COMMENT - Irrigation is the key to yield and multiple harvests per year in most of Southern Africa. For small on-farm projects, check out this concept, of Geoff Lawton's Permaculture Water Harvesting
'Farmer-led irrigation schemes can transform food security'
By Gift Chanda
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:40 CAT
FARMER-LED irrigation schemes could transform food security in Zambia, a new study has revealed.
According to a report titled 'Water for wealth and food security: Supporting farmer-driven investments in agricultural water management' released by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), expanding the use of on-farm water management techniques could increase yields up to 300 per cent in some cases, and add tens of billions of US dollars to household revenues across sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
Researchers looked at these trends in six countries, including Zambia.
"Water is critical for agricultural growth and improved livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa," according to Dr Timothy Williams, IWMI's director for Africa.
"Agriculture provides food and employment for a large segment of the population in sub-Saharan Africa and inadequate access increases their vulnerability to food insecurity."
The report unearthed for the first time the scale at which enterprising smallholder farmers themselves are driving this revolution by using their own resources innovatively rather than waiting for water to be delivered.
The assessment quantified the potential reach and possible additional household revenue for a number of different on-farm and local community water solutions.
In Zambia, for instance, opportunities for individual smallholder operations were identified.
At a 50 per cent adoption rate for small motorised pumps by rural households in potential areas, an estimated 268,000 households could benefit, translating into the utilisation of 214,000 hectares of land.
At the same rate of adoption and utilising dambos (wetlands) for rice cultivation, 70,000 smallholder households could benefit and render about 105,000 hectares of land productive.
"Here in Zambia, much is already happening," said Kenneth Chelemu of IDE, an organisation dedicated to creating income and livelihood opportunities for poor rural households, who coordinated the initiative in Zambia.
"It is difficult for many smallholder farmers to find the money to invest in better water management practices on their farms. However, a few have begun to see the benefits as they access loans from the few micro-financing institutions like Cetzam and VisionFund - who have recently developed agro-loan products encouraging investment in water management solutions."
Chelemu said there was need to support and invest in this entrepreneurial spirit and help develop market access and better value chains for small-scale farmers.
Water is a major constraint on food production for millions of smallholder farmers not only in Zambia, the report stated, adding that: "While water resources are often sufficient, farmers lack the means to harvest it, which limits crop production to the rainy season and diminishes income opportunities."
Of sub-Saharan Africa's abundant renewable water resources, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that only three per cent are withdrawn for agriculture.
Approximately four percent of arable land is equipped for irrigation, of which less than six per cent is serviced by groundwater.
Experts believe improving water management capabilities could unleash smallholder farming and it could become a major driver of economic growth, poverty reduction and food security.
Zimbabwe: Denying ourselves the lifting gift of laughter
Sunday, 23 September 2012 00:00
We apologise to our valued readers for not carrying your favourite column, The Other Side, by Nathaniel Manheru in The Saturday Herald. This was due to a technical problem. — Editor.
As a columnist, I have travelled a fairly long road, much of it quite bumpy. It is the price one has to pay. After all, I give quite a lot, with butts of my acerbic attacks bearing bleeding furrows from my burrowing lashes. I am the village cynic so adept at seeing warts hidden and trampled upon by the chorus of herd praise-singing. It is an expensive role to play, one that invites brickbats.
You come across as a slaughterer of obvious, communal joy, an unconditional cynic given to dwelling on the small unseemly, amidst abundant cheer and goodness. But a role that must be played if the nation has to retain its balance, if the nation still has to remember its smelly armpit, disguised by its majestic, groomed tread on the beauty ramp, a tread accompanied by a cacophony of lewd cheers. Yes, a nation is most fallible, most susceptible, when there is communal cheers, complacent accolades over today’s big achievements that remain small when measured against undone challenges, when set against its timeless destiny.
And being a small people, young nation still craving for greatness, still hungry to post loud victory in this hierarchised world, it is very easy to perch a happy destiny on a fragile branch of small achievements so exaggerated.
That is why we need some needle-wielding cynic, masochistically ready and prepared to prick our swelling bums so we still remember that however big we think they are, they still cannot sit us on thistles.
Soft tissue on a giant elephant
I don’t like Europeans. I don’t like Americans. And to me there is no Atlantic Ocean between these human types. They are horrible, have been throughout human history. They seek conquest; they have achieved it across millennia, causing untold grief to the rest of mankind, principally the kind of colour. I vow to fight them, at the very least with my pen which dutifully pokes them, gratuitously hoping for a hurtful bleed. I know I am the little, angry ant biting the hind of a giant, scaly elephant.
I hope I make it beyond its scaly rind, to reach its softer tissue, closer to its rectum. Nature is always even. It posts small, lethal weakness on giant strength so we, the small axe, can cut you down.
Whoever knew that the giant that felled Gaddafi, erroneously granted Al Qaeda some foothold on the Libyan State? See now who has been felled!
The so-called Arab Spring, so celebrated in the West, has become a deadly night for those vaunting themselves for launching a global war on terror. Like chishambwe, the small stubborn tick, Arab insurgency has tactfully lurked and advanced under cover of volleys from those executing the war on terror.
From within the belly of that war machinery, these wily actors were able to mark their future targets, daub them with blood as in the night of the biblical Passover. From Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Bahrain right through to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the Arab Spring has become America’s Arab terror, and Gaddafi, sleeps happily, feeling well avenged.
One strength I grant my enemy
But I admire one thing about these Westerners of my revilement. They have this unique attribute of laughter, ringing laughter. They are able to laugh at themselves, thereby being able to lift themselves through that self-laughter. It was such laughter that gave literature a bundle of devices that endure to the point of being synonymous with the discipline.
Such laughter gave us irony, gave us sarcasm, gave us wit, gave us parody, gave us bathos, gave us pun — in short — many of those devices that provoke remedial laughter in mankind.
Or plain humorous contempt that allows us to adjust to the unpalatable that we cannot help, or change. Before writing this piece, I have just been reading Jose Saramago’s collection of essays. For the benefit of those from a different background, Saramago is a Portuguese Nobel Laureate for literature.
He died in June 2010, itself the month and year of his second coming as a famed writer. Of course the first coming was when he won the Nobel Prize. In September 2008, he did a savage piece on George Bush, like him, a westerner. It is an essay on errant power and leadership, an essay that kicked off on a note of wonder.
Great power, small president
His pen asked: “I wonder why it is that the United States, a country so great in all things, has so often had such small presidents.” Noting that George Bush was the smallest of all American presidents that have ever lived, he described him as wielding “abysmal ignorance . . . and constant(ly) succumbing to the irresistible temptation of pure nonsense . . .”
