COMMENT - Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and all the neocon warmongers need to go, and start collecting a toothbrush and some toothpaste, for their long stay in prison. They are war criminals, just like the Bush Administration's minions like Jendayi Frazer (Ethiopian invasion of Somalia - 20,000 dead), Chester Crocker, etc. I guess Hillary Clinton is exercising the family motto: It is easier to ask for forgiveness
than it is to ask for permission.
Not something you want when you're talking about war with Iran.
Building a Justification for Waging War: Hillary Clinton's Deceptive Bluffs on Iran's Nuclear Program
by Kourosh Ziabari
Global Research, November 12, 2011
When Hillary Clinton doesn't make sense
U.S. President Barack Obama will be a lame duck next year and the officials in his administration, especially his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are hilariously doing their best to make sure that they haven't spared any effort to intervene in the internal affairs of other countries and sabotage the stability and security of those whom they call "enemies", like Iran.
On October 27, Hillary Clinton gave an exclusive interview to the UK's state-funded, state-run BBC Persian TV and in an attempt aimed at reaching out to the Iranian nation, made bombastic remarks which have certainly infuriated the Iranian nation and demonstrated that the hostile behavior and antagonistic stance of the U.S. government toward the Iranian nation is a manifestation of the idiom "the leopard can't change its spots."
At the beginning of the interview, Clinton referred to the sanctions imposed against Iran by the U.S. and its European allies and said that these sanctions are targeted at forcing the Iranian government into abandoning its nuclear program which she called is an effort to construct nuclear weapons and not for civilian purposes. Forgetting the detrimental impacts of economic sanctions against the ordinary people, Clinton talked of the United States as a friend of the Iranian people, and said that she wanted to reaffirm her country's "very strong support for and friendship toward the people of Iran."
She further added that the behavior of the United States towards the Iranian government is different from its behavior toward the Iranian people, and by saying that, she clearly paraded her diplomatic naiveté and artlessness. How do you justify enmity with a government which is democratically elected by a group of people which you claim of being supportive of?
Secondly, maybe Mrs. Secretary has forgotten that the U.S. itself is the largest possessor of nuclear weapons in the world. How can such a police state which has so far killed millions of people around the world, from Nagasaki and Hiroshima to Baghdad and Kabul, boast of its concerns about the development of nuclear bombs by a country which is the most pacifist country in a boiling and tumultuous region such as Middle East and hasn't ever invaded nor attacked any country in the past century?
A Reuters report quoting U.S. officials revealed in May 2010 that the U.S. has an arsenal of 5,113 nuclear warheads. It is the only country which has used nuclear weapons in the warfare and the only nation that has conducted around 1,054 nuclear tests and developed many long-range weapon delivery systems. So, who is really entitled to be concerned? Shouldn't the international community be anxious about the nuclear arsenal of the self-proclaimed superpower, the U.S.? Who may guarantee that the U.S. won't use its nuclear weapons in the prospective wars which it will be waging in the future? If the criterion of imposing financial sanctions is the possession of nuclear weapons and pursuing the development of them, why shouldn't the U.S. or its Middle East client state, Israel, which is the sole possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East, be the target of sanctions? A report by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis showed that between 1940 and 1996, the U.S. spent at least $8.15 trillion in present day terms on nuclear weapons development. Which country can be pinpointed on the world map which has invested in nuclear program, even for peaceful purposes, so enormously?
But it was not only Clinton's deceptive bluffs on Iran's nuclear program that seemed perplexing and ridiculous. She lived beyond her means by claiming that the international community is angry at what Iran is today and wants a better future for its people!
"But I would ask you to put yourself in the position of the international community and those who seek a better future inside Iran. If you do not want to have a conflict, if you do not want to just give way to behavior that is very reckless, as we saw in this recent plot against the Saudi ambassador, potentially dangerous, sanctions is the tool that we have at our disposal to use," she said.
Clinton went on to raise the issue of the alleged terror plot against the Saudi ambassador in Washington and attributed this plot to Iran. She, however, certainly remembers that they were the agents of CIA, MI6 and Mossad in Iran that assassinated four Iranian nuclear scientists immediately after their name was put on the UNSC sanctions list. Wasn't the assassination of Dariush Rezaei, Massoud Alimohammadi or the foiled assassination plot against Fereydoon Abbasi a conspicuous sponsorship of terrorism by a government which calls itself the number one defender of democracy and peace? Wasn't awarding the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to the President of such a country which murders and kills people with impunity some kind of degrading and humiliating this prestigious award?
But an interesting juncture in Clinton's interview with BBC was where a recorded video containing a question by one of the viewers of BBC was aired. The viewer asked Hillary Clinton about America's perpetual adherence to double standards, its support for repressive regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, its backing of the dreadful coup d'etat against the democratic government of Iran's then Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh in 1953 and its heinous shooting down of the Iran Air Flight 655 on July 3, 1988 which claimed the lives of 290 innocent passengers including 254 Iranians. Clinton was apparently taken aback by the question as her awkward response showed that the U.S. government has never found any way to account for its hypocritical policies and actions:
"we have consistently spoken out about Bahrain and we have pushed the government to do more, and we support the independent investigation… We know that everything we have done in the course of our 235-plus year history is going to appeal to or be supported by everyone, and we take our history seriously. So, for example, we've expressed regret about what was done in 1953… And then we also have tried to point out that the tragedy of the shooting down of the airline is something that we deeply are sorry for, and we have said that repeatedly."
Isn't it ludicrous? Shooting down a civilian aircraft, killing all the 290 people aboard and then simply saying that we are sorry? Overthrowing a democratic government which reflected the communal will of a nation and then simply saying that we are sorry? Waging wars and imposing sanctions which hurt the daily life of the ordinary people and saying that we are sorry?
Of course Hilary Clinton's interview with BBC Persian was a fiasco and a political debacle. She just showed her lack of political finesse and once again brought to mind that the wolf may lose his teeth, but never his nature. Clinton is the representative of a country which throughout the history has repeatedly betrayed the Iranian nation. Perhaps expressing deepest apologies to the Iranian nation and changing their hostile attitude can be the first step which the American politicians should take in order to have the bitter memories of their mischievousness wiped off the minds of Iranian people.
Kourosh Ziabari is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Kourosh Ziabari
Labels: HILLARY CLINTON, IRAN, WAR CRIMES
Former Mossad chief: Israeli attack on Iran must be stopped to avert catastrophe
by Amos Harel
Meir Dagan speaks out against military offensive on Iran, expresses concern that Defense Minister Barak believes Israel only has less than a year to carry out an attack.
Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan warned Thursday against an Israeli attack on Iran, saying such a move would likely lead to a regional war involving Hezbollah, Hamas, and Syria.
"I'm concerned about possible mistakes and I prefer to speak out before there is a catastrophe," Dagan said in an interview on the Israeli television program “Uvda."
"I think that engaging, with open eyes, in a regional war is warranted only when we are under attack or when the sword is already cutting against our live flesh. It is not an alternative that should be chosen lightly."
Dagan stressed that though he cannot predict how many casualties an attack on Iran would yield, he said, "I have to assume that the level of destruction, paralysis of every-day life, and Israeli death toll would be high."
He said that he has no interest in hiding his fervent opposition to an Israeli attack on Iran from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
Dagan said he was worried about Barak's past comments on Iran, saying Barak believes Israel has less than a year to carry out an military strike.
"I am very concerned," he said. "My understanding of Barak's comments is that Israel must act within this timeframe, but I don't believe this is accurate."
Earlier Thursday, Barak responded to comments by U.S. Joints Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey, who said that he did not know whether Israel would alert the United States ahead of time if it decided to take military action against Iran.
Barak said Israel isn't looking for war with Iran and said that he would be pleased if diplomatic moves and sanctions sway Tehran away from its contentious nuclear program.
Barak's comments came after Israeli intelligence sources told the Times of London on Wednesday that a recent explosion in the western Iranian city of Ishafan was not an accident, as Iranian officials had claimed, and that the local uranium conversion plant had been damaged in the blast.
The intelligence officials told the Times that updated satellite images showed smoke billowing from the direction of the conversion plant.
According to the Israeli sources, there was "no doubt" that the blast had damaged the nuclear facility, and that the explosion was not an "accident."
"This caused damage to the facilities in Isfahan, particularly to the elements we believe were involved in storage of raw materials," one source told the Times.
[From Haaretz - MrK]
Labels: COLONIALISM, IRAN, NEOCOLONIALISM, WAR CRIMES
Rich nations muzzle out African nations
Saturday, 03 December 2011 00:00
[Mrs Florence Nhekairo] Isdore Guvamombe in DURBAN, South Africa
NEGOTIATIONS by developing countries to get binding funding and greenhouse gas emission reduction guarantees under the Kyoto Protocol fizzled from a plenary affair to subtle country to country negotiations, as eking a lasting agreement remained a distant mirage.
Rich nations, some of which had earlier on threatened to pull out of the Kyoto Agreement negotiations, successfully used their financial and political muscle to dismantle open negotiations as the United Nations Climate Change Conference entered day four on Thursday. The Kyoto Protocol is an international agreement linked to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets binding targets for 37 industrialised countries and the European community for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
hese reductions amount to an average of five percent against 1990 levels over the five-year period 2008-2012 but developed nations feel that it slows their industrialisation.
