Saturday, June 16, 2012

(HERALD ZW) MDC: Building a war psychosis

MDC: Building a war psychosis
Friday, 15 June 2012 22:46

In the early eighties I had a friend who worked in the security establishment. He was in charge of VIP protection. One day he was tasked to ensure a VVIP was transported to Kushinga-Pikhelela, transported safe and sound. And because the VVIP was pressed for time, my security friend raised the Airforce of Zimbabwe for a helicopter. A while after the request, the Airforce phoned back to regret that the helicopter meant to ferry the VVIP had developed a technical fault and thus would not be available for the trip.

Like a diligent officer, my friend wasted no time in lining up a motorcade. That done, he then beat the corridors to announce to the VVIP that indeed all was ready for the short journey.

What will become of me?

Just a stride away from the doormat of the VVIP, his walkie-talkie hoarsely groaned. The Airforce was on the other end. The message was short, sharp. The “bird” was ready to take off. “Rodger!” he signed off, conveying disguising placidity. What followed was nothing short of a gale of temperament.

“Do you hear what these Airforce guys are saying?”


“They tell me the helicopter is now ready!”

You could not miss his disbelief, his consternation.


“Aa-ah, how am I assured that something will not go wrong mid-air? Barely five minutes ago they told me the ‘copter is not well, now they tell me it’s airworthy! No, I am not taking the offer. Never!”
There was finality. There was consternation rapidly giving way to outrage. I looked at the agitated man, wondering how to tackle him.
“If the helicopter crashes, what will I say? Vanoda kuti ndifire kuChikurubi? (They want me to rot and die in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison?)”

Surviving through imagination

At which point I burst into mocking laughter, raucous laughter. Peal after peal, I laughed, eyes too shut to see the approaching VVIP.

“But Comrade Mashiri, what makes you think you will survive the crash to answer questions, let alone to die in Chikurubi?” He looked at me, vacantly.

Soon after, I caught sight of the VVIP and, to be proper, unhappily aborted my laughter which would have gone far, very far. A hurried off, followed by the purr of my laughter, firmly subdued by the urge for propriety.

The sorry story of Libya

Beginning of this week saw reports of desperation from Libya, post-Gaddafi Libya. The British Guardian reported that the vast, desert country hovered on the margins of a bloody split, a split into three shards centred around Benghazi, Misrata and Zintan, all of them increasingly growing refractory and independent of Tripoli.

Misrata is slowly mutating from being a provincial focal point of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion, to being a breakaway republic, Republic of Misrata, under the rule of erstwhile rebels, all of them well armed, very determined to become a state unto themselves. This third largest city will not hear of Tripoli, the seat of the new, post-Gaddafi Libyan government under the NTC. Tripoli is secretive, corrupt, heavy-handed, dictatorial and dysfunctional. Misrata, by contrast, is brisk, clean and working. “We don’t want to be independent, we want Libya to be like us,” Farouk Ben Amin, a former rebel, is quoted as saying.

Zintan is bitter. Principally, it wants to know what has become of the US$1 billion in monthly oil revenue which does not seem too keen to percolate to other regions.
Damning, Discarding Tripoli

But Misrata has already held her own elections, with Tripoli still struggling to go to the polls. That fortifies belief in herself. She has accomplished what the centre cannot do. Zintan, a hundred miles away from Misrata, is in no different mood. This is the town that gave Libya the Zintan Brigade which captured Gaddafi’s only surviving son, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi.

Now Zintan is bitter, bitter about many things happening from and in Tripoli. Principally, it wants to know what has become of the US$1 billion in monthly oil revenue which does not seem too keen to percolate to other regions. “We have good security here,” brags the Leicester-educated Attaher Eturki, city council leader, drawing a damning contrast with Tripoli.

The good days of Cyrenaica

Benghazi, itself the nucleus of the anti-Gaddafi rebellion, is more historical in its bitterness. It recalls life before Italian colonialism that forcibly bandied it together with the rest, to give Africa a new state of colonial Libya. Benghazi used to stand as the capital of Cyrenaica, itself a region which stood in apposition to two others, Tripolitania and Fezzan, which together make up today’s Libya.

It hungers after that halcyon era, and has the guns and will to go thither. It has proclaimed the Council of Barqa, the Arab name for Cyrenaica. It is urging a boycott of national elections unless it is granted more seats at the expense of the central government. The province has been getting a mere 60 seats out of the 200 in national elections. But all this relates to the strong regional sentiment to emerge from the ashes of the so-called Libyan revolution, in reality a NATO air putsch.

Decree No. 37

Underlying all this is a despairing sense of paradox, paradox in the “new” Libya. The new Libya carries the character of Gaddafi’s old Libya, as given us by Western propaganda. It is corrupt, it is dictatorial. In May the NTC government passed Decree No. 37 which made it a criminal offence to criticise the “17 February Revolution”. Except for the phrase “17 February Revolution”, everything about the decree was lifted from Gaddafi's Libya.

Gaddafi ruled through impulsively drawn-up decrees. So does the NTC, giving Libyans the sense of movement of a gyroscope. It turns, rotates, but keeps in the same position. “We got rid of Gaddafi, but not the regime . . . We didn’t do a revolution and our people did not die to bring a new dictatorship”, says Hanna El Gallal.

And representatives of NATO governments are too embarrassed to deny: “The NTC don’t mean to act this way (referring to rule by decrees) . . . But they don’t know any other way”, says an unnamed European diplomat, in clear apology for the monster they have sired in the name of emancipation.

The rebels in the three regions, all of them still armed, share a menacing brag: they have the oil dollars, we have guns. If we don’t like the government, well, we know how to do a revolution. That is Libya in the aftermath of a revolution of sorts.
Significantly, on all this mayhem, the monstrous pistons of oil rigs keep pounding, vomiting barrels and barrels of black spittle that is injected into huge vessels that cross the high seas for Europe and beyond.

The story of Tunisia

Let us visit Tunisia, itself the spark of the Arab Spring. On Tuesday, June 12, Tunis suffered a spate of overnight attacks on courts and other state buildings by gangs who included Islamist hardliners called Salafists. The attacks were also replicated in the country’s Northwest. This is post-Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s Tunisia, all moulded after the magisterial West’s neo-liberal blueprint.

The attacks were complemented by snowballing riots, raising fears that the moderate Islamist government there might be unable to restore order.
The old Islamic order feels Tunisia has fallen into the hands of infidels, and would want a return to a sharia era. Ironically, those arrested — 83 all told — will be charged under a 2003 anti-terror law made during Ben Ali’s rule. So it’s old conservatives challenging a new, post-revolution government which, paradoxically, makes recourse to an old law to deal with the new challenge emerging in the aftermath of a revolution with the West’s imprimatur. Of course after Tunisia, Egypt was next. How fare thee, land of the Pharaohs?

The land of the Pharaohs

As I write, Egypt’s highest court ruled on Thursday that the country’s Islamist-dominated parliament was elected illegally, meaning parliament will have to be dissolved on the eve of a crucial presidential run-off whose prospects are also now dim and doubtful. The same court also ruled that Ahmed Shafiq, a former ally of ousted President Mubarak, is allowed to run for president, invalidating a law that had banned members of Mubarak’s party from running for political office.

Immediately after the ruling, the Military announced it would take over legislative powers, rising the spectre of a slow, graduated or incremental coup. The Islamic

Brotherhood which dominated the outlawed lower house stands to lose the most, creating a new situation in which it’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi, will have to battle it out without the advantage of legislative incumbency, indeed creating a new situation where whoever emerges as the leader of Egypt, would have to govern without democratic institutions, only with the military!

“Both decisions empower the Mubarak status quo, which is no surprise, as the judges of the court were appointed by the latter, and represent a part of the so-called ‘deep-state’”, says Omar Ashour, an Egyptian don at Exeter.

Slouching back to Tahrir

Of course Egypt is seething with anger, her feet thudding back to Tahrir Square for a new round of protests, hopefully peaceful ones this time. But the deep fear is that the guys in uniform are destabilising the process all to mould the electorate to their authoritarian agenda. Egypt is also wearied, too wearied that the wish for stability could make her settle for anything. And of course Uncle Sam gladly watches as wrong actors — the military — do right things for his foreign policy interests.
Like the military, America abhors the Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt, quietly hoping, Shafiq can be relied upon to “reinvent a new Mubarak regime with a new look”.

Meanwhile America has just approved some US$1,7 billion in aid, of which US$1,3 billion goes to the same military. And White House overrode Congress to get the aid through. What clearer indication of Washington’s wish to ensure the military prevail over the Islamists!

Of course America’s mouth is frothing in well-crafted hypocrisy: “We want to see the Egyptian people have what they fought for, which is a free, fair, democratic, transparent system of government — government that represents the will of the people, a parliament so elected, a president so elected”, said a State Department!

You pay the bill for the military to overturn the will of the people; you jaw, jaw democracy! And of course with no Parliament, there is no one to write a constitution! But that is Egypt, up there on the edges of the Mediterranean. How fares the gotsi, or back of the head of the continent?

