Saturday, August 27, 2011

(LUSAKATIMES) Sata outlines his vision for Southern Province

Sata outlines his vision for Southern Province
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, August 27, 2011, 8:43 am

PATRIOTIC Front president Michael Sata has outlined his vision for Southern Province promising to make maximum use of the vast land and water resources in the region. Addressing a mass rally in Choma yesterday at Kings Centre grounds, Mr Sata told the cheering crowds that the neglect of the region will end next month when the PF takes power from the corrupt and incompetent Rupiah Banda administration.

Mr Sata said given the excellent location of Choma, the town was best suited to be the provincial capital but the MMD government has failed to make good use of this unique geographical position.

The PF leader said the town had also produced illustrious men and women that contributed immensely to Zambia’s freedom struggle. He paid tribute to Mr Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, one of Zambia’s best known pioneers of the freedom struggle.

The PF leader has been on a campaign trail in Southern Province since Wednesday.

This afternoon, the PF leader will be addressing another rally in Livingstone to spell the PF vision for the tourist capital.

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Only PF can bring real development - Kaseba

Only PF can bring real development - Kaseba
By Misheck Wangwe in Mpongwe
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 10:20 CAT

PF leader Michael Sata's wife Dr Christine Kaseba says the country will only experience real development when the PF forms government. In an interview after attending a conference of the Baptist Church in Mpongwe district, Dr Kaseba said it was unacceptable that many poor people were going through untold misery despite the country being blessed with abundant resources.

She said many Zambians had come to appreciate the need for change of government because they were not seeing the development that MMD was talking about.

"The last time I was in Mpongwe was in 2008 and at that time it was predominantly MMD. Today, it is amazing to see how people have changed their mindsets and they have changed because they have realised that they deserve better living conditions. With serious leadership, places like Mpongwe, Masaiti and other areas are supposed to be breadbaskets of this country but that's not the situation." Dr Kaseba said.

"People are really suffering and despite working hard through farming, there is no tangible programme from government to improve their living conditions."

Dr Kaseba said Zambia was in need of a government that would utilise the country's minerals and abundant land to end widespread poverty.

She said it was the duty of every responsible Zambian to join calls for change that would see the PF and Sata form government.

"Today, some people have the audacity to stand and tell lies that Sata will bring homosexuality to Zambia and he is a homosexual himself. I came here so that people can see that Sata is married to a woman and no such thing will happen when he forms government because we are Christians. People should not listen to leaders who have run out of ideas and have nothing to offer the nation," she said.

Dr Kaseba said the country would only become a prosperous nation if government power was given to leaders that would fight corruption and push the agenda of promoting democracy and good governance.

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Lessons from Libya

Lessons from Libya
By The Post
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 08:30 CAT

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, the man who at one time seemed so powerful and unchallengeable, is today in hiding. Gaddafi thought he had power. Yes, he had power but was that power real? No, it was not real power; it was power in form only; it was fictitious power. There was no real power in the hands of Gadaffi.

And it is fortunate that there was no real power in his hands! Real power did not rest in his hands. Real power cannot be usurped in that fashion. It cannot be circumvented in that way. Real power lies with the people. And we hope our politicians here in Zambia are learning something from what is going on in Libya.

Not even the millions or billions of dollars Gaddafi controlled are of any value to him today. The money he used to flash around, corrupting all sorts of weak souls on our continent with, is not there today to save him. Gaddafi was corrupted by power. Gaddafi abused power.

Gaddafi was intolerant and tyrannical. But everything has got a time. That type of government can survive decades but cannot continue forever. And history has shown that the ending of any corrupt, intolerant and tyrannical regime is always disastrous.

It is clear that it is a waste of time for any politician to try to hang on to power through abuse of power, corruption, intimidation and manipulation. These things have no roots. It took very few months to bring Gaddafi down.

And who brought him down? The people who are leading the revolt, the rebellion or the revolution against the Gaddafi regime are people who once served as his ministers, diplomats or generals.

The chairman of the National Transitional Council, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, was in February this year Gaddafi's Minister of Justice. The people who have led the revolution against Gaddafi are people who were working for him not very long ago. Gaddafi thought he owned them because he was the chief dispenser of all jobs and favours in Libya.

We are seeing similar behaviour in our country today. People don't learn. Some of our politicians, like many others on our continent, were recipients of briefcases of money from Gaddafi. And when the deals of the Gaddafi regime are investigated, we will not be surprised to hear that even the sale of our own Zamtel here was characterised by corruption. These things will come out.

We will know how Gaddafi exported his corruption to other African countries. Gaddafi had no respect for anyone or for rules - he got what he wanted. Today things have changed. Those who used to receive money from him are quiet; they are not there to defend him. They have chewed his money in the ‘Don't kubeba' style and fashion.

We only hope that our politicians who try to survive by intimidating opponents, abusing state institutions to harass those who oppose or question what they are doing, and who abuse our judicial process and electoral system to keep themselves in power will soon end up the same way.

It is better to have a country with citizens who are independent, questioning and are analytical in their outlook. The best way to govern and preserve power is the democratic way. Democrats don't end up the Gaddafi way.

And democracies have also demonstrated remarkable resilience over time, and have shown that with the commitment and informed dedication of their citizens, they can overcome severe economic hardship, reconcile social and ethnic division, and, when necessary, prevail in time of conflict. It is the very aspects of democracy cited most frequently by dictators and tyrants that give it resilience.

The process of debate, dissent and compromise that some point to as weaknesses are, in fact, democracy's underlying strength. Whenever there is a problem, the best way to solve it is to subject it to debate, dissent and compromise. If people have issues, for instance, with the conduct of elections, the best thing is to let them freely air their views and strive for a compromise.

To some, this is not necessary, it is a waste of time and decisions have to be made only by those in power and purportedly mandated by law to do so. If it is printing ballot papers with a company that is corrupt, that shall be so and no one can change this if those in power feel it is okay to proceed with that company.

They say allowing other people to participate in such decision will be time-consuming, costly, and so on and so forth. Certainly, no one has ever accused democracies of being particularly efficient in their deliberations: democratic decision making can be a messy, gruelling and time-consuming process.

But in the end, a government resting upon the consent of the governed can speak and act with the confidence and authority lacking in a regime whose power is perched uneasily on the narrow ledge of force or a government elected through fraud and manipulation of the electoral process.

This is why it is necessary to construct a system of governance that is founded on the deeply held belief that government is best when its potential for abuse is curbed, and when it is held as close to the people as possible.

Democracy keeps a society from becoming stagnant and unprepared for the stresses and strains that work to tear all its achievements to pieces. There never used to be protests in Libya like we see or witness in many other more tolerant societies.

But the day the protests started in Benghazi, that marked the beginning of the end of Gaddafi's regime and that entire system of government. And this is why it is said that protests are a testing ground for any democracy.

The ideals of free expression and citizen participation are easy to defend when everyone remains polite and in agreement with the basic issues. But protestors - and their targets - do not agree on basic issues, and such disagreements may be passionate and angry.

The challenge then is one of balance: to defend the right to freedom of speech and assembly, while maintaining public order and countering attempts at intimidation or violence. To suppress peaceful protests in the name of order is to invite repression; to permit uncontrolled violent protests is to invite anarchy. There is no magic formula for achieving this balance.

In the end, it depends on the commitment of the majority to maintaining the institutions of democracy and the precepts of individual rights. Democratic societies are capable of enduring the bitterest disagreement among its citizens - except for disagreement about the legitimacy of democracy itself. Democracy is in many ways nothing more than a set of rules for managing conflict.

At the same time, this conflict must be managed within certain limits and result in compromises, consensus or other agreements that all sides accept as legitimate. An overemphasis on one side of the equation can threaten the entire undertaking. If groups perceive democracy as nothing more than a forum in which they can press their demands, the society can shatter from within.

If those in government exert excessive pressure to achieve consensus, stifling the voices of the people, society can be crushed from above. Democracy is not a machine that runs by itself once the proper principles and procedures are inserted. A democratic society needs the commitment of citizens who accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity for tolerance.

This is what our politicians in government and those they have employed to manage public institutions like the Electoral Commission of Zambia should learn. Today it is Libya burning; tomorrow it can be Zambia burning. The only way to avoid what is going on in Libya is to respect others and listen to the voice of the people and learn to negotiate with others, to compromise and work within the constitutional system.

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Defend yourselves from MMD violence - Guy Scott

Defend yourselves from MMD violence - Guy Scott
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 08:50 CAT

THE Patriotic Front (PF) has asked Zambians to defend themselves from the MMD-sponsored violence since the police are not ready to defend them. Addressing journalists yesterday at the party secretariat in Lusaka, PF vice-president Dr Guy Scott expressed disgust at the state media, which he said did not condemn the MMD violence but portrayed the opposition as violent parties.

Dr Scott, who was holding a copy of yesterday's state-owned but government-controlled Daily Mail which carried a story headlined: "PF unveils terror plan", Dr Scott described the story as rubbish.

He said the Daily Mail twisted a statement by PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba at a rally in Lusaka on Sunday when he urged PF members and the rest of Zambians to defend themselves from the MMD violence.

Kabimba said since police were sympathising with the MMD, the people were left with no choice but to defend themselves.

His call came in the wake of MMD cadres who were stationed at Kamwala to stop people from attending the PF rally.

Dr Scott wondered what the Daily Mail's motive of twisting an open statement was.

"Who can be stupid enough to unveil a terror plan? My own experience of the meeting is that I was dancing while I was in Mpongwe as those of you who read The Post may have seen," he said.

