Saturday, June 09, 2012
By Nicholas Kalungi
Posted Thursday, June 7 2012 at 00:00
Different economy stakeholders have asked the government to undertake calculated methods of intervention for the economy to attain higher levels of growth in both the shorter and longer run.
Speaking at the State of the Economy public dialogue organised by 93.3 KFM in partnership with ACODE and supported by NTV and KCB in Kampala, the panelists said even though the NRM has had undisputed achievements, it is currently faced with multiple shortcomings which need planned and strategic approaches.
Dr Fred Muhumuza, a Makerere University economist said with the current state of the economy, the government should deliberately invest in infrastructure development for it to economically out match its neighbours.
“This country does not have the right infrastructure to favourably compete with her neighbors. The way forward is very simple. If you do not have the required infrastructure then you need massive investments. If you are so much in a deficit then you need a good strategy,” Dr Muhumuza said.
Prof Augustus Nuwagaba, an economist at Makerere University said Uganda had failed to implement its brilliant poverty eradication policies.
He said: “Our 1997 poverty eradication plan was wonderful, however, fifteen years down the road, we have failed to implement it and many people continue to live on the wrong side of the economy”.
Meanwhile, Mr Francis Kamulegeya, a partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (pwc) said Uganda has a good tax system but needs to work more on changing people’s attitudes towards taxes.
“So many people are not paying taxes because they have negative perceptions. We need accountability and trust from the authorities. We need to improve on this for more revenue collection.”
On the issue of unemployment and entrepreneurship, Mr Charles Ocici, the executive director of Enterprise Uganda said: “Young people should stop looking at employment as an address outside home. Truth is that there are not enough jobs. Let us begin from our homes with small businesses. Everyone should have a mindset of an investor if we are to address this problem.”
By Flavia Nalubega (email the author)
Posted Friday, June 8 2012 at 00:00
Multinational banks with a presence in Uganda must integrate SME banking in their service menus, according to Ms Maria Kiwanuka, The Finance Minister.
Such banks, Ms Kiwanuka said at the ceremony to mark Citibank’s 200th anniversary in Kampala on Tuesday must consider formulating products that appeal to a growing SME market that is currently characterizing Uganda’s market.
Multinational banks usually shy away from creating products including soft loans and working capital that usually appeal to SMEs.
Over 75 per cent of Uganda’s economy is characterised by SMEs. According to a 2010 Enterprise Uganda report, Uganda has about 800,000 SMEs employing over 80 per cent of the population.
Ms Kiwanuka said: “Much of Uganda’s businesses are composed of SMEs. These are the future of Uganda’s economy, so multinational banks should build products to support them (SMEs).”
She said there is need to extend services to the unbanked population, especially in agriculture, which is the country’s backbone.
However, Citibank Uganda with a current capital account of about Shs155 billion, has according to Mr Chinedu Ikwudinma, been involved in both corporate and low income financing.
This, Mr Ikwudinma said is one of the bank’s core value that has supported the growth of its Ugandan operations.
By David Mafabi (email the author)
Posted Friday, June 8 2012 at 00:00
Yesterday, President Museveni delivered the State of the Nation Address to Parliament. The Address once again clearly enunciated where we have come from, where we are, and where we need to go- in terms of national development policy.
Further, the President stayed within the NRM Government overall strategic sector prioritisation focus, covering the period 2011/2016. He has outlined this extremely clearly several times over, including during the launch of the 2011 elections NRM manifesto. The strategic sector prioritisation focus covers the following:
“Expanding electricity generation to 3,800 MGWS; Tarmacking and reconstructing the roads indicated on many occasions; Repairing the railway using UPDF Engineering Brigade; Prosperity For All through agriculture - leading to the reduction of the subsistence sector and expansion of commercial agriculture; Value-addition to all agricultural products that are not eaten fresh; Industrialisation, the promotion of cottage industries, the setting up of ICT parks and the expansion of the optic fibre backbone infrastructure to the rest of the country; Expanding education infrastructure, the building of technical vocational schools, continuing to spread schools to all sub-counties, etc”.
“Continuing to expand and ensure the optimal use of the health infrastructure at sub-county levels and below; Continuing to expand piped water to more towns and trading centres and expanding safe-water coverage in rural areas; Irrigation - mega and micro - mainly for agriculture; Developing our petroleum resource - through building a refinery, etc; Ensuring a living wage for all the public servants by continuing to improve their salaries - as the economy continues to grow and is eventually transformed”.
“Working for the political Federation of East Africa along with our partners in East Africa to guarantee our strategic security and long-term sustained development”.
On the eve of the address however, there had been a lot of discussion on what should and should not be its focus: KFM and others hosted a debate on the economy, while several leaders were quoted in the New Vision of Tuesday June 5 as saying, “President should focus on economy”.
Said Dr Abed Bwanika, leader of the People’s Development Party (PDP): “Any serious head of state would come with … address containing solutions to Uganda’s economic problems. The rate of inflation is so high.” Hon. Wafula (Wafs) Oguttu, a senior official in the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) wants, “practical measures … to reduce poverty”. His senior colleague and my friend, Hon. Alice Also, was later to lament on TV, “Inflation is still in double-digit figures!” My friend Olara Otunnu, the president of the Uganda People’s Congress declared, “The State of the Nation is very painful and appalling!”
But, the real shocker was from Dr Aaron Mukwaya of Makerere University, who “does not expect President Museveni to announce any measures to cause a paradigm shift in Uganda’s public affairs”! Questions arise here: a paradigm shift from what to what? What is the architecture of the current “paradigm of public affairs”? What is the architecture of the “paradigm” to which Dr Mukwaya would have us aspire?
Politics and politicking aside, the Mukwaya dilemma sadly is the general philosophical and ideological dilemma of the African political class, elite and intelligentsia- what is the precise nature and essence of the problem we are dealing with? Fortunately, Museveni suffers from no such dilemma - he is very clear.
Is it a situation, an event or a process? Or a complex combination of these and other elements? Is the problematic a product of specifically a “Museveni phenomenon”, or does it have defining trans-regime and structural dimensions? Are the dimensions political, economic, cultural or spiritual, etc - or a complex combination of all these? Are there any benefits in doing a comparative study of the situation and condition of other African and emergent peoples? What is their common condition in the world division of work and market?
In a word, what construct or template lends itself in a fundamental sense, to the execution of a qualitative leap by the Ugandan and African people from backwardness, into the 21st Century?
Politicking aside, this is the backdrop against which the State of the Nation Address should be evaluated. If we ignore this, we cannot go beyond proposing objectively reckless and irresponsible populist and short term non-answers to the problems of our people!
Mr Mafabi is the private secretary/political affairs- State House.
Written by OARABILE MOSIKARE
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 00:00
President Ian Khama has pardoned the three soldiers who murdered John Kalafatis on May 13, 2009, near the old Moonland Shopping Complex in Extension 12, Gaborone. Government spokesperson Dr Jeff Ramsay has confirmed the pardon. “Yes, a conditional pardon has been given. I don’t have more information at the moment. I’m in a meeting and you will have to check me tomorrow,” said Ramsay.
At the time of going to press it was not clear why and when Khama had granted the presidential pardon.
The Kalafatis’ family lawyer, Dick Bayford, made a scathing comment on the presidential pardon: “The decision by the President to exercise in favour of the murderers of Kalafatis a prerogative of mercy simply confirmed the suspicions that the public has always harbored: that the murder of Kalafatis was engineered and sponsored from the highest echelons of powers.
“We are all aware that as a general principle the government of Botswana is reluctant to exercise the prerogative of mercy in favour of convicts.” Bayford said the case came as an exception to the general rule. He said they are convinced that the real culprits behind the murder of Kalafatis have not yet been brought to court.
“And it is our ardent hope that a time will come when the truth and justice will be done to the brutal and cold blooded killing of John Kalafatis so that his soul might forever find peace.”
In February the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction and sentences of Kalafatis’ killers: Botswana Defence Force (BDF) Military Policemen Gotshosamang Sechele, Ronny Matako and Boitshoko Maifala. High Court Justice David Newman had convicted Sechele, Matako and Maifala of Kalafatis’ murder on June 9, 2011 and sentenced them each to 11 years’ imprisonment.
But the Court of Appeal threw out the conviction of Dzikimani Mothobi, a sergeant in the BDF’s Military Intelligence, who was said to have led the team of soldiers that went to arrest Kalafatis on the night of his murder, on the grounds that he could not be convicted of an offence that he was not charged with.
The High Court had sentenced Mothobi to four years’ imprisonment for being an accessory after the fact of murder, three years of which were wholly suspended. Mothobi had originally been charged with murder alongside his colleagues.
Labels: IAN KHAMA
Robbers kill farmer near Dordabis
By: JAN POOLMAN
Joseph Siegfried Möwes
AN armed robbery on the farm Emmabron of the Möwes couple in the Dordabis district on Wednesday night turned into a tragedy when the 60-year-old Joseph Siegfried Möwes was killed.
The open wardrobes and cupboards, the farmer’s rifle lying untouched in the sitting room, and clothes and papers scattered all over the house signified that the robbers were only after money.