Gunning the UN

After a false lull, Cote d’Ivoire is registering the beginnings of a protracted bloody insurgency, post-Gbagbo Cote d’Ivoire. Already, seven UN peacekeepers have been killed close to that country’s border with Liberia. Of course UN peacekeepers are part of the bloody equation. The drawn-out stand off between the deposed America has just approved some US$1,7 billion in aid, of which US$1,3 billion goes to the Egyptian military.

Gbagbo and the current leader Ouattara sucked in the UN peacekeepers, with their helicopter gunships, reinforced by a French contingent, moving from peacekeeping to “peacemaking”.

In Cote d’Ivoire , the UN went to war, creating a situation in which Gbagbo supporters view it as part of an occupying force which supplanted an indigenous president to replace him with a Burkinabe supported by France, America, Britain and the IMF. That was in 2011, a year that left Cote d’Ivoire totally compliant with Western democratic expectations, but totally and bitterly divided as a nation.

“There are two possibilities: either we will kill them, or they will kill us”, said one Gbagbo militia fighter to Human Rights Watch. A legacy of peril, hardly one of peace and promise.

Hard lessons from Africa

Quite deliberately, I have bored the reader with the foregoing mosaic of telling vignettes so we all begin to appreciate what has become of the so-called Western-sanctioned, even Western-led, revolutions on our continent. I have left out Syria, itself a tragic battleground of contenting forces vying for supremacy. Is it not remarkable that NATO which is smuggling massive ordinances into Syria, goes loudly sentimental when women and children are decapitated in tens and hundreds?

What are those weapons for? What is all this talk of peace about? So salve bloody consciences? The larger picture is that in all these UN-related situations, peace has failed, continues to fail. But that is not my point. Let me get to it.

Sadc for respectability

Almost two weeks ago, Tendai Biti, the MDC-T secretary general bragged at a SAPES Trust seminar that those in Zanu-PF must quickly reckon with a new reality in current global politics. And the new reckoning is that national laws are bending and buckling to international law. He backed up his postulate. Cote d’Ivoire . Libya. Syria. He could, or might, have added Tunisia and Egypt. It is a reading of the new, aggressive ways of global imperialism which has found currency with many in the MDC-T, young and old, officials and men.

There is a growing feeling in the MDC-T that they do not need elections, that they do not need national processes for their political future. They need foreign intervention, preferably military intervention. It is an argument that finds vicarious respectability in Sadc mediation, itself a decent way of commissioning interventionism while ducking the charge of treachery. After all Sadc is ours, why not use it to naturalise interventionism which will end up coming from elsewhere?

And of course the North African experience shows us that subregional bodies have become beachheads for imperial interventions. And America continues to say a lot to give fillip to this likelihood.

Obama’s package for Africa

Just this week, the US government unveiled a new policy on Africa, policy strangely reported in neutral terms by The Herald. Predicated on a vision of Africa as the world’s next big economic success story, this highly interventionist, new American policy on Africa is predicated on intrusive politics to create new conditions favourable to American access to African raw materials and other resources. “As we look towards the future, it is clear that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community, and to the United States in particular”.

Hillary Clinton: Africa offers the highest rate of return on Foreign Direct Investment of any developing region in the world

The report recognised America’s growing military presence and operations on the continent. And Hilary Clinton is on hand to lead the charge: “I want my fellow American citizens, particularly our business community, to hear this: Africa offers the highest rate of return on Foreign Direct Investment of any developing region in the world . . . We in the United States like to talk about ourselves as the country that is the land of opportunity. It’s a point of national pride. In the 21st century, Africa is the continent that is the land of opportunity.”

Client leadership, forces

Significantly, Obama spoke of successfully stabilised countries which included Cote d’Ivoire, and linkages with new, young African leaders, as part of the equation. His policy says: “At the same time, the burgeoning youth population. In Africa is changing economies and political systems in profound ways.” “Our message to those who would derail the democratic process is clear and unequivocal: the United States will not stand idly by when actors threaten legitimately elected governments or manipulate the fairness and integrity of democratic processes, and we will stand in steady partnership with those who are committed to the principles of equality, justice, and the rule of law,” says the preface to the report.

More explicitly, Obama adds: “Across all of these efforts, the United States will prioritise efforts to empower the next generation of African leadership. These young men and women have shown time and again the willingness and ability to change their communities and their countries for the better, and the United States will continue to be their steadfast ally and partner. America’s partnership with this new generation of Africans will extend beyond our Government to the broad and deepening relationships between or peoples, businesses, and institutions.”

The sinister side of it all

With such a reassuring blueprint, why wouldn’t people like Biti, parties like the MDC-T, brag? And, yes, he is right. In the next few months and years, national laws will not matter, have in fact begun not to matter. US operations in East and Central Africa — all conducted in the name of finding Kony — don’t need national laws. US operations in the Horn of Africa — again conducted in the name of Al Shebaab — do not need national laws. Only drones, rangers and client armies under pliant commanders-in-chief. And the whole thrust we saw in North Africa is fated to shift downward, towards Sub-Saharan Africa, targeting countries with resources.

The just aborted war between Sudan and South Sudan, by all means and indication a war provoked and instigated by America in the hope of getting rid of Al Bashir, is the beginning of things to come, the pacification to come, nicely following the continent’s resource fault line, principally oil resource. This week, the Washington Post published an intricate network of American air bases for spying across Africa, as part of the unravelling of this new American policy towards Africa.

New cold war

The facade is democracy, rule of law and good economic governance. Those political parties beholden to western interests see huge hope and prospect in this new American thrust which is sure to spell doom to African sovereignty in all senses. And of course as these spy bases show, America is not partnering the so-called new, young and democratic leadership at all. How does Blaise Compaore ever fit such a description?

It is partnering client states, often run by dictators. It is following up on client states it sponsored and created in the aftermath of the so-called Arab Spring. But it is also targeting those countries that are nationalistic and/or pro-China, which is where Zimbabwe fits. The Cold War is back, and as before, it needs a collaborating leadership on the continent.

Empty promises, fraught threats

Which takes me to my good friend Mashiri. He never thought he could be among the dead in the wake of the crash. Whether this was folly or incurable optimism, one could not quite say. The MDC-T craves for intervention, craves for the supersession of national laws by international law. It is a craving for war, for armed intervention. They forget that, microcosmically, Zimbabwe is the helicopter whose airworthiness is in doubt. All of us are aboard to face the consequences. There will not be anyone to explain.

Or to go to Chikurubi! The MDC-T people will need to reckon with this national reality which is virtually inescapable. I notice their white supporters, led by Bennett and Hawkins, are now deserting them. There is a crisis in the MDC-T, revealed most dramatically in their desperate arguments we saw deployed in Government this week. Their portfolios have virtually collapsed, a few moons towards elections. They have no message; they have no leadership. Their last hope is intervention. Hence the war-mongering we heard at SAPES Trust which, as Chinamasa correctly noted, will increase in shrillness as we near elections. As the Nigerians say, they are busy dragging into the home a log full of ants. They should not wonder when the lizard visits them.



Labels: , ,


(HERALD ZW) Time to cut the chase

COMMENT - "“There is nothing that the MDC did in that regard to turnaround the economy. It was a result of dollarisation. That is where the change came from not as a result of their implementing any praiseworthy policy. The MDC is pretty much out of its depth,’’ Hawkins said. "

Time to cut the chase
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 17:52

It is a common, but seemingly heartless response by any newsman whenever reports of a road traffic accident filter through. The first question is always, ‘‘were there any fatalities/ pafa vangani?’’

In the absence of fatalities one is bound to hear ‘‘haa hapana nyaya/ it’s not a story,’’ accompanied by discernible disappointment on the newsman’s face for an ordinary accident is just that, bad copy. It doesn’t sell the papers.

I have always been fascinated by this human condition that seems to put business ahead of human life.The mundane is not news.

I am sure many who have been following international media over the past few months will have noticed that Zimbabwe has been largely missing from the newscasts.

This either means westerners have realised the game is up in Harare, which may explain talk of moves to effect regime change at Harvest House, or the re-engagement process is gathering momentum, true to the dictum, if you can’t beat them, join them.

What is more, word doing the rounds is that the BBC wants to interview William Masvinu, who was conferred with the title of Mr Ugly Harare at a pageant held at City Sports Bar a fortnight ago.

It appears the politically ugly among us are no longer that newsworthy, the Masvinus are.

The other noticeable trend, over the past few months, are the attacks the MDC-T is being subjected to by its erstwhile allies like the CFU, ZCTU, NCA, Zinasu to mention just a few.

Tsvangirai is being deserted, not only by his handlers, but hangers on too.

And earlier this week, it was the turn of University of Zimbabwe economics Professor Tony Hawkins, who has hardly been flattering to Zanu-PF over the years.

Hawkins tore into what MDC-T hopes to use as a campaign issue: Their claim that their entry into Government stabilised the economy and brought inflation from nine to two-digit levels.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti, who is finance minister in the inclusive Government was even dubbed ‘‘best finance minister in Africa’’ for it.

Professor Hawkins was quoted in the South African weekly, the Sunday Times over the weekend blasting MDC-T for policy incoherence and for crediting itself with turning around the economy, which halted astronomical inflation in early 2009.