"And while I was dancing to the Baptist music, I got a phone call that the venue for our rally with a police permit opposite the Freedom Statue was infested with MMD cadres carrying machetes, catapults and so forth.

There were four buses and a truck, and unfortunately that put us in a position where we either had to chicken out or go ahead and take whatever measures necessary. We contacted the police at Lusaka Central so that they could clear the place but they failed. So our own cadres came to the site. And when the MMD was outnumbered, they left and we proceeded.

Police fear the MMD just like large sections of the press fear MMD. And we told our members, ‘please take whatever precautions you can for your safety'; that doesn't constitute terror plan."

And PF Chongwe parliamentary candidate Sylvia Masebo said President Rupiah Banda's statements denouncing violence were simply meant to appease donors.

"Kabonde, the IG Inspector General of Police is just a cadre, and you don't expect the police to be effective under an MMD cadre," Masebo said. "What do you expect from such a police? And so when people say ‘defend yourself', it is not that they are instigating violence. It is because they know that if you do not defend yourself, you will be dead, you will be killed.

If you do not defend yourselves, this election is as good as a rigged election already because you call for a meeting, your meeting is disrupted and then you have no people at your rally. You call that a free and fair election?

"How do you explain, immediately after an opposition leader makes a statement to his cadres to defend themselves, the next day there's a press conference from the IG to condemn and say ‘why are you taking the law in your own hands'? And yet there have been several statements made by those in the ruling MMD instigating violence.

No press conference has been called by the IG to condemn that because they are scared. And you say you have a police force? We do not have a police force in this country."

Chilanga PF parliamentary candidate Geoffrey Chumbwe urged his fellow party members not to be crybabies.

"The only person who can stop this violence is President Rupiah Banda. I say so because I know that President Rupiah Banda takes pride in violence," Chumbwe said. "Whether they like it or not we are going to say this now and again: that as far as we are concerned we are going to defend ourselves and we will not wait for the police. If defending ourselves amounts to terror then let it be, because we are not going to allow people beating us then we fold our arms. We are Zambians more than they are themselves."

And PF parliamentary candidate for Matero Constituency Miles Sampa said tactics of intimidating the opposition would not work in Zambia.

Mandevu PF parliamentary candidate Jean Kapata accused Kabonde of being a failure in his profession.

And the party's parliamentary candidate for Chawama Edgar Lungu said there was a calculated breakdown of law and order orchestrated by the MMD.

"If this country breaks into anarchy like in Zimbabwe, like in Kenya, like in Ivory Coast, we will put it squarely on Kabonde's hands. If police don't protect us, we will use reasonable force ourselves within the law," vowed Lungu.

And Prof Nkandu Luo, who is the party's candidate for Munali Constituency, said President Banda was not fit to lead the country.

And the party's parliamentary candidate for Kanyama Col Gerry Chanda accused all security wing leaders of being MMD cadres.

He said never before in Zambia's history had leaders of security wings ever called for a meeting where they were talking about a leader of an opposition party.

About a month ago, police and defence chiefs held a meeting where they denounced PF leader Michael Sata.

Other party members who spoke on similar lines were Kabwata parliamentary candidate Given Lubinda, Obvious Mwaliteta for Kafue Constituency and provincial chairman Davies Chama.

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ACC's lies over UPG shock Lubinda

ACC's lies over UPG shock Lubinda
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 10:20 CAT

GIVEN Lubinda yesterday said he is shocked that the ACC has continued to mislead the public that there is no investigation concerning any supplier of the ECZ.

Reacting to a statement by ACC chairperson justice Timothy Kabalata that the Commission was not investigating the ECZ or any of its suppliers because he and Post editor Fred M'membe had refused to avail the Commission with any information on the matter, Lubinda said it was not good to see that justice Kabalata had been misled by ACC director general Godfrey Kayukwa.

"I have provided information publicly and challenged Lt Col Kayukwa to deny that he doesn't know about it," Lubinda said.

"I have provided details of a bribery account number 0140034477502 held at Stanbic Zambia Limited which was used to pay bribes to some officers of the ECZ.

Why is Lt Col Kayukwa ignoring this fact? I have also publicly explained how the corruption, bribery and money laundering was operationalised by UPG, the company engaged by the ECZ to print ballot papers for next month's elections."

Lubinda said when he held a press briefing last Saturday, he explained that UPG appeared to request some targeted officers of the ECZ to set up dummy companies.

"These dummy companies which appear not to be connected to ECZ or any of its officers are then requested to give dubious invoices to companies created and controlled by UPG in tax havens.

This is the information I provided on Saturday," Lubinda said. "I further said that ‘in one of the cases that illustrate this, a senior officers of the ECZ, together with other colleagues, set up a microfinance company here in Zambia called Venturefin'.

This has been confirmed by ex-Venturefin employees. Venturefin later issued a dubious invoice for a colossal US $90,000 to a UPG-connected company called Aeron Limited of Mauritius for fictitious services. Aeron then paid Venturefin and this money was received in Stanbic Bank account number 0140034477502 and enjoyed by an official of the ECZ."

Lubinda said he did not end just by providing this information but further stated that Lt Col Kayukwa knew these facts because whistle-blowers had already given the ACC this information and confirmed with him.

"And some of these whistle-blowers have been interviewed by the ACC and repeated the same facts to the Commission," Lubinda said. "Why is Lt Col Kayukwa not responding to these direct and very specific challenges? That is why I am shocked to hear that they are not investigating UPG and are even trying to blame me.

I have made this information available to the public and Lt Col Kayukwa has not said I have lied because he cannot say that while sitting with the information that he has on this matter."

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I'm not lazy, says President Banda

I'm not lazy, says President Banda
By Abigail Chaponda and Kabanda Chulu
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 10:20 CAT

I AM not lazy as portrayed by Mike Mulongoti and it is not true that I don't work, says President Rupiah Banda. Mulongoti last week charged that President Banda is a very lazy man who goes to work late and knocks off early and in most cases works from home, where he receives all sorts of gifts.

During campaign meetings in Lambaland, President Banda urged people to vote for MMD, considering the developmental projects that were taking place in the area under his leadership.

"Within three years we have done what we can, not even a magician can do everything at once. But we shall concentrate on education, health and agriculture and right now we have for the first time built high schools and hospitals in Lambaland and we shall do more if re-elected," President Banda said.

"I am not lazy as portrayed by Mulongoti and it is not true that I don't work. I am everywhere working hard, trying to ensure that projects are done within my tenure. So why remove me when I am doing some good works?"

President Banda boasted that Zambians wanted change that would make sense in their livelihoods such as continuing living under MMD government.

"MMD is working and voting for our opponents is like taking to the garage a car that is in good condition. But (we) are not bothered since we shall dismantle the capacity of PF in this province because people have realised that they made mistakes in 2006," said President Banda.

President Banda said the MMD would leave no stone unturned in its quest to dismantle the capacity of PF on the Copperbelt.

Meanwhile, MMD elections chairperson Gabriel Namulambe has asked former works and supply minister Mulongoti to stop making noise about the source of campaign funds for the MMD.

In an interview, Namulambe said Mulongoti was one of the people who used to plan MMD election committee meetings.

"Mike knows where the MMD has been getting its campaign money. As a party, we have been preparing for elections since 2006 because we knew that we were going to have elections and Mulongoti knows that we have been planning for the 2011 elections and he should be the last person to talk about our sources of funding because he knows where it is coming from," Namulambe said.

"If the opposition did not plan for the elections, it should not be our problem. Mulongoti knows the truth and he should not lie to the opposition."

Namulambe said it was impossible for the MMD to lose an election and advised the opposition to concede defeat.

"Elections should not divide a country because it is just a game and the best candidate, which is MMD, is going to win this year's elections," said Namulambe.

"The opposition is scared because they don't have any issues to raise since the MMD government has worked on roads, hospitals, schools, water and sanitation and roads."

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Mufulira gives Rupiah a ‘Don't kubeba' welcome

Mufulira gives Rupiah a ‘Don't kubeba' welcome
By Abigail Chaponda in Masaiti and Misheck Wangwe in Mufulira
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 10:20 CAT

MUFULIRA residents on Tuesday raised and waved the PF symbol in protest against President Rupiah Banda's first visit to the town since 2008. President Banda visited Mufulira and took time to drive around the town centre, Chibolya compound, Kamuchanga and also visited Kwacha market in Kankoyo Constituency.

Most of the residents that lined up the streets from the town centre up to Kankoyo were heard shouting Don't kubeba and Pamaka slogans whilst raising clenched fists in support of the PF. Other residents including children displayed Sata's posters and the PF Chitenge material as President Banda and his entourage who were onboard the MMD-branded 70 seater-Higer bus waved back with the MMD symbol.

As President Banda made a stop-over at Kwacha market to greet traders, some people were seen walking out of the market in protest and shouting that he had failed to build a decent market for them.

At Kamuchanga grounds in Mufulira Central Constituency, President Banda addressed a rally and expressed happiness to be in the town since 2008.

"I am visiting Mufulira in the middle of elections to ask people for votes because my government is committed to develop the country," he said.

President Banda also presented letters of offer to sitting tenants of Mokambo, Thangata and Mine Basic School teachers' houses.

"I have the courage to stand before you and ask for your vote because of what we have done and what we will do to improve the living standards of people.

Look at the home empowerment programme, look at the roads and the bridges we are constructing. We are also working hard to improve water and sanitation systems," he said.

And addressing a campaign rally in Masaiti Constituency in the afternoon, President Banda began referring to the opposition PF party and its leader Michael Sata as being ‘impotent'.

