Saturday, October 15, 2011
by Nathaniel Manheru
"MUGABE and the White African" is in essence a David and Goliath story. Appalled by the state-orchestrated crimes against humanity on a massive scale countrywide, with horrific violence perpetrated against white commercial farmers, their farm workers and the rural population, a farming family takes on President Mugabe's government in a landmark court case heard by the Sadc Tribunal in Windhoek, Namibia. They know the risks, but they believe it is what God requires of them.
Set on Mount Carmel farm in the Chegutu district of Zimbabwe, this deeply moving book is the chronicle of a Christian family's struggle to survive, to protect the land it purchased legally from the government, and to protect the lives and livelihoods of all those working on the farm."
British State in Devotion
The past week has been a significant one for the Anglican Church, itself a schismatic offshoot of the Catholic Church, and the official Church of the State in the United Kingdom.
The last point, including the consequential role of the British Queen as the Head of that Church, is often overlooked in discussions of church, state and unfolding politics in and of Zimbabwe. We need to keep that dimension in mind, in which case we can soundly understand why in spite of the fact that Lambeth is not a State, the way that the Vatican is, its foremost official - the Archbishop - carries the aura of a head of state when on visits abroad, especially in countries with which Britain has had colonial links in the past.
The Anglican Church has evolved as the British State in worship or devotion. A cursory reading of the evolution of the British political and governmental system will clearly show its crucial near-ethereal role as the earthly agent for God's benediction on the British Monarch, the State, its apparatus and its minions.
The past week had seen the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, paying a visit to Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe. The visit, particularly its Zimbabwean leg, was almost engulfed in controversy, something that guaranteed it maximum publicity.
Man who turned 80
A great week for the Anglican Church in another sense. One of its shepherds - now retired - hit 80, to great ululation, joy and fanfare. This was Archbishop Desmond Tutu who, alongside well-wishers, organised a great "bhavhadeyi".
It still remains to be explained to me how the same age zone that invites deep obloquy for Robert Mugabe, triggers jingle bells for Desmond Tutu.
Tibet and South Africa
But much more than jingle bells. The event also generated lots of bile and brickbats, this time against President Zuma's government. The good archbishop had decided, apparently without any reference to his Government, to invite the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader who has been a thorn in the flesh of the Chinese Government, so the spiritual leader could be part of the party. The South African Government would have none of that and they simply played a dilatory game with the protocol of visa granting, creating a situation where the bhavhadeyi passed before the Lama's papers were in place for his travel.
The Archbishop was furious, as was the Western world which has heavily invested in the spiritual leader to keep the sides of the rising dragon needled all the time by uncomfortable questions, uncomfortable situations. The script abroad was the Zuma Government had succumbed to pressure from the Chinese Government which would look dimly at any profile-raising concessions to it's spiritually suffused opponent.
The script went further. South Africa would not risk billions-worth of trade with the giant Chinese economy for the sake of a mere birth-marking ritual involving some old man, albeit spotting a collar on his shirtfront.
This was condemnable in the extreme, went the Western script and its multiple echoes in our subcontinent. Zuma, added these magisterial voices, had yet again fumbled on foreign policy, with Zimbabwe, Libya and many other areas being cited in accusatory illustration.
Expensive Birthday gift
This attack on Zuma, much of it quite gratuitous, should be deposed of with the swiftness it deserves. From flashes of anger which the media recorded from Archbishop Tutu, it is clear the cleric expected an expensive gift from the South African government, all to mark the occasion. He expected the South African government to indulge him, all to the value of billion upon billions of dollars in Chinese trade which South Africa was sure to forego in consequence.
That was going to be the dollar value of the gift Tutu expected from the South African Government. Turn that into jobs, or some other welfare index, and you graphically quantify the sacrifice Tutu hoped from South Africa's poor, never mind that the link between trade with China and benefits to the poor should never be posited as obviously given.
I have not yet mentioned the fact that South Africa and China both belong to Brics, an alliance which we all hope can be nurtured into a meaningful counterpoise to arrogant American and European global dominance.
What was being asked of Zuma was that Tutu's birthday soar above the foreign policy of South Africa, indeed play first fiddle to South Africa's strategic interests in Asia. No one cared to explain how and why a matter between China and the West, a matter between China and her religiously recalcitrant citizen, should excise South Africa. Or why a citizen of South Africa, simply on the strength of worn-out Anglican robes, should found and consecrate friendship outside of, insensitive to, and defiant of the foreign policy concerns of his government and State. Or why he should piously remonstrate with that offended State for not bending low to wipe clean his dirty feet and sandals, so entangled in a worthless of ecumenical friendship.
Bad for the gander
The argument goes deeper. This year alone we saw Western leaders, including American and British leaders beat the road to China, begging bowl beneath the robes of haughty Caucasian pride.
The China they were now visiting was far, far different from the China of servile urchins in the days of the Opium Wars, and the subsequent triple occupation of Shanghai. To this day Shanghai bears its triple disfigurement: a third of it British, another third French and the last third American. They were now paying visits to a new, roaring China with trillions of American dollars in reserves, a mighty China playing donor to virtually all western economies, so buffeted, so much in financial turmoil.
However much their liberal media howled - and howl they did - all the leaders steered clean of any controversies, indeed punctiliously ensured great China was not, would not be, offended by extraneous issues, including human rights and the rights of the Tibetan people as led by their spiritual leader.
Were they leaving this very sensitive matter to South Africa to raise at her own expense in the month of October, towards the end of the year of our Lord two thousand and eleven? They, and only they, have the right to shelve larger matters in deference to their immediate needs and strategic interests. We don't. We do not have that latitude to pass over matters which injure the pursuit of our interests? We are obligated to raise such touchy issues for the sake of Europe, America and the idealisms of western liberalism?
Above all, how come the Queen never invites the Dalai Lama on the occasion of her birthday? Or Robert Mugabe? Or wa Mutharika? Or Ahmadinejad? Or Chavez? Or Castro? Or better still the spiritual leader in Iran?
When will our own people realise the value of harmonising their pursuits with the larger interests of their nation, rather than generating valueless dilemmas and controversies for their Governments, all for personal fame and glory?
I want to go back to the visit to Zimbabwe by Rowan Williams, the head of the Anglican Church. Until on the eve of his departure from Malawi, itself the headquarters of the Anglican Province of Central Africa, the man of God was content to call his trip a pastoral one, with the prime purpose of sharing the worship with his brethren in Zimbabwe.
Appropriately, the Archbishop could not peg enormous cosmic goals to his mission. Unlike the Catholic Church whose spiritual epicentre is the Vatican, whose spiritual head is the Pope, the Anglican church pretends a diffused, non-hierarchical order whose hub is the "province" in a given geographical region which must give direction to parishes under it. As is now well known, the province of Central Africa to which the Zimbabwean Anglican Church is, or was, affiliated, depending of course on where you stand vis-à-vis the current controversy, was torn apart a few years back on account of the gay question. It is a divided church, bitterly divided.
Divided by Caesar's things
And because the Zimbabwean church wields the financial wherewithal, this controversy has become a dispute over church assets and resources. It pays to remember that throughout the colonial days, the Anglican Church in Rhodesia stood by successive colonial governments, which is how it was able to accumulate fabulous wealth by way of real estate, orphanage and educational business.
It was a church of settler and racist conformity, by and large, which is why conscience-led bishops like Knight Bruce soon lost to Bishop Burrough who openly endorsed UDI and consecrated soldiers before their deployment for wanton, genocidal "kills" of natives. The sheer financial muscle of the Zimbabwean Anglican Church explains why its schism has sucked in the whole of Southern Africa.
The rich simmer
Much worse, unable to marshal a common position on the land issue, the Zimbabwean church soon found its bishopric badly divided in a way that mirrored the larger political divide in the country. It is simply dishonest to call Kunonga a "Mugabe" or a "Zanu-PF" bishop without acknowledging the MDC-T politics so explicitly "embedded" in Gandiya, Bakare, etc, etc.
The matter gets even more entangled when you bring in Julius Makoni, that faction's latest catch through a nexus of relationships.
The Anglican pulpit has been heavily politicised and I challenge any of its bishops to swear by the holy book that they have not pledged their allegiance to competing political parties, to the princes of power! That situation has created quite an explosive concoction for the church: gays, land, property and politics.
You add the issue of relations with Britain, and the pot simply gets thicker than poor porridge after a very long simmer. I am not even bringing in the juridical dimension. Such is the church the archbishop came to, and it is not a surprise he needed a large entourage from the whole Province to fortify his own courage.