The late Möwes, known as Seppie, went to Windhoek to buy stock for the small shop on the farm on Wednesday and returned by 19h00.
About three hours later the barking of his dogs woke him up. As he left the house to investigate, four shots were fired and two hit him in the stomach.
It was at that time that the three armed robbers stormed into the house and told his wife, Poppie, to keep quiet, while they went through all the rooms searching for money.
They made off with a safe and an empty cashbox from the shop. The only money they could find was less than N$5 000 found lying around in the house, according to the Dordabis Police.
When his brother, Willy, arrived at the scene Möwes was still alive and his brother started driving him to the hospital, meeting the ambulance on the way. Even with paramedic help, however, Möwes died before reaching the hospital.
The safe and petty-cash box were found in the veld and according to the Police there was also evidence of a getaway car waiting for the three robbers.
Möwes who was known as a person that did not hesitate to help and give advice to people in the area, lived on the farm with his wife Poppie. Their only child died about 17 years ago.
The Police are optimistic that the culprits will be arrested soon.
In April the Namibia Agricultural Union said more than 50 people had been killed in at least 69 attacks on commercial farms countrywide since 1991.
The NAU said the statistics were disturbing and called on farmers to step up security.
Remote farms are allegedly soft targets for robbers.
In eight of the murder cases, both husband and wife were murdered.
Statistics dating back to 2000 show that the oldest farmer murdered was Lottie Jooste (89), who died after three attackers overpowered her on the Farm Riksburg near Karibib in November 2009.
The most dangerous years were 2006 and 2008, when ten and nine farm attacks were reported respectively. In both years three farmers were murdered, one a woman of 66.
The year 2005 was the bloodiest, claiming ten lives, eight of which were lost in the Kareeboomvloer massacre. Outjo and Dordabis have been hot spots, NAU data show.
The NAU has urged the farming community to be “aware of farm safety at all times and to do everything in their power to protect their lives, as well as those of their workers, and their property”. Farmers can get safety tips from the NAU office.
Labels: FARM MURDERS
By: JO-MARÉ DUDDY
WINNING RECIPE ... Erikson Malwa with a selec- tion of his now famous sauces.
A ‘SAUCY’ story in The Namibian in April secured budding local entrepreneur, Erikson Malwa, a seat at US president Barack Obama’s innovation summit for young African leaders in Washington DC next week.
“It is the opportunity of a lifetime,” Malwa said yesterday. When he flies on Monday, it will not only be the 24-year-old’s first trip to the US, it will be his first overseas.
“I am very excited. It’s a great opportunity,” he said.
Malwa, a food technologist who currently works as a technical product development manager at Namibia Dairies, is also the brain behind Erikson’s Sauces, a brand of homemade sauces sold locally.
It was the success story of his sauces, marketed through his company Talamo Foods, which sparked the interest of The Namibian’s Selma Shipanga.
“That media coverage brought Mr Malwa to the attention of the US Embassy [in Windhoek], which nominated him for a slot at the Innovation Summit,” the embassy said in a statement yesterday.
When US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton welcomes the delegates to the Innovation Summit and Mentoring Partnership with Young African Leaders next Wednesday, Malwa and 59 other Africans will embark on a three-week development programme. It forms part of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, the Obama Administration’s long-term programme to engage young leaders from the continent who are actively promoting positive change in their communities.
It was Malwa’s view of how he can play a role in the economic development of Namibia which in particular caught the Embassy’s eye I promised myself that one day, I will reverse the situation of Namibia being a net importer of sauces to being amongst the exporters of sauces and condiments, the Americans’ eye, he told The Namibian.”
So he developed Erikson’s Sauces in chilli, sweet chilli, kapana, barbeque and tomato flavours, and braced the challenge of getting enough to start his company.
Currently Erikson sauces are on the shelves of Tré Supermarket, Louis Botha, Namica Supermarket and wholesalers in Katutura, as well as in shops in Walvis Bay and Ondangwa.
Although it was difficult to establish the brand, especially with so many foreign sauces flooding the market, Malwa’s products are becoming increasingly popular.
“My sauces are made with carefully sourced ingredients with the Namibian audience’s taste in mind, so I’m confident that I’m offering a competitive product in terms of quality and pricing,” he said.
Malwa now plans to distribute Erikson’s Sauces countrywide.
The US Embassy said they are “delighted” that Malwa will be able to attend the summit and “hopes his experience will be beneficial not only to his own business, but also to other Namibians embarking upon entrepreneurial ventures”.
TRIPOLI – Invading Libya’s biggest international airport was embarrassingly easy: the attackers cut the wire perimeter fence in broad daylight, and then drove onto the tarmac while airport security chiefs stood and watched.
The occupation of Tripoli airport for several hours on Monday by an armed militia force has compelled policymakers in Europe and the United States to ask what sort of country they helped create when they joined the campaign last year to force Muammar Gaddafi from office.
Libya, home to Africa’s biggest proven oil reserves, is free from Gaddafi’s repression, but it is a chaotic country where nearly a year on from the end of the revolt, the state still barely exists.
Garbage piles up uncollected in suburban streets, drivers park their cars in the middle of highways, and, as incidents like the attack on the airport underscore, rag-tag militias who answer only to their own commanders are more powerful than the police and army.
“How can these people ... close the airport like this?” asked Adel Salama, a civil society activist in Zintan, a town whose fighters used to control the airport before handing over to the central government back in April.
“Where is the state?”
On Tuesday, the militiamen who had attacked the airport were gone and staff were at their posts. An Austrian Airlines jet took off for Vienna, the first departure since the attack.
Yet foreign investors, who already knew Libya was a risky place, are now likely to be even more cautious. The incident at the airport happened the same day that Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur was in the United States trying to persuade companies there to come and invest.
“It’s a worrying thing for someone who wants to come and do business here,” one foreign businessman visiting Tripoli said. “I am just happy my investors were not here themselves when this happened.”
The attack on the airport was carried out by members of the al-Awfea brigade, a volunteer militia from the town of Tarhouna about 80 km south-east of Tripoli.
They believed their leader had been detained by security forces in the capital and their aim was to take the airport as a way of pressuring his captors into releasing him. They pulled out of the airport late on Monday after negotiations.
Details emerged on Tuesday of how close the incident came to endangering passengers.
One airport official said an Austrian Airlines jet was about to take off when the militia arrived, and was ordered by the control tower to abort. Another official said a bullet had struck and damaged the side of a parked Alitalia aircraft.
Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A’al told Reuters on Tuesday that the incident had been handled properly by the government.
“Democracy is still new to the Libyan people and a lot of people do not know how to use their freedom in the right way,” he said. “They have demands which they believe are legitimate. They believe this (trying to seize strategic sites) is the best way to express their anger.”
“The government prefers to use dialogue first, negotiations to resolve problems,” the minister said. “What happened yesterday is a lesson (to anyone attempting similar protests). We detained them, put them under investigation, and took their weapons.”
However, accounts gathered by Reuters from witnesses and officials point to big holes in the security set-up that was supposed to protect the airport.
There was a series of mistakes, a lack of proper resources and the absence of any security coordination: all problems which have come to typify Libya since the end of Gaddafi’s 42-year rule.
Fadel Bin Nusayer, 50, the manager of the airport, said security staff had no choice but to stand back and let the al-Awfea brigade drive their pick-up trucks, with heavy guns mounted on the back, onto the runways.
He said airport security needed more resources to do their job fully, including more walkie-talkies and vehicles.
“They arrived at the metal fences surrounding the ... airfield and cut the fence and entered,” he said. “Our defence teams on the ground told their leaders in the watch-towers and were given orders not to shoot because we didn’t want to shed blood or escalate matters or make civilian travellers scared.’
‘We ask the government and the prime minister to give us the extra resources ... so we can avoid a similar situation,’ Bin Nusayer said. The incident on Monday was, he said: ‘A wake up call to all of us.’
Other people familiar with the airport said the militia should never have been allowed to reach the perimeter fence.
The al-Awfea brigade, in a convoy of about 60 vehicles, drove to the airport from their base in Tarhouna, a journey that would have taken them through dozens of security checkpoints. These though are usually run by local militias and it is unlikely they would have alerted anyone outside their area about what was happening.
‘Why was nothing done before these people reached the airport?’ asked Salama, the activist from Zintan. ‘They were driving from 80 km away.’
A spokesman for the Zintan militia which used to run the airport before handing over to the government said the security measures in place were woefully inadequate.
Khaled Karr said airport security did not have the long-range weapons needed to deter attackers before they reach the perimeter, and were not carrying out regular patrols in the surrounding area.
‘We told the government over and over: they do not have the resources or the capabilities to secure a huge installation like the airport,’ he said. ‘We all know there are issues and problems and the state is not in control.’
SETBACK FOR INVESTMENT
At Tripoli’s luxury Corinthia hotel on Monday evening, foreign business people milled around in the lobby anxiously trying to find out what was happening at the airport – for most people the main route out of the country.