Then came the finisher so immaculately dressed in devastating humour: “This man . . . has presented himself to humanity in the grotesque pose of a cowboy who has inherited the world and mistaken it for a herd of cattle.
“We don’t know what he really thinks, we don’t even know if he does think (in the noble sense of the word), we don’t even know whether he might not be just a badly programmed robot that constantly confuses and switches around the messages it carries around inside it.”
But to give the man some credit for once in his life, there is one programme in the robot George Bush, president of the United States, that works to perfection: lying.
He knows he’s lying, he knows we know he is lying, but being a compulsive liar, he will keep on lying even when he has the most naked truth right there before his eyes — he will keep on lying even after the truth has exploded in his face . . . With Bush, the lies come from very deep down; they are in his blood.
A liar emeritus, he is the high priest of all the other liars who have surrounded him, applauded him, and served him over the past few years.”
Saramago digs at forgiven sex excesses
But that was Saramago on Bush in the aftermath of US aggression on Iraq. I don’t want to simplify Saramago. More matters than war would trigger his savage laughter, his scalding indignation, as Silvio Berlusconi was later to see.
A leader of remarkable peccadilloes, Berlusconi’s sexual excesses soon drew the attention of Saramago whose knowledge of the Italian leader’s immense riches did not blind him to his swelling foibles. But his sharpest barbs were reserved for the Italian people. Of them he paid a rare tribute in the following words: “I don’t know very much myself about the life and miracles of Silvio Berlusconi, il Cavaliere.
The Italian people, who have sat him (Berlusconi) once, twice, three times in the Prime Minister’s chair, must know far more than I do. Well, as we often hear it said, the people are sovereign, and they are not only sovereign, they are also wise and prudent . . .”
The power of irony, the irony of power
You can’t miss Saramago’s imprint of savage sarcasm. A principal weapon against the mighty whose conduct or misconduct he judges to fall short of the rudiments of public morality and high leadership.
He wields words and sarcasm as his only weaponry against awesome power made more dangerous by the absence of restraining sense of responsibility.
Measured against such stupendous power, his sarcasm underlines his overwhelming impotence, if the measure of effective resistance is toppling such reviled power.
However corrosive, mere literary irony cannot change bad governments, topple bad rulers.
It is proper to bring in Henri Lefebvre, the French philosopher who has written so copiously on modernity, and the weapon of irony. Noting the powerlessness of writers and their irony in situations of unfair and immoral exercise of power, he nevertheless credits irony with enormous social power: “Aware of its own weakness, it (irony) is always on the defensive.”
This does not stop it becoming aggressive whenever the opportunity arises. It can irritate giants. It risks their wrath. The ironist is not afraid of setting himself up as a universal agitator — in other words, as an agitator of the universal. His irony is an act of defiance: weakness defying the powers that be, which are never more than specific powers localised in the hands of specific individuals.
We might call irony the protest of an insecure subjectivity and consciousness, thus protest by thought in search of itself.”
Last week I raised a prickly issue regarding the susceptibility of the national mind to mindless distraction. I noted our proneness to inordinate fascination with the petty, amidst giant issues requiring our urgent attention. Much worse, our inattention to serious matters threatening our collective well as they get smuggled in by our enemies in our hour of distraction.
The issue of the Prime Minister’s sexuality was one giant binge to a nation long craving for a delightful diversion, hungry for cathartic ecstasy, for a lotus-induced escape from itself. Much worse, even in that Elysium, we still bickered, stood deeply divided, ill-focused and totally misreading the cast and drama before us. And judging by the intensity of reader comments on the matter, the lotus-eating continues.
Unlike our European counterparts, our response to the excesses of power have been most uninventive, even surprising and hurtful to ourselves, without lifting us by a single inch to higher morality.
The saving myth of filial virtue
Yet the issue of the Prime Minister and his women has allowed the ant to look at the elephant. Admittedly a look of impotence, but one from a commanding vantage point that allows and exposes an unflattering view all along so ornately hidden from the public.
Power, like a loose father gnawed by venereal illness, has in the past two weeks walked with an embarrassing limp, indeed has revealed the blot from a diseased discharge, all in front of its grown up children who now know, who now can recognise and interpret smudges of sin. If any debate on the Prime Minister’s sexuality was permissible at all, it needed to be on what light it throws on his leadership qualities, themselves the only thing that touch and matter to all of us as Zimbabweans.
Beyond that, I maintain at the pain of death, that nothing else matters to me and you.
We have decided to be fascinated by a potentially useful matter, without knowing where and when to draw boundaries, where and when to draw lessons that matter to us as a nation. What scars the mind of grown-up children after they have peeped and seen their father’s excesses is not so much the soiled underwear.
That can be washed clean the next day. It is the realisation of their father’s sexual physiognomy, the realisation that such a physiognomy gets used outside orthodoxy. Our parents’ physiognomy remain unacknowledged, in spite of its evident presence.
It is called a saving lie. We all need it. That is what underpins moral order, what gives a father who has several children outside wedlock the moral power to still whip hard and call to order a daughter who has come back home late at night, on suspicion of seeing a lover before ripe age. Parenthood rests on a false assumption of filial virtue.
Power as an efficient cheat
Same with power. We construct it and allow its possession and use on some assumption of moral flawlessness we know we are incapable of as humans.
Be it needs that illusion. But we need that lie — a saving lie — that whoever wields that power which is exercised over us, is infallible, must be incapable of sinning.
And the word is “sinning”. It is not “mistakes”. With the exercise of power, we expect mistakes.
But not venality. Not sins. Of course sins must be committed, in fact do get committed by those in power. But they should never be seen, should never be a public tracks, cover its sinful footprints perfectly, indeed to cover its front and hind. Or where its covering act is not well executed, to leave us in doubt and suspicion, to allow us some comfortable retreat into the zone of disputed righteousness. Maybe it is true, maybe not.
We must remain in the zone of unresolved limbo, in our judgment of the moral conduct of those in power. Power must face allegations of sinful conduct. It must never be convicted conclusively, compulsively. Power must never prove against itself, must never provide indubitable evidence of its own moral culpability. We expect power to be an efficient cheat. This is where Morgan failed.
He sailed along the blue shoreline on a desert day, and forgot the children were out to play. Now they have seen their father’s nakedness. Do they laugh, do they remain silent for fear of the dark curse? Do they deploy Saramago’s savage irony of laughter? But that is not the issue. The issue is what we did when power failed us by denying us room to form any illusion about its own righteousness. And this is where I start faulting the national mind.