Until the Archbishop made a suggestive if not incriminating comment on the eve of his departure for Harare, no one in position of authority in Zimbabwe took much notice of his mission. The interest had remained strictly journalistic: had the Archbishop sought audience with the President; was the President going to meet with the Archbishop, etc, etc. Beyond that, the sun rose from the east, set in the west, both to no cloud cover or rumbling thunder.
In fact the sending church in the UK was more excited about the trip than the host society, never mind the jostling and jockeying that visibly picked pitch within the Zimbabwean Anglican church itself. That was hardly new to this quarrelsome church. But the moment the Archbishop spoke of raising the issue of division and persecution in the Anglican Church with President Mugabe, aggressive interest gathered within the country. The Archbishop's homily inside the country reinforced this eagerness to engage him.
Matters of morality
In a well-calculated pre-emptive denunciation of colonialism, he raised issues of post-independence governance, hoping his fawned anti-colonial tirade had secured him all-time insurance against instant retort founded on the historical culpability of the Anglican Church as a partner in genocidal colonialism.
And of course the well-attended church service in Harare gave him and his Gandiya faction an illusion of carrying the bigger moiety of the deeply divided church. Here and ahead of his arrival, the church had distanced itself from homosexuality, stressing the Church did not condone such a moral monstrosity. The announcement was a calculated pre-emption, meant to leave Kunonga and his group with no cause, no grievance.
Later, the Archbishop would seal the argument through a highly intellectualised argument to the effect that the Church, while scornful of homosexuality, respected homosexuals as human beings entitled to dignity and respect in their deviance. After all, American churches which had sanctified homosexuality belonged to another province which had no lordship over the rest. That way, the matter was deposed. Or so the Archbishop thought.
Dossier for publicity
Sanctions? Well, the Archbishop insisted he had not been favoured with evidence of hurtful sanctions in the country and thus could not react to the matter. As far as he had heard and read, sanctions in Zimbabwe were targeted. And to overwrite this touchy subject, he presented the President with a dossier on the persecution of the Anglican Church in Zimbabwe, urging the President to intervene to end it.
The dossier was soon published on the internet for wider reading. It thus became a public document, never privileged communication between a Church anxious for some resolution and a Head of State whose intervention it implored. And like most Western officials, the Archbishop had also been asked to assess the health and mental acuity of the President. To the disappointment of those interested in that side of the President, the Archbishop gave the man a clean bill of health, at least as confirmed by the faith stethoscope!
Flying British Kite
Now let's deal with the hard balls of this narrative, without fear, without favour. The decision by the Archbishop to visit Harare generated lots of controversies within Britain itself. Would he be well received? Would he not present Mugabe with a propaganda coup? Would he not legitimise Mugabe, thereby redeeming him from splendid isolation?
Such worries, so acutely and fervently put, attested to the fact that in the visit, the British State was in fact breaking with its self-imposed protocol, to initiate contacts with President Mugabe and his Government. It had invested heavily in the visit which played deep stick to bilateral relations. Indeed, the Archbishop received the courtesies of a foreign official, including State security.
Alongside that visit was an opinion filtered through a think-tank linked to the British establishment. This Commonwealth think-tank suggested the impending Chogm be used to make overtures to Zimbabwe.
Expectedly, a British Minister moved in to shoot down the suggestion, seemingly making tougher demands on Zimbabwe. But the purpose had been served: the balloon had been flown, the idea of re-engaging Zimbabwe had been placed in the public domain without binding the British Government, indeed with all the safeguards against a public fallout well in place.
Indeed, opinion leaders in quality British papers proceeded to hail Lambeth for having a better foreign policy than Whitehall, urging the British Government to do better! One perfectly understands the game in town. It would be quite naive, if not foolish, for the divided Anglican church to visualise itself as the subject matter of the week. Simply, it was not. Much worse, it would be downright silly and idealistic for its bishops to imagine their differences can find resolution outside of the abiding question pitting Zimbabwe against Britain, indeed finding play in sanctions.
Questions for Gandiya
Which takes me to my first charge against Bishop Gandiya and all those he leads. Why did he not prepare a dossier against sanctions for presentation to the Archbishop? Does he think this country is not under sanctions? Does he think that his Anglican laity, Elijah-like, enjoy a sanctions-free universe that hovers above all of us, flying well beyond and above sanctions and the travails they spawn?
Or is his denial of sanctions secular, in which case he needs to tell us in what way it differs from that of MDC-T? Could this provide a clue to the politics of his faction in the church, as well as its appeal to the mother church in Britain which is at one with the British Government both historically and in terms of contemporary politics? That the issue of gays is but the icing on the cake to this untoward dalliance?
Clearly the effort in compiling a dossier on alleged persecution is just about what was required in compiling a dossier on sanctions which have affected church schools, hospitals, orphanages, followers, etc, etc. Or is the church unconcerned, the same way it was under Ian Smith except where white interests are concerned? I hope the good bishop noticed that among the worshipers who came to meet the Archbishop were Zanu-PF office holders who cannot be indifferent to sanctions, and whose presence cannot be interpreted as endorsement of his politics with their attendant blind sports.
My second question to the bishop gets me agitated. At no time did the bishop seek audience with the President. Why? Was he waiting for the Archbishop's intercession? To achieve what? Personal profile? Greater damnation for the President? A strong image of a persecuted Church later to translate to greater gifts to that church? Clearly there are real moral and political issues which are at stake and which will not go away.
While the local church thinks it has ducked the issue of gays and their so-called rights, hardly had the Archbishop's footmarks evaporated on our land than had the British Government announced a policy tying its own overseas aid support to gay rights. The British State is clearly enforcing an eleventh commandment through its alleged financial power over the Third World.
The idea of a local bishop by-passing the State President and the Committee set up to resolve that matter, to reach a British Archbishop reeks of ecclesiastical colonialism of the worst order. Such a disposition does not build a national church; rather, it builds some church in Zimbabwe appended to Lambeth. Needless to say such power relations in an institution so steeped in history and governmental politics implies not just a political outlook, but also a disturbing answer to the current stand-off between Britain and Zimbabwe.
However holy this holy man of Lambeth may be, he cannot be our father who art in Britain, and Bishop Gandiya should know that. He is a mere believer whose efforts heavenwards trigger numerous questions in all of us, whether religious or cultural.
Bishop Gandiya did more to entangle his own skein. He went to the courts. Later, he abandoned the same courts, followed by a not so holy scent of a bad loser. He turned to Lambeth, denouncing a national institution of the Bench which he had freely accosted, before which he had placed holy matters he and his brethren should have resolved anyway, well away from secular institutions.
As I write, he is back in the courts, and has just been awarded a favourable judgement. What attitude does he now adopt with regards to the Bench? That it is good and competent only when he wins? It is a very poor showing by a holy man, but also a showing passing as a reminiscent echo from a political party we know from some electoral past.
Could we be looking at the same strategy and tactic? Looking at the same brains behind the same campaign whose objective is ultimately to trash the Bench? I have a problem with politics which seek to overrun national institutions and discourse, while apotheosising the outsider as the answer we are looking for.
Sin in Anglican robes
I opened this piece with a quote. I am sure the gentle reader is wondering whose statement that is, and what relevance it has to this article. Well, the quote is from Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The words are part of his foreword to Ben Freeth's book titled "Mugabe and the White African".
In fact, the book has two Anglican voices, one from Tutu and another from Archbishop Sentamu. Curiously Sentamu is Ugandan-born Anglican cleric now ministering in York, in Britain. More curiously, the endnote to his preface to the same book reads: "We, the people of Britain and the United Nations, need to hear the voices of our own consciences and heed the cries of the suffering people of Zimbabwe."
The cause which Archbishop Tutu biblically dismisses as comparable to that of Goliath is that of our Land. Put differently, the cause which the holy man beatifies as Davidian, is that of Rhodesia's settlers whom he thinks should not have lost the land. Sentamu sees himself as part of Britain; Tutu as an arbiter of the interests of Britain's kith and kin here.
The South African Archbishop mistakenly thinks Freeth and his ilk lost land they had bought from the Zimbabwe Government. Freeth himself does not feel burdened to say so in his narrative, which clearly related to a settler community whose land rights preceded Zimbabwe. Was the archbishop misled? Did he write the foreword? Archbishop Tutu thinks he is defending a Christian "white African".
Freeth does not feel constrained to prove his African parentage, real or vicarious. He clearly visualises himself as a superior white man from Scotland, subsequently adopted by settler Rhodesia, and seeking to exorcise the powerful evil demon afflicting the otherwise "noble African savage". And I am not quoting Joseph Conrad. I am quoting Tutu's Christian Freeth.