In an interview, head of the Zimbabwean delegation and Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Management overt to the covert.
"As it stands we have more or less put aside plenary negotiations and gone for consultations, one on one country negotiations and we hope to finally come up with something.
"As the African group we have taken the position that the Kyoto Agreement cannot die on the African soil.
"We are already affected by climate change and we are seeking funding guarantees for projects and legally binding agreements to reduce greenhouse emissions.
"As developing countries we are not legally bound, we are only asking for a greenhouse funding to offset the intermittent droughts, shifting farming seasons and high temperatures.
"We need funding to help us adapt because to us it means less rains, it means less food and it means less water,'' said Mrs Nhekairo.
At the end, it is envisaged that the developing countries could end up with a win-win situation with the developing world in the form of Kyoto Protocol stage 2 or something else.
Labels: CLIMATE CHANGE, ENVIRONMENT, POLLUTION
Canadian mining firm scoffs at indigenisation drive
Saturday, 03 December 2011 00:00
[Caledonia chief executive officer Mr Stefan Hayden] Takunda Maodza Senior Reporter
CALEDONIA Mining Corporation has scoffed at Government's economic empowerment drive, branding indigenisation regulations a political gimmick to lure votes for Zanu-PF.
The Canadian firm's remarks come at a time when President Mugabe has told foreign companies that are not comfortable with the black empowerment drive to leave the country.
The Toronto and London-listed gold mining company which owns Blanket Mine in Gwanda was this week quoted by Mining Weekly as vowing not to cede 51 percent stake as prescribed by law.
Caledonia chief executive officer Mr Stefan Hayden said his company did not intend to finalise a sale of its shares to locals until the run-up to elections.
Mr Hayden said the policy was "a political football game at the moment".
"If Zanu-PF plays the indigenisation card now, then, come the elections, there is nothing left to play," he was quoted as saying.
Mr Hayden said negotiations on his company's indigenisation plan "will continue until before the elections".
Caledonia looks forward to producing at least 40 000 ounces of gold next year.
Zanu-PF yesterday advised the firm to comply with the law, saying the indigenisation programme was unstoppable.
"All companies are expected to comply with the indigenisation law. We are not politicking.
"We are empowering our people and this has been demonstrated by the Chegutu-Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba and Unki Mine Community Share Ownership Trusts," said Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu refused to comment on the matter yesterday, referring all questions to Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere.
Caledonia has always been on a collision course with Government.
Its mining licence was briefly cancelled mid this year after the company failed to submit an acceptable indigenisation plan.
Mr Hayden flew into the country following the cancellation of the licence and engaged Minister Kasukuwere.
Government lifted the cancellation after the firm pledged to provide a revised economic empowerment plan compliant with the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act.
Launching the Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust at Anglo-American Corporation-owned Unki Mine recently, President Mugabe said of defiant companies: "This (black economic empowerment) is our policy. We do not hide it. We want empowerment for our people. Vanenge vasingade, we say go now, if not yesterday."
Labels: CALEDONIA MINING CORPORATION, CANADA, INDIGENIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT ACT (ZIMBABWE)
Econet branches into solar power
Lighting up Africa ... Econet Solar's Home Power Station
by Gilbert Nyambabvu
ECONET Wireless subsidiary, Econet Solar has launched a solar power device which the company says will help light up most of rural Africa and other areas without access to reliable electricity supplies.
The company said the Home Power Station will provide lighting, and power to charge mobile phones, on a pre-paid basis, in the same way airtime is purchased for mobile phones.
Officials said the device removes the high upfront costs which have held back the development of solar energy in Africa as it will be available at a small cost with customers paying for the electricity generated as they use it.
Said Econet Wireless founder and executive chairman, Strive Masiyiwa: “Whilst there are already well-intentioned solar powered lighting systems on the market, the reality is that they are just too expensive for people to afford. We are launching the Home Power Station to change all that.
“The Home Power Station uses proven technology in a revolutionary way in order to make power available on a pre-paid basis, just like airtime on a cell phone.
“Forecasters expect that Africa will have 735 million cell phone users by the end of next year and we’ll be looking to leverage the proven ability of telecoms companies like Econet Wireless to roll-out this product quickly. People who are today living without access to reliable and sustainable power for lighting will have it on a pre-paid basis from next year."
Econet says the product will begin trials in the coming weeks and with commercial available expected in the first half of 2012.
In a statement, the company said it expects the product to help light up the “70 percent of Africa that does not already have access to electricity”.
“The product contains a SIM card – the same as those used in cell phone handsets – which enables the device to communicate with the cellular network and in turn makes it possible for the customer to pre-paid for energy usage, in the same way that they currently pay for airtime on their cell phone,” Econet Solar said.
“It has been designed to supply, on a pre-paid basis, affordable lighting for small homes and cell phone charging.”
Labels: ECONET, SOLAR ENERGY
Tsvangirai: When a man dares Hell's Fury
by Nathaniel Manheru
AS I have said, I am not interested in the Prime Minister's love life, good copy though it maybe. That side of things is his business, or more accurately, his problem. Let him solve it, or stew in it if he can't. He who dares swallow a pestle knows the circumference of his throat. No sob-tales please.
My interest clinically relates to those who serve him, or more accurately put, who think they do. My interest is with those who support him, or more accurately, those who think they do. Yes, my interest is how he handles sticky situations, however generated by whomsoever.
For in all three we have the sum total of Tsvangirai: the man, the father, the husband, the politician, the presidential aspirant, the gay supporter, above all, Locardia's man.
That side of the Prime Minister cannot be private, can never be a no-go zone for institutions of inquisition, principal among them, the press in its various forms and permutations.
The reason for this is not hard to find: all thinking Zimbabweans deserve to know and test the intellect and machinery built by those who seek to govern and lead us.
The wonderful CIO
As I said last week, if you cannot unknot the little complications of your miserably simple life, you cannot begin to aspire to want to run the sum of our broad and very complicated lives by way of the Nation of Zimbabwe in its totality.
This is how Tsvangirai's sexuality debacle quickly "transfigurates" into political suitability issues, to use vhoko rekuHigh School. After all throughout human history, sexuality has always been the soft and tender tissue of otherwise raging, runaway power. And this silly notion of invoking the phantom or bogey of Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity to explain away one's elementary incompetencies, one's miserable life buffeted by sheer recklessness, all that simply will not wash.
If sheer suspicion of CIO infiltration motivates him to renounce and abjure so foundational a relationship, why has he not renounced his politics, his MDC and his peers, all of which he claims are heavily infiltrated by the selfsame CIO? And anyway, why is the reviled CIO so good at keeping him, at securing him? Could he thus be infiltrated? Is he well on the route to self-renouncing?
At one point the CIO withdrew their services at his request. Then he harboured a romantic view of his own security trained by very shady characters on not-so-secret farms in South Africa. It was partly such an overestimation of his private security which caused the terrible tragedy to hit his family about two years ago.
Only then did he come back to the same hated CIO to demand their services. One gets weary of this Janus-faced political poise by a CIO-dependent leader seeking to cultivate a false image of animosity with the very Government department which not only keeps him safe from danger, but over which he is dying to assume control.
Such crass, duplicitous reasoning must be challenged and exposed. Far from redeeming him, such false complains actually raise fresher, deeper worries about his capacities, whether congenital or hired. The essence of politics is being able to deal with any eventuality and it's no political heroism projecting the picture of a quitter over small issues such as Locardia, while you promise competence in handling bigger challenges, such as running our combined lives as Zimbabweans. The Shona people proverbially maintain that it is always a comical spectacle when a self-praising chewer of tough, dry cow-hide suddenly chokes from a piece of veal. Nyamutambanen'ombe wabayiwa!
First, an assessment of the Prime Minister's capacities. The Prime Minister-lover says he had become "an innocent by-stander" or "spectator" in the whole saga. By-stander? Is that a posture capable of impregnating a woman? Or he means "by standing", in which case we will all "blush", feeling our raw and indecorous Prime Minister is taking transparency too far, indeed is making all of us very uncomfortable, innocent and reluctant "spectators" to deeds or misdeeds of the night?
And anyway, why is he making an issue out of a stance and posture the same media he blames was accosting him to abandon? The media wanted the man to take charge by giving whatever had gone on at the Karimatsenga Tembo homestead a name.
The real problem is that Tsvangirai chose silence, chose mock-passivity, hoping knotty matters would solve themselves. To this day, he still abnegates, including through the very statement which purports to break this baffling silence and simulated passivity.
Lifting veil of secrecy
By his own admission his relationship with Locardia had subsisted for a very long time.
Given that it is only now that it has hit heated headlines, he must be the first to admit that the press has been very restrained on that matter, only coming in after the Prime Minister volitionally took that crucial step of lifting the veil of secrecy to his affection-related activities by taking the first public steps by way of marriage.
And the institution and rituals of marriage are communal definitionally. Surely, that cannot be a discovery from a man born in 1952, a man who has been in wedlock over three decades? Once you trigger processes of marriage in whatever form and to whatever ends, the community eye kicks in, as too, does its restless, babbling tongue. And the press is the modern, detribalised community's institutionalised tongue.
