Saturday, December 17, 2011

PF has failed to tackle unemployment

COMMENT - I don't know whether he has been quoted correctly, but Jack Mwiimbu sounds like an idiot. No one expects that the PF will 'tackle unemployment', whatever that means, in 3 months after being elected. Now if he wants to criticize the idea that the foreign mining companies are here to 'bring jobs' instead of generate the tax revenues by which jobs can actually get created (infrastrucgture, agriculture, manufacturing), then he has a point. However the UPND is also a neoliberal party, so...

PF has failed to tackle unemployment
TIME PUBLISHED - Saturday, December 17, 2011, 8:15 am

An opposition member of parliament has charged that the PF government has failed to tackle unemployment.

UPND’s Jack Mwimbu also said in Parliament that the PF’s promise of tackling many issues within 90 days have not born fruit.

He said with only six days before the 90 days of delivery comes to an end, many Zambians remain unemployed and the promises made in the campaign have not been met.

Mr Mwimbu said many people are unable to access the CEEC fund especially those in rural areas making it even more difficult for them to empower themselves.

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MDC-T blasts Zimdollar calls, indigenisation

COMMENT - What the MDC don't mention is that it is much easier to claw back resources owned by local Zimbabweans, than it is to see back anything taken out of the country by transnational corporations. They are a neoliberal, shock doctrine, regime change party, nothing more.

MDC-T blasts Zimdollar calls, indigenisation
17/12/2011 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party has dismissed calls for the return of the Zimbabwe dollar and demanded a new “genuine” empowerment policy instead of the current “asset stripping and self aggrandizement” by members of an already wealthy black elite.

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party recently said the coalition government would be instructed to re-instate the Zimbabwe dollar which was ditched in 2009 after being rendered virtually worthless by world-record inflation.

The calls were backed by central bank chief, Gideon Gono who said a return of the currency was feasible adding: "The form and manner as well as the resumption of the proposed new Zimbabwe dollar or whatever it will be called will obviously take into account our national reserves in terms of strategic and precious metals such as gold reserves for back up.”

But in resolutions passed at its national council meeting in Harare Saturday, the MDC-T said the current multiple currency regime would stay in place in the medium term.

“The party calls on Government to maintain the multi-currency system, maintain the Medium Term Plan (MTP) and categorically states that there will be no return of the Zimbabwe dollar in the short to medium term,” the party said.

The party also blasted the empowerment model being pushed by Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, dismissing it as “asset stripping, looting, patronage, clientelism, corruption and self aggrandizement”.

The MDC-T said the country need a fresh programme that balanced empowerment with the need to attract investment and grow the country’s economy.

“The party restates that Zanu PF’s programme … is based on a narrow model of transferring shares to a few black elite that can afford them and does not amount to genuine wealth creation and distribution,” the party said.

“The (MDC-T) therefore calls for the starting afresh of the whole programme and the development of a genuine broad-based upliftment programme which balances the need to attract investment, grow the economy and create jobs.”

[That is code for failed neoliberal economics that have brought poverty to all of Africa and the world for the last two decades. 'Create jobs' means foreign ownership of the economy. 'Attract investment' means not restricting the outflow of wealth and capital from Zimbabwe. 'Grow the economy' means grow GDP, irrelevant of who owns that GDP. The MDC is for the complete surrender of the Zimbabwean economy to transnational corporations. Also, they are liars woh refuse to spell out to the Zimbabwean people what their policies really mean. Because the Zimbabwean people have been there before, and then, it was called ESAP - the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Programme. Which was to 'structurally adjust' the Zimbabwean economy to permanent ownership by transnational corporations, and destroy any hopes for the creation of a broad based middle class. - MrK]

Under the current approach foreign-owned companies are required by law to transfer ownership of at least 51 percent of their shareholding to black locals.

Zanu PF insists the programme will help economically empower the country’s previously marginalised back majority.

But critics say the policy risks harming the country’s economy by undermining much-needed foreign investment.

Gono also called for a re-think of the approach arguing the current model would only benefit a select few.

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Muammar Gaddafi killing may be war crime

Muammar Gaddafi killing may be war crime
By BBC News
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 07:50 CAT

The death of Libya's former leader Muammar Gaddafi "creates suspicions" of war crimes", says the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo said the ICC was raising the concern with Libya's the National Transitional Council (NTC).

Col Gaddafi was killed in October after being caught by rebels in his home town of Sirte.

NTC officials initiallly said he died in crossfire, but promised to investigate following Western pressure.

"I think the way in which Mr Gaddafi was killed creates suspicions of... war crimes," Mr Moreno-Ocampo told reporters.

"I think that's a very important issue. We are raising this concern to the national authorities and they are preparing a plan to have a comprehensive strategy to investigate all these crimes."

Rebel fighters found Col Gaddafi hiding in a concrete drainage pipe after a long and bloody siege of the former leader's home city of Sirte.

Amateur videos taken at the time showed him injured but alive, surrounded by a frenzied crowd of jubilant rebel fighters.

He is hustled through the crowd and beaten to the ground on several occasions, before he disappears in the crush and the crackle of gunfire is heard.

[Talk about leaving a few details out. So much for the BBC. - MrK]

His son Mutassim, captured alive with him, also died in the custody of rebel fighters.

The National Transitional Council initially said that Col Gaddafi had been killed in crossfire, but under pressure from Western allies it later promised to investigate how he and his son were killed.

The ICC has indicted another of Col Gaddafi's sons, Saif al-Islam, for alleged war crimes and he is in the custody of the Libyan authorities.

Mr Moreno-Ocampo has accepted that Saif al-Islam will be tried in Libya, not The Hague.

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Leading MMD

Leading MMD
By The Post
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

OPPOSITION MMD's National Executive Committee (NEC) today meets to decide whether to choose an acting president or not at a time when the party is faced with a lot of challenges.

These challenges range from leadership, moblisation and re-branding. However, we feel that in the midst of all these challenges, the MMD leadership should first reflect on the state of the party.

In making these comments, we are aware that one can justifiably argue that what happens in MMD is purely internal and outsiders should not get involved.

Yes, this may be so. But it should not be forgotten that MMD is the biggest opposition party in Zambia today, offering checks and balances to the party in government, the Patriotic Front. So what happens in MMD has a direct bearing on the governance of our country. All we know is that to see wrong being done, and not speak about it, is a great betrayal.

The MMD we see today is not the MMD of 1990; it has changed, it has new cadres and leaders. The MMD we saw before the September elections was one addicted to violence. It is an MMD that failed to advance the principle of non-violence, of respect for the humanity of others. And we all know that the MMD was not founded on a platform of violence.

And the problem today in the MMD is that most of the members with both the courage and the ability to face challenges are no longer there, if they are there, they are no longer in the position to do so.

Most of the leaders in the party are either posturing or just making political stunts that add no value to the ideals of the party. With such leadership, the MMD is headed for serious problems. And only resolute and urgent action and a focused leadership will avert its impending Armageddon.

The state of the MMD should not surprise anyone. This is what happens when people lose their values and trade their principles at the altar of political expediencies. This is what happens when people abandon the struggle. This is what happens when truth is traded for lies.

There is no struggle any progressive person in MMD can wage with the current structure, composition and character - a party dominated and run by opportunists, corruption masterminds.

The MMD has performed poorly in terms of intra and inter party democracy. Voices of dissent have in the past been crashed or sidelined. The MMD in April decided to hold a party convention just for the sake of showing adherence to the party constitution, regulations and guidelines and deceiving the general populace that the party was democratic when in fact not.

What we have seen in MMD is a stagnation in democratic tenets. There is an explanation for the poor and unsatisfactory performance of the MMD on the aspect of democracy over the years it was in power. Since it's coming to power in 1991, the MMD abandoned the goal of the struggle for democracy in favour of a desire to stay in power at all costs and by all means necessary.

The MMD sought to restrict rather than broaden democracy to a point where people started to feel it was not possible for them to play a meaningful political role. What this meant was that the MMD had failed to develop a political culture that could be used to broaden democracy in Zambia outside monopoly politics, outside politics of blind loyalty. Even externally to guarantee their hold on to power, the MMD resorted to all kind of tactics, among them violence, corruption and intolerance.

Today, so many things are not sitting right in MMD. There are factions blaming each other for the party's loss. Currently, its leadership has no clear direction for the party. The MMD is a rudderless political party. The MMD is like an arrow at its journey's end and soon it might fail to pierce even thin silk.

In such a state, the MMD can easily be ‘sold' to the highest bidder, to the one with more money in his pockets. We say this because we know that the corrupt MMD members would not want to let go off the protection of the party. The party should therefore be on guard.

Even as we say this, we know that there is nothing wrong in a party changing itself, recruiting new cadres and leaders. Change is an important part of life. Political parties that do not change die. If things around us change, and we do not, then we become of no use to things. Our principles cease to be principles and just ossify into dogma.

We feel that the MMD needs a leadership that will steer the party to face its newly-found role as opposition however unprepared its leadership might be and no matter the difficult political and leadership situation they are in. Not a leadership that embraces corruption like we saw under Rupiah.