The Prime Minister’s misdeeds raise existential questions which the national debate is either not raising at all, or sufficiently. Or has aborted for fear of immediate electoral consequences. Our fear of deserved electoral consequences which the Prime Minister must face has got us to sidestep key moral issues he must answer or else stumble. We seem so anxious to grant him power unconditionally, and thus have suspended standard moral questions all power must answer.
We have rigged our own minds, gagged our mouths amidst a brazen show of sinning power too incompetent even to mind let alone cover its own tracks. It is not the sexuality of the Prime Minister which is at issue; it is what that sexuality has revealed about a man wielding position and power, a man who therefore must be both careful and competent.
What I have seen in these two fateful weeks clearly shows the Prime Minister has many enemies. In Zanu-PF, and that is to be expected. In MDC-T, and that was to be suspected. In both, which was to be feared. Yet against all, our Prime Minister strutted naked, wagging his sexuality like there was no tomorrow, no enemies to extract maximum advantage. We all watched the drama, wondering what had entered the mind of a man who aspires to be our “father”.
Is the man incapable of self-judgment, incapable of protecting himself against his own enemies? If he lacks that most basic instinct — self-preservation — can he protect us? Or is he amoral, a doer who cannot compute his actions on a moral scale? What leadership type arises from such sensibility, such total lack of a sense of personal danger?
Infantalising our leaders
How has the national debate evolved? Shamefully, very shamefully. Instead of getting our man to account for his amazing conduct, for his incompetence after performing a naked sin, we seek to invent scapegoats. The Central Intelligence Organisation foremost. Aah! Locardia second-most. A gold-digger, we dare call her!
Whose gold? Ever since Tsvangirai became our Prime Minister, all the “gold” he pretends to have, comes from you and me, the taxpayers.
So whose gold, except the little we mandatorily forego by way of taxes?
And the problem is Locardia we think intends to dig it, never our Prime Minister who is ready to spend it, away from the search of our collective welfare as leaders should? How does the Prime Minister of a country which cannot afford allowances for census enumerators, still afford a cruise on high seas? How do you and me whose children daily grow spectre-thin from sparse food, afford funding such gargantuan appetites for pleasure so displayed by our leaders?
Much worse, how do we invent so many scapegoats for our leaders if we wish to grow them as responsible and accountable actors in a democracy? How do we accept them to be such easy victims of elementary honey-traps without infantalising them, without accepting that they are so grossly incompetent as not even to be capable of hiding their own sins? What do we seek in leadership? Childlike naïveté or competence?
Makumbe and his touts
I go a little further. I have said Tsvangirai has enemies across parties, including in his own party. What astounded me in the last two weeks was the growing boldness of enemies from within his own party. Their derisive laughter grows open and louder by the day.
They are scornful, clearly stating before friend and foe that this man who has so hurt the MDC brand must now find his way home, his way to retirement, away from the world of politics. There is an open questioning of the man’s leadership credentials from his peers in ambition, and his juniors in the party who are too low to rival him.
It’s running through now. One party supporter in the UK has written to the Prime Minister, imploring him to resign and save the party. She is now threatened with having “a lid put above her”, whatever that means. Even Makumbe, himself an aspiring Buhera West MP on the MDC-T ticket, says the MDC-T party has been left to the whims of vanahwindi, left to the leadership of touts. Where does the count of touts begin?
Makumbe uses the euphemism of participation in the Inclusive Government, to explain away this unfitness to govern. We know the extent of the problem he broaches, the pain that forces him to go that far. We know what he really means. He means the MDC-T president is on high seas, enjoying the legendary carnal pleasures of sailors. He lives for the day, unaware of dangers to his party, to himself. It is the bane of an unreflexive leadership.
More hilarious is the piece from Eddie Cross. It is on the Marikana massacres in far away South Africa. He calls this tragedy a “game changer”.
That it is, no doubt. Except Cross can never get us to rivet on Marikana when there is a bigger game changer at home, in the Prime Minister’s bedroom. In fact his decision to go on a diaspora — he and his pen — beckons him back to home politics so loudly. The Prime Minister — his own leader — has shot and killed our sense of morality, our sense of leadership. Who speaks about that? A very revealing trait of the national mind — avoidance of the unpalatable. That way our erring leaders get away with it. Need we wonder when worse outrages follow?
When writers succumb to dogmatism, forget irony
Then you have another amazing side-track brewed to save errant power. The national debate has recorded an inventory of national morality, more accurately an inventory of the moral stature of the Prime Minister’s perceived adversaries.
All the perceived sexual misdemeanors of persons in Zanu-PF — from the President right down to the smallest minion — have been held up and high for anemic scrutiny. It is a very strange discourse, a strange way of defending erring power. See who else has sinned, the argument goes, with writers and bloggers slanderously spewing names and situations. Let’s grant those claims for a moment. What is the upshot to all that? To say that the errant Prime Minister is in good Zanu-PF sinful company? And we have all along been pushing Tsvangirai up, up and up so he ends up like the Zanu-PF we daily condemn and discount as too sinful to govern us? I see even the writer — Petina Gappah — herself our supposed moral compass, succumbs to this kind of reasoning too? Who shall use irony then?
When shall it be used? She must find time to read Vladimir Jankelevitch who says throughout history, dogmatism provokes irony. We have a problem when writers who constitute the most sensitive part of the national mind, become so enchanted with erring leadership as to be so dogmatic.-
Holy men’s benedictions
Lastly, we have a compounded moral question. As the Prime Minister hovered butterfly-like, from flower to flower, seemingly in endless carnal flight, also in sight were at least two holy men in prayer. Or were they? We have one Muriritirwa and a Father Makaka. Muriritirwa initiated courtship for the Prime Minister. He facilitated consummation of that courtship in his own house. A holy house, or is it a holy man’s house? Father Makaka claims that he was misled by the Prime Minister. It is hard to believe that the holy man does not read newspapers, nay did not read them up to the last day of the wedding.
Why did he go to Raintree? The wedding went against all the homilies of catholicism? Viewed collectively, what exactly is the relationship of these two holy men and this man of power, and by extrapolation, the nature of the State-church relations which the political dispensation which Tsvangirai implies suggests? Shall the false benediction only begin and end with amorous affairs? Won’t we see this extending to sins of governance? Why is the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe so quiet, when a part of its retinue is implicated? Is this the quality of the national prayer campaign which TB Joshua was meant to crown?
Arise Saramago, arise!
