should reflect on the many things he did for Zambia. Let us emulate him by dedicating ourselves to his ideals of fighting corruption, protecting public resources, maintaining the rule of law, practicing genuine democracy by engaging in constructive criticism,” Mbula said.
Meanwhile, Mwanawasa's daughter Chipo said her father's leadership was not only known for sacrifice but also for hard work.
Chipo said Mwanawasa did his best as a leader and he was a legend who would forever be remembered.
Among the people that attended the memorial were, Mwanawasa’s widow and former first lady Maureen, former Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo, Patrick Mwanawasa and his siblings, leaders of opposition political parties and diplomats accredited to Zambia.
Mwanawasa died at Percy Military hospital in France where he was flown for medical treatment after suffering a stroke while attending an African Union summit in Egypt three years ago.
By Roy Habaalu in Kafue
Sat 20 Aug. 2011, 12:01 CAT
SENIOR chieftainess Nkomeshya Mukamambo II of the Soli people says she will continue speaking for her people even at the risk of becoming unpopular. During a graduation ceremony of St Ambrose Trades School and Chikupi Vocational Training School in Kafue, chieftainess Nkomeshya said becoming unpopular for speaking for her people did not worry her because God was on her side.
She said her chiefdom also deserved to benefit from the national cake with regard to development.
“Somewhere I have been misunderstood myself. And this misunderstanding has made me become very unpopular in certain quarters. When I talk of development in the chiefdom, when I talk of schools in the chiefdom, when I talk about road infrastructure in the chiefdom, I am talking about the problems that you people go through and I am saying to the authorities that be I am only saying that my chiefdom is part of Zambia, and my chiefdom is also entitled to have a share of the national cake,” chieftainess Nkomeshya said.
“I want you to understand me I am not doing politics, I am only saying what affects me in this chiefdom, why I cry every day. And when it makes me unpopular on your behalf, it doesn’t worry me because I know my God, my Creator understands me.”
She said she would continue speaking without fear or favour.
“I am saying this again, this is an election year and I am not pointing a finger at one group of people I am only saying all the aspiring candidates when you win the support of these people and they usher you into office look at their plight, the problems that they face,” she said.
The traditional leader further urged those that would be elected in office to listen to the cries of the electorate and speak for them.
“Speak for them if you are in government, provide for the resources that they are looking for. When I talk about schools even here in Kafue I don’t think there is anyone who can stand and say there are five high schools here. The schools that I know are Kafue High and Naboye and these are the old, old schools. If you had facilities of a high school the level of education would rise.”
Chieftainess Nkomeshya bemoaned the old infrastructure in Kafue which she said was left by the colonialist and reminded the government that even her chiefdom wanted to see the benefits from the third Republic of Zambia.
“That’s all I am asking for. And again at this graduation ceremony if I will be misunderstood, it doesn’t matter. I am only sending a message also to those aspiring for political office that people are also expecting, the poor, the marginalised, they need to be taken care of. That’s what I am saying,” she emphasised.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya said she took it upon herself to officiate at the ceremony so that she could see for herself the suffering of her subjects.
“I ask myself when am I going to be invited to be a guest of honour at a project initiated by my government, built and finished by my government to invite me…chieftainess; ‘we have now completed this projected we are now handing it over, can you be part of us in handing over?’ That’s all I am waiting for. I want to be there, I want to be there not always community, community based, I want government based projects,” she said.
“On 20th September those of you who have got cards go and choose the people you think can listen to your problems and shape the destiny of this country that’s all I am saying. I am not saying go and vote for that particular party. I don’t know the parties you have here, you know them better do I have to tell you?. These political parties have been here in Kafue isn’t it? And you know how they have performed, the choice is in your hands not me, thank you so much,” said chieftainess Nkomeshya.
Labels: CHIEFTIANESS NKOMESHYA
By Maluba Jere
Sat 20 Aug. 2011, 12:00 CAT
A witness yesterday told the Lusaka magistrates’ court that imprest could be retired on behalf of a minister as long as receipts were provided.
Testifying in a case where George Mpombo is in court on an allegation of failing to retire imprest amounting to K18 million, Cabinet Office Management Development Division permanent secretary Medson Lisati said the minister was a very busy person and that as long as documents receipts are provided, imprest could be retired on his behalf by a senior officer in his ministry.
Lisati told chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda that upon return from a trip, the minister's aide de camp (ADC), who was usually in possession of receipts, was expected to retire imprest.
He said it was incumbent upon the ADC to see to it that imprest was retired and that if the minister had receipts, it was the ADC's duty to ask for them and retire the imprest required.
Asked by Mpombo's lawyer what happened in an event that imprest was not retired by an officer in the ministry, Lisati, who told the court that he was defence PS from October 2007 to January 2009, said the policy was that people who did not retire were loaned and monies deducted from their salaries.
He testified that Mpombo left unretired imprest which the office of the PS queried and that when he Lisati left the ministry in 2009, it had still not been retired.
Earlier during examination-in-chief, Lisati told the court that when a minister is going on a trip, he applies for finances for fuel, accommodation, food and incidentals.
He said upon returning from a trip, the office of the PS would request receipts and that it was expected that the amount spent should be equal to that applied for.
And an auditor from the Auditor General's office told the court that inquiries carried out revealed that in June 2008, Mpombo lodged at Luangwa House in Chipata for two nights and accrued a bill of about K900,000 for meals and accommodation.
Obed Mwale, an auditor said the bill accrued by Mpombo at Luangwa House was paid for and two receipts were issued.
Mwale said he observed that the receipts that were issued at Luangwa House were government receipts since the lodge was under the Hostels Board of Zambia under the Ministry of Works and Supply.
In this case, Mpombo, the former defence minister, is facing three counts of theft by public servant, forgery and uttering a false document.
It is alleged that Mpombo on an unknown date but between June and September 2008 in Lusaka, jointly and whilst working together with others unknown being a public servant as Minister of Defence stole K18 million which came into his possession by virtue of employment.
Mpombo’s lawyer then applied for an adjournment to enable him to attend to a matter in the High Court.
Magistrate Banda has since adjourned the case to October 10, 2011 but it will be mentioned on September 16.
Labels: GEORGE MPOMBO
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Sat 20 Aug. 2011, 11:56 CAT
THERE has been anarchy in land administration in the country because of archaic land administration documents, says lands permanent secretary Matondo Yeta. Yeta, made the observation during the closure of a workshop on the review of the land circular No. 1 of 1985 at Livingstone’s Chrismar Hotel yesterday.
She said the circular responsible for land administration was drafted 26 years ago and the democratic and legal framework of the country had since changed making it necessary to review the document.
“The lands document has been archaic, that is why we have seen anarchy in land administration,” Yeta said.
She said there had been a lot of suspicions in the allocations of land
as only a committee of councillors would meet to decide issues of land
alienation without the involvement of other stakeholders.
Yeta said the new circular would also not allow people to go
unpunished on issues of illegal land allocations as punitive measures
had been put in place.
And speaking earlier, during the closing ceremony of the workshop,
Yeta said the ministry had also learnt lessons over other good systems
that were previously in place but had now been forgotten and
“On behalf of the ministry, I wholeheartedly accept the challenges and
weaknesses that have been identified by the resource persons as well
as your views and suggestions as we move forward in implementing the
decisions which have been decided upon by this workshop,” Yeta said.
She further said it was her ministry’s top priority to enhance and
improve the land delivery system in the country.
Yeta also hailed the huge turnout at the workshop that also saw the
participation of 10 traditional leaders.
By Nyasa Times
August 19, 2011
By Wanga Gwede, Nyasa Times
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika has dissolved his bloated cabinet.
State broadcaster MBC reported on Friday evening that Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) has directed that all former minsters must return government assets entrusted to them due to the portfolio.
“His Excellency the President Ngwazi Professor Bingu wa Mutharika has dissolved the cabinet with effect from today,” the radio reported quoting OPC statement. “All ministerial duties revert to the Office of the President and Cabinet.”
Reasons for dissolving the cabinet have not been disclosed.
Mutharika: Dissolved cabinet
The positions not dissolved are that of the President and Vice President held by Vice President held by Joyce Banda. They are constitutional and elected posts.
Economic experts have been urging Mutharika to trim his bloated cabinet to meet government’s fiscal deficit target.
The dissolved cabinet had 41 ministers including their deputies, and was costing the tax payer a monthly wage bill of over K15 million.
Economic watchdog, Malawi Economic Justice Network (MEJN), says it is prudent for Wa Mutharika to have a lean cabinet in the wake of 2011/2012 zero-deficit budget.