Several airlines that operate flights into Tripoli cancelled them on Monday and now say they will not be resuming them straight away. These included British Airways, Emirates and Tunisair. Austrian Airlines said it was suspending services from Vienna to Tripoli on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The occupation of the airport will have an impact on the broader business climate too, said David Bachmann, head of the commercial section at the Austrian embassy in Tripoli.
‘This is a big setback,’ he said. ‘It is especially bad for newcomers. They want to be able to travel to the airport, to their hotel, and hold meetings safely, but when they hear about rockets flying at the airport, they won’t come.’
‘It is difficult for someone like myself to try to convince such companies that this is not a big thing.’
Nevertheless, other people who work in Libya were more sanguine. Libya’s economy depends on oil and this sector is recovering well. Output is back to pre-revolt levels. Foreign majors, including BP and Eni, are coming back.
And for all the chaos and security shortcomings, most observers say Libya is making progress.
The disparate groups which hold power show a capacity for resolving their differences through negotiation.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said Friday he wants the African National Congress (ANC) to block an investigation in South Africa into alleged violence and atrocities by loyalists of his party.
Mugabe, speaking at a convention of southern African liberation movements in Harare, called the probe ordered by a South African court a “racist assault” by embittered Zimbabwean and South African whites.
In May, a South African judge ordered his country's prosecutors to investigate alleged human rights abuses and torture in Zimbabwe in a case filed by a human rights group and Zimbabwean exiles. Those who brought the case say they have documented abuses and envision a trial in South Africa.
Mugabe urged South African leaders to “apply every means at their disposal” to prevent the case souring relations between the two countries that fought a common struggle to end white rule.
He said whites in southern Africa, including white Judge Hans Fabricius who made the probe ruling, are trying to makes excuses for their defeat by the forces of African liberation. He called the judge “a boer,” a pejorative term for whites, and said Fabricius has no jurisdiction in Zimbabwe and does not understand the way international law works.
[Since when is Boer a 'pejorative term for whites'? Boer is Dutch and means farmer. The Boers call themselves Boers. There were two Boer Wars, named such by the British, who where also whites. I wouldn't say that being a farmer is a bad thing. Actually the Boers called the Brits 'rooinek', literally red necks. Now that would be a pejorative term. Just musing. - MrK]
The ruling came at the instigation of those “still in our midst yearning for the old flags” of Rhodesia, as Zimbabwe was known before independence in 1980, and apartheid-era South Africa, Mugabe insisted.
He told representatives of the liberation groups of the ANC, Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe that Africa has come under renewed attack from former colonisers determined to replace revolutionary parties with “malleable stooges.”
[That's the pattern across the world. Even in Greece. - MrK]
His Zanu PF party is not going to relinquish power without fighting to defend its role in achieving independence, Mugabe said.
Mugabe, 88, has been in power since independence from Britain. He was forced by regional leaders to form a coalition government with the former opposition leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, after violent and disputed elections in 2008.
Mugabe has been nominated as the candidate for his party in elections he has called for this year to end the troubled three-year coalition. He has not groomed a successor to take over the fractious party.
He acknowledged Friday that his party lost votes in strongholds in the 2008 polls and said that some of his lawmakers are now afraid to contest a new poll against Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. But the party could still rule permanently with its traditional support, he said.
“Parties don't retire, its persons who retire. We cannot say we have stayed too long in government so that we should give others a chance to rule,” he said.
In South Africa, the judge's ruling is likely to be tied up in appeals for some time before any probe starts.
Labels: ROBERT MUGABE
by Nathaniel Manheru
I WAS most amused to hear Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T president threatening Generals for political involvement. He, of all people!
Just two weeks before, the man had met with one General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR), also known as FOB, Friend of Bill, following his ill-fated decision to run for US Presidency in 2004, with full backing from Bill Clinton.
Both were Rhodes Scholars, something linking the two men, and then with Tsvangirai, to the imperial settler political legacy personified by Cecil John Rhodes. All are benefactors of Cecil John Rhodes, the first two directly, the lonely last by lineage legacy. And given Clark’s dubious title as the general to command the first phase of American-led Nato’s expansionary, regime-change expedition fatefully commissioned in the Balkans, Clark is also known as the “hammer of the Serbs”.
The full repertoire of his medals includes the Kosovo Campaign Medal, in recognition of his command during this ground-breaking air war for new global imperialism. He met our Prime Minister in Vienna, for more than an hour, well away from prying ears and eyes. Details of that meeting have not been released, never will be, although consequences of that meeting may be felt, suffered even, some day.
From Clark’s own head, by his own mouth
In 2001, the General praised America’s war leadership: “I’m very glad we have a great team in office: Powell, Ramsfield, Cheney, Rice... People I know very well. Our President George W. Bush. We need them there.”
And as the war against Iraq was raging, he added: “President Bush and Tony Blair should be proud of their resolve in the face of so much doubt.” That was in October 2003. He added: “There is a lot yet to be done, and not only by the diplomats.”
Of course for us Zimbabweans, the “great team in office” referred to men and women who were busy crafting ZDERA, that package of sanctions against this country. And the two leaders who had to be “proud of their resolve”, were the two men who could have jointly invaded Zimbabwe, had it not been for the refusal by some of our neighbours to offer their territory as beachhead for that planned invasion.
Clark’s praise and approval of the great team in office, praise of the great resolve in the face of so much doubt, could very easily have been in the aftermath of a crippling invasion of Zimbabwe. And his belief in a global agenda that called for more than diplomats, amounted to an endorsement of a new world order shaped by unjust wars, shaped by warmongering generals like him. Such is the man our Prime Minister met for a whole hour in Austria, under the pretext of human rights discourse.
Sermons from Serbian sepulchres
From the 78-day blitz war in Kosovo, the US General wrote a book, Waging Modern War, whose false premise of “a political problem cannot be solved by military force”, is heftily rebutted by the very unjust war he waged, the very war that gave him staircases to the dubious fame he rides on to this day. The book was one elaborate make-up by a general who had drawn so much Serb blood, civilian blood at that, indeed conscience-salving through dishonest scholarship.
Western generals previously in charge of deadly war machines, generals whose hands drip with the blood of innocents, always wind up on the pulpit as furiously righteous preachers of peace, frothily mouthing phrases of sanctity of life while stepping out of sepulchres they will have filled up with deadly harvests from their unjust wars. Clark emerges from that mould.
Threatening a third World War
Had it not been for a British General, one General Sir Mike Jackson, who commanded the international KFOR peacekeeping force, Wesley Clark would have started World War III over Kosovo. Clark had ordered British paratroopers to storm Pristina airport, all to prevent Russian troops from taking over the airfield of Kosovo's provincial capital.
That would have escalated matters, in fact triggered a conflict of world-war scope. For a man whose sense of war hardly ever went beyond air sorties conducted from the safety of stratospheric altitudes, a man who to this day brags of finishing a war without a single casualty from his side, such an order, however bald, sounded very bold, very bold indeed, damn the ghastly consequences. Besides, his order related to units from a non-American army.
“I am not going to start the third world war for you,” Sir Mike Jackson is said to have firmly told the Supreme Commander whose approach to war was no richer than that of an infantile Star Wars video gamer! What was our Prime Minister discussing with such a reckless man of imperial wars, discussing with a general from a hostile country? What?
The face of an era of humbuggery
And I am not being cynical. Those who served under Clark were totally derisive of him. They called him “the Ultimate Perfumed Prince”, stressing “he is far more comfortable in a drawing room discussing political theories than hunkering down in the trenches where bullets fly and soldiers die”. It is a judgment that not only damn him as a soldier; it is a judgement that suggests his claim to a remarkable simpleton.
Of course his bid for presidency never went beyond weeks of insipid campaigning. Today Clark the imperialist warrior has evolved fully. He is now Clark the “peace” campaigner, a transfiguration which continues to provoke cynical responses, such as this one from Brendan O’Neill: “When former cheerleaders of war, former warmongers and former war-supporting journalists suddenly become anti-war, it makes me suspicious.
It often seems that, for such people, being anti-war is little more than a cynical posture, a way of scoring points by joining the critique of an unpopular war. They appear to be serving themselves, rather than serving the potential victims of war.”
He still works for the American establishment, a diligent reserve force for screening America's probing interest in those it wants to turn into tools. He still works with Bill Clinton, using NGO platforms, such as the one our Prime Minister was part of in Austria, to project messages of “peace”, backdropped by the bloody legacy of Yugoslavia. And when you consider that in the 21st Century, imperial wars are provoked, fought and won in the name of peace - peace, that bitch of a word — then you appreciate Clark’s duplicitous stance is the way of our era, the way of our dangerous world.
Unjust wars, unjust tribunals
But Clark is not my subject matter. Tsvangirai is. He cannot fear generals. He looked for one recently, palavered with him for almost an hour, dined with him even. And this was not a home general, anymore than was Ben Menashe a Zimbabwean.
Rather, he was an American general, the same way Ben Menashe was an Israeli. Not just another general, any American general, but this one general who commissioned war as a principal vehicle for neo-imperial expansionism in the 21st Century. One who, through war, commissioned instruments for governing the new world order of victor nations on the one side, and victim peoples on the lowly other.