"These people remind me of a ngomwa (impotent person). These ngomwas go round the village following women to the stream and you hear them say we love women.

At night, a ngomwa would follow a lady and knock on her door and when the woman asks who is at the door, the ngomwa says it's me, but you hear the woman chase the ngomwa away saying what can you do for me. Then women in the village would decide to let the ngomwa in to see what he can do," President Banda said.

He said PF had been complaining from the time he was elected as President.

"They have been saying we are not building schools, roads, hospitals and clinics and when we do that, they still complain that they are not seeing any development taking place. They have been saying they are ready for the elections and wanted the election date, I give them the date, and they still continue complaining, what is it that these ngomwas are trying to do?" President Banda asked.

He accused Sata and the PF of dillydallying and that they were trying to refuse to have elections by creating all sorts of problems.

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Nalubamba calls on Kayukwa to resign

Nalubamba calls on Kayukwa to resign
By Moses Kuwema
Tue 23 Aug. 2011, 17:40 CAT

ACC director general Lt Col Godfrey Kayukwa is irresponsible and a danger to the country, says senior chief Bright Nalubamba. Commenting on the continued corruption revelations surrounding Universal Print Group (UPG), a South African company engaged to print ballot papers for this year's elections, chief Nalubamba of the Ila people of Namwala district said Lt Col Kayukwa had proved that he was not impartial in his work and should therefore leave the system.

"The director general at ACC is totally irresponsible and a danger to the country. If he is not going to be impartial in his work, then what he can do is get out of the system. If he is a man of dignity, let him resign instead of being forced out," chief Nalubamba said.

"How can he be changing statements from one to another. He is confusing us and is totally irresponsible and a danger to the country, he must go."

Chief Nalubamba said there was need for the ACC to carry out thorough investigations on UPG in order to restore the people's confidence in the electoral system.

"What is impossible for the ACC? It's now extremely urgent for them to do something before it is too late otherwise the loss of confidence by the people can amount to chaos eventually or ultimately.

Why should they delay in investigating? What are they hiding? If Given Lubinda has raised those important details, then it means people's expectations are now high, we expect the ACC to do the investigations to prove Lubinda wrong or right," chief Nalubamba said.

He said the ACC had no choice but to convince Zambians that there was nothing in Lubinda's allegations and if there was something then they should inform the Electoral Commission of Zambia to drop the printing contract with UPG.

"The ACC right now has no confidence of the Zambians. I think if they are working for Zambians they have no choice but just to do that otherwise we won't be convinced that that contract was done properly," he said. "There is even talk of money being paid through an account at Stanbic Bank Zambia.

Do they mean there is no truth at all in the whole system? As Zambians we are not convinced that things are running well. We fear elections might be rigged and time is running out. What is the problem? Why is the ACC refusing to listen to the voice of the people?"

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Government lacks people to effect policies - energy PS

Government lacks people to effect policies - energy PS
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 08:40 CAT

GOVERNMENT ministries lack people and managers to implement the "tonnes and tonnes" of drawn policies, says energy permanent secretary Teddy Kasonso.

Speaking when he officiated at the first ever renewable energy forum organised by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB), Kasonso described as a ‘tragedy' the failure by the government to implement its own policies.

"The tragedy for Africa, and Zambia is no exception, is that we sit on tonnes and tonnes of information and education but the problem is implementation," Kasonso said.

"Managers and people to implement these policies that we make for ourselves, we don't have. Ministries have got tonnes and tonnes of policies agreed upon but never implemented. I hope yours conference on renewable energy will not be sat on. We must run fast and implement what you are going to discuss here."

Kasonso said the current power shortage at regional level, rising international oil costs, protection of the environment, the need for clean energy, and using energy to reduce high poverty levels in the country had seen a growing demand for renewable energy sources.

"The Zambian government is also keen to see the growth and development of renewable energies in the country so that contribution of renewable energy to the national energy mix is increased," said Kasonso.

Earlier, ERB vice-chairperson Ida Nkhoma said renewable energies were a clean source of energy, relatively cost-effective and an appropriate solution for mitigating the current power deficit, resulting in reduced dependence on fossil fuels.

"To further enhance our role in the sub-sector, the ERB has refocused its strategy and established a unit to specifically handle matters pertaining to renewable energy," said Nkhoma.

"This gives us the regulatory edge to adequately address and respond to the needs of stakeholders in the sub-sector."

The two-day workshop which closes today was aimed at promoting the development of the renewable energy sector with a specific focus on mini-hydro, biomass, energy crops, wind energy and geothermal energy.

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Exploit DRC market, ZDA prods businesses

Exploit DRC market, ZDA prods businesses
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 26 Aug. 2011, 08:40 CAT

ZAMBIAN entrepreneurs should take advantage of the huge prevailing consumer market opportunities offered by the DR Congo that is accounting for over 39 per cent of total non-traditional export earnings, says ZDA director for export promotions Glyne Michelo.

During the 11th trade mission to the DR Congo that started yesterday in Lubumbashi, Michelo stated that there was an absence of industrial activities and commercial agriculture in that country because it was not fully developed.

"This means that most basic food requirements and industrial products have to be imported thus offering a large market for Zambian exporters especially of agricultural products, food items and industrial products," Michelo stated. "The DR Congo has continued to be an important market for various Zambian products.

With its population of 68 million people, the country provides the largest consumer market for Zambian goods in the region with minimal transportation costs in comparison with other countries in the region."

He stated that Zambians should aspire to maintain a foothold in the market and expand its market share and also introduce new companies. "It is imperative for ZDA to relentlessly undertake such export promotional activities.

It is for this reason that the two governments have initiated the Bilateral Trade Agreement that will assist in removing most hurdles companies face in trading with the DR Congo market which is a highly lucrative market," stated Michelo.

"This market, especially the Katanga Province, is one of the largest markets
for Zambia's Non-Traditional Exports and is by far the largest single market in the COMESA market with immense potential for Zambian companies to significantly increase their export earnings."

In 2009, the DR Congo market accounted for US $567.3 million worth of Zambian products against US $439.65 million recorded in 2008.

This accounted for 39.8 per cent of total non-traditional export earnings for the period under review and this figure is only for merchandise exports and excludes services.

The trade mission will run concurrently with a solo exhibition where Zambian companies will showcase their products to their Congolese counterparts and be provided with a platform for matchmaking way of one-on-one meetings.

In 2010, the trade mission recorded confirmed orders valued at US $21,595,460 against the confirmed orders valued at US $6,814,800 in 2009 for the supply of various goods and services.

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(HERALD) Rex’s prophetic interview

Rex’s prophetic interview
Sunday, 21 August 2011 02:03 Local News

In 1978, the late Retired General Solomon Mujuru (known then as Rex Nhongo) was Zanu’s deputy defence secretary. Below we publish an interview he had with Tempo Magazine in Maputo, Mozambique, in December of that year. The interview was conducted in the heat of Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle.

Tempo: In your opinion, what is the current state of the Rhodesian military following the latest destabilising campaigns by the Zimbabwean combatants, particularly the fire that recently destroyed Salisbury’s reserve fuel tanks?

Rex Nhongo: Smith’s regime is desperate. Our power is increasing as a result of popular support. The people of Zimbabwe are behind the armed struggle. Only two days ago, Smith, himself, just admitted in a radio and television transmission that his troops are already facing considerable challenges in containing the numerous actions by the combatants.

In addition to this, the masses and even the international community are beginning to understand the necessity of an armed struggle. However, information on our progress is often under-reported to outsiders as our information channels are not yet within our control. For example, our fighters have already attacked Umtali three times, information which is not available to the public.

Tempo: The Smith government recently issued a public threat to the Government of the People’s Republic of Mozambique. It has vowed to execute violent attacks against Mozambique and to massacre ordinary citizens if the Mozambican government continues to support the Patriotic Front. What do you think about such a threat?

Rex Nhongo: This threat will not change anything. This threat is nothing new for us because Smith’s army has already been attacking the Mozambican people. It has been massacring the population since 1976; we have proof of this in Mapai, Changara, Mavue and other cases committed last week such as the attack on the Province of Sofala. This is nothing more than intimidation.

Tempo: Justin Nyoka, the Zimbabwean journalist who just spent three months in Zimbabwe with the Zanla forces, brought us important information on the liberated zones in Zimbabwe. As a fighter yourself, can you tell us what these liberated zones are?

Rex Nhongo: Liberated zones are areas where the enemy does not enter, zones within which the enemy can never be sighted. Of course when a free zone is discovered, it is immediately bombed by planes. But they are areas where the enemy troops do not venture. The morale of the combatants in these areas is very high. They have no doubt whatsoever that we will soon achieve victory.

Tempo: Can you explain to us from a politico-military perspective, the process which leads to the creation of a free zone?

Rex Nhongo: The first thing that we do when we get to an area which we know to be in the control of our forces, is to gather the civilian population in the area.

We then begin by giving clear explanations of our position. Why the armed struggle?! Then we make concerted efforts to remain with the masses. We stay together with them so that they will not alert the enemy agents. Isolating ourselves from the local populations would be our undoing. The same principle holds in the military camp.
Once our objective of sensitising the masses on the need for an armed struggle is achieved, the people themselves begin to ask to be armed.

After this we have a process of consolidating the free zones into the ideological and social framework. This begins with a session of political discussion with the people which is organised by our political commissars. It then continues through the creation of health centres, schools, etc.

As far as organising means of production in these liberated areas, we already have some co-operatives, but are currently faced with the challenge of defending them against air attacks.