Warning ... Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono says Kasukuwere 'confrontational'
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
RESERVE Bank governor Gideon Gono on Friday launched an astonishing attack on Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, hours after the latter gave two banks and several mining firms an ultimatum to comply with black empowerment laws or lose their licences.
Without referring to Kasukuwere by name, Gono said the minister’s threats to take-over Barclays and Standard Chartered Banks “could irreparably harm the nerve-centre of our recovering economy”.
“Tendencies towards firing harmful verbal economic-gunpowder must be minimised by all stakeholders in the interest of the economy and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Board forewarns people playing with economic gunpowder to leave the game to those well-trained in its use and safe custody, lest the unintended will happen, to everyone’s future regret,” Gono warned in an ill-tempered statement to New Zimbabwe.com.
Gono’s attack on Kasukuwere will be seen as the latest evidence of confusion within the coalition government over a law designed to secure a minimum 51 percent stake for Zimbabweans in all foreign-owned firms.
The law has been criticised by foreign companies who have made counter-offers of at least 30 percent equity for locals – proposals already shot down by Kasukuwere.
Gono warned the two banks that his intervention should not be “misconstrued to imply that the Reserve Bank condones or encourages non-compliance with the law by any institution operating under its purview”, adding: “The law of the land is the law and it must be complied with.”
But the central bank chief said “dishing out threats to sensitive institutions that are custodians of people’s hard earned savings” smacks of “irrational exuberance during these times of necessary soberness.”
“There are ways of achieving the same objectives as intended by the law through non-confrontational means …,” Gono said.
He added that the Reserve Bank was the only authority empowered to “issue or take away banking licences”, adding: “The RBZ has neither given notice to nor does it have any immediate or foreseeable intention(s) to withdraw operating licences from any registered financial institution under its supervision.”
Gono’s slap down of Kasukuwere came on the same day that a gold mine revealed it had been threatened with seizure.
Gwanda-based Blanket Gold Mine, majority-owned by Canadian firm Caledonia Mining Corporation, issued a statement on Friday accusing Kasukuwere of exceeding his “legal powers” after it emerged the minister had asked his mines counterpart, Obert Mpofu, to cancel its operating licence.
“Caledonia has received a copy of a letter sent from the Minister for Indigenisation to the Minister of Mines, in which he requests that the Minister of Mines cancels Blanket's operating licence on the grounds that Caledonia's (indigenisation) proposal does not meet the legislated indigenisation requirements,” the statement said.
“Caledonia believes the Minister for Indigenisation has exceeded his legal powers both in terms of his assessment of Caledonia's proposal and his request to the Minister of Mines.”
The company said it was seeking legal advice.
by Gideon Gono, RBZ Governor
Statement by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Dr Gideon Gono reacting to a 14-day ultimatum issued to Barclays and Standard Chartered banks by Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to comply with indigenisation laws or risk losing their licences:
A REPORT in The Herald newspaper of Friday, August 19, 2011, stating that Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Ltd and Standard Chartered Bank Zimbabwe Ltd were among the companies given a two-week deadline to comply with the indigenisation law and regulations or risk losing their licences at the end of the said two week period have caused panic in the banking sector thereby necessitating the issuance of this statement.
Ordinarily the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe does not respond to each and every comment made about the financial sector except in extreme cases of misinformation or when statements made are grossly out of line with reality as to likely destabilise the sector and the economy in general.
The few instances which necessitated rebuttal statements from my Office were when an IMF team jetted into the country and after a week’s “working holiday”, issued a misleading statement suggesting that Zimbabwe’s financial sector was both unstable and full of vulnerabilities. The second and most recent occasion was when it was erroneously stated in the Mid-term budget statement that Zimbabwe’s banking sector non-performing loans (NPLs) were in the order of 37% of total banking sector loans when, infact, the ratio of NPLs was less than 5%. In both cases, it will be agreed that as Governor, I was duty-bound to set the record straight lest “misrepresentations told repeatedly become truths”.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which is the legal authority to issue or take away banking licences to operators in the banking industry wishes to advise all stakeholders that it has neither given notice to nor does it have any immediate or foreseeable intention(s) to withdraw operating licences from any registered financial institution under its supervision.
This position must, however, not be misconstrued to imply that the Bank condones or encourages non-compliance with the law by any institution operating under its purview. The law of the land is the law and it must be complied with.
Having stated the above, Stakeholders are reminded that it is the legal duty of this Central Bank to superintend over the smooth functionality of Zimbabwe’s financial sector and to ensure financial sector stability in the country without which no economic activity, including the much needed local and foreign investment attraction, let alone the retention, can ever be realised.
As stated before, ad infinitum, and most recently in the supplement to my Monetary Policy Statement, the Financial Sector ought to be treated with a great deal of circumspection. Experts in the field of banking and finance and who have had years of experience in it, including serious qualifications in relevant subjects pertaining to the sector, deserve to be listened to when they give sound advice. This is necessary inorder to avoid fly-by-night, reckless and excitable flexing of muscles and decisions that overlook certain fundamentals that could irreparably harm the nerve-centre of our recovering economy.
To this end, tendencies towards firing harmful verbal economic-gunpowder must be minimised by all stakeholders in the interest of the economy and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Board forewarns people playing with economic gunpowder to leave the game to those well-trained in its use and safe custody, lest the unintended will happen, to everyone’s future regret.
There are ways of achieving the same objectives as intended by the law through non-confrontational means and not in a manner of dishing out threats to sensitive institutions that are custodians of people’s hard earned savings. I will not speak about other sectors of the e conomy facing similar difficulties as to do so would be a quasi-fiscal misfiring on the part of the Governor and we all know how some stakeholders react to the Governor’s extra-territorial initiatives, however noble.
As a Bank we pledge to assist in dealing with non-compliant banking institutions through extensive consultations with all beneficiary stakeholders in the economy ranging from industry, labour, empowerment groups, mining, agriculture, manufacturing, tourism, transport and other government agencies, to name but a few. BUT not in a manner that smacks of irrational exuberance during these times of necessary soberness.
The recently concluded SADC Summit in Angola had, we are informed, as one of its Agenda items the review of the global financial crisis which is still engulfing the world of finance and any actions on our part which are viewed or misread as precipitous or calamitous to the point of causing regional or country financial sector instability, however justified, will not find favour with Governors of Central Banks in the region let alone Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Currently as the RBZ we are battling to stabilise indigenous owned financial institutions that are not adequately capitalized and which are experiencing liquidity challenges due to a variety of factors. To this end therefore, the timing of any move that we may take or intent to take is important. May all Stakeholders please be guided accordingly and take heed before it’s too late.
DR. G. GONO
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
BLANKET gold mine’s Canada-based holding company, Caledonia Mining Corporation says it is taking legal advice after Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere recommended the cancellation of its operating licence.
In a statement issued on Friday, Caledonia said it had received a copy of a letter Kasukuwere wrote to his mining counterpart, Obert Mpofu requesting that the firm be barred from operating in the country.
“Caledonia has received a copy of a letter sent from the Minister for Indigenisation to the Minister of Mines, in which he requests that the Minister of Mines cancels Blanket's operating licence on the grounds that Caledonia's (indigenization) proposal does not meet the legislated indigenisation requirements,” the statement read.
Gwanda-based Blanket Mine is Caledonia’s sole operating subsidiary although the company has some platinum and copper exploration projects in South Africa and Zambia.
Foreign companies are required under law to transfer ownership of at least 51 percent of their shareholding to locals as part of government measures aimed at empowering the previously disadvantaged black majority.
However, Kasukuwere recently announced that some 175 companies had submitted proposals that did not meet the minimum 51 percent threshold.
Mining companies were said to be offering at least 26 percent equity with the balance met through so-called empowerment credits in an arrangement rejected by the government.
The companies have been given 14 days to revise their proposals or risk having their licences cancelled and their operations in the country seized.
Caledonia claims it is yet to receive official communication from Kasukuwere regarding its proposal.
“Caledonia submitted a comprehensive indigenisation proposal (the "proposal") to the Minister for Indigenisation on May 9, 2011,” the statement read.
“Since then neither Blanket nor Caledonia have received any formal notification that the proposal is deficient or that it should be revised within any specified timescale.”
The company however warned that Kasukuwere would be exceeding his “legal powers” if he were to order the cancellation of its Blanket Mine licence.
“Caledonia believes the Minister for Indigenisation has exceeded his legal powers both in terms of his assessment of Caledonia's proposal and his request to the Minister of Mines,” the company said.
“Caledonia is seeking urgent clarification from the relevant ministers, and is also consulting with its legal advisers regarding appropriate legal action.”