His war delivered Slobodan Milosevic for trial at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), thereby giving this UN international instrument its first ever televised trial run, its first victim for whom death was a release from that victimisation.
A good seven years later after Milosevic was delivered, thanks to Clark, Charles Taylor would beat the same path from the jungles of Africa, to face a similar process, only this time renamed Special Court for Sierra Leone. Americans call this transitional justice, something MDC-T politics has caught on to. After all the court itself had been set up in 2002, hardly two years after the hostilities of Yugoslavia.
Both marked a new justice, a new legal ethos through which militarily powerful nations would eliminate recalcitrant leaders, mostly from the Third World, easily from Africa, for judicial lynching in the name of international law. Such tribunals are a legal medley, combining domestic law and international law. Their launch assumes a quisling government at home, such as existed in Blair’s Sierra Leone, after the pacification of the native. Our Prime Minister thus met a man of war, a symbol of an unjust war and the perverted justice that follows it, indeed a persona of western efforts towards the reconquest of the Third World in the 21st Century.
The Generals we have
Zimbabwe has generals — many generals — both retired and serving. Many of its generals have commanded military campaigns we have carried out beyond our borders: for the UN and significantly, for Africa. We fought in Mozambique. We fought in the Congo. Both wars had a lot to do with liberation goals, principally that of giving Africa secure Independence, defending its territory, its sovereignty. But this is by the by.
A more fundamental point is that we have a generation of generals who were guerrillas of freedom, generals who cut their teeth in the struggle for national independence, our national independence.
They are cadre-generals, cadre-soldiers who took up arms not because they wanted a career of arms, but because their land, their country, laboured and groaned under the jackboot of British setter colonial enslavement. They are soldiers of circumstances, soldiers who were students, mere rural youths to begin with, soldiers who could have been anything but bearers of deadly arms.
The springboard to their soldiery career was nationalist politics. Not barracks. Not this bogey called professionalism, itself a fake stance of sellout indifference when your own country, your own people are being enslaved, inveigled by traitor politics. They are no guests to national politics, never will be.
A soldier’s pledge
Today they all walk with a shoulder limp from heavy armour borne in tenderness. Today they live, nay survive ravaged by horrid images of a ghastly war foist on them by circumstances of history, a war which gave them horrid sights only meant for older, mature eyes: fellow comrades mowed down by machine gun fire, fellow comrades blown to smithereens by huge bombs, fellow comrades flayed and burnt or incinerated to crispy brownness by fire, fellow comrades blistered by napalm, fellow comrades who became headless torsos that jay-walked, staggered, stood still as in pensive thought, before mechanically falling forward with the recklessness of death, the recklessness of a being who never wishes to rise and walk again.
Today they live, grow old in the dank smell of death, with the fact of eventual independence as the only sweetener. Soldiers of circumstances, generals of a political process that was forced to take up arms, a process that in due course became Zimbabwe, became us — all of us including the Prime Minister. It is a founding process for this nation, for us as a free people. Soldiers — very young then, tender then — who met mercenaries from faraway wars: Malaya, Korea, Vietnam. Met them in deadly combat.
These mercenaries came from all over: Germany, France, Holland and especially the United States of America, all to help Britain and her kith and kin here. Generals who know what it takes to free a people, what it takes to lose that freedom, too. Much worse, men and women who bear the burden of securing that young State to emerge from the cauldron of war in 1980. They carry arms in its name, for its name. They have pledged to take life in its name, for its sake, to lose their lives in its name, for its sake. Their birth as soldiers thus coincides with the birth of Zimbabwe.
The many questions gnawing generals
I pause a very simple question: how does such a person react to politics and politicians that embrace the very soldier-type he swopped fire with in battle a mere three decades ago? When you insensitively meet with Clark — an American general loaned to Nato — how do you still hope for a salute from these cadre-generals? Just how? Or demand their silence, quiescent silence at that? Do they smile, embrace, salute, kiss you, or they see you as the face of treachery, the face of a war about to be declared, the war to come?
What is more, see you as the face of a war they themselves will have to fight, to own personal peril. A new war sure to expend their already expended lives. And your politics talk of security sector reforms after dinner with Clark? Politics that suggest Zimbabwe's security sector must be reformed by western armies?
Asking questions for America
The Prime Minister and his MDC-T party have taken an anti-nation line, to great anger not just of generals, but all right-thinking Zimbabweans. These politics find home and homely sentiment in American think-tanks from which blueprints of aggression are developed, their implementation defended. These politics find comfort in lobby groups that hurt our economy. The issues now emerging from the KPCS meeting in the United States clearly show that Biti's statements on diamond mining in Zimbabwe were in fact probing attacks for the US, all in anticipation of the KPCS process.
The pressure to deploy Zimra to the diamond fields was pressure to meet the information requirements of the American government for precision attacks on the Zimbabwean economy, attacks in the name of the KPCS. How else do you reconcile his noises with the fact that the man sits in Cabinet and knows fully well what sanctions have done to our diamond trade whose receipts are reckoned in United States dollars? Is it normal trade when a country trades in its diamonds and is forced to wait for well over half a year for its receipts?
Buyers have to do all sorts of shenanigans to evade the American sanctions dragnet all to pay us. We as sellers have to do extraordinary things to get our entitlements from the diamond market. Is this free trade? Is this what the MDC-T wanted to be achieved by their sanctions? If so, why seek to kill the dying?
His own shadow minister
And in this whole saga, Tendai Biti plays the Shakespearean cynic who brings salt when he should bring plaster to a wound. Never in the history of government has there been a finance minister who plays shadow minister to himself, so well. He found fault with the facilitator's Luanda SADC Summit report for being too optimistic on the recovering Zimbabwe economy. No, we are not doing that well, he said, contradicting the overly modest estimates from the facilitator. A few days later, the Consumer Council records a fall in consumer prices, announcing a welfare gain for the country.
Why is our Finance Minister wishing the economy he runs such ill? Why such gratuitous pessimism? And yet his mantra for the whole of last year, his mantra for his party when speaking outside the country, when campaigning inside the country, is to say the MDC has recovered the economy. What genus of politics are these which feed fat on pessimism from a man who minds the economy, a man therefore who should give and spread hope there is, and make real the hope there should be?
Collapsing the national economy
It gets worse. He is fixated by diamond receipts. He will not worry about remittances from all other minerals. He wants to capture data on diamond trade; he has to be persuaded to release data on multi donor trust funds which do not reflect in national accounts, which are never talked about, except in hushed tones in MDC-T corridors of treachery. And who does not know that these funds are that party's election war chest? It gets worse. Biti saps agriculture to anaemic paleness. The countryside looks grey when it should be looking green with a winter crop.
He is not bothered. No, he would rather pay the IMF debt as if for Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans alone the consumption curve ever hits the minus zone. He is not bothered. Tsvangirai, his boss, is told by the Chinese what it takes to unlock billions in aid from that country by way of a master loan facility. A small payment to Sinosure. But no, Biti will have none of it. The MDC-T politics appear to have entered a new phase, a phase of collapsing this economy. What is the endgame?
Two sets of justice
The real outrage was still to come. It came this Thursday at a seminar in the city. To a stunned audience, the MDC-T wondered why western military intervention only happens in Libya, and now Syria, and yet does not happen here where "we are dying". And "we" is the MDC-T, "we" is the single MDC-T supporter who died in Mudzi, in circumstances which are still disputed.
The MDC-T wishes the western world to think their supporter died from being stoned by Zanu PF "thugs". They don't want a trial. They want instant convictions, per-trial convictions, including of sitting MPs and Senators from Zanu PF as would boost their numbers in Parliament. That is the game in town. But the MDC-T stoned a policeman to death kwaMunyarari, in Glen View. It will not want its accused to be put on trial. They must be released, enjoy a pre-trial release similar to that enjoyed by Blair and Bush over Iraq and Afghanistan, General Clark's heroes. And the MDC-T deploys its "civilised" youths to riot in town, to challenge the trial, to free the accused before the trial!
Office without polls
The seminar hears more. If Zanu PF pulls out of the GPA and collapses the Inclusive Government, this country will burn! "This country will burn", brags the MDC-T man, cocksure of borrowed fire, loaned incendiaries from Clark's NATO! MDC-T's politics rest on provoking a Libya-style western intervention in Zimbabwe. They do not rest on the ballot box. How can they, given the sorry state the party cuts presently, a mere four years into its maiden governance? That puts an additional layer to the Party's extra-judicial, extra-democratic hope for power: the layer of intervention above those of time-based infirmities of opposite candidate, wished-for death of the opposite candidate, and the election-circumventing GPA which comfortably brings office to the unelected, unelectable.
OPSR so badly needed
And the upshot of all this? Well, to say that Morgan Tsvangirai is not opposed to generals in politics. He is opposed to Zimbabwean Generals in politics, while accosting American generals for regime-change politics. Otherwise how does a whole Prime Minister meet politically with a general of a foreign army while fearing meeting his own generals politically here at home? He outlaws local generals from politics; he ushers non-national generals into Zimbabwe politics! It thus is not the principle of generals in politics; rather, it is the expediency of foreign generals running riot in Zimbabwean affairs, while Zimbabwean generals are penned and quartered in barracks of national inactivity, national passivity.