We all have gone through the same, all of us who have married but a mere nonentities. It can only be worse for those who occupy public offices. That he mishandled this patently public process, to infinitely huge media interest, thereby forfeiting its usual nourishing value, surely does not grant him any license to blame the media, bureaucrats and everyone else but himself. After all, he himself admits to mishandling the whole matter, while discharging himself from blameworthiness. After all you cannot mishandle matters by standing, if that is what he meant by the compound word "by-standing".
Thirdly, Tsvangirai sounds like he is complaining about "an underhand and active political hand" which he says is now driving his whole marital matter. Yet by his own admission and the admission of his own party, the whole courtship was political from day one. He himself talks about "many stakeholders . . . some of whom have their own ulterior intentions and agendas", a sob-tale that seems to suggest a man tragically unable to read motives driving those around him. But it is also a phrase which one faction in the MDC-T has redeployed to mean Tsvangirai is complaining about the "intrusive" Makones, themselves a couple volitionally chose as family friends. If that is what he meant, it throws light on how he manages and abuses friendships.
But clearly this one hell of an imprecise statement which indicts anyone, everyone in the MDC-T who has had something to do with this whole needless saga. The Makones are being accused of self-seeking. But so, too, are all those within the MDC-T who have taken a position on the matter.
So the whole matter has always had a political fragrance: sumptuous in the beginning, effluvial in the end. Only a naïve politician would harbour expectations of apolitical love. Indeed only a philanderer would break a relationship over that.
Sordid saga. No problem and granted for as long as that is understood as a statement of remorse and moral recovery and reawakening by a born-again Casanova promising the priest never to backslide. But never as a censorious view of the workings of the press over this one story. Let the Prime Minister look at his love life before, during and after Locardia, and tell us what colour he sees over his affairs. And a man of such wassails cannot surely claim anguish and reputational injury.
All the chief's horses
Let me now turn to the Prime Minister's lame men. In fact you cannot help but pity the MDC man. He has no staff, simple and straight. And this not because of anything sinister, but all because of this shabby habit in his office of confusing party activists with civil servants, this shabby habit of tolerating meddlesome upstart Ministers as they pretend to play know-it-all civil servants, all from empty tanks reeking with fumes of beer.
These drunk minions have absolutely no clue in handling public communication, and in managing deficiencies and indiscretions of their error-prone master. In consequence, the Prime Minister's office comes across as utterly degraded and bemusing. Whether by inspiration or by sheer oversight, steamy affairs are consummated in offices, haa-aa!
An error so rich
Let us look at how they handled the Prime Minister's response to this nagging matter. The first intervention comes by way of a statement apparently showing a Tsvangirai confirming that indeed he married Locardia. It gets released to the press. A little while later, that statement is withdrawn.
A second one is released, this time suggesting Tsvangirai did not marry, but only paid damages to the family of a woman she mistook to be pregnant. Two key elements in the whole saga are removed, seemingly as a clever afterthought processed through a bungling official.
Correctly the Daily News asks Tamborinyoka why two conflicting statements are suitable for laying the vexatious matter to rest.
His responds is remarkably honest (not naïve!), and deserves to be reissued verbatim.
He says: "The first one (statement) was sent in error without editing and final approval. The second statement is the official version."
What? An error over such a fraught matter two frenzied weeks old? You watch, you wait, for two good weeks to make a mistake? Surely this is one matter which is handled collectively, gingerly, to ensure the response is both definitive and unassailable? The media had done a frenetic job in drawing abundant attention to all pressure points that needed attention. I mean how do you have an intervention so much awaited for so long simply so wrong?
And what is "editing" in this context? What is "final approval"? Much worse, what is an "official version" in this context? Which one is the unofficial one? The first one? And of the two, which one is more hospitable to truth, nothing but the whole truth: the one sent in error, without editing and without final approval, or the official version? Who approves a statement by the Prime Minister? Or are we being told this is a rationalised response by officials issued out in the name of the Prime Minister? To suggest continued bureaucratisation of matters of the heart, of family? And when its "official", are we forgiven for thinking this is detached from the horse's mouth, that this is inauthentic? Clearly the difference between the two versions is not merely stylistic.
It stems from two core issues: to marry or not to marry, whether before or after "damage". To impregnate or to simulate pregnancy, whether for marriage or damages. Real issues which make the notion of editing and final approval at once surfacial and very fraught than is intended by Look, sorry, Luke.
No Freudian slip
We are dealing with contested truths, dealing with how truth is edited out or expurgated for politically correct "official" versions. This dramatically widens the credibility gap, does it not? It deepens the conflict between the jockeying factions, does it not?
Who sanctioned the first release which seemed to vindicate the Makones, while damning and dumping Luke? Who sanctioned the second version which retreated from and abandoned the Makones, while vindicating Luke, indeed while dumping Locardia as not big, big with Tsvangirai's twins? Who made the error of releasing the first statement? Was the first one a Freudian slip? In other words was the error the truth?
Honey from a fly
But all this is to wonder away from the core issue, which is: in circumstances of controversy in which a key person's viewpoint is eagerly awaited, is an "official", written statement or statements the best way of delivering that viewpoint?
A statement handled by the very officers who brought about the distance of skepticism between the Prime Minister and the public in the first place, officers who proceed to blunder in a way that spawns worse ambiguities, worse skepticism? Do you deliver honey through a green fly? Use a fly's honeycomb to process honey. Some of us go so far as to ask, has the Prime Minister really spoken?
And if we assume he did, through which statement did hespeak to us? Has he cleared the air such that he can walk through a newsroom without being pelted by the same questions over the same matter? Surely a matter settled should no longer arise? Is that the situation Luke? Much worse, have you been helpful through all those blips and blunders which speak volumes, which raise more questions? Was this sheer ineptitude or a form of protest against the boss? Could it be that in trying to correct a blunder, "there are many stakeholders in the process, some of whom have their ulterior intentions and agendas"?
Ghosts of truth
Then you have a whole copy being driven by ghost voices who abhor attribution, yet who claim to represent the Prime Minister and the whole truth. The tone is decidedly gossipy. If they do know the truth, why won't they paste their names to that truth?
Why seek the licence of anonymity from the same society looking for authenticated truth?
And why are these ghost voices creating deeper complications for the Prime Minister? Through them, we now know the Prime Minister has another lover in the US, the lover he prefers to marry to Locardia. Is the media being redirected to another scandal for another stake-out?
Why then would the media need CIO and Information, if the Prime Minister's ghosts are doing such a wonderful job of directing the media through such abundant leads? Or are we being told that like a snake, the Prime Minister likes biting what he won't swallow? Told that he is a man always angling for the next prowl? Why seek to fight off, to dampen Locardia's hopes for marriage, by mortgaging the Prime Minister's marital future? Surely that future will come some day? Knowingly or unknowingly, these voices forebode the Prime Minister's affairs in future. What a high price to pay!
The Zimbabwe Independent, itself host to these ghost voices, gives away too much for comfort, both for the PM and for itself: "Sources say more women will come out to join the fray. Intelligence sources say the clearest evidence that state intelligence services were pulling the strings in the fiasco was involvement of one of the women mentioned."
These unnamed sources are whetting media appetite for an even greater frenzy. Much worse, which intelligence sources is Muleya quoting, outside and independent of "state intelligence services"? Foreign intelligence? With what relationship with him, his paper and the MDC-T leader? It reminds me of WikiLeaks and the story of one Sydney Masamvu!
Story just begun
The upshot of all of the above is that the story has just begun. And it can only proceed at greater expense of the Prime Minister. A whole bevy of women have been lined up for him, each now with a profile in the media. His whole life is now dogged by this damaging sex story and wherever he goes, many will seek any evidence of bunga-bunga.
Whatever choices he will make martially are sure to draw comments and judgment. What a sordid life he is set to lead from now onwards! Much worse, Locardia and her family do not strike me as the type to bow out uneventfully.
Their handling of the whole matter and response to the Prime Minister's challenge shows far greater tact and depth than the Prime Minister could ever muster given a thousand more opportunities. So far, they have kept Locardia out of the fray, simply deploying her devastatingly, to embroil the Prime Minister further. All her steps are meticulous, all of them culturally supportable. Whatever her sins (and they are many), she comes across as a woman more sinned against than sinning. That is all she needs.
The fact of being pregnant, as we are told she is, can only be a bonus, one that makes her an unconditional candidate for society's unfettered sympathies. In spite of her riches (and I hope they are real), she has kowtowed before Tsvangirai's witty mother, like a good, cultured daughter-in-law would do.
And from the briefing which the mother gave in full presence of The Herald team, her mother-in-law looked happy, filled up that her son was once again settling in with a good wife. She may have won acceptance, both of the family and all of us the well meaning. One day too soon, she shall open her mouth to speak, all with the weight of someone who has not spoken before, amidst a hubbub of bubbling drivel, and we shall all listen.
I don't, I do, I am done
It is not hard to predict how events will move henceforth. She shall wait, assessing her prospects, weighing her chances in the whole relationship. If she establishes that her husband chooses to be foolish enough to run their love life like Harvest House, she, too, shall renounce the relationship, shall not feel obligated to defend it.