Blanket Mine recently posted impressive results with second quarter gross profits reaching $6.2 million, up 300 percent on the comparable period in 2010.
Output over the same period was also topped 8,226 ounces up 141 percent on the same period last year.
Management said production costs per ounce of gold had also significantly eased to US$585 from US$816 in the second quarter of 2010.
The company said it was looking to increase output to 10 000 ounces per quarter to take advantage of the current gallop in world market price of gold on the back of increasing economic concerns in the US and Europe.
by Nelson Banya I Reuters
THE government has given foreign firms, including mines and banks, a 14-day ultimatum to submit "acceptable" plans on how they propose to transfer majority stakes to local owners or risk losing permits, state media reported on Friday.
Firms targeted include platinum miners Zimplats, which is majority owned by Impala Platinum (Implats), and Mimosa, Implats's 50-50 joint venture with Aquarius Platinum. Others include Rio Tinto's Murowa diamond mine, British American Tobacco and local units of British banks, Standard Chartered and Barclays.
The companies risk losing their operating licenses if they do not submit the ownership plans, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.
Indigenization and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere wrote to the firms on July 28, informing them they had failed to provide acceptable details of how they proposed to transfer 51 percent shareholdings to local people within the five years stipulated by the law, the newspaper said.
In March, Kasukuwere gave mining firms 45 days to file empowerment plans and imposed a September 30 deadline for the transfer of ownership.
The deadline to submit empowerment plans has since passed.
Last month, Kasukuwere told a conference the government had rejected 175 empowerment plans from mines which mostly proposed selling 25 percent shareholdings, with 26 percent being made up of credits awarded for social investments made in infrastructure, health and education facilities.
Zimbabwe's coalition government set up by President Robert Mugabe and his rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai two years ago following disputed elections is divided over the implementation of the empowerment law, enacted in 2008 and championed by the president's ZANU-PF party.
Tsvangirai has warned that the law threatens Zimbabwe's economic recovery, which started after the formation of the power-sharing government in 2009, following a decade in which GDP shrank by as much as 50 percent, according to official figures.
Friday, August 19, 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011 02:00
Fanuel Kangondo Deputy Business Editor
BARCLAYS Bank, Standard Chartered, six mining companies and five other firms have been given a two-week ultimatum to submit acceptable indigenisation plans or risk losing their licences with the Government taking over ownership.
Mining firms affected include platinum giants Zimplats and Mimosa, gold miners Duration Gold Mine and Blanket Mine and Murowa Diamonds. British American Tobacco, infant foods manufacturer Nestle Zimbabwe and cotton processor Cargil Zimbabwe are also affected.
Letters signed by Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere gave the companies two weeks to comply or risk losing their licences.
Some of the letters were dated July 28 and this week ministry officials said they were still awaiting responses from the affected companies.
The affected companies were re-quired by law under the General Notice 114/2011 to submit indigenisation plans detailing how they inte-nd to meet 51 percent direct equity participation by locals within five years.
If the companies fail to rectify their non-compliance, the minister is empowered under the Indigenisation Act to institute proceedings to cancel their licences.
In the case of mining firms, this will be done through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development while the Reserve Bank is responsible for licensing financial institutions.
An official in the ministry's legal division said if the firms fail to submit compliant indigenisation plans, moves would be taken to cancel their licences and the State would acquire them. Most of the affected companies refused to comment on their status, saying they were communicating directly with officials from the responsible ministry.
Minister Kasukuwere recently told a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress that 700 foreign owned companies had submitted their Indigenisation and Empowerment proposals to the Government.
He said of these, 175 were mining companies which had previously proposed that they were only prepared to sell 26 percent direct equity to locals, while the balance adding to 51 percent would be met through social credits.
This was, however, thrown away when Minister Kasukuwere said credits could not be used to meet indigenisation thresholds.
Instead, Government wants workers and communities where these companies operate to get direct equity.
A certain portion of the equity could be held in trust under a sovereign wealth fund to benefit future generations.
The full list of the companies and the deadlines given, is:
Affected companies Deadline
Standard Chartered Bank- 14 days
Murowa Diamonds (Pvt) Ltd -14 days
Pan American Mining (Pvt) Ltd- 14 days
Zimplats -14 days
Blanket Mine -7 days
Barclays Bank Zimbabwe Ltd -14 days
Mimosa Holdings- 14 days
Duration Gold Mine -14 days
British American Tobacco- 7 days
Nestle- 14 days
Cargil Zimbabwe (Pvt) Ltd 14- days
Friday, 19 August 2011 02:00
THE 101st edition of the Harare Agricultural Show begins today at the Exhibition Park with judging of stands starting as early as 8am. By late yesterday afternoon, most exhibitors were busy putting final touches to their stands.
ZAS general manager Mr Les Mallett was similarly too busy even to comment on the preparations while the public relations manager Mrs Sibonginkosi Muteyiwa was not in her office, with her mobile phone going unanswered. On Wednesday, Mr Mallett said preparations for the big event were going on well and were already 98 percent complete.
This year's theme is "Celebrating Agricultural Growth and Promoting Green Business."
A total of 1 000 exhibitors are expected to showcase their wares at this year's event. Last year, 750 exhibitors participated.
"We have 12 foreign exhibitors this year, two more than last year's 10. They are from countries such as South Africa, Malawi, Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, Ghana and Iran while China and the Netherlands are participating for the first time," said Mrs Muteyiwa on Wednesday.
There are 350 farmers also exhibiting this year.
They will showcase cattle, small livestock units such as goats, sheep and chicken while there would also be crop produce on display.
Last year there were only 266 farmers.
At least 130 000 people are expected to attend the show that will run from today to August 27.
Adults will pay US$5 every day while children will pay only US$1.
Tongai Moyo, Sulumani Chimbetu and superstar Oliver Mtukudzi will entertain the showgoers. To boost security, over 100 police officers will be deployed.
The official opening of the show will be on 26 August 2011 at the Glamis Arena.
President Mugabe who is the patron of the show society is yet to advise them on the guest of honour.
Labels: HARARE AGRICULTURAL SHOW
By The Post
Fri 19 Aug. 2011, 12:10 CAT
When we stated that Godfrey Kayukwa, the director general of the Anti Corruption Commission, has no integrity to continue running the affairs of the Commission because of the shameless lies he has told about the corruption of Universal Print Group, we meant what we stated.
It is now very clear that we were not wrong when we stated that Kayukwa has joined the efforts to shield the criminality of Universal Print Group. The question is: why? It is shameful that a person holding such an important position in the public life of our country can be so spineless as to willingly join a scheme whose only discernible purpose is to deceive our people in all sorts of ways.
We are not surprised that Kayukwa has now decided that the best way to cover up his wrongs, his shameless lies, is to pretend that he is carrying out an inquiry on the alleged corruption of Universal Print Group. His behaviour has proved what we have been saying. This man is a dangerous liar.
And at the rate he is going, we will not be surprised if he begins to commit all sorts of criminal wrongs to try and demonstrate that he did not lie when on August 11, 2011, he released a press statement stating that “there is no investigation concerning the ECZ or any of its suppliers”.
Only seven days ago, Kayukwa stated that there was no investigation, and yet yesterday, he sent us a letter, asking us to “kindly avail the information available with yourselves to the Commission in order to facilitate progression of the inquiry…” This is the same man who said there was no investigation against any supplier of the Electoral Commission of Zambia. Now he is asking us to “facilitate the progression of the inquiry”.
Which inquiry is being progressed? This is the man who said there was no investigation against any supplier of the Electoral Commission of Zambia. Yesterday, this same man had the audacity to send us a letter in which he is supposed to have been carrying out an inquiry about “Alleged corruption – Universal Print Group.”
This is what happens when people have no respect for others. We say this because we have made it clear to those who have cared to ask us and in our editorial comments that we, as a newspaper, are not in the habit of publishing things that we cannot prove. We do not call people corrupt simply because somebody has climbed on an anthill and called another person corrupt.
Whatever people may think, we are a responsible organisation that weighs every word we use in our publication. If somebody calls Universal Print Group corrupt, we do not publish those words unless they are proven to us.
It has been proved to us that Universal Print Group has been engaged in proven acts of corruption, bribery and money laundering. We also know that this information has been given to Kayukwa.
This is why we find Kayukwa’s nonsense of a letter to us annoying. We may not have a lot of respect for Kayukwa but we definitely respect his office because it is important in our country. We cannot countenance such an important office being used to tell the kinds of lies that Kayukwa wants to peddle on behalf of his paymasters.