Let me round up my article. I have no problem with a questioning deficit arising from the fear of power. Power is and can be dangerous. Fear or it is expected, understandable. Fear of it can muzzle questions which must be asked. But to skip interrogating power because one is enamoured of it, to my mind, is downright dishonesty, downright irresponsibility on the part of a people. Tsvangirai wields trappings of power, not real power itself. He need not be feared. But he seeks to wield real power, full power above the current one so trammeled by the sharing arrangement. He wants to govern all of us. Yet he already sins enormously with that little power, meeting all of us the morning after with a brazen face.
He tramples on women rights, to cheers! On his wedding day, we expected a man “with a skin”, to use a Shona parlance, a man ashamed and sorry for himself. A man who would atone for his misdeeds, indeed a man in deep remorse. We did not expect a charging bull, a sinner who brags, shouts and repudiates the world, however censorious. Much worse, we did not expect a part of us to cheer, let alone cheer him on. If we cannot loathe the misdeeds of our leaders, the very least we can do is to laugh. Laugh, laugh and laugh. Or don’t we know lifting laughter? Saramago, arise. Arise Saramago. — Icho!
Labels: MDC, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
Europeans did not inherit pale skins from Neanderthals
14:55 26 September 2012 by Karl Gruber
The people who built Stonehenge 5000 years ago probably had the same pallid complexion of many modern inhabitants of the UK. Now it seems that the humans occupying Britain and mainland Europe only lost the darker skins of their African ancestors perhaps just 6000 years earlier, long after Neanderthals had died out.
The finding confirms that modern Europeans didn't gain their pale skin from Neanderthals – adding to evidence suggesting that European Homo sapiens and Neanderthals generally kept their relationships strictly platonic.
There is a clear correlation between latitude and skin pigmentation: peoples that have spent an extended period of time at higher latitudes have adapted to those conditions by losing the skin pigmentation that is common at lower latitudes, says Sandra Beleza at the University of Porto in Portugal. Lighter skin can generate more vitamin D from sunlight than darker skin, making the adaptation an important one for humans who wandered away from equatorial regions.
Those wanderings took modern humans into Europe around 45,000 years ago – but exactly when the European skin adapted to local conditions had been unclear.
Beleza and her colleagues studied three genes associated with lighter skin pigmentation. Although the genes are found in all human populations, they are far more common in Europe than in Africa, and explain a significant portion of the skin-colour differences between European and west African populations.
By analysing the genomes of 50 people with European ancestry and 70 people with sub-Saharan African ancestry, Beleza's team could estimate when the three genes – and pale skin – first became widespread in European populations. The result suggested that the three genes associated with paler skin swept through the European population only 11,000 to 19,000 years ago.
"The selective sweeps for favoured European [versions of the three genes] started well after the first migrations of modern humans into Europe," says Beleza.
The finding agrees with earlier studies suggesting that modern humans did not lose their dark skins immediately on reaching Europe, says Katerina Harvati at the University of Tübingen in Germany. "[The new study] is interesting because it suggests a very late differentiation of skin pigmentation among modern humans," she says.
An earlier analysis of ancient DNA in 40,000 and 50,000-year-old Neanderthal bones, respectively from Spain and Italy, suggested that our extinct cousins had light-coloured skin and reddish hair in their European heartland. But the Neanderthals went extinct around 28,000 years ago – long before modern humans in Europe gained a pale skin. Evidently Neanderthals did not pass these useful local adaptations on to modern humans, despite genetic evidence that the two species interbred.
Middle Eastern contact
That might seem unusual given that the two species lived cheek-by-jowl in Europe for several thousand years. But it makes sense if the interbreeding evident in the genes occurred in the Middle East, where modern humans and Neanderthals first met, says Chris Stringer at the Natural History Museum, London.
In that region, Neanderthals may have had darker skins, explaining why our species did not gain a pale skin after interbreeding with them. Indeed, a study earlier this year of ancient DNA suggested that Neanderthals living in what is now Croatia had dark skin and brown hair.
"Neanderthal skin colour was probably variable, as might be expected for a large population spread out over a large territorial expanse," says Harvati.
Journal reference: Molecular Biology and Evolution, doi.org/h9h
A long farewell to Comrade Betty
By The Post
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:30 CAT
The days pass, each year giving birth to its successor. What has passed becomes the past as time erodes the memory of what was living experience.
In their recalling, old joys expand into enlarged pleasure. Old wounds fade away into forgotten scars or linger on as quiet pain without a minder.
Those who give generously their lives, their talents to lighten our moments of darkness, do not want the embarrassment of the enthusiasm of our gratitude.
Those who brought us intolerable pain and took away our days of light insist that nothing should be recalled, lest we impose on them the pain of guilt and on ourselves the pain of our memories. And so what was slides away as though it never was.
Comrade Betty Kaunda suffered a lot. She bore the scars of our independence struggle and those of the liberation struggles of our entire region. We talk of the sufferings she went through as a mother and as a wife of the supreme leader of our independence struggle as if it was such a small thing. We talk about her charcoal burning undertakings as if it was such a small thing. All has passed as though it never was.
Comrade Betty had to endure long periods of time waiting for her incarcerated husband, imprisoned comrade. She had to fend, single-handedly, for her children. She had to endure all those long days and nights without Comrade KK, who was in prison. All lingers on only as a nightmarish image of what might have been.
Comrade Betty suffered and suffered quietly. Even after our independence, keeping the family together and participating in many national activities with all quietness and humility was still not such an easy thing and small thing. All has passed, as though it never was.
In the last few years we have congregated at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross with greater frequency to bid farewell to the heroes and heroines of our independence struggle, the founders of our Republic, the builders of our nation, paying our last respects to the fallen heroes and heroines of our nation from a generation now reaching the end of a long and heroic struggle. Again, those from that generation, who are singled out to stay the longest, have to bear the pain of seeing their comrades go. One after the other, the stars that brightened the firmament of a generation have been extinguished. Time has swallowed up our heroes and heroines.
Not anywhere in this country stand a statue and a monument which speak to us and all future time to say - once upon a time, our country was blessed to have as its citizens these who, though dead, are brought to life by every day's dawn that portends fulfilment for all the people of our homeland. They too slide into the past as though they never were.
Today, Comrade Betty lies in her small house of wood, cold and still and without a voice. When she passed on, yet another great Zambian heart ceased to beat. While she lived, she refused to allow her people to be abused, to be humiliated, to be oppressed in all sorts of ways. She elected to oppose those who sought personal benefit by abusing the people and their resources. And last year she took a quiet but very strong political stand against the corrupt, the abusers and ensured that they left the stage.
She gave those who were downtrodden and despised pride in themselves as glorious human beings, by instilling in them the knowledge that they held the gift of progress in their hands.