The great majority of our people have not forgotten that the MMD government ruined their hopes of a better future. There are some among our people affected by the policies and corruption of the previous MMD regimes who, genuinely so, long to wake up one day and find the MMD dead and buried. This is because the MMD had angered the majority, doing as they pleased.

Their deeds displeased the people and what followed was electoral disaster. We know that the regimes of Frederick Chiluba and Rupiah suckled from a corrupt udder and weaning its members off is not an easy undertaking.

There are too, others that want a change of leadership. Those who want the MMD to morph into a descent party, with a descent leadership. A leadership that listens to the people. A leadership that is not corrupt. They don't want the MMD to be a nursery for corrupt leaders, a ship carrying merchants of corruption. We feel that the future of MMD lies in the general membership and not only the NEC as the case has often been and is likely to be in the short to medium term.

We think that there are small first steps that can be taken on the path to rehabilitate MMD. For instance, in today's NEC meeting, it is important to ensure that Rupiah does not chair the meeting in order to give members freedom of expression and hence political space. If Rupiah is genuine with himself, he should excuse himself during today's meeting.

Another issue that NEC should extensively debate is the MMD constitution, which still requires review especially the provision abolishing the vice-president position.

Then whoever they pick, whoever they anoint, the decision should take into consideration the feelings of the people. To know those feelings, there is need for courage in the ranks of the MMD leadership to reflect deeply on the feelings of the general membership of MMD.

We can suggest that the MMD needs to go back to the politics of the early days of our Republic, to the politics based on morality. The MMD should try in a new time and in a new way to restore this concept of politics. And this restoration should not only end at the party presidency level. It should filter through to low-level officials.

This is because the quality of the low-level party officials determines the type of people who are elected as party presidents and consequently presented as candidates for the Republican presidency.
MMD should start having leaders who regard politics as a vocation, a way of building up society for the common good and not leaders who loot billions of kwacha which they end up burying and leaving hospitals without drugs and schools without books.

If MMD is to move forward, honest people are needed in the party. The MMD will not be a good party for any of its members unless its leadership makes it a good party for all of its members. If this is not done, there will be continued and increasing discord within the party. Experience has repeatedly shown that a party divided into groups loses its militancy.

Protracted inner-party strife inevitably results in party members' concentration on discords. The party becomes distracted from political struggles and loses its influence.

We therefore advise that the most democratic possible method be adopted to choose the new leadership of the party. A leadership chosen by one person or a small group of people will not bring the party unity that the MMD badly needs.

We are five years way from the next national elections.

An acting leadership won't do; MMD needs a properly and broadly elected party leadership to steer it in the next five difficult years. But the MMD should not allow the choosing of new leaders to become factionally divisive.

Again, we can only repeat that let us teach ourselves and others that politics and leadership should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the wellbeing of the nation rather than of a need to amass wealth corruptly.

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Mwaanga reflects on Rupiah's presidency

Mwaanga reflects on Rupiah's presidency
By Kombe Chimpinde and Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 14:00 CAT

Banda's children seemed to have acquired appetite for wealth, greed... VERNON Mwaanga has singled out Rupiah Banda's children among people that were greedy and acquired an insatiable appetite for wealth.

In his latest revised edition of the book; The Long Sunset under the chapter ‘Working With Presidents' due for publication next month, Mwaanga, a veteran politician said Banda had insulated himself with people that added no value and did not serve his Banda's image.

"His businessminded children (not mentioned by name) and some close associates who claimed to own the president did not help his image as some of them seemed to have acquired an insatiable appetite for wealth and greed and who in the process, stepped on the toes of far too many people in the government, the MMD and outside," he wrote.

Mwaanga wrote that although it was not fair to expect any man to do more than his best, Banda would have probably dealt with the excesses committed by his allies and close relations had he stayed longer.

"He may have been the shortest-serving president for Zambia so far and he may not have done enough to cage the excesses which were committed by some members of his immediate family and close friends," he noted.

Mwaanga, however, wrote that history would not deny Banda of what he described as many achievements which rightly deserved to be part of the lasting legacy.

Mwaanga, who had worked with Banda over the years both as a diplomat and when Banda was elected President in 2008, further acknowledged that although Banda properly capitalised on the economic gains made in the Mwanawasa regime by building on them, Banda faced challenges of political management of the country and the party.

Mwaanga also described the outcome of a workshop themed "Strategic Planning Workshop" at Andrews Motel in Lusaka organised by Banda's aid Akashambatwa Mbikusta-Lewanika and Dr Francis Chigunta, where he had observed a lot of incapacities in the leadership of the party, such as Banda's dislike for certain members of the party.

"As I travelled with him to some provincial conferences, it became clear that there were leaders he ‘preferred' who had to be elected at all costs regardless of their political repercussions. He had developed this language of ‘I don't want to work with this person', which I found very disturbing and he made it a point to throw his full weight behind the candidates he ‘preferred'," wrote Mwaanga.

Mwaanga noted that after the elections, Banda made it clear, almost with a tinge of arrogance, that there were a number of elected officials he would not work with. Mwaanga considered that decision by Banda as wrong.

"I had chaired this committee, which saw MMD win general elections in 1991, 1996, 2001 and 2006. It became obvious that my friend of 50 years had lost confidence in my ability to head his campaign team in 2011 and ended up writing me a harsh and undignified letter," he wrote.

Mwaanga also described how he advised Banda against conceding defeat in the 2008 presidential by-elections, following Mbita Chitala and his team's advice for him to do so.

"I told him that the yet to be announced results from Kapiri-Mposhi, one constituency in Eastern Province and two other constituencies from Western Province would most likely increase his lead to between 32,000 and 35,000 votes…as a result my advice which turned out to be correct, a possible constitutional crisis was averted," Mwaanga wrote.

"Had he conceded defeat, only for Electoral Commission of Zambia to announce that he had won after all, it would have been difficult for the opposition parties to accept such a result."

Mwaanga described Banda as a person who had made Zambians proud by not only attending President Sata's inauguration, but also by taking charge of a relatively smooth and orderly handover of power much to the acclaim and admiration of the rest of Africa.

"Not withstanding some of the poor economic decisions he may have made while in office, he made Zambians proud. He was without doubt the most people-friendly president Zambia had," wrote Mwaanga.

And Fabian Musialela, a former district commissioner for Sesheke, said in an interview yesterday that grassroots MMD members had lost confidence in the party's current NEC.

"I want to ask president Banda, with due respect, to avoid interference in choosing the president for the party, because MMD was founded on democratic principles where the majority wins," Musialela said. "We don't want him to interfere simply because his NEC has lost credibility among members of the party."

He said it would be very difficult for the MMD to win any election with a president appointed under the orchestration of Banda.

"Whoever is going to be appointed under president Banda's influence, whether good or bad, the people in the party will not accept," Musialela said. "He has caused damage to the MMD."

Musialela urged the MMD NEC, as it meets today, to accord party members an opportunity to go and elect a party president.

"This is a NEC which, probably, most of the party members have lost confidence in and which was under the leadership of Rupiah Banda who failed to listen to the advice of the party members and ushered this good party into opposition now," Musialela said.

"As Western Province, we are not for the idea of the NEC choosing the president. We are for the idea that NEC facilitates to have a convention for us to go and elect a leader."

Musialela claimed the MMD was still strong in Western Province and that it lost the previous elections in the area owing to the NEC's poor planning and sidelining of key grassroots members.

He urged all the MMD presidential aspirants to accept whoever was going to be elected as Banda's successor, as long as it was done through a convention.

Musialela also asked the MMD to consider convoking an extraordinary convention in the Western Province so that the position of provincial chairman left vacant by Simasiku Namakando's death is filled.

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Celebrations follow Sata's directive on street vending

Celebrations follow Sata's directive on street vending
By Fridah Nkonde in Ndola
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

STREET vendors in Ndola yesterday went into wild jubilation following President Michael Sata's order that councils countrywide should let street vendors and those operating car wash points run their business without interference.

A check by The Post found street vendors singing, dancing, and transferring their merchandise from the market stands to the streets. In a letter dated December 10, 2011 to town clerks obtained by The Post, President Sata stated that chasing vendors would make PF unpopular and that he was displeased over the mistreatment of street vendors and ordered a stop to their harassment.

In an interview, Kabwe Mwenya, a vendor in second-hand clothes, said President Sata had fought for them and that he was a President who had a heart for the poor.

"We are very happy and thankful to our President for allowing us continue with our business. We will continue voting for him because he has shown us that he loves the Zambians," she said.

Mwenya said street vendors had suffered at the hands of the councils and that they had made a lot of losses because council police used to confiscate their merchandise.

And another vendor Wamba Lungu, said it was good that President Sata allowed them to continue with their businesses because they were the ones that campaigned and voted for him.

Lungu who was on his knees when talking said he was speechless and happy because his business was going to flourish.

Meanwhile, 15-year-old vendor Edward Mbewe said he was confident of completing school with President Sata's pronouncement.

"We used to operate very well on the streets but the council started harassing us. I am in grade nine and I am on the streets because I want to raise money for school. I don't have anyone to pay for my fees and I so much want to be educated hence being a street vendor," said Edward.

In his letter, President Sata said councils should concentrate on their core functions on behalf of the people they were elected to serve.