We know that Kayukwa is not serious when he asks us for information because he has more information than us on the corruption of Universal Print Group.
When Kayukwa told the lies that he told about the corruption of Universal Print Group, he gambled on the fact that we did not know what we were talking about. He thought we could not prove what we were saying. Now Kayukwa knows that we know and he realises the implications of the cover-up that he has engaged in.
Instead of being honourable and telling the public that he lied to them when he stated that there was no investigation against any Electoral Commission of Zambia supplier, he wants to draw us into a side show that takes away the significance of the lies that he has told.
When this matter was first published, we did not do it without going to Kayukwa and justice Irene Mambilima, the chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia. We asked them for their comment on the story we were working on about the corruption of Universal Print Group. Justice Mambilima was not available on more than one occasion. As for Kayukwa, the reporter working on the story managed to get through to him.
His position which we published in the story that we carried was that we should give him a written press query, which we did. Kayukwa ignored our query for almost a week. And when he commented on this issue, he issued a statement which he did not even bother to send to us.
Kayukwa had it distributed to the state media and we were excluded although we were the ones who raised the query. This is the person who is today calling us to go and meet him.
It is unfortunate that Kayukwa wants to play games with such an important matter. This is a matter that could put this country in flames. A person in Kayukwa’s position should understand that and behave in the most responsible way. This is not about the people who gave him a job; this is about our country.
Kayukwa sent us a letter, which was delivered during lunch time, inviting us for a meeting. He expected us to meet him at 16 hours of the same day.
Before we even finished digesting the contents of his letter, we received a press statement in which he was announcing that he had invited Given Lubinda and this newspaper for a meeting so that “they can provide information on the alleged corrupt activities involving Universal Print Group of South Africa which has been contracted to print ballot papers for the September 2011 general elections”. Is this the way investigations are carried out?
Clearly, Kayukwa thinks this is a game. We have asked him very simple questions which he has refused to answer. Is he telling the nation that the Anti Corruption Commission has not investigated any corruption involving Universal Print Group? What about the alleged corruption of Mpundu Mfula that he talked about in his press statement? What is it about? Does it involve Universal Print Group?
What Kayukwa is doing is destroying an institution that this country desperately needs to function properly in order to stop the rampant vandalism and pillaging of public resources. But with people like Kayukwa at the helm of such an institution, what hope is there for our people? A man who lies and continues to lie as if that is what he is employed to do is a danger to himself and to the nation.
The issues that we have raised about Universal Print Group are not simple matters. We have carried stories that have demonstrated that Universal Print Group is a corrupt company. We have shown that they have been engaged in corruption with officers of the Electoral Commission.
Kayukwa has been challenged to deny that the Anti Corruption Commission has investigated Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited account number 0140034477502. He has not answered these questions. It is not for us to start telling Kayukwa what he has done or not done. He knows what he has done or not done.
Anyway, we understand the game that Kayukwa is playing. He wants to pretend to the public that he is investigating the allegations that have been made against Universal Print Group.
This is nonsense because we know for a fact that the Anti Corruption Commission has all the information about the corruption of Universal Print Group. Kayukwa knows that he lied when he said the Anti Corruption Commission was not investigating any corruption involving any supplier of the Electoral Commission of Zambia.
We say this because we know for a fact, and will prove it when the time is right, that the Anti Corruption Commission has investigated Universal Print Group’s payment of bribes to Electoral Commission of Zambia officials. If Kayukwa was truly interested in fighting corruption, he would have told the truth about this matter long ago.
Kayukwa knows that Universal Print Group should not be involved in the printing of ballot papers because of their corruption. But why is he not telling the truth? Who is he scared of? What kind of Anti Corruption commissioner is this? By calling us, in the way Kayukwa has done, they are simply trying to divert attention from their own mischief.
Kayukwa knows that Universal Print Group is corrupt. He knows that we know and all he is trying to do is to establish how much we know so that he can design more lies. This won’t work. It is an abuse of the Anti Corruption Commission and we will not be a party to such abuses.
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 19 Aug. 2011, 13:10 CAT
Post editor Fred M’membe yesterday told ACC director general Lt Col Godfrey Kayukwa off over UPG’s bribery and corruption investigations. And Kayukwa yesterday confirmed that in fact ACC has been investigating UPG’s corruption allegations, contrary to his earlier press statement that the ACC were not investigating any matter concerning UPG.
In a meeting at the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) headquarters in Lusaka that followed a call Kayukwa had made to The Post and Kabwata PF parliamentary candidate Given Lubinda, asking them to report to him at 16:00 hours over the Universal Print Group (UPG) corruption stories and editorial comments, M’membe told Kayukwa that he was not fit to lead ACC and that he was aiding criminals.
This was after Kayukwa requested M’membe and Lubinda to provide him with any evidence linking UPG to bribery, corruption and money laundering.
M’membe told Kayukwa that although he had the information, he could not give it to him because he already had the information although initially he had lied to the public that ACC was not investigating UPG, a South African company engaged by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to print ballot papers for next month’s general elections.
Kayukwa then asked The Post lawyer Mutembo Nchito to confirm whether or not his clients would give him the information they had on UPG.
In response, M’membe said:
“Not to you. If somebody else tomorrow takes your place, we will deal with that person. You have lost our trust. You have lost credibility and we don’t believe that you should be here. We sincerely don’t believe that you should be here, Sir. In our view, you are not fit to head this organisation; you are aiding criminals.”
The meeting which started about 16:10 hours and ended at 17:05 hours was attended by Kayukwa, ACC director of investigations Edwin Sakala, chief investigations officer Zondwayo Soko, public relations manager Timothy Mono and corporate affairs officer Chomba.
And M’membe was accompanied by his lawyer Nchito, Post deputy editor-in-chief Sam Mujuda, managing editor Amos Malupenga, reporters Ernest Chanda and Cynthia Phiri. Lubinda was in the company of fellow PF leader Charles Banda. The meeting was also covered by Joy FM Radio reporter Kunda Kunda.
Below is the verbatim report of what transpired at the meeting:
Lt Col Kayukwa: I think before we get into anything now, I wish to say that we could still talk to you in the absence of all other people. But then all the rights are yours. You tell us what you would like to give. I wish to start with Mr. Lubinda.
M’membe (chips in): Colonel, I’m Fred M’membe. We’ve never met. I’m the man in charge of The Post. I am responsible for everything that is published in the newspaper.
I think before we get into anything, I want to put it on record that I’m very disappointed with your conduct. I was attending a workshop at the judiciary today to do with computerisation.
When I went for lunch at the office, I found a letter from yourself requesting us to come here at 16:00 hours. I had to abandon the programme. The notice was very short. I don’t think that’s the right way to call other people on matters that are so serious.
While I was still digesting that letter which you sent to us, we received a press release from yourself informing the press that you have called us.
I find this seriously lacking seriousness and it’s serious lack of respect for other people. If you want us to work with you and cooperate with you, this is not the way you do it.
If you wanted us to be paraded before the press to deal with this issue, you can do so and not disguise it. I think you are not interested in serious investigation of this issue. You are not the first organisation to invite us. Last week Friday, we were invited by justice Irene Mambilima at ECZ Electoral Commission of Zambia.
A team of four people including our legal counsel went there. Nobody knows that such a meeting took place. We were discussing this issue with them. All the commissioners were there. The entire top management of ECZ was there. We had a very fruitful off the record discussion, which we have not even published; nobody knows that we went to ECZ. But before we could even come here, you put a press release. What do you want to discuss with us?
Col Kayukwa: Have you finished?
M’membe: No, I haven’t finished. This behaviour is not befitting of such an important position at ACC; it’s not befitting! You know even the thing that you are calling us for, you know. You have more information on this issue. And don’t try to hoodwink the public, you know! You are behaving in an extremely reckless manner. And don’t involve us in wrong things.
We don’t do wrong things. If you have decided to cover up this issue, cover it up on your own. Don’t involve us. You are behaving in the most reckless way for a citizen of your position. You are leading a very important organisation in the country. And this is not the way to lead such an important organisation.
If you have called us here to come and tell you our sources, you could have done it better. Mr. Kayukwa, this is not the way to lead. Anyway, you are Colonel Kayukwa. I shouldn’t withdraw that from you, you earned that rank and it’s an important rank as well. Sorry to call you Mister. You are Colonel.
I don’t think this is the way to do it. All these things we have been publishing you know them. We sent you a press query…
Col Kayukwa: Excuse me…
M’membe: No, I’m not finished. We sent you a press query; first you were phoned yourself directly about this issue. You asked for a press query.
Col Kayukwa: Ok, Mr. M’membe. I’ve not asked you to… Can we now deal with issues here?