Tempo: Zanu has just revealed that Zanla forces will soon mount a major offensive. Can you give us some general information on the new strategy that will be applied in this offensive?

Rex Nhongo: First of all, we will strongly descend on the only areas which are not liberated, the eastern horn. We will then proceed to the fundamental strategy of this offensive: the isolation of the enemy in the cities through the destruction of all avenues of communication.

To accomplish this, we will attempt to cut all roads and railway lines, as well as the telephone lines linking different cities. We will thus control all the land area leaving Smith with only the air space under his control. As far as the cities are concerned, we do not anticipate sophisticated defences.

Meanwhile we also have combatants inside the cities — factory workers — who we always keep informed on what is happening in the cities. Sometimes we also create conducive conditions for the entry of some groups of combatants.

Tempo: Infiltration by enemy agents in popular forces is a problem that is faced by many revolutionary movements. Can you tell us if this is a concern at the stage you are in?

Rex Nhongo: Infiltration is also a serious problem in Zanla, but it is not a problem that can stop the war.
Tempo: How do you think Smith will react when he finds that his defeat is imminent?

Rex Nhongo: I think we will have serious problems when that happens. He has already begun massacring populations, Zimbabwean civilians, in the hundreds.

I think he will then try to sabotage the economy. He will use napalm bombs everywhere. He will also conduct chemical warfare.

At this time, fear will grip the masses and they will begin to ask themselves who to support. But after a few months, they will hear that Smith has fled.

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(HERALD) Solomon Mujuru the farmer

Solomon Mujuru the farmer
Sunday, 21 August 2011 01:57 Local News
By Emilia Zindi

PLAYERS in the agriculture sector have described the late Cde Solomon Mujuru as a farmer par excellence who will be missed, especially at tobacco auction floors which he frequented during the marketing season.

He majored in tobacco farming and delivered between 800 and 1 000 bales each season. Former Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union vice president Cde Edward Raradza said memories of the national hero would be difficult to erase.

He said Cde Mujuru played a pivotal role in returning land to its rightful owners.
“We are farmers today because he freed this land. The farming community will never be the same without him,’’ he said.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Donald Khumalo said the farming community had been robbed of a gallant son of the soil who would be difficult to replace.

“We will forever remember this gallant son who liberated the land to ensure we became the proud black farmers we are today,” he said.

War veteran and farmer Cde Edward Matanhike said: “He was the brains behind my farming ventures. He once told me that the wealth we were in search of was in the land.

“He said we should feed the nation by working hard on the farms.’’

Mr Morris Chiwanga, a successful farmer from Beatrice, said he owes his success to the late army general who was his mentor.

“There are not many people who are successful and willing to share their secrets to success. The general was in a league of his own,” he said.

“He always gave me sound advice and whenever I ran into any problems he would assist me in every possible way.”

Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Cde Patrick Chinamasa said Cde Mujuru would forever be remembered for his contribution to black empowerment.

With a total of more than 150 employees on his Beatrice farm, the late war veteran was always ahead in farming preparations.

He had already done land preparation for this season with the tobacco seedbed ready for transplanting any time from now.

Some of the workers at his farm were busy at work last week, albeit mourning the death of their boss.

“He had already done land preparation for this season. We were to start planting in September as he had indicated,’’ said a worker, Mrs Patricia Zambuko.

Mrs Zambuko has worked for Cde Mujuru since 2001.
“His major crop was tobacco. He was also into maize production and wildlife,’’ she said.

A security guard at the farm, Mr Charles Katonha, worked for the national hero since 1983.

“He had become more of a father to me. He helped the workers a lot during the hyperinflation period, sourcing foodstuffs for us,’’ he said.

He said Cde Mujuru would at times get involved in the work in the fields, especially during planting and harvesting. “He would participate, spending the day with workers in the field.’’

Dadirai Tazvivinga, who also works on the farm, added: “He loved farming. He was always here attending to operations.’’-The Sunday mail

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(HERALD) Propaganda, media, regime change, SA and the myth of a South African powerhouse — a reality check

Propaganda, media, regime change, SA and the myth of a South African powerhouse — a reality check
Saturday, 13 August 2011 22:39 Opinion
By Udo W. Froese

ADOLF Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels declared: “If you have to use a lie to propagate your cause, you would have to repeat it more often than possible and use the established mainstream media to turn it into a publicly acceptable truth.”

A key CIA informer, Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, admitted he lied about his allegations that Iraq had “weapons of mass destruction”. He proudly announced that he would lie again to “bring democracy to the people of Iraq”.

When the international West unleashed its war against the people of Iraq, this deliberately unscrupulous and intentional lie for “democracy” cost over a million innocent human lives.

“Weapons of mass destruction (WMD)” was the popular media propaganda to motivate that Holocaust. The international West’s “war correspondents” became “embedded to be able to report from the front”, meaning openly travelling in and reporting from US/UK tanks, armoured vehicles and military bases.

In Shakespeare’s English, it is said, “all is fair in love and war”. You could add: the first victim in every war is the truth. Today’s global media often refers to “sweet, sweet lies and the ugly truth”.

Life’s experience taught this columnist that the victim of the propagated lie, cunningly packaged as truth, becomes its most ferocious defender and would die defending it.

A Savage War For “Peace” assisted by a Global Propaganda War

The destabilisation of North African countries and the Mideast, including Libya, was clearly explained in the international Western media networks.

CNN, BBCW, Sky News, Europe News, Al Jazeera, South Africa’s electronic media with the support of the print media, sang in unison from “the same hymn book and from the same page”, as guided by former US president George W. Bush Jnr and France’s head of state, Nicolas Sarkozy, at a Bretton Woods summit in 2008.

The global mainstream media describe the uprisings in North Africa and the Mideast as the “Arab Spring”, lauding the “people’s peaceful drive for democracy”, throwing their weight behind rebels that were described as “pro-democracy change agents” and condemning the heads of state and their governments as “corrupt dictators” at the same time.

Today, these countries and their people suffer the consequences. They find themselves in a daily struggle for survival, not being able to eat “democracy”, or to feed themselves.

Yet, the same media refuses to report on the nationwide unrests in Israel, where over 350 000 Israelis protest against Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government.

Israel rebels against huge price hikes and an exorbitantly high cost of living. The courageous former South African journalist, Paula Slier, reports on those uprisings daily for over three weeks. Slier is now based in Israel.

The international West’s media analysts and geo-political commentators openly admitted that their intelligence forces had prepared those “regime changes”, in some cases for over a period of 20 years, immediately after the “Cold War”.
The foreign intelligence services issued the “peace-loving, pro-democracy protestors” with arms and ammunition, uniforms, ration packs and military hardware and guidance.

In the case of Libya, they created a new, national bank overnight. Libya’s oil is a major motivator.

The organisation of the “pro-democracy change agents” was made possible through the media and modern-day high technology telecoms, which include social networking sites such as “Twitter”, “Facebook” and “MySpace”. The “Blackberry’s” sophisticated technology, BBM, is of assistance too. So is money, lots of it.

Above-mentioned are the same technological mechanisms and tactics used to enforce US/UK/EU/ Israel/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand-led “globalisation”. A seriously-funded “civil society” uses the above-mentioned for their agenda of “regime change” and creating parallel government structures to governments in Third World and African countries.

The UN Security Council, which includes South Africa, gave Nato the green light to invade Libya’s airspace. They bombed Libya to pieces. It seems South Africa’s decision to go with the international West’s decision against Libya — a fellow African country and member of the AU — will haunt President Zuma and the ANC-led government for time to come.

Is it not the case that an irrevocably bankrupt international West without any vision has declared a covert war against China, Russia and Iran? It is this reason for hitting on those small countries to clear North Africa and the Middle East in order to keep the feared forces out of the Mediterranean area. At the same time, countries that have economic and business relations with China, Russia and Iran are destabilised whilst their political leadership would be taken to the neo-colonial International Crimes Court (ICC) in The Hague, the Netherlands, Europe.

Syria, for example, is said to suffer at the hands of foreign interests because of its relationship with Iran. Powerful international Western countries mentioned to undermine Syria are the USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia and possibly also late-comer, Turkey.

US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham-Clinton called for economic and financial sanctions against Syria. She urged China and India, at the same time, to immediately stop trading with Syrian oil, as they are major investors in Syria’s oil industry. Clinton is perceived to command the real power in Washington DC.

South Africa’s media shows its undemocratic, neo-liberal one-sidedness too.
Two seasoned columnists expressed their opinions in one of South Africa’s newspapers. They were published and fired. One humorously described the behaviour of the people of mixed race (called Coloureds in SA). The other writer criticised an editor of a Sunday newspaper, at the same time defending the leader of the African National Congress’s Youth League (ANCYL), Julius Malema. Both writers are black-African South Africans.

On the one hand, the ruling ANC’s tripartite partner, Cosatu, and South Africa’s “civil society” viciously attack the governments of neighbouring Swaziland and Zimbabwe, more particularly King Mswati III and President Robert G. Mugabe.
Zealously committed opposition political parties, the international West and their media support are tirelessly at work reporting negatively on Swaziland and Zimbabwe, pushing for “regime change” in both countries.

On the other hand, when the ANCYL and Malema vocalise their support of a “regime change” in neighbouring Botswana, the same ANC, “civil society” and certain minority groups expect the ANC leadership to fire the Youth League leader. One would expect, what is good for the goose, is good for the gander.

Following could be contributing reasons for ANCYL call for a “regime change” in Botswana.

