Saturday, October 01, 2011
Fri Sep 30, 2011 11:02am GMT
LUSAKA, Sept 30 (Reuters) - New Zambian finance minister Alexander Chikwanda said on Friday interest rates in Africa's biggest copper producer were too high, and he would be pushing banks to cut the cost of borrowing to boost economic growth.
Chikwanda also said rates were inconsistent with inflation, which quickened to 8.8 percent in September.
"The government will advocate for pro-growth interest rates by dialoguing with the banking sector in understanding the factors that have led to the current prohibitive interest rates," Chikwanda said in a Ministry of Finance statement.
(Reporting by Chris Mfula; Editing by Ed Cropley)
Saturday, 01 October 2011 00:00
In Shona we call it "pleasing the jaw." This is when someone raises false or inane arguments, or takes well-worded, meteoric flights of fancy, all to please themselves. Or to fortify themselves on daring acts in futility.
There is lots of that in the current debate on indigenisation. But this week I mean to break those jaws, to break those canine-equipped monuments of delightful fancy. First, our Prime Minister, and his recent fanciful flight to the US.
The master's wardrobe
The Prime Minister's trip was both remarkably ugly and empty. It proved such an ugly leg. And a leg it was, literally, what with the Prime Minister visiting Chicago's Boeing, all to emerge with a donation of thousands of mapatapata, all for Harare's poor, feet-cracking folks, thanks to a compassionate American widow's mite! Assuming those second-hand shoes won't be fast-forwarded into Harare's brisk flea markets,
Harare's thousands poor will soon slide into America's shoes, literally, hopefully to follow different, Zimbabwean footsteps.
It is a perfect metaphor of the MDC-T leader's relationship with the master, is it not? Today it is second-hand shoes. What will it be tomorrow? Second-hand petticoats? God forbib! A dutiful servant's forlorn hope is that some day he gets his master's wardrobe for an heirloom.
So Much ado about . . .
I pity our Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda - Much - as whites and possibly denizens of Chicago would affectionately call him. He had to carry that fabulous heirloom from Uncle Sam, before beating the rough road home, mien quivering with scarcely suppressed anger and bitterness. Kufambira mashangurapata! The bitter mayor came back in a foul mood, publicly castigating God and man for a trip so wanting in purpose.
Typical second hand shoes...all the way from Chicago!
Is it not remarkable that in that captive "pressa" not a single scribe raised that matter with our Prime Minister who waxed lyrical, head barely visible from self-generated fumes of glory?
But the mayor, the mayor. He had to carry the shoes as one remarkable key result to follow the meeting with Boeing and other American business executives! He was asked to, and he had to oblige. I have a little line for my Mayor: Comrade Much, uneasy lies the head that wears a borrowed crown! Indeed so Much ado about . . .
The man who is always evolving
In corridors that matter - both inside and outside of the country - the Prime Minister is known for his fast-paced evolution, ideationally. It sounds good, does it not? Until you get to the gist of the description. He is generally known to wear the personality of the last person he spoke to before your turn comes. And those that meet with him just hope his last contact was not a boring priest of a thousand homilies.
Let those who sell him to the rest of the world know that this is the image he cuts out there. He is perceived as a personable individual, but of zero personality, one with no views of his own, one swept by the latest opinion he will have chanced by in a conversation. Shoot the messenger if you will, but that is the man living out there.
The man is for turning
I was disinclined to believe such a characterisation, which really amounts to a complete write-off for a man seeking the highest office on the land. But I have had to ponder long and hard my own possible fallibility on character reading. Soon after the MDC-T's May 2011 Bulawayo Congress, the Prime Minister left for Cape Town for a World Economic Forum meeting. There he gave a sturdy defence of the national policy of indigenisation. The key word is "national".
He defended that policy, as does a bona fide Prime Minister of a nation that has voluntarily and "sovereignly" decided on a policy course, decided on policy action, mindful of its own interests and the interests of its people. Is that not the bottom-line?
I want to quote him on that fine day: "Indigenisation is not about expropriation or nationalisation . . . it is about setting fair value." Then: "People have raised concerns about indigenisation . . . Across the political divide we agree on the principle of citizenship empowerment." And: "We are trying a model, a matrix that will satisfy both the investor and our desire to see people participate in the economy. We are contributing the mineral resource, you will exploit it and we will exploit it to the benefit of both of us." Then: "Companies want political stability and policy consistency, we have been consistent in the area of indigenisation." He went further to ask why there was no metal exchange in Africa or a cartel like Opec.
What more would one ask of a Prime Minister? What? Tose takarova manja, more so those of us from arid Buhera. We burped soundly - burped stoutly - believing we had finally shaken off and free the round revilement reaped from the man's missteps, reaped by geographical association.
I want to believe that the Prime Minister subsequently reinforced that position on two or more other occasions, including one during which he addressed a local white constituency. It might have been farmers in
Mashonaland West, I cannot quite recall now. Our man had finally turned the corner. Or so we all thought.]
After all indigenisation is national policy. It is being pursued and implemented by the Government of the day, of which the Prime Minister is a part, a third-tier part. Policies are always settled viewpoints. They do not flip-flop like a maiden facing a determined suitor, but vaingloriously playing for time.
Now we have this new view from our Prime Minister, view, tragically, from the same man. The man has now repudiated indigenisation. He now abhors that policy, thanks to this never-never person called "American investors" whom he spoke to last, before convening a Press conference. And we are told about the gravity and severity of the viewpoint of this American non-person.
Meeting after meeting, the Prime Minister complains to us, the American investor raised concerns over indigenisation. The tone of the Prime Minister is clear and unmistakable: "Pity me, my countrymen. The things you ask of me!"
It sounds very much like the indiscrete Prince Charles who upon seeing strange things in his dish at a banquet thrown in his honour in some country that shall remain nameless, quipped: "Gosh, the things I eat for England!" He did not realise the pick-up microphone was on, and the quip was broadcast world-wide! But unlike the proud Prince, Zimbabwe's pillar policy triggered self-hate in our Prime Minister.
It is called self-interest, Sir
Wait a minute. Yes, it would be indigenisation, indigenisation, indigenisation, meeting after meeting. The same way it would have been indigenisation, indigenisation, indigenisation in the affirmative, if an American official were to meet with one Robert Mugabe here. Would that American official go back to bemoan America's mistaken imperial policy, trashing it as "warped"?
America is pushing for her interests, Mr Prime Minister, Sir! What did you want America to do? What you yourself cannot do for your only Zimbabwe? To Flip? To Flop? No, America shall and will pursue her own interests with unremitting steadfastness, with a singleness of purpose.
That pursuit is what you are complaining about, Sir! It is called self-interest, Mr Prime Minister. It is called leadership, all executed in America's national interest. What is your own national interests, Mr Prime Minister? To give, give, give, give, give . . . give and gi . . . ahh? What is your national interest, I ask? How do you pursue it? Defend it? Safeguard it? Enforce it, Mister Prime Minister, Sir?
A sorry people
Mviromviro dzekutengesa is to split hairs. Aa-ah indigenisation is good; what is bad is how it is being implemented! Indigenisation is good, but for the common people, not for a rich few! Indigenisation is good, but for the youthful minister implementing it. Hairs get split and split and split until you need a new generation of microscopic labs.
That is us, a sorry people who deny their God-given inheritance while rationalising about it. Phew, a sorry, miserable people who accept arguments from outsiders about their own long denied, long pillaged heirloom.
What is wrong with us to crave for second-hand mapatapata from compassionate America, while shitting on platinum, gold, diamonds, copper, tin, nickel, iron, bauxite, uranium, vanadium, palladium, many other -diums? Is this not the age of natural resources, the century for natural resource-endowed nations?
Consenting to injury
Let us deal with the false arguments which these jaw-pleasers have been chewing. How does the Prime Minister of this country, the man in charge of implementation of Government policy complain about execution of given policies? Is that not his domain? What are all those Thursday meetings called Council of Ministers meetings all about? Jaw-jawing?
You consent to a particular way of implementing a policy in a body you chair, consent again to the same in Cabinet where you sit in front, next to the Vice Presidents, with the President only an arm's stretch away, and you dare complain about implementation problems?
Or is the man too weak to oversee? If he is, please voter, take note, take good note! And if you do not agree with the way a policy is being implemented, never mind that you oversee implementation, the solution is to repudiate it? And you repudiate it because some country does not like that policy, yet wants your resources towards whose protection that policy is designed? Someone must whisper to our Prime Minister that he who consents to injury must not be heard to complain.
The FDI fallacy
The other argument relates to indigenisation and how this impacts on the poor. On this one I find Zanu-PF culpable. It has allowed this argument to fester and fester, unchallenged. Yet it is a very cheap argument, one purveyed without an iota of good faith.
In the first place, how does an American investor ensure wealth flows to the many poor who are black and African, and in whose name MDC-T shoots down indigenisation as a policy? If FDI transfers wealth to the poor, why has that not happened in the last century-plus we have had this investor in our part of the world? Why didn't that magical investor transform our own Prime Minister into a mining magnet he should be by now? Not for this long-time employee of Bindura Nickel who remained poor man he has been all along before joining politics and Government?
Tun'ombe twaPrime Minister twatakaona patelevision kuMakanda, Buhera, twakatengwa riini? Nemari yepi? Is that all the man has to show for all those years working beneath the earth for a white investor? What does our Prime Minister's own life story tell us about the fate of natives and FDI? There is no link, never was any link, and never will be any link, between FDI and the egalitarian goal of equitable access to national wealth.
In development theory, that is no longer a point in debate. It was settled way back in the 1960s by scholars typified by the likes of Baran. We cannot be that elementary, surely? Reissuing a tired argument? Is that not chewing one's jaw?
When a bad thought wins
Much worse, why do we allow MDC-T to disinherit the Zimbabwean people while invoking their name? They criticise indigenisation for not prospering the poor. What is their counterproposal, their model or matrix, to use the Prime Minister's words?
Surely they should have something much more radical than what Zanu-PF has put on the table, something much more worrisome to foreign investors therefore? We allow them to deny the people in the name of the same people, while pushing for foreign investor interest still in the name of the same people whose interests they repudiate?
No, their real argument is that let the fat cats come from America; they should never grow at home, in the colour of you and me and, astoundingly, in their own colour too! At home it is poverty - not wealth - which we must redistribute evenly. It is poverty which must remain African, which must be black, your black, my black, their black, too! It is a staggering thought, but one winning by default.
Free to become chattels
And anyway, indigenisation does not disallow FDI. It doesn't, and the Prime Minister must know that. It simply puts a 49 percent cap on FDI. Now, what is wrong with that? Or are we about to tell ourselves and the world we are too African, too Zimbabwean, to deserve a 51 percent stake? Haa-a?
Let the point be made here and now: those racists whom our Prime Minister wants to call "investors" are actually saying we cannot partner those blood African bobjans in exploiting their resources! Their real place is in trees, on the margins of the global economy, drawing water and hewing wood. Bloody Calibans! That is it. We dignify that by denouncing our own empowerment policies as "warped"? We dignify such naked racism?
Have we become so inured and conditioned to servitude that we can't visualise anything else better? So conditioned that we dare tell ourselves we liberated ourselves so we become chattels of white investors?