In the article titled, “MDC slated over economic revival claims,” and reproduced by this paper, Prof Hawkins pointed out that MDC-T had nothing directly to do with the fall in inflation as dollarisation brought an overnight change to the economy.

“There is nothing that the MDC did in that regard to turnaround the economy. It was a result of dollarisation. That is where the change came from not as a result of their implementing any praiseworthy policy. The MDC is pretty much out of its depth,’’ Hawkins said.

The then acting finance minister Patrick Chinamasa and Zanu-PF introduced dollarisation in a budget presented on Thursday January 29, 2009; a whole fortnight before the formation of the inclusive Government which was sworn in on February 13 the same year.

The then acting finance minister Chinamasa, presented this new policy package in the last budget of an exclusively Zanu-PF Government, after endless days and nights of inter-agency brainstorming.

The policy and decision to dollarise was a Zanu-PF idea, the implementation was by Zanu-PF.

The inclusive Government inherited a Zanu-PF programme, Biti found it there and is still to introduce anything as finance minister in the inclusive Government.

And now MDC-T wants to not only steal the idea, but to patent it and run with it at election time.

How they thought they could do that and get away with it is anybody’s guess.

In fact, the inclusive Government has been governing on Zanu-PF ideas.
MDC-T’s record in Government is an unenviable one, corruption in the councils and lethargy in central Government.

MDC-T leaders have, however, made headlines mostly for the wrong reasons, mostly mundane, shockingly puerile.

Take Tabitha Khumalo who wants the legalisation of prostitution and camaraderie between wives and mistresses.

Sithembile Mlothswa who wants sex toys for prisoners and a cap on the number of sexual encounters per month.

And of course, Tsvangirai’s name-sake, good ole Morgan Femai who wants our beautiful women to be less attractive to us; leaving many wondering whether given

his party’s pro-gay stance, he wants us to be attracted to one another.

The bottom line is something is afoot at Harvest House that may explain why the MDC-T breaks into goosebumps whenever the word election rolls off anyone’s lips.

Interesting things, very interesting things have been happening over the past few weeks, first you have Morgan Tsvangirai prancing to China at the invitation of the Municipality of Beijing, and claiming that he was invited by the Chinese government.

A clear quest for a home given the vibes from his handlers who no longer find him politically sexy.

The China jaunt, that came on the backdrop a Sinophobic campaign by his party, followed revelations by NCA chairman, Professor Lovemore Madhuku that some Western countries had approached him to headhunt for a capable leader for the MDC.

And where is Zanu-PF in all this? Tsvangirai’s flanks are exposed, does it have to take Hawkins to see that?

And the talk of election roadmaps, and constitution-making as if a new constitution was ever a pre-condition for elections should be put to rest.

It’s time to cut the chase, call for elections and finalise the Constitution thereafter.

I do not, for the life of me, see Copac finalising in a matter of months, what they have failed to do in three years.

Tsvangirai and his party are out at sea without a compass.

It’s time to bring the wave.

Labels: , , , ,


(NEWZIMBABWE) Zimbabwe rules out foreign miners

Zimbabwe rules out foreign miners
15/06/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has said no new mining licences will be granted to foreign companies as the country steps up implementation of its controversial economic empowerment programme.

Mugabe told a meeting of his Zanu PF party’s Women’s League Friday that local professionals should get together to exploit the country’s mineral wealth as no new foreign companies would be licenced.

“What we should do in a much more massive way is to organise our people, put them together, our geologists, mining engineers…let them form companies so that we don’t give foreigners,” he said.

“Can’t we dig our own gold, we can borrow on the strength of the minerals.”

Under the country’s economic empowerment legislation foreign companies cannot own more than 49 percent of their Zimbabwe operations. But Mugabe said even the 49 percent was too generous.

“This 49 percent is a whole lot of money. Zvatakaita izvozvo zvakakwana ngatichiita isu zvedu tega muserefu,” he said.

Mugabe said new diamond deposits have been reported in Chimanimani, in the Eastern Manicaland province, adding the government was in the process of verifying the claims.

He however insisted that no foreign companies would be allowed to exploit the new diamond discoveries.

Some of Zimbabwe’s major mining companies, among them platinum producers such as Zimplats, Mimosa and Unki, have since been compelled to comply with the country’s empowerment legislation.

The coalition government however, remains divided over the programme with the MDC formations dismissing it as an election gimmick by Zanu PF.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party says while it supports the need to economically empower the country’s previously marginalised black majority, the model being pushed by Zanu PF would only benefit those already wealthy.

Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere has since indicated he would now focus on the country financial services sector where he faces opposition from central bank governor, Gideon Gono.

Gono is proposing an alternative empowerment model arguing the equity-based approach currently being implemented could prove disastrous for a “sensitive” economic sector such as banking.

Labels: ,


Government procurement agencies need cleansing - Mukanga

Government procurement agencies need cleansing - Mukanga
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Simeon Gboun
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

ALL government agencies and ministries dealing in procurement processes need cleansing to achieve efficiency and rid them of corruption, says works and supply minister Yamfwa Mukanga.

On Thursday, Vice-President Dr Guy Scott said the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) need cleansing and panel beating to improve on delivery of projects, especially in the road sector.

But sources say RDA does not have the capacity to effectively procure road works worth K4.2 trillion planned for this year following the dismissal of the entire procurement team last year in November by executive director Dr Michael Mulenga.

Vice-President Scott complained in Isoka that institutions like RDA and ZPPA did not seem to be up and carrying on working.

"There seems to be a lot of foot dragging going on inside these institutions and I think they need cleansing," said Vice-President Scott. "They need panel beating because the money is there...we don't want to open the door to corruption…to single-sourcing but at the same time we want to make the system work, that's the challenge that we have."

Reinforcing Vice-President Scott's concerns, Mukanga said there was need for government procurement agencies to work freely and transparently to be accountable to the nation.

"It is not only these institutions that require cleansing. I would like to extend this to all government agencies and ministries dealing in procurement processes," Mukanga said yesterday when he officiated at the RDA-organised "Roads Indaba" at Intercontinental Hotel in Lusaka yesterday.

Mukanga said it was time for all officers involved in procurement procedures to start declaring their interests in companies they own.

"Even as RDA, declare your interest in the companies you own so that we know that you own a company; you own this and you own that company so that when time comes for giving out contracts, it will be done transparently and it will be better because we will see a situation where people will definitely become almost corrupt-free," he said.

"That is the cleansing we are talking about. This perhaps will help us to work transparently and free; and corrupt-free in the issuance of contracts. It will definitely reduce the corrupt tendencies that people have been talking about. We need to point figures, not at others, but ourselves and see how best we can contribute to the change of the environment."

Mukanga said the government would not tolerate sub-standard performance among contractors in the road sector.

"Government will not sit back and see its coffers being depleted without corresponding progress in infrastructure development," said Mukanga. "Government is ready to reward quality delivered projects and will deal swiftly and decisively with poor performers. It cannot be business as usual, we are in a hurry to see that there is progress."

Earlier, Dr Mulenga said RDA was concerned about the performance of some contractors and consultants.

"Our major concern is the workmanship in some road projects," said Dr Mulenga. "We believe that the presentations during the Roads indaba will greatly help in refocusing ourselves to the funders, the government and people of Zambia…"

And sources within ministry of works and supply said RDA currently had "serious procurement bottlenecks".

"The guys who knew and understood how to draw tender documents have all been fired and right now, RDA has a backlog of works that need to be procured but the questions is 'who is going to draw up the tender documents?' I wonder how the government is going to expend K4.2 trillion planned for this year," said the sources.

In November 2011, Dr Mulenga fired more than 15 senior and junior officers in the procurement department without giving any reason for the massive terminations.

Labels: , , ,


No one should die the way Robiana died

No one should die the way Robiana died
By The Post
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:30 CAT

WE call upon all citizens of goodwill to join Dr Christine Kaseba and appeal to the government to give more funding to the health sector for cancer care. There is an increasing number of our people who are dying every year from cancers that can be treated. This is not acceptable because we cannot claim to uphold the sanctity of life if there is no provision for minimal healthcare for all.

As Christians, and indeed as good citizens, we should reach out, in compassion and solidarity, to all sick members of our society. Life is sacred, a gift from God to be valued from the moment of conception until death.

There is no future development without healthy citizens. The life and healthcare of our people are of central importance to the future development of our nation.

It took time for that young man, for that innocent Robiana Muteka to receive justice and be given the necessary treatment he needed. It took the efforts of our journalists to bring the plight of Robiana to the attention of the authorities, of those who govern the affairs of our country.

It took the intervention of Michael Sata to get Robiana the type of treatment he needed. But the question is: should it really always take the intervention of the President to get a citizen the treatment he or she needs?

It will be a difficult undertaking for any president no matter how hardworking and caring they may be to directly monitor and administer the health needs of every citizen of this country. If matters are to be left to the president's discretion or intervention, then very few of our people will receive the necessary healthcare they deserve.

This is not in any way to say that the president of this country should be heartless, cold-hearted or indifferent to the suffering or pain of any individual citizen. The president has the right and duty to intervene and give direct attention to any citizen in distress.