"I am very disappointed with you. Local government does not mean only chasing people from streets or car washes. Those are the people we promised to give employment of which we have not done so. Yet they are using initiative to create employment for themselves," President Sata stated.

He added that local government was fast growing and needed to be re-organised.
"Local government is a very fast growing organisation which you need to re-organise other than concentrating on harassing innocent vendors and car wash operators which will lead to our party being more unpopular," he stated.

President Sata ordered that the harassment of vendors and car wash operators should immediately come to an end.



Sata defends street vendors

Sata defends street vendors
By Staff Reporters
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has ordered councils countrywide to let street vendors and those operating car wash points to run their businesses without being chased. According to a letter dated December 10, 2011 to town clerks and obtained by The Post, President Sata stated that chasing vendors would make PF unpopular.

He stated that he was displeased over the mistreatment of street vendors and ordered a stop to their harassment. President Sata said councils should concentrate on their core functions on behalf of the people they were elected to serve.

"I am very disappointed with you. Local government does not mean only chasing people from streets or car washes. Those are the people we promised to give employment of which we have not done so. Yet they are using initiative to create employment for themselves," stated President Sata.

He added that local government was fast growing and needed to be re-organised.
"Local government is a very fast growing organisation which you need to reorganise other than concentrating on harassing innocent vendors and car washers which will lead to our party being more unpopular," he stated.

President Sata ordered that the harassment of vendors and car washers should immediately come to a stop.

"I am very reluctant to write this type of a letter but unfortunately, I cannot take any more complaints from the people we promised to create employment for. We need water, more houses and better roads to ease the traffic on our roads.

Your fire service is non-existent; you have abandoned garbage collection and unblocking of your drainages. I am aware that everything is your business," he stated.

"Please let us concentrate on our business on behalf of the people we were elected to serve and leave the street vendors and car washers alone."

In October, local government minister Prof Nkandu Luo directed all local authorities to immediately stop issuing permits to operators of car washes.

"I am hereby directing all local authorities to stop issuing permits to operators of car washes until a full audit has been conducted," she said.

Prof Luo said there was need to put in a regulatory framework that should set minimum standards and procedures for construction and operation of car washes.

On increased street vending, Prof Luo said there was need for the government to clean up cities like Lusaka, which had witnessed an influx of street vendors and increased outbreak of cholera during the rainy season.

Recently an attempt was made to remove street vendors on the Copperbelt Province but the move was met with resistance.

Prof Luo later said the ministry had instructed all councils to form task forces to handle the removal of street vendors.

Prof Luo said the programme also involved sensitising vendors on the negative effects of street vending.

She said while government appreciated police assistance in moving vendors from streets, the exercise should be handled in a sober and careful manner.

On the Copperbelt, street vendors fought running battles with the state and council police deployed in the city centre to enforce a ban on street vending by the local authority.

Copperbelt, Lusaka, Southern are among some of the provinces that have been trying to enforce the ban on street vending.

President Sata is seen as partly owing his electoral victory to his rhetoric against abusive investors and his populist appeal to unemployed youths.



Sata deserves respect, says William Banda

Sata deserves respect, says William Banda
By Roy Habaalu and Ernest Chanda
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 18:50 CAT

WILLIAM Banda says President Michael Sata deserves respect. Banda who is Lusaka Province MMD chairman and seen as an architect of some of the violence around the September 20 elections, said in an interview that he had no grudge against President Sata.

He said President Sata deserved respect because the people of Zambia had confidence in his leadership. However, Banda said he would die for former president Rupiah Banda.

Banda said MMD parliamentarians and members that had joined the PF were scared of being investigated.

"My main principle in politics is loyalty just like I am going to die with my loyalty to President Rupiah Banda. At the moment he's my president. If he quits, whoever will become MMD president will be my president," said Banda.

He vowed that his loyalty to Rupiah Banda could not be broken regardless of the sufferings he was enduring.

Banda who is charged for proposing violence in Chongwe prior to the general elections said he would not abandon Rupiah Banda even if he was found with cases to answer.

Rupiah Banda has been linked to money laundering and abuse of office in relation to the purchase of Plot No. RE/A/29/488A Leopards Hill Road, Kabulonga.

The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) is also investigating Rupiah Banda's Mpundu Trust Account.

But Banda said: "Even if they find cases (against Rupiah Banda) I am not going to run away from him. He has been my president. If it means that somebody wants to put him on the chopping board, I will be with him. I will not run away from him and that I promise you, that's how I live my life," said Banda.

Separately however, some MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) members have vowed to fight Rupiah Banda's if he imposes Nevers Mumba for the party presidency.

Well-placed sources revealed that majority of NEC members would not support Mumba's candidature.

Rupiah Banda's support for Mumba as a candidate for presidency has created divisions among members.

"We are going for a NEC meeting this Saturday and Banda has insisted that he attends. We shall allow him to attend; after all he is still the party president. But a lot of us in the NEC are against him imposing Nevers on the general membership; that is not the democracy on which this party was founded," the source said.

"First of all, it is Banda who made us lose the elections, so how can he again impose a person on us? And if you remember Nevers used to boast in the past that he is a kingmaker in his party. But why is he trying to hijack the MMD? We have our own people in the MMD and we shall be led by them. When you look at the record Nevers has, it's about killing parties, so we will not allow him to kill the MMD. There are many of us who are against him and we will make sure we choose our own."

The NEC is scheduled to hold a meeting tomorrow where the impasse over the issue of presidency will be ironed out.

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Turkey asks Sata to reinstate Guris Holding airport contract

Turkey asks Sata to reinstate Guris Holding airport contract
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Genève, Switzerland
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 13:58 CAT

THE Turkish government has asked President Michael Sata to reverse his earlier decision to cancel a licence awarded to a Turkish holding to construct and manage Kenneth Kaunda International Airport for 50 years.

Turkish Minister of Economy Zafer Çaglayan said before signing an agreement on trade and economic cooperation with Zambia's commerce minister Bob Sichinga here yesterday that Guris Holding, which was halted from reconstructing the country's biggest airport was eager to start the works.

Guris was awarded the contract by former president Rupiah Banda's regime.

But on October 14, President Sata cancelled the deal saying building a new airport was an important venture and needs cabinet approval and advertising.

"Before signing our agreement, I would like to draw your attention to something…we have a big Holding Guris, they have been awarded a tender to construct Lusaka's Kenneth Kaunda Airport on the 6th of June this year," Çaglayan told Sichinga through an interpreter.

"So, they will be operating the airport for 50 years, they have been awarded the contract. On 27th of June, they started the negotiations about the contract, they have agreed on most of the points because of the presidential elections, it has been off…for a while."

Çaglayan told Sichinga that Turkey's President would soon be formally asking President Sata to reverse the cancellation.

"By the way, our President is set to talk to your President. There is a note that has been prepared for this very topic, and I would like to reiterate that our company is ready to start the business as soon as possible because this will be a major component of our political and economic relation of the two countries," he said.

And Çaglayan said Turkey wants to supply mobile hospitals and ambulances to boost health service delivery in Zambia.

"We are a country that is supporting the African nations in terms of the economy, education and health and we want your citizens to have a better welfare and high life standard," said Çaglayan.

"We don't even consider that which is left below the soil, we are only thinking about which is above the soil - the human resources and humanity. Our Ministry of Health and also educational institutions have been supporting Africa greatly and we have mobile hospitals and mobile ambulances and we have no economic expectations out of it."

And Sichinga, on the request regarding the KK International Airport tender, said: "It's important to ensure the agreement is of a general nature but there will specifics with regard to areas of cooperation including that of not only the Turkish airline flying into Zambia but issues you have raised about the tenders for Lusaka's Kenneth Kaunda International Airport."

Sichinga said the planned connection of KK International Airport on the vast Turkish Airlines routes would help grow Zambia's commerce and industries.

"Business should be to benefit the people, not to exploit them. We are very clear in our minds, neither do we come to the table to suck Turkey of any resources but we look forward to a mutual relationship of respect and regard for human dignity," Sichinga said.

"We also have challenges of great number of young people that need employment, so, our interest is not export raw materials but develop them, process them at local level. Not only are we talking about metals but also agriculture, livestock."

Sichinga said the PF government has a challenge of creating employment for the great number of young people that voted it into office during the September 20 polls.

He said Zambia was looking for technological and highly skilled investment opportunities to help create a strong industrial base to absorb the high youth unemployment in the country.

Sichinga said Zambia did not want a relationship of ‘horse and rider' but that which was mutually beneficial.

The agreement signed bordered on Zambia and Turkey considering their common interest in promoting trade and economic cooperation on the basis of mutual advantage.

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Zulu complains of insufficient funding to ACC

Zulu complains of insufficient funding to ACC
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 13:57 CAT

THE allocation of funds to the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has continued to be far insufficient to enable the Commission perform its functions, says justice minister Sebastian Zulu.

Giving a policy statement during consideration of the K60 billion 2012 budgetary allocation to the ACC in Parliament yesterday, Zulu said increased funding would enhance the anti-graft fight.

Zulu said the PF remained committed and dedicated to curb corruption through the injection of political will and collective effort from stakeholders.