As I write, the Sadc Tribunal which Tutu worshipfully regards as that which sets right the sins of this world, has been disbanded by a full Summit of Sadc. Again Tutu has wrong-footed his Governments, all for personal fame. To all that add his demand soon after South Africa's independence, demand that Zimbabwe releases white terrorists who had bombed ANC cadres here, and a worrisome picture emerges, fully dressed in Anglican robes. What has become of the Anglican Church? Can someone tell me? Icho!
PHILIP PULLELLA ROME, ITALY - Oct 15 2011 15:05
Demonstrators worldwide shouted their rage on Saturday against bankers and politicians they accused of ruining economies and condemning millions to hardship through greed and bad governance.
Galvanised by the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests began in New Zealand, rippled round the world to Europe and were expected to return to their starting point in New York.
Most rallies were small and barely held up traffic. The biggest anticipated was in Rome where organisers said they believed 100 000 would take part.
"At the global level, we can't carry on any more with public debt that wasn't created by us but by thieving governments, corrupt banks and speculators who don't give a damn about us," said Nicla Cripp (49) who wore a T-shirt saying "enough" as she arrived at the Rome protest.
"They caused this international crisis and are still profiting from it, they should pay for it."
The Rome protesters, including the unemployed, students and pensioners, planned to march through the centre, past the Colosseum and finish in Piazza San Giovanni.
Some 2 000 police were on hand to keep the Rome demonstrators, who call themselves "the indignant ones", peaceful and to avoid a repeat of the violence last year when students protesting over education policy clashed with police.
'Yes we camp'
As some 750 buses bearing protesters converged on the capital, students at Rome University warmed up with their own mini-demo on Saturday morning.
The carried signs reading "Your Money is Our Money", and "Yes We Camp," an echo of the slogan "Yes We Can" used by United States President Barack Obama.
In imitation of the occupation of Zuccotti Park near Wall Street in Manhattan, some protesters have been camped out across the street from the headquarters of the Bank of Italy for several days.
The worldwide protests were a response in part to calls by the New York demonstrators for more people to join them. Their example has prompted calls for similar occupations in dozens of US cities from Saturday.
Demonstrators in Italy were united in their criticism of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and angry at his victory in a vote of confidence in parliament on Friday.
The government has passed a €60-billion austerity package that has raised taxes and will make public healthcare more expensive.
On Friday students stormed Goldman Sachs's offices in Milan and daubed red graffiti. Others hurled eggs at the headquarters of UniCredit, Italy's biggest bank.
New Zealand and Australia got the ball rolling on Saturday. Several hundred people marched up the main street in Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city, joining a rally at which 3 000 chanted and banged drums, denouncing corporate greed.
About 200 gathered in the capital Wellington and 50 in a park in the earthquake-hit southern city of Christchurch.
In Sydney, about 2 000 people, including representatives of Aboriginal groups, communists and trade unionists, protested outside the central Reserve Bank of Australia.
"I think people want real democracy," said Nick Carson, a spokesperson for OccupyMelbourne.org, as about 1 000 gathered in the Australian city.
"They don't want corporate influence over their politicians. They want their politicians to be accountable."
Hundreds marched in Tokyo, including anti-nuclear protesters. In Manila, capital of the Philippines, a few dozen marched on the US embassy waving banners reading: "Down with US imperialism" and "Philippines not for sale".
More than 100 people gathered at the Taipei stock exchange, chanting "we are Taiwan's 99%", and saying economic growth had only benefited companies while middle class salaries barely covered soaring housing, education and healthcare costs.
They found support from a top businessman, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp (TSMC) Chairman Morris Chang.
"I've been against the gap between rich and poor," Chang said in the northern city of Hsinchu. "The wealth of the top one percent has increased very fast in the past 20 or 30 years.'Occupy Wall Street' is a reaction to that."
Demonstrators aimed to converge on the City of London under the banner "Occupy the Stock Exchange".
"We have people from all walks of life joining us every day," said Spyro, one of those behind a Facebook page in London which has drawn some 12 000 followers.
The 28-year-old, who said he had a well-paid job and did not want to give his full name, said the target of the protests as "the financial system".
Angry at taxpayer bailouts of banks since 2008 and at big bonuses still paid to some who work in them while unemployment blights the lives of many young Britons, he said, "People all over the world, we are saying 'enough is enough'."
Greek protesters called an anti-austerity rally for Saturday in Athens' Syntagma Square.
"What is happening in Greece now is the nightmare awaiting other countries in the future. Solidarity is the people's weapon," the Real Democracy group said in a statement calling on people to join the protest.
In Paris protests were expected to coincide with the G20 finance chiefs' meeting there. In Madrid, seven marches were planned to unite in Cibeles square and then march to the central Puerta de Sol.
In Germany, where sympathy for southern Europe's debt troubles is patchy, the financial centre of Frankfurt and the European Central Bank (ECB) in particular were expected to be a focus of marches called by the Real Democracy Now movement. -- Reuters
SA caught up
Reports of an Occupy JSE protest planned for Saturday were circulated widely on social media networks in South Africa.
With the official time set at 8am, protesters said they would be gathering at the Gwen Lane address in Sandton.
By 7am on Saturday morning there had already been a gathering of civil society members outside the building and around the Sandton city centre.
There were reports that people around Gauteng's townships were also being mobilised to participate in the mass action.
ADEKEYE ADEBAJO Oct 14 2011 16:52
The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (along with Liberia's Leymah Gbowee and Yemen's Tawakul Karman) for championing women's rights, four days before a presidential election, must count as one of the most political acts in the history of the prize. It would be hard to imagine the prize being awarded to a sitting American or European leader less than a week before an election.
This prize also shows the enormous gulf between international perceptions of Liberia's "Iron Lady" and the more critical view that many Liberians and West Africans have of her six years in office and past political record. Her main opponent in the election this week, Winston Tubman, said Sirleaf did not deserve the prize, describing her as a "warmonger".
Tubman, a former United Nations (UN) technocrat, former justice minister and the nephew of a former Liberian president, is considered the strongest challenger to Sirleaf. His vice-presidential running mate is the wildly popular former football superstar, George Weah. Another candidate is Charles Brumskine, a former president of the Liberian senate and previous ally of former warlord-president Charles Taylor. The most colourful presidential candidate is Prince Johnson, a Liberian senator and former warlord, who infamously made a video of deposed autocrat Samuel Doe having his ears cut off, before Johnson killed him. Johnson is now a born-again Christian.
Sirleaf fears that unemployed youths will be recruited by warlords to restart the country's civil war, which raged for 11 years, until 2003, with 250 000 fatalities. The stakes in these elections are high for both Liberia and West Africa. An 8 000-strong UN mission in Liberia guarantees security in the country amidst its still-fledgling national security institutions and in the face of continuing ethnic and religious tensions.
Instability across the border in Côte d'Ivoire remains a serious concern following recent post-election violence there. Liberian mercenaries were involved in the Ivorian conflict, which spilled 160 000 refugees into Liberia. Guinea also remains politically unstable, even as Sierra Leone continues its fragile recovery from a decade of civil war.
Liberia is thus precariously located at the epicentre of a volatile Mano River basin.
Sirleaf became Africa's first elected female head of state in November 2005. Under the leadership of the 72-year-old "Ma Ellen", Liberia has made some impressive progress. The country's external debt of $5.8-billion has been largely forgiven. About $16-billion in foreign direct investment has flowed into the country. Some infrastructure has been repaired. An inherited budget of $80-million has been quadrupled. "Ghost workers" were purged from ministerial payrolls, saving $3-million a year.
Yet many of Sirleaf's domestic critics have questioned her somewhat messianic and sometimes selectively ruthless approach to leadership. In July 2009, Liberia's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommended barring Sirleaf, along with 49 other people, from holding public office for 30 years because of her support for Taylor at the start of the Liberian civil war in 1989. Though Liberia's Supreme Court subsequently declared the TRC's recommendation unconstitutional, Sirleaf's allies sought to demonise the commission, thus damaging the fragile process of reconciliation in a reckless act of spitefulness.
Determination to succeed
But in what was clearly the biggest misjudgment of her career (and one that still haunts her), Sirleaf helped raise $10 000 to support Taylor's rebel movement, which launched a war against Doe's brutal regime in December 1989. She went to visit the warlord in his bush hideout in 1990. Taylor, recently tried for alleged war crimes committed in Sierra Leone, later claimed that Sirleaf had been the international co-ordinator of his movement from 1986 to 1994.
The problems inherited by Sirleaf's administration clearly overwhelmed even her incredible determination to succeed. In Liberia's economy, historically dominated by rubber and mining, unemployment stood at 95% six years into Sirleaf's presidency, while foreign aid of $425-million exceeded the country's $370-million annual budget. Former combatants were not being provided with jobs quickly enough, leading to instability and crime.