The MDC-T has created a certain psychosis in national politics. It is these politics, this psychosis which has created a reflex in the men in uniform, men forced to wear fatigues by a national quest for freedom and sovereignty. The problem cannot be the generals. The problem is these diseased politics peddled by the opposition. Zimbabwe needs OPSR, opposition political sector reforms, needs OPSR badly.
Nathaniel Manheru is a columnist for the Saturday Herald. E-mail him: firstname.lastname@example.org
by Tafirenyika Makunike
ZIMBABWEANS wherever they are located, are by and large political animals. If you really want to get them going, just throw them a political bone. Before you know it, they would be all scrambling all over to mauling it.
For the large Zimbabwean diaspora community, the advent of technology means much of this mauling is largely an intellectual armchair engagement. It is orchestrated on the social network and in chat rooms but ultimately change is linked to what actually happens on the ground.
Like the rest of my country folks, I am also quite passionate about politics too but over the years I have tended to see it as a decoy to keep us away from the real livelihood issues. Politics is important but it is not the answer to all things.
One route which leads to a better life to many people is enterprise development. In a country with a widening gap between the rich and the poor, I believe it can be activated in that widening gap between the rich and poor to create fruitful economic activity.
It is good that in Zimbabwe we have a ministry of Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) but that in itself will not bring the desired result. Unfortunately, as a nation, we never made sufficient definitional demarcation of what constituted an SME in the Zimbabwean context. How then can we promote something we have not defined?
It is not surprising then when Sithembiso Nyoni, the Small to Medium Enterprises and Co-operative Development Minister, spends a good part of her time having bilateral engagement with Killer Zivhu of the cross-border traders fame all in the name of SMEs.
It strikes me that we are not willing, or unable to clearly define the animal we are dealing with – one moment we refer to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs) and the next we are talking about small to medium enterprises (SMEs) interchangeably. For the sake of perspective, when I write about SMEs in the Zimbabwean context, I am referring to formally registered distinct business entities with full time employees ranging six to 80, operating in any sector of the Zimbabwean economy and with an annual turnover falling between $100,000 to US$5 million.
It is unfortunate that multilateral organisations and a myriad of donor organisations have steeped us in this poverty alleviation mindset. Zimbabwe is crying out for favourable conditions for enterprise development. Enterprise development is not a poverty alleviation lever but wealth creation. Poverty alleviation is a social function.
A sole trader at Mupedzanhamo selling second hand clothing (maziche) is not really an SME, but a survivalist. If we have to take our economy from a survivalist economy to a growth economy, then the mindset has to change.
I understand in Zimbabwe SMEs now have a legal framework to guide emerging businesses following the gazetting of the SMEs Act. While everyone acknowledges the crucial role of SMEs in the creation of decent work opportunities and overall success of the economy, our actions are not supportive. SMEs provide a vehicle for people with the lowest income and formal training to gain access to economic opportunities and lift themselves from poverty.
The flexibility of small businesses allows them to respond quickly to challenges and take advantage of opportunities. Zimbabwe needs to provide a framework which simplifies the procedures for forming a company; reduces the cost of forming a company and maintaining its existence; promotes innovation and investment by providing for flexibility in company formation and operation; provides for a predictable and effective regulatory environment; encourages transparency, efficiency and high standards of corporate governance; and makes company law compatible with best practice internationally.
There is a need to promote collaboration between SMEs and large producers to create joint ventures, market access and buy-back arrangements, as well as promote skills transfer, technology development and marketing expertise. This will increase small business access to procurement opportunities and include them in the government supply chain. These opportunities will provide experience and income for local small businesses and thus enhance their potential for growth, development and employment creation.
I looked through the results of the largest sugar producer in Zimbabwe listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange which is part of a larger JSE listed entity. There is a tacit acknowledgement that a growing number of small to medium sugar farmers are contributing significantly to the bottom-line and are going to be an important part in future growth.
Our last national budget mentioned the Old Mutual supported US$30 million Youth Empowerment Fund, and another proposed jobs fund. The Distressed and Marginalised Areas Fund (DiMAF) – a five year collaborative Facility with a seed capital of US$40 million from the Government and Old Mutual Zimbabwe, of which both parties are contributing US$20 million – was also thrown into the mix. NASSA also had its own.
In the last budget speech the minister of finance Tendai Biti identified potential for development clusters such as diamond processing, cutting and polishing; soft and hard wood cluster; resources base; livestock cluster; cotton, sugar and ethanol clusters; iron ore cluster; energy and hydrocarbon clusters; gold; tourism cluster and offshore financial hub; and horticultural hub.
To date, how many SMEs have been created by these initiatives? We are not getting enough direct taxation mainly due to the limited number of formal enterprises registered with ZIMRA. To expand the tax base in future, it is important to actively nurture a culture for enterprise development.
We have to promote SMEs that will actually create and add value. We need SMEs that will manufacture and beneficiate agro-products. Assuming a national budget of $3.5 billion of which 60% is allocated to personnel costs, it would leave $1.4 billion as a national procurement lever. How has it been spent in 2012? If we just dedicate 30% of this budget to SME procurement spend, then we would have $420 million supporting businesses in the forgotten middle of the economy.
The government has to put its money where its mouth is. They can start by dedicating all procurement below $15,000 to Zimbabwe-registered SMEs registered as tax payers with ZIMRA. Another way to accomplish this is to publish statistics across all government departments on the money spend on our own SMEs.
Eventually, this can be extended to other parts of the economy. As the SME base widens this middle ground can be the future bedrock of Zimbabwe’s accelerated economic growth.
Tafirenyika L. Makunike is the chairman and founder of Nepachem cc (www.nepachem.co.za), an enterprise development and consulting company. He writes in his personal capacity
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 21:09
Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Goes Macbeth's famous soliloquy in William Shakespeare's book by the same name. Whats immediately striking about this soliloquy is the phrase "tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. "
This phrase aptly describes the two, or is it three, MDCs’ reactions whenever they misconstrue Sadc resolutions for acceptance of their reactionary agenda. They did it after the ill-fated Livingstone Summit which ended up signifying nothing, and like Shakespeare’s proverbial idiot, they are at it again, full of sound and fury after the routine Troika meeting in Luanda, which to all intents and purposes did nothing more than re-state the obvious. That we go for elections.
“Mugabe loses poll push”, “Mugabe poll push rubbished”, “Mugabe poll push crushed”, “Sadc snubs Mugabe poll”, “Mugabe’s double loss”, “Mugabe faces end of political career”, and ‘‘Tsvangirai outfoxes Mugabe’’ were some of the private media’s screaming headlines fed from Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters.
Yet a perusal of the Sadc communiqué would leave one wondering from where the newspapers were carving the headlines.
This is what the extra-ordinary Summit’s communiqué says:
* On Zimbabwe Summit commended stakeholders for their commitment, co-operation and efforts towards the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and urged the parties to the GPA to finalise the constitution-making process and subject it to a referendum thereafter.
* Summit also urged the parties to the GPA, assisted by the Facilitator, to develop an implementation mechanism and to set out time frames for the full implementation of the Roadmap to Elections.
* Summit further commended His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa and Sadc Facilitator of the Zimbabwe Political Dialogue for his efforts to towards the the realisation of full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Any reasonable person would naturally wonder where such headlines or notions of ‘‘victory’’ for the MDC formations, and ‘‘defeat’’ for Mugabe in Luanda are coming from?
Either the MDC formations — given that they are greenhorns in the workings of Sadc — misunderstood the communiqué or were just being wilfully mischievous in a bid to placate their restive constituency.
How anyone would think Luanda, of all places, Luanda whose infrastructure still bears the pockmarks of Jonas Savimbi’s ruinous guns, quisling politics and banditry would become Mugabe’s Waterloo and the equivalent of the Normandy Landing for Tsvangirai defies logic.
If Mugabe was isolated in Luanda, how then do the sages in the MDC and their private media hacks explain the summit of liberation movements from southern Africa that begins in Harare tomorrow? A summit aimed at enhancing synergies to outflank the neo-colonial designs of the erstwhile coloniser who is destabilising the region through proxy parties like the MDCs?
The African National Congress of South Africa, Angola’s MPLA, SWAPO of Namibia, Frelimo of Mozambique and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania — all of which lead governments — are among the parties coming for the meeting of secretaries-general of the liberation movements.
The meeting is providential, coming as it does at a time the war-mongering US has identified southern Africa as an alternative source of energy to the Middle East during this decade.
A report that was released by the Bush administration’s think-tank, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in 2006 titled ‘More than Humanitarianism: A Strategic U.S. Approach Toward Africa’ predicted that; ''By the end of the decade (2000 to 2010), sub-Saharan Africa is likely to become as important a source of US energy imports as the Middle East.
“China, India, Europe, and others are competing with each other and with the United States for access to oil, natural gas, and other natural resources. The world’s major powers are also becoming more active in seeking out investments, winning contracts, and building political support on the continent.''