Today, Comrade Betty lies in her small house of wood, cold and still and without a voice.
Comrade Betty spoke quietly of hope, of human dignity, of the cruel eras of small-minded people scared of their own shadows, of the magnanimity of those who were mistreated by those who claimed to be born-again.
She worked quietly to persuade us to understand the cruel eras of the small-minded people, teaching us to assert our own humanity by respecting the rights of all our people to life, liberty and happiness. She showed us by example that we need no high-sounding titles to discharge our obligation faithfully to serve the masses of our people.
Even as some sought to present her and her husband and comrade as objects of ridicule, those of us who knew who they were and what was their worth to the masses of our people, determined that we, like them, would continue to be informed by our knowledge and consciences rather than the voices of those who sought to play various and insensitive games.
Today, Comrade Betty lies in her small house of wood, cold and still and without a voice.
While she lived, her humility, her self-effacing ways, her constant humour, her loyalty to principle, the certainty her very being carried of the inevitability of the realisation of our hopes, brought light and joy to our days of despair. The gods themselves would lose their patience with us if we permitted that time should persuade us that this jewel on our crown has lost its sparkle, merely because the soil we tread will have taken into its bosom the small wooden house that Comrade Betty now occupies.
Whatever the direction we turn our ears, the same message reaches us - the struggle that Betty and her comrades started and waged for the total liberation of our people is not yet complete. It is still aluta continua!
The voices that come at us from the great expanses of our beautiful land tell us that we must assert that what was, was.
The lived experiences of the times that have passed are to us and to future generations very valuable. The heroes and heroines, whom Comrade Betty has joined, like her, live among us, fighters still for the liberation of all our people. The cause for which they fought, sacrificed and lived has not run its course. We still have many challenges - poverty, hunger, disease, ignorance and so on and so forth.
Today, Comrade Betty rests in her small house of wood, cold and still and without a voice. And yet we can hear her as she says:
Do not allow the shadows to deceive you nor the long road you have to travel, to discourage you! Refuse that selfishness should take possession of your hearts and minds and deprive you of what is most precious to us - the lived gift of humanism! Listen carefully to the strident voice of your adversaries and continue to strive as you have done over countless years, to remain loyal to what is good and just! Above all, as you call for God's benediction in the interest of our homeland and the masses of our people, act together to free the peoples of our continent from oppression, from war, from poverty, from greed, from lies, deceit, humiliation and contempt!
Today, Comrade Betty rests in her small house of wood, cold and still and without a voice.
Today, we all join Comrade KK, Comrade Betty's husband, their sons and daughters, their grandchildren and great grandchildren and the rest of the family, to put to rest a patriot who was to all of us variously, a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a great grandmother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a colleague, a comrade and a leader.
All of us say, together, thank you for being what you have been. We say thank you, twatotela, luitumezi, zikomo, twasanta, tunasakilili, tunasakilila, twalumba for the way you have enriched all our lives.
We appeal to you that you bear with us that we might not have understood as well as we should have, how much what you thought and said and did gave meaning and direction to our own lives.
Tell those whom you join that, whatever the problems, still we progress.
Farewell dear comrade! Rest in peace!
Labels: BETTY KAUNDA, OBITUARIES
MMD leaders congratulate Nyangu for telling UPND off
By Allan Mulenga
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:10 CAT
THE UPND leadership is displeased with MMD deputy national secretary Chembe Nyangu's statement that the opposition party has nothing to offer Zambians, sources have disclosed.
But Nyangu has maintained his earlier position and refused to succumb to pressure from the UPND that he retracts his statement.
Nyangu, in his reaction to UPND deputy spokesperson Cornelius Mweetwa's assertions that the former ruling party could not claim popularity in Mufumbwe because it was no longer in power, said it was "nonsense" for the UPND to think in those lines simply because the MMD lost power in last year's elections.
MMD sources told The Post yesterday that the UPND called for an emergency meeting to discuss Nyangu's statement which was, however, highly supported by several NEC members of the former ruling party.
The MMD says UPND members' selfish interests make it hard for them to work with other political parties.
There is a rift between UPND and MMD over the latter's decision to field a candidate in Mufumbwe by-election.
Sources have disclosed that senior UPND members called for an emergency meeting in which they discussed among other things the views expressed by Nyangu that the party had nothing to offer to the Zambian people.
"The UPND now they are questioning what MMD deputy national secretary has said. This is going to create problems, but they said the UPND senior officials have vowed not to give up on Mufumbwe.
They complained bitterly about the story which appeared in The Post on Wednesday," the source said.
Sources further disclosed that there was jubilation in the MMD camp following the views expressed by Nyangu that UPND had been antagonistic and unrealistic over the by-election.
"The NEC officials congratulated Nyangu for telling the UPND off. Because last week when we held a NEC meeting at the secretariat, people complained that UPND shouldn't take us for a ride. They will not go there, it is our seat, you tell them. So they were told to leave it. So the way it has come out, it has just showed that they UPND cannot work with any party. Even under UDA it was the same; with Patriotic Front it was the same, ULP it was the same, now it is MMD," the source said.
Sources further complained that since the two opposition parties entered into a loose alliance, the UPND had always wanted to be treated like a bigger party as compared to the MMD.
"They UPND can't work with any opposition party in the country; they will never progress because they have selfish interests. They are just being unrealistic; they should exhibit leadership. We have more members of parliament; we had 55 MPs against 28. But you see we were very much ahead of them. Now they are taking advantage of us, they are saying MMD always give us, not knowing that we are big boys, a mother of all political parties. They are worried about their future," said the source.
The UPND on Tuesday told MMD not to claim popularity in Mufumbwe because they were no longer in power.
And Nyangu hit back, saying UPND had nothing to offer the Zambian people and dismissed their claims as "nonsense".
The two opposition parties, who claim to be in a loose alliance under which they agreed to collectively field a candidate for by-elections, have separately engaged in discussions to each contest the upcoming Mufumbwe parliamentary by-election.
And Nyangu yesterday said he still stood by his earlier statement that the UPND had nothing to offer Zambians.
"I am not going to retract my statement," said Nyangu when asked to comment on the matter.
Labels: BY-ELECTIONS, CHEMBE NYANGU, MMD, PF
Sata Reflects On One Year In Office
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in New York
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:30 CAT
ZAMBIA has seen reasonable improvements since PF took over office, says President Michael Sata who has also thanked Zambians for ending his 10-year stay in the opposition.
And President Sata received standing ovation from the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly when he unveiled a whole female-led Zambia's legal-judicial structure.