A 2010 United States state department report criticised the government's continued failure to tackle corruption. More devastatingly, in December 2010, the Berlin-based Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer named Liberia the most corrupt country in the world.
Sirleaf had to fire her information minister as well as her internal affairs minister following reports of corruption. The fact that the latter is her brother and that her son remains a presidential adviser, replicated the nepotism she criticised in previous Liberian regimes.
With no legislative majority to work with, Sirleaf has argued that she could not afford to alienate this branch of government with an anti-corruption crusade.
Damaging reports of the government bribing legislators have thus proliferated. The president's criticism and firing of the combative auditor general, John Morlu, (who completed 40 audits and criticised the president for not taking action against corrupt officials fingered in these reports) and the smear campaign run against him by Sirleaf's associates, again revealed a ruthlessness that contradicted her rhetorical attacks on the "debilitating cancer of corruption".
Leaked email revelations in 2007 that Sirleaf's former public works minister, Willis Knuckles, had solicited kickbacks and the implication of her brother-in-law and legal adviser in this scandal caused further embarrassment. Sirleaf dragged her feet before acting against associates such as Harry Greaves, also accused of corruption.
She would later admit that she had not realised how deep rooted and pervasive corruption was in Liberian society, suggesting a naive and out-of-touch president who had perhaps spent too long in exile.
One of Africa's most accomplished technocrats, Sirleaf delivered the sixth Nelson Mandela lecture in Johannesburg in 2008, eulogising the South African Nobel Peace laureate and praising his successor Thabo Mbeki's vision of an "African renaissance". The title of her 2009 memoir, This Child Will Be Great, was taken from an old man's prophecy and modesty is certainly not one of Sirleaf's qualities.
Her father was a member of the oligarchy that ruled Liberia from 1847 until 1980. At 17 she married a man whose mother was from a prominent Americo-Liberian family and had four sons with him. She worked as a bookkeeper and, when her husband went to study in the US, enrolled at Madison Business College.
Sirleaf left her husband when he became abusive. She joined Liberia's finance ministry and enjoyed a meteoric rise after obtaining a master's degree from Harvard University.
Though a public servant Sirleaf openly criticised government corruption several times rather than resign before going public. Increasingly sidelined in the William Tolbert administration, she joined the World Bank in 1973, travelling to East Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, thus greatly expanding her horizons.
She showed a consistently impressive determination to succeed, to master her brief and improve herself and her capacity for hard work was beyond doubt. Sirleaf returned home to the finance ministry in 1975 and was made finance minister four years later, eight months before the Doe coup.
Inexplicably, she agreed to work for a regime -- as president of the Liberian Bank for Development and Investment -- that had killed 13 senior officials (including six of her former Cabinet colleagues) as well as the president she had served. She eventually criticised the regime's excesses publicly, before returning to the World Bank.
Sirleaf then became the first African female vice-president of Citibank, travelling across Africa from her Nairobi base.
She referred in another critical speech in the US in 1984 to Doe's regime as "idiots". This predictably landed her in detention on her return to Liberia, as the insecure autocrat became increasingly paranoid. She was sentenced to ten years' hard labour. Following international pressure she was released and won a seat in the Liberian Senate in 1985, a seat she refused to take up in protest at the fraudulent American-backed election that kept Doe in power. After a failed coup in the same year, Sirleaf was jailed again and her unwavering faith and indomitable courage were evident during these trials and tribulations. She was released from jail and escaped abroad to work for Equator Bank in the US, and later the UN Development Programme.
Sirleaf has criticised historical American economic exploitation of Liberia, but as president, she has been widely perceived as being too close to Washington. After the outbreak of the Liberian civil war in 1989, she called for American intervention -- which didn't happen -- and criticised the Economic Community of West African States's Ceasefire Monitoring Group, arguing, without any evidence and contrary to all military logic, that the force could have ended the fighting in Liberia much earlier. Her portrayal of Ecomog is rather unflattering, considering the incredible sacrifices involving more than 500 fatalities during seven years of lonely peacekeeping, which saved many Liberian lives.
As African governments vociferously opposed the presence of US military command in their territory Sirleaf, as president, again displayed her fatal attraction to Uncle Sam: uniquely, she called for the command to be located in her country, opportunistically and short-sightedly demonstrating greater faith in American arms than in Liberian institutions.
Campaigning against Taylor in the 1997 presidential elections, Sirleaf was seen as elitist and out of touch with the concerns of ordinary Liberians. This resulted in a crushing defeat: she won only 9.5% of the vote, with Taylor triumphant in a landslide 75% victory.
The slow pace of change in the past six years has made Liberians wary of Sirleaf's lofty rhetoric. She has already broken her promise to serve only a single term, thus spurning the example of her professed hero and fellow Nobel laureate, Nelson Mandela.
Given the timing of this award and her political track record, the ennobling of Liberia's Iron Lady can only be regarded as highly controversial.
Dr Adekeye Adebajo is executive director of the Centre for Conflict Resolution, Cape Town, and author of UN Peacekeeping in Africa: From the Suez Crisis to the Sudan Conflicts.
Former First Lady, Thandiwe Banda is worth over K8 Billion, Tumfweko understands. Thandiwe, had drastically acquired and owned major property ranging from houses, expensive vehicles, buildings and lodges.
Sources disclosed that the property which is in excess of K5 Billion is not even in Zambia but has been invested in neighboring countries mainly in Malawi. The source disclosed that Thandiwe’s fast acquired her property within the three years her husband Rupiah Banda was republican President.
The source further disclosed that apparently, she bought a lavish and luxurious Hotel in Tanzania at $1.2 Million and in Lusaka, Mpundu Trust Flats in woodlands being part of the many properties she owns.
‘As you get in Chipata town, there is a nice Hotel being owned by Thandiwe. It is amazing how money pops up in a short while and own such huge property,” said the source.
Thandiwe, a teacher by profession, once played as a ‘ghost worker’ when she was still first lady.
In 2009, President Sata said he had in his possession Thandiwe’s pay-slip dated July 9, 2009.
“People are so upset about what is going on in Zambia, and this morning they wanted to embarrass the President more because they think you politicians are not doing enough. They sent me a pay slip for his wife [RB's Wife, Thandiwe], who is still getting pay as a teacher. This came from Ministry of Education this morning,” Sata said.
“This pay slip is dated 9th July 2009, and this is Chipata District, Nyakutwa Middle Basic School, Nyakutuwa. And the beneficiary is madam Thandiwe Chilongo Banda. Now that is how people are frustrated.”
Some details on the pay slip indicated that Thandiwe was still considered an active full time employee and received a net salary of K1,541,892.74 for July, 2009. The employee No. is 11801 while the NRC No. 464544/52/1.
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, October 15, 2011, 8:00 am
Opposition Movement for Multiparty Democracy MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya yesterday said that the people of Zambia are expectant of the Patriotic Front Government to deliver on its promises. Ms. Siliya said that as a responsible opposition political party, the MMD will ensure that the PF government delivers on the promises it has made to the people of Zambia.
Commenting on President Michael Sata’s speech to parliament yesterday, Ms. Siliya said the MMD was looking forward to hear from the president his government’s plans for the mining sector.
She said that the party also expected the President to comment on the labour matters. Ms. Siliya said that the MMD will this weekend sit and analyze the speech of the President so that they can prepare themselves for the next sitting of parliament.
She said that the party will ensure that it makes responsible contributions in parliament in questioning certain pronouncements made by the President.
MMD Mwandi member of Parliament Michael Kaingu said most of President Sata’s pronouncements are not very different from the way his party used to run Government.
Mr Kaingu, however, pledged to work with the Patriotic Front government on progressive national issues. “The success of Government is the success of everyone and we want to share in the success. We will give the government as much support as possible as long as what the government will be doing is not obnoxious,” Mr Kaingu said.
And Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has hailed President Sata’s speech. ZCTU president Leonard Hikaumba said in an interview yesterday that the President’s speech highlighted a number of important issues affecting many Zambians.
“Of special interests to us as workers is the issue of what it means to classify Zambia as a middle-income country. We think that this classification should translate into improvement of people’s lives,” Mr Hikaumba said.
Mr Hikaumba praised Mr Sata’s emphasis on employment creation, especially for young people who have skills but cannot find jobs. He said the President must ensure that more employment opportunities are created and provide an environment where the youth can be self-employed.
“Of special interests to us as workers is the issue of what it means to classify Zambia as a middle-income country. We think that this classification should translate into improvement of people’s lives,” Mr Hikaumba said.