In the report the CFR made it clear that the foreign policy of the US towards Africa is geared towards control of the continent’s resources, that is, it is ‘‘more than humanitarianism.’’
Add to this Uncle Sam’s attempts to have a base for the so-called US Africa Military Command, AFRICOM, and the picture becomes ominous.
As the introductory statement to the CFR report says, the West has identified the Middle East and Southern Africa as its sources of energy this decade. We have already seen what Uncle Sam has done to the Middle East to lay his hands on oil. The onus is on our leadership here to outflank the West’s neo-colonial projects. While Sadc has acquitted itself well in resisting western attempts to demonise Zimbabwe for daring to empower its people, it is not in dispute that Sadc could have done much more than just resisting, the bloc should actually have worked to bust the sanctions.
Zimbabwe has consistently shown its neighbours how to respond whenever a member state is threatened by external aggression, ‘injure one, injure all’ should be the bloc’s motto.
Our forces moved into Mozambique to serve Frelimo from the insurgency launched by the Mozambique National Resistance (Renamo) bandits who had the backing of apartheid South Africa.
As former South African president Thabo Mbeki revealed recently when he came for the University of Zimbabwe fundraising dinner, Zimbabwe delayed land redistribution for South Africa’s benefit. President Mugabe did not want to scare the apartheid regime into thinking that once black people become independent, they proceed to dispossess their former rulers of ill-gotten colonial gains.
When the Democratic Republic of the Congo was invaded by rebels led by Rwanda and Uganda; Zimbabwe which was then chair of the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation moved into to protect the territorial integrity of the DRC along with Angola and Namibia under Operation Sovereign Legitimacy.
Uganda and Rwanda’s incursion into the DRC was backed by the US which wanted to install a puppet regime to succeed Mobutu Sese Seko’s, so that it could continue pillaging the country’s vast resources while the citizens hacked each other to death.
Our intervention and successful campaign against the US-backed rebels disturbed the envisaged feeding frenzy; which is why our economy was targeted for sabotage from 1997 to this day. Operation Sovereign Legitimacy is one of the reasons why the US openly says the policies adopted by the Government of Zimbabwe continue ‘‘to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States.’’
Tsvangirai and his handlers should stop popping the champagne, the region is not fooled for ‘‘the actions and policies of proxy movements pose usual and dangerous threats to the region’s independence’’.
Sadc cut its teeth as the Front Line States that spearheaded decolonisation, it will be a cold day in hell that they forget that illustrious history.
The MDCs must be the change they want, change to be truly African. Then they wouldn’t have to misrepresent Sadc resolutions to assuage their supporters. Their politics would become palatable.
Sadc cut its teeth as the Front Line States that spearheaded decolonisation, it will be a cold day in hell that they forget that illustrious history.
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:00
COTTON growers have urged Government to start buying the crop now, as further delays will result in huge losses. This follows an announcement by the Agricultural Marketing Authority that cotton has been declared a controlled product with immediate effect. This means Government will buy the entire crop.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union executive director, Mr Paul Zakariya, said it was Government’s role to quickly move in and announce prices.
“As we speak, we eagerly await to hear what the next step will be as farmers are still holding on to their crop following our advice,” he said.
Mr Zakariya said the union supported any move aimed at alleviating farmers’ suffering.
“We support any Government initiatives to save farmers and we believe that the Government has assessed all the risks associated with the move,” he said.
Mr Zakariya also implored Government to come up with a long term plan on production of the crop.
“We want long-term planning in terms of how cotton is going to be produced in the country.
“Growers should not get stranded by lack of funding and we hope Government is working on this,” he said.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Donald Khumalo, urged Government to always protect farmers’ interests. — Herald Reporter/New Ziana.
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:00
IN the last decade, the Government has adopted the Look East Policy in a bid to bust sanctions imposed on the country in early 2000 by the West. And in recent years, there has been a considerable increase in trade and investment between Zimbabwe and China.
However, locals are facing difficulties in trading with China because of the size of the Chinese economy and the complexity of the industrial structure. To this end, Africa Economic Development Strategies in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and the Chinese Embassy are hosting the first ever Zimbabwe China Trade Fair.
Our business reporter Martin Kadzere (MK) spoke to AEDS chief executive Mr Gift Mugano (GM) about the Zim-China fair to be held next month.
MK: What are the objectives of the fair?
GM: It seeks, inter alia, to create business linkages between the companies of the two countries. The fair will be held at the Rainbow Towers in Harare, from July 2-4. It will run under the theme “Unleashing Zimbabwe’s Potential: Turning Minerals into Dollars”.
MK: Which companies are you expecting from China?
GM: We expect companies participating at this grand occasion from China to come from various sectors which include electronics, hardware — building materials, construction and machinery, industrial equipment — motor industry and buses, clothing and textiles, cosmetics and beauty products, agro-chemicals and equipment, medicines and pharmaceuticals. We are happy that quite a number of companies from China have confirmed their participation.
MK: What about local companies?
GM: In Zimbabwe and the region, we expect participants to come from similar sectors. You are obviously aware that China is the new economic powerhouse in the world and most economies including Western countries are also looking to the Chinese.
Our companies are constantly sourcing (various goods) from China and most of them are failing to penetrate the Chinese market because of a number of factors such as the language barrier and the intimidating structure of the Chinese economy. As a result, most of our companies have resorted to buying from South African companies which have strong international supply chain management.
We have taken note of this as AEDS and we believe this trade fair will address these procurement challenges.
MK: Will you have a platform during the fair where traders and investors can interact?
GM: We are going to have a match making symposium, a platform where traders and investors meet during exhibitions and create networks.
The end result is creation of business linkages of related business which result in a number of benefits including smooth, easier and solid networks in supply chain management; trade facilitation between Zimbabwe and Asian countries and significantly lowering the costs of doing business.
At the end of the fair we are hoping that investment and trade relationships between Zimbabwe, Chinese clients and other investors will become stronger.
Competitive insights of Zimbabwe’s opportunities for investment and growth, opportunities to negotiate with the potential investors and traders, introduction to new products and services and realisation of the benefits of Zimbabwe-China engagement in global economy are expected.
The trade fair will certainly provide an excellent opportunity for potential and current investors to engage with Zimbabwe and exploit its vast investment opportunities.
MK: Who are the speakers?
GM: They include Minister of Industry and Commerce Prof Welshman Ncube, who will be the guest of honour, Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara, Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Tapiwa Mashakada, and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. Others are Minister of Mines and Mining Development Dr Obert Mpofu, Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa and various speakers from the business community and development partners.
Participants will also have an opportunity to interact with various high-powered speakers who will be making presentations which are expected to set the tone on how Zimbabwe and China can turn their strong political relations into robust economic ties.
MK: What are the registration procedures?
GM: For the registration, Africa Economic Development Strategies has joined hands with the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries. Companies can therefore register either with AEDS, CZI or ZNCC.
Friday, 08 June 2012 12:00
Tawanda Musarurwa Business Reporter
ZIMBABWE’S arrears to the African Development Bank will be cleared under the Fragile States Facility, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono has said. The country owes the regional financier around US$510 million.
The FSF was established as an operationally autonomous special purpose entity within the AfDB to provide eligible fragile states with clearance of arrears for eligible countries.
The facility also provides technical assistance and capacity building support in an effort to contribute to accelerated state building and supplemental grant resources to support post-conflict states in their rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts.
Zimbabwe is one of the targeted beneficiaries of the FSF, and is listed as one of the “moderated fragile states”.
Commenting on the country’s Zimbabwe Accelerated Arrears Clearance, Debt and Development Strategy (ZAADDS), a strategy to fight the country’s external debt overhang which is estimated at over US$8 billion, Dr Gono said the country was able to meet the requirements of the FSF.
“Under this facility, Zimbabwe would be required to meet up to one-third of its arrears clearance obligations, while the remaining two-thirds of the required financing would be provided through the FSF.
“Zimbabwe is already on course towards fulfilling the preconditions for accessing financing under the FSF,” he said.
The key preconditions for accessing FSF funds include commitment to consolidating peace and security, a demonstration of the unmet social and economic needs, a track record of sound macro-economic and financial management reforms, respect of the preferred credit status of the AfDB group and eligibility for traditional debt relief.
The use of the AfDB’s FSF is one of the mechanics of the ZAADDS through which the country plans to re-engage with its respective multilateral, bilateral and commercial creditors.
Dr Gono said the re-engagement of bilateral creditors would be done primarily through the Paris Club, while the other official and non-Paris Club creditors members will be dealt with individually.
In terms of re-engagement with the Paris Club Creditors, the RBZ Governor said Zimbabwe would seek debt relief from the Paris Club under the Naples terms to clear its arrears to the Paris Club Creditors amounting to US$2,1 billion.
Under the Naples terms, the Paris Club creditors may write off up to 67 percent of the total outstanding debt stock and reschedule the balance over several years.
The Naples terms are applicable to countries whose Gross National Income per capita is less than US$500, and Zimbabwe qualifies since its GNI per capita is currently around US$340.