Meanwhile, President Sata says high unemployment levels, especially among the many Zambian youths who voted for the PF, remain the most pressing problem facing his regime.
In his inaugural address to the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, the head of state said the Zambian economy continues to perform reasonably well.
President Sata also said he was indebted to Zambians for again undertaking the change process in a peaceful manner and giving the government "overwhelming support".
"It is my desire to utilise my experience at both ends of the leadership spectrum to make a worthwhile contribution to our democracy," he said. "I trust that Zambia will be able to share her lessons and to equally learn from those with longer or even better democratic experiences. Since my government assumed power in September, 2011, the country has seen reasonable improvements in our economy with an inflation rate down to 6.6 per cent and a gross domestic product growth rate in the region of six per cent in spite of the low global economic trends. This has been attributed to the enhancement of the investment policy framework and improving infrastructure and human capital development. Despite these efforts, however, 60.5 per cent of the Zambian people continue to live in poverty."
President Sata said it was his government's desire to take development to the micro level.
"The PF government's focus is to enhance agricultural productivity and access to markets for peasants and small scale farmers, provide improved health services as close to the families as possible, improve quality of education, and, facilitate access to decent housing and accommodation," he said. "We are still faced with considerable challenges, in terms of meeting the basic needs of the majority of the Zambian people. Shortly before I was ushered into office, there was much publicity of the positive macro-economic indicators, but these results did not trickle down to the average citizenry."
And President Sata was applauded by the UN General Assembly when he announced that key legal-judicial institutions were led by women whom he expected to perform better than men who had previously led them. He said corruption remained the biggest stumbling block to achieving good governance and the rule of law.
"My government attaches similar importance to promoting good governance, and as such we have put in place a robust anti-corruption programme, with improved and increased resources which should set a new stage in our development," he said.
On Millennium Development Goals whose target date is narrowly three years away with little achievement in sight, President Sata said there was need for renewed commitment to human-centered development goals to ensure weaker nations develop. He warned that abandoning MDGs would harm most weaker nations.
"As we draw closer to the deadline of the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, the international community needs to maximize its efforts towards achieving all the eight (8) goals," said President Sata. UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon has appointed a panel comprising Indonesian President Susilo Bambang, Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and British Prime Minister David Cameron to advise on the post-2015 global development agenda.
Labels: MICHAEL SATA, PF
Britain remains Zambia's biggest bilateral donor - Chikwanda
By Ernest Chanda
Fri 28 Sep. 2012, 12:10 CAT
FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has requested Princess Anne to help market Zambia's agricultural potential in her country.
During a dinner hosted in her honour by the govern- ment at the Lusaka's InterContinental Hotel, Chikwanda who is also acting Republican president said the country had good climatic conditions for farming.
"As Zambia strives for higher economic growth rates in order to eradicate poverty, agriculture will be our major thrust. It is very significant for us that you have nodded our efforts in that area. You will be our powerful ambassador to the investor community, especially those who would have the inclination for large-scale agriculture," he said on Wednesday night.
On the economy, Chikwanda said the real challenge for the Zambian government was to stimulate development in rural areas.
He said as a result, the government had spent its one year in office preparing the economy for the next fiscal year.
"The wide range of projects we will embark on has a very high job content. Unemployment is the biggest challenge for our country, particularly given the demographic reality of a population that is predominantly young," Chikwanda said.
"The United Kingdom, despite challenges in its economy, still remains the biggest bilateral donor to Zambia. A very large chunk of the aid package from Britain goes to budget support which gives us consid- erable leeway of allocation of resources for our devel- opment agenda."
And Princess Anne hailed Zambia's links with Britain, which she said trickled down to individual level.
She said because of the country's hospitality, there were so many British nationals who migrated to Zambia and had settled in various business areas.
"The Commonwealth Agricultural Society has been fascinating from our perspective because we've heard from small-scale farmers, commercial farmers; we've heard how you relate to the increase in capacity and potential for the future. And that potential for the future is really exciting. And I hope that Britain will share with you; and again we can create even more links in future, not just businesses but between the people which is important," said Princess Anne.
"Zambia does now play an increasing role on the world stage and that chal- lenges you in a way, particularly in relationships with the Commonwealth; you set very high standards too."
Labels: ALEXANDER CHIKWANDA, DONORS, UK
(NEWZIMBABWE) US fumes after Mugabe compares Gaddafi slaying to Stevens
COMMENT - I'm sorry, however who is sinking to a new low?
(NEWZIMBABWE) US fumes after Mugabe compares Gaddafi slaying to Stevens
On the attack ... Mugabe addressing the UN on Wednesday
by Sandra Nyaira I VOA
THE United States has accused President Robert Mugabe of "sinking to a new low" by comparing the recent death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens to that of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
President Mugabe opened his address to the UN General Assembly in New York Wednesday by comparing the death of Stevens to that of Gaddafi, killed by Libyan rebels a year ago.
"The death of Gaddafi must be seen in the same tragic manner as the death of Chris Stevens. We condemn both of them," Mugabe told world leaders.
"As we in spirit join the United States in condemning that death, shall the United States also join us in condemning that barbaric death of the Head of State of Libya - Gaddafi? It was a loss, a great loss to Africa, a tragic loss to Africa," he said.
Responding, spokeswoman Erin Pelton for the U.S. mission to the United Nations described Mugabe’s comments as a “ridiculous and abhorrent comparison that we reject in the strongest terms.”
"(Mugabe) cynically chose to compare the best of us with the worst of us, a ridiculous and abhorrent comparison that we reject in the strongest terms," said Pelton.
[Perhaps they will start to condemn the murder of Africans in Libya, which they facilitated. The US Bush Administration has many times more blood on it's hands than the Zimbabwean government accused of, even in the most inflated numbers. - MrK]
"Ambassador Stevens represented the finest of America and spent his life connecting people, not dividing them. Even for President Mugabe, this is a new low."
[Hot air. - MrK]
Stevens and three other Americans were killed on September 11 in what the United States has called a "terrorist" attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, an eastern Libyan city that was the hub for the Libyan rebel movement that toppled Gaddafi last year with the assistance of NATO air strikes.
In his speech, President Mugabe also joined fellow African leaders in calling for the reform of the United Nations Security Council which he accused of wielding "an insatiable appetite for war".
Mugabe said: "Zimbabwe stands by Africa's demand for two permanent seats complete with a veto, if the veto is to be retained, plus two additional non-permanent seats, as clearly articulated in the Ezulwini Consensus and the Sirte Declaration.