At that point, this man seeking the highest political office, shall discover that politics hath no fury like a woman spurned. His shall be a harvest of bitter thorns. So stretch it, stretch it out girl until such time that Mr Tsvangirai ill-affords controversy. Or the second scenario which is very possible and fairly common to Buherans, could kick in. It is that scenario of gradually softening denial as a strategy of riding out the storm. To the marriage you say "I don"t" to mean "I do"! You keep don't-ing, don't-ing, don't-ing until you forget the "-n't" through another permanent Freudian slip. And once you say "I do", you are done, and all shall be happy ever after!
In that scenario, the Prime Minister shall quietly send the Manases and Zvaipa to smoothen things with the in-laws, while he upholds and plays the reluctant, and even hostile. Meanwhile, Locardia's tummy will be growing big, bigger by the day, until two little Tsvangirais spew out, all to great communal joy!
After which, after which the Prime Minister will wring his hands, shrug his broad shoulders in "utter" helplessness, all to pass the bedroom threshold, shut the heavy wooden door behind, in the process firmly closing out the meddlesome world so madly driven by ulterior motives. When next he emerges and steps back into the world, Locardia anenge atonaka kechiTwo, possibly to issue more twins. Icho!
Labels: MDC, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, NATHANIEL MANHERU
COMMENT - Judge Morgan Tsvangirai on his performance in parliament? And why is the US ambassador going to bat for the head of the MDC?
Judge PM on performance: US envoy
by Staff Reporter
UNITED States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has weighed into the ‘marriage’ controversy surrounding Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, insisting the MDC-T leader should only be judged on his performance in government
. Speaking to Radio VOP in Bulawayo, Ray said Tsvangirai’s personal life which has nothing to do with his public performance as country’s premier.
“You cannot judge his performance in government because of his personal life. People should not spent time discussing about his personal life as it will divert us from really pertinent issues on the country’s economic development,” said Ray.
Ray added: “If we really want to discuss about his personal life lets also scrutinise personal lives of all other leaders of this country.”
Tsvangirai was reported to have married Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo – who is said to be pregnant with their twins – only for the MDC-T leader to later issue a statement saying he was ending the relationship.
Blaming interference by the media and state security agents Tsvangirai said: “My genuine intention has been betrayed and hearts have had to search long and hard to the true meaning of this well-choreographed drama that has now been hijacked to cause political damage on my person and character.
“Since the day I sent a delegation to the Karimatsenga family, everything has been played in the press and I have become an innocent bystander in what is supposed to be my relationship.
“This has led me to conclude that there is a greater and thicker plot around this issue which has undermined my confidence in this relationship.”
Tsvangirai has six children with his late wife Susan, who was killed in a car accident in 2009, and is also believed to have fathered a boy named Ethan with a 23-year-old Bulawayo woman in March.
Labels: CHARLES RAY, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
Sata moves into State House
Sat 03 Dec. 2011, 12:50 CAT
PRESIDENT Michael Sata has finally moved into his official residence at State House. A check at his house situated on Omelo Mumba Road in Lusaka's Rhodes Park area yesterday revealed that there was neither the presidential flag nor the green cordon cones.
The place is however still under police guard. Sources said President Sata moved 5 days ago.
Labels: MICHAEL SATA, PF, STATE HOUSE
Caritas urges government to solve FISP problems
By Maluba Jere
Sat 03 Dec. 2011, 13:00 CAT
CARITAS Zambia executive director Sam Mulafulafu says the PF government should find solutions to the problems surrounding the FISP instead of blaming the previous government over the past failures.
Reacting to the suspension of the distribution of farming inputs by Omnia, Mulafulafu said suspending the distribution of inputs at the start of a farming season was a serious situation that needed immediate attention.
"The last regime defaulted in this programme. But the government needs to find a solution," he said.
"People who suffer are the farmers, so there is need for the government to find a solution and not say it is the previous government that failed to pay the suppliers. That is why they were elected."
Omnia have suspended the distribution of farming inputs to farmers to press government to pay the outstanding debts owed to the two companies.
And last week, Vice-President Guy Scott told Parliament that the delay in distributing farming inputs for the 2011/2012 farming season was as a result of the debt the government had to settle with suppliers.
Mulafulafu also said there was need to review the policy on the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to ensure the intended results are attained.
"We are in the middle of the rainy season and farmers cannot be stranded with no inputs," he said. "The whole policy needs to be reviewed. This is something that needs to be thought through to see what exactly works."
Mulafulafu further said the FISP programme was marred with corruption a situation which led to a number of farmers not benefitting from it.
"People who are entitled get marginalised by those who are selfish and sell the inputs to get cash," he said.
"The big issue to implement is to ensure it achieves its intended role. To start with, the so-called cooperatives distributing these inputs just breed more corruption because most farmers ended up not getting their entitlement."
He added that the government's decision to use chiefs to distribute inputs was the worst ever, saying some chiefs would not be impartial in carrying out this duty.
Mulafulafu said the distribution of farmer inputs should be done by technical people other than chiefs saying they chiefs had their own problems and issues to deal with.
"There is no doubt there are some good chiefs but a good number of them cannot be trusted with such an important undertaking. Some of them convert things to personal use," said Mulafulafu. "We have had situations where chiefs have been given things to distribute but those things just end up in their palaces."
Labels: CARITAS, FISP, PF, SAM MULAFULAFU
MMD will not fear government, says Mumba
By Moses Kuwema
Sat 03 Dec. 2011, 13:55 CAT
NEVERS Mumba says the MMD will neither fear nor be intimidated by the government. And Pastor Mumba says the nation must do everything within its means to eradicate corruption from the country and says he intends to lead this fight not only in word but indeed.
Pastor Mumba, one of the five applicants for the position of MMD president, stated that he was confident that a new MMD would emerge in Zambia before the next elections.
He stated that the democratic process demands that a healthy and vibrant opposition voice be in place to ensure that the ruling party was held accountable and that there were checks and balances to ensure that policy decisions are made not in the selfish interests of a few but in the best interest of Zambia.
"It is critical that the opposition have one voice; a united voice in Zambia. As opposition leader, President Michael Sata enjoyed much freedom to speak freely, move around freely and voice his opinion freely. It is my prayer that the MMD, now the opposition party, will be able to voice our opinion freely and exercise those same freedoms accorded to President Sata while he was in the opposition. We shall not fear nor be intimidated by government. We shall be honest and firm on issues that affect justice and the security of the Zambian people," stated Pastor Mumba who until recently was Zambia's Ambassador to Canada.
Pastor Mumba stated that he was aware of the many challenges facing the MMD as it sought to carry the mantle placed upon it to be a voice for the opposition in Zambia.
He stated that Zambia had shown the world that democracy was alive and well in the nation and that the country had continued to mature as proven by the peaceful transition of power that took place recently.
Pastor Mumba stated that as a candidate for the MMD presidency, he was aware of the challenges that the party faced and the need to carry out an in-depth internal analysis of what went wrong.
He pledged to listen to what the members would be saying as they worked together in re-branding and revitalising the party.
"I am confident that a ‘new' MMD will emerge in Zambia before the next election. My goal will be to assemble a winning team from all provinces of Zambia and mobilise the grassroots of both our party and the nation at large in creating a new Movement for Multiparty Democracy," he stated.
Pastor Mumba stated that if elected party president, his goal would be to transform the MMD into a highly effective grassroots-based political party that would not only be relevant but in touch with the aspirations, hopes and dreams of a new generation of Zambians.
"I recognise the need to harness the goodwill of the party members, current and past supporters. I can assure you that as the main opposition party, we will have learned from our past mistakes and will strive to rebuild the trust and confidence of the Zambian people. I shall dedicate myself fully to help all Zambians to realise this dream and will provide the leadership, vision and dedication necessary to ensure victory at the next election," he stated.
And Pastor Mumba stated that he was more passionate and dedicated than ever to fighting corruption in Zambia in any form.
"Upon arrival in Zambia, I shall make a concise statement on the corruption fight in Zambia. After 47 years of independence our fight against corruption must be strongly anchored in proven institutions and nothing else. We must do everything within our means to eradicate this disease from our nation and I intend to lead this fight not only in word but indeed," stated Pastor Mumba.
Other MMD members that have successfully applied to be party president include former ministers Felix Mutati, Kabinga Pande, Situmbeko Musokotwane and Moses Muteteka.
Labels: CORRUPTION, MMD, NEVERS MUMBA
MMD presidency battle heats up
By Roy Habaalu
Sat 03 Dec. 2011, 14:00 CAT
MMD is split over the party presidency with one camp backing Nevers Mumba while the other is supporting Felix Mutati, sources in the party's national executive committee have revealed.
According to the sources, former president Rupiah Banda was favouring and canvassing for votes for Mumba - a former Republican vice-president and Zambia's out-going High Commissioner to Canada.
The sources said Banda was more comfortable with Mumba because of his charisma and religious appeal, than former minister of commerce, trade and industry and current MMD Lunte member of parliament Mutati who is also articulate on most economic issues.
The sources said Banda felt that Mumba could easily take on President Sata better than Mutati would.
The sources said Banda was influential on choosing the party's president.