"There has been notable improvement in the perception of the levels of corruption in Zambia," Zulu said. "The budget allocation for the Commission for the year 2012 is K60 billion against K55 billion in 2011...the allocation of funds to the Commission has continued to be far insufficient."

Zulu assured that the PF government would adhere to its manifesto to ensure that corruption and impropriety were rooted out in the public sector.

"Zambia has for a long time suffered from damaging effects of corruption," Zulu said.

"We are committed to promoting good governance in the public sector. To show our commitment to deal with this vice, we have, from the onset sent a very strong message to all perpetrators that the time to act has come and the time is now."

Zulu said there would be no sacrificial lambs in the fight against corruption and this was the reason the PF government decided to resuscitate the repealed Section 37 of the ACC Act, which was removed by the MMD government.

Zulu said to this end, initiatives to prevent and detect corrupt trends at public institutions like the Road Development Agency and the Ministry of Health would be put in place.

"Oversight institutions will be strengthened to enable them provide checks and balances," Zulu said.

"The fight against corruption requires not only strong and vibrant leadership but also requires concerted effort from all institutions and Zambian citizens."

Zulu called on the nation to build ethical values so that ordinary Zambians do not wallow in poverty because of a few selfish individuals.

Zulu said it was sophisticated to fight corruption because perpetrators bury their tracks.

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Oasis Forum questions committee on constitution

Oasis Forum questions committee on constitution
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 17 Dec. 2011, 13:55 CAT

THE Oasis Forum says it is concerned that the government has not clearly indicated the legal framework pursuant to which the committee of experts to draft the new constitution was appointed.

In a statement signed by Zambia Episcopal Conference (ZEC) secretary general Father Cleophas Lungu, Council of Churches in Zambia (CCZ) general secretary Reverend Suzanne Matale, NGOCC board chairperson Beatrice Grillo and Law Association of Zambia vice-president James Banda, the Oasis Forum stated that it had in the past consistently demanded that the constitution-making process must inspire the confidence of the vast majority of Zambians.

"We have also consistently reaffirmed our belief that a well-thought out and inclusive process protects the content of the constitution. In this regard, we would like to register our concerns over the fact that the government of the Republic of Zambia has not clearly indicated the legal framework pursuant to which the committee of experts was appointed," it stated.

"The Oasis Forum therefore reiterates its long held position that the submission of a report to the Republican President in the form of a recommendation in the constitution-making process is inimical to the principle of a people driven constitution."

The Oasis Forum stated that a constitution was not only a legal document but must also be an embodiment of the people's aspirations.

"In this regard, we call upon both the government and the committee of experts to exercise their best endeavours in ensuring that the process receives the acceptance of a wide section of society," it stated.

It urged the committee of experts to come up with a clear roadmap on the constitution-making process and to clearly and effectively communicate the roadmap to the people. The forum hoped that the committee of experts would not depart from the Mungomba Constitution Review Commission roadmap which envisaged the holding of a referendum before the draft constitution was presented to Parliament for enactment without further debate.

It urged President Michael Sata to appoint a referendum commission as a matter of urgency in line with the referendum Act.

The Oasis Forum stated it was confident that the people appointed to the committee of experts were capable of delivering a draft constitution that reflect the long held aspirations of Zambians.

However, it stated that appointment of a committee of experts based on considerations other than expertise in the constitution-making process had invariably adversely affected the credibility of the process.

It stated that the appointments might lead to a situation where very important sections of society feel ostracised from the process.

The Forum also urged the committee of experts to make its budget public and for the government to publicise the budget for the entire constitution-making process.

"Finally, we call upon each and every Zambian to actively engage in the constitution-making process. It is our hope that the politicians will not betray the integrity of the people appointed to sit on the committee of experts," stated the forum.

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Friday, December 16, 2011

(TALKZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe’s DMC producing 7,200 diamond carats a day

Zimbabwe’s DMC producing 7,200 diamond carats a day
Posted by By Our reporter at 16 December, at 13 : 43 PM

THE recently opened diamond mining company in the Marange mine fields of Zimbabwe, DMC said it has a capacity to produce more than seven thousand carats a day, worth around US$360 thousand, it has been learnt.

Company Deputy General Manager, Mr Gille Sithole said the 4 month old company has a processing machine that can process 200 tonnes of ore diamond an hour while others have machines that processed almost half their capacity at the same period.

“We have a processor that can process 200 tonnes an hour and that makes us the best company in terms of production capacity,” said Mr Sithole.

“We have three shifts and that means from the 200 tonnes per hour for eight hours multiplied by US$50 per carat will give you around 7 000 carats a day worth almost US$360 thousand.”

Mr Sithole said the company had the best processing equipment out of the four operating companies at the Marange fields.

He said as they concentrated on alluvial diamond mining only, they were aiming to further ask for other claims that have conglomerate diamonds as they have the machinery to mine such diamonds which he said needed advanced equipment.

“DMC was given claims that have mostly alluvial diamonds and we feel that as we have the capacity to venture into conglomerate diamond mining, we will take necessary steps to get the claims that have conglomerate diamonds which usually are at a distance of between 20 metres and 60 meters down the earth,” he said.

He said DMC has applied for the Kimberly Processing and Certification Scheme (KPCS) and was waiting for the monitor, Mr Abbey Chikane to come and monitor the company.
Mr Sithole said he was convinced that there were no doubts that the company would get a KP nod as they feel they have met the minimum requirements.

“Well, we have applied for the KPCS monitor Mr Abbey Chikane to come and formally certify our diamonds which we feel we have met their minimum requirements.

“What is usually looked into is security and abuse of human rights, so here there is nothing like that,” he said.

DMC has not yet begun selling its diamonds as they are still waiting for the certification.

The company has 456 employees with 300 security guards, 24 foreigners of which 16 are Indians and 8 are Lebanese.

DMC is a joint-venture company between DMC and the state owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

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(HERALD) Zanu-PF gets into election mode

Zanu-PF gets into election mode
Saturday, 10 December 2011 23:11
Sydney Kawadza

The 12th Zanu-PF Annual National People’s Conference, which ended in Bulawayo yesterday, has set the tone for national elections that are scheduled for next year, party spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo has said.

Speaking at the end of the three-day conference, he also said the Presidium would meet to consider provincial recommendations on members to be co-opted into the Politburo and Central Committee.

Cde Gumbo said the party was geared for the forthcoming harmonised elections.
“We are now ready for the elections and can face our enemies, whether it is the MDC formations or their erstwhile financiers,” he said.

“We are ready to put finality to the whole issue.”

Cde Gumbo said the conference switched Zanu-PF into election mode.

“The President has said it. It brings finality to issues that have been raised by our structures.

“We are calling for the expeditious completion of the constitution-making process so that we go for elections and bring an end to the inclusive Government, which is obviously not working for the people of Zimbabwe.

“The President’s speech is a manifesto to our election agenda and this will lead us.”
He emphasised the need to desist from imposing candidates.

“We want to reiterate President Mugabe’s call against the imposition of candidates. People should choose their representatives, whether in Parliament or any other level.”

He said the Presidium would soon convene a meeting to consider recommendations from the provinces on members to be co-opted into the Politburo and Central Committee.
The candidates will replace late Politburo members David Karimanzira, Solomon Mujuru and Kantibhai Patel. Others will be co-opted into the Central Committee.

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(HERALD) ADC raps US government

ADC raps US government
Saturday, 10 December 2011 21:56

Africa’s supreme diamond governing body, the African Diamond Council (ADC), has condemned the United States for influencing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) decisions on Zimbabwe’s diamonds.

The ADC has a membership of 12 diamond-producing countries, including Angola, DRC, Botswana and Zimbabwe. In a statement, ADC chairman Mr Andre Jackson said the Americans had ulterior motives in Africa’s diamond trade in general, and Zimbabwe in particular.

“The KP’s operation is suspiciously engineered by a former diamond mining monopoly and is imprudently promoted by the US State Department, which has a dream of not only altering African diamond policy, but also possesses an inherent aspiration to covertly command guidelines worldwide,” he said.

“African Diamond Council has finally come to a fateful conclusion that Marange diamonds will continue to be sold with or lacking KP certification,” he said.
Mr Jackson added that the KP scheme was being influenced when it came to making decisions regarding African diamonds.

“The KP has historically been ill- advised by global diamond organisations that represent and profit from the retail or back end of the global diamond industry.

“African diamond producers refuse to prop up a botched system or scheme that deviously exploits the front end of the diamond industry while coaxing urbanised nations to assign integrity to it,” said Mr Jackson.

He added: “ADC members have finally realised that they have more control to renovate our industry than the KP does.”
Zimbabwe has been battling spirited efforts from Western-funded NGOs and countries to block her right to market her gems.

Early this week, a London-based NGO Global Witness withdrew from the KP in protest over its decision to allow Zimbabwe to market her gems.
The country stands to earn more than US$2 billion per year from the three Marange mines that have been permitted to sell. — New Ziana.



(HERALD) Villagers seek US$10 million to revitalise irrigation scheme

Villagers seek US$10 million to revitalise irrigation scheme
Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00
Masvingo Bureau

VILLAGERS in Charumbira communal lands in Masvingo are appealing to Government to provide US$10 million for the rehabilitation of a heavily silted dam that supplies water to Mushandike Irrigation Scheme.