Settling a bill twice
Or the argument that we have no money with which to pay for our 51 percent stake? Nonsense! Not only do we have the money; we have settled the debt a thousand times over. What is a mine without the mineral deposit? And who owns those deposits?
You want Zimbabweans to pay for those piled pieces of decaying, iron-age technology in the name of investments? And pay to a person who has been scoping billions and billions worth of minerals for a penny?
You want to suggest the equipment investors bring here for the sole purpose of exploiting our minerals has greater value than the minerals themselves? Why would anyone bother to haul that equipment here?
Well, if the Prime Minister's wish is to pay for the 51 percent, then he must order Biti to pay. He has the money. Otherwise why would he exceed the national law to want to compensate white farmers to the tune of US$3 billion which they are owed by the British Government at law?
Breeding zvigananda zvedu
I want to address the issue of class in another instalment. But let me just provoke a thought: Indigenisation is not about creating a classless society, wherever that exists on this earth.
The MDC-T cannot be bothered by that, surely? Such a goal is not in their policy purview. It cannot be, given who sired them.
Indigenisation is about creating a genuine national middle class, zvigananda zvedu vatema! Not to import them from America. Vematumbu vedu! You do not have to guess my distaste for that despicable class so given to vapid materialism. I hate it. Given a chance I would annihilate it. Yet I recognise its necessity, its inevitability as an intermediary evil, en route for founding of a more egalitarian society.
In a national post-liberation Zimbabwe, you cannot continue to grapple with the anomaly of a race that is a class, the anomaly of a class that is a race. What will you have done with that Independence towards whose attainment so much blood was shed? Merely to symbolically break that race-class' stranglehold on the politics of your country? And now that the race-class has come back politically, so what is your real gain from that Independence? Nil! So the real way forward is to break that race-class dialectic, so you begin to localise and indigenise contradictions that shape your society.
That way you banish overseas politics that continue to be re-imported into the national body-politic. Tonetsana pachedu sevene vezviro, vene venhaka. The same way we replace the white governing class as a matter of political independence is the same way we must replace the white mining, industrial and commercial class as a matter of national economic Independence. That does not mean an end to history in both cases. That is why we have parties and elections; that is why we have takeovers, combinations and collapses.
Between Mahathir and Malema.
I repeat: there is nowhere in the world where affirmative action has yielded a classless society which, anyway, exists nowhere on this troubled earth. Post-cold war Eastern block chose mafia and kleptocracy to build and found an owning class.
Today countries like Russia do have a stable indigenous middle class, as successor class to the parasitic Soviet State. It has worked for Russia and other old Eastern bloc countries. This is why Russia's dashing tycoons can wreak havoc in London and New York. Malaysia chose an affirmative programme for the Burmaputras. Today it has a bigger, multicultural pool of a dashing middle class, much of it associated with State companies.
That, too, has worked for that country which has really scaled up the global ladder into a middle income country. China is using senior officers from the Communist Party and the People's Liberation Army to go entrepreneurial world-wide, all backed by the Chinese State. It is working for them, which is why China is sole donor to once-upon-a-time great, all-powerful America.
Near to us, South Africa has used white-dominated boardroom deals in the hope of founding its own black middle class. The result has been dual: a fat Ramaphosa on the one hand, an angry Malema on the other.
It is not for me to judge, but the message is very clear: you must empower your people whose only resource and weapon in this critical war is an enlightened political leadership, whether found on the top as in Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia, or whether fated to emerge from below as in Malema of South Africa. Between these antipodes, where do you stand, Mister Prime Minister? Icho!
Villagers corner Tsvangirai over sanctions
Saturday, 01 October 2011 00:00
Takunda Maodza Senior Reporter
MUREHWA villagers yesterday confronted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai demanding to know what he has done to have illegal sanctions imposed on the country at his behest lifted. The premier was visiting Mashonaland East Province to assess Government programmes.
The villagers confronted PM Tsvangirai after getting their way into a closed-door meeting at the district administrator's office at Murehwa Centre. All hell broke loose when the PM said he was in the province to get first hand information on the state of development projects.
The villagers asked how he expected development when the country was under sanctions.
"As the Prime Minister, tell us what you have done about sanctions?" asked one of the villagers, who attended the meeting.
"How can you expect development when there are sanctions?"
PM Tsvangirai said Government had put in place a Cabinet team to engage the European Union and the United States over the issue. He said he travelled to Europe and the US to have the illegal embargo lifted, without success.
"We created a Cabinet committee to engage the EU and the US," said PM Tsvangirai, adding: "We have a Cabinet position that they remove sanctions kana vasingadi haisi mhosva yedu."
But the villagers were not done, yet.
"You said you have a key to unlock the economic challenges the country is facing when you come into power, how come you have not done anything to date?"
PM Tsvangirai said he was not in power, but was just part of Government.
The villagers asked why he was not supportive of farmers, especially on the issue of inputs.
PM Tsvangirai reiterated that Government would not give able-bodied farmers free inputs, saying that was a privilege for the elderly.
The villagers said the Grain Marketing Board was failing to pay them for grain delivered, scuttling preparations for next season.
PM Tsvangirai said US$100 million was given to responsible offices for the purchase by GMB of maize for the strategic grain reserves in last year's budget.
He also attacked Government's indigenisation policy, saying giving people shares in companies was not tantamount to empowering them.
PM Tsvangirai said having shares in a loss making company would not benefit anyone, preferring rather a policy that attracted new investment into the country.
But the PM seems to contradict himself because in May at the World Economic Forum meeting in Cape Town he defended the indigenization policy saying it was a national policy.
"Indigenisation is not about expropriation or nationalisation . . . it is about setting fair value. People have raised concerns about indigenisation . . . Across the political divide we agree on the principle of citizenship empowerment." And: "We are trying a model, a matrix that will satisfy both the investor and our desire to see people participate in the economy," the PM said then.
But he has now shifted his stance which observers say is not surprising as it comes hard on the heels of his recent visit to the United States where he was advised against supporting the empowerment programme.
Senior members of his party say the PM remembers the advice of the last person he would have spoken to and parrots that as his stance.
After the meeting, the premier visited Hurungwe Clinic after which the situation got worse when he tried to tour market stalls at Murehwa Centre.
A large group of villagers broke into song and blocked him from viewing the wares.
This saw PM Tsvangirai's motorcade leaving the venue in a huff.
PM Tsvangirai then convened an urgent closed-door meeting at Murehwa Hospital and later toured a number of other projects outside Murehwa Centre.
Saturday, 01 October 2011 00:00
Daniel Nemukuyu Senior Court Reporter
CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku has blasted the Bishop Chad Gandiya-led faction of the Anglican Church for seeking political intervention in the long-drawn property ownership wrangle still pending before the courts. This, the Chief Justice said, was tantamount to interference with the independence of the judiciary.
The Gandiya faction is aligned to the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA). Chief Justice Chidyausiku recently threw out an appeal by the Gandiya faction in which they were challenging the High Court's judgment granting the Diocese of Harare to a faction led by Bishop Nolbert Kunonga.
CPCA has filed a Constitutional application challenging the recent decision of the Supreme Court as well as several applications to stop the execution of the judgment.
After the dismissal of the appeal, the Kunonga faction took control of some of the church property on the strength of the High Court order.
Now the Gandiya-faction faction is alleged to have written to the Supreme Court seeking to meet Chief Justice Chidyausiku for the sake of pushing for the hearing of other pending court cases related to the issue.
The Herald is reliably informed that one of the retired bishops of the Gandiya faction got to an extent of writing to Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa after the dismissal of the Supreme Court appeal.
To this, end the Chief Justice felt the conduct amounted to interference with the justice delivery system.
After the last meeting of September 28, the Chief Justice instructed the registrar of the Supreme Court to write to the parties warning them against seeking political intervention in judicial matters.
"In view of the persistent attempts by the litigants in this matter, in particular the applicant (Church of Central Africa), to try and influence the outcome of this matter outside the judicial process, no further applications will be entertained from either party except in open court...
* Anglican church properties to remain under Bishop Kunonga
* Govt probes evictions at Anglican Church-run schools
"The issues set out above can only be determined by the Supreme Court. I accordingly take great exception to conduct undermining the independence of the judicial process by seeking political intervention in judicial matters," part of the letter read.
The judge said that all the pending Anglican cases in the Supreme Court should be dealt with at once.
He said the matter would either be consolidated or set down before the same court on the same date or one after the other.
The letter sent to Gill Godlonton and Gerrans who are acting for the CPCA and to Chikumbirike and Associates who are representing the Diocese of Harare.
In a letter purportedly written to Minister Chinamasa by Bishop Peter Hatendi on September 23 this year, he was seeking the Minister's assistance in having the Chief Justice recuse himself from handling Anglican cases.
"The church of the province of Central Africa has made a Constitutional appeal against the judgment of Chief Justice Chidyausiku dated August 4 2011 in chambers and requested him to recuse himself.
"Will you assist in the processing of the appeal. I am writing just in case, I am unable to meet you in your office due to your heavy schedule.
"I am founder chairman of an autonomous think-tank whose task is brainstorming on the crisis facing the Anglican Diocese of Harare. By the grace of God, I was the founder Bishop in 1981 and was responsible for reconstruction of rural and urban churches, schools and clinics that were razed to the ground during the war and the construction of new structures.
"My successor Dr Nolbert Kunonga grabbed both the old and the new structures when he resigned in 2007.
"Where is commutative justice to be found save in our courts of law? I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible, please," the letter read.
Labels: ANGLICAN CHURCH
By Chibaula Silwamba
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 10:10 CAT
THE windfall tax will be revisited, says new mines minister Wylbur Simuusa. In an interview, Simuusa, who was one of the major proponents of the windfall tax during the last parliamentary session, said the PF government would meet mine owners to deliberate on the windfall tax.
"On the windfall tax, we will definitely sit down with all the stakeholders and reach a win-win situation because we know and we have been told even by the IMF International Monetary Fund and other people that our taxation in the mining industry is not adequate. So that has to be revisited and we will see how we can create that balance that will be satisfactory to everybody. Definitely that will be on the cards," said Simuusa, a mining engineer by profession.
"We need to know as a country how much we are mining; what is going out and what are the things we need to account for. So definitely the accounting of our minerals will be priority. We will obviously look at the issue of taxation for mining; we will see how we can create a win-win situation for the Zambians and for the foreign mine owners."
Simuusa, who is also Nchanga member of parliament, said the government would also look at the gemstone sector.
He said the sector must contribute to the Zambian economy.
"We will look at labour issues. There are a lot of labour issues related to mining," Simuusa said.
"We will look at the situation of having more of our Zambians getting into ownership and getting involved in running of mines so that even our people are in competition with the people that are coming in. We want to have more benefits from our mines."
Community development, mother and child health deputy minister Jean Kapata, who is also Mandevu legislator, thanked President Sata for having shown confidence in her.
Foreign affairs minister Chishimba Kambwili pledged to work towards strengthening Zambia's ties with the international community.
"The world is a global village, so I will make sure that Zambia keeps its relationship with our supporters, our cooperating partners and our neighbours. We shall ensure that we abide by the protocols that Zambia has signed with the international organisations," Kambwili said.
He committed himself to work hard and not let the Zambians and President Sata down.
Meanwhile, Inonge Wina, the parliamentarian for Nalolo constituency in Western Province who was appointed minister of chiefs and traditional affairs, said there was need to uphold Zambia's culture.