Some nine years ago, media and political analysts described Botswana as the “Trojan Horse” in the Sadc region because of its US American airbase, US satellite command and monitoring station and regular joint military manoeuvres with the US army in Botswana.

Even Israeli forces were mentioned to be present in Botswana, a country ruled by President Lt-Gen Seretse Khama Ian Khama, Commanding Officer of the Botswana Armed Forces and Minister of Defence, all in one.

In those years, Botswana’s presidential spokesman was also identified as a US citizen, who advised Botswana’s head of state then to withdraw from the unanimous Sadc decision to bring Zimbabwe back into the ranks of the British Commonwealth at its summit in Abuja, Nigeria, in December 2003.

Khama hosted Zimbabwe’s MDC-T leader, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleague, Tendai Biti, today Minister of Finance in Harare.

They claimed that they were fearing for their lives. Then Khama publicly criticised neighbouring Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF.

The above-mentioned developments and the setting up of the US’ Africa Command (Africom) in Botswana and Namibia do not seem to have created a sense of security among Sadc members.

Bankrupt propaganda mechanism protecting same old status quo

In South Africa too the media “sings from the same hymnbook and from the same page” — a happy collusion between the owners and shareholders of the publishing companies, the advertising industry and the “captains of industry”.

This small elite has often been described as an “incestuous family of inhumane and greedy oligarchs”, “enemies of democracy” and interested in profits only by furthering structured poverty among the majority of the country’s and the region’s population.

From the onset, those few oligarchs paid for and benefited from colonial-apartheid. It worked for their interest. They never had to answer to anyone for their unscrupulous vice-grip on people’s lives and their future. On the contrary, they benefited hugely from an ANC-led government in a “new” South Africa.

This is described as “free market economy”, based on international Western neo-liberal capitalism. A better description would be “centralised- corporatisation” and “neo-fascism”, the same side of the same coin.

Two media houses have embarked on a national campaign of “Lead SA”. That campaign focuses on fixing of potholes, driving with lights on during the day, anti-crime and pro-police support, a positive input into the daily lives of South Africans, etc, for now, to establish itself in the public domain. It is to popularise their nation-wide drive for “Lead SA”.

The same media company’s talk-radios employ hosts and research teams that openly promote “regime change” through “peaceful, pro-democracy, protests” in Zimbabwe and Swaziland, calling on their listeners to “assist” their neighbours with efforts for a “regime change”.

This columnist called in to inform the host, her team and the station that such propaganda-for-destabilisation in sovereign, neighbouring countries is illegitimate, possibly illegal and unconstitutional. The producer demanded what statement would have to be made on air.

However, when told this would not be the case, the producer insisted that the caller should promote the same pro-democratic call for interference in sovereign neighbours and members of the Sadc.

This writer stood his ground.
The producer hung up.

The media’s “Lead SA” campaign seems quite similar to the “pro-democracy” forces in northern Africa and the Middle East, being used to foment civil unrest in sovereign neighbouring countries to assist with “regime change”.

Besides the modern technology of mobile phones and computers, could such media not also be used for a similar “regime change” in South Africa under President Jacob Zuma and the ruling ANC?

Both media companies are foreign-owned and controlled. One knighted British subject and media baron, former rugby player, Sir Tony O’Reilly, and the other, the Kirsch family together with a local trade union fund give it local credibility.

It is seriously alleged that the latter deploys a former member of SA’s colonial-apartheid tri-cameral parliament under the late P. W. Botha for the minority Indian population group, Yussuf Ambramjee, to head “Lead SA”.

Democracy, freedom of speech and freedom of association seem seriously limited in South Africa. In fact, those democratic developments are now under threat.
South Africa’s media ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, seems just too happy with the state of affairs of such bigotry and repeated contradictions. So seems the South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF).

So seem the media barons and their minions. So seems the general public who have access to that media, which happens to make out hardly 5 percent of the total population of South Africa. It is only that small minority that can afford the media and the high costs of modern technology.

The established rightwing South African daily newspaper, The Citizen, remains in national circulation, despite it having been set up with stolen tax funds from the public during the colonial-apartheid regime. This newspaper was funded and launched in the 1970s by colonial-apartheid’s Dr Rugby, Dr Louis Luyt, and the notorious Department of Information under Minister Dr Connie Mulder and his director, Dr Eschel Rhoodie.

The editor of South Africa’s Sunday publication, City Press, is of Indian background. She edited the elitist investigative weekly journal, Mail & Guardian before. City Press is geared for an elite black African market.

During one of the local radio talk shows, a caller from Soweto complained on air, that to make a person from a different, un-indigenous minority group editor of a publication that markets itself as a “black African newspaper” for a miniscule middle-class black-African readership is historically, culturally and traditionally off the mark, as such an editor would simply not be able to understand its clientele at all.

The reputation of the Sunday publication City Press seems to be that of a provocateur and Chief Whip to streamline national thinking behind the same old status quo and agenda, discussed only behind closed doors. Meanwhile, the same powerful individuals, who own Nasionale Pers, Media 24, MNET-MultiChoice, seem to collude with and be behind the AVUSA Publishing Group and e-tv.

On the other hand, PrimeMedia and Independent Newspaper Group add their weight to the same cause, having created their “pro-democracy Lead SA” programme. That leaves the public broadcaster, the SABC, and the new daily newspaper, New Age, as the only two media organs not yet part of the national media strategies.

This writer’s column was published in the weekly City Press where he also wrote in defence of sovereignty, independence, democracy, tolerance and respect, understanding real African leaders such as Robert Mugabe, Sam Nujoma, Winnie Mandela, Chris Hani, Steve Biko, Kwame Nkrumah, Patrice Lumumba, Ahmed Ben Bella and many unsung heroes of the Pan-African, anti-colonial-apartheid-settler struggle and their cause.

The former editor then had the decency to call the writer, informing him that the Group CEO of Nasionale Pers/Media 24, who owns and publishes City Press, Koos Bekker, had told him telephonically to drop this columnist immediately because of his analysis. But, no official reasons were given. That was in 2003, well into the “new, democratic” South Africa and Bishop Tutu’s “Rainbow Nation”.

Shortly thereafter, this writer was published in the Sowetan Sunday World. This, too, was shortlived. The analytical exposure of the geo-strategic position and the role of Botswana in the Sadc and the former senior member of the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patricia de Lille, today Democratic Alliance (DA) mayor of Cape Town and other such exposures were just too much for the editor and his publisher.

Saving Democracy in South and Southern Africa

The owners of the Fourth Estate should be identified for the public and held responsible to lead by example, respecting democracy, sovereignty, media freedom, freedom of speech and freedom of association. At the same time, they should be stopped through a media watchdog to collude as transpired, for example, when the enemies of President Jacob Zuma, together with certain editors, built a case against the incumbent president.

Particularly, the media should be transparent, working with government and the public.

The media’s meddling in power politics, continuous attempts in character assassination, misrepresentation of facts, contradictions, using the law and “human rights” in its favour to achieve its goals and its overall bigotry are all equal to the evil “blood libel” of well-paid agents of confusion.

As in neighbouring Sadc member countries, South Africa’s ruling ANC would be well advised to set up its own national daily newspaper and become part of the regional initiative of establishing a regional weekend newspaper and add a weekly ANC party newspaper to compete with the private media.

Such effort would be able to balance the media industry of South Africa and the Sadc region. This form of responsible leadership would not tolerate fear or favour.

“Continental Powerhouse” — Fact or Propaganda?

In conclusion, former South African president Thabo Mbeki defined the country realistically. He described it as two societies located in the south of the African continent:

(i) one majority black African, represented by the ruling ANC, but with no access to the economy, to banks and land, to proper education — thus, historically exposed to structured poverty and

(ii) the other well-to-do minority Caucasian, Eurocentric owners of the economy, most of who already had shifted their head offices and capital to the City of London under the banner of “globalisation”.

As soon as black African South Africans show a serious interest at becoming part of the mining, banking, agricultural and land sectors, its current owners and shareholders threaten a full-scale economic war, claiming, as always, foreign investment would stop immediately and jobs would be lost, as if black African South Africans ever had any benefits from foreign capital.

They would have to be content with a neoliberal democracy.

For all the above-mentioned reasons, it would not make sense to perceive South Africa as a “powerhouse of Africa”.

It is, however, good propaganda, which suits the real owners of the status quo.

* Udo Froese is a published columnist, independent political and socio-economic analyst based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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(TIMES ZAMBIA) Zanaco counsels SMEs

Zanaco counsels SMEs
By Business Reporter

ZANACO has urged Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to establish organisational structures that will enable them continue operating smoothly even in an event of a senior member of a venture dying or being incapacitated.

Zanaco Ndola West senior manager Boyd Sichone said during a financial literacy workshop that a number of SMEs in the country did not have established structures for them to operate smoothly in the absence of a pioneer.

He said many entrepreneurs did not involve their spouses and other key members of their families leading to the collapse of the ventures in an event of incapacitation or death.

He said entrepreneurs should ensure that they involved other people in the day-to-day running of business to ensure continuity and smooth operations.

"Issues such as keeping of financial records and day-today running of a business should be made available to one's spouse or any other close members so that in an event of death or incapacitation the venture does not collapse.

“Most of the time the family members are left in problems after the collapse of a business," Mr Sichone said.

Zanaco sponsored the workshop in conjunction with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) tool kit project and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the Word Bank for SMEs at the Savoy Hotel.

He said the SMEs were an important component in national development as they were the engine of economic growth.

Mr Sichone said Zanaco has recognised the SMEs as important partners, the reason why a specific training programme had been developed for them.