At least 1 000 plotholders at the irrigation scheme, which was established soon after independence, were recently left in limbo after Mushandike Dam virtually dried up owing to accumulation of silt.

Besides the excessive siltation of Mushandike Dam along Mushandike River, water conveyance infrastructure at the irrigation scheme is in a dilapidated state.
Most canals have broken down resulting in the loss of water before it reaches the fields.
The irrigation scheme is also the only source of food security in Masvingo district.
"We appeal to the powers that be to do something urgently because there is no future for us anymore as we used to rely on this irrigation project in terms of food security,'' said Mrs Emma Mashawi from Village 13 in Mushandike.
Another plotholder at the scheme, Mr Andrew Matehwe from Village 14, said the collapse of Mushandike Irrigation Scheme would leave the area without any economic activity.
"Our lives have always revolved around this irrigation scheme and its demise is really a sad development,'' he said.
Chief Fortune Charumbira said Mushandike had always been the lifeblood of people in Charumbira communal lands not only as a source of food security, but also economically.
"Villagers used to sell their crops, supplying even Masvingo City with green produce to get money for school fees and other things; so there is really great need to keep the irrigation scheme in a good working state,'' he said.
Masvingo Rural District Council chairman Mr Clemence Makwarimba said the collapse of Mushandike Irrigation Scheme would be a disaster in Masvingo district.
He appealed to the Government to urgently provide funding for irrigation scheme to save it from total collapse.

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(HERALD) Mandela spied on - report

Mandela spied on - report
Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00

CAPE TOWN - This week, a special police task descended on Mandela's home in Qunu Village to investigate the security breach.

At least three CCTV cameras installed at the house of Chieftainess Nokwanele Balizulu have afforded US news agency Associated Press and Britain's Reuters birds-eye views of Mandela's home for as long as six years. Balizulu - who lives directly opposite Mandela's home - last night confirmed she had granted the news agencies permission to install the cameras, but would not admit to being paid for having done so.

"I agreed to having those cameras there, but I'm not going to say anything else," Balizulu said.

The Times established that the last remaining surveillance cameras belonging to Reuters would be removed yesterday on orders from the police task team.
The team is headed by Brigadier Gary McClaren from East London. He is assisted by Mthatha's VIP unit commander, a Captain Sipika, who is responsible for security around Mandela's home.

The team also consists of special security unit officers from Pretoria and local chiefs.

It is also investigating the presence of other cameras around the village, one of which, situated on a hill, belongs to the SABC.

Spokesman Kaizer Kganyago said he was unaware of it. The task team gathered in Mthatha on Monday to attend to what a local chief had said was a "breach of security and a safety risk".

"This was a security risk for uTata (Mandela) and we could not allow it to continue. What they (AP and Reuters) are doing is not right. They should leave him in peace," said an insider. When contacted for comment last night, AP spokesman Paul Colford said: "They are not surveillance cameras. Along with other media, the AP has preparedness around Mr Mandela's eventual passing. The AP cameras were not switched on and would only be used in the event of a major news story involving the former president."

Colford added: "We had similar preparedness outside the Vatican ahead of Pope John Paul II's passing."

Marius Bosch, bureau chief for Reuters Southern Africa, referred requests for comment to the group's public relations manager in London, who could not be reached last night.

At Monday's meeting, McClaren was adamant that the cameras should be removed as they were not only violating Mandela's privacy, but were also breaking the law.
AP is believed to have had two cameras installed on Balizulu's property about six years ago. The agency has also set up a television studio on one of the properties in the village.

Reuters is said to have one camera installed about two months ago, on Balizulu's property.

One of the local chiefs said AP regularly sent technicians to the area to test if its cameras were fully functional. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he said that even though locals, including Mandela's grandson Chief Mandla Mandela, knew about their existence, no action was ever taken.

Mandla Mandela was due to attend the meeting with the special task team, but neither he nor Balizulu was there. Mandla was not available for comment last night.
Mandela's health has been the subject of intense interest from both local and international news organisations.

Several have been jockeying for space around Qunu, all desperate to be the first to capture news of any developments around his health.

Two years ago, Mandla was accused of selling the rights to his grandfather's funeral to the SABC for R3-million. Both he and the SABC have since denied this.

Mandela, however, is said to be doing well after having moved from Johannesburg to Qunu before his 93rd birthday in July.

His last public appearance was during the closing ceremony of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. -



(HERALD) Gaddafi's daughter wants ICC to investigate dad's killing

Gaddafi's daughter wants ICC to investigate dad's killing
Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00

TRIPOLI - Former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's daughter Aisha has asked the International Criminal Court whether it was investigating the killings of her father and brother Mutassim, and if it was taking steps to ensure the Libyan authorities were investigating the matter.

Her request is the subject of a letter written on her behalf by her lawyer, Nick Kaufman to the ICC prosecutor in which it was stated, that the former Libyan leader and his son Mutassim had been "murdered in the most horrific fashion with their bodies thereafter displayed and grotesquely abused in complete defiance of Islamic law".

In the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters, Mr Kaufman who is representing Aisha went on to say: "The images of this savagery were broadcast throughout the world, causing my client severe emotional distress.

He added that to date, "neither Ms Gaddafi nor any member of her family has been informed, by your office, of the initiation of an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the brutal murders."

- Tripoli Post.

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(HERALD) ICC reform: Africa must speak with one voice

ICC reform: Africa must speak with one voice
Friday, 16 December 2011 00:00

The International Criminal Court which recently elected Gambia's Ms Fatou Bensouda to take over from Argentina's Luis Moreno-Ocampo as chief prosecutor, celebrates its 10th anniversary next year. Africa remembers Moreno-Ocampo's over-zealousness while executing his duties.

Ms Bensouda called the ICC "a truly unique institution", and true to her description, the ICC's uniqueness has shown itself in that its formal investigations are in Africa where many of the continent's leaders say Africa is being "unfairly targeted".
The ICC has also come under fire for its selective administration of justice, and demonstrating that some animals are more equal than others.

The ICC is also under fire for corrupting justice and abusing international law. Although Zimbabwe is not a signatory of the Rome Statute that governs the 120-member ICC, Zanu-PF last week passed a resolution at its 12th National People's Conference in Bulawayo, condemning the selective arrest of sitting and former leaders from developing nations.
The resolution called for an end to the arbitrary arrests and also called for reforms in the decade-old organisation. This was in keeping with President Mugabe's perennial calls for the reformation of the United Nations which he argues is being abused by powerful nations to undermine the interests of weaker states.
In the past decade, the ICC has targeted African leaders arresting them and/or issuing them with warrants of arrest. The ICC, with headquarters in The Hague, has clearly demonstrated that it is yet again another Western-dominated institution whose mindset is that crimes against humanity are only committed in Africa, and by African leaders.
It has also proved that its role is to discharge the desires of powerful Western nations such as the United States of America and her allies. To date, three current or former African leaders have been charged by the ICC - Charles Taylor (Liberia), Laurent Gbagbo (Cote d'Ivoire) and Omar al-Bashir (Sudan).

The late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was also targeted by the ICC. There was also pressure that his son Saif al-Islam who was captured by Libya's interim government be transferred to the ICC. Africa awaits the ICC's response to Col Gaddafi's daughter requesting it to investigate how her father and brother were killed. The ICC has also reported Malawi to the United Nations Security Council for failing to arrest the Sudanese leader in October. Its information minister Patricia Kaliati maintained, "When we were signing the Rome Statute, we wanted to be part of the international community, not to be targeted. We can as well withdraw our ICC signature."

South African president Jacob Zuma also expressed his displeasure with the manner it handles African affairs. When it issued a warrant of arrest for Col Gaddafi, president Zuma's spokesperson Zizi Kodwa said, "President Zuma is extremely disappointed and concerned over the issuing of a warrant by the International Criminal Court against Colonel Gaddafi. It's unfortunate that the ICC could take such a decision while the African Union through its ad hoc committee has done so much."

An African Union summit this year decided not to carry out warrants of arrest issued by the ICC against African leaders. The ICC, like other international bodies has shown that it is not prepared to work with African governments on a partnership basis. When Gabon, South Africa and Nigeria voted with them for a no-fly zone in Libya, NATO proceeded to bombard Libya and effect an illegal regime change. The AU's efforts in finding a lasting solution in the Libyan crisis were immaterial. In the end, the AU was made to rubber-stamp NATO's actions.

It is in this context that while we congratulate Ms Bensouda for landing this big post, Africa and other developing nations have to understand that like her predecessor Moreno-Ocampo she is entering a straitjacket position, where Africa's interests no matter how she tries, will not be the priority.

He who pays the piper calls the tune. This is Ms Bensouda's predicament. We doubt very much whether she will have the capacity and support from ICC's funders to effect changes that are desirable for developing nations.

It is also important for Africa in particular to know that unless they push for reforms, Bensouda as a technocrat will be working for the interests of the ICC, and not necessarily African interests.

She said so in her acceptance remarks: "But let me stress: I will be the prosecutor of all the states parties in an independent and impartial manner". She added, that the court was "changing international relations forever."