"I am grateful for that appointment and I will do my best to make sure I serve my country," she said. "I am very delighted and relieved that Barotseland activists have been released because most of those detainees had done no wrong. For them to be incarcerated has been extremely unfair."
Chipili member of parliament, who was appointed Luapula Province minister, Davies Mwila, called on opposition parliamentarians to work with the government to foster national development.
"I am excited about my appointment in that I am going back to my province and I would like to appeal to members of parliament from Luapula including the opposition MMD MP Mwansa Mbulakulima that we work together as a province so that we develop the area," said Mwila.
Defence minister Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba said he would perform to the best of his ability.
"It's a great ministry. There are a lot of challenges and I am humbled by this appointment by President Sata and I assure him that I will not let him down and I will not let the people of Zambia down," said Mwamba, who is also Kasama Central member of parliament.
By The Post
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 11:10 CAT
One of the most difficult concepts for some of our political leaders and their followers to accept is that of the "loyal opposition". This idea is a vital one, however. It means, in essence, that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values.
As we have repeatedly pointed out, political competitors do not necessarily have to like each other, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play.
When the election is over, the losers accept the judgement of the voters. No matter who wins, both sides agree to cooperate in solving the common problems of the society. The opposition, whether it consists of one party or many, can continue to participate in public life, with the knowledge that its role is essential in any democracy worth the name.
And as we have pointed out before, those in the opposition are loyal not to the specific policies of the political party in government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the state, and to the democratic process itself.
Let us not forget that democratic elections, after all, are not a fight for survival, but a competition to serve.
A healthy democracy depends in large part on the development of a democratic civic culture that is the behaviours, practices and norms that define the ability of the people to govern themselves.
This has to be learned. We may all be born with an appetite for personal freedom, but we are not born with knowledge about the social and political arrangements that make freedom possible over time for ourselves and our children - such things have to be acquired; they must be learned.
And the democracy we talk about so eloquently is in many ways nothing more than a set of rules for managing conflict among us. This conflict must be managed within certain limits and resulting 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 shutter from within. If those who have won the elections and have now formed government exert excessive pressure to achieve consensus, stifling the voices of the people, the society can be crushed from above.
Clearly, 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.
It is for this reason that the culture of democracy is so important to develop. Individual and groups must be willing, at a minimum, to tolerate each other's differences, recognising that the other side has valid rights and a legitimate point of view. Both need to meet in a spirit of compromise and seek solutions that are acceptable to both sides.
Compromise, consensus and coalition building is the essence of democratic action. We should learn to negotiate and compromise with others and to work within the constitutional system. We should learn to argue our differences peaceably and ultimately how to live in a nation of diversity. Democracy is pragmatic. Ideas and solutions to problems should not be tested against a rigid outlook but should be argued over and changed, accepted or discarded.
Let us govern ourselves in a manner that is fair and free. We should also realise that our nation comprises a great diversity of interests and individuals who deserve to have their voices heard and their views respected.
And the voices of democracy include not only those of the government and its supporters but also those of the opposition, the trade unions, organised interest groups, community associations, the news media, scholars and critics, religious leaders and writers, and so on and so forth.
All these groups should be free to raise their voices and participate in the democratic process. In this way, democratic politics acts as a filter through which the vocal demands of a diverse populace pass on the way to becoming public policy.
But why are we saying all this? We are saying all these things in the light of what appears to be negative political behaviour from the opposition, from UPND and MMD. MMD and UPND lost last week's elections to PF.
And they need to recognise the scale of their defeat and of their problems. As for MMD, people need a rest from them, and they need time to reflect and listen and come to understand their electoral defeat better. They certainly need to do a lot about themselves. They need better and different organization.
Those in UPND may need to spread their appeal and attract different sorts of people: different ethnic groups, social types and ages. Both MMD and UPND need to take a fresh look in the new circumstances. They need to renew themselves. The new people they will attract will be the engine of their revival. And as for PF, government and ministerial offices are theirs, but they must bide their time prudently.
Trying to frustrate the efforts of PF, if set as a political goal of the opposition, will result in political disaster for those involved in it. UPND has always over-valued itself, its leaders and its influence. This is a small party with 28 seats. It will not be possible to suddenly bring down PF which won 62 seats and has another eight nominated seats.
We know UPND did not want PF to win these elections and would have preferred MMD to remain in power - they were in an alliance of some sort with the MMD. And today they are choking with envy over PF's victory. Hakainde Hichilema used to accuse us of misleading Michael Sata and the PF that they can win this election on their own. And they won it on their own, without any alliance other than that with the people.
Most of the claims of UPND have come to be incorrect and untrue. There is need for Hakainde and his party to try and understand who they are, their limitations and their possibilities. They will not succeed to have Vernon Mwaanga as Speaker and a UPND candidate as Deputy Speaker. They are a minority and will not be kingmakers in this situation.
If they continue with this attitude, even their position in Southern Province will start to weaken and they will move from being a Bantustan party to nothing. They will do better to start showing people that they have humility and that they can be modest. Let them show our people that politics is not a dirty game but the art of improving ourselves and the world we live in, a real and meaningful part of our lives.
Let them show our people that politics is an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community rather than of a need to cheat or manipulate.
They should wish the new PF government well. They should be patriots who wish to see their country succeed with or without them. And indeed, with or without them, this country will move forward. They should not look to defeat the PF on the back of national failure or political crisis.
There will be sufficient ground without that to argue for their removal at the next elections. Today PF looks very strong and confident. But problems lie ahead. PF will in the end be judged not on what they say but what they do. The wheel of fortune turns and that which once appeared fresh, with the passing of time goes to seed.
By Ernest Chanda and Patson Chilemba
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 11:30 CAT
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has ordered the Minister of Justice to probe the sale of Zamtel and Finance Bank. And President Sata has with immediate effect dissolved the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). Meanwhile, the President has ordered labour minister Fackson Shamenda to quickly work out a meaningful minimum wage for all workers across the country.
Speaking after he swore in Vice-President Guy Scott, Cabinet and deputy ministers at State House yesterday, President Sata said he needed a report on the sale of the two companies within 30 days.
First Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda and senior chief Bright Nalubamba of the Ila people of Namwala district also attended the swearing-in ceremony.
He further ordered the Minister of Justice to probe the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA)'s US $98 million funding of the Zambia National Building Society expansion project.
President Sata also promised to constitute a commission of inquiry into the operations of Zesco Limited.
"I've appointed the Minister of Justice to look into the sale of Finance Bank. We want to see the sale of Finance Bank; was it transparent or was it fraudulent? And you have to look into the sale of Zamtel. The people of Zambia suffered to build Zamtel so it cannot just be given away for nothing. So I need that report within 30 days," President Sata said.
"We also heard corruption in Zesco and I intend to set up a commission of inquiry. What we need to do is do unto others as you would wish them do unto you. And Justice deputy minister Dr Simbyakula you can also probe the US $98 million NAPSA issue."
And President Sata said he dissolved the ERB because of massive corruption in the procurement of fuel.
He has since appointed a six member commission of inquiry to be headed by Lusaka lawyer Wynter Kabimba to probe the operations of the dissolved Board.
"The corruption in ERB; we have been buying fuel which has been purchased without tender. And the Minister of Energy was supposed to look at the benefits of the people of Zambia. We were supposed to have three price reductions of pump fuel," he said.
"Therefore we have resolved to deal with this matter. And the measures we have done is, I have with immediate effect dissolved the Energy Regulation Board. And I have appointed a commission which is going to be headed by Mr Wynter Kabimba. And what we want is to bring transparency," he said.
Meanwhile, President Sata has ordered Shamenda to revise the minimum wage for all workers.
"Are we not ashamed that 20 years, the minimum wage is K400, 000? I want that minimum wage revised immediately," President Sata said as people applauded.
"What country are we where K15 billion remains unpaid gratuity to civil servants? And K8 billion to the Judiciary, and some of this gratuity, which I have to appoint a Commission of Inquiry, they were supposed to pay one person K500 million for being at the NCC National Constitutional Conference; that's how extravagant we were."
And President Sata ordered the Minister of Home Affairs to assist police probe the purchase of vehicles by the MMD during the campaign period.
"Police on their own; what they've done is very commendable. We don't want any revenge, we want what belongs to the people of Zambia to be for the people of Zambia. Those who are in home affairs,let's also assist the police because there was also corruption in Zambia Revenue Authority over the purchase of MMD vehicles," he said.
On mining, President Sata said there would be no more export of minerals without the approval of the Bank of Zambia.
"God in His own wisdom gave us wealth through minerals. Why should we just exploit it and let it like that because of corruption? With immediate effect nothing will be exported out of Zambia unless confirmation certificate has been gotten from the Bank of Zambia," said President Sata.
"The kwacha has become weak, and the kwacha can only become strong if it is protected by putting in new measures. I would like to believe that our new measures will protect the kwacha."
Earlier before swearing in the new cabinet, President Sata ordered newly-appointed defence deputy minister Colonel Panji Kaunda to go and dress formally.
Col Panji was dressed in a golf shirt and a pair of shorts before the President ordered him to go and change.
Later Col Panjii came back dressed in a striped grey suit.
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 11:20 CAT
PROFESSOR Michelo Hansungule says immediate past president Rupiah Banda lost the election because he did not listen to the people. And Prof Hansungule said President Michael Sata has a chance to do better than his predecessor.
Reflecting on Banda's loss in the just-ended presidential election to President Sata, the Pretoria-based law professor said the former head of state chose to be arrogant to everyone.
"One of the biggest lessons from Rupiah Banda's short-lived presidency is the importance, especially to political leaders, of listening to citizens. It is ironical that the outgoing president said during his concession statement that ‘Zambian people had spoken'. Why could he not say this to himself a long time ago? Had he listened to citizens, president Banda would have no problem reclaiming the presidency for the second term," Prof Hansungule said.
"With his self-inflicted loss, president Banda has broken a record in the SADC as the elected head of state to have been in office the shortest period. President Mandela served a full term before he voluntarily exited from office and in any case left his party the African National Congress firmly in office. Political arrogance is what cost President Banda his chance to have a full term."
Prof Hansungule said there were many wrong things Banda did which offended the voters. He said the people advised him on many wrong decisions he made but he would not listen.
"President Banda would not listen when people told him they did not like his constitution and the way he went about dictating how it should be written; they wanted the London judgment against (late Frederick Chiluba) to be registered and enforced in Zambia.
They wanted an appeal against Chiluba's acquittal from corruption. They did not like his comments alongside the magistrate Jones Chinyama who acquitted Chiluba because they suggested the magistrate's hand was twisted into doing something else on the case than the law dictated," he said.
"They told him they did not like the way his administration was going about abusing the judiciary. They did not like the president's decision to dissolve the Task Force on Corruption.
They told him they did not like his decision to stop tampering with a good law on corruption by public officers. They did not like the way he handled the Dora Siliya-led sale of ZAMTEL and that she suffered no sanction even when she clearly treated the Attorney General's legal advice with contempt."
Prof Hansungule said even when people told Banda to reintroduce the windfall tax on the mines, he did not listen.
He said people wanted Banda to be tough on investors who treated their workers miserably, but he ignored them.