Robiana was in distress and Michael, as President and as a caring and sensitive human being, did what he had to do. The suffering of any fellow citizen should move each one of us to some action of solidarity with that suffering citizen. If we are truly Christians, we should emulate Christ.

Christ never left anyone in need without helping them. He cared for the sick and fed the hungry. And to be Christians means to be like Christ, to be a follower of Christ. Caring for the sick was something very important in Christ's mission.

We need to fight for the things that increase the dignity of every human being. If we are persuaded that the merit is more in the fight than in the peaceful possession of virtue, we shall make much more progress.

The soldier wins the medal for bravery not under the tent, not when he sits to guard the trophies or the conquests made, but when he fights bravely and wins. Medicinal grace raises up in us all our energies; it is the warmth that makes all good resolutions to mature; it is the cry of the needy, weak, sick soul.

It is necessary like breathing for a person, like water for a plant, like food for the body. Christ's entire doctrine was devoted to the humble, the poor; his doctrine was devoted to fighting against abuse, injustice and the degradation of human beings.

All people are created in the image and likeness of God and this gives every person great dignity. Therefore, all citizens are equal in dignity and should have equal rights. No human person, situation, event or thing can take away this dignity. Leaders who respect human dignity guarantee basic rights to the people they govern.

And a just society can exist only when it respects the dignity of the human person. The social order and its development must invariably work for the benefit of the human person. And the pursuit of justice must be the fundamental norm of the state. Political power must have as its aim the achievement of the common good.

Therefore, let those who rule do so with care for every citizen, regardless of their station in life. Today in our country, we have a serious division, serious inequalities. We have first world medical care for those with money, those with social status. Some of that medical care is provided here in Zambia and the other part of it is provided abroad.

Those who are considered to be important citizens are quickly sent abroad for treatment at government expense. For the poor, for the humble like Robiana, it had to take the concerted effort of journalists to touch some hearts for him to be given special care at the University Teaching Hospital.

If it wasn't for Michael's intervention, nobody would today be talking about Robiana. Let's learn to value every life. It is your fellow man, and especially the one who lacks life and needs justice, in whom God wishes to be served and loved. They are the ones with whom Jesus identified.

Yes, there are some improvements that have been made in our health sector over the last few years. We could say that perhaps, our accomplishments might have been greater or higher or fuller if we had known how best to use our resources, all the possibilities and advantages available to us.

But we all know the abuses that have gone on in our health sector. We all know how money meant for the care of patients and the purchase of medicines has been mismanaged, misapplied, misused, misappropriated by all sorts of selfish and greedy people full of vanity.

Clearly, we haven't always acted wisely, we haven't always made the best decisions when it comes to managing our health sector. More is needed from us and our leaders if we are to give our people the healthcare they deserve. Our people are our most important natural resource, and we must look after them carefully and prepare them, especially the young ones, for the future.

With good-hearted citizens, with honest citizens, with caring citizens like Dr Kaseba, we can say we have assured the future. We have a title to the future, and our future will be the one we ourselves are capable of creating.

And we call upon all Zambians of goodwill to keep on working and struggling for a more just, fair and humane Zambia in the spirit that Dr Kaseba is exhibiting. Let's work to improve our healthcare with the same enthusiasm, strength, firmness and unwavering confidence in the future.

In the future, no one should be allowed to die the way Robiana died. In the future, every life that can be saved must be saved. In the future, every kwacha that is allocated to the health sector must be thriftily used for the benefit of all. And this calls for eternal vigilance against greediness, selfishness and indeed corruption in all its forms.



Mundia Sikatana dies

Mundia Sikatana dies
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

FORMER cabinet minister Mundia Sikatana has died. University Teaching Hospital (UTH) public relations manager Pauline Mbangweta confirmed the death of the former agriculture minister.

"He Sikatana was confirmed dead at 22:15 last night Thursday in the ICU Intensive Care Unit," Mbangweta said without disclosing the cause of death.

Mbangweta said Sikatana was admitted to UTH on Tuesday and was transferred to ICU the following day. Sikatana saved as agriculture and foreign affairs minister during the regime of late president Levy Mwanawasa.

Labels: ,


Kaseba to lobby for more health funding

Kaseba to lobby for more health funding
By Edwin Mbulo in Livingstone and Darious Kapembwa in Kitwe
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:30 CAT

FIRST lady Dr Christine Kaseba says she will lobby for more funding to the health sector in the fight against cancer as it is affecting young people.

And Livingstone City came to a standstill as residents paid their last respects to Robiana Muteka who was buried in a special grave at the old cemetery which had officially been closed by the council.

Speaking at St Francis Catholic Church in Livingstone during the funeral service of Robiana who died on June 13 from a cancer complication on his lungs after successfully undergoing an operation to remove a tumour that had afflicted him since he was five years old, Dr Kaseba said Muteka's smile brought hope to her.

"I thought I was described as a smiling first lady, but visiting Robiana brought hope in me with his smile. My appeal to the government is to give more funding to the health sector for cancer care as we have a lot of cancers that can be treated," she said.

Dr Kaseba said there was a lot of jubilation when doctors successfully operated on Robiana's tumour but this was shortlived by a non-treatable cancer.

Dr Kaseba, who at several intervals broke down, said Robiana was a brave and humble young man and that President Sata with his presidential powers did seek medical advice over his condition.

"Robiana's case could not be treated by chemotherapy or radiotherapy and you could imagine what went through the family when they were told of the cancer," she said.

She said President Sata and herself wanted to visit Robiana after the UK and Switzerland visit as they were kept informed of his condition regularly.

Dr Kaseba said Robiana's mother did not give up on her son despite feeling the pain he was going through.

She said Robiana's death showed that it was possible for Zambia to be united.

And St Francis Parish Priest Rajesh D'Souza urged Zambians to emulate the first family over the way they handled Robiana's case.

"We shed tears but it is how we shed these tears, let us keep this example. We must not wait for the President, let us keep our Christian values for those that are still struggling in their lives," Fr D'Souza said. He said Robiana always had a face of grace and had set an example of how one should die.

Livingstone residents thronged St Francis Catholic Church in Dambwa Central before he was buried at the old graveyard which was officially closed.

And a Kitwe couple that has witnessed three cancer deaths within their family has proposed that the Cancer Disease Hospital at UTH be named after Robiana .

David Kanduza and his wife said in an interview that they felt touched when news of Robiana's death broke out.

"As a family that has suffered the burden of taking care of cancerous patients, we feel Robiana's case was a different case, if anything it was a very special case," Kanduza said.

"You know cancer is very painful. Because it's a situation where even the doctors tell you that your person cannot be cured and will be dead at some point, so you start waiting for somebody to die," he said.

And Kanduza appealed for more funding in research projects on cancer so that more equipment for thorough screening of suspicious cancer cases.

"In Robiana's case it started as a tumor, the cancer was not known until the tumor was removed. It was discovered that it was actually incurable cancer, so I think there is need for more financing and awareness in the area of cancer diseases," said Kanduza.



Freedom of information Bill draft ready

Freedom of information Bill draft ready
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

THE Freedom of Information taskforce will next week launch the draft freedom of information legislation for public scrutiny and comment.

According to a statement from the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour, the taskforce which had been working on the freedom of information legislation for the past few months had completed drafting the document.

The task force comprises government representatives from the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour and Ministry of Justice, the Civil Society FoI Coalition of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection, Economic Association of Zambia, MISA-Zambia, Transparency International Zambia and the Law Association of Zambia, independent legal experts Kenny Makungu, a lecturer at UNZA and Edem Djokotoe, the World Bank technical team, among others.

Information permanent secretary Amos Malupenga disclosed this when officials from the British government's Department for International Development (DFID) met him at his office yesterday.

"A task force has been working to come up with a draft legislation on the freedom of information Bill. This is now ready and we will be launching it in a few days time for public scrutiny and input. The draft bill will thereafter be submitted to Cabinet and later Parliament for commencement of the enactment process," said Malupenga to DFID governance adviser to Zambia, Sam Waldock and DFID chief professional officer in the governance, conflict and social development division at the organisation's headquarters in London.

Malupenga who is also spokesperson for the Taskforce appealed for financial support from cooperating partners and other stakeholders to publicise the draft bill in the print and other communication channels to enable members of the public access the document countrywide.

"Essentially, we have targeted the month of July for this exercise but our major handicap is money to publicise the draft bill especially in the print media. We are therefore appealing for support form cooperating partners to help us so that people have wide access to the document and make meaningful input," said Malupenga.

And Robinson pledged DFID's support for the ongoing media reforms in Zambia, describing the country's freedom of information process as impressive.

Labels: , ,


UPND is a regional party - Chanda

UPND is a regional party - Chanda
By Mwala Kalaluka
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

UPND is still a regional party, says former PF national youth chairman Eric Chanda. Commenting on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ)'s publication of various political parties' participation in the forthcoming parliamentary and local government by-elections, Chanda yesterday said the display proves that UPND was still a regional party.

"To prove to the Zambian people that the PF is getting stronger than what HH Hakainde Hichilema thinks, if you look at the statistics of UPND's participation in by-elections, you will still realise that UPND is still a regional party," he said.