We are not saying that the upholding of the rule of law should not be a major democratic tenet every leader should exercise; and, neither are we condoning crimes against humanity, by any leader.

However, it is the double standards that we decry. When Amnesty International called for the arrest of George W Bush and Tony Blair for war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, the ICC did not act. The United States is not a signatory of the Rome Statute, but the UK is. Africa has also shown that it is divided on the issue and does not speak with one voice. If this attitude prevails, the likelihood of the ICC continuing to target Africans will continue.

If Africa shows unity of purpose, then it will be able to give its input on the manner of reforms they think are feasible. Some quarters have suggested decentralising the ICC's operations at country and/or regional level. But the bottom line is that the situation currently prevailing at the ICC works against African interests, and the positions that we get are window dressers to enable powerful nations to do as they wish. The ICC will also be used against a resource-rich Africa.



(WORLD SOCIALIST WEBSITE) Far-right fanatic guns down immigrants in Florence

Far-right fanatic guns down immigrants in Florence
By Stefan Steinberg
16 December 2011

An Italian author with links to the extreme right shot down two immigrants and seriously wounded three others in Florence on Tuesday before taking his own life. The shooter was named by police as Gianluca Casseri, the 50-year-old author of a number of fantasy novels, a resident of Tuscany, and member of an ultra-right anti-immigrant movement called Casa Pound.

Witnesses to the shooting say Casseri parked his car in a square north of the city centre and in broad daylight calmly walked up to a group of Senegalese street vendors selling trinkets. He opened fire on the group. Two of the vendors were killed on the spot, the third left seriously wounded. According to hospital reports, he is likely to remain paralysed for life.

Casseri then moved on to the city's central San Lorenzo market, where he shot and seriously wounded two more vendors. When police arrived at San Lorenzo they shot at Casseri's car but failed to wound him. According to police reports, one police officer then followed Casseri. As he approached, Casseri drew his pistol and shot himself in the throat.

The two vendors from Senegal gunned down at the San Lorenzo market were taken to hospital and remain in a serious condition.

A group of Senegalese workers immediately gathered in the centre of Florence to protest against the killings. One of them told the press: “Do not tell us that he was crazy, because if he was he would have killed both blacks and whites.”

Local and national politicians sought to play down the significance of the incident and cover up the role of the Italian political establishment in encouraging xenophobia and the growth of extreme right-wing and fascistic forces. The mayor of Florence, Matteo Renzi, denounced the shootings and declared that they were “the actions of a lone killer.” The city administration asked shops in Florence to cease trading for ten minutes on Wednesday to “show their respect for the victims.”

The Italian president, a former leader of the Italian Communist Party, Giorgio Napolitano, went on record criticising the “barbarous killing of two foreign workers” and “this blind explosion of hatred.” The killings were also condemned by the former leader of Italy’s Democratic Party, Walter Veltroni, who denounced the attack as “pure barbarism” resulting from “the climate of intolerance towards foreigners which has been created in recent years.”

These statements are intended to deflect attention from the role in recent years of Napolitano and the Democratic Party in fomenting racism. The city of Florence, which first flourished in the heyday of the Italian Renaissance, is regarded as a bastion of parties and politicians of the official “left.” Apart from two brief periods, the city has been governed by mayors from the Communist Party, the Socialist Party or the Democratic Left since 1975.

The massacre of immigrant workers in Florence this week is only the latest in a series of racist atrocities committed against immigrants and their families in Italy.

Last Saturday night a mob descended on the homes of Roma living in the run-down suburb of La Vallette in Turin and burnt their ramshackle houses and caravans to the ground. The arson attack came after a 16-year-old Italian girl claimed she had been raped by two men from the Roma camp. She has since admitted that she made the story up.

In a report issued earlier this year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) documented hundreds of racist hate crimes committed in Italy in recent years involving arson or the gunning down or physical intimidation of foreign workers.

The report noted that individual attacks on immigrant workers included the murder of Abdoul Guiebre, an Italian of Burkina Faso origin bludgeoned to death on the streets of Milan (September 2008), the brutal beating of a Chinese man as he waited for a bus in Rome (October 2008), and an attack on an Indian man in a town outside Rome, in which the victim was beaten, doused with gasoline and set on fire (February 2009).

Repeated attacks have been carried out against Roma encampments, and African seasonal migrant workers have been beaten up and intimidated.

More recently (and not included in the HRW report), the Italian government has abandoned refugees from the Libyan war, many hundreds of whom have been allowed to drown in the Mediterranean Sea in their desperate bid to reach Italian soil.

The Human Rights Watch report noted that very few of those responsible have been arrested and held to account for their crimes. The report concluded that the responsibility for the huge escalation in the number of racist assaults in recent years lay with the Italian government.

According to one of the group’s senior researchers, Judith Sunderland: “The government spends far more energy blaming migrants and Roma for Italy’s problems than it does on efforts to stop violent attacks on them. The government’s alarmist talk of an invasion of ‘biblical proportions’ from North Africa is just the latest example of irresponsible rhetoric. Officials should be protecting migrants and Roma from attack.”

The HRW report directed its fire first and foremost against the former government led by Silvio Berlusconi, but the “climate of intolerance towards foreigners in recent years” referred to by the Democratic Party grandee, Walter Veltroni, has been deliberately fuelled by his own party.

It was Veltroni himself who, shortly after the founding of the Democratic Party in 2007, urged the government, then led by Romano Prodi, to pass a new order (decreto espulsion—deportation decree) permitting the authorities to deport European citizens who represent “a threat to public security.”

Veltroni used his post as mayor of Rome to promote a right-wing campaign for new deportation laws, claiming publicly that the Roma were guilty of 75 percent of the petty crimes committed in the Italian capital.

The deportation decree was signed into law in November 2007 by the Italian president. The decree was also supported in public by the minister for social solidarity, Paolo Ferrero, the sole member of the Communist Refoundation group in the Prodi cabinet.

To ensure support for the measure, Prodi made the vote on the deportation decree a vote of confidence in his government. At the end of November 2007, Communist Refoundation General Secretary Franco Giordano made an appeal for support for the decree, which was then passed by a vote of 160 to 158.

Following its takeover of government in 2008, the right-wing coalition headed by Berlusconi was able to build on the foundations established by it predecessor and pass additional “emergency” decrees against migrants and Roma, including legislation making undocumented residence in Italy a crime. In the meantime, Italy has passed some of the most repressive anti-immigration legislation to be found in any Western European country. All of this legislation, whether from the era of Prodi or Berlusconi, bears the signature of the Italian president, Giorgio Napolitano.

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(SPIKED ONLINE) Benghazi: the battle for democracy resumes

Benghazi: the battle for democracy resumes
Patrick Hayes
Thursday 15 December 2011

The protests against the transitional government in Libya show the West can’t just hand down democracy from afar.

Just a few weeks ago, many Western leaders appeared to believe their intervention in Libya was a job well done. They lent a hand in the disposal of the ogre Muammar Gaddafi. His bloodthirsty spawn, Saif, was under lock and key and facing International Criminal Court-assisted justice. And, importantly, the West had ensured that some nice, safe, Western-briefed leaders - the National Transitional Council (NTC) - would take power.

This cosy glow of self-satisfaction has been rudely interrupted by a new round of protests against the NTC in Benghazi this week, the city where the protests in Libya first began in February this year. Much faith has been placed in the NTC to steer the country on a democratic course. Months before Gaddafi was ousted, a UK Foreign Office spokesman had declared: ‘We now regard the NTC as the legitimate expression of the Libyan people. We have invited them to set up shop and represent the Libyan people with full diplomatic status.’ Responding to the council’s decision to delay elections in September, UK foreign minister William Hague explained the NTC needed time to create ‘the free, inclusive, democratic Libya that they are committed to’. A representative from Human Rights Watch praised the NTC’s leader, former Gaddafi justice minister Mustafa Abdul Jalil, saying ‘It’s as if he just wouldn’t lie… I have never seen an Arab minister of justice who will publicly criticize the most powerful security agencies in the country’.

It seems many of the people of Benghazi lack this faith, however. Thousands of people have been taking to the streets in protest, with banners accusing the NTC of ‘stealing the revolution’, saying ‘the NTC must quit’ and ‘Jalil must go’. As a protester from the newly-formed Shabab Thwar (Rebel Youth) student group told the Guardian: ‘We did not liberate Libya to give it to old Gaddafi officials.’

One of the primary concerns is the lack of transparency regarding the operations of the NTC. No one even seems to know exactly who is on the council. Despite 33 members being listed on its official website, apparently 48 council members voted for a new prime minister last month. Equally, protesters have expressed concerns about the NTC’s decision to pardon former Gaddafi loyalists. While Jalil has made a statement urging the Libyan people to be patient, his response has done nothing to placate protesters, some of whom are now camping out in tents in a prominent area of Benghazi. As Bassem Fakhri, a political-science professor from the University of Benghazi, put it: ‘Jalil’s statement did not affect or touch anyone. Who is he to tell us this? He is not the president… We want transparency, representation for women, decentralisation, representation for youth and the full list of NTC members.’