"They did not like the way he handled the take-over of Finance Bank and its hasty sale to the South African Bank a few days before the elections. They told him to avoid abusing public resources for his political gain," Prof Hansungule said.
"They told him he should not abuse the public media to promote only his agenda and completely shut out opponents. They told him to cage his vice-president and minister of justice George Kunda and to be careful with the ‘advice' he gave on the media and governance in general.
People told him to stop rearing ‘dogs' to set out against perceived political opponents through vitreous attacks in the public media. They told him he was wrong paying from public resources for his opinion polls (in fact Rupiah Banda's opinions) which always returned a ‘win' only for him because besides being abuse of public resources, this offended the public trust."
He said even when people told Banda to stop using his wife in MMD errands paid for by the taxpayer, he remained arrogant. Prof Hansungule said Banda had also abused traditional leaders to the extent that it offended their subjects.
"They told him not to open fire on unarmed youths in Mongu but to dialogue with them on their demands and not to charge their leaders with treason. They even warned him that he cheated on affidavit that both his parents were Zambian by birth and descent," Prof Hansungule said.
"They told him everything a good president would want to hear to improve on his governance but he would have none of it. They told him to enact into the constitution the 50+1 result for the winner and if he had, we would be going for the next round of election for the presidency. But of course he chose to listen to Kunda. The result is that except probably himself and his cronies, everyone knew that in a free and fair contest, he would lose this or any election."
And Prof Hansugnule said people expected a lot from President Sata because they knew him as an action-oriented person.
"The good thing about President Sata is that we all know him. No Zambian would say ‘Michael who?' Due to his accomplishments, particularly his well-known tag as a hands-on man; his name is household in all Zambia. All he must do, however, is to develop capacity to listen to citizens," said Prof Hansungule.
"I had read about a powerful leader who was so popular and likable across the political spectrum not because he went round giving sweets to his people but because of his ‘power to listen'.
In fact, listening to citizens is the meaning of good governance. Your very good excellently crafted policy may not be good to people. While leading does not mean taking into account every advice from people, it means listening to them. I would rather citizens mislead me and not officials. President Michael Sata has a chance to make a real governance difference."
By Masuzyo Chakwe and Dziko Mwanza
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 11:20 CAT
TOURISM Ambassador and MDG advocate Marsha Moyo has urged President Michael Sata to also remember the many women who equally diligently served the nation, when renaming various projects.
Moyo thanked President Sata for renaming various airports, a stadium and a hospital after freedom fighters. President Sata renamed Lusaka, Livingstone and Ndola international airports Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe airports respectively.
"In this vein, I urge him to likewise remember the many women who equally have diligently served this nation such as Chibesa Kankasa, Julia Chikamoneka and Mary Fulano," said Moyo.
Moyo congratulated President Sata on his election as the fifth President of the Republic of Zambia and the Patriotic Front on their election victory.
"As we commemorate World Tourism Day (which fell on September, 29), I am grateful to my fellow Zambians for our peaceful conduct exhibited during the just-ended tripartite elections and confident of the positive message this has sent to the rest of the world for Zambia as a tourist destination of choice," she said.
She said she looked forward to rendering her support to the new government's commitment in leading Zambia and its citizens towards prosperity.
Meanwhile, Arts and Cultural Advocates of Zambia (ACAZ) programmes coordinator Jomo Longwe urged youths to use the renaming of Zambia's major airports as a call for them to retrace their cultural roots and appreciate their heritage.
Longwe said today's youths needed cultural awakening to realise that they also had heroes to look up to.
"The renaming of airports is supposed to remind Zambians that they are a people with a history and culture. The role of the arts is to bring meaning to life and the renaming shows that Zambia's heritage is rich," he said.
Association spokesperson Mkango Jere urged youths to use the renaming of airports as a call to originality and Ubuntu.
"We have so many musicians, artists who practice without a cultural frame. Let us remind ourselves of our roots as a people and chant down cultural degradation. Zambians need their culture and they have to protect it," he said.
President Sata's pronouncement adds Zambia to the list of African countries that have named their airports after their prominent personalities such as Jomo Kenyatta in Kenya, Oliver Tambo in South Africa and Ghana's Kotoka International Airport named after General Major Kotoka.
By Ernest Chanda
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 09:00 CAT
GIVEN Lubinda says he will prioritise media liberalisation and enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill. And newly-appointed mines minister Wylbur Simuusa says he will ensure that the windfall tax on the mines is re-introduced.
In an interview after President Michael Sata appointed him information minister yesterday, Lubinda said he would like a free media that would always hold authorities accountable.
"Talking about Freedom of Information laws, that I can assure you. And I am going to discuss with his Honour the Vice-President, and hopefully through him His Excellency the President, that we make the FoI as one of our benchmarks within the first 90 days of the PF government," Lubinda said.
"My priorities are: to liberalise the government-owned media practitioners. I would like the government media practitioners to also feel liberated for them to practice their journalism as professionals.
I am not talking about privatisation, I am talking about journalists being able to write as professionals without them feeling that there's ‘Big Brother' watching over their manuscripts. And I am actually going to encourage the public media to also practice in the same way that the private media is practicing; to be able to raise criticisms against their government."
Lubinda said it was only through objective criticism that the nation's welfare could be improved.
He said both the public and private media played the same role in national development.
"And I would not like to be considered an inconsistent person. I shall do whatever is required to ensure that the press has space in which to perform their very important role to be the fourth estate. And the fourth estate has a function of being a watchdog over other players, over the Executive, over the Legislature and over the Judiciary. And I want the media to be a true mirror of society," said Lubinda.
And Simuusa said he would work towards making Zambians benefit from their mineral wealth.
"We shall create a situation where as Zambians we can manage our mineral resources well for the benefit of every Zambian. Issues of proper accounting for minerals, looking at the way our people have been looked after in the mines.
And obviously to make our people more involved in the mining sector and make it the backbone of our nation's economy. Call it windfall or whatever tax but we will re-look the mining tax and see how we can create a win-win situation, both for us as Zambians and for the foreign investors," said Simuusa.
By Ernest Chanda and Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 08:50 CAT
FORMER army commander General Nobby Simbeye says Rupiah Banda ruled the country like the historical King Leopold of Belgium. Commenting on the downfall of the MMD government after last week's general election, Gen Simbeye, who served as army commander from 1991 to 1997, said the immediate past Republican president Banda turned Zambia into a personal property.
He said the MMD's downfall was a lesson that real power lay in the people and not individual politicians.
"In my view, MMD died a long time ago because the MMD I served under from 1991 to 1997 is completely different from the one that has just lost the election. Mr Rupiah Banda surrounded himself with wrong people who could not advise him properly. They just told him what he wanted to hear, nothing else," said Gen Simbeye.
"Mr Banda ruled this country like the historical King Leopold of Congo. King Leopold-treated Congo like his company and he thought that all the people in Congo were his personal property. It's the same with Zambia where Mr Banda ruled with an iron fist and thought everyone else was not a factor to governance. I am glad that this change has come about without any bloodshed.
This is good for our democracy, and I congratulate President Michael Sata on his election. We look forward to a good five years, and I'm sure that the PF government will improve conditions of service for our men and women in the defence forces just as the President promised in his campaigns."
Meanwhile, the Zambia Media Women Association (ZAMWA) expressed hope that President Sata would priotise media self-regulation so as to avoid media polarisation and bias as witnessed before and during the just-ended elections.
In a congratulatory message to President Sata on his election, ZAMWA chairperson Margaret Chimanse said her organisation was also hopeful that measures would be put in place to protect female journalists from harassment based on their vulnerability to sexual injustices.
She said ZAMWA recognised that gender inequality undermined development.
"Further, we are committed to promoting the right to and use of information to create a society that has equitable access to opportunities," she said.
Chimanse prayed that President Sata would priotise and put in place measures that would ensure that media organisations had security policies for their staff and punitive measures against perpetrators of violence against journalists.
Labels: RUPIAH BANDA
By Bright Mukwasa
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 08:30 CAT
FORMER Republican president Rupiah Banda is still president of MMD until the next convention, says MMD vice national chairman Kabinga Pande. In an interview, Pande said Banda was convinced to stay on at the helm of the party during the just-ended NEC meeting following his hint to retire from active politics.
"The constitution of the MMD has a five-year mandate until the next convention. Of course, he Banda did hint that he will go into retirement but it's not now. It must be gradual, it must be proper," Pande said.
"He cannot just abandon the party now. We have asked him as NEC to
remain so that he leaves the party at a ‘certain level' when things
are where we feel we can release him. He's still the party president.
He has not left the party."
And Pande has appealed to President Michael Sata to stop the violence
allegedly being perpetrated by Patriotic Front members against members
of the former ruling party MMD in some parts of the country.
"We accepted the defeat magnanimously and because of that, we should
continue at that level growing our democracy. So the violence that we
are witnessing is really unZambian," he said.
"We should not really go to that extent; we're one people."
During a NEC meeting held at Golfview Hotel in Lusaka, senior party
members asked former president Banda to state when he would leave
after his indication that he would resign from active politics.
MMD, UPND enter pact to float VJ as Speaker
By Staff Reporters
Sat 01 Oct. 2011, 08:20 CAT
OPPOSITION MMD have gone into a pact with the UPND with a plan to float former parliamentary chief whip Vernon Mwaanga as Speaker of the National Assembly.
According to well-placed sources, the two parties who met at former Siavonga UPND member of parliament Douglas Syakalima's residence in Lusaka, resolved to frustrate some key positions that may be proposed in Parliament by the ruling PF through a voting pact because no party, including the ruling PF had an outright majority in the House.
Under the scheme, the UPND would be allowed to propose a name for Deputy Speaker and be supported by MMD while the position of Chairman of Parliamentary Committees would go to Chifumu Banda.
"The way they handled it, VJ deliberately stayed quiet but he has been using other people to propose. He is scared that this can be reported in the media. But I can confirm that these are the issues that were discussed," the source disclosed.
The two parties have been meeting quietly to take advantage of the ruling PF's lack of a clear majority in Parliament. This may, however, not work as PF has gained some more numbers from its earlier 60 elected members of parliament by co-opting some MMD members of parliament who have taken up some government jobs including some independent members. The numbers will further be boosted by the Presidential nominations.
According to sources, the plan was hatched by Mwaanga, who is now seeking a job as Speaker of the National Assembly after his campaign and wrong projections of the outcome of the presidential election that saw the massive defeat of president Rupiah Banda.
The loose pact between the two parties has been reported with recent events having been the MMD helping to distribute campaign materials for the UPND prior to elections.
Prior to the elections, former president Banda had projected a win for himself but with few numbers in Parliament prompting him to go into a pact with the UPND.
President Michael Sata has with immediate effect banned the exportation of copper and other products from Zambia unless with permission from the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). And President Sata has disclosed that his government will ensure that there is transparency in every business undertaken.
President Sata said Zambians have for a long time now been living in poverty because of massive corruption in the way Zambia’s natural and mineral resources were managed.
He said there was no need to continue exploiting Zambia’s natural and mineral resources if Zambians are not benefiting from them.
President Sata said this at State House today when he swore in his cabinet ministers and their deputies.
He explained that these measures have been taken in order to liberate Zambians from not enjoying benefits that were derived from resources which the country was endowed with.