"For how long will the international community continue to ignore the aspirations of a whole continent of 54 countries? We shall not be bought-off with empty promises, nor shall we accept some cosmetic tinkering of the Security Council disguised as reform.
"It is indeed a travesty of justice that the African continent, which accounts for almost a third of the membership represented in this august Assembly, has no permanent representation in the Security Council. Is this good governance? Is this democracy? And, is this justice?"
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria and Jacob Zuma of South Africa also called for immediate reforms at the UN so that Africa can have a say on the international arena.
U.S. spokeswoman Pelton said Mugabe should have taken advantage of his allocated time at the General Assembly to inform the world how he intends to bring Zimbabwe back from the brink after years of what she said was Zanu PF misrule.
Mugabe revealed Wednesday his desire to call for national elections at the end of March 2013.
Labels: ROBERT MUGABE, SECURITY COUNCIL, UN, WAR CRIMES
Kereke missing wife a hoax: police
by Staff Reporter
HARARE police said Friday that recent claims by Rocfoundation Medical Centre founder Munyaradzi Kereke that his wife and four-year-old daughter “just vanished” are most likely a hoax.
Kereke made the revelations in a letter to the Speaker of Parliament on September 19, strongly hinting that his former boss – Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono – was responsible.
He claimed his wife and child had disappeared on September 13, adding: “Indications so far suggest that foul play looms large.”
But police say their investigations have revealed that Kereke’s wife voluntarily left the country for South Africa following a domestic dispute with the former Reserve Bank adviser.
Harare police spokesman Inspector Tadius Chibanda said:
“Our investigations so far have revealed that there was a domestic dispute, and Dr Kereke’s wife took her child and left the house in a taxi. A gardener witnessed her leaving.
“We tracked down the driver of the Ipsum taxi who said that he had taken them to the airport. The police went to the airport and confirmed that they left on a South Africa-bound plane.”
Kereke has also claimed that an armed gang shot at one of his employees who was “trailed from the hospital to his house” before hijacking one of his cars.
Police have not been able to prove those claims but maintain an open investigation.
Linking the alleged disappearance of his wife and the shooting incident, Kereke said “these crude developments... underscore that in our country, we now seem to have semi-gods and warlords who openly terrorise others in ways that if not curbed swiftly risk edge (sic) the country on an avoidable path of instability.”
On Friday, Kereke told our correspondent by telephone: “I can’t comment on the matter.” Minutes later, he sent a brief text message stating: “On the road. Network.”
Subsequent attempts to contact him were unsuccessful as his mobile phone went unanswered.
Kereke, who left his role at the apex bank in February, has been on a crusade against his former boss Gono, whom he accuses of industrial scale corruption at the Reserve Bank.
The feud between the two men has spilled into the courts after Gono filed a US$25 million defamation lawsuit last month, which Kereke has filed a notice to defend..
Early this year, Kereke accused Gono of sending men to beat up his driver who turned up in court in a wheelchair. The case was thrown out after a medical report submitted by the driver was proved to be a forgery. The wheelchair was a stunt to gain the court’s sympathy, magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini added in a withering judgement.
Kereke, who is fighting claims that he raped his 14-year-old niece in 2010, has filed lawsuits against three newspapers and threatened a fourth for reporting the allegations.
The quarrelsome former Stanbic employee has also been involved in public spats with Health Minister Henry Madzorera and Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Labels: GIDEON GONO, MDC CORRUPTION
COMMENT - He's lying. First, a similar property advertised on Wildnet in the 1990s was offered for $23,- per hectare, not $100,-. Secondly, at $100 for 24,000 hectares, that's $2.4 million. How did he get that much money to spend on a wildlife reserve? Now he says he bought 24,000 hectares at $100/hectare ($2.4 million) from a $1 million loan from the World Bank? By the way, ordinary Zimbabweans should be so lucky to get a 10 year business loan at 2.5% interest.
Inside Save Conservancy
Saturday, 22 September 2012 20:21
Mr Clive Stockhill expresses displeasure at sharing his 24 000 hectares of land with indigenous people as he feels his wildlife will be under threat.
Driving into the now controvertial Save Valley Conservancy one quickly gets to understand the emotions and defiant attitude that have surrounded its indiginisation to accommodate black players.
This “paradise on earth’’ is situated in the South Eastern Lowveld and covers approximately 845 044 acres (342 123 square kilometres) shared by a group of 16 white former cattle ranchers.
It is bigger than Belgium which is only 30 530 square kilometres but is shared by 11 million people.
And Save is indeed a rich man’s retreat. Driving through the area one gets occasional appearances of the enormous jungle leaders among them kudu, giraffe, rhino, elephant, impala, lion, warthog and wildebeest.
You hardly travel a kilometre without seeing these beasts, making the conservancy one of the best tourist centres in the country.
Nearly every ranch has one or two upmarket lodges, some of which have airstrips, which are currently in use, allowing the various visitors from all over the world to come into the country hassle-free and privately.
Workers at Senuko Ranch, which has one of the airstrips, told The Sunday Mail last week that small planes came in and left quite often.
“In fact, there was one this morning. Most guests here come in private planes for hunting,’’ remarked one of the workers.
Senuko is owned by Mr Clive Stockhill and measures 24 000 hectares.
Other properties belonging to his business associates measure between 24 000 and 35 000 hectares each.
The impression you get as you drive through the conservancy is that no human inhabitants would be found there because of the free movement of different wildlife along the main dusty road that stretches across the conservancy.
The workers claim the animals are shot as and when the owners decide, at times just for making biltong.
The plush homes of the conservancy owners and their families are tucked inside thick bushes and can hardly be located except for those who know the area well.
Entrance into the conservancy is strictly monitored and only those cleared by the “bosses’’ are allowed in.
This is the sweet cake that some black empowerment groups now want a piece of.
But Mr Stockhill, the former chairman of the conservancy, is adamant that the parcelling out of this land will never happen.
Speaking to The Sunday Mail at his residence, located on top of a hill in the middle of a forest, Mr Stockhill had no kind words for those eying his lucrative venture.
“First I must say if people think this is an area where they can make quick money, they are joking. It is not easy. We had to forego a lot of things as cattle ranchers to come up with this conservancy.
“So, it was created as a business venture where we invited an independent consultant to carry out a survey as to how we should go about it,’’ he said.
He said there would be no indigenising of the conservancies and the owners did not even understand the scope of that whole programme.
“We are still trying to understand what this is all about. All what I need is for you to understand how the Save Conservancy came to be what it is today.