“I think in this way we shall tackle the issue of high levels of unemployment,” he said. Mr Hikaumba further welcomed Mr Sata’s emphasis on reviewing social protection strategies, noting that most retirees either die before getting their benefits or get insufficient retirement packages.
“The indication that the social protection strategies will be reviewed is a good approach. We would like to see a situation where people will belooking forward to retiring because like that they will not end up destitute as has been the case in the past,” he said.
Mr Hikaumba said the labour movement also wanted to hear something about mining from the President but this was missing in his speech.
“We also wanted to hear something on the media because there has been quite a lot of talk on freedom of information. We thought it was going to come out strongly in the speech, but it was missing…we hope that even with the absence of these issues in the Presidential speech, they will still be attended to. We hope the national development plan will be revised and since these issues are there in the development plan, they will be given attention. We think these issues highlighted provide a good framework from where the new government can make its foundation in the developmental process,” he said.
And Bankers Association of Zambia chairperson Mizinga Melu said President Sata’s speech is hope-inspiring because it focused on a number of factors that will empower the Zambians, especially the youth.
Ms Melu also welcomed President Sata’s vision for the country’s education, health, and agriculture sectors. “I was very excited about the fact that he is looking beyond just maize and fertiliser…this will encourage farmers to focus beyond what they have been producing in the past. Most farmers will be empowered, the economy will be empowered,” she said. Ms Melu also welcomed the President’s call for the banks to reduce interest rates.
[Zambia Daily Mail]
Friday, October 14, 2011
TIME PUBLISHED - Friday, October 14, 2011, 4:36 pm
Preisent Michael Sata this morning opened the first session of the eleventh National Assembly. The President was met by Security Chiefs and a guard of honor was mounted as the 21 gun salute and fly past was accorded to him. As is customary, the president was accompanied by the First lady, Dr Christine Kaseba.
Below is the full speech delivered this morning.
I am delighted to address this august house on the opening of the first session of the eleventh national assembly under the patriotic front government. Allow me to congratulate you, Mr.Speaker, on your deserved election to this esteemed position in the house. Let me also congratulate the deputy speaker and the deputy chairperson of committees of the whole house on their election to these important positions.
The responsibility placed upon you by this august house is enormous. It is the expectation of our people that in discharging your duties you will be impartial and that you will at all times uphold the dignity, honour and decorum of the house. It is for this reason that the patriotic front nominated forspeaker of this house a learned and distinguished judge and one who is not politically affiliated to any political party.
In the same vein, i wish to congratulate all the Honourable Members of Parliament on their election to this house. I equally congratulate the nominated members of parliament. The great task before us now as members of this house is to effectively contribute to the development of our great nation.
This being the first meeting of the house following the recent general elections, allow me to pay tribute to the immediate past speaker, Honourable Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, for the very able manner in which he presided over the affairs of the house during his tenure of office despite the many challenges that he faced. I wish him well and every success in all his future endeavours.
Let me also express my profound gratitude to the people of Zambia for electing me as their president. I feel most honoured and humbled for the confidence they have reposed in me to steer under patriotic front the destiny of our country for the next five years. I am further grateful that the people of Zambia have overwhelmingly given the patriotic front the mandate to govern this great country.
Let me also take this opportunity to commend all those who exercised their democratic right to stand as candidates at the local government, parliamentary and presidential levels during the just ended elections. I would also like to thank my predecessor his excellency Mr. Rupiah Bwezani Banda for the smooth transition which has become a symbol of our democracy. This peaceful change of government is a reflection of the further entrenchment of democracy in our country. We should indeed be proud as a people for such a remarkable achievement.
Now that elections are behind us it is time for us all to focus on forging ahead with the development of our country. On my part, I wish to reiterate my pledge to make zambia a better place for all in line with our pf vision which is, and I quote: “The citizens of this great land not only deserve better lives but are entitled to better lives.”
To all my colleagues in PF and the opposition, I say, it is time to put Zambia first in the interest of achieving our social and economic development.
I would like to salute the people of zambia regardless of their political affiliation for peacefully participating in this year’s elections. Our people’s spirit demonstrates the well renowned peaceful character and maturity of the Zambian people and the respect which we accord one another as we elect our leaders.
This is as it should be in a democratic country. I am fully aware that there were many challenges that voters experienced before and during the elections. However in spite of these challenges our people were not deterred from exercising their universal right to vote and usher in a government of their choice. Zambia has yet again recorded a plus as an oasis of peace.
Let me also state here that the PF government is committed to ensuring that ballot papers for future elections are printed locally. My government will do everything possible to realise this.
My commendations also go to the chairperson and staff of the electoral commission of Zambia for working tirelessly in conducting the just ended tripartite elections successfully under difficult conditions. Lack of consensus on some issues, the late delivery of electoral materials, late opening of some polling stations and delayed announcement of the election results, were some of the major challenges.
My government commits itself to addressing these issues in order to enhance the capacity of the electoral commission of Zambia and bring it in line with the expectations of our democratic dispensation.
I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the people of zambia to all local as well as international election observer missions who spent time to monitor our elections.
Parliament, being one of the three arms of government is an important institution in the governance of this country. It does not only make laws of the land but also provides checks and balances on the executive. As a people’s representative body, our parliament should be seen to be working in accordance with the aspirations of the people despite their station in life. It must be a symbol of hope for them.
In this regard, the pf government will work with parliament to accelerate the implementation of the on-going parliamentary reforms in order to make the institution more accessible, responsive and accountable to the people.
I wish to call on our cooperating partners to continue supporting us in our effort to transform our parliament in order to enhance our democracy. We further invite other cooperating partners to come forward and assist us in this process.
Zambia will this month be celebrating 47 years of independence amidst high poverty levels in the country. Despite being endowed with a lot of natural resources, the country has continued to face staggering poverty levels and low formal sector employment opportunities.
The recently pronounced economic growth characterized by the classification of zambia as a middle income country for the country’s economic performance is meaningless if it has only a limited impact on poverty reduction amongst our people.
I would like to see that the pronouncements in economic performance translate into substantial reduction in poverty indicators in our communities all over the country. The challenge of my government is, therefore, to improve the quality of life for the majority of our people, especially those in rural areas. Our goal as a pf government is to achieve higher and sustained economic growth that will uplift the well-being of the poor in our society.
To this end, the patriotic front government will introduce programmes to accelerate the socio-economic empowerment of citizens, especially the youth and women.
Mr.Speaker, Honourable Members of Parliament,
Offering employment opportunities for our people, especially the many young men and women leaving educational institutions in our country is critical to the fulfillment of the pf manifesto which promises job creation and putting more money in our people’s pockets.
My government shall concentrate its efforts on skills training and creating self-employment opportunities, especially for the youth of our country. The PF electoral victory achieved in the just ended elections is owed in large measure to our young generation.
It is them who were among the large numbers of our citizens that worked so hard to bring about this change. We, therefore, owe them jobs by creating employment opportunities when they graduate from colleges and universities.
My government shall eradicate all forms of discrimination against women and hence create equal employment opportunities for all our citizens. This will be done through equipping Zambians with the skills and business enterprise know-how and the financing needed for self employment and entry into the formal sector.
National Development Agenda
The patriotic front government recognizes that achieving these goals and putting the country on the path for sustainable growth will require a well planned development agenda.
Our development agenda is simple as it emphasizes the need for government to promote pro-poor growth for the vulnerarble in our society. My government, therefore, commits itself to streamlining the development planning and finance portfolios.
Medium and long term planning will continue to be the guiding framework for the country’s national development with priority given to key programmes aimed at poverty reduction and wealth creation.
We shall in this regard develop home grown social and economic development programmes and ensure that all set bench-marks in sector ministries are achieved within the prescribed time frame. We shall promote through the bank of Zambia favourable interest rates to facilitate borrowing and investment by the private sector and individuals.
2012 National Budget
Constitutionally, it is the role of this august house to approve the annual national budget. It is in this regard that government will soon bring to this august house the 2012 estimates of revenue and expenditure for consideration.
This being the first budget under the pf-led government to begin to fulfill its promises, and in view of the significant financial commitments made by the past government on road rehabilitation and other forms of expenditure, it is necessary that we undertake a more comprehensive review of these projects and their associated cost against the 2012 budget.
My government has prioritized key development policies and programmes which once implemented will spur development and assure our people of a decent living standard. The four core development programmes are education development, health services, agriculture development, local government and housing development.
These four sector programmes will be supported by other sectors such as infrastructure development, social protection, commerce, trade and industry, energy and tourism.
Our government regards education as a key to unlocking the human potential leading to prosperity and national development. Currently the whole education system requires extensive review. Primary and secondary education is characterized by low enrollment levels and poor education standards.