And Mr. Sata has directed the Minister of Labour, Sports, Youth and Gender Fackson Shamenda to immediately revise upwards the minimum wage from the current K419, 000 per month.
He also directed Mr. Shamenda to look into the issues of the K15 billion unpaid gratuity to civil servants and the K8 billion gratuity which government owes some workers in the judiciary.
The President further urged the Ministry of Home Affairs to closely work with the police which has since seized some vehicles used by the former ruling party, the Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD).
Mr. Sata said the ministry should help the Zambia Revenue Authority to establish how the vehicles in question were brought into the country.
He has since challenged his cabinet ministers and deputy ministers to work hard and serve the people of Zambia diligently.
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, September 30, 2011, 2:38 pm
President Michael Sata has ordered for the revision of the current minimum wage which stands at K 419 000. Mr Sata says the current minimum wage is unacceptable and shameful. He has ordered Labour Minister Fackson Shamenda to immediately revise it.
And President Sata is disappointed that 15 billion kwacha is owed to civil servants in unpaid gratuity. He is further saddened that over 8 billion kwacha is owed to the Ministry of justice.
He says a commission of inquiry will soon be appointed to investigate the payments of gratuity including the payment of over 500 million kwacha gratuity to an individual sitting at the National Constitutional Conference.
He says a commission of inquiry will soon be appointed to investigate the payments of gratuity including the payment of over 500 million kwacha gratuity to an individual sitting at the National Constitutional Conference.
Meanwhile, President Michael Sata has withdrawn the nomination of Willie Nsanda and Samuel Mukupa as Members of Parliament.
The two were on Thursday nominated and appointed Minister and Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications.
The President says he has withdrawn the nominations of the two because he had over nominated by two people.
President Sata says instead of nominating eight people to parliament, he nominated 10.
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, September 30, 2011, 7:06 pm
Zamtel says it will cooperate with the new government in its probe on the sale Zamtel by the MMD government.
Zamtel managing director Hans Paulsen says the company will continue operating normally and has pledged to work with the commission that has been constituted to investigate the sale of Zamtel which saw Libya’s Lap Green Network acquire a 75 percent stake while the Zambian government retained 25 percent shares.
Mr. Paulsen was speaking to journalists in Lusaka today.
The sale Zamtel was condemned by some stakeholders after the then minister of communications Dora Siliya single sourced RP capitals of Cayman Islands to evaluate Zamtel assets and find an equity partner for government.
Meanwhile, Zamtel has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with World Vision to deliver water anode sanitation programmes to rural and peri-urban communities at a cost of K1.5 billion.
Mr. Paulsen said the MoU is in line with Zamtel’s objective of rolling out its water for life project which will see the company sink and rehabilitate boreholes country wide.
And World Vision national director Michael Veitenhans said world vision will continue partnering with the other stakeholders in implementing developmentalprogrammes for the benefit of Zambians.
By Joe Kaunda
Thu 29 Sep. 2011, 16:40 CAT
SYLVIA Masebo has directed her lawyers to commence the petition against her loss in the recently held Chongwe parliamentary election which she says was fraught with massive irregularities.
Masebo, who contested the seat on the PF ticket, said she had since handed over evidence to her lawyers MNB Legal Practitioners to show that the elections were characterised with massive rigging and abuse of resources by those in government, including the former president, Rupiah Banda.
"The whole government machinery through the president, including the now former first lady was used to rig the elections," Masebo said.
"There was the intimidation of voters after the president threatened to dethrone our traditional leader, senior chieftainess Nkomenshya Mukambo II. This intimidation by the president even caused apathy among voters and violence by the MMD. Then there was also massive vote buying."
Masebo cited the distribution of relief maize, government hammer mills, sewing machines and sinking of boreholes in selected villages.
"The former first lady distributed tractors and money to women's clubs. Public resources were distributed from Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development, Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, the CEEC Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission to selected groups. Even suits were given to headmen," she said.
"Soldiers in the barracks were paid their long outstanding dues on the day of the elections, there was ferrying of voters on the election day and the introduction of pre-marked ballot papers,"
She said it was saddening that these abuses took place in all the 58 polling stations in Chongwe Constituency leading to her loss to MMD candidate Japhen Mwakalombe.
Masebo said she had gathered all the evidence on the ground and witnesses to prove that the election was not free and fair.
By Wanga Gwede, Nyasa Times
September 29, 2011
Malawi government is adamant that President Bingu wa Mutharika will not offer public apology to Zambia’s newly-elected president Michael Sata for what happened in 2007 when Lilongwe declared him a prohibited immigrant.
Sata has demanded an apology for the humiliation he suffered when he was arrested at Chileka international Airport in Blantyre 15 March, 2007 on orders from President Mutharika when he flew into Malawi to hold talks with former president Bakili Muluzi.
According to his Malawian lawyer Ralph Kasambara, no reasons were given for his arrest but he was detained for several hours at Blantyre Police Station, where he was declared Persona Non Grata (PNG) or Prohibited Immigrant (PI) and then bundled in a police vehicle, driven 500 kilometres to be dumped at Chipata on the Malawi-Zambia border.
Sata: Demands apology
Sata sued Malawi government for defamation and wrongful detention.
But government spokesperson Patricia Kaliati said Lilongwe will not issue an apology because the status and circumstances in which Sata was expelled from Malawi and his current position of head of state are different.
“Sata is His Excellency the President now he was a private citizen in 2007. What happen then had nothing to do with Zambia,” said Kaliati.
She said Lilongwe will have talks with Lusaka on any diplomatic misunderstandings.
Kaliati also clarified that Sata is allowed to visit Malawi and will be treated as a VVIP and not as a prohibited immigrant in Malawi because of his current status as head of state and government.
Her comments were also underscored by presidential spokesperson Hetherwick Ntaba who explained that according to international protocol, a head of State cannot be a prohibited immigrant in a country.
“Therefore, any pre-existing status in Malawi-Zambia or anywhere that contradicts President Sata’s present status as Head of State automatically falls off de fact or otherwise,” said Ntaba in a statement.
“Under such circumstances, the fear of immigration embarrassment in Malawi for President Sata cannot arise in international diplomacy.”
Kasambara disclosed this week that President Sata would not be coming to Malawi to attend Comesa summit for Heads of State from October 14 because he of the deportation he faced in 2007 as his case is yet to be determined by Justice Healy Potani.
Malawi has never disclosed the reasons why it deported Sata.
Under Mutharika leadership, Malawi has strained ties with neighbouring Mozambique and downgrading dipolamtic relations with Zambia would be regrettable to the country which has enjoyed cordial relations with other states since independence 47 years ago.
By Nyasa Times Reporter
September 29, 2011
Son of former Malawi President Bakili Muluzi, Atupele, says there was need to pursue political party reforms to allow for freedom of exchange of ideas, transparent election of leaders and responsiveness to party membership.
Speaking on Thursday at Sunbird Mouth Soche Hotel in Blantyre where he announced his presidential bid for the 2014 general elections, the Machinga North East parliamentarian said that Malawians should avoid “worshipping big men” and putting leaders above the people as that result in lives and freedoms of citizens being compromised.
“It is about respect for our party constitutions, which must not be optional but a requirement,” said the youthful conviction politics.
Atupele: Delivering his speech
“There is also a need to give room to new talent. That does not mean, however, that it is just about new faces and more of the same. No, what we need is a whole new way of thinking and a different mindset altogether,” young Muluzi said.
He said debate must not be stifled from within the political parties because that is the only way “we can bring about innovation and new ideas”.
“We must not be rigid or resist change,” he said attracting applause.
“Above all our party membership must be given opportunities to choose leaders of their choice through free and fair elections. That is what a democracy is all about,” he said, adding that he believed Malawi was at a crossroads of change and that it needed credible transformational leaders who will deliver a clear vision, values and aspirations of its people.
“Many Malawians have asked me not only to be part of the ‘Change Team’ but lead it. It is for this reason that today, I humbly accept your call to put up my name for nomination as presidential aspirant in 2014 general elections,” he said to a deafening applause.
He said the power to elect a presidential candidate for the UDF rests in the hands of the people through a free and fair election at the convention.
“I stand on the platform of change, new ideas, new thinking and I intend to meet as many ordinary Malawians as possible over the next few years in order to find out from them what most they care about and would like to see changed. This will always remain an on-going process if you place your trust in me,” Atupele said, adding “together we can do it and together we are agents of that change that we all yearn for”.
He said that if Malawians were serious about changing the Malawi political landscape, “we must start from our political parties”.
“That process begins by promoting women and the youth. We need to intensify efforts and actions to redress the existing persistent gender disparities, which hamper their full participation in our society,” Atupele said.
He said young people need to be inspired by giving them the confidence to challenge what they see and to dream great things, and empower them to influence their own lives and their future.
“The purpose of this gathering today is to embark on my quest to contribute to a historic conversation about leadership and its role in spearheading transformational change in Malawi,” the young Muluzi said to a defeating applause from guests that filled Njamba Room to capacity.
He also said it was not acceptable that a few individuals in Malawi should decide Malawians’ fate without listening to the people’s voice and that as a politician and a Malawian; he would not sit back and watch while things “go bad” in Malawi.
He said Malawi is a country where diverse ethnic groups, different religious groups and vibrant cultures have lived in harmony in pursuit of a secure and prosperous nation at ease with itself.
Members of the clergy, Malawi Watch executive director Billy Banda and other civil society leaders, UDF MPs including ex-foreign minister Lillian Patel, former Attorney General Peter Fachi, Atupele’s wife Angella, Dr Kholiwe Mkandawire were among the people that attended the “public discussion” under the banner, “Atupele Muluzi—New Agenda for Change”.
Labels: ATUPELE MULUZI
Chongwe MP quits
By Chibaula Silwamba
Fri 30 Sep. 2011, 14:40 CAT
By Chibaula Silwamba
NEWLY-elected MMD Chongwe member of parliament Japhen Mwakalombe yesterday resigned and declared that he will not recontest the seat. Commenting on yesterday's Post story that former Chongwe member of parliament Sylvia Masebo had directed her lawyers to petition the results of the September 20 parliamentary election, Mwakalombe said the story was now overtaken by events because he had decided to resign as member of parliament.
"Yes, I have seen that article in the newspaper but I can say the article has now been overtaken by events because I have decided to resign as member of parliament. I want to concentrate on rebuilding my relationship with the family," Mwakalombe said.
He said anyone had the right to petition election results whenever they were aggrieved.
"But I want to mention that it is very imperative to understand that Hon Masebo is my first cousin. For that reason, I feel that it is not good that I go with my elder sister in court with regards to elections," Mwakalombe said.
"It is very important that this should be resolved at a family level, especially that in the first place it was not hundred per cent free will for me to stand for elections. But now, since the people who wanted me to stand are not there, I feel that it is imperative that I understand that yes I could have won the election but how am I going to deliver?
"There are a lot of people in Chongwe who need development and I feel that because of this, it is time for me to go back to reality. And the reality in this case is that I need to harmonise my personal relationship with my elder sister Masebo and Her Royal Highness senior Chieftainess Nkomeshya who is our mother who has guided us from the time we were born to today.
"I actually feel haunted that my relationship with my blood relatives has gone sour. At this point in time, I want to take this opportunity to announce, from my personal feelings, that I have today resigned as member of parliament for Chongwe and will not re-contest the seat on any party ticket.