"Yes the divisions are there. It's true that most members of the National Executive Committee (NEC) are favouring Nevers because Banda has an indirect influence on this one. He is influencing the NEC on who to choose. Banda doesn't seem to like Felix to be his successor," the source said.
"Banda fears that Felix is a bit soft and President Michael Sata might easily offer him a job in government or when he refuses the President might find some dirt on him…as you know, in that office of President just like you journalists, it's easy to find dirt on someone, even if it's not true but it sticks. But for Nevers he is somehow talkative and less fearful. That is why you saw that even Sata attacked him, saying there is abuse of resources at Mumba's mission, because he fears him to be a tough challenger in terms of talking but not political support base."
The sources said Sata was trying to weaken Mumba, hoping Mutati would win and capitalise on him.
"The race for the MMD presidency is clearly between Felix and Nevers. Former minister of finance Situmbeko Musokotwane has no political clout and no constituency to back his candidacy to win the elections either in the NEC or at the convention. You know in politics, even if you are clean you need a proper power base to win an election. That is the same with Kasempa member of parliament Honourable Kabinga Pande. He has no constituency to win that race," the source said.
"However, as a party, we are in an awkward situation because with the battle line being drawn between Felix and Nevers, both Northerners, we are likely to have a Northerner as party president, another Northerner as national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe and Republican President Sata also a northerner. There are manoeuvres to try and unlock this complex regional triangle but it seems the choices for the party presidency are limited."
The sources said the majority of MMD members want Mutati for president, hence their insistence to have the convention elect Banda's successor.
"As we explained, the fears are that the NEC is decided on Nevers due to Banda's hidden hand in the process. Additionally, the NEC members would prefer that they be kingmakers and elect the party president themselves because they also fear that if they went to the convention and their positions are floated, they might lose their portfolios," the source said.
"But it seems with pressure from members on the grassroots the NEC will give in and allow the holding of the convention to elect the president. At the convention, the competition will be between Nevers and Felix and the situation is favourable for Felix."
Another source said the party would have a stage-managed convention because Mumba had already been endorsed by most members of the NEC.
"If we go to the convention without manipulations, Felix will get it but the problem is the inner circle that misled the boss Banda has already endorsed Nevers," the source said.
"Chisamba member of parliament and MMD national youth chairman Moses Muteteka, Pande, who is also the party's deputy national chairman and Mr Musokotwane those are just wasting their time, the race is between Nevers and Mutati. Some NEC members are saying ‘we need a Bemba president' that's the scheme they are using. They are saying for MMD to bounce back, they need a Bemba as president."
He said Banda withdrew his support for UPND president Hakainde Hichilema to lead the MMD-UPND pact after most MMD members opposed him.
The sources said MMD parliamentarians felt that the party had capable individuals to take over from Banda.
"After seeing that he was having pressure within the party that's how he turned around and said ‘let's support Nevers'. He is not sure about Felix's position, how he managed to get the wealth he has," said the source.
Labels: FELIX MUTATI, MMD, NEVERS MUMBA, PRESIDENCY, RUPIAH BANDA
Thomson Reuters Corp Chief Executive stepping down
Fri 02 Dec. 2011, 09:30 CAT
Thomson Reuters Corp Chief Executive Tom Glocer is stepping down at the end of the year following a slump in the share price in recent months. He will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer James Smith, a veteran Thomson executive who has run the company's most successful operations.
The news and information company has undergone a series of structural changes and management shake-ups over the past six months to address the lackluster performance of its Markets business, which mainly serves financial institutions.
With Glocer's departure, Canada's Thomson family, which acquired control of Reuters Group Plc in 2008 to create Thomson Reuters, is removing the last senior Reuters executive from the company's top echelon. The family's holding company Woodbridge owns about 55 percent of Thomson Reuters.
"By the end of the year, the organizational strategy and budget work I have been leading will be complete, and the transition plan I launched last summer will have achieved its objectives," Glocer said in a statement on Thursday.
Thomson Reuters also reaffirmed its 2011 outlook but said that excluded any one-time charges related to what it termed a restructuring. The company declined to give more details.
Smith, a former journalist who joined the Thomson newspaper group in 1987, previously was head of the Professional unit, which sells legal, tax and accounting products. Since the merger, the Professional business, which was a Thomson Corp unit, has steadily outperformed the Markets operation, which was largely the legacy Reuters business.
Smith, 52, is the former head of Thomson U.S. newspaper operations. During his tenure, the company became one of the first media companies to shift away from the declining newspaper business to focus on electronic publishing.
Glocer is credited with rescuing Reuters a decade ago through a sweeping cost-cutting program, when the company's performance and stock price swooned following the dotcom bust. He later engineered the acquisition by Thomson Corp for about $17.2 billion, a 40 percent premium to Reuters share price at the time.
Glocer, 52, broke with Reuters tradition when he took over in 2001 as the then British company's first American and first nonjournalist chief executive.
"Tom will be remembered as the individual who turned around Reuters ten years ago, led the company to growth and guided its sale to form Thomson Reuters," said David Thomson, chairman of Thomson Reuters.
He added that Smith has already had "a remarkable career" in the company and will provide "strong leadership for Thomson Reuters at this juncture."
The company's stock has dropped 36 percent to $26.88 from a high of $42 in February this year, as its banking and financial customers laid off tens of thousands of employees and slashed costs. Sales of the new flagship desktop product for financial clients, Eikon, have also disappointed, putting pressure on the stock.
The weak performance led to the departure in July of a group of senior executives including Markets chief Devin Wenig, a protege of Glocer who had been seen as a potential CEO successor.
"It was reasonably clear that the company was under pressure to find a way to respond to what was a very slow recovery from the market turmoil," said Claudio Aspesi, analyst at Sanford Bernstein.
The company faces fierce competition in financial markets from Bloomberg LP, which is also trying to make inroads into the legal business.
For the third quarter, revenue from the Professional business, which accounts for 42 percent of overall revenue, rose 10 percent. That was much stronger than the 1 percent revenue growth in Markets.
Thomson Reuters also announced a new organizational structure with five divisions.
Among them, Reuters' legacy Markets business will be part of a new division called financial and risk operations headed by David Craig. He previously worked for Smith as head of the corporate governance business, one of the top performing sectors of the company.
The other four division are: Legal under Mike Suchsland; Intellectual Property & Science under Chris Kibarian; Tax & Accounting under Brian Peccarelli; and Global Growth Organization under Shanker Ramamurthy.
All five division heads will report to Smith, as will Thomson Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler, President of Media Susan Taylor-Martin, and Jon Robson, who will head a new business development office.
The announcement came after the market closed and the company's shares were unchanged in extended trading.
Debt stalls work at Chigaro irrigation scheme
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
A crippling US$7 000 debt and broken-down irrigation infrastructure has stalled work at the Chigaro Irrigation Scheme in the Makonde district of Mashonaland West Province. This has put in jeopardy the livelihoods of at least 54 families.
At its peak the project, which draws water from Mupfure River, used to supply the nearby St Rupert Hospital and the local communities with vegetables including tomatoes, legumes and maize among other crops. In an interview recently, Agritex officer Mr Benonia Makainganwa said the project was a source of livelihood for many families.
Its resuscitation, he said, would go a long way in boosting improving lives of people in the area.
"We have had the combined misfortune of crops being destroyed by elephants that follow the Mupfure River from Zambezi Valley and also a huge bill from Zesa that has seen power being disconnected," he said.
At a recent meeting organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, villagers said an unjustified bill from Zesa worsened their woes.
The project, which was started in 1996, accumulated charges of about US$7 000 leading to disconnections.
Local Member of House of Assembly Cde Ray Kapesa said talks were at an advanced stage to bring on board donors willing to fund the project's resuscitation.
Marauding elephants have pulled down the security fence and destroyed crops while pumps have been removed for safekeeping.
"We are interested in making sure that this project is put back on track because we see that it is benefiting a lot of our people," said Cde Kapesa.
"There are contacts with a number of people who have expressed interest in partnering the people so that the project gets off the ground."
Cde Kapesa said funding would be sourced to erect a perimeter fence and upgrade the irrigation infrastructure while part of the money from the Constituency Development Fund would go towards upgrading the project.
Labels: AGRICULTURE, IRRIGATION
Revitalising smallholder agriculture
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
As the 2011/12 farming season gathers momentum, Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV Zimbabwe) is improving the availability of inputs to smallholder farmers through the Rural Agro-Dealer Restocking Programme (RARP).
The programme was started in 2009 and is designed to encourage wholesalers to avail inputs to smallholder farmers through supplying inputs in large quantities (consignment stock) to agro-dealer stores close to rural farmers and promote contract farming.
According to SNV Zimbabwe's senior agricultural advisor, Mr Albert Jaure, RARP is operating in all eight rural provinces of Zimbabwe involving 622 agro-dealers, 11 contracting companies and 10 821 contracted farmers.
Over the years, SNV Zimbabwe has built the capacity of agro-dealers to become economic drivers in the agriculture value chain. Agro-dealers have acquired skills in business management and cultivating strong links with rural farmers.
They have also grouped themselves into agro-dealer associations.