"In Central Province they are scared of fielding any parliamentary candidate. In Eastern Province they have not provided any candidate in the parliamentary by-election but they have provided a candidate in Southern Province."

Chanda said UPND has not filed for any local government by-elections in Luapula, Northern, Muchinga and Eastern provinces.

"They have only contested the local government by-elections in Souther, Western, North Western and Central provinces. They are even compteting against the MMD in North Western Province," Chanda said.

He said this shows that the UPND will not go anywhere in Zambia because it was a party that had failed to penetrate all areas of the country.

"The UPND claim to be in an alliance with the MMD but if you look at the local government statistics where they have fielded candidates, you will notice that the MMD and UPND have both fielded candidates in two of the local government by-elections," he said.

"This to me shows that the alliance is cosmetic and it is not going anywhere because the UPND can never be trusted in an alliance. The PF tried an alliance with them and they went against the rules of the alliance, which we formed and at the end of the day it crumbled. I want to tell the MMD that they are wasting time with the UPND."

And Chanda said Hichilema was a just a toddler in politics and he does not know how governments collapse.

"He can't accuse the PF government of collapsing if we have the police who are so committed to bring sanity, integrity and respect to the office of the President," Chnda said.

"He should realise that the police calling him to record a warn and caution statement shows that the PF government is more stronger and committed to wiping out insults on the office of the President and all well-meaning Zambians should commend the police for that."

Chanda advised Hichilema that heaping insults on the Presidency was not the way of doing politics but that politics was about bringing about developmental ideas.

Labels: ,


Zulu explains Sakala's exit

Zulu explains Sakala's exit
By Bright Mukwasa, Ernest Chanda and Henry Sinyangwe
Sat 16 June 2012, 13:30 CAT

FORMER chief justice Ernest Sakala and his deputy Dennis Chirwa requested to go on leave pending their retirement, says justice minister Sebastian Zulu. And LAZ president James Banda says he is hopeful the two senior justices would join other stakeholders to achieve meaningful reforms in the Judiciary as well as the legal profession.

President Michael Sata on Friday appointed justice Lombe Chibesakunda acting Chief Justice replacing justice Sakala. He also replaced justice Chirwa with justice Florence Mumba.

"Justice Lombe Chibesakunda was appointed to act because the former Chief Justice Ernest Sakala has requested President Sata to go on leave pending their retirement," Zulu told journalists yesterday.

"So the move was from the judges themselves not us…and we have got to do the reforms. We are together with judges, we are on the same side with the judiciary."

Zulu also described the move to appoint female justices to head the Judiciary as progressive.

And Banda said LAZ would remain focused on the structured process of judicial reform which they had already embarked on.

Banda said the legal fraternity had every confidence that justices Chibesakunda and Mumba would, in the period that they were acting, help to move the process of reforms forward.

"As we welcome the appointments of justices Lombe Chibesakunda and Florence Mumba as acting Chief Justice and acting deputy Chief Justice respectively, and notwithstanding that the appointments are only in an acting capacity, it is our sincere hope that the two honourable justices will get the Judiciary to work with the Law Association of Zambia and other stakeholders to achieve meaningful reforms in the Judiciary as well as the legal profession," Banda said.

"We have always believed that the Judiciary itself should take the lead in this process of correcting matters and not allow a situation where reforms are forced on it due to inertia or lack of initiative on the part of the Judiciary. Introspection is very cardinal in this respect."

Banda thanked Justices Sakala and Chirwa for their long service and wished them well.

And FODEP has commended President Sata over the duo's appointment.

During a press briefing yesterday, Forum for Democratic Progress (FODEP) president Shepherd Chilombe, said his organisation felt delighted with the continued recognition of women in key decision-making positions.

FODEP feels delighted by his Excellency President Sata's recognition of women in key decision-making positions such as the ACC, police, and more recently the judiciary. We strongly feel that this gesture speaks volumes of government commitment in meeting the SADC requirement of 30 per cent of women representation in key decision-making positions, said Chilombe.

Labels: , ,


Friday, June 15, 2012

(HERALD) African tobacco farmers oppose WHO ban

African tobacco farmers oppose WHO ban
Thursday, 14 June 2012 11:31
Elita Chikwati
Agriculture Reporter

AFRICAN tobacco growers are lobbying their governments to resist the World Health Organisation’s ban on tobacco arguing that it will affect them economically. This came up at an International Tobacco Growers’ Association-Africa meeting held recently in Zambia.
Tobacco farmer mr. Sydney Gwaze, Zimbabwe
Tobacco growers opposed the ultimate eradication of tobacco growing as recommended by WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control draft policy.

The growers emphasised the need for African governments to assist tobacco farmers that are affected by the drop in demand for the crop as a result of smoking reduction strategies and changing consumer preferences.

“By restricting the available land for tobacco farming, denying farmers political and commercial rights to engage with governments through tobacco boards or commissions and ban leaf auctions, these advocate groups directly threaten jobs and livelihoods of millions of farm families worldwide,” said ITGA in a statement.

“We are concerned that, while some working group members push for a cap on tobacco production and restriction on the amount of land available to tobacco farming, the FCTC has failed to provide credible options for governments seeking to help farmers diversify to other viable crops or livelihoods in anticipation of a potential reduction in demand for tobacco.

“We note with great concern that the working group responsible for these proposals is being driven by health officers with little to no real world knowledge of agriculture, tobacco farming, or the challenges faced by farmers and farm workers living in rural areas,” said ITGA.

The ITGA challenged the FCTC to involve the tobacco farming communities at every stage of policy development and implementation.

The association urged governments to defend the interests of tobacco farmers that provide employment and income for many African farmers and families by rejecting the draft policy recommendations for Articles 17 and 18 and urging other governments to reject recommendations that destroy tobacco farmers’ livelihoods;

“We urge governments to request the Working Group for Articles 17 and 18 to revise its draft policy recommendations, to seek input from tobacco farmers’ organisations and agricultural policy specialists on specific, detailed and credible options for diversification with alternative crops,” ITGA said.

The association challenged tobacco farming communities to collectively defend their land, jobs and livelihood from efforts to deny the right to produce the legal crops that better assure their economic pros-perity.

“We reaffirm the right of farmers to choose to grow tobacco for a living and recognise that tobacco provides a secure and stable income for hundreds of thousands of African farmers,” said the association.

The ITGA represents millions of tobacco workers and farming communities in Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia.

The association recognises that tobacco has been produced in Africa for generations and acknowledges its contribution to rural employment and economic development.

Labels: ,


(HERALD, REUTERS) SA wants anti-Zim sanctions lifted

SA wants anti-Zim sanctions lifted
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:00

SOUTH Africa wants Western countries to lift the illegal economic sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe. The Sadc appointed facilitator to the inter-party dialogue is also pressing on parties in the inclusive Government to speed up resolution of the outstanding issues and hold elections.

“It’s not just Zimbabwe that’s saying the sanctions are not working. The entire continent is saying that,” Ms Lindiwe Zulu, South African President Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy advisor told Reuters on Thursday.

Ms Zulu leads Mr Zuma’s backroom team assisting with among Zimbabwe’s team of negotiators.

“Now the challenge for us is to speed up the process and have a result that is lasting, or to make sure whatever decisions are implemented, are things that the Zimbabweans themselves must honour,” said Ms Zulu.

South Africa is the country most affected by the effects of the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

Ms Zulu admitted that forcing change would not solve Zimbabwe’s underlying problems or bring a stable “democracy.”

[Apart from outside interference, Zimbabwe already has a stable democracy, and has had or 30 years. Typical Reuters editorializing. - MrK]

“The fact that the Global Political Agreement does not have an endless life span is pushing them to realise that they don't have the luxury of time anymore,” said Ms Zulu.

Zanu-PF wants the elections to be held this year, while the MDC formations want them sometime next year.

“We do not want to see a repetition of the 2008 scenario. We know what it looked like. It is a lesson for Zimbabweans themselves to ensure it does not repeat,” Ms Zulu said.

The 2008 March harmonised election failed to produce a clear winner, leading to a rerun that was won by President Mugabe.

— Reuters/Herald Reporter

Labels: , ,


(HERALD) Bennet exposes MDC-T plot

Bennet exposes MDC-T plot
Friday, 15 June 2012 12:00
Bulawayo Bureau

MDC-T’s animosity towards security forces has deepened with its treasurer-general and former Chimanimani legislator Mr Roy Bennett saying his party will remove the incumbent service chiefs from their positions if it assumes power.

MDC-T’s attitude towards the security forces has attracted widespread criticism with analysts saying this was a clear demonstration that the Western-sponsored party was there to promote the interests of the country’s enemies.

Echoing MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s sentiments, the self-exiled Mr Bennett wrote on his Facebook wall on Tuesday evening that he was compiling a register he termed a “Rat List” of security personnel who would not be part of his party’s “government”.

“I am putting together a ‘Rat List’ of those in the security services who have become political animals and who will be unfit to remain in their jobs in a new Zimbabwe.

“This list will be published in due course and updated where necessary,” said Mr Bennett, a senior member of the MDC-T.

“Those who have sold out the people and publicly declared loyalty to Zanu-PF will automatically be placed on the Rat List.”