I want to ensure that the people of Chongwe are served by a member of parliament who is going to come. And I want to appeal to the people of Chongwe that it is important that they vote for Hon Masebo since she is the person who is very well known in that constituency. She has worked with the people well."
Mwakalombe also said it was important to understand that Masebo understands the problems that people have in Chongwe.
"Therefore, I would like to urge all our MMD councillors to work with the incoming member of parliament Hon Masebo so that they can bring development to the people," he said. "The MMD government lost the elections and since we lost this election, there is no other way that development is going to come to Chongwe.
In Chongwe there is a problem of tarring Chalimbana and Leopards Hill Road. And there is no member of parliament who can use his pocket to do this. This means that there is need to have good rapport with the member of parliament who is going to have access to government resources so that she brings development to the people."
Mwakalombe said another issue of great concern to the people of Chongwe was the lack of high schools in the area.
"All these things can only be done by the government. That is why for me I am saying that I would like to dedicate my time to reconcile with my sister and the Royal Highness and also to take this opportunity to apologise to the Soli Royal Establishment and all the chiefs in Lusaka Province," Mwakalombe said.
"Yes, during the campaigns I could have injured their feelings in one way or another. I could have injured the feelings of Hon Masebo. But I want to take this opportunity to apologise for I know that blood is thicker than water and it is important that we live in harmony for the betterment of our people.
"If the royal establishment, if my sister Hon Masebo feels that at some point she wants me to come and take over from her, I would do that. But next time, I would like to have the blessings of the royal establishment so that when I take the position my conscience would be very happy because I would have not antagonized anyone."
Asked about Masebo's contention in her petition that the MMD abused public resources, Mwakalombe said the abuse may have taken place although he was not aware of any.
" But you should also remember that I didn't have any intention in the first place to contest the Chongwe seat so I am not aware of any abuse of public resources," Mwakalombe said. "This could have happened but I want to mention that it happened without my full knowledge. If it happened indeed, then it is so saddening. Even on that ground, morally as a good leader, you can be happy that you have won but there are contentious issues.
On moral ground, the good thing to do is to resign so that the law can take its course. Being a member of parliament is being a representative of the people so you need to be widely accepted by the people. In short, you must be appreciated by the people, not just to be put as a stooge. These are some of the things I feel I should not be encountering if I have to work better for my people."
Tuesday, 18 September 2007 13:49
by Keith Harmon Snow
Who is Jean-Pierre Bemba and how did he rise to power in the heart of darkness? Did Bemba order his rebel soldiers to cannibalize pygmies? Or is that another Western myth manufactured to malign an African leader and feed stereotypes of tribal savagery? What is Bemba's relationship to the competitors of George W. Bush and the friends of Bill Clinton? How is Bemba linked to blood diamonds in Africa and mercenary armies in Iraq? Why have troops from Uganda recently re-invaded Congo and why have the United Nations and international press been silent about it? A look at Bemba's infamous history answers these questions and more.
After a decade of war and millions of lost lives in Congo the most basic truths remain hidden. In an August 3, 2007 Al-Jazeera interview held at his villa on millionaires row in Portugal, Congolese warlord-turned-opposition-Senator-in-exile Jean-Pierre Bemba spoke with a coy smile about bringing democracy and freedom to Congo. Asked about accusations at the International Criminal Tribunal in the Hague, Bemba insured the interviewer that he was not a candidate for any war crimes tribunal. "I am not of course involved in any of these things," Bemba said. "Check your information," Bemba replied, when pressed, indicating that it's all been fixed.
Like a modern day Pretty Boy Floyd out of Africa, the baby-faced Jean-Pierre Bemba-who chillingly resembles the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin-has behaved like a spoiled brat with a private army. And his great white fathers have protected him.
MWANA CONGO-SON OF THE CONGO
Congolese warlord Jean-Pierre Bemba was born November 4, 1962, less than two years after the assassination of Congolese nationalist Patrice Lumumba, in Gbadolite, a city in what was soon to become Zaire, on the border of the Central African Republic. He attended university in Belgium, traveling back to Kinshasa as a member of Zaire's elites. Congolese supporters have called him Mwana Congo-"son of Congo."
Jean-Pierre Bemba's mother died when he was twelve. His father, Bemba Saolona, was a close confidante of Joseph Mobutu, Zaire's 36-year CIA-backed president, and of Juvenal Habyarimana, the Rwandan president assassinated on April 6, 1994 by Major Paul Kagame and the Rwandan Patriotic Army/Front (RPA/F). Bemba Saolona remarried a niece of Mobutu's main political rival, the infamous Etienne Tshisekedi.
Bemba Saolona is a millionaire tycoon who was jailed by former President Laurent Desire Kabila after the U.S.-backed invasion took Zaire (1996-1997) renamed it the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). By 1999 Bemba Saolona was Minister of Economy and Industry in the new Laurent Kabila government, even while his son Jean-Pierre, head of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC), was leading a rebellion against it.
At the start of the MLC rebellion (1999), Papa Bemba was concerned about his little boy. "This is a message from Papa," the New York Times quoted Bemba Saolona, then 60, "he should really think hard about what he is doing." 
"I'm not a kid any more," replied baby-faced Bemba, then 39. "I can fly on my own wings." 
Bemba Saolona is tied to the Central African Republic (CAR) and the criminal networks of CAR President Ange-Félix Patassé (1993-2003). The CAR capital Bangui provides a major economic lifeline for the northern Congolese city of Gbadolite, a stronghold of the Bemba and Mobutu families and a major transshipment point for blood diamonds.
Bemba Saolona worked for decades with Ugandan elites involved in networks of criminalized and coercive taxation, racketeering and extortion that plundered eastern Zaire/Congo. One Bemba Saolona enterprise is the Enzymes & Raffineries Company (ENRA), based in Beni, North Kivu, where Saolona has a tourist hotel and plantations. Saolona Bemba did not visit ENRA during the war (1996-2005), but maintained regular contact, while ENRA "remained independent" but paid taxes to the Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD) rebel army, allied with Rwanda and controlled by Congolese warlord and later DRC vice-president Mbusa Nyamwisi, a long-time Ugandan ally. 
Saolona Bemba's private airport at ENRA had one dirt runway with no lights, yet during the war it was buzzing with big and small aircraft landing and taking off with amazing frequency. From 1998 to at least 2002, the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) used the ENRA compound as a holding facility for interrogation and torture operations. MONUC-the United Nations Observers Mission in Congo-for at least six years (2001-2006) leased landing rights at the private ENRA airport: during the rebellion ENRA territory was controlled by the RCD rebels, making MONUC an indirect financial backer of the RCD rebellion; MONUC payments to ENRA later benefited Bemba Saolona.
From the age of thirty, Jean-Pierre Bemba vastly expanded his private fortune following in his father's footsteps as personal assistant (1992-1997) of Joseph Mobutu, the dictator of Zaire (1965-1997): the Bembas father and son share responsibility for the terrorism sown by Mobutu's Special Presidential Division (DSP) and Military Action and Intelligence Service (SARM), which ran secret torture centers in Kinshasa, massacred students, and raped and pillaged as state policy.
Bemba was a vice-president in the transitional DRC government (2003-2006), while his top military commanders, Brigadier General Malik Kijege and Major General Dieudonné Amuli Bahigwa, were made big chiefs for the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (FARDC).
Worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Jean-Pierre Bemba's DRC enterprises have included electronics, aviation and television. Cathy Bemba, Jean-Pierre's sister, married François Joseph Nzanga Mobutu, one of the dictator's sons, in 1994. Like Bemba and most all the others, Nzanga Mobutu paid the $50,000 presidential candidature entry fee in the 2006 elections with funds gained by betraying the Congolese people. After the 2006 elections, Nzanga got his younger brother, Albert Philipe Giala Kassa Mobutu, and eight other individuals, "elected" to parliament (achieved by buying votes and support through sheer financial clout).
The World Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Community financed numerous parastatal entities in DRC involved, for example, in disarmament, demobilization, electioneering or "humanitarian" operations, and more than $600 million dollars of this money disappeared in the past few years. Exemplifying the alleged graft, each of the 600 Congolese parliamentarians received a new car, each purchase passing through Cathy Bemba Mobutu, allegedly bringing her $1000 per car.
MOVEMENT FOR THE LIQUIDATION OF CONGO
Jean-Pierre Bemba commanded the rebel Army for the Liberation of Congo (ALC)-the armed wing of the Movement for the Liberation of Congo (MLC)-from 1998 to 2003. Bemba's military "adventures" in Congo began in partnership with General Kpama Baramoto, former national commander in chief of Mobutu's elite Garde Civile, and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. Some 30 former Mobutuist officers of Zaire's national army, the Forces Armée Zairois (FAZ), met with Museveni and Bemba in Uganda in 1999. Bemba ousted several Mobutuist partners who fled with millions of dollars to Europe and Canada, or to luxury mansions under the protection of Nelson Mandela's African National Congress in South Africa, a haven from which they pursued illegal arms and mercenary activities.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni supplied Bemba's "rebellion" with troops, equipment and training. Museveni's Ugandan People's Defense Forces' (UPDF) 305th Brigade was trained by the Pentagon's Africa Crises Response Initiative (ACRI) in western Uganda, just prior to seizing control of Kisangani in 1998. The Israeli mercenary firm Silver Shadow reportedly supplied the UPDF/MLC alliance. The MLC's primary bases of operations were Gbadolite and Kisangani.
The MLC was supplied from the Central Africa Republic and Uganda, but the political base was in Belgium. Soon after the MLC opened their "rebellion" against the Laurent Kabila government (1998), Jean-Pierre Bemba flew from Gbadolite to Lisala, another Mobutu stronghold with a palatial mansion, where the state bank managers turned all funds over to Bemba; banks in Gemena, Bumba and other cities were also emptied for Bemba.  Numerous Mobutu era cronies joined the MLC uprising and collaborated with Bemba, and many of these hold positions of power in Kinshasa today.
The MLC rebels allied with the rebel Congolese Rally for Democracy (RCD), a movement/army first supported by Rwanda and Uganda, but later split by greed and personalities. Scores of militias in Congo were supplied and trained by both Uganda and Rwanda. The MLC/RCD alliance fought against other RCD factions to control and command plunder, racketeering, and extortion, and by early 1999 the MLC "rebellion" controlled the northern Congo, east to west, rich in gold and diamonds, in economic and military partnerships with Ugandan forces commanded by James Kazini and President Museveni's half-brother Salim Saleh, and by Rwandan commanders like James Kabarebe and Laurent Nkunda. The MLC was Uganda's primary instrument to plunder Congo.
Burundi and the Sudan People's Liberation Army (backed by U.S. and Uganda) joined the MLC/RCD rebellion. Their enemy, Laurent Kabila, was backed by Zimbabwe, Angola, Namibia, Chad and Sudan (Khartoum). Interests from the U.S. and Canada, Europe, Israel, South Africa, Australia, Russia and China supported one or the other and sometimes both sides.
Bemba also allied with Libya and established military ties with rebels or former rebels of the União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola (UNITA), which was led by rebel leader Jonas Savimbi. Senior Ugandan Army officials visited UNITA and Angola between 1996 and 1999, and UNITA officials, including Jonas Savimbi, visited Museveni and Jean-Pierre Bemba in Uganda.