M’membe: I didn’t bring myself here, listen to me. And that’s the behaviour that I’m talking about, that’s not becoming of a leader. You should listen.
Col Kayukwa: I know we called you, but I had asked Mr. Lubinda…
M’membe: We sent you a press query. If you don’t want me to help you, tell me I can go. I didn’t come here on my own, listen. You called me to come and listen to me, I’m talking.
Col Kayukwa: I had asked Mr. Lubinda to talk.
M’membe: I’m talking, you called me, I didn’t come here on my own, you sent me a letter. If you don’t want me, I can go.
Col Kayukwa: You are missing the point. I said ‘can I start with Mr Lubinda?’
M’membe: I’m telling you, I’ve come here because you invited me.
Col Kayukwa: Are you not the one who cut in when I was speaking?
M’membe: I’ve the right to speak as well.
Col Kayukwa: I would like to speak with Mr. Lubinda.
M’membe: No, I haven’t finished, just listen.
Col Kayukwa: Did I finish when I was speaking?
M’membe: Listen, I’m talking, you called me here. You were followed about this story…
Col Kayukwa: It’s not that I’ve… just listen to me.
M’membe: Just listen!
Col Kayukwa: Why don’t you want to listen to me?
M’membe: If you don’t want me I can go. M’membe stands up.
Col Kayukwa: It’s up to you…
M’membe: Don’t waste our time here. You called us on an issue which you know.
Col Kayukwa: Mr. M’membe, we haven’t even discussed the issue…
M’membe: No, you called us. No we shouldn’t waste each other’s time. If people want to cover up, they should just cover up other than trying to involve other people on issues that you know. We’ve never involved ourselves in criminal activities.
Nchito: I think I kept quiet because I was not invited to speak.
Lt Col Kayukwa: That’s why I asked, do they want to be with counsel or what? You know I was setting the stage for the next point and I started with Mr. Lubinda here so that he can say what he wants to do so that we can proceed.
Nchito: Maybe let me give a preamble on my dealing with some of those issues. I am in an uncomfortable position in that I am in my other home. I spent a lot of time amongst my ACC colleagues. I worked with them. If I thought that these people The Post and Lubinda were suspects, it would be slightly difficult to come just now.
I thought you were calling them for a discussion, which is why I am here. And I am hoping that I can facilitate that process. I think that’s why Honourable Lubinda and The Post are probably here. It’s usually easier when you are dealing with somebody that you know, even if you are angry it is easier to deal with issues. So, I think that if we set that background, we might be able to assist each other and move on…
So, in answer to your question, I’m here as counsel, not because they are suspects, but because they wanted me to be here.
Lubinda: I wish to respond to the question that you raised Colonel. Yes, you invited me here in my personal and private capacity. But when I got news that actually this meeting is open to the press, I realised it’s open for the public.
And because we are dealing with this issue in this manner, and giving it the seriousness I thought that we are giving it, I decided that I will not come alone, I’ll come with others. And that’s how come I asked counsel Mutembo if he could come with me. And that’s how I also invited a colleague of mine at the far end of the table Charles Banda to join me.
And coincidentally, you also invited The Post to come at exactly the same time, 16:00 hours. And there is no beating about the bush, it is me who has been issuing those statements through The Post. And actually when I was invited, I also called them and said ‘look I’ve been invited’. And by the way, Mr. M’membe says he got the invitation when he came home office for lunch. I got the invitation an hour before the time that’s scheduled for this meeting.
And I had to ask counsel, ‘what am I going to say?’ They haven’t even given me time to go and dress up like them. I’m going now like a soldier. And he said to me ‘let’s go, I’ll come with you’. So to answer your question you were expecting me to come alone. I couldn’t come alone on the basis that, number one, this meeting is open to the press, it’s open to the public.
I would like that whatever I say is not only reserved to you but is also captured by others; the press and also my colleague at the end there. It’s very nice that you invited both myself and the newspaper that has been the courier of my message; that has been kind enough to publish what I’ve said.
The others haven’t been able to write what I’ve been saying. But The Post has been willing to do that, and I thought that you shouldn’t ask me questions in their absence. So, it was good that you actually invited both of us at the same time. That’s the reason for this big group.
Kayukwa: Okay. So, I think it’s not the first time I’m in a situation like this because when a person who is not an accused wants counsel to be there it’s okay; it’s your right. Now, Mr M’membe? Because I’ll tell you that the issue was that you Lubinda were going to discuss with him, Eddie Sakala, ACC chief investigator here. And Mr M’membe was going to discuss with Mr Soko there. So what is your choice?
M’membe: I would like to discuss with you Kayukwa in front of everybody. If you say I have a choice, since you say I have I’ve a choice…
Kayukwa: I’ve said the choices here… I’ve assigned two officers here to attend to the matter. So what is your choice?
M’membe: I don’t have much to tell them. Whoever, you can bring one, you can bring half, you can bring 10, 20, I will tell them that you know. You yourself Colonel Kayukwa you know the truth about this issue of UPG. You know the truth and you want to lie to the whole country that you don’t know; you know the truth. You are the one they should be interviewing. It’s you they should interview, not me.
Kayukwa: Ee, I called for… like what I’ve explained because our colleagues have said they have got other information and all we want is to be assisted with that information. But since you have chosen that you like to have everybody here, maybe…
M’membe: Because whoever you are giving me to talk to me, I’m telling you, whoever among yourselves, your leader here knows the truth about this UPG thing. He’s sitting on it for reasons best known to him. And this behaviour I find very irresponsible. He knows more than I know. So, interview him, he will tell you and then you can inform the people.
Kayukwa: Mr Lubinda we proceed like that? Because from what I hear, he can talk to whoever I’ve appointed. That’s what I’ve understood. And he would like everybody here to be around.
M’membe: Including yourself because I want to tell them that you yourself you know the truth about this UPG thing. And you are sitting on it, trying to deceive people that you don’t know.
Kayukwa: Mr. Nchito, we proceed?
Nchito: Really, this is your..
Kayukwa: Yes, I know, but what I’m saying is that those are the choices and…
M’membe: You’ll just plunge this country into chaos.
Kayukwa: We proceed.
M’membe: Start with me.
Kayukwa: I said we start with Mr Lubinda. Do we just…
M’membe: Mr Lubinda.
Lubinda: They said they have two options, that Mr M’membe on behalf of The Post is interviewed by one, and that I am interviewed by the other. My position is that I have been quoted in The Post.
And if there are going to be any questions, those questions shall be raised to me and the couriers of my information. I see no reason whatsoever justifying the separation of the two. So I would like that if you are going to interview us, you will interview me and the ones who have been publishing what I’ve been saying.
And if everybody from your side will be here, that makes it better.
Nchito: I think we’ve discussed a little bit of what the sentiments are. Maybe it would be helpful to hear from your side. You called these people. Maybe you just give a preamble of what your expectations are, and then it will be much easier to move from that basis. I don’t know if that becomes okay, then it’s easier for one to advise.
Kayukwa: Like what I said, there are no suspects. The interview of a witness you are aware of the procedure. It is a straightforward procedure.
There is no preamble. They will be asked questions and things like that.
Nchito: No, I think the problem, sir, that we have, and please understand me as I am speaking only the mind of your witnesses, or your potential witnesses. They are saying to you that they believe, this is what I’m hearing and those are my instructions to an extent.
They believe that you know about this matter and you are covering up the corruption of UPG. So they are saying ‘what is it that you really want from us? Because the information that you already have you are covering up’. So I think that in all the heat, maybe we can try and get some light. That is the point that I’m making.
M’membe: Mr Nchito, if I may cut in you. I will ask Colonel Kayukwa to look me in the eyes and tell me the truth that he doesn’t know anything about UPG. Look me in the eyes.
Lt Col Kayukwa: There’s a procedure we are following here. I think I’m doing the interview, I wished you had invited me to come. Eddie, can we start? I think, like you said, we shouldn’t waste each other’s time. So, maybe can you please Eddie as we said you can discuss Lt Col tries to leave the conference room.
M’membe: No, I would like you to be here. I don’t want to talk about you behind your back. I want you to be here so that I don’t give your officers a burden to tell you something negative about yourself. I want you to be here, I don’t want to give these officers… They are your juniors. I don’t want to give them a burden. I want to say things in front of you because I sincerely believe you are covering up. And these things will catch up with you one day. These things will catch up with you.
Lt Col Kayukwa: Eddie?
Eddie Sakala: I think the issue is the one which is in the press, and I think it has been mentioned. The issue is, there’s an inquiry here, I think that was confirmed by the statement that we issued. But of course from some of the things which you have been carrying out, you get a suggestion that there has been new information.