Such a reaction against the NTC should come as no surprise. Throughout the Libyan conflict, many of the council members were not even in the country fighting alongside the Libyan people. These wannabe leaders were instead visiting Western countries to offer assurances that ‘extremism’ would play no role in the future of Libya. The rest of their time was spent in meetings and briefing sessions in the safe havens of Tunisia, the UAE and Qatar, planning for the time when they would inherit power and it was less risky to re-enter Libya. Indeed, having considered the conflict to be at something of a stalemate, the NTC leaders-in-waiting were caught off-guard by the speed with which the rebels took Tripoli and found themselves ‘racing to catch up’. The result was an embarrassing delay between Gaddafi’s forced departure and the NTC’s arrival.

Fundamentally, the NTC was more interested in gaining Western approval to lead in Libya than in understanding the needs and demands of the Libyan people and obtaining democratic legitimacy from them. Equally, Western intervention prevented the emergence of any genuine rebel leadership, not just through combat against Gaddafi, but also through the struggle to inspire the Libyan people to unite behind a shared vision of what a post-Gaddafi Libya could look like. The West simply obliterated Gaddafi’s forces, leaving a vacuum that the ragbag of rebels from disparate backgrounds could relatively safely fill.

Through its attempt to liberate Libya from afar, Western forces prevented the Libyan people from engaging in the messy process of making history for themselves and bringing about a genuine democracy that represents the will of the people. That the people of Benghazi look to be rejecting the Western-appointed guardians of democracy in the form of the NTC should be welcomed.

The NTC is not without its defenders, however. There are also reports of people taking to the streets in support of Jalil, praising his bold defiance of Gadaffi earlier in the year and urging protesters to give the council more time. Debates about who should be trusted to lead Libya are now taking place. Perhaps now the genuine battle for democracy in Libya, forged by the Libyan people themselves, can now resume - without the dead weight of Western interference.

Patrick Hayes is a reporter for spiked. Visit his personal website here. Follow him on Twitter @p_hayes.



Let the opposition also participate in governing

COMMENT - One of the hallmarks of democracy is that you can get a clear policy break when the opposition is voted into office. When you do not, you have the failure of democracy, because people are no longer able to change national policy. Therefore, I am not in favour of too cozy a relationship between the party in power and the party in opposition - in what is essentially a two party system.

Let the opposition also participate in governing
By The Post
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

IN a multi-party political system, society is not only led and governed by the party in government. Any plural society comprises a great diversity of interests and individuals who deserve to have their voices heard and their views respected.

Therefore, the voices of democracy include those of the government, its political supporters and opposition, of course. But they are joined by the voices of the labour unions, organised interest groups, community associations, news media, scholars and critics, religious leaders and writers, small businesses and large corporations, churches and schools.

All these groups are free to raise their voices and participate in the democratic political process, whether locally or nationally. In this way, democratic politics acts as a filter through which the vocal demands of a diverse populace pass on their way to becoming public policy.

And it is in this regard that we have been calling for a "loyal opposition".

This idea is a vital one. It means, in essence, that all sides in a democracy share a common commitment to its basic values. Political competitors don't necessarily have to like each other, but they must tolerate one another and acknowledge that each has a legitimate and important role to play.

Moreover, the ground rules of society must encourage tolerance and civility. When the election is over, the losers accept the judgement of the voters.

And no matter who wins, both sides must agree to co-operate in solving common problems of society. The opposition, whether it consists of one party or many, can continue to participate in public life, with the knowledge that its role is essential in any democracy worthy of the name. They are loyal not to the specific policies of the government, but to the fundamental legitimacy of the state, and to the democratic process itself.

But let us not forget that people are only loyal to those who are loyal to them. We cannot ask for a loyal opposition if those in power are not willing to reciprocate and recognise the fact the opposition also has a legitimate role to play. Those in government should not expect the opposition to be supportive of their good policies or initiatives if in turn they themselves are not willing to listen to and support positive initiatives from the opposition.

Sylvia Masebo's advice to the PF government not to shoot anything down no matter how sensible it is simply because its origin is in the opposition should be heeded. There is no monopoly of wisdom in that House. Wisdom does not only lie with those in government. There are some men and women in the opposition who are probably wiser than some of the people in government. And there is no monopoly of patriotism in that House. Patriotism is not a preserve of only those in government. There are many patriots who are today in the opposition, some of them probably far more patriotic than those in government.

Let's allow ideas to come from any quarter. With or without us, our country should embrace the best policies or initiatives and move forward. Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. What is required is definitely the reverse - honesty and modesty. Complacency is the enemy of progress. We cannot really learn anything until we read ourselves of complacency. Our attitude towards ourselves should be "to be insatiable in learning" and towards others "to be tireless in teaching".

In transforming our economy, we will be confronted with arduous tasks and our experience is far from adequate. So we must be good at learning. As chairman Mao Tsetung once put it, "let a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contained".

We would like our members of parliament to embrace everything that is good for our country, for our people, regardless of its origin. Both those in the opposition and those in government are our leaders, our legislators and they should co-operate to give our people the best. It is a crime for any member of parliament to reject or oppose a good initiative simply because it comes from the other side of the House and not from his or her side.

They are not in that House to serve sides. The people of Zambia are not interested in which side a member of parliament is on - the opposition side or the governing side. What they are interested in is that which is done in their interest. Members of parliament are in that House to serve the people and not to serve themselves or the interests of their political groups. It is therefore unacceptable for those on the government side to oppose anything that comes from the opposition side for the sake of it even if it is something that is in the best interests of our people.

They must serve the people wholeheartedly, heart and soul, and never for a moment should they divorce themselves from the masses. They should proceed in all cases from the interests of the people and not from one's self-interest or from the interests of a small group. There should be utter devotion to others, to the people without any thought of self. There must be a spirit of absolute selflessness in our members of parliament.

It is their duty to hold themselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy of theirs must conform to the people's interest. They must be ready at all times to stand up for the truth, because truth is in the interest of the people. And they must be ready at all times to correct their mistakes, because mistakes are against the interests of the people. And on no- account should they follow blindly.

We expect our members of parliament to set an example in being practical as well as far-sighted. For only by being practical can they fulfil their appointed tasks, and only far-sightedness can prevent them from losing their bearings in the march forward. They must be the least prejudiced in sizing up situations.

We have no doubt that the Zambian people would like to see a Parliament in which all sides co-operate to give them the best. They are not interested in unnecessary or unjustified divisions and opposition to each other. The Zambian people are interested in an opposition that respects and co-operates with the ruling party in matters of public interest.

They are also interested in a ruling party that understands and respects the fact that the opposition has a legitimate role to play in the governance of our country and those in power should co-operate with the opposition when it has policies and initiatives that are in the best interest of our people. It should not be opposition for the sake of opposition.

It should only be opposition for the sake of ensuring that all that is tabled in the House, by whoever, is cleansed of its weaknesses, of its vices, of its faults before it becomes public policy.

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Masebo cautions PF against repeating MMD's mistakes

Masebo cautions PF against repeating MMD's mistakes
By Mwala Kalaluka
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

SYLVIA Masebo says the PF administration should never repeat the MMD government's folly of shooting down any sensible motion by the opposition in Parliament because that is bad governance.

And works minister Yamfwa Mukanga says Tanzania-Zambia Railways' underperformance can be attributed to failure by the Council of Ministers to regularly meet and direct the board.

Masebo, who is Chongwe PF parliamentarian, made the caution during debate on a private member's motion moved by Solwezi Central MMD parliamentarian, Lucky Mulusa, who urged the government to undertake a Funded Integrated Urban Development Approach in areas with increased socio-economic activities.

Masebo said during the Rupiah Banda administration, even straightforward motions that made sense were shot down.

"We don't want to do what the previous government was doing," said Masebo as Kalabo Central UPND parliamentarian Chinga Miyutu, through a point of order, questioned Masebo's blaming of a government she was part of.

However, National Assembly Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini ruled that Masebo was in order because she was debating policies of the previous government.

Masebo said what Mulusa was urging the PF government to do was "what it was doing already".

"We are here to debate, to exchange views, to educate each other," Masebo said.

"Let us be different from the previous administration, to be more specific, the Banda administration."

Masebo said former Republican vice-president George Kunda, as leader of government business in the House then used to write notes to MMD parliamentarians to shoot down any motion MMD did not want.

Masebo said she recalls that the leader of government business in the House wrote a note to MMD parliamentarians to shoot down a motion on government statistics which she moved together with an MMD minister.

"I hope you will not be that bad where you fail to see the logic of these motions," Masebo told the PF frontbench.

"To get busy for nothing and write a note to say 'shoot it down' when there is nothing to shoot down! I want to remind my colleagues not to repeat the mistakes of the other side who thought they were going to be there forever."

In his motion that was subsequently passed by the House, Mulusa urged the PF government to embrace the proposition in order to ensure that existing public infrastructure and amenities in the targeted settlements are not put under strain.
UPND Choma Central parliamentarian, Cornelius Mweetwa who seconded the motion, said development must be planned, funded and managed.

"It cannot just happen on its own," said Mweetwa.

Wrapping up the debate, local government minister Professor Nkandu Luo said the motion would not be passed in the manner it had been presented.

She said the development approach needed to be extended to rural areas as well.
Prof. Luo said this was part of the PF government's resolve to promote an integral mode of development that catered for the whole country.