[Because 'we all know' that the ZANU-PF does not represent the people. This is from the party that represents Anglo-American De Beers. Roy Bennett is a rank lying hypocrite, former Selous Scout and landowner. And he 'stands with the people' now. At least until he gets his giant estate back. Total scum. - MrK]

Mr Bennett mentioned Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Zimbabwe National Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin Chedondo, Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba and Chief of Staff in charge of administration, Major-General Trust Mugoba, as his prime targets.

He also said another register would be compiled consisting of what he termed the “A List”.

“Another list, the ‘A List’, will incorporate those who have remained apolitical and professional.

“These officers, the true professionals, will be considered for promotions and will be eligible for all the other benefits that will accrue to the services in a democratic

Zimbabwe. The A List will remain confidential.

“I encourage those in the services to contact me and give me their recommendations on who should be on the ‘Rat List’ and who should be on the ‘A List’ ,” said Mr

Bennett, a former member of the Rhodesian army.

However, the MDC-T distanced itself from the issue.

“Any issue being circulated on the Internet cannot be considered as credible because anyone can create it and post it there.

The best person to talk to is the author and if he confirms that is when you can come to the party for comment,” said Mr Abednigo Bhebhe, the MDC-T deputy organising secretary.

Contacted for comment Zanu-PF Politburo member Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, said Mr Bennett’s remarks were tantamount to treason and should be condemned in the strongest terms.

“We do not want to mince our words on this issue. What Mr Bennett is saying is tantamount to treason.

“He was part of the colonial regime that we fought and he has no right absolutely to comment on the armed services of the country,” said Dr Ndlovu.

“President Mugabe pardoned the former Rhodesians at independence but he is not repentant.

“He and his lot in the MDC-T are part of the Rhodesian regime special forces. What he is doing is abuse of the social media.

“It was people like Mr Bennett and his MDC-T who sent our names for travel bans and sanctions.”

Dr Ndlovu said Zimbabwe has the strongest security forces, comparable to none in the region since the days of the liberation struggle.

“We have the most committed and patriotic army and police force, which is second to none in Africa and for Mr Bennett to tamper with that is treasonous. The army is there to protect the country from imperialists and to safeguard its resources.

They should also access and benefit from those resources as citizens.

“Mr Bennett and his imperialist megaphones in the MDC-T are singing their masters’ song, which seeks to deny Zimbabweans their wealth.

“This is abuse of human rights that they are clamouring for. The imperialists are throwing spanners in our economy so that we become destitute and borrow from them. This is pure imperialist expansionism and we will not allow that.

“Our youths should also block such efforts. Mr Bennett must come here and face prosecution,” said Dr Ndlovu.

MDC-T is pushing for what it calls security sector reforms and its leader Mr Tsvangirai is on record threatening that his party will boycott the next election in protest against political statements by the security forces.

Service chiefs have, however, reiterated that they will not allow any leader to reverse the gains of the liberation struggle.

Last week, Maj-Gen Mugoba said the military establishment supported Zanu-PF policies of defending the country’s sovereignty and empowering ordinary Zimbabweans.

He said as the army, their duty was to safeguard the revolution and they would not respect any leader who does not cherish what the freedom fighters fought for.

Labels: , , ,


(HERALD) MDC members contest Mutambara ouster

MDC members contest Mutambara ouster
Thursday, 14 June 2012 14:07
Senior Court Reporter

THIRTEEN MDC members aligned to the Professor Arthur Mutambara faction yesterday appealed to the Supreme Court against the High Court decision confirming Professor Welshman Ncube the democratically-elected party leader.

Justice Bharat Patel on Tuesday dismissed an application by Mr Morgan Changamire, Mr Jobert Mudzumwe and 11 other party members to nullify the January 2011 party congress in which Prof Ncube was elected president.

The court ruled that the congress was properly convened and that the election process that gave Prof Ncube mandate to lead the party was above board and in compliance with the party’s constitution.

The group, through its lawyer Mr Obey Shava of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni, appealed to the Supreme Court.

In the notice of appeal, the group stated that Justice Patel misdirected himself in interpreting the MDC constitution.

“The learned judge in the court-a-quo erred in holding that second respondent (Prof Ncube) had complied with the mandatory provision of the first respondent’s constitution.

“It is also submitted that the court-a-quo erred in holding that the provisions of first respondent’s constitution had not been violated.”

The group also contests the judgment on the basis that the election was not properly held.

The election, according to the group, was presided over by a person who was not constitutionally authorised to do so, thus making the outcome null and void.

Labels: , ,


Growth indicators do not tally with realities - ZIEM

Growth indicators do not tally with realities - ZIEM
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

ZAMBIA'S social, economic and environmental development indicators have failed to tally and resonate with realities in communities, says the Zambia Institute of Environmental Management.

ZIEM chief executive officer Morgan Katati said this was because the economic and social output over the last 20 years had failed to reflect the real situation at household, community, district, provincial and national level.

Katati said the current economic growth had failed to result in improved human well-being in communities, social inclusion and equity, and significantly reduce environmental risks and ecological scarcities.

"The developmental strategies and programmes have not resulted in low carbon emission looking at the current green house gas levels, pollution and land degradation in the country resulting from land use. Resource inefficiency focusing on forestry, mining and water sectors and social inequality as regards the gaps between the rich and the poor people in the country continue to persist. This is an indication that 'business as usual' is not working any more. Zambians need to be encouraged and inspired to creatively think of solutions that will meet the developmental aspirations of Zambia by linking people, natural resources and prosperity at all levels of development," he said.

He said the citizenry had not been involved in planning, implementation and evaluation of programmes at community, district and national levels and this had resulted in the mismatch between what was planned and what was implemented on the ground, income disparities and high unemployment levels.

"All this is driven by policies that have a tendency to promote inequality in the society," he said.

Katati said some of the people on the Copperbelt, North Western and Lusaka provinces who had been retrenched from the mines were still grappling with abject poverty.

"One of the key lessons we can draw from this experience is that running economies the way we have always done, doing business as usual, is clearly not an option. Sustainable development, therefore, is an alternative approach and a smarter way of doing business and foster development that trickles down to individuals in the communities," he said.

Katati said sustainable development could be viewed as one whose growth in income and employment was driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy consumption and resource efficiency, prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

He said development priorities in the nation should therefore be structured to embrace changes that would propel effective implementation of programmes and activities in the provinces.

"Zambia therefore, should use its rich forest water and mineral resources as a comparative advantage to foster sustainable development. Districts should therefore engage a wide range of institutions, ranging from communities, individuals, non-governmental organisations, faith-based organisation and business and in implementing the sustainable development initiatives," said Katati.

Labels: ,


Caught in a web of lies

Caught in a web of lies
By The Post
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

OF all the properties which belong to honourable men, not one is so highly prized as that of honesty, of character. Reason and judgement are the qualities of a leader. A shortage of these qualities makes one a bad and troubled leader.

Hakainde Hichilema is in trouble today because of lacking honesty, reason and judgement. And yesterday, Hakainde was at the Police because of a statement he had made that has become difficult for him to prove.

Hakainde claimed that the PF government was training youths as militias in Sudan. Hakainde doesn't seem to be able to prove his claim. Hakainde must have gotten this information from somewhere because he hasn't been to Sudan to witness this for himself.

But whoever Hakainde got this from told him a lie, something he cannot prove. But why this desperation on Hakainde's part? Why can't he take his time to think through issues carefully and verify the truthfulness of things he is told, especially those that can be said to be sensitive matters?

Depending on unreliable people in situations like these is like trying to chew with a loose tooth or walk with a crippled foot. Sensible people always think before they speak or act, but stupid people are so eager to advertise or display their ignorance. It is said that "a careless talker destroys himself" (Proverbs 13:3).

Smart leaders believe only half of what they hear. And discerning leaders know which half to believe. But Hakainde seems to be in a rush to display every little negative thing that he hears about people he perceives to be enemies. He is too much in a hurry to hurt and humiliate others.

And as such, he doesn't even take time to digest what he has been told, what he has heard and see if it makes sense or not. Hakainde acts like someone suffering from diarrhoea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. This is not a recipe for leading well. Today, Hakainde is being exhibited as a liar. And it is true he has lied about the government training militias in Sudan.

It is a lie that an honest person should feel ashamed for and simply apologise without any reservations. But Hakainde is not that type of person to apologise and say he was misled by his informers. He is too arrogant, too proud to admit his mistakes. But we are advised: "Admit when you are wrong, and you will avoid embarrassment" (Sirach 20:3).

Hakainde should learn something from this and realise that lying is an ugly blot on a person's character. But ignorant people do it all the time. It is said that a thief is better than a habitual liar, but both are headed for ruin. A liar has no honour. He lives in constant disgrace. A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls.

If you try to be honest, you can be, and it will improve your character as handsome clothing improves your appearance. It is said that birds come to roost with those of their own kind, and the habit of being honest comes to those who try to be honest. Respected people don't tell lies, and fools have nothing worthwhile to say.

There is no need for Hakainde to continue posturing over this issue. The truth is he got things wrong, he was probably misled by those around him. But whose fault is that? Look at the type of people Hakainde surrounds himself with! Hakainde is surrounded by many good-for-nothings, people who all the time try to make him feel very important.