One of the most successful associations is Masvingo Agro-Dealer Association (Mada), which comprises business membership organisations from Masvingo province's seven districts, namely Bikita, Zaka, Chivi, Masvingo, Gutu, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.
Most of the members are agro-dealers, general dealers and rural artisans (carpenters and welders).
According to Mada chairperson Mr Edward Madzivadondo, the organisation has used lessons learnt during the economic hardships experienced in 2008 to build relationships with many organisations such as MicroKing Finance, Rural Development Organisation (Rudo), N. Richards Wholesalers, SNV Zimbabwe, Care Zimbabwe, Pioneer Seeds, Seed Co (Pvt) Ltd, to mention just a few.
Mada assists that members finance their enterprises through promoting credit and saving schemes in district associations; linkages to seed houses for consignment stock and to wholesalers for 14-day accounts. Other member benefits include capacity building and group accountability that enables every member to get a loan from Micro King and wholesalers such as N. Richards.
One of the reasons why agro-dealers have survived economic hardships better than big wholesalers is that they are agile enough to move with trends as compared to big wholesalers and manufactures, who tend to be tied down by inertia and other blockages.
Some of the major skills agro-dealers have acquired include merchandising, marketing, record keeping, input handling, conflict management, leadership, cattle fattening, value addition as well as lobbying and advocacy.
Demonstrations through field days are used by agro-dealers to show how their inputs work.
Most agro-dealers are involved in output marketing such as buying maize, groundnuts and livestock from farmers.
Farmers are benefiting a lot from working with agro-dealers.
"When I began farming in 2003, I struggled to harvest a tonne of maize but once I started working with agro-dealers, my fortunes have improved.
"Agro-dealers are now a big market for our commodities and we no longer wait for buyers from far away," said Mr Francis Tizai, a farmer from Masvingo District Ward 10.
l Charles Dhewa is community development worker and can be contacted at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Labels: AGRICULTURE, CONTRACT FARMING
COMMENT - Watch these little meetings. They are part of trying to get Anglo American's hands on the 1/5th of the world's known diamond reserves that Zimbabwe has. AA already has the national diamond mining monopoly in South Africa, in Botswana, and they have their intentions set on Zimbabwe next.
Discussing Zimbabwe, without Zim
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Obi Egbuna Herald Correspondent
EARLY this month, the US government's House Foreign Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights
in Washington DC organised a hearing under the theme "Beyond the Reign of Zimbabwe's Mugabe: A Chance for Democracy or Prelude to Conflict."
The meeting was chaired by Congressmen Christopher Smith and Donald Payne. They both represent the State of New Jersey. Among those who gave testimonies were Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Ms Sharon Cromer, Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator Bureau for Africa for the US Agency for International Development; Mr Mark Schneider, Senior VP for the International Crisis Group
and Mr Paul Fagan, Regional Director for Africa for the International Republican Institute.
There also was Mr Dewa Mavhinga, Regional Coordinator Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition. Before the substance and value of these testimonies are thoroughly analysed, it very important to point out that the process completely not only lacks integrity.
It was not aimed at presenting an objective account of developments but a typical country targeted by the US Congress for these proceedings.
As long as the United States continues to parade around the globe as an authority on democracy and human rights, they should begin by answering the question how humane and democratic it is. What qualifies it to hold a hearing discussing a country at length but excluding the country's Ambassador from the process altogether?
This hearing came only 11 months after the hearing Congressman Payne held last year entitled "Zimbabwe: From Crisis to Renewal".
At least from the surface, it appears this year they are more concerned about the people of Zimbabwe, since the hearing has a more elaborate theme. Because Congressman Smith is the Chair of this Committee he had to begin the latest diplomatic assault on the Government and people of Zimbabwe.
He started talking about the mutual hostility between the US Government and President Mugabe and Zanu-PF, and stated that Zimbabwe was considering a new constitution that will lead to elections.
It was laughable listening to Congressman Smith accuse President Mugabe and Zanu-PF of forcefully removing Vice President Nkomo from office, but blatantly ignoring the historic Unity Accord of 1987 between Zanu and Zapu. This shows that Congressman Smith is either has a lazy and incompetent staff or he is intellectually dishonest when discussing Zimbabwe.
These opening remarks by Congressman Smith can only be overshadowed by last year's hearing when he cited the right-wing Heritage Foundation's Index of economic freedom, which ranked Zimbabwe as 178 right behind Cuba and in front of North Korea which was last on their list.
During that hearing Congressman Smith stated that President Mugabe openly embraces North Korea's Juche system and the only way forward is to throw off President Mugabe and criminal elements of Zanu-PF.
The Congressman then took the liberty of recognising Congressman Jeff Flake from Arizona, who he said lived in Zimbabwe between 1982 and 1983,and wrote his thesis on President Mugabe. The Congressman expected us to view President Mugabe through the eyes of a mormon missionary for the Church of Latter Day Saints to South Africa in the 80's.
It is very crucial to mention that Congressman Flake served as the Executive Director of the Foundation in Namibia and went on to serve as the Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute before entering Congress. In the era of overt intelligence Africans must overcome mental shackles, and not let our most bitter detractors persuade us to distance ourselves from the most courageous fighters in our midst and historical space.
The first official testimony came from Ambassador Carson for some strange reason began by highlighting that the US Government was the first country to extend diplomatic relations to Zimbabwe, on the 25th anniversary of the death of Samora Machel.
It is very pompous of Ambassador Carson to exaggerate about past or present diplomatic gestures the US has made towards Zimbabwe past or present. Since Ambassador Carson takes pride in the diplomatic overture he felt compelled to mention, it is tragic he overlooks 1 000 US mercenaries fighting alongside the Rhodesians, and the disrespectful and racist behaviour displayed of President Reagan when he decided to sabotage the Lancaster House Negotiations of 1979.
The Ambassador highlighted what he called serious contention within the ruling party
for the right to succeed the President.
He stated further that the State Department would continue to press for protection of human rights and accountable progress where it is made, and maintaining US-EU sanctions on Zimbabwe is a visible manifestation of the US Governments concerns as it pertains to these matters.
The Ambassador has a major dilemma at these hearings. He has to talk tough about Zimbabwe, but at the same time his showboating undermines the work of the US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray, who has decided to approach President Mugabe and Zanu-PF with courtesy and respect which is a departure from his predecessors Christopher Dell and James McGee.
The USAid mouthpiece Ms Cromer openly acknowledged that all of their activities are done, in close consultation with congress, the State and Treasury Department and National Security Council, and are consistent with the US Government's overall strategy and policy.
She also thanked Ambassador Carson for his commitment to the issue, and stated improvements in the living conditions and economic prospects cannot be sustainably achieved without accompanying gains in the political sphere.
The Zimbabwean people in particular and African people as a whole are sick and tired of the pseudo-humanitarianism of US-EU imperialism.
But Ms Cromer apparently shuns this predictable masquerade and is comfortable calling for a change in Zimbabwe with no apology whatsoever.
According to Stephen Gowans article,
Concerned Africa Scholars’ Jacob Mundy, writes:
The International Crisis Group is funded by such pro-imperialist and CIA pass-through organizations as the Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Carnegie Foundation, The Soros Open Society Institute and the Ronald Reagan established US Institute for Peace, of which the US Secretaries of State and Defense are ex officio board members.
The ICG’s board members, past and present, include US and British foreign policy luminaries, among them Wesley Clark (who commanded the Nato assault on Yugoslavia in 1999), cold warrior Zbigniew Brzezinski (who ordered the backing of the Mujahadin in Afghanistan), Lord Robertson (the former Secretary General of Nato), and billionaire financier George Soros, who has been active in bankrolling color revolutions. (6) - MrK
The most disrespectful testimony was given by Mr Schneider of ICG. Schneider began by mentioning the 25 reports they have given on Zimbabwe.
The most amusing thing about US-based NGO's and think tanks, is they are flooded with CIA wannabes who don't have the stomach for true blue imperialist espionage. It was in poor taste when Mr Schneider claimed President Mugabe has visited Singapore eight times this year due to failing health.
None of the individuals who gave testimonies are friends of the President or are genuinely concerned about his well being or health, it is for that reason that should be declared off limits at this sought of hearing.
Apologists for the US-EU alliance, whether they are journalists like Craig Timberg of the Washington Post or Nicholas Christoff of the New York Times or pro-regime change NGOs and think tanks like ICG or the International Republican Institute, all must masqurade as experts and authorities on Zimbabwe.
The testimony by Mr Fagan of representing IRI smacked of frustration and failure. He began by stating that the very nature of the GPA shields President Mugabe and Zanu-PF from any action against what he calls a Government of National Unity.
Mr Fagen went on to say this would reflect negatively on the MDC partners and stifle any progress they are able to make within the governing coalition.
It is becoming abundantly clear that the main reason Prime Minister Tsvangirai came to the US at the same time President Mugabe and the Zimbabwean delegation were in New York for the General Assembly, was to be part of the strategic planning of these hearings.
The US Government always provides him a shoulder to cry on. The next comments by Mr Fagan worthy of note was overt condemnation of President Mugabe and his party.