The MLC/RCD alliance shipped products from plantations in rebel-held territory owned by the Blattner Group International: palm oil, coffee, cacao (chocolate), and rubber were shipped up the Congo River by boat from the Blattner Busira Lomami plantations in Isangi, to Kisangani, where raw materials were loaded onto airplanes and shipped to Uganda and/or Rwanda. Planes returned carrying supplies and weapons for the war.
"During the war the security was provided by Bemba" said one Blattner director. "Bemba did not want to destroy the [plantation] company, it was a question of building relationships." 
In 2002 and 2003 Jean-Pierre Bemba sent MLC troops to the Central African Republic (CAR) to help President Patassé suppress attempted coup d'etats. General Bozize overthrew his former ally Patassé in 2003 and arrest warrants were issued for Bemba and MLC officers in 2004. Complaints filed in 2006 at the International Criminal Court (ICC) charged Bemba and the MLC with massive war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in CAR from 2001 to 2003; the ICC had taken no action at the time of this writing.
"I defy anyone at that court," Bemba challenged, in 2003, "to say that Jean-Pierre Bemba raped a single girl in Central Africa, and I challenge anybody to say that I gave orders for rape."
BEMBA GAVE ORDERS FOR RAPE
There are countless documentations and testimonies establishing Jean-Pierre Bemba's reign of terror. War crimes and crimes against humanity included persecution, murder, forced population transfer, torture, rape, sexual slavery, sexual mutilation and extermination. After October 2002, the MLC/RCD forces swept across north central Congo with a killing campaign code-named 'Effacer le Tableau'-'Erasing the Board.'
Land and plunder were attained through sheer terror. Effacer Le Tableau involved cannibalism by MLC and RCD soldiers: interviews with MLC soldiers in MLC territory in 2004 confirm that cannibalism and dismemberment occurred across Northern Congo. The accusations of cannibalism were repeatedly raised against Bemba throughout the transition and electoral process. The International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) also took up the case. More than 350 testimonies collected by the UN confirmed these allegations against the MLC. 
"The operation was presented to the people almost like a vaccination campaign, envisioning the looting of each home and the rape of each woman," said a MONUC spokesman in Congo. 
Effacer Le Tableau was a covert military operation commanded by Jean-Pierre Bemba and his top officers, and there are allegations that Bemba personally participated in rape and cannibalism. One insider explained, "Soldiers [here] do what their commanders do; no one would commit these kinds of atrocities if they didn't think their commanders supported and condoned them, and they did." 
"The very day (January 15, 2003) that human rights organizations accused Bemba of cannibalism," reported Congolese journalist Antoine Lokongo of Congopanorama, "and the UN Security Council condemned these barbaric acts, André Flahaut, the Belgian Minister of Defense flew to Gbadolite, Bemba's fiefdom, and shook hands with him in front of the world's cameras." 
Jean-Pierre Bemba is married to Lillian Teixeira, the daughter of Antonio Teixeira, a Portuguese born businessman now residing in South Africa. Recall that during the warlord's battle in Kinshasa from March 22 to April 11, 2007 Jean-Pierre Bemba took refuge in the South African Embassy, and then fled to Portugal as a "tourist" seeking medical treatment.
European, South African and Libyan interests comprise the key pillars of support behind Jean-Pierre Bemba. But behind or allied with these appear to be U.S. interests either  closely affiliated with the Democratic National Committee or  in direct economic and political competition with the Bush administration and its allies. International arms dealers John Bredenkamp, Billy Rautenbach and George Forrest-untouchables known to hold multiple passports (e.g. South Africa, Zimbabwe, European and U.S.)-have also likely supplied Bemba with weapons.
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON
Bemba's brother-in-law Anthony "Tony" Teixeira deals in blood diamonds, criminal networks and mercenary operations, but the diamonds are stamped as certifiably clean and conflict free by the Kimberley Process, the international diamond certification scheme created by intelligence operatives at Harvard University. Bemba has at times moved some one to three million dollars in diamond sales monthly.
Tony Teixeira is one of three pivotal businessmen who, along with Jacques Lemaire and Victor Bout, were cited in 2000 for sanctions-busting by supporting the UNITA rebels in Angola's war. UNITA (União Nacional para a Independência Total de Angola) was covertly backed by the CIA during the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations, but abandoned in the Clinton era. UNITA dealt in diamonds and threatened the interests of the Angolan government of President José Eduardo dos Santos. The Angolan diamond cartels involve Israeli-American tycoon Maurice Tempelsman and Russian tycoon Lev Leviev, both close to the Clintons and their friends, and to the Israeli Mossad, and U.S. corporations were hungry for control of Angola's offshore oil.
Victor Bout runs an air transport company and was also cited by the UN Panel of Experts for the illegal extraction of natural resources from DRC. On November 22, 2006, the G.W. Bush government re-designated the official status of Victor Bout-who previously had a "special" designation apparently reserved for weapons suppliers, diamond dealers, drug lords and other syndicated criminals tied to the elites in the USA-and froze some of Bout's central Africa assets.
The G.W. Bush action supported the Joseph Kabila government and its backers-at the expense of competing interests: Russian arms dealer Victor Bout's ties to multiple combatants in DRC involved interests aligned with the Democratic National Committee that have backed guerrilla warfare in Sudan, Rwanda and Congo. The ascension of Israeli-American diamond kingpins Beny Steinmetz and Dan Gertler displaced the DeBeers and the Oppenheimers monopoly out of South Africa, and Maurice Tempelsman, and these latter interests have likely been using Jean-Pierre Bemba to leverage access to minerals and contracts in the Kasai and Katanga provinces.
Bemba and his brother-in-law Tony Teixeira also profited from Teixeira's dealings with Central Africa Republic President Ange-Félix Patassé through Teixeira's Central Africa Mining Company (CAMCO) and Central Africa Diamond Company (CADCO). 
The companies of Tony Buckingham and partner Tony Teixeira operate through a hornet's nest of offshore subsidiaries and joint ventures. One Buckingham diamond, oil and gold firm is Canadian-based Energem, formerly DiamondWorks, whose director/shareholders include Mario and Tony Teixeira, Israeli-American Beny Steinmetz (owns 50%) and J.P. Morgan.  Through subsidiary Branch Energy, DiamondWorks has perpetuated war in 11 African countries.
DiamondWorks ha been financed by the U.K.'s Lyndhurst Ltd., a company controlled by a consortium led by Teixeira. DiamondWorks was originally formed from a merger between Robert and Eric Friedland's Carson Gold and Branch Energy. The Friedlands are "friends of Bill" Clinton. Buckingham's Branch Energy works in Uganda.
Buckingham's Heritage Oil and Gas is involved in Kazakhstan, Russia, Iraq, Oman, Kurdistan, Gabon and on Lake Albert-on both sides of the war-torn DRC-Uganda border-where fighting between the Congolese FARDC army and Ugandan soldiers and Heritage Oil guards killed a British Heritage Oil subcontractor on August 3, 2007.
Heritage Oil (Canada) and Tullow Oil (London)- operating around Lake Albert-are using the Bemba-Museveni military alliance to pressure the Kabila government in Kinshasa, partly because Kabila is looking east to China, partly because Kabila is close to Bush and the Israeli lobby, while Saudi Arabian and Omani interests (e.g. Bechtel, Heritage) are closer to Uganda.
By September 5, 2007, UPDF troops-and rebels reportedly aligned with Jean-Pierre Bemba-had occupied the DRC's oil- and gold-rich Semliki Basin on the western shores of Lake Albert. Heavily armed foreign forces occupied the villages of Aru, Mahagi, Fataki, Irengeti and the Ruwenzori mountains. The international press and MONUC remained completely silent about the Ugandan incursions. By September 8, 2007, Ugandan troops were heavily massed on the DRC border while Kabila and Museveni were signing oil and gold sharing agreements in Tanzania. UPDF forces and "rebel" troops alleged to be Bemba's remained in DRC as of September 15.
One Heritage partner is Maurel and Prom, a leading European oil firm "with a strong presence in Africa since French colonial days."  Heritage principal Micael Gulbenkian is renowned for his deep ties to Iraqi oil since 1920. One long-time Buckingham partner is Tim Spicer, now running a $430 million Pentagon contract in Iraq, fraudulently awarded, for Aegis Defense Services, a mercenary firm also involved in Kenya-an extension of clandestine U.S. interests sowing terror in Uganda, Somalia, Sudan, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Congo. Bechtel subsidiary Nexant is involved in the oil pipeline being constructed across Uganda to the U.S. military port at Mombasa Kenya.
The UPDF/Museveni government genocide against the Acholi people of northern Uganda is driven by transboundary petroleum and gold concessions linked to foreign corporations like Heritage, Tullow, and Bechtel. Uganda and Rwanda are two of the Pentagon's premier military partners in Africa: some 150 U.S. Special Forces were added to the Pentagon's Uganda arsenal in March 2007 and U.S. and U.K. military have been training UPDF troops.
EXXON (ESSO) discovered oil in Equateur during the Mobutu reign, but-apparently-Mobutu's insistence on domestic refining sidelined the project; the petroleum reserves in Equateur have recently been "discovered" and these reserves-in territory controlled by Bemba and the MLC-were clearly at stake in the wars of 1996-2004. On a 1997 petroleum industry map the huge Equateur Province concession (labeled "Trillion") stretches more than 120,000 square kilometers into the rainforest of the Congo River basin.
There is also a criminal Portuguese connection to the logging sector through concessions granted in areas under Bemba's MLC control to two secretive Portuguese businessmen. Jose Albano Maia Trindade and João Manuel Maia Trindade control four companies SODIFOR, SOFORMA, FARABOLA and Compagnie Forestière et de Transformation (CFT, a subsidiary of NST Sedeada Holdings of Liechtenstein); financing reportedly comes from Switzerland. The Portuguese Trindade brothers reportedly evade all rents and taxes to the DRC government and have been ripping out the rainforest as fast as possible.
"The Portuguese brothers got eight million hectares," said Belgian Georges Somja, owner of Lisala-based SICOBOIS, another Belgian logging company exploiting Equateur province through slavery and theft, near a SOFORMA concession. "They paid money completely under the table. It was all corruption." 
"Who supports Bemba?" said one insider in Kinshasa. "That is the question. It is the Democrats in the U.S., because they support Uganda and Rwanda. They are behind the petroleum interests. Portugal supports Bemba. South Africa supports Bemba. They can say what they want but it's very clear that there are some games going on in the back. And businessmen like the Blattners support both Kabila and Bemba." 
THE PAGE IS TURNED
Another foreign interlocutor in Congolese affairs is Spanish diplomat Javier Solana, now EU Foreign Policy and Security Chief, and the former NATO Secretary General who ordered the illegal bombing of Serbia to support the "humanitarian" Clinton/Albright diplomacy. In diplomatic talks with Bemba in September 2006, Javier Solana reportedly offered Bemba a buy-out deal to step aside before the October 2006 presidential run-off. Jean-Pierre Bemba refused, and the warlords fought it out like spoiled brats in the Congo's "War of Three Days"-March 22-25, 2007.