A growing number of our population is increasingly losing confidence in our education system to the extent that some parents are now sending their children to private schools at a high cost.
Our universities and colleges do not only have dilapidated infrastructure but are also faced with a shortage of staff and appropriate teaching and learning materials.The PF education policy will, therefore, aim at increasing school enrollment and improving access, quality and relevance of academic education through curriculum review at all levels.
Further, our government will provide facilities for early childhood education, re-introduce compulsory primary and secondary education and establish universities and technical colleges in every province and rehabilitate the existing ones.
Staff recruitment will also be scaled up to meet the demand in these institutions. To this end, my government will review the education act of 2011 to bring it in line with patriotic front’s education policy.
Furthermore, the PF government will prioritize information and communication technology education from as early as primary school. Our government will enhance tertiary education and ensure that our graduates are able to compete at the international level.
As evidence of my government’s commitment in this regard, Chalimbana college and Palabana will be converted into fully fledged universities of international standards.
The Honourable Minister of Education must ensure that this programme is completed within 18 months.
In order to honour the birth place of our founding father Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, who served our country with honour and dignity for 27 years, and set the first example of a peaceful handover of power in our country and on the African continent in 1991, our government will develop Lubwa mission in Chinsali District into a university.
Mr. Speaker, honorable members,
Good health of our citizens is a vital pre-condition for national development. Our health service delivery system is presently characterised by insufficient provision of health care due to inadequate, over worked and poorly remunerated and de-motivated human resource, shortages of essential drugs, dilapidated health infrastructure, including a lack of staff accommodation among others.
In view of the grave state of affairs in the health sector, the PF government will address obstacles to the provision of health care services. This will include increasing budgetary allocation to the sector, improving the work culture and intensifying the construction and rehabilitation of health infrastructure such as hospitals, clinics and Health Centres.
Our government will also ensure that these facilities are adequately staffed and stocked with a wide range of essential drugs, equipment and other medical supplies. Collaboration with other stakeholders such as mission and private health institutions will be enhanced so as to increase access to health care services by our people especially in rural areas, including providing training for community members.
Furthermore, our government will promote close collaboration with the traditional healing system so as to complement conventional medicine.
Zambia has a huge agricultural potential which if fully exploited can significantly contribute to employment and wealth creation for the majority of our young people and women who continue to live in abject poverty especially in our villages and townships.
This should never be the case in a country which is so richly endowed with good soils, good climatic conditions and weather patterns as well as abundant water resources.
In the past, the previous governments’ agricultural policies gave prominence to the growing of maize which is our staple food, at the expense of other equally viable crops such as cassava and millet without providing adequate storage facilities for maize resulting in the wastage of the crop at times.
My government is committed to reversing this negative trend and ensuring that there is a diversification in the crops grown by our small scale farmers. To achieve this, my government will tailor subsidies, market guarantees and extension services towards production of specific crops in particular areas of the country, taking into account weather patterns and natural resource endowment among other factors.
To this end, key crops will be identified in each province through the participation by the local people for promotion and support by government.
The ministry of finance and national planning shall over the coming years provide development funds based on such crop endowments for the purpose of creating a conducive environment supported by a sound infrastructure system. This will create opportunities for increased production and income generation for our people.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
To avoid perennial wastage of crops, our government will construct additional modern storage facilities and rehabilitate existing ones which have lacked maintenance over the years.
This will go hand in hand with measures aimed at guaranteeing a ready market especially for our emerging farmers in rural areas. Our government will, therefore, complement the private sector by being a buyer of last resort.
We shall as a matter of urgency review the operations of the food reserve agency and the relevant legislation in order to rationalise its management and functions including its role in maintaining strategic reserves and enhance its sustainability.
To ensure that the farmer input support programme benefits the intended small scale farmers my government will review the delivery regime and explore the involvement of the traditional authorities.
Government support under this programme will be provided with a view of enabling farmers to be weaned-off and allow for a re-evaluation of the programme in each year. Further, in order to encourage progressive farmers to make long term investment in customary land our government in consultation with chiefs and other traditional authorities will introduce legislation to ensure security of tenure for such land.
To make the agricultural sector more responsive to the local conditions my government will decentralise research services to the district level in order to bring the services as close to the farmers as possible.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
The PF government appreciates the critical role our commercial farmers play in ensuring national food security and employment creation. My government will, therefore, provide a conducive environment in which our commercial farmers will continue to operate productively. For the record, PF does not intend to compulsorily acquire or forcibly take possession of commercial farming land from any farmer.
Our people in southern, western and parts of Lusaka and Northern Provinces have had their herds of cattle wiped out by livestock diseases thereby depriving them of their source of livelihood.
In addition we have not been able to export meat products to the european markets on account of these diseases. This situation needs to be reversed through effective livestock disease control programmes.
My government will, therefore, prioritise livestock re-stocking, and make dipping, vaccination and treatment of diseases of all cattle compulsory. This shall include revamping of the Balmoral research station in Kafue district to ensure the development and production of suitable vaccines in the fight against animal diseases.
In addition my government will establish breeding centres in relevant provinces to enable farmers to have access to good quality breeding stock and thereby ensuring that they have more money in their pockets.
Further, my government will establish joint livestock disease control commissions with relevant neighbouring countries for purposes of monitoring and combating outbreaks.
Many of our people in Western, Southern, Luapula and Northern provinces depend on fish farming for their livelihood. My government notes with grave concern the rapid depletion of the fish stock and species in our rivers and lakes thereby depriving many of our local people of their source of livelihood.
To reverse this trend, my government will review and strengthen the institutional framework and streamline the management of fisheries. Government will also promote commercial and small holder aqua-culture as well as joint management of fisheries resources with local communities.
Further, government will enforce the sadc protocol on fisheries in collaboration with other neighbouring member- states.
As I have already alluded to this country is endowed with abundant surface and underground water bodies. My government is concerned that these have not been sufficiently harnessed for national development leaving agriculture to be solely dependent on the unpredictable weather patterns as a consequence of global climatic change.
To address this, the pf government will invest in appropriate water harvesting technologies to make water available to farmers for irrigation all year round.
Local Government and Housing Development
The Patriotic Front government appreciates the critical role local government plays as an engine for delivering services, infrastructure and development to the local communities.
As a signatory to the habitat agenda and the Istanbul declaration of 1996, Zambia committed herself to promoting decentralisation through democratic local authorities and strengthening their financial capacities.
Unfortunately in the last two decades, the country has witnessed greater centralization and consequently drastic erosion of the revenue base of local authorities. This situation has rendered the functioning of local authorities ineffective to the extent that service delivery has been compromised with infrastructure in districts being in a very dilapidated state.
The majority of our people especially in rural areas and high density townships have only limited access to portable water and lack proper sanitation services leading to endemic waterborne diseases such as cholera every year.
The traditional leaders who are closest to the people in rural areas have been left out in the local governance system, save for their role of appointing a symbolic representative to the council.
In recognition of the important role traditional leaders are supposed to play in national development, it has become necessary to create a new ministry of chiefs and traditional affairs.
The PF government is therefore, committed to establishing a system of local government which will promote local economic development, improved delivery of essential infrastructure and services through local self government.
Our government will also devise an appropriate formula for sharing national taxes collected at the centre within the jurisdiction of every local authority in order to strengthen their revenue base and ensure that all government grants are remitted on time.
Our government will further introduce a social housing scheme that will empower councils to construct low cost houses from government guaranteed loans.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
I note with concern the chronic poor water supply and sanitation services in our localities. This has lead to the endemic outbreaks of water borne diseases such as cholera every year.
Our government will, therefore, re-introduce the water, sanitation and sewerage grants to utility companies to enable them to maintain and upgrade the water and sewerage infrastructure in the urban and peri-urban areas.
Our government will also ensure that more resources are allocated to the rural water supply and sanitation programme to local authorities. To enable our people especially in rural areas to have some source of regular income, my government will place deliberate emphasis on undertaking and promoting the development of infrastructure projects using labour-intensive techniques thereby, guaranteeing employment opportunities.
This will translate into more money in our people’s pockets.
To promote decentralisation and active involvement of traditional leaders in the governance of the country below the district council level my government will introduce ward village councils, district chiefs councils and provincial chiefs councils.
To achieve this my government in collaboration with key stakeholders will review both the local government act and the chiefs act and other relevant pieces of legislation.
The Honourable Ministers of chiefs and traditional affairs and local government, early education and environment, must ensure that this programme is completed within 18 months.