So following that is there any other information that you have which you can give us who are investigating the matter? Is there any other information which you may have or share with us on the case at hand?
Nchito: Can I just consult?
Kayukwa: This is like negotiation. We can give you a place where you can…
Nchito: Mr Sakala, me I like being there (points to the next room) Lt Col Kayukwa: You know the place for reasons known to yourself.
M’membe’s team leaves the conference room to consult among themselves.
Discussion later resumes.
Nchito: Thank you very much DG director general for giving us the opportunity to visit with you, and also to consult over preliminary points that have been raised. Both clients in that sense have asked me to respond to the issue that you have raised before. I also think that it is better so that we can keep emotions in check and just deal with the issue on the table.
Both parties would like to further raise their concern that it appears that the Commission is not telling the public the truth because according to them you now say there’s an inquiry. It is an investigation around the issues that they have been raising and yet you told the public that there is nothing.
That in itself raises serious concerns for our clients. That’s what Mr M’membe is saying, and I think the same position is shared by Honourable Lubinda, is that the Commission knows that this company is engaged in acts of corruption, bribery and by those acts in money laundering.
And it is wrong for the Commission to conceal that fact in the manner that you did in your statement by stating that there’s no investigation concerning ECZ or any supplier to ECZ. I think that is really the bone of contention, and it is not for us or rather for the clients to start supplying you with the evidence because they firmly believe that you know this fact.
And maybe we can discuss around that issue, if there’s any need for discussion. The reason that becomes a serious issue is that, and I think Honourable Lubinda has written to you and written to the Commission indicating that the character of the company printing ballots is an important issue which has ramifications for the peace and stability of our country after the election.
Now, given that the Anti Corruption Commission has not been entirely honest on this issue. I think a serious problem has been created and I don’t know how you are going to sort it out. And I don’t know if my clients can help you to resolve that issue.
Kayukwa: You still want to consult?
Kayukwa: Would you like to go to that place?
M’membe: No, no, no it’s a short consultation.
M’membe and Nchito confer for a short while.
Nchito: I think that I was going round in circles trying a bit to be diplomatic. but my client insists that I must put it the way it is. I think what they are saying is, they don’t believe that the Commission is honest.
And it serves no purpose to deal with a dishonest Commission; you have been dishonest on this fact. And you could not and should not have said that. In your opinion, UPG is clean but my clients are saying they are not.
Kayukwa: Mr Nchito, as you said, maybe there is need to discuss and all that. I think the letters are quite clear, the issues that we would like your clients to help us with are quite clear. It is quite clear that they seem to have more information. In my statement, I issued that statement. I never denied that there was nothing going on.
I did admit, we are investigating an employee. I think that is common. We don’t need to go over that. There is an employee at the ECZ, former employee who is being investigated. That is in the statement, unless you didn’t get it because initially Mr Lubinda here…
Nchito: Can we have a copy of the statement?
Kayukwa: It was through the press. In fact, I almost rang you to say, is this what you said? Because I know Mr Lubinda here has been to my office and when I read that later on when the other articles came up, I found that those words were attributed to you. My statement is very straightforward; we are not saying we are not doing anything now.
What I would like your clients, maybe to help us with, is if they have information they should help us. All those because what we said is that we have an allegation. Now for you to come here to say can you give us what you have, we are the investigation wing, we are investigating. And I would like to be helped by your clients.
So, the issue here really is, I’m saying Mr Lubinda those issues that you are talking about, can I have the evidence? This is why I arranged that maybe we could sit down; the two of you or three, whoever you want, you discuss those issues. Now to say they know that I know, we are not getting anywhere. What I would like to have…
Nchito: DG, maybe I think I also owe you a duty, as a professional junior as I might be, to tell you exactly what the statement is. And I requested the gentleman there to, I am sure it shouldn’t be difficult to get a copy of the statement that was issued from your office.
Kayukwa: Mr Nchito, what I am saying here is, certain things have been said. I am asking your clients to help. And I am asking them to help, where is the evidence for me to go further? But if they don’t have evidence because we seem to be saying I have the evidence. If they don’t have it, they should just say so.
Nchito: No, no, no, DG. I don’t think we are understanding each other. I would really be grateful because I think this matter is serious, you might give yourself an opportunity to correct. If people have misunderstood your statement, it might be better to .., you might get an opportunity to correct.
So what I wanted to do is to tell you that this is what your statement said. My clients are saying this is a lie. So that maybe we can address that; and you know how we deal with witnesses, you want to bring them to a level where they can trust you if the witness is saying ‘you Bwana are telling lies and I don’t trust you, I don’t think I should even be dealing with you’.
So we are trying to build that confidence, and I am simply saying for me the starting point is the statement. It’s not about a complaint. They sent you a query, when the statement was issued it wasn’t even sent to them. I don’t know whether you know the circulation list. It did not include them.
Kayukwa: Yes, what I’m saying here is that I am dealing with an investigation. Your clients seem to have information, that’s all I am asking for. So if they don’t have the information they should say they don’t have it.
M’membe: Mr Nchito maybe let me just chip in. The DG is repeating for the second time that if we don’t have information we should just say so. If we don’t have; he has repeated this twice. To me the purpose of calling us here is for the DG to prove that we actually don’t have that information so that the lie that ACC has told on UPG can be sustained. That’s what he wants us to say, and that’s why he is consistently repeating it.
Kayukwa: Mr Nchito let’s make progress.
M’membe: We are here to be used to clear UPG, not to investigate UPG, no.
Nchito: Can I say something that will help us to make progress? Is it possible to get the press statement?
Sam Mujuda: There is a request for the letter.
Nchito: The press statement, I’m just asking for it, can I have it? And I want to demonstrate from your statement what the problem is. Then from there you can reassure them, and then we move.
Kayukwa: So, who has gone to print it?
Nchito: I think the two gentlemen were waiting for a signal.
Kayukwa: A signal?
Nchito: They were looking at you to indicate.
Kayukwa: So maybe as we wait for them, okay the press statement came afterwards, isn’t it?
Kayukwa: I have understood you that maybe it could have misled people; for which I appreciate that because when we write and then maybe what you think is going there is misunderstood. I appreciate that point so that, let them bring it and then we can discuss.
Lubinda: Maybe they can also bring a copy of your statement advising me not to drug you into politics; that I dragged the Commission into my political issues.
Kayukwa: But I never issued a statement to that effect.
Lubinda: No, but it was in the press.
Kayukwa: But there are so many statements in the press. That’s why I even asked for written statements, even when my phone rings I answer it.
And this is why I think when you are saying let’s bring that, that’s why I said I appreciate that so that when issues come up and you ring me and I talk to you and you go and say something I can’t say I never spoke to Mr Lubinda.
Lubinda: But I’m trying to illustrate to you the reason why I take the stand that I do on this matter, that when I’m saying things about issues that I believe you know about, you have been quoted in the press as having said he Lubinda is just politicking. He just wants to drag the Anti-Corruption Commission into his politics. That puts me in a very awkward position.
Kayukwa: That one I can tell you that I never said it, here.
M’membe: But Mr Lubinda, this is the most political the ACC has ever been in its history. And probably the worst the ACC has ever been throughout its history, from its formation. These gentlemen have destroyed this organisation, such a wonderful undertaking by our people destroyed by greed, selfishness and mediocrity. This is an important institution. But this is the worst ACC has been. For 20 years, I’ve dealt with this organisation, I can say this is the worst I have ever seen ACC where the leadership of ACC has been politically compromised.
Kayukwa: But you are bringing politics here?
M’membe: There’s politics brought here.
Kayukwa: We don’t want to be bringing complaints over issues that are not for this institution.
M’membe: I have to be frank with you. I will tell you today and I’ll tell you after. And this will be shown that you have destroyed this institution. And history will record this, you won’t wipe out this. You have allowed politicians to control this institution and run it down. You have run this institution down; an important institution.
What we have said in our editorial comments, we can say it in your face. You have destroyed this important institution of our people by allowing yourself to be controlled by people who gave you the job. You have destroyed this ACC. It will take a long time to rebuild public confidence in this institution.
This is not the institution I’ve been dealing with for 20 years. You are a public officer, I will talk to you.
Kayukwa: Yes, that’s why I even answer my phone. Excuse me, I answer the phones.
M’membe: Go ahead and answer.
Lt Col Kayukwa goes out to answer the phone.
M’membe: Mr Eddie Sakala, some of us have dealt with this institution for 20 years, from 1991 to 2011, mwaononga you have destroyed the Commission. This is not what it was.