On July 13, 2007, EU Commissioners Louis Michel and Javier Solana met with Jean-Pierre Bemba at his villa in Faro, Portugal. The two commissioners praised the baby-faced Bemba after the meeting, noting his commitment to "constructive" engagement, peace and cooperation. "Mr. Bemba," the EU Commissioners announced to the Western press-Jean-Pierre Bemba was himself not allowed to come outside and appear before the press-"wants to engage honestly and loyally in a debate on the future of the Congo." 
Like a little boy, the baby-faced Jean-Pierre Bemba received his marching orders and was sent to his room (villa).
"He wishes to examine in greater detail the solutions needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals," said Louis Michel, the great white father from Belgium, "which he deems a priority in his vision of a modern Congo; this includes issues such as gender equality, social cohesion through dialogue between partners, decentralization, the mobilization of the Diaspora, the emergence of a participatory and dynamic civil society and the necessary reform of the security system (Justice, Army, Police). He also intends to lend his unconditional support to the country's unity and to an external policy of good neighborly relations."
The great white fathers had hardly finished outlining Bemba's reformation when reports began to claim that baby-faced Bemba was meeting with President Museveni in Uganda. Soon Congolese survivors in frontier towns saw Ugandan military and their "rebel" allies-believed to be Bemba's boys-marching into Congo with their bombs and their guns and their other deadly toys.
Jean-Pierre Bemba met with Rwandan warlord General Laurent Nkunda during his Vice-Presidency and he is now one of General Nkunda's secret backers in the ongoing bloodletting that claims some 1000 lives a day in eastern Congo. There are reports that Nkunda sent soldiers to Kinshasa to support Bemba in the warlord's deadly battle of March 22-25, 2007-now described as an "attempted coup" by Jean-Pierre Bemba and the Western warlords behind him. Bemba's buying off of high-level MONUC officials-as MONUC sources allege-would partially explain MONUC's unwillingness to challenge or dislodge General Nkunda. 
But the Kabila government is looking east: on September 17, 2007 a "resource hungry" China signed an agreement to invest five billion dollars in Congos' infrastructure. Anglo-European interests are now using the military occupation of General Laurent Nkunda-backed by clients regimes in Uganda and Rwanda, by Jean-Pierre Bemba and MONUC-to leverage their position with Kabila. Nkunda earns at least $100,000 a month in extortion and minerals theft, and he is buying officials. Most important, General Laurent Nkunda is the "insurance policy" for the U.S. and German companies preventing Congo's access to the Lueshe niobium mines and other mineral bonanzas, including coltan, cassiterite and, allegedly, uranium, under Nkunda's control.
It is apparent that international capitalism-the warlords behind the warlords-does not care which black face they put on Congo to mask their predatory white enterprises. Like Patrice Lumumba, General Sani Abacha, Thomas Sankara and Laurent Kabila, those who step out of line are removed, one way or another. Chaos and deconstruction are often favored. Atrocities and genocides are selectively declared, selectively punished. Those black leaders who cooperate to further the fictions of Africa controlled by Africans are rewarded, the corruption and atrocities are ignored, and the page is turned.
For more articles by keith harmon snow, visit his website: http://allthingspass.com/
 "Al Jazeera Interviews Jean-Pierre Bemba," YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dk6xmIuwGEo.
 The facts of the double presidential assassination of April 6, 1994 are now very well established.
 See: Norimitsu Onishi, "Kinshasa Journal: Papa and a Rebel Son Ask Who's the Betrayer?" New York Times, July 29, 1999, Section A: p. 4.
 Norimitsu Onishi, "Kinshasa Journal: Papa and a Rebel Son Ask: Who's the Betrayer?" New York Times, July 29, 1999.
 Op cit.
 Saolona Bemba is the main shareholder in ENRA, though ENRA describes itself as a "public" company. ENRA also manufactures fine finished furniture sold to European customers, and produces a rare powdered papaya enzyme, papaine, used in European pharmaceutical, beer and food products. The RPA/F seized huge stocks of coffee and papaine in 1996 and stored them in Kigali for two years. The RPA/F forced ENRA agents in Europe to buy back the papaine because all other potential European buyers balked. Private communication, Robert Ducarme, ENRA, August 16, 2007.
 Nyamwisi was allegedly involved with DARA Forest, a pirate Ugandan-Thai logging firm, connected to the Museveni regime, which cut-and-run widely in Oreintale and North Kivu; some DARA Forest logs ended up at ENRA. Private inspection, ENRA, keith harmon snow, Beni, DRC, 2005. One partner in DARA's war-based plunder of DRC's timber was DARA Tropical Hardwoods, Portland, OR. DARA Forest timber was sold to international buyers and shipped to Belgium, China, Denmark, Japan, Kenya, Switzerland and the USA: see Report of the Panel of Experts on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and Other Forms of Wealth of DR Congo, UN Security Council, 4/12/01. See also: http://www.edcnews.se/Reviews/DRC-UNReport010412-C.html.
 Private interview, Beni, DRC, 2004; also "DRC: North Kivu destabilized by rebel infighting," IRIN ReliefWeb, 11 September 2001.
 Research in DRC, 2004-2007, keith harmon snow; see also: Uganda in Eastern DRC: Fueling Political and Ethnic Strife, Human Rights Watch, Vol. 13, No. 2, March 2001.
 MONUC spokesman Kemal Saiki did not respond to August 2007 requests for clarifications on the MONUC relationship with Jean-Pierre Bemba.
 See e.g. Zaire: Repression As Policy, Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, 1990.
 Private interview, Kinshasa, DRC, April 2007.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1992-1999, Mellon Press, 1999: p. 422-423. Baramoto is in Belgium today, there are rumors that he has some relationship with General Laurent Nkunda. According to an International Crises Group report of 13 August 1998, North Kivu Into The Quagmire, Mobutu generals Baramoto, Mavhe and Nzimbi reportedly organized the RCD movement. However, the Mobutuists were apparently excluded by Kigali. Private interview, PG, December 2006.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1992-1999, Mellon Press, 1999: p. 463. ACRI was apparently the work of Susan Rice, Undersecretary of State for African Affairs, in the Clinton Administration. As a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Susan Rice is today one of the most vocal advocates for decisive military action to "Stop Genocide!" and "Save Darfur!"-again, by any means necessary. ACRI's Uganda trainees also worked with the SPLA in South Sudan. Susan Rice reportedly has close ties with ex-National Security Council staffer Shawn McCormick who went to work for BP, one of the oil companies (formerly Amoco) with concessions interests in Somalia today; Rice is also very close with Roger Winter of USAID.
 Op cit.
 Private interview, Lisala, DRC, keith harmon snow, 2005.
 Private interviews, Kisangani, 2004-2007; see also e.g., Peter Tygesen, "Abandoned and Neglected," Dateline ACT,
 Research in DRC, 2004-2007, keith harmon snow.
 Private interview, Blattner firm director, Equateur Province, DRC, 2005.
 Erasing the Board, Minority Rights Group International, 2004,
 Personal interviews, Equateur Province, keith harmon snow, 2004.
 "Congo candidate calls for calm, denies cannibalism," Reuters, July 28, 2006; also "Congolese rebel denies cannibalism," BBC, January 14, 2003.
 "DR Congo Rebels Go On Trial," BBC, 18 February 2003, < http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2775569.stm>.
 "Congo cannibalism claim provides first challenge," Guardian Unlimited, March 10, 2003.
 Personal interview, Kinshasa, 2006, keith harmon snow.
 Antoine Lokongo, "Keeping Congo Bleeding: How British Mercenaries are 'Fueling' Africa' First World War," Congopanorama, Spring 2005, http://www.congopanorama.info/documents/mag-mercenary.shtml .
 See: keith harmon snow and Rick Hines, "Blood Diamonds: Doublethink and Deception About Those Worthless Little Rocks of Desire," Z Magazine, June & July 2007, published in full at
 Christian Dietrich, Diamonds in the Central African Republic.
 "Hain turns up international heat on Savimbi," Angola Peace Monitor
, ACTSA (Action for Southern Africa), No. 6, Vol. VI, 23 February 2000;
 See: keith harmon snow and Rick Hines, "Blood Diamond: Doublethink and Deception over those Worthless Little Rocks of Desire," Z Magazine, June and July 2007.
 Christian Dietrich, "Blood Diamonds: Effective African-Based Monopolies," African Security Review, Vol. 10, No 3, 2001,
 Officers: Antonio Teixeira, President & CEO; Robert G. Rainey, CFO; Brett Thompson, COO, Mining; Dimitri (Jimmy) Kanakakis, Vice President, Corporate & Legal Affairs; Bernard Poznanski, Corporate Secretary; Board Members: Brian Menell, Richard Dorfman, Bruce Holmes, Robert Rainey, Antonio Teixeira,
 See: "Africa/Diamonds: Rough diamonds," Africa Confidential, 5 March 2004, Vol. 45, No. 5; and "Equatorial Guinea: All Theft is Property," Africa Confidential, 17 Nov. 2006, Vol. 47, No. 23: p. 12.
 Wayne Madsen, Genocide and Covert Operations in Africa, 1993-1999, Mellen Press, 1999.
 See: keith harmon snow, "Northern Uganda: Hidden War, Massive Suffering: Another White People's War for Oil," and "Tullow, Hardman and Heritage Oil Concessions Map,"
 Private communications from Eastern Congo, August and September 2007. See also: Apollo Mubiru, "Uganda might be forced to enter Congo," New Vision, August 16, 2007.
 See: analyses by Sam Keiri, "Heritage Oil Corporation," eResearch, April 24, 2006.
 See petroleum maps and story: keith harmon snow, "Northern Uganda: Hidden War, Massive Suffereing: Another White People's War for Oil,"
 See Indian Ocean Newsletter, March 2007, and "Uganda: A glimmer of Hope," Africa Confidential, Vol. 41, Number 9, 2004.
 Personal interviews with Belgian and Congolese logging principals, DRC, 2004-2006. Where concession taxes or rents are paid the Congolese state earns about one cent ($US 0.01) per hectare. Concessions rights, granted for thirty years, have been taken from Congolese villages in exchange for compensation totaling less than $200. Logs of the precious dark wood Aformosia species sell at Congo's Matadi port for $US 7000-10,000 each. Logging firms operating all over Congo have been ripping out timber as fast as possible. Besides the World Bank, the World Wildlife Fund and other "conservation" organizations have facilitated this thievery. See: Georgianne Nienaber and keith harmon snow, "King Kong: The Curious Activities of the International Monkey Business," Parts 1-7,
 Private interview, Georges Somja, SICOBOIS, Lisala, 2005. One of the Portuguese companies, SODIFOR, is apparently headed up by Evariste Boshab, a Congolese Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Kinshasa and the principal private secretary of president Joseph Kabila during the transition period; Boshab is also described as EU Commissioner Louis Michel's "right hand man."
 Private interview, Kinshasa, April 5, 2007.
 "Tshisekedi, Kingmaker," Eye on Africa, September 28, 2006,
 See: keith harmon snow, "Behind the Scenes: Warlord's Deadly Battle in Congo," Toward Freedom, August 9, 2007,
 "Louis Michel has meeting with Jean-Pierre Bemba in Faro (Portugal) and is soon to visit the Democratic
Republic of the Congo," EUROPA, Press Release, IP/07/1102, Brussels 13 July 2007.
 Private communication September 12, 2007.
 See: keith harmon snow, Behind the Scenes: Warlord's Deadly Battle in Congo, Toward Freedom, August 9, 2007,