Although the constituency development fund (CDF) was intended to enhance national development through district councils it has been abused in the past. Accordingly the Honourable Minister of local government, early education and environment must ensure that an audit is undertaken to establish accountability of the cdf during the last financial year before any review or disbursement of further CDF moneys.
in line with the PF government’s resolve to streamline local administrative structures within government, my government will in due course, create a tenth province in Zambia to be called muchinga province.
This province will be created by dividing northern province into two regions. Muchinga province will comprise the districts located east of the Chambeshi river, namely: Mpika, Chinsali, Isoka, Nakonde and Mafinga.
The location of the provincial headquarters will be determined after consultations have been concluded with stakeholders.
Infrastructure development is key to realizing sustainable economic development. Poor infrastructure limits economic opportunities for our people and therefore poses a major barrier to the achievement of meaningful national development.
I note with sadness that under the previous government investment in infrastructure development was haphazard, poor, and the pace of development too slow to meet the aspirations of our people.
It is equally worrying that Zambia has experienced more than five years of record high mineral prices and production boom without much to show for it in terms of contribution to infrastructure development or government revenue.The negative fiscal policies of the previous government, corruption and mismanagement of public financial resources are largely to blame for this poor state of affairs.
In order to redress this situation the patriotic front government shall ensure provision of sound fiscal policies aimed at broadening the tax base to mobilize sufficient domestic resources for development for all the ten provinces.To this effect, the government shall commit a substantial part of the national annual development budget to infrastructure development.
Priority will be given to the completion of the on-going projects involving construction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and health centres after review of these projects before embarking on new ones.
We shall embark on resource mobilisation to rehabilitate or construct the Vubwi road via the palace of paramount chief Mpezeni in Eastern province; the Chadiza-Katete road; the Lusaka-Mikango barracks road to Chirundu up to the Luangwa bridge via Feira and the Palabana road leading to the lower Zambezi; the Chalimbana road up to the lower Zambezi.
We shall also work on the Kalongola/Kalabo/Sikongo road, Kalulushi/Kasempa road, Mumbwa/Kasempa road and Kasempa/Kaoma road.
In order to link western and north western provinces we shall build the Kaoma/Lukulu/Zambezi road and also build a road to link Kabompo and Mwinilunga district. In Luapula we shall construct the road from Nchelenge to Chienge up to Kaputa into Kasama in Northern province.
We also need an all weather road between Luwingu and Kapatu mission and Kapatu mission to Nondo.
In addition to the above listed roads we shall build a road from Samfya to Luwingu and Kawambwa to Luwingu, Kawambwa to Mporokoso, Mununga to Mporokoso.
Other areas where we shall build our road network are Mansa to Chipili up to Kawambwa which shall extend to Mporokoso.
We shall also link Mununga and Mporokoso and Mbala and Nakonde.
Other roads shall run from Isoka to Chama in Eastern province and Isoka and Kasama. We also need a viable road from Zimba to Siavonga via Gwembe district in Southern province.
The chronic poverty which the country has been experiencing has continued to be a major obstacle to vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities.
This sad state of affairs is not only a denial of citizens’ fundamental social and economic rights but is also a lost opportunity for the country to develop a sound economic and social future for all.
The patriotic front government shall pursue all possible means to ensure a dignified life for all citizens, especially those who are unable to create security and livelihoods for themselves.
The government shall adopt a vibrant social protection policy aimed at ensuring that all citizens have access to basic social services such as education, health, water and sanitation.
The policy shall also address the needs of the vulnerable groups that face special challenges such as the disabled and street children. In line with this specific measures will be taken to strengthen the existing social safety-net and protection programmes.
One such programme is the social cash transfer scheme which unfortunately is currently fully funded by donors thereby making it unsustainable and restrictive.
My government will in collaboration with cooperating partners work out measures to improve the scheme and make it more sustainable by gradually supporting it from our domestic resources in the national budget.
The other social safety-net and protection programme that the pf government shall expand is the food security pack programme aimed at enhancing food and nutrition security among vulnerable small scale farmers.
The main focus of this programme is to gradually wean-off the beneficiaries as they graduate into emergent small scale farmers.
In order to improve the welfare of people with disabilities, government will domesticate a number of united nations conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities which Zambia is a party to.
My government is also determined to support women’s participation in economically viable activities. To this effect, it will increase funding to the women’s development programmes under the ministry of community development, mother and child health.
The need to reform the social security system is imperative. It is evidently clear that the administration of the social security system under the previous government, has left the majority of our workers destitute upon retirement.
Thousands of former workers do not only get insufficient retirement benefits, but also have to endure many years of waiting for them to be paid these benefits. Many of them have died without receiving their terminal benefits. My government will move quickly to comprehensively address these long outstanding social and economic injustices in the management of our social security schemes.
Accordingly my government will review all the relevant pieces of legislation governing social security schemes in order to bring them in line with the needs of the beneficiaries and hence eradicate rampant corruption in this sector.
The last twenty years of the previous government have failed to effectively integrate the youth in national development. The majority of our youth have poor education, lack formal skills and consequently remain without jobs which would enable them to earn a living and hence contribute to national development.
In order to address this, the pf government will among other things, enhance the capacity of the Zambia national service by transforming it into the Zambia youth training service, so that the various camps throughout the country are turned into non-military skills training centres.
Commerce, Trade and Industry
Commerce, trade and industry is at the centre of economic growth and development and, therefore, strategic in creating jobs and wealth for our people. Zambia is blessed with abundant enterprising talent among its population. However, this talent has not been fully exploited because the business environment has not been conducive. This has been largely due to the lopsided policies of the previous government which tended to favour foreigners at the expense of our local investors and business people. While Zambia will continue to welcome foreign direct investment (FDI) it must be understood that the most sustainable and lasting investment must come from the Zambian citizens. Fdi, important as it is, should not be a replacement of the efforts of the citizens themselves.
In this regard the pf government will encourage Zambian citizens both at home and abroad to develop joint ventures with foreign investors. Government will assist in this area by facilitating the provision of resources such as land, electricity, information and empowerment fund. To this end the loan management processing systems at the citizens economic empowerment commission will be streamlined to expedite the process of disbursing funds to our people who seek to venture into business.
Many of our small scale business men and women have difficulties accessing credit financing for their business development largely due to high interest rates. My government will engage the banking sector with a view to reducing the interest rates. Further, we shall seek to expand appropriate micro credit financing to small scale enterprises.
Mr. Speaker, honourable members,
The reckless privatization programme carried out under the previous government that gave away most of our strategic national industries contributed to the demise of our manufacturing sector. This has resulted in massive job losses among our people and contributed to the current high poverty levels.
My government will rejuvenate the manufacturing sector through the promotion of public-private partnership investment, in order to enhance the establishment of competative manufacturing industries whose products will find markets outside Zambia. This sector is important for employment creation for our people.
While appreciating the benefits of international and regional trade, my government will not allow Zambia to be used as a dumping ground of goods that our own companies and enterprises can produce locally.
To this effect, we shall carefully study the existing trade protocols with a view to making them mutually beneficial to Zambia and our trading partners. We will also continue to engage in trade negotiations with different trading partners at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels for additional market access for Zambian goods and services.
Energy is a prerequisite for the proper functioning of all sectors of the economy. Its availability and quality determines the success or failure of national development programmes.
The energy sector in this country has not been developed to its full potential, thereby limiting its accessibility by the population and hampering socio-economic development.
With regard to electricity, the country has experienced a rise in demand mainly from the mining industry while less than 2% of our people in rural areas have access to electricity.
Consequently, this has impacted negatively on the pace of industrial development and the standard of living of our people. This is a challenge which my government is more than determined to address.
To this end, the pf government will accelerate and scale up public-private partnership investment in hydro-power generation by significantly expanding the installed capacity so as to meet domestic and regional demand.
Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members,
It is disheartening to note that while the petroleum sub-sector is burdened by high taxes, the situation is worsened by the engagement of middlemen who are involved in importing the commodity resulting in high fuel pump prices. This situation has contributed to the high commodity prices and the cost of doing business which have both affected the cost of life of our people.
To address these challenges my government will put measures to reduce taxes and levies on fuel and eliminate artificial costs associated with corruption in procurement of fuel, especially amounts paid to middlemen.
It is expected that the reduction in the pump price of petrol and diesel will translate into a reduction of mealie meal prices and other related commodities including transport.
Governance and he Administration of the State
Under the previous government the public service has been under performing largely as a result of a de-motivated workforce arising from heavily politicized appointments and poor conditions of service. In order to strengthen the public service the pf government shall ensure that appointments and promotions to all public service positions are made on merit.
The PF government attaches great importance to good governance and we are committed to delivering a new people driven constitution within ninety days. To this effect, we are in the process of consulting stakeholders with a view of establishing a committee of experts to review the recommendations of all previous constitutional review commissions in order to come up with a draft people’s constitution.