He said many SMEs did not understand matters relating to raising financing in order to boost their operations and ended up collapsing in initial stages.

Mr Sichone said the training programme would assist emerging entrepreneurs to submit effective business plans and complete documentation when applying for credit facilities offered by the bank.

COMESA toolkit Zambia project coordinator Edwin Zulu urged SMEs to enhance collaboration and networking with organisations such as the district business associations and business chambers.

Mr Zulu said business for emerging entrepreneurs became cost-effective if they collaborated.

"When you are operating in isolation, you may not get the business ideas from others. Operational costs can be reduced through collaboration. For instance, you can share transport costs with a fellow SME dealing in the same products if you are transport goods from the same point," he said.

He said SMEs should remain focused and only diversify when it became necessary.

Mr Zulu said SMEs should only venture into a business only after a thorough and careful market research.

He said it would be a disaster for anyone to start business without sufficient information about the market as such a move was likely to collapse.

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(TRINICENTER) Caribbean: Monsanto in Haiti

Caribbean: Monsanto in Haiti
Posted on Friday, July 15 @ 07:08:00 AST
Topic: Haiti
HaitiBy Beverly Bell
July 15, 2011 -

Last week, thousands of farmers and supporters of Haitian peasant agriculture marched for hours under the hot Caribbean sun to call for more government support for locally grown seeds and agriculture.

The demonstration was organized by the Peasant Movement of Papay and other farmer associations, human rights and women’s groups, and the Haitian Platform for Alternative Development (PAPDA), the Haitian online agency AlterPresse reported from the march. The official theme of the peaceful demonstration was “Land Grabbing is Endangering Agricultural Sovereignty.”

Singing slogans like “Long Live Haitian Agriculture!” and “Long live local seeds!” the crowd – wearing straw hats and red T-shirts – wound its way on foot, donkeys, and bikes through this dusty provincial capital. The demonstration ended at a square named for farmer Charlemagne Péralte, who lead the “Caco” peasant revolt against the U.S. army occupation from 1916 until 1919, when U.S. Marines assassinated him.

Aid to Haiti

cc Wikimedia Last spring, Haiti’s minister of agriculture gave agribusiness giant Monsanto permission to ‘donate’ 505 tonnes of seeds to Haiti ‘to support the reconstruction effort’. A year later, Beverly Bell asks what has become of the seeds that Monsanto gave, and ‘how real was the fear of Haitian farmer organizations that the donation was a Trojan horse?’

One year ago, thousands of farmers covered the same march route to protest the import of a “gift” of seeds from Monsanto. The farmers burned some of the seeds, calling them a “death plan” for peasant agriculture.

Last spring, in violation of Haitian law, the Minister of Agriculture gave the agribusiness giant Monsanto permission to “donate” 505 tons of seeds to Haiti. The first shipment of 60 tons, reportedly of maize and vegetable seeds, arrived in May 2010. Some of the seeds were coated with a chemical (Thiram)[1] so toxic that the EPA forbids its sale to home gardeners in the U.S.. Monsanto announced its $4 million gift was “to support the reconstruction effort” in Haiti. What has become of the seeds that Monsanto gave? And how real was the fear of Haitian farmer organizations that the donation was a Trojan horse?

Haiti Grassroots Watch explored the impacts in a three-month investigation, “Seeding Reconstruction or Destruction?” and “Monsanto in Haiti.” Excerpts from the report follow.


In Haiti, a US Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded agricultural project accepted the Monsanto “gift.” USAID/WINNER (Watershed Initiative for National Natural Environmental Resources) is a five-year, $126 million US taxpayer-funded agriculture and environment program. WINNER is run by giant beltway contractor Chemonics International, which in 2010 ranked #51 on the list of top 100 US government contractors in the world, earning over $476 million in contacts that year.

USAID/WINNER’s Chief of Party is Jean Robert Estimé, minister of Foreign Affairs under dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier.


In its post-earthquake strategy document, the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture called for massive seed distribution – covering 30 percent of farmers’ needs – for three seasons post-earthquake, and gave its warm approval of the Monsanto “gift.” This is even though allowing new varieties (the maize and most of the vegetable varieties) onto Haitian soil directly contravenes Haitian law and international conventions… which aim to protect the gene pool and the ecosystem in general.

The Ministry of Agriculture issued a list of “approved” seed varieties in March. None of the maize varieties on the list are hybrids.

Asked by Haiti Grassroots Watch about the fact that new varieties posed a threat to Haitian biodiversity, and that seeds and other plants and animals are being imported into Haiti without control, Ministry of Agriculture Director of National Seed Services Emmanuel Prophete admitted that the Ministry does not have the power to control the borders.

“We are supposed to have a quarantine system, and all seeds should be tested for germination and adaptation before they are distributed,” Prophete conceded in an interview earlier this year. “We don’t have the power to do that at this time.”

Asked about the introduction of the Monsanto hybrid seeds onto Haitian soil, Francesco Del Re of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) would not directly condemn the “gift” seeds. But, he noted, for its emergency seed distributions, the FAO-led “Agriculture Cluster” imported only the seeds on [the government approval] list, “for a very precise reasons, because the hybrids need to be renewed every year and do have to be bought by peasants every year.”

Asked if the FAO attempted to block the Ministry or the USAID/WINNER program from importing and distributed seeds, Del Re said: “We gave advice. That is what we did. Afterwards, naturally, we are not the national police, so we can’t verify everything, everywhere, but we did all we could do… I agree with the philosophy that we discussed with the Ministry and that we put into place with them. Afterwards, if other partners make other choices, that is their responsibility.”


In a May 13 news release, Monsanto announced: “Haitian farmers, who otherwise may not have had sufficient seeds to plant this season [Haiti Grassroots Watch emphasis] in their earthquake-ravaged country, are receiving help from a unique public and private partnership.”

Except… Haitian farmers did have enough seed to plant that season, according to several reports.

Monsanto’s “gift” announcement came a full two months after the Catholic Relief Service (CRS) – which has extensive experience in Haitian agriculture development work – released a “rapid seed assessment” report [PDF] for southern Haiti, one of the areas worst-hit by the earthquake. The assessment, circulated to humanitarian and development organizations working in Haiti, recommended against the importation and distribution of seeds. CRS wrote: “Direct seed distribution should not take place given that seed is available in the local market and farmers’ negative perceptions of external seed. This emergency is not the appropriate time to try to introduce improved varieties on anything more than a small scale for farmer evaluation. [our emphasis]”

A multi-agency seed security study shepherded by International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) in the spring and summer of 2010 warned that “one should never introduce varieties in an emergency context which have not been tested in the given agro-ecological site and under farmers’ management conditions.”

Reached in January 2011, principal CIAT researcher Louise Sperling noted that most hybrids require extra water and better soils, and that most of Haiti was not appropriate for maize hybrids. While not opposed to the use of hybrids – when there is adequate training, irrigation, fertilizer, and when farmers can afford to replace them – she said she was concerned that “the hybrids being promoted have never been tested extensively on-farm” in Haiti.

And, she asked, “What if the technology fails? And, if [farmers] want to buy the seed again, where will it be available and at what price?”


At least some of the peasant farmer groups receiving Monsanto and other hybrid maize and other cereal seeds have little understanding of the implications of getting “hooked” on hybrid seeds. (Most Haitian farmers select seeds from their own harvests.) One of the USAID/WINNER trained extension agents told Haiti Grassroots Watch that in his region, farmers won’t need to save seeds anymore: “They don’t have to kill themselves like before. They can plant, harvest, sell or eat. They don’t have to save seeds anymore because they know they will get seeds from the [WINNER-subsidized] store.”

When it was pointed out that WINNER’s subsidies end when the project ends in four years, he had no logical response.

Director of National Seed Service Prophete told Haiti Grassroots Watch that when peasants get improved seed varieties, production rises, but “the system is based on a subsidy… You have to ask yourself about the sustainability because if the policy changes one day, where will peasants get seeds?... We’ll get to a point where, one day, we have a lot of seeds, and then suddenly, when all the NGOs are gone, we won’t have any.”


According to its website, one of WINNER’s goals is to help famers “increase their productivity and to double their incomes in five years” through the use of better irrigation and techniques, and by using better seeds, fertilizers, and other inputs provided at only a tenth the of actual cost through “Farmer’s Stores” run by local farmers organizations.

One USAID/WINNER staffperson passed on an internal document to the journalists. “Preliminary Report on the seed donation of hybrid maize and vegetable seeds from MONSANTO” revealing USAID/WINNER’s intent. According to the document, “Despite a whole media campaign [by grassroots organizations and “political leaders”] against hybrids under the cover of GMO/Agent Orange/Round Up, the seeds were used almost everywhere, the true message got through, although not at the level hoped for [emphasis added].”

The report continues, “We are in the process of working as quickly as possible with farmers to increase as much as possible the use of hybrid seeds in the plain areas where it is possible to give them technical support.”

Even though most of the internally displaced people (66 percent) had returned to cities by mid-June, seed distributions continued throughout 2010 and into 2011. When CIAT researcher Sperling learned of this in March, 2011, she told Haiti Grassroots Watch, “Direct seed aid – when not needed, and given repetitively – does real harm. It undermines local systems, creates dependencies and stifles real commercial sector development.”

Sperling added that some humanitarian actors “seem to see delivering seed aid as easy and they welcome the overhead (money) – even if their actions may hurt poor farmers.”


At least some of the farmer groups interviewed don’t appear to understand the health and environmental risks involved with the fungicide- and herbicide-coated hybrids. Until Haiti Grassroots Watch intervened, some farmers were planning to grind up the toxic seed to use as chicken feed.