If Mr Fagan believes in accuracy he must cease referring to the GPA as a Government of National Unity, it is an inclusive Government and the US according to President Obama has only one Zimbabwean partner at the table, Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
If the US-EU alliance decide to tell the truth about Zimbabwe their efforts will flourish instead of backfire.
What misleads the Africans in the Diaspora is when pro-regime change forces in the US and EU imply that both factions of MDC are their partners, when their anger for Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara is painfully obvious when he is blatantly ignored when they discuss the Zimbabwe issue.
The most predictable methodology in relationship to these hearings is the decision, to find token Zimbabweans to strengthen the arguments made by US Imperialism forces at these hearings, because after all some entertainment becomes necessary the US Government reps and so called experts are quite boring and redundant.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe who Mr Mavhinga proudly represents comprises of 350 civic society organizations, which has five committees advocacy, information, peace building and human rights.
The highlight of Mr Mavingha's remarks was his emphatic statement that the US Congress should avoid any legislative initiatives, including repealing the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act of 2011 or targeted sanctions. These were the exact sentiments of Mr Joy Mabenge when he testified on behalf of the Democratic Alternative for Zimbabwe in 2009.
The apparent strategy was to have Mr Mavhinga absolutely trash the GPA, which is exactly how he slanted his comments. He declared that the inclusiveGovernment was barely functional, and the GPA had failed to create a viable roadmap that will pave the way for a genuine transition to free democraticand open society.
The next area Mr Mavhinga focused on was Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa's report at the UN Human Rights Council which he said lacked credibility, and he paraphrased Brigadier General Nyikayaramba of ZNA saying "truly speaking I am in Zanu-PF and Zanu-PF is in me".
What we also appear to overlook is the fact that these "watchdogs" in the civil society sector are hardly neutral and objective like the US-EU alliance make them appear to be.
The time has come for the Government of Zimbabwe to reveal a list of how many civil Society groups are linked to the Tsvangirai faction of MDC. Since we know that Mr Mavhinga is based in Johannesburg which appears to be a hotbed for anti-Zanu-PF activity, whether it is spearheaded by Amnesty International, apologists for the Rhodesian crusader Roy Bennett or the pro-regime change paper the Mail and Guardian.
[South Africa's Mail & Guardian newspaper is headed by MDC member Trevor Ncube. It is generally DA leaning as well, and anti-ANC. - MrK]
The last area of Mr Mavhinga's testimony that needs to be addressed was the comment he made pertaining to Zimbabwe's elections, when he said Zanu-PF wasunable to force elections in 2011 thanks to a concerted campaign both inside and outside Zimbabwe.
The decision to have elections this year was in accordance with the original GPA agreement, which not only President Mugabe and Zanu PF wanted to honor, but the MDCs stalled them.
In order for the African world to understand the full ramifications of these hearings, and how they are used to usher in civilian neo-colonialism in a region of Africa, were UNITA and RENAMO were soundly defeated in Angola and Mozambique respectively, all we have to do is follow the paper trial and see where it leads us.
When we take this approach we arrive at the doorsteps of Mr George Soros and Sir Richard Branson who are the main European business tycoons, who refuse to abandon the regime change agenda in Zimbabwe even if its burns a hole in their fat pockets.
Many of us discovered that Sir Richard Branson helped establish Enterprise Zimbabwe along with Pam Omidyar of Humanity United, which illustrated that there is an increasing interest for foreign investment in Zimbabwe.
This explains why the Elders group which has several prominent living historical figures like Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jimmy Carter, Kofi Annan to name a few, who attempted to force their way into Zimbabwe three years ago, as part of a fact finding mission received 18 million US dollars from Branson as seed money to begin their humanitarian work. Because Mr Soros wants to go to his grave being remembered as the modern day Santa Claus/Father Christmas.
His supporters always point to the US$8 billion dollars he has given to public health and education causes.
This is but a feeble attempt to divert attention away from the fact he is extremely comfortable in his seat, on the Council Of Foreign Relations Board Of Directors which he has no intention of abandoning anytime soon.
[The CFR was founded by the Rockefellers. Dick Cheney used to be a director, and Hillary Clinton practically lives there. :) - MrK]
The Soros sponsored Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa has always financed the Labor and Economic Development Research Institute Of Zimbabwe, which is a think tank of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), that Prime Minister Tsvangirai proudly led as the Secretary General before receiving instructions and money to go and spearhead the MDC.
Because Mr Mavhinga and his colleagues in the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition are fed and clothed by Mr Soros, it is no secret where their loyalties will lie, as long as they remain his faithful employees.
We should share with these misguided souls the powerful words of a true patriot of Africa, the late Thomas Sankara former President of Burkina Faso.
Sankara taught us, "He who feeds you controls you".
l Obi Egbuna Is The US Correspondent To The Herald.
Labels: CRISIS IN ZIMBABWE COALITION, DONALD PAYNE, GEORGE SOROS, INTERNATIONAL CRISIS REPORT GROUP, JOHNNIE CARSON, NEOCOLONIALISM, RICHARD BRANSON, SANCTIONS, TREASON, ZDERA
COMMENT - This is excellent. (Now for the other 49%.)
Schweppes records 33pc volume growth for 2011
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Fanuel Kangondo Deputy Business Editor
SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited has experienced phenomenal business growth a year after the company's operations were localised in a landmark empowerment deal concluded in May last year.
The company recorded 68 percent growth in 2010 and year-to-date volume growth is 33 percent, board chairman Mr Sternford Moyo has said.
"The business has been growing steadily since localisation with strong growth projections for the future. Our 2010 volume growth was 68 percent versus 2009 and 2011 year-to-date volume growth is 33 percent versus 2010," he said.
"We recorded the highest sales volume in 2010 in the history of the organisation. I believe this is a result of an improved economic environment and a focused empowered workforce."
Under the empowerment scheme, Schweppes workers now own 31 percent of the company, management 20 percent and Delta Beverages the balance of 49 percent.
To boost the business, Schweppes is undertaking a US$14,5 million plant capacity upgrade that will see the manufacturer of non-carbonated drinks expand its beverage offerings.
The company will now be able to produce new juice containing products under the Minute Maid brand that is ranked the fifth largest of the Coca-Cola Company's global beverage portfolio in terms of volume.
Mr Moyo said the transformation into a juice business would support the citrus production in Zimbabwe to facilitate 100 percent local procurement targets and thereby enhancing economic development.
He said the broad-based economic empowerment programme, as a whole, was anchored on the fight against poverty and to uplift communities countrywide.
Mr Moyo said there was increasing realisation that investors should balance their needs with those of the communities in which they operate.
"While it is desirable that investors have to maintain confidence in the country, they must also balance the needs of the locals," he said.
Speaking at the launch of the Schweppes Employee Empowerment Scheme, President Mugabe said human rights should not be viewed as a one-sided affair but both parties should work together to achieve a desirable scenario. He said it was a futile exercise if the investors kept on hammering on the issue of human rights when they chose to ignore the historical background surrounding the ownership of the companies and mines which the country seeks to address.
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere said the Employee Share Ownership Scheme had brought a new status to workers in Zimbabwe.
"It moves the worker away from a distant, subservient and suspicious disposition, lending him or her a new status through proud ownership and participation in the affairs of the business. Ownership comes with responsibility," he said.
"Perhaps, even talk of reckless industrial action will become a thing of the past as all participating shareholders will share the burden of running the business."
Labels: INDIGENIZATION AND EMPOWERMENT ACT (ZIMBABWE), RETAIL, SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE
School fees hikes imminent
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Felex Share Herald Reporter
PARENTS should brace for an increase in school fees next year as Government is failing to adequately fund the education sector. Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart yesterday said fee increases were unavoidable because the education sector had been under-funded for over a decade.
Some parents have appealed for Government intervention to ensure the margin of the increases are justified. The parents said some of them could not afford the new fees as they have been struggling to pay the current fees.
They labelled schools as money-hungry institutions bent on profiteering.
"The Ministry of Education should protect us. We are no longer living in the hyper-inflation era where prices went up everyday. The Government has provided textbooks to schools under the Education Transition Fund and we buy most of the stationery used by our children. Where is the justification for schools to apply for an increase in fees?" said one parent.
Another parent said education was slowly getting beyond the reach of the poor.
"It just keeps getting expensive. We are already overburdened by high school fees and teacher incentives. Further increases will exclude the poor from the education system."
Because of under-funding of the education sector, school development committees are now saddled with an extra responsibility of mobilising funds to award teachers incentives.
So far, over 100 Government and private schools countrywide have applied for permission to increase levies and tuition fees next year. Minister Coltart said most schools were justified to increase the fees because Government's support to the sector was insignificant.
"The sector has been starved for many years and schools are failing to run.
"If Government is not in a position to fund, then they (schools) have to look for other sources and obviously this means turning to parents and this also means a fee hike," he said.
"I am not surprised by the increase in the number of schools that have applied, but if there is no solution, then it means the schools will collapse.
"Of course, other proposed increases are abnormal and Government will look into that. But generally, the day-to-day running of the schools is difficult because of lack of money."
Minister Coltart said this year Government allocated US$66 million, minus salaries to education.
However, as of last week, only US$14,8 million had been released.
"It is simply a theoretical figure and unless that becomes an actual figure, the sector will not develop," he said.