And responding to questions from parliamentarians on the status of TAZARA, Mukanga said the government had engaged two consultants and constituted an independent taskforce to look at issues affecting the joint venture company.

Mukanga said the consultants were expected to submit their report in March 2012 whilst the taskforce had already submitted theirs.

"The operating cost has also progressively increased," Mukanga said. "Here the true picture is that net losses have been experienced in the last three years."

He said while the Tanzanian government had been able to halve its statutory obligation arrears to US$16 million from US$36 million, the amount for Zambia still remained the same.

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Sata defends street vendors

Sata defends street vendors
By Staff Reporters
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has ordered councils countrywide to let street vendors and those operating car wash points to run their businesses without being chased. According to a letter dated December 10, 2011 to town clerks and obtained by The Post, President Sata stated that chasing vendors would make PF unpopular.

He stated that he was displeased over the mistreatment of street vendors and ordered a stop to their harassment. President Sata said councils should concentrate on their core functions on behalf of the people they were elected to serve.

"I am very disappointed with you. Local government does not mean only chasing people from streets or car washes. Those are the people we promised to give employment of which we have not done so. Yet they are using initiative to create employment for themselves," stated President Sata.

He added that local government was fast growing and needed to be re-organised.
"Local government is a very fast growing organisation which you need to reorganise other than concentrating on harassing innocent vendors and car washers which will lead to our party being more unpopular," he stated.

President Sata ordered that the harassment of vendors and car washers should immediately come to a stop.

"I am very reluctant to write this type of a letter but unfortunately, I cannot take any more complaints from the people we promised to create employment for. We need water, more houses and better roads to ease the traffic on our roads.

Your fire service is non-existent; you have abandoned garbage collection and unblocking of your drainages. I am aware that everything is your business," he stated.

"Please let us concentrate on our business on behalf of the people we were elected to serve and leave the street vendors and car washers alone."

In October, local government minister Prof Nkandu Luo directed all local authorities to immediately stop issuing permits to operators of car washes.

"I am hereby directing all local authorities to stop issuing permits to operators of car washes until a full audit has been conducted," she said.

Prof Luo said there was need to put in a regulatory framework that should set minimum standards and procedures for construction and operation of car washes.

On increased street vending, Prof Luo said there was need for the government to clean up cities like Lusaka, which had witnessed an influx of street vendors and increased outbreak of cholera during the rainy season.

Recently an attempt was made to remove street vendors on the Copperbelt Province but the move was met with resistance.

Prof Luo later said the ministry had instructed all councils to form task forces to handle the removal of street vendors.

Prof Luo said the programme also involved sensitising vendors on the negative effects of street vending.

She said while government appreciated police assistance in moving vendors from streets, the exercise should be handled in a sober and careful manner.

On the Copperbelt, street vendors fought running battles with the state and council police deployed in the city centre to enforce a ban on street vending by the local authority.

Copperbelt, Lusaka, Southern are among some of the provinces that have been trying to enforce the ban on street vending.

President Sata is seen as partly owing his electoral victory to his rhetoric against abusive investors and his populist appeal to unemployed youths.

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Turmoil in Congo will catalyse sexual violence - NGO

Turmoil in Congo will catalyse sexual violence - NGO
By Agness Changala
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:59 CAT

THE African Civil Society has expressed fear that post-election violence in Congo will catalyse widespread sexual and gender-based violence.

The organisation stated this in view of the ongoing International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) in Kampala, Uganda, from December 15 to 16, 2011 on sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) under the theme 'United to Prevent, End Impunity and Provide Support to the Victims of SGBV in the Great Lakes Region.

In a press release, the civil society called on ICGLR member states to implement the 2006 pact on security, stability and development in the region to avert not only post-election violence in member states but any other form of violence.

It recommended the launch of a presidential campaign on 'zero tolerance' on SGBV crimes and impunity.

The organisation recommended allocation of specific and adequate funding for SGBV prevention programmes and adoption of a comprehensive SGBV performance index for annual purpose.

The organisation also wanted member states to establish national funds to provide assistance for survivors of SGBV in line with ICGLR protocol on the prevention and suppression of sexual violence against women and coalition (2006).

The civil society also called for institutionalised early warning and response mechanism for SGBV at community level including community policing.

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FODEP urges appointing of referendum commission

FODEP urges appointing of referendum commission
By Agness Changala
Fri 16 Dec. 2011, 13:58 CAT

FODEP has appealed to President Michael Sata to appoint a referendum commission as outlined in the action plan for the technical committee on drafting of the Zambian Constitution.

In a statement yesterday, FODEP stated that this would give the referendum commission time to facilitate the printing of materials, update the voters' register and other things for the purpose of preparations and holding of the national referendum.

It stated that the early establishment of the referendum commission would enable the commission so appointed to start consultations with the Central Statistical Office (CSO) on the 2010 national census results and make the necessary logistics for the smooth holding of the referendum.

FODEP stated that the civil society and other stakeholders would be given ample time to mobilise resources and prepare people's minds to participate in the referendum.

"We wish to state that civic education on the constitutional making process is not only critical, but creates ownership of the process, which is key in delivering a people driven document," the statement read in part.

FODEP proposed that the new constitution should guarantee and protect the tenure of the office of Inspector General of Police.

It stated that this should be done in an effort to retain some level of independence and public confidence in the work of the Zambia Police Service.

FOPDEP stated that the obtaining scenario where the appointment of the Inspector General of the Police was made by the President made them susceptible to public suspicion and mistrust on neutrality and professionalism, especially when some police investigations are prompted by direct orders from the executive.

It stated that the general feeling was that the Inspector General of Police was at the mercy of the appointing authority as demonstrated in the past few years where those appointed to that office had been hired and fired by presidents at will.

FODEP stated that this might compromise their independence in an effort to keep their positions.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Tsvangirai calls for reforms before vote

COMMENT - Anglo-American De Beers, the world's diamond mining and trading monopolist, has the national diamond mining monopolies across the border from Zimbabwe, in both Botswana and South Africa. Zimbabwe sits on 20% of the world's known diamond reserves. Anglo American wants and needs the same in Zimbabwe, so it can control the flow of diamonds onto the world market.

Tsvangirai calls for reforms before vote
15/12/2011 00:00:00
by Cris Chinaka I Reuters

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday demanded more electoral reforms before polls that his rival, President Robert Mugabe, wants to bring forward to next year.

In an end-of-year address to parliament, Tsvangirai, who was forced into an awkward power-sharing government with Mugabe's Zanu PF after disputed elections three years ago, accused Zanu PF ministers of failing to ease their party's control of radio and television.

"The year 2012 must not be characterised by rhetoric about an early election that is not accompanied by the necessary will to ensure free and fair election as agreed by the parties," he said.

"Political stability is key to our prosperity as a nation and only a free and fair election can guarantee legitimacy, peace and stability."

Although Zanu PF and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change have stabilised an economy that in 2008 was struggling with food shortages and inflation of 500 billion percent, they are constantly quarrelling over policies and posts.

Mugabe still controls the security organs, whose failure to make themselves properly accountable has prompted donors to withhold funding critical to a sustained economic recovery.

The coalition's list of unimplemented reforms includes the adoption of a new electoral law handing over the registration of voters to an independent commission, and the establishment of special courts for election issues.

Zanu PF agreed at a party conference last weekend to press for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2012, a year ahead of schedule, to end a unity government that it accuses of slowing down its black economic empowerment drive.

The conference endorsed Mugabe, 87, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, as its presidential candidate despite worries among some party officials that he is too old and unwell, with terminal prostate cancer, to stay on.
South African help

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the neighbouring regional power South Africa has promised to help Mugabe's Zanu PF come up with a winning strategy, which analysts say could be a reflex move to support a fellow liberation movement.

Tsvangirai, 59, whose public image has been hurt by controversies over his relationships with women since the death of his wife in 2009, noted that the Southern African Development Community (SADC), in which South Africa plays a key part, had overseen an agreement on electoral reform between Zanu PF and the MDC.

Mugabe denies MDC allegations that his Zanu PF has cheated the MDC of victory in four major elections since 2000, and last month addressed a joint conference with Tsvangirai to denounce election violence.

On Thursday, Tsvangirai, who was forced to withdraw from a presidential runoff in 2008 after a wave of violence by Zanu PF supporters, said the call for peace had to be implemented on the ground after a spate of attacks and clashes in some parts of the country.

The MDC fears that Zanu PF will employ the kind of violence it has used in almost all elections in the past decade to intimidate its opponents. It has no power to prevent Mugabe calling an early election.

"Mr Speaker Sir, the next year must register growth, set a firm foundation for a free and fair poll and, above all, give every Zimbabwean hope that indeed, the future of this country is our shared concern," he told parliament.

Tsvangirai said the Ministry of Media and Information, headed by Mugabe's political commissar Webster Shamu, had defied a government order to appoint new board members to manage state media houses, and to issue new radio and television licences to break a state monopoly in broadcasting.

Critics say two radio licences issued last month went to Zanu PF proxies.

"To date, there has been outright arrogance and intransigence from the responsible minister and his officials," Tsvangirai said. There was no immediate comment from the Information Ministry.

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