It had its weaknesses like all other institutions but this is the worst ACC has ever been. And this man of yours has destroyed this institution by taking instructions from politicians. You are no longer investigating crime in this country, no. You have destroyed our people’s credible institution. It’s gone, ACC is gone! It will take a lot of effort to build it. You people built it and you have allowed it to be destroyed by mediocrity. It’s not everybody who has destroyed this organisation, it’s this man Kayukwa. You have allowed him to destroy it.
This UPG thing, he knows it. It’s in his office, he knows it. You know it has taken a long time to build this organisation but it doesn’t take long, seconds to destroy it. You will not retire out of this place with pride which you deserve. I worked with you Mr Sakala, we have done a lot of things together here as a citizen; and I was proud of this organisation. You remember I came to report to you about justice Matthew Ngulube’s corruption?
I came to report to you personally. The man had to resign, there was no malice, Ngulube was my friend. I used to go to Ngulube’s house. That was the ACC I knew, and that’s the ACC I worked with; the ACC I reported on and about. Not today’s ACC of Colonel Kayukwa, no. He has destroyed this organisation. That’s why I want him to be here.
I don’t want to speak behind his back, he has destroyed it, where you want to protect criminals instead of fighting crime.
UPG are criminals. You are now trying to find a way to launder them. And you want us to come here to tell you our sources? It won’t happen. Even if God came here, I would say ‘God take my head off’. It won’t happen! I’ve been in this job for 20 years. I was a young boy, you didn’t have grey hair, when we started working together you didn’t have grey hair.
Today you have grey hair and me I have grey hair. Ncito yatisiliza. Yaa, I’m not a small boy ba Sakala. I’m 20 years older than when I started this job. I’m not excited about these things, we have done bigger things. We made a lot of mistakes, learning. Today we have more experience. We can’t do things like kids to see the work we have done for 20 years just destroyed.
Institutions were built, we contributed to the building of the credibility of ACC. It pains me. I’m sorry to say this. I will say it, even if you put me on top of this building. I will say what I’m saying because I contributed to the building of ACC. Over the last 20 years my work has been dedicated to building the anti-corruption fight.
I’ve contributed to building the image of the ACC. To see it destroyed like that by selfishness, it pains me. The same way with DEC Drug Enforcement Commission; these two organisations have gone. Nobody respects these organisations anymore.
If anybody tells you that you have got credibility in the eyes of the people, they are cheating you. You are gone. Even us, we don’t count you as a partner now in fighting corruption. We are not. And what you don’t know is that you have destroyed a lot of other institutions in the process.
Lt Col Kayukwa comes back with his statement and gives a copy to Nchito.
Nchito: Colonel, I think that where the problem has arisen is the first sentence in the second paragraph. ‘The ACC wishes to state that there is no investigation concerning ECZ or any of its suppliers’.
My clients are saying that this statement was made in the context of a categorical statement having been made that UPG, to your knowledge, has been engaged in corruption, bribery and by those acts of money laundering. And you issued a statement where you are saying ‘there’s no supplier of ECZ who is connected’. In fact, to use your words, ‘there’s no investigation concerning the ECZ or any of its suppliers’.
And the implication of that statement is that you don’t know any of the issues that Mr Lubinda has been raising in relation to UPG. And what my clients are saying is that, Colonel, that is not true because you know. I think that’s what Mr M’membe has been saying.
And their concern is that you as ACC should be interested that an organisation that has been connected to criminal enterprise should not be allowed to be involved in an important exercise such as printing ballot papers because the necessary implication is that what else are they doing?
So by putting that information into the public, the ECZ will claim, they will hide behind your back now and say, ‘but the director general of ACC told us there’s nothing like that’. Mr. Lubinda has gone so far as to give you a bank account and challenged you to say ‘please confirm that you have not investigated this account in relation to UPG. Mr Lubinda has, I think, been waiting for the response. There has been no response.
Lubinda: The response in the press has been that I am being political and I am dragging the ACC into my politics.
Nchito: So, I think that is where you have that crisis of confidence, so that even if somebody had information, how would they give it to you? And also the other problem that you have caused is that when you call people to come and give evidence, obviously they have been speaking in public. But if you are carrying out serious investigations, the whole world needs not know that you are now carrying out, or that you have called these people to come and give you the information. Assuming it’s a serious investigation, and my clients feel that this is an exercise meant to further launder UPG. They believe that the ACC is being used to launder criminals. That’s the problem that you have.
Kayukwa: So are they saying that they will not give information or they have no information? Which is which?
Nchito: They have information, they are concerned that you have lied, Sir, and you’ve lost the trust of the people.
Kayukwa: So they will not give it to me?
Nchito: They will not.
Kayukwa: But to somebody else?
M’membe: Not to you. If somebody else tomorrow takes your place, we will deal with that person. You have lost our trust. You have lost credibility and we don’t believe that you should be here. We sincerely don’t believe that you should be here, Sir. In our view, you are not fit to head this organisation; you are aiding criminals.
Nchito: The other complaint which I think is also born out by…
Kayukwa: I think you mentioned that, I took note and I also looked at that, that it wasn’t distributed. I think you made that point. Is there anything else you wish to say? Anything? Mr Nchito?
Kayukwa: Thank you very much. May I have my press statement back!
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Thu 18 Aug. 2011, 21:20 CAT
ZAMBIA has always been an oasis of peace which has even been used by all our neighbouring countries in the quest for freedom in the region, says a tourism expert.
In an interview, Kingsley Lilamono, the Livingstone Tourism Association (LTA) president, said there was no need for the US State Department to issue a warning to
its citizens of the potential unrest in view of the September 20 elections.
“We have been a peaceful country since independence and have never had any civil war, the Americans are fully aware of this. We have been an oasis of peace and we have been used by all our neighbouring countries during the liberation struggle,” Lilamono said.
He said Zambia has always resolved its political differences amicably without violence and the security system was alert to deal with any sign of unrest.
“We are very peaceful people; we as LTA don’t expect that we would have any form of problems during this year’s elections. We have had elections since 1964 and never had any problems, if any they have been dealt with amicably by the courts of law,” said Lilamono.
According to a travel advisory posted on the United States Department of State website, US citizens who are planning to travel to Zambia during or immediately after the elections have been advised to monitor news and assess local conditions when making plans to travel.
The Zambia Tourism Board has since said the move by the US could hurt the domestic tourism sector as US ranks among the top sources of Zambia’s tourists.
By Kabanda Chulu in Kitwe
Fri 19 Aug. 2011, 11:55 CAT
IMMEDIATE past MMD Lupososhi parliamentarian Albert Mulonga says the
ruling party will not win in Luwingu district because party officials have
rejected Kelvin Mwansa who has been imposed as a last minute candidate.
And Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba has said people of Kasama Central are waiting
for election day to teach serious political lessons to MMD candidate
Explaining his position to defend his constituency as an independent
candidate after the MMD replaced him with Mwansa a day before nominations
day, Mulonga said indicators were pointing to failure for the MMD
“Out of 13 wards in Lupososhi constituency, the MMD failed to file in
nominations in Mwelawamanga and Tandashi Wards because the adopted
candidates also decided to be with me and they advised that I stand since
they were not happy with the way I was withdrawn,” Mulonga said.
“As we speak, Kelvin Mwansa is finding it difficult to campaign because MMD
officials have rejected him and since this is the wish of the people that
I stand, we shall prove MMD wrong that I am a weak candidate.”
He said some MMD officials wanted to tarnish his name by reporting to the
police about theft of campaign materials.
“MMD is panicking because my winning chances are very high, this is why
they reported to the police that I stole campaign materials but I
explained that those materials (t-shirts, chitenges and bicycles) were
given to me freely for onward distribution to cadres who are now
disappointed with what MMD has done,” said Mulonga.
And Mwamba, who is immediate past Kasama Central parliamentarian, said the
PF has no challenges in the area.
“I am on top of things and my campaigns are going on smoothly and I am
from officiating at a football tournament held in my honour which is
staged in Munkonge area, people are saying that ‘let Chilekwa come and see
for himself’,” said Mwamba. “People are just waiting for the elections.”
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 19 Aug. 2011, 11:53 CAT
THE blatant pro-government bias in the public media is of concern, says the National Democratic Institute (NDI). And NDI director of electoral programmes Pat Merloe said citizens, the media and political contestants had a right to verify all aspects of the election process, including independent verification of the vote tabulation.