Of course, this sits very well with his unbridled ego. But look at what trouble and disgrace he is in today! Tomorrow he will be blaming others for the trouble that he has caused unto himself through his lies. There is no society that can tolerate such reckless and harmful utterances from a person who is in a position to know what is true and what isn't.

But the problem with Hakainde is that anything about his political opponents or enemies goes undigested. He can't reason when it comes to such matters. But we all know that quite often, a dishonest man, a wicked man is trapped by his own words. Stupid people always think they are right. Wise people listen to advice. When a fool is annoyed, he quickly lets it be known. Smart people will ignore an insult.

When you tell the truth, justice is done, but lies lead to injustice. And thoughtless words can wound as deeply as any sword, but wisely spoken words can heal.

It is said that a lie has a short life, but truth lives on forever. Hakainde's lie about Zambia training militias in Sudan had a very short life; its life has come to an end, leaving Hakainde in grief and shame.

Dishonest people, liars bring about their own downfall by their lies and other evil deeds, but good people are protected by their integrity. When wise people speak, they make knowledge attractive, but stupid people spout nonsense. Who can be so stupid to start training militias in Sudan? What for? Is Zambia at war? This is why we are questioning Hakainde's reason and judgement. Any reasonable person can easily see that there is something seriously wrong with Hakainde's claim. He is not making sense.

But of course, "a fool does not care whether he understands a thing or not; all he wants to do is show how smart he is" (Proverbs 18:2); "When a fool speaks, he is ruining himself; he gets caught in the trap of his own words" (Proverbs 18:7). And "You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say" (Proverbs 18:20).

Some people ruin themselves by their own careless utterances and stupid actions and then they blame others for it. Sometimes it takes painful experiences to make us change our ways. Sensible people will see trouble coming and avoid it, but an unthinking person will walk right into it and regret it later.
Anyway, telling lies has its consequences. For liars, causing trouble is all they ever think about; every time they open their mouths, it is with the intention of hurting someone.

And "the most stupid fool is better off than someone who thinks he is wise when he is not" (Proverbs 26:12); "You will have to hate someone to want to hurt him with lies. Insincere talk brings nothing but ruin" (Proverbs 26:28); and "The weight of stone and sand is nothing compared to the trouble that stupid people can cause" (Proverbs 27:3).

We understand Hakainde's frustrations and bitterness. It is all self-created, but he will always blame it on others. Hakainde must learn to discipline his disappointments. It is not what happens to us, it is what we choose to do about what happens that makes the difference in how our lives turn out. Your attitude is an expression of your values, beliefs and expectations. Whatever you believe with emotion becomes your reality. You always act in a manner consistent with your innermost beliefs and convictions.

We can only hope that this Sudan militia training lie has taught Hakainde something about integrity, truthfulness and respect. Integrity is the foundation upon which all other values are built. Telling lies shows that one seriously lacks integrity. Truthfulness is the main element of character. Deal honestly and objectively with others and with yourself.

Honesty is the hallmark of great character. And confidence on the outside begins by living with integrity on the inside. Integrity is the most valuable and respected quality of leadership. If he has to make a mark, Hakainde needs to improve greatly on this.

And there is no need for him to resort to gymnastics of all sorts, he should simply apologise to the nation for the false information he disseminated. But this requires humility, modesty and self-respect and respect for others.

Does Hakainde possess that? We highly doubt it! And this is why Hakainde is today caught in his own web of lies. Oh what a web we weave for ourselves when we first practice to deceive!

Labels: ,


Police warn and caution Hichilema

Police warn and caution Hichilema
By Joseph Mwenda
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:24 CAT

POLICE in Lusaka have recorded a warn and caution statement from UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for defamation of the President after he likened President Michael Sata to a clueless hyena.

Police spokesperson Elizabeth Kanjela told journalists that a warn and caution statement was also recorded from Hichilema for publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public.

Hichilema had claimed this week that the PF government intends to send youths to Sudan to be trained as militias.

"We have recorded a warn and caution statement from the UPND leader in connection with the following: defamation of the president contrary to section 69 of the Penal Code CAP 87 of the Laws of Zambia. The statement is contemptuous of the presidency by likening him to a chimbwi (hyena) with no plan in his governance of the Republic of Zambia," stated Kanjela.

But Hichilema said the move was a sign that the leadership of the country had collapsed.

Hichilema reported himself at the police headquarters around 14:20 hours in the company of other opposition leaders that included ADD president Charles Milupi, Gabriel Namulambe, Mwansa Mbulakulima of MMD and his lawyers.

He was then escorted to the boardroom where he sat on his personal camp chair which he brought along, as he was being interrogated.

About five plain-clothed police officers welcomed Hichilema and conducted a private interview with him.

After about two hours of questioning, Hichilema told journalists that he expected police officers handling his case to act professionally.

"The interview went well. If they act professionally and without interference from other politicians wanting to fix other politicians, then there is nothing to fear," he said.

Earlier, Hichilema said the leadership of the country had collapsed.

Labels: , ,


Mtesa cautions over World Bank proposal on grain marketing

Mtesa cautions over World Bank proposal on grain marketing
By Gift Chanda in Kabwe
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

ENDING the government's participation in grain marketing abruptly could disrupt maize production, warns Ambassador Love Mtesa. The World Bank last week urged the government to stop setting prices at which it buys maize from local farmers and allow the prices to be determined by the market to promote sustainable growth in the agriculture industry.

But Ambassador Mtesa, who is also board chairperson for the Zambian chapter of the Consumer Unity Trust (CUTS) International, said caution needed to be exercised when implementing the proposal by the World Bank.

He said "the process of shifting away government's involvement in the country's maize marketing needs to be smooth and gradual".

The government announced that it would buy maize from small-scale farmers at K65,000 per 50 kilogramme bag in the 2012/2013 marketing season, a move that was criticised by the World Bank saying the pricing of maize should be left to market forces.

"We cannot afford to have an abrupt end of government's participation in maize marketing because we risk a disruption in production," Ambassador Mtesa said in an interview. "We need to be careful in managing this process. That is not to say we shouldn't implement the proposal by the World Bank. Yes we should implement this proposal in future."

Ambassador Mtesa advised that a well-functioning agricultural commodities exchange should be in place to avoid opportunistic pricing.

"Storage should also be sorted out. The government through the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) should also continue buying maize from farmers for food strategic purposes but it should play its initial role of buyer of the last resort," he said.

Ambassador Mutesa further advised that farmers should be allowed to export maize to regional markets.

"By doing so, we will be allowing farmers to earn more on their produce and production obviously will go up. We will also cut on loses that the country has been making," added Ambassador Mtesa.

The government normally buys the maize at higher prices than those offered by private buyers to ensure higher returns for the farmers, especially those that receive subsidised inputs.

It then sells the maize locally and within the region at reduced prices.
But the World Bank advised that this policy was costly and not sustainable in the long term and urged the government to review it.

"This old policy has not resulted in significant reduction in rural poverty and job creation. This policy direction has also limited private sector investments in the agriculture sector," it said in a statement.

Analysts have also raised concerns about the high expenditure on maize, saying the government was effectively using "treasury funds to subsidise the region".

Maize output declined by about six per cent to 2.8 million tonnes in the 2011/2012 season.

Labels: , ,


Judiciary changes excite women

Judiciary changes excite women
By Joan Chirwa-Ngoma
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

THE appointment of female justices Lombe Chibesakunda and Florence Mumba as acting Chief Justice and acting Deputy Chief Justice respectively, will bring order in the Judiciary, says NGOCC chairperson Beatrice Grillo.

President Michael Sata yesterday appointed, with immediate effect, justices Chibesakunda and Mumba to the two most senior positions in the Judiciary with the hope of "achieving aspirations of the Zambian people for the Judiciary".

This is the first time in the country's history that a female has been appointed to head the Judiciary.

The two replace justices Ernest Sakala and Dennis Chirwa who have gone on leave awaiting the expiry of their contracts and retirement.

In a statement issued by his special assistant for press and public relations, George Chellah, President Sata wished justices Chibesakunda and Mumba success in their responsibilities, adding that he had no doubt the appointments would assist in achieving aspirations of the Zambian people for the Judiciary.

He thanked justices Sakala and Chirwa for their service to the nation and wished them well in their impending retirement.

President Sata further said he was hopeful that the appointment of justices Chibesakunda and Mumba would help boost Zambia's chances of achieving the Millennium Development Goals on women in leadership positions.

Grillo, in welcoming the appointments, said the women movement was "very excited with the news" as it was coming at the time of judicial reforms.

"…We welcome the move, it is a very progressive move. These women will bring the order that is required in the judiciary. This is really affirmative action," she said, adding "We are looking forward to working with them and ensure there is justice in the country."

Grillo said justices Chibesakunda and Mumba were women of integrity that the NGOCC believed would perform to expected standards.

"These are challenging positions but they will do it. They are women of integrity and we have so much trust in them. They won't let us down. While the men are fighting in the judiciary, we need women to bring order in the Judiciary. We are hoping that they will bring that order in the Judiciary," said Grillo.