The draft constitution will be subjected to a referendum and subsequently presented to parliament for enactment.
The PF government will also promote good governance through strengthening the governance institutions and ensuring strict accountability. You will recall that in my inaugural speech, i alluded to the fact that our country has huge problems which have been compounded by acts of bad governance and fiscal irresponsibility in recent years.
The PF government firmly stands for the rule of law and social justice.
With regard to corruption, i wish to reiterate what i have always said before, that my government will fight corruption in all its forms with commitment and vigour. The patriotic front government wants to put more money in the pockets of many Zambians while corruption puts more money into pockets of a few individuals. This programme is not an after-thought but a platform on which we campaigned and were elected by the Zambian people on this undertaking.
Over the years the public has lost confidence in the anti-corruption commission to spearhead the fight against corruption. To restore public confidence in the commission the pf government shall amend the anti-corruption commission act in order to introduce much stiffer penalties for corruption offenses, re-instate the abuse of office clause, and increase the budgetary allocation to the commission.
We shall also domesticate international protocols on the fight against corruption. I must equally call on all Zambians, especially those running businesses and those who come to do business in our country to refrain from corrupt practices.
My appeal to the civil society and the anti-corruption movements is to double their programmes of education and monitoring corruption in all strategic institutions that are prone to corruption.
I am sounding a timely warning that my government has taken a zero-tolerance stance against corruption in both the public and private sectors.
Those who allow themselves to engage in corruption must know that they are taking a serious risk and that once caught they will be prosecuted irrespective of their status or position.
We will investigate any past acts of corruption by all those responsible and prosecute culprits within the due process of the law. Our country needs a new beginning which gives hope to our people, that those who are entrusted with public office shall use the offices to serve, and not to steal from the people who elected them for such service.
Let me take this opportunity to address this august house on yet another important sector in our economic development. A tourism industry based on a well-designed government policy and programme can be an important driving force in boosting our economy.
It can contribute to the increase in the GDP per capita within a short period of time. It can also contribute to the creation of employment opportunities for our people. However, the tourism industry in its present state has failed to make any meaningful contribution to Zambia’s economic development due to poor infrastructure, un-economic routes, poor marketing of Zambia as a tourist destination of choice and unstable exchange rates.
Consequently, Zambia is one of the most expensive and least known destinations for visiting tourists in the southern African region. In order for us to preserve our wildlife for tourism, we must also put measures in place to control the problem of human-animal conflict in game management areas which has led to increased levels of hunger and poverty amongst our people.
My government, in recognition of this important industry will ensure that growth in resource based tourism is environmentally sustainable and hence preserved for our future generations.
We shall without delay introduce policies to make investment in the sector attractive and profitable to both local and foreign investment. We shall promote well targetted government investment in infrastructure development and hence open up new tourism sites in the country.
It is the desire of my government to collaborate with the private sector so as to enhance the effective marketing of the sector locally and internationally. In this regard we shall enhance the status of the city of Livingstone as a tourist capital by relocating the provincial capital for the southern province from Livingstone to Choma.
The Honourable Minister of information and tourism must ensure that this programme is completed in 24 months time.
In concluding my address to this August House, I would like to say to our people, that we shall use the mandate which they gave to me and the patriotic front, to transform Zambia into a viable economy which will in turn give dignity to our people in their social and economic areas of life.
We shall keep our doors open to new ideas from citizens and stakeholders at large. The pf historic victory on 20th September 2011 was our people’s victory, and we must all work hard to bring about the transformation of our country into a society in which we shall all live with pride and dignity for now and for the future generations to come.
On my part, I undertake to you all, and to our citizens, in line with the oath of office which I took on Friday 23rd September 2011, that I shall as President, together with my government, exercise the duties you have entrusted unto us, with diligence, and in the interest of this nation and its citizens.
May god bless you all and our country Zambia.
Mr. Speaker, I thank you.
Thursday, 13 October 2011 17:39
Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe, has officially launched the National Community Trust Programme in Selous, a few kilometres outside Chegutu.
In his remarks, President Mugabe hailed Zimplasts for fulfilling their promise and ensuring that Zimbabweans own the platinum enterprise.
“I am happy to note that the two times I visited your operations here, I was assured that the idea of a community share trust was already in Zimplasts plans. Now we know that we are here, not just as labourers, but we are in fact owners of the enterprise,” said President Mugabe.
During the launch, Zimplasts officially handed over US$10 million to the Chegutu, Mhondoro-Ngezi and Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust.
Concern was, however, raised that the US$10 million falls far short of expectations with Mines and Mining Development Minister, Cde Obert Mpofu insisting that all foreign-owned mining firms should backdate their trust fund allocation to the period of commencement of operations.
Cde Mpofu said the mining sector has failed to transform into meaningful direct benefits to communities.
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, Cde Saviour Kasukuwere said the constitution of Community Share Ownership Trust is provided for by law.
He said the trusts are instruments for the reduction and eradication of poverty.
Speaking at the same occasion, Zimplasts chairman, Mr. Davy Brown, said his organisation is proud to involve the community as a stakeholder in broad-based empowerment.
By Bright Mukwasa
Fri 14 Oct. 2011, 13:58 CAT
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has exposed a scam involving a Swiss businessman who secretly flew into the country and is linked to the purchase of the gold seized by the Drug Enforcement Commission. The Swiss man whom he named as Nicola Bogdan Buzaianu, flew into the country on a private jet three days ago and is alleged to have met former president Rupiah Banda.
Speaking at a press briefing at State House yesterday, President Sata expressed disappointed that the police were unable to detect the transaction involving the seized gold.
"Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) at one time had seized gold and this gold was quietly auctioned and the people who were connected in buying this gold were in Lusaka three days ago. And they came in Lusaka on 12th of October at 09:30 hours at KK International Airport," President Sata said.
"These people when they arrived, they arrived here in a private jet. They went to pay a visit on my predecessor and from there they were met by Mr Dickson Jere and also by Mr James Banda (former president Banda's son). They went to Mfuwe, what for I don't know. And they left Lusaka this morning yesterday. This is why I am saying I am not confident with Lusaka Division Police Commanding officer, I need somebody who will be more alert. Because these people are wanted by the DEC and for us to allow them to go..."
President Sata said he had since retired Lusaka Division Commanding Officer, Mhlakeni Zulu, for the same reason.
He said he was also shocked that the same Swiss man, Buzaianu, was appointed as Zambia's permanent representative to UNESCO.
"… surprisingly for unknown reason, like if Zambia has no human beings we have a Mr Nicola Bogdan Buzaianu...a Swiss who Zambia has made a permanent representative to UNESCO," President Sata said.
"We are having difficulties in fighting corruption in Lusaka. I complained to the Inspector General of Police. Unfortunately the Inspector General of Police is too slow, so the person who is standing in our way to fight corruption in Lusaka has been the divisional commander Mr Zulu. I have retired him in national interest and I have promoted Comrade Mary Tembo, at the moment she is Deputy Commissioner, to full commissioner of police to immediately take over as divisional commander for Lusaka division. In Lusaka division we need a gallant, energetic human being if we have to succeed in our fight against corruption," he said.
And President Sata said he had cancelled a contract by a Turkish Company, Guris Holdings engaged by the previous government to construct a new airport in Lusaka.
The Banda government had announced the awarding of the airport construction contract to the Turkish company under a Public Private Partnership.
He also revealed that the questionable Lexus vehicles bought by the previous regime were actually four although only two had been delivered.
"Then those vehicles which I told you two days ago, they were not only two they were four. They have only delivered two here. And I would like you to assist me. You DEC, Anti Corruption Commission ACC, where are the other two? Because the state paid for four vehicles, they have only delivered two. All of us please assist and there was no tender for those vehicles," he said.
"Guris Holding Company of Turkey are supposed to start building a new airport.
Building a new airport is a very, very important issue which Cabinet and advertising should be involved. I am therefore suspending or cancelling these contracts. I don't see any urgency of having a new airport now. We will go to tender if there's need for a new airport."
President Sata said the government was going to investigate whether any money had been paid to the company.
And President Sata has also revealed plans by the Banda administration to award a contract to build another State House within the State House grounds.
"…and surprisingly this place (State House) is more than adequate, this place where we are. But somebody single-handedly without advertising, decided there was going to be a new State House."
President Sata also directed the minister of home affairs to investigate if ‘some' NGOs had been adhering to the law.
He said his fight against corruption was not selective and was not a witchhunt.
Meanwhile, President Sata said he was not going to create a new cabinet position following immediate past gender minister in Banda's government Sara Sayifwanda's refusal to take up the position of gender deputy minister.