Dr Gono also added that the country is at an advanced stage towards entering a staff-monitored programme with the International Monetary Fund, which is a critical step towards re-engagement with the Paris Club creditors.
In terms of the ZAADDS strategy to re-engage with the IMF, the country is expected to secure resources from other development partners at concessional terms and deploy them towards clearing arrears to the IMF. Currently, the country is unable to pay off the overdue amount using its own resources.
Zimbabwe still owes the IMF about US$140 million contracted under the Extended Credit Facility.
The Government has since declined to settle its arrears with the institution under the Highly Indebted Poor Country strategy.
In terms of re-engagement with the World Bank, Dr Gono explained that the ZAADDS strategy proffers two options that the country can pursue.
The first option involves utilising the World Bank’s soft credit window, the International Development Association, to clear 15 percent of Zimbabwe’s arrears to the
World Bank Group, under the IDA15 replenishment arrangements. On the other hand, the World Bank can provide an Exceptional Arrears Clearance Grant under which a bridging loan can be provided by development partners and repaid with the proceeds of the IDA Development Policy Co-operation.
Dr Gono also said the Government would negotiate for a bridging loan or grant for the clearance of the European Investment Bank arrears. The idea is to repay the loan through proceeds of financing facilities from the international financial institutions.
Meanwhile, the Government is finally going to take an active approach in dealing with the issue of securitising the country’s vast mineral resources as part of the ZAADDS strategy.
Such players as the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, whose members are in dire need of effective sources of funding, have made calls for mineral securitisation.
“The policies enunciated in ZAADDS are at variance with the HIPC initiative as it leverages on the country’s natural resources for sustainable economic development,” said Dr Gono.
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Sat 09 June 2012, 12:59 CAT
MMD Copperbelt chairman Joseph Chilambwe says malicious schemes by some MMD members of parliament to hound Felix Mutati will destroy the party if left unchecked. In an interview yesterday, Chilambwe said media reports suggesting that Mutati was facing expulsion from the party on allegations that he was persuading MMD members to join the PF were malicious and meant to tarnish his image.
He said it would be extremely unfair for some individual members of the MMD who are also members of parliament to continue harassing and tarnishing the image of Mutati who had over the years demonstrated undoubted commitment and sacrifice to the party.
Chilambwe said the new leader of MMD, Nevers Mumba, must come out strongly and protect the interests of the party by stopping the continued harassment of Mutati by people with strange and selfish motives like MMD Solwezi Central member of parliament Lucky Mulusa.
"The indiscipline being exhibited by people like Mulusa must be brought to an end. Felix Mutati contested the elections, he lost and he has kept quiet, that's what democracy is all about. Why are they scared of Mutati? They are saying that he has been persuading people on the Copperbelt to join PF. Let them substantiate their allegations before they continue with their insults. I 'am the chairman of the MMD here and there is nothing like that," Chilambwe said.
He said many Zambians expected the MMD to be more united after the election of the party president if the party was to regain the confidence of the citizenry.
Chilambwe said Mutati was a peaceful man who meant well for the MMD and had never been in the culture of political attacks and insults.
He said Mutati was on the Copperbelt campaigning just like other candidates who were seeking the party presidency.
"We have heard very unfortunate statements that he has failed as leader of the opposition in Parliament. They are saying that because Mutati does not know politics of insults. Do they want him to start insulting President Sata for them to see that he is a loyal member of the MMD? Politics of insults will never take us anywhere," Chilambwe said.
Sources during the week disclosed that Mutati was persuading MMD members to join the PF as a show of no confidence in Pastor Mumba and the MMD.
The MMD National Executive Committee (NEC) sources accused Mutati of asking some MMD officials to resign and defect to PF, a move meant to weaken and distabilise his party.
They said Mutati was plotting with some MMD provincial officials to rise against Pastor Mumba's leadership.
"On the Copperbelt, he's telling people that Pastor Mumba can't be trusted and won't recognise leaders at lower levels. He wants members to resign and join PF to show that people don't have confidence in Pastor Mumba so that the party dies like UNIP because for him, he has a chance in PF...Actually he's trying to engineer within NEC to cause a revolt," the sources said.
The sources said Mutati would first be removed as leader of the opposition in the house.
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone
Sat 09 June 2012, 12:59 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front secretary general Wynter Kabimba has directed party members to stay away from the UPND provocations so that the Livingstone by-elections are peaceful. And Livingstone PF candidate Joseph Akafumba says the area in its current state did not qualify to be called a tourist capital.
Speaking during a special programme on radio Musi-oa-Tunya on Thursday, Kabimba said the ruling party would not harass anybody who did not want to belong to the party.
"People like William Banda would have been a misfit in the party; that is why he did not even apply to join us but instead opted for the UPND. What happened during the nomination process was that it was the UPND cadres who advanced towards the PF and it is a pity that HH had to use an insulting signal towards people who disagree with him," Kabimba said.
He urged the PF members to stay away from the UPND provocations so that the Livingstone by-elections were peaceful.
"We want violence of the ballot and not what happened at the civic centre," he said.
On Akafumba, Kabimba said if Livingstone residents did not vote for him, they would be 'committing suicide'.
"We don't want leaders who will win and just start building lodges and if you look at the decision of the High Court nullification it means that the PF won the elections," he said.
"This is not the first time they have done this, they did this in Musanzala and in Nakonde and even in the last general elections they were in alliance and we defeated them. What we know for a fact is that the people voted for the PF against all odds and all propaganda, I'm confident that the people of Livingstone will vote for Mr Akafumba," said Kabimba.
And Akafumba said it was a shame that the MMD in 20 years failed to provide sanitation for some people in Livingstone.
"If Livingstone was a patient it would be in intensive care unit with multiple organ complication. We do not have a modern market and some residents do not have access to sanitation. I will lobby government to improve the lives of the people," said Akafumba.
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sat 09 June 2012, 13:00 CAT
MINISTER of Home Affairs Kennedy Sakeni says Robert Amsterdam is not welcome in Zambia. And Amsterdam said in an interview that the VISA issued to him by the Zambian High Commission in UK to visit Zambia had been withheld.
"I was given a VISA to come to Zambia but because there is so much talk about me by the Zambian government. I have been asked to wait until a few things are cleared," said Amsterdam who was recently hounded out of Singapore.
Opposition political party leaders in Zambia have petitioned the donor community over President Michael Sata's leadership through Amsterdam as their consultant.
Sakeni however warned in an interview that Amsterdam should not even have been issued with a VISA in the first place because of his questionable activities.
"His name is one of those that are talking about Zambia's internal politics. So how can he be given a VISA as a tourist?" asked Sakeni.
He said as minister in charge of internal security, he could not allow Amsterdam into the country.
"In fact let me tell you that from the word go, he is not welcome. We do not need him as tourist. Let him go and tour other countries. That is the position. We can't allow a foreigner to come and start engaging in our internal affairs. He should forget about that VISA," charged Sakeni.
And Amsterdam said the Zambian High Commission in UK had withheld the VISA shortly after it was issued to him.
Some opposition political parties have engaged Amsterdam as their consultant in their petition to the donor community over their fight with PF and President Sata.
In an open letter addressed to the donor community written and signed by the party leaders and Amsterdam, they contested several decisions that had taken place under PF.
The leaders who included Pastor Nevers Mumba, Hakainde Hichilema, Charles Milupi, Sakwiba Sikota, Edwin Sakala and lawyer Amsterdam, stated that it was their concern that continued unconditional donor support to the PF administration would further the disturbing trends that represented a sharp departure from the laws, norms, traditions, and constitutional culture of the country.
According to them, President Sata had engaged in a concerted effort to install family members and friends in all key positions of the country's economic management; assaulted the independence of the judiciary, and; systematically eliminated democratic rights of the political opposition and freedom of expression, among other things.
By The Post
Sat 09 June 2012, 13:00 CAT
DIVINE intervention is required in our Judiciary because things are out of control, things have gone horribly wrong. Integrity, honesty and leadership are no longer there. What we have today is a Judiciary dominated by crooks, by dishonest people who have no problems telling lies.
And we can say this with confidence because some of them have lied about us and have continued to do so without shame. And at the helm of this disgraced Judiciary is Ernest Sakala. Truly, our judges need prayers.
And Sakala's request to the Church to pray for judges is timely. As Sakala has correctly observed, we need to remember our Judiciary in our prayers, and to pray for the judges especially. This is so because some of them have lost "the moral fabrics of the adjudicators".
Our judges truly need Bibles because some of the things they do can only be done by people with evil minds. The Holy Bible teaches us that "it is wrong for a judge to be prejudiced. If he pronounces a guilty person innocent, he will be cursed and hated by everyone.
Judges who punish the guilty, however, will be prosperous and enjoy a good reputation" (Proverbs 24:24-25); "Don't give evidence against someone else without good reason, or say misleading things about him" (Proverbs 24:28); "If you plant the seeds of injustice, disaster will spring up, and your oppression of others will end" (Proverbs 22:8); "When justice is done, good people are happy, but evil people are brought to despair" (Proverbs 21:15); "It is not right to favour the guilty and keep the innocent from receiving justice" (Proverbs 18:5); "Condemning the innocent or letting the wicked go - both are hateful to the lord" (Proverbs 17:15); "Respected people do not tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say" (Proverbs 17:7); "Do not plough the ground to plant seeds of injustice; you may reap a bigger harvest than you expect" (Sirach 7:3); "Do not set your heart on being a judge, unless you have the strength of character it takes to put an end to injustice…" (Sirach 7:6).