Judge Mumba served as Electoral Commission Zambia chairperson.

Judge Mumba was a member of the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in 2003.

She was elected Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) on May 20, 1997.

Judge Mumba was the vice-president of the ICTY between November 1999 and November 2001.



RDA, ZPPA need cleansing - Scott

RDA, ZPPA need cleansing - Scott
By Moses Kuwema in Isoka
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:25 CAT

VICE-President Dr Guy Scott says the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) need cleansing and panel beating.

Vice-President Scott's comments come in the wake of revelations by the provincial administration in Muchinga Province that funds for various works for the province were readily available but that the bureaucracy surrounding the procurement process was hampering implementation.

Vice-President Scott observed that there was a lot of foot dragging which was going on in the two institutions.

"The institutions like Road Development Agency, like Zambia Public Procurement Authority and so forth, don't seem to be up and carrying on working. There seems to be a lot of foot dragging going on inside these institutions and I think they need cleansing. They need panel beating because the money is there. Muchinga Province has not been deprived of money, what it has been deprived of is the administrative get up and go. We don't want to open the door to corruption…to single sourcing but at the same time we want to make the system work, that's the challenge that we have," Vice-President Scott said when he featured on a special programme on Iso FM yesterday.

And Vice-President Scott said the Farmer Input Support Programme and the maize buying programme of the Food Reserve Agency were extremely corrupted.

Vice-President Scott cited an example of Chama where three quarters of the maize that was bought and sold in the district came from neighbouring countries such as Malawi and Tanzania.

"…200, 000 tonnes of fertiliser went into the rural areas and where is it? It's all been rounded up by the smugglers and the traders and commercial farmers. Likewise for maize, the reason it is paid for late is that the money is being taken by the big people," he said.

He said there was need to clean up the system so that it could serve the small farmers.

"Zambia is a very corrupt place but the maize and fertiliser system is so corrupt. Once we have got the system under control, that's when we can fulfill our campaign promises of 10 bags of fertiliser. This system if it is not clean then we will break down," Vice-President Scott said.

And Vice-President Scott said the maize-buying exercise would commence in the next two weeks.

And featuring on the same programme, Muchinga Province minister Malozo Sichone said the Chinese contractor who built the Tazara railway was the same one who would be working on the Chama-Matumbo road and estimated the contract sum at K400 billion.

Labels: , ,


Young people in politics impress Scott

Young people in politics impress Scott
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

VICE-President Dr Guy Scott says he is impressed with the participation of most young people in politics.

Speaking on Wednesday when he addressed a public meeting at Mundalanga Basic School, Vice-President Scott said it was nice to see a lot of young people get involved in politics.

"Here is a young man PF candidate for Bozimu ward in the local government by-elections Morris Nkhata we have brought for you. Please support him," Vice-President Scott said.

Earlier, PF losing candidate for Chama South in the September 2011 elections, Gilbert Nyimbili said Chama had been sidelined in terms of development for too long.

Nyimbili said the people of Chama district had not benefited from successive governments and hoped that the PF would change the situation.

"We are very much sidelined in terms of infrastructure development and economic empowerment. We have no clinics, roads," he said.

And Nyimbili said the human-animal conflict in Chama was getting worse and asked the government to address the situation.

He also said the low cotton prices had caused so much suffering to the people in the area.

Cotton farmers and ginners have reached a deadlock over pricing of cotton for the last farming season, with the former pushing for a price of not less than K4,000 per kilogramme while the latter has offered K2,000 for grade A seed cotton.

Agriculture minister Emmanuel Chenda recently revealed that the government may intervene to come up with an appropriate price that would be acceptable to both sides.

However, the selling season for cotton is almost closing as it usually runs from early May to mid June, meaning cotton farmers may completely lose out this year, further depressing an industry that a few years ago nearly collapsed.

Vice-President Scott on Wednesday also said there is need to come up with an acceptable price for cotton so that ginners do not take advantage of the farmers because the proposed price for this marketing season was too low.

Meanwhile, Nyimbili assured Vice-President Scott that the people of Chama had shifted their support from the MMD to the PF.



American couple's parents thank Sata

American couple's parents thank Sata
By David Chongo in Solwezi
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

THE parents of the American couple that died in a plane accident in Zambezi a week ago say they are touched and humbled by President Michael Sata's decision to declare a day of national mourning for their children.

Chitokoloki Mission Hospital in-charge Gordon Hanna said in a statement that the parents were saddened by the incident that claimed the lives of Jay Erickson, 27 and his wife Katrina, 25, but had been calm and understanding of the tragedy.

"We are very humbled, touched and much in awe of the kindness of President Sata declaring a day of mourning last week. It was very, very kind of him and we thank him most sincerely and continue to be amazed at the kindness, support and willingness to help by the government and many individuals in Zambia," the statement by Katrina's parents, Larry and Doreen Hansfield, and Jay's mother Barbara Erickson read in part.

Jay trained as a pilot and together with his wife and two daughters Marina, 2, and Coral, 1 relocated to Chitokoloki early this year.

The couple died when the mission plane they were flying went down the Zambezi River on Saturday June 2 after it hit a Zesco pylon that runs across the river on their way back from Chavuma Mission Hospital.

Labels: ,


Swedish envoy calls for more trade

COMMENT - Sweden, a fount of neoliberal economic advice: " She said developed countries like Sweden could never have developed during the last hundred years if they never opened for trade and improved the time of doing business. " That's right, Sweden developed because of 'free trade'.

Swedish envoy calls for more trade
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

SWEDISH Ambassador to Zambia Lena Nordstrom says the country needs to trade more to end poverty and enhance economic development.

In an interview after an export seminar in Kitwe organised by the Open Trade Gate of Sweden, the Embassy of Sweden and the Zambia Development Agency, Ambassador Nordstrom said strengthened partnership in export would bring meaningful income for various entrepreneurs thereby enhancing economic and human development.

She said developed countries like Sweden could never have developed during the last hundred years if they never opened for trade and improved the time of doing business.

"Today in Sweden we need both to import and export in order to develop and survive as a country and as an economy. We have seen the economic development of Zambia being steady, between five and seven per cent since 2004; that's fabulous. We have seen Zambia improve in doing the business index that we all follow; that's also good news," Ambassador Nordstrom said.

She said facilitating growth of business particularly in import and export required clear policies and regulations for the business growth to be translated into tangible economic development.

Ambassador Nordstrom said many Swedish companies were interested in doing business with Zambia hence the need to strengthen trade ties for the benefit of both countries.

"We want to see more products organised by Zambians doing business in that direction because it is also beneficial for both of us. Swedish companies are interested in the mining activities as well. We have a project called Meeting Points Mining where we are working with the Zambian Geological Survey and the University of Zambia to see what we can share for skills training and many more activities," Ambassador Nordstrom said.

She said Sweden and Zambia had common interests as they were both mining countries and had continued to share ideas on sustainable mining.

"If you look at iron ore at the world market, we all thought it was gone but there is a new boom and we are mining for iron ore in the north of Sweden. These are ideas we should continue sharing and see how development could be attained through copper mining in Zambia," said Ambassador Nordstrom.

Labels: , ,


Wignaraja cautions Zambia on exploitation of environment

Wignaraja cautions Zambia on exploitation of environment
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 15 June 2012, 13:23 CAT

UN country representative Kanni Wignaraja yesterday warned that Zambia and the rest of the world are set on a path of self-destruction unless societies and institutions change the way the environment is exploited.

And a youth climate change ambassador Josephine Pumulo has challenged the government to stop the tendency of bringing on board all stakeholders in preparations for forums like the Rio+20 conference but fail to embrace them when it comes to implementation of the outcomes of the meeting.

During a briefing to present Zambia's key message to the Rio+20 United Nations conference on sustainable development scheduled for next week, Wignaraja said the world today had a 'once in a generation' opportunity to do things differently.

"We have to rise to the occasion and seize a moment to do things differently. If we don't change how economies produce, how societies are organised and how institutions respond, then we are headed towards a path of self-destruction," said Wignaraja.

"There is no other option for Zambia, Africa and the world but to take sustainable wise choices so that as we grow, there is greater balance between managing our economy and the environment hence there will be no excuses for the leadership in Rio, whether from private or public to deliver what can change the world for better."

Presenting the country's position at the forum, environmental protection and natural resources minister Wylbur Simuusa said Zambia had high expectations that the Rio+20 would reinvigorate international community towards integrating social, economic and environmental strands of development to ensure that current development patterns do not jeopardise the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

"Two main themes of the conference are transitioning to a green economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty reduction and building consensus on appropriate framework for fostering sustainable development," he said.

"It is the poverty reduction portion of the green economy that is of particular relevance to our country and Zambia's strongest call to the conference is to rally international support towards poverty eradication by giving real meaning to this important development goal."

And Pumulo said without the involvement of young people, Zambia would not attain the desired future of having a cleaner, healthier and green environment.
"We have noticed that during preparations, all stakeholders are invited but when the meetings take place, nothing happens and people are not informed anymore," she said.

But Simuusa assured that the government had developed a plan of action dubbed 'Beyond Rio' that would undertake the implementations of resolutions of the forum.

Labels: ,