In one of our sites of investigation, the Farmers’ Store is actually a room in a community building that was unlocked and unstaffed on at least one Haiti Grassroots Watch visit. The building is located in a neighborhood full of families with children.

Inside the room, sacks of sorghum and maize seeds, bags of fertilizer and boxes of seeds are all jumbled into a huge pile. Some of the sacks are labeled, others are not. Several open bags from Monsanto/DeKalb in Brazil spill bright pink, chemically coated maize seeds onto the floor. Other maize seeds are in unlabeled white sacks which are punctured with holes… made by rats? Children? The farmers? That seed is covered with a white powder.

A half-empty bag of Pioneer seeds, also presumably hybrid, and presumably treated with fungicide and herbicide, sits open. Sunlight streams in through two windows, meaning that airborne Maxim XL, which coats the Monsanto/DeKalb seeds, and other airborne fungicides, pesticides and fertilizers could just as easily stream out. And into the lungs of nearby schoolchildren.

Syngenta, maker of Maxim XL, warns that skin and eye contact, and inhalation, are dangerous. “DO NOT use treated seed for animal or human consumption... DO NOT allow treated seed to contaminate grain or other seed intended for animal or human consumption. DO NOT feed treated seed, or otherwise expose, to wild or domestic birds,” one warning label reads.

Boxes of vegetable seed – presumably from Monsanto but not labeled as such – are jumbled about. Many of the seeds are treated with Thiram. In 2004, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that Thiram cannot be used in home gardens, on apples, or on playing fields. The 260-page report also detailed adverse health effects on humans, noting details like “the chronic toxicity profile for Thiram indicates that the liver, blood and urinary system are the target organs.” Thiram also has “effects” on foraging birds’ reproduction, and thus Thiram-coated seed should not be broadcast on the soil.

There are also bags of Mancozeb. The EPA also looked at Mancozeb recently (2005), saying the fungicide “poses some acute and chronic risks to birds and mammals” and that handlers need to wear full protective clothing, gloves and a “PF 5” respirator.

“Yes, all of this is dangerous. When you use Mancozeb, the farmer needs to wear a face mask, glasses and gloves,” the farmer agreed. “USAID doesn’t give them to us, but we buy them so they are available to the farmers.”

When Haiti Grassroots Watch asked the farmer where the gloves and masks were stored, he looked around under some of the seed sacks. “Well, maybe they ran out but we always buy them and have them here,” he said, hesitantly. “I don’t know exactly where they are.”

The farmer and the journalists thoroughly searched the room. There was no protective gear.


USAID/WINNER keeps a lid on its activities and tightly controls access to its work. Several WINNER employees told Haiti Grassroots Watch that before starting contracts, all staff had an agreement with Chemonics which prohibits their speaking with the media.

Haiti Grassroots Watch repeatedly requested an interview with USAID/WINNER agronomists and officials to follow up on the seed “gift.” Requests were repeatedly denied. In addition, Communications Director Maxwell Marcelin broadcast an email – obtained by Haiti Grassroots Watch – warning: “… a journalist is trying to do a report, including the project USAID/WINNER… I ask you to be very vigilant and, if the case presents itself, do not respond to any question, no matter how simple it seems… It is important to advise us immediately of all incidents, or requests, in order to help us better respond.”


* This article first appeared in Toward Freedom.
* Beverly Bell has worked with Haitian social movements for over 30 years. She is also author of the bookWalking on Fire: Haitian Women's Stories of Survival and Resistance. She coordinates Other Worlds, which promotes social and economic alternatives. She is also associate fellow of the Institute for Policy Studies.
* Please send comments to editor[at]pambazuka[dot]org or comment online at Pambazuka News.


[1] Email from Elizabeth Vancil to Emmanuel Prophete, Director of Seeds at the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, and others; released by the Haitian Ministry of Agriculture, date unavailable.

Reproduced from:

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(THE ROVING EYE) Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya

Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya
By Pepe Escobar

Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P ("responsibility to protect"). Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.

But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.

It will take some time; Libyan oil won't totally return to the market within 18 months. But there's the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq ...)

Anyway - from oil to rebuilding - in thesis juicy business opportunities loom. France's neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's David of Arabia Cameron believe they will be especially well positioned to profit from NATO's victory. Yet there's no guarantee the new Libyan bonanza will be enough to lift both former colonial powers (neo-colonials?) out of recession.

President Sarkozy in particular will milk the business opportunities for French companies for all they're worth - part of his ambitious agenda of "strategic redeployment" of France in the Arab world. A compliant French media are gloating that this was "his" war - spinning that he decided to arm the rebels on the ground with French weaponry, in close cooperation with Qatar, including a key rebel commando unit that went by sea from Misrata to Tripoli last Saturday, at the start of "Operation Siren".

Well, he certainly saw the opening when Muammar Gaddafi's chief of protocol defected to Paris in October 2010. That's when the whole regime change drama started to be incubated.

Bombs for oil

As previously noted (see Welcome to Libya's 'democracy', Asia Times Online, August 24) the vultures are already circling Tripoli to grab (and monopolize) the spoils. And yes - most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the "rebel" Arabian Gulf Oil Company; "We don't have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."

These three happen to be crucial members of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which are actually growing while the Atlanticist, NATO-bombing economies are either stuck in stagnation or recession. The top four BRICs also happen to have abstained from approving UN Security Council resolution 1973, the no-fly zone scam that metamorphosed into NATO bringing regime change from above. They saw right through it from the beginning.

To make matters worse (for them), only three days before the Pentagon's Africom launched its first 150-plus Tomahawks over Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gave an interview to German TV stressing that if the country were attacked, all energy contracts would be transferred to Russian, Indian and Chinese companies.

So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France's Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar - which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained "rebels" in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya - the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.

Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli's new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.

The "rebels" of new Libya better not mess with China. Five months ago, China's official policy was already to call for a ceasefire; if that had happened, Gaddafi would still control more than half of Libya. Yet Beijing - never a fan of violent regime change - for the moment is exercising extreme restraint.

Wen Zhongliang, the deputy head of the Ministry of Trade, willfully observed, "Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation." Official statements are piling up emphasizing "mutual economic cooperation".

Last week, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), told Xinhua that all deals and contracts agreed with the Gaddafi regime would be honored - but Beijing is taking no chances.

Libya supplied no more than 3% of China's oil imports in 2010. Angola is a much more crucial supplier. But China is still Libya's top oil customer in Asia. Moreover, China could be very helpful in the infrastructure rebuilding front, or in the technology export - no less than 75 Chinese companies with 36,000 employees were already on the ground before the outbreak of the tribal/civil war, swiftly evacuated in less than three days.

The Russians - from Gazprom to Tafnet - had billions of dollars invested in Libyan projects; Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and the construction company Odebrecht also had intrests there. It's still unclear what will happen to them. The director general of the Russia-Libya Business Council, Aram Shegunts, is extremely worried: "Our companies will lose everything because NATO will prevent them from doing business in Libya."

Italy seems to have passed the "rebel" version of "you're either with us or without us". Energy giant ENI apparently won't be affected, as Premier Silvio "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi pragmatically dumped his previous very close pal Gaddafi at the start of the Africom/NATO bombing spree.

ENI's directors are confident Libya's oil and gas flows to southern Italy will resume before winter. And the Libyan ambassador in Italy, Hafed Gaddur, reassured Rome that all Gaddafi-era contracts will be honored. Just in case, Berlusconi will meet the TNC's prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, this Thursday in Milan.

Bin Laden to the rescue

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu - of the famed "zero problems with our neighbors" policy - has also been gushing praise on the former "rebels" turned powers-that-be. Eyeing the post-Gaddafi business bonanza as well, Ankara - as NATO's eastern flank - ended up helping to impose a naval blockade on the Gaddafi regime, carefully cultivated the TNC, and in July formally recognized it as the government of Libya. Business "rewards" loom.

Then there's the crucial plot; how the House of Saud is going to profit from having been instrumental in setting up a friendly regime in Libya, possibly peppered with Salafi notables; one of the key reasons for the Saudi onslaught - which included a fabricated vote at the Arab League - was the extreme bad blood between Gaddafi and King Abdullah since the run-up towards the war on Iraq in 2002.

It's never enough to stress the cosmic hypocrisy of an ultra-regressive absolute monarchy/medieval theocracy - which invaded Bahrain and repressed its native Shi'ites - saluting what could be construed as a pro-democracy movement in Northern Africa.

Anyway, it's time to party. Expect the Saudi Bin Laden Group to reconstruct like mad all over Libya - eventually turning the (looted) Bab al-Aziziyah into a monster, luxury Mall of Tripolitania.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007) and Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge. His new book, just out, is Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at

To follow Pepe's articles on the Great Arab Revolt, please click here.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

(NYASATIMES) Karonga locals take on uranium miners

Karonga locals take on uranium miners
August 25, 2011

A community task team from Malawi’s northern region district of Karonga has petitioned government for access to information that will enable them to effectively monitor mining activities in the area for compliance with fundamental human rights and labour standards.

They petitioned the Ministry of Natural Resources, Energy and Environment, the Department of Environmental Affairs, the Department of Mines and the Ministry of Labour.

The Karonga Natural Resources Justice Committee (KANRJC), which submitted the petition, was formed specifically to oversee natural resources and development issues that affect the general public in Karonga.

Their groundbreaking initiative seeks to use provisions in Malawi’s environmental protection laws that guarantee citizens’ access to information in order to protect their communities’ health, environmental, property and labour rights.