Yes, as Sakala says, judges need prayers. But so do the people who are victims of our judges' corruption and abuse of power. They too need prayers, probably more than the judges do. There is no need for Sakala to make it seem as if the judges are victims, are on the receiving end.
No! They are not victims - the victims are the people who have been made to suffer the consequences of their corruption and abuse of judicial power. It is important to admit things when they are wrong and you avoid embarrassment.
Sakala says that if the reforms in the Judiciary mean dismissing the Chief Justice and judges, then he was not competent to comment. The current Kenyan Chief Justice has no problems seeing to it that corrupt judges are dismissed, including the Chief Justice. It's not okay to keep people in public offices they have disgraced.
There should be a resolute effort to hunt every such man out of the position he has disgraced. Our plea is, not for immunity to but for the most unsparing exposure of everyone, including judges, who betrays his trust. And in saying this, we are not in any way preaching hatred against anyone.
We don't believe in the law of hate. We may not always be true to our ideals, but we believe in the law of love, and we believe you can do nothing with hatred. We would like to see a time when man loves his fellow man and forgets all other descriptions. We will never be civilised until that time comes.
We are told in the bible, as quoted above, that it is wrong for a judge to be prejudiced. And if he pronounces a guilty person innocent, he will be cursed and hated by everyone. These are some of the things that are today backfiring on our judges.
For too long they have been passing judgments that don't make sense, that are corrupt, that favour certain interests. And today because of this they are being cursed, they are hated, as the bible says, by everyone.
Dismissing incompetent and corrupt judges should be part of any serious reform of the Judiciary. Sakala doesn't want this to happen. He wants every corrupt and incompetent judge to remain in their jobs! Why? For what? What type of reasoning is this? What type of reforms is Sakala talking about or calling genuine?
Genuine reforms take out everything that is rotten, that is not working and replaces it by something new that promises to work. The truth is that Sakala is defensive about his Judiciary because he is responsible for the rot that has been going on, that is going on. Sakala has failed to provide the required competent leadership our Judiciary requires.
And he can't today claim to have performed his duties with sufficient competence, honour and integrity. We say this because in our own case, Sakala has given contradictory statements which border on lies and dishonest. Honesty is required in every leadership position, more so in the Judiciary where there has to be adjudication of differences among people.
In other countries Sakala would have been dismissed from the Judiciary a long time ago for unprofessional behaviour. Sakala is today defending that which cannot be reasonably defended because he is part of it. Sakala is at the helm of this rot. Why shouldn't he be dismissed?
The Zambian taxpayer cannot be expected to pay for that type of service. More is expected of our judges because they are well-remunerated and well-protected. In fact, the people are not protected against some of their corrupt decisions.
The people need more protection today from corrupt judges than the judges need from the people. And more prayers should be directed towards the people than the judges because the people need more protection, more help than the judges who are in a very powerful position. Nothing can happen to them.
If you want to make them accountable they simply use their courts to protect themselves from being made to account for their misconduct, their transgressions and mistreatment of others. What further protection do our judges need when they have proved themselves to be untouchable, omnipotent?
No institution can touch our judges today. They can lord over others but no one can ever attempt to straighten them. Probably the only prayers they need more of are those intended or designed to stop them from mistreating others, from abusing the judicial powers vested in them.
It is interesting to see some of the worst criminals in robes pretending to be victims. What victims can these corrupt elements claim to be?
It's good Sakala's contract which was given to him by Rupiah Banda after he had reached retirement age is coming to an end in August. There will be no need to renew it. The man has nothing to offer but destruction.
The anarchy we are seeing today in the nation is as a result of his failure to lead the Judiciary in the right way. Look at those very close to him and examine their behaviour! They are the most indisciplined. They are the ones being accused of corruption. What type of Chief Justice is this? What type of leadership is Sakala providing to our Judiciary?
It is good religious leaders went to offer our judges Bibles and prayers. We hope they will read those Bibles and learn the teachings and wisdom contained in them and change their behaviour.
We need religious institutions to continue to be the conscious of society, a moral custodian and a fearless champion of the interests of the weak and downtrodden. All our key religious leaders and institutions in this country have in a very strong way called for reforms in the our Judiciary.
Sakala doesn't see the urgency of this and thinks it's business as usual claiming the reforms in the Judiciary started long before the public outcry as he has said before. It's good he at least recognises that there is a public outcry for reforms in the Judiciary.
But instead of being defensive, he should be asking himself what has generated this public outcry. Of course, Sakala tries to play down every call for reform and he tries to play semantics with the so-called genuine reforms. But who has defined these so-called genuine reforms?
We are lucky as a nation that the reforms will not come from Sakala - the matter is beyond him. And as the Law Association of Zambia correctly observed, the current leadership of the Judiciary has no capacity to carry out the reforms required in our Judiciary by our people.
And it is for this reason that Sakala and his cabal of incompetent and corrupt judges must go. If Sakala knew what genuine reforms are required and had implemented them, there wouldn't be this public outcry for reforms. He can't today claim that nobody in the Judiciary is resisting reforms, particularly genuine reforms.
They are resisting and they are using their offices to do that. And if there was no resistance of genuine reforms, Sakala wouldn't be Chief Justice today because genuine reforms would have swept him aside a long time ago.
By Namatama Mundia
Sat 09 June 2012, 13:00 CAT
CHIEF Justice Ernest Sakala has asked the Church to pray for judges especially during this period. Speaking after he received 55 Bibles from Save Rural Africa Foundation president chief Chipepo at the High Court yesterday, justice Sakala however, said there was nobody in the Judiciary who was resisting judicial reforms particularly genuine reforms.
He said if reforms in the Judiciary meant dismissing the Chief Justice and judges, then he was not competent to comment but added that genuine reforms were welcome.
Justice Sakala said reforms in the Judiciary started long before the public outcry as he had said before.
Justice Sakala asked the Church in the country to continuously remember the Judiciary in their prayers, especially the judges.
"…when the Judiciary has attracted so much attention from members of the public as well as from the Church, including some members of my own church, the Catholic Church," justice Sakala said.
"But despite the different views that have been expressed by many people, including the Church about and on the Judiciary, on one thing we are all agreed. That is, that we all need an independent and accountable Judiciary because without it, there would be anarchy in our country."
On Thursday, Lusaka Catholic Archbishop, Telesphore Mpundu said the Judiciary should be dissolved if it continued to resist reforms.
Archbishop Mpundu said the Judiciary was not a sacred cow that should be left untouched when it made mistakes.
Several stakeholders too have asked justice Sakala to resign to pave way for robust judicial reforms.
Law Association of Zambia president James Banda when beginning his term of office said that the professional body would ensure that it restored and maintained the integrity of the Judiciary.
But justice Sakala then responded to Banda that the Judiciary would wait to see how LAZ would restore the Judiciary's integrity.
During the opening of the High Court criminal sessions for 2012 in Lusaka, justice Sakala said he was not sure if LAZ was aware of the challenges being faced by the courts.
"I have seen in the press today where LAZ is talking about restoring integrity to the Judiciary. We will wait to see how LAZ will do that. I am not sure if LAZ has any idea of the challenges faced by the judiciary," he said then.
Copperbelt University student leaders also argued that justice Sakala had openly shown how partisan he was under Rupiah Banda.
Yesterday, justice Sakala said that the concept of legal and judicial reforms was accepted by all of them adding that it must not be understood to mean the destruction of the Judiciary but the improvement of the Judiciary.
"Individuals will continue being appointed as judges or even as chief justices, but their time to leave will come and they will go. But the judiciary as an institution, will remain and will continue," he said.
Justice Sakala said he does not believe that the presentation of the Bibles to the judges was simply a mere coincidence that the Foundation chose this particular time to present them.
"In my view, you must have been inspired to choose this time. The inspirations must have come about because the Holy Bibles contain good news. Yes, there could have been no better time for presenting the good news to the judiciary than now. For obvious reasons, I do not intend to elaborate on this," he said.
Justice Sakala said the presentation of the Bibles to the adjudicators symbolised the importance which the Foundation attached to the moral fabrics of the adjudicators.
He said he considered the Bible to be a higher constitution, which embodies all the constitutions and laws of the world.
Justice Sakala said the presentation of the Bibles marked an indelible milestone in the history of the Judiciary.
And chief Chipepo said there would be revival in the Judiciary and people would start smiling.
"There will be nobody who will talk ill about the other," he said.
Chief Chipepo said judges were a group of people who needed to be respected at all levels.
"You can't talk ill about a judge just like you can't talk ill of a President," he said.
And Pastor Wisdom Gondwe prayed for justice Sakala and other judges that God should lead them and the Judiciary where he wants them to be.
He also prayed for God's protection over the judges.