During a briefing at Hotel InterContinental in Lusaka yesterday, delegation co-leader of the team that conducted a pre-election assessment of Zambia's preparations for the presidential, parliamentary and local government elections Quett Ketumile Masire recommended that the media, both public and private, should adhere to the provisions of the electoral code of conduct, laws and professional ethics concerning the accuracy, balance and access regarding candidates and broader electoral related coverage.
It was also noted that the bias and inaccurate reporting of all major
media are some of the shortcomings in the electoral environment which need
to be addressed.
Masire named other shortcomings in the electoral environment as instances
of political intimidation and potential for electoral related violence.
“Other shortcomings include irresponsible and inflammatory rhetoric by
political parties and candidates, inadequacy of avenues for legal redress
when challenging results of the presidential election and the lack of
expedited processes for challenging efforts to discredit some non partisan
civil society organisations and impede the right to full participation.
Decrease in the number of women candidates for seats in the National
Assembly and apparent barriers to women pursuing candidatures and lack of
transparency in campaign financing and the absence of restrictions on
donations, as well as the unequal access to resources,” said Masire who is
former president of Botswana.
The delegation recommended that the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the
courts should ensure that expedited procedures were in place to process
all electoral-related complaints and challenges and inform the public and
the electoral contestants about such procedures and report publicly and
timely about how many such matters were lodged, the actions which were
taken and the nature and incidences of sanctions or remedies provided.
“The ECZ should guarantee access of political party agents, non-partisan
election monitors, observers and media to all aspects of the election
process, including vote tabulations and should provide them timely
accreditation, without undue restrictions. The ECZ should use every effort
possible to implement its enhanced results tabulation process and ensure
that political party polling agents, citizen election monitors, the media
are provided full access to each stage of the process, including providing
them copies of the signed results sheets at each level,” the team
And Merloe said elections were a way of people determining those who would
have the authority to represent them. He said the vote count should also be known to be accurate.
“Citizens have a right to know whether the elections are genuine because
elections belong to the people, it is their way of determining who is
going to have the authority to represent them and to know that the
election is genuine, the count must be known that it is accurate so in
that respect the media, citizens, the political contestants have a right
to verify all aspects of the election process including independent
verification of the vote tabulation,” Merloe said.
He said if the count was done and added together and corresponds with the
official results, there would be public confidence in the elections.
The delegation is made up of Masire, the former president of Botswana;
Thomas Daschle, former US Senate majority leader and vice chair of NDI’s
board of directors; Ayo Obe, chair of the Goree Institute’s board of trustees in Senegal and former president of the Civil Liberties Organization in Nigeria; Merloe; Keith Jennings, NDI’s senior associate and regional director for Southern and East Africa, and Xoliswa Sibeko, NDI’s resident director in South Africa.
By Simon Mutuna in Mansa
Fri 19 Aug. 2011, 10:30 CAT
A GOVERNMENT official in Luapula Province has urged the heads of government departments in the area to promote transparency, accountability and efficiency in the delivery of public services.
Provincial permanent secretary Stephen Bwalya said all the government heads of department in Luapula should take a leading role in developing programmes that would enhance transparency and accountability in the exercise of public authority.
Bwalya made the remarks during a workshop on the National Anti Corruption Policy organised by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) in Mansa.
He said all departmental heads must be able to facilitate the mainstreaming of anti-corruption interventions in their respective areas of operations.
He said the government placed the fight against corruption high on its agenda because its far-reaching negative efforts on the citizenry were well known.
Bwalya said if left unchecked, corruption would lead to poor governance, underdevelopment and would affect the people, especially the most economically disadvantaged.
He said the government realised the need to significantly enhance anti-corruption efforts by approving the National Anti Corruption Policy (NACP) which was launched in August last year by the President. Bwalya said the policy enabled all stakeholders to actively participate in the fight against corruption.
“This is a significant departure from the past where the anti-corruption challenge was perceived to be the responsibility of the Anti-Corruption Commission alone,” he said.
Bwalya said the policy would be implemented within the its five-year period, from 2010 to 2014, and all stakeholders including the departmental heads would be expected to take up an active role in the programme.
He urged the provincial government leaders to take responsibility to facilitate the implementation of institutional reforms that deter corruption especially at service delivery points where the public office interacts with the citizenry.
Bwalya said the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Policy had been achieved by the enactment of the Public Interest Disclosure - Protection of Whistleblowers Act, which would protect the people who submit reports on corruption.
And ACC regional manager, Chola Kasongo said the National Anti-Corruption Policy was very important to the lives and welfare of the people as corruption was an impediment to economic development. Kasongo said corruption was a vice that could not go unchecked, and concerted efforts in the implementation of the policy was important.
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Thursday, 18 August 2011 02:00
From Caesar Zvayi in LUANDA, Angola
THE 31st Ordinary Summit of Sadc heads of state and government opened at the Talatona Convention Centre here yesterday with Sadc leaders stressing the importance of regio-nal integration and strategic cohesion pursuant to launching a customs union.
The opening session began with addresses by executive secretary Tomaz Salamao, African Union Commission chairman Dr Jean Ping and former Botswana president Festus Mogae in his capacity as chair of the lobby Champions in Fight against HIV and Aids.
The speeches were followed by the handover of prizes to the regional winners of the 2011 media awards and essay competitions.
ZBH online staffer Justin Mahlala came first in the print category while two secondary school pupils from Zimbabwe came second and third in the essay competition with first place going to Zambia.
The 31st summit, being held under the theme, ‘‘consolidating the bases of regional integration, infrastructure development to facilitate trade and economic liberalisation,'' has a broad agenda centred on the summit theme.
Top on the agenda is the issue of Sadc finances amid concerns that there was an over-reliance on donor funding that has the potential of compromising Sadc's policy stance. For instance, of the US$83million budget for 2011, only US$31m came from member states while the rem-aining US$52million came from don-ors, mainly of western origin.
The situation is even dire for the programmes budget, where the regi-on originated only US$5m. Only eight of the 14-member states have paid their contributions with four states promising to pay by the end of the summit. Worth noting, however, is the fact that despite a decade of sanctions-induced economic recession, Zimbabwe is one of only eight countries without arrears as it has always remitted its US$1 757 000 annual contribution on time.
To this end there is a proposal for a special council of ministers summit to look into ways of how Sadc can finance its own budget.
Also on the agenda is the review of the Sadc Tribunal where the new position is that the five judges whose tenure was due for renewal at the time the tribunal was dissolved in Windhoek last year have launched a challenge against the dissolution saying the tribunal was above and independent of the heads of state and government summit hence the Windhoek summit had no mandate to dissolve the tribunal.
The latest development has spaw-ned two lobbies, one which wants to refer the issue of the tribunal back to the team of justice ministers and attorneys-general; and the bigger and popular one - led by Zimbabwe which contends that the issue of the tribunal is dead and buried.
It is understood that the five judges have found succour and funding from German. The other issue on the agenda is the filling of African Union Commission posts that are occupied by candidates seconded by the five regional economic communities, Sadc, Eco-was, East African Community, and Comesa. Southern Africa is fielding South African home affairs minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to take over from Dr Jean Ping of Gabon who prevailed over a Sadc candidate drawn from Zambia during the previous poll. If Dr Zuma prevails it will be the first time Sadc will have one of its own in the commission chair. The leaders will also tackle the issue of the Sadc Free Trade Area, which they want broadened to a customs union. At present only a few member states, who are members of the Southern African Customs Union (commonly the ‘Rand Zone' that encompasses South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and Bots-wana) enjoy the benefits that should accrue to a regional customs union's.
The leaders will, among other things, analyse the political situation in the region particularly piracy, which has been a persistent problem in the Horn of Africa, especially off the Somali coast amid concerns it may be spreading to the Mozambique Channel.
The leaders are also expected to sign the Okavango-Zambezi Treaty which will govern the 278 000km Okavango-Zambezi cross-border to-urism project, which encompasses five countries, Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Namibia and Zambia.
Apart from President Mugabe, other leaders who attended the opening ceremony are - Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, DRC president of Joseph Kabila, Armando Emilio Guebuza of Mozambique, King Mswati III, host president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, president Hifik-epunye Pohamba of Namibia, Jacob Zuma of South Africa, General Mo-mpati Merafhe vice president of Botswana, Tanzanian vice president Mohammed Gharib Bilal, and Geo-rge Nkunda vice president of Zambia.
The summit also drew representatives from the UN, Comesa, AfDB and East African Community.
President Mugabe, who was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and several senior Government officials, was welcomed at the Quatro de Fevereiro International Airport on Tuesday evening, by Angolan minister of public administration, employment and social security Mr Pitra Neto, Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe embassy charge de affaires Emmanuel Zinyuke and embassy staff.