In particular, KANRJC seeks information on the operations at Kayelekera Uranium Mine and Mwabulambo Coal Mine. It is concerned for compliance with environmental and safety standards at the mines, land allocation for mining without proper compensation being provided to the dispossessed land owners and delivery on undertakings by the mining companies in terms of development agreements with the government of Malawi.

Kayelekera's Paladin uranium mine site in Karonga

The Kayelekera Uranium Mine is the first uranium mine in Malawi. It is operated by Australian company Paladin Energy Ltd. The government of Malawi offered the company a reduced regime of corporate and rent tax in exchange for a fifteen percent stake in the project.

While the extraction of uranium is a dangerous activity that poses risks to the local community’s health, life and livelihood, these risks are increased where the activities are not strictly regulated, managed and monitored.

Mwabulambo Coal Mine is operated by Eland Coal Mining Company. Residents of villages situated close to the mine complain that they and their families have suffered illness as a result of the mining operation. They are also concerned about the land allocated the mine and the provision of compensation where families are forced to relocate.

Luke Tembo, Information Officer of the Centre for Human Rights and Rehabilitation (CHRR), which forms part of KANRJC, said of the initiative: “We recognize that mining operations can contribute significantly to Malawi’s development and poverty alleviation but all Malawians need to benefit from these operations. Mining can’t happen at the cost of peoples’ health, their land, their livelihoods”.

In addition to CHRR, KANRJC comprises the Uraha Foundation, Citizens for Justice, Young Politicians Union, Karonga Women Forum, Focus, Ngerenge Community Based Organisation and two village headmen from the area.

The petition is supported by Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) in partnership with the Open Society Justice Initiative (OSJI), whose right to information program uses litigation to develop the right of access to information in Africa.

It was filed in terms of the Environmental Management Act and the Constitution which allow for access to both general and specific environmental information held by state organs. The petition seeks various documents relating to:

- Environmental and safety inspections and programmes conducted by the government.

- Development agreements with the government.

- Land allocated for the mining activities as per the licences issued to the mining companies and amounts of money disbursed or allocated for relocation and compensation of displaced villagers.

- Information concerning the state of human health and conditions of human life in as much as they are affected by the mining operations.

In recent weeks large-scale protests have taken place in Malawi with demonstrators voicing their discontent at the state’s inability to ensure that average Malawians can provide for their day to day costs. Fuel shortage, decreased income and a rise in food costs, were primary concerns.

Says Tembo: “With the government looking to make mining a chief forex earner for Malawi, transparency and accountability in these operations is needed right from the beginning, if they are to boost Malawi’s export GDP and serve all Malawians.”

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(NYASATIMES) Malawi plans to legalise charcoal production

Malawi plans to legalise charcoal production
By Andrew Nyayah, Nyasa Times
August 25, 2011

The Malawi Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) plans to secure government’s commitment to sustainable charcoal production and facilitate the spread of legal licensing of charcoal by supporting pilot projects in Zomba and other districts, it has been established.

Apart from that the group also plans to build government, citizen and civil society uses of legal tools, such as procurement policies for only buying sustainable licensed charcoal.

The FGLG teams bring together representatives of communities, governments, civil society organisations, businesses and the media, to explore the drivers of poor forest governance and to influence policymaking.

The revelations are contained in report released on Thursday, titled “Plans to protect forests could do more harm than good unless power is in local hands” by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED).

Charcoal production to be legalised

The report highlights success stories at the national level, in which FGLG teams have influenced policy processes to promote outcomes that benefit forest-dependent communities who have been marginalised.

It draws on the work of Forest Governance Learning Group (FGLG) teams in ten nations in Africa and Asia to promote decision making about forests that is fair and sustainable.

The Malawi group also aims to pilot the formalisation at district level of the community bylaws developed in Ntcheu, and use film and other media products to create greater awareness of community forest management rights and enterprise rights.

“FGLG-Malawi’s efforts to work with FAO and others in scaling up the community management at Ntcheu were modified in the light of the potentially substantial resources and attention which might be focused on charcoal production if a Millennium Challenge Corporation initiative with the government can be established,” said the report’s authors James Mayers and Leianne Rolington of IIED.

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(NYASATIMES) Transcript of Mutharika’s war cry

Transcript of Mutharika’s war cry
By Ganizani Desmond, a blogger
August 25, 2011

Note: This speech was made on Thursday the 25th of August, 2011, at the occasion of opening the 2011 Agricultural Trade Fair by the President of the Republic of Malawi, Mr Bingu wa Mutharika

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) supporters singing Zivute zitani ife Amalawi tili pambuyo pa a Bingu (translation: Come hail or high waters we stand solidly behind Bingu). Then they break into a chant: Boma! Boma! Boma! Boma! (Translation: We’re in power! We’re in power!)

Bingu: Chala m’mwamba! Chala m’mwamba! Chala m’mwamba! (DPP slogan/symbol Raise your finger, raise your finger!) Malawi woyeee! (Translation: Viva Malawi!)

Mutharika: Let's fight

Supporters: Woyeee!

Bingu: DPP woyee! (Translation: Viva DPP!)

Supporters: Woyeee!

Bingu: Nanga ulimi woyeee! (Translation: And viva agriculture!)

Supporters: Woyeee! Boma ilo! Boma ilo! Boma ilo! (Translation: Viva! Look, we’re in power!)

Bingu: (Speaking in Chichewa) Honourable Mr Chimunthu Banda MP, Speaker of the National Assembly; Honourable Mr Lovemore Munlo SC, Chief Justice; Honourable Mr Matthews Chikankheni, president of the Malawi Confederation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Honourable Mrs Erica Maganga, Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security; Honourable councilors and principals of chambers of commerce and industry; all honourable MPs here today; honourable members of the diplomatic corps; all honourable business captains; honourable paramount chiefs, senior chiefs and other traditional leaders here today; all honourable exhibitors; I recognize Bingu’s Women in the DPP; Bingu’s Women in the civil service; DPP Cadets; Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

First and foremost I greet you all.

Supporters: Thank you!

Bingu: How are you?

Supporters: We’re fine and you!

Bingu: I’m fine.

Supporters: Thank you.

Bingu: Let me start by thanking all of you for coming in such large numbers. I say this because there are some people who, when drunk, say that DPP is no more, the Government is no more (Supporters interject ‘They’re telling lies!’), so by coming in such large numbers you have demonstrated that what they are saying is nonsense. The Democratic Progressive Party is growing from strength to strength and the Government remains strong as ever. Don’t mistake the Government’s silence for ineptitude. All those insolent people I can arrest them if I so wish. I want you to know that. Government remains in control but I choose to be silent because I believe in democracy. But there are some who, when drunk, go yak-yak-yak; don’t think I can’t arrest you. (Switches to English) I want you to know that just because somebody outside [this country] says so I cannot arrest you. I can arrest you! Let this country go on fire if you want to.

Koma (But) what I want you to know . . . (Switches to Chichewa) Ladies and gentlemen, I want to tell you enough is enough! I can’t stomach this insolence anymore.

Supporters: Boma! Boma! Boma!

Bingu: DPP woyeee! DPP woyeee! A couple of days ago I was in that building over there. Somebody in there, complete with a clerical collar on his shirt front, there he was saying Bingu you’re the most stupid person Ndiwe Chindere ndiwenso chitsiru. With insults like these, would he have walked out of that building in the past? (Supporters: ‘Nooo!’) I want you to realize that I tolerate a lot; but some are mistaking this tolerance for stupidity. Please, that is wrong. When I stand up to fight back, you will see.

I am saying all this because we’ve done a lot in this country. I have taken this country from the poor position it was to the stellar position it now occupies.

In this country I have eradicated hunger.

In this country I have eradicated the AIDS pandemic.

In this country I have built roads.

In this country I have built hospitals.

In this country I have built schools.

But for all this somebody says (switches to English)‘it’s nothing.’ What is nothing?

(Switches to Chichewa) I have established the Presidential Contact Group on Dialogue. Some people are saying ‘no we don’t want this group.’ Tell me: what the hell do you want? (Switches to English) I have established a Presidential Contact and Dialogue group and you say you don’t want it. What the hell do you want? What the hell do you want?

I want you to know. (Switches to Chichewa) Malawians, I want you to ask yourselves. I have set up a contact and dialogue group yet these people say they don’t want it, what do they want? The Group is headed by no less a personage than the late . . . errr, retired Archbishop Dr Bernard Malango. He is a real doctorate holder by the way, not an ordinary person. Yet these people maintain that they don’t want. So what do you want?

Now, therefore, if you don’t want dialogue, tell me any day we can go to war, if that’s what you want (Supporters clap, whistle, ululate but some are heard saying Ayi bwana – ‘No Sir’).

All these things – these agricultural activities – will not progress with such spoilsports in our midst. Nothing will happen. Progress will lapse. Roads, schools, everything will be ruined. See, they already started with setting shops on fire. Now the same people who torched the shops are saying they are not the ones who did so, then who did it? They say it’s the vendors, who instructed the vendors to target the PTC shops?

I thus simply wanted you to know that in tolerating all this, I am not afraid, and neither am I stupid. If you continue speaking nonsense aimed at disturbing the peace and disrupting the progress we have made, you will face the music. Oh yes! I’ll deal with you. And I want you . . . Nation Publications, if the Nation Publications team is here, go and tell them that ‘Bingu is threatening you’ and I’m threatening them! Yes! So . . . (women supporters begin singing praise songs accompanied by the talking drum). Thank you. That was Nkhani za m’maboma (translation: that was ‘other news.’)

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