For 2012, Finance Minister Tendai Biti allocated US$700 million to education.
Said Minister Coltart: "Looking at what has been happening in the past years, it is too premature to celebrate. The challenge is to turn this theoretical budget into reality."
Schools that have applied for an upward review of fees include Queen Elizabeth High, which wants to increase fees for day scholars from US$160 to US$180, while boarders will pay US$585, up from US$560.
Allan Wilson School seeks to increase fees for day scholars from US$200 to US$225, while boarders will pay US$495 from the present US$470.
According to the Education Act, a school that intends to hike school fees must do so in consultation with parents.
Parents' contributions are factored in during the school's budget formulation process which is normally done by the school development and finance committees.
After coming up with budget projections, the school then applies to the Secretary for Education, Sport, Arts and Culture for approval.
Zimbabwe Teachers Association chief executive Mr Sifiso Ndlovu concurred with Minister Coltart, saying this was the only way schools could operate.
"By under-funding education, Government is transferring the responsibility to parents. Since time immemorial, communities have funded schools and if we want our education back on track, it means someone has to pay and it is unfortunate the burden is going to the service's consumers.
[How about having the mining industry pay for it? - MrK]
"Inasmuch as we regret it, the Government's action is a clear sign that it has no capacity to fund education adequately," said Mr Ndlovu.
However, Teachers Union of Zimbabwe chief executive officer Mr Manuel Nyawo said if Government approves fee increases, then teachers' salaries have to be reviewed upwards.
"Teachers are part and parcel of the same parents who are supposed to pay fees. It does not make sense to approve fees increases while paying a blind eye to the stagnant salaries," he said.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe said:
"This is unacceptable. The fees increases won't benefit anyone even the teachers. Education is every child's right and it is high time we confront the monster, which is failing to fund education than putting more burden on the parents."
Some schools have previously taken the Government to court seeking an order to stop the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture from determining their fees.
Labels: DAVID COLTART, MDC, NEOLIBERALISM, SCHOOL FEES, ZIMBABWE
Biti budget gives false picture: President
Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Herald ReporterPresident Mugabe hands over computers to Malcolm Tafira (right) and Ropafadzo Dambire of Eaglesvale High School while their teacher Mrs Lucia Chiwara looks on at Zanu-PF Headquarters in Harare yesterday. The President was impressed by the school’s choir at the launch of the Schweppes Employee Share Trust on Wednesday and offered them computers
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday lashed out at Finance Minister Tendai Biti for coming up with a national budget that is full of hope, but difficult to implement
. He made the remarks while addressing the Zanu-PF Central Committee meeting at the party's headquarters in Harare.
"The recent budget, some say it has a better allocation for agriculture, but it is only figures, it is realisation that matters.
"So the inflation of figures (in the budget) is meant to generate hope . . . that is a false picture because those figures will not be met at the end. Well, that is the result of the inclusive Government. The result of our poor performance in the 2008 election," President Mugabe said.
The Head of State and Government and Commander- in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, said in his budget last year, Minister Biti failed to release funds to some ministries despite giving them such resources on paper.
President Mugabe said discord in the inclusive Government on policy issues made it imperative for the country to go for elections next year.
He gave an example of agriculture, saying the MDC formations were reluctant to fund the sector as evidenced by the failure by Minister Biti to release funds to the Grain Marketing Board to pay farmers for grain delivered.
"We are worried because there is no unanimity in that Government. On the financing of agriculture for example, we would want farmers to be well-funded but others (MDC formations) are not as serious minded as we are," President Mugabe said.
He described yesterday's Central Committee meeting as critical as it prepared Zanu-PF for its 11th Annual National People's Conference set for Bulawayo next week.
"It is a critical meeting that we should prepare for adequately since it is the last such conference before we go for general elections.
"The forthcoming conference more or less has the same status as our five-year congress," President Mugabe said.
He said the conference should therefore prepare Zanu-PF for the general elections and urged the Central Committee members to articulate party policies like the indigenisation and economic empowerment to the grassroots.
The policy seeks to economically empower the once marginalised indigenous people by acquiring at least 51 percent shareholding in foreign-owned companies.
President Mugabe branded the inclusive Government "illegal and unconstitutional" saying individuals in the Sadc-brokered political arrangement were not elected into their offices and do not have the people's mandate.
He said Zanu-PF was not in a position to implement policies that benefit the people because of lack of cohesion in the inclusive Government.
The President said going for elections was the only alternative left, but noted that the MDC formations were opposed to the ballot.
President Mugabe said he expected Copac to complete the drafting of a new constitution within a month and pave the way for elections.
"We look forward to the conference in Bulawayo succeeding. We as the Central Committee have to ensure that it succeeds and produces a result that is resoundingly revolutionary. A result that enhances our national sovereignty," President Mugabe said.
Earlier, President Mugabe had donated 20 computers to Eaglesvale School in Harare at a function held at the Zanu-PF headquarters.
Labels: BUDGET, ROBERT MUGABE, TENDAI BITI
Gay rights: in the end courts will decide
by Tonderai Nhuka
IN THE midst of the bickering and the uncertainty surrounding the position Zimbabwe should take on gay rights in the new constitution, the process has reached the critical drafting stage.
The nation is also waiting with bated breath to see the drafters’ verbiage or silence on pertinent issues such as the death penalty and the irreversibility of the land reform programme.
If the feedback from the outreach exercise is for the illegalising of homosexuality, the abolition or retention of the death penalty and the entrenchment of the land reform programme, the draft constitution must give effect to the people’s wishes expressly and unequivocally.
Depending on the contents of the Bill of Rights, silence or ambiguity on the aforementioned issues will certainly have serious consequences when the courts later interpret the Bill of Rights in the light of cases brought before them by litigants.
The placement under constitutional scrutiny of any law or conduct brought before the courts by citizens is the hallmark of constitutionalism that I am sure Zimbabweans want to achieve through the new constitution.
Many Zimbabweans mistakenly believe that the South African constitution openly and clearly recognised gay rights and outlawed the death penalty. As a matter of fact, it is the interpretation of the Bill of Rights by the courts during the adjudication of cases brought before them that resulted in the recognition of gay rights and the abolition of the death penalty.
The words of the constitution as couched by the constitutional development assembly (CODESA) were ambiguous on these issues, and it was left to the courts to use their judicial discretion to give effect to what they deemed to be the intention of the legislators on the contentious issues of the death penalty and gay rights.
The landmark Mkwanyane case resulted in the abolition of the death penalty in South Africa. In reaching its decision to declare the death penalty unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court interrogated the Bill of Rights clauses on human dignity, the right to life and the right to equality before the law. The court concluded that South Africans had, through the new constitution and the Bill of Rights in particular, elected to have a break with the past replete with death sentences and executions involving mostly the black majority.
In all the various cases involving gay rights, the South African courts have after an interpretation of the Bill of Rights clauses on human dignity, privacy and sexual orientation ruled in favour of gays. The various court decisions have declared that it is constitutional for gays in South Africa to inter alia marry each other and even have the marriage solemnised by a church minister, adopt children, inherit both testate and intestate, claim spousal insurance benefits, claim maintenance from a deceased spouse’s estate and qualify for South African citizenship by virtue of being a foreign spouse of a South African gay spouse.
In fact, all references to spouses or husband and wife in all South African statutes should be interpreted to include partners in a homosexual marital union. So, even if the ordinary South Africans and community leaders might be against homosexuality, the ambiguity of the constitution or, put differently, the construction of the country’s Bill of Rights left the courts with no option but to rule in favour of gay rights.
This brings me back to our constitution drafters. Their task is to express the views of the people unequivocally, or if they elect not to express them, leave it to the courts to use the Bill of Rights and other clauses of the constitution to breathe life and meaning into the hidden intentions (read silence or equivocation) of the constitution makers.
What then should be done to avoid a post-constitution busy time for our justices?
It is incumbent upon the constitution makers to give effect to what the people said during the outreach exercise, since there was a prior political agreement that there shall be a “people-driven constitution”. How else do you have a people driven constitution if you leave it to the courts to interpret the politicians’ own hidden intentions in the same document?
The Bill of Rights is a part of the constitution that is mostly transplanted from the so called universal human rights which are basically an expression of the western world’s value system that has been internationalised over the years. It is a fairly new phenomenon in the constitutions of the developing world. An unfettered transplant of these rights into our constitution might make some of the people’s views on some matters legally repugnant and therefore unconstitutional or inappropriate for inclusion in the country’s proposed supreme law.
In order to circumvent this problem, the South Africans qualified some rights in the Bill of Rights to reflect the will of the people. For instance, private property rights were qualified in order to recognise the need for land restitutions as a result of the apartheid era arbitrary land dispossessions. The inclusion of affirmative action was used to qualify the right to equality to ensure that there is substantive equality in South Africa as opposed to just formal equality.
The post-draft constitution discussions and workshops must ensure the document is in accord with the provincial and national reports on the outreach exercise with reasonable compromises here and there.
It should be noted that in constitution-making, silence or equivocation may actually mean including what you did not want in the constitution or the exclusion of what you intended to be in the constitution when the courts as the ultimate adjudicators of disputes relate cases before them to the constitution.