“I am a Zimbabwean and I will die here. I do not see myself leaving this place because I have seen two land reforms under different governments, first from the Rhodesian government and then the black government and now you want me to witness yet another reform, what for?’’ he said.
He narrated that he was born 40 kilometres from Mkwasine Estate in the Lowveld where his parents owned Essaby Ranch. They moved there way back in 1940.
He grew up on the ranch until he bought his property measuring 24 000 hectares which is now part of the Save Conservancy.
“I bought this from a deceased’s estate at US$100 per hectare. I am a third-generation Zimbabwean and I remain committed to finding solutions to the problems that exist here,” he said.
Mr Stockhill therefore warned those trying to parcel out the conservancy to first understand how it was formed.
The area, he said, was initially for cattle ranchers in the 1920s after which the ranchers released their cattle because they were not able to sustain the ranching programme.
In 1992, drought saw hundreds of their cattle dying, prompting them to think of new means of survival.
“We looked at what to do. This was a hardcore business and instead of us doing it ourselves, we invited an independent consultant who carried out a survey looking at options.’’
He said finally the ranchers chose wildlife as their next venture. They then came together and formed the Save Valley Conservancy.
To get the business off the ground, they borrowed money from the International Finance Corporation which is a branch of the World Bank.
“We borrowed US$1 million through the World Bank’s office in Canada and the loan was payable over 10 years at two-and-a-half percent per annum with an endorsement from the Government of Zimbabwe through Cde Simon Khaya Moyo who was then the Minister of Tourism,’’ he said.
“We started with zero quotas until we finished paying back the loan in 2007 with hunting revenue still not enough to cover costs of wildlife. There is a perception that there is money in this business, which is wrong. We need independent auditors to give the correct picture,’’ he said.
He said major costs included wages as well as electricity bills.
Mr Stockhill said his property alone was not big enough to be shared with anyone.
“The smaller the unit, the less ecologically viable it becomes. The question that still haunts us is how we share benefits.
“The best way to do so is we would like to understand more of the community trusts that are being set up. We are keen to understand some of these structures,’’ he said.
He said there had not been much activity on the conservancy following the recent suspension of the hunting quotas by Government.
Prior to the suspension, hunters would come from as far as the United States, Canada and Europe.
However, some indigenous Zimbabweans believe that Mr Stockhill and his associates are holding on to resources that in all fairness cannot belong to them alone.
“How can a group of people claim ownership of such vast amounts of land and wildlife in a country with so many indiginous people?’’ remarked one of businesspeople in the area.
But some in Government have sided with the conservancy owners claiming that indiginising the area would impact badly on the country’s tourism, mostly the co-hosting of the 2013 UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be jointly hosted with Zambia.
These sentiments saw the Zanu-PF Politburo recently set up a technical committee to investigate the matter and make recommendations.
Controversy surrounding the conservancy emerged after the black beneficiaries of the lucrative business who were issued with 25-year leases included senior Zanu-PF officials.
This raised questions as to whether the process was indeed in line with Government’s policy on indigenisation.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said in an interview last week that the Politburo would want the conservancy turned into a national park.
“The Politburo resolved that the technical committee will meet soon to discuss issues around Save Conservancy. It will provide us with the way forward, but the thinking is to convert the conservancy into a national park.
“If that succeeds, then it means those leases issued recently would fall away,’’ Cde Gumbo was quoted as saying.
However, most people in the area believe black players should benefit from wildlife in the area.
“While we agree that the issuance of the 25-year leases could have been done in a wrong manner, the concept is good.
“What is needed is to do the right thing in redistributing this sector just as was the case under the land reform programme. No sector is sacred in the name of protecting tourism or threatening the hosting of the WTO General Assembly,’’ said war veteran Cde Robert Majiga.
" He grew up on the ranch until he bought his property measuring 24 000 hectares which is now part of the Save Conservancy. “I bought this from a deceased’s estate at US$100 per hectare. "
Labels: LAND REFORM, RHODESIANS, WILDLIFE
Namibia mourns Mama Betty
September 26, 2012
By CLAVER MUTINTA
BETTY Kaunda was amongst Freedom Fighters recognised during the Africa Freedom Day celebrations.
NAMIBIAN President Hifikepunye Pohamba has sent a message of condolences to former President Kenneth Kaunda following the death of his wife, Betty, last week.
Mr Pohamba says he learnt with shock and deep sorrow of the sudden passing of Mama Betty.
“The sudden departure of Madam Betty Kaunda robs you personally and the family of a beloved companion, a caring mother and grandmother,” he said.
He said the death of Mama Betty equally constitutes “a great loss to the fraternal of people of Zambia and many friends abroad whom she treated with compassion over the years, including many of Namibians hosted in Zambia during the struggle for national liberation.”
Mr Pohamba conveyed his deepest sympathies on behalf of his government, people of Namibia, and his family to Dr Kaunda and the people of Zambia.
“May you be strengthened and consoled as you deal with this difficult time of mourning, in the knowledge that she served with humility and kindness until her final hour,” he said.
And former President of Namibia Sam Nujoma says he learnt about the death of Mama Betty with utmost grief and profound distress.
He said Mama Betty, Dr Kaunda and other revolutionaries played a pivotal role in the liberation of Africa.
Mr Nujoma said together with Dr Kaunda, Mama Betty dedicated her life to dismantling the apartheid regime in South Africa and total liberation of Africa.
“In this regard, a tribute to Comrade Mama Betty Kaunda will be incomplete without reference to the role she played in the struggle against apartheid in South Africa and the white South Africa colonial regime in Namibia,” he said.
He said Mama Betty will be remembered by the current and future generations of Zambian nationals, African continent and beyond as a fearless freedom fighter and an indefatigable liberator.
He said Namibia remains indebted to the government and people of Zambia for their “unflinching and unwavering support during the armed liberation struggle”.
Labels: BETTY KAUNDA, HIFIKEPUNYE POHAMBA, OBITUARIES
President Sata demands for Africa’s permanent seats on UN Security Council
TIME PUBLISHED - Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 4:46 am
President Michael Sata, yesterday demanded that Africa must have permanent seats on the UN Security Council.
Addressing the High-Level meeting on the Rule of Law in the United Nations General Assembly Hall in New York, President Sata urged Africans to “stand up and be counted”.
“Since the League of Nations up to today, Africa is more of a spectator than a participant. We have no permanent members in the Security Council and yet we represent 54 members in this House,” said President Sata. “We cannot talk of rule of law when we are not respecting each other. Therefore, all Africans must stand up and be counted. We must become permanent members of theSecurity Council.”
The League of Nations was the forerunner of the United Nations.
President Sata’s statement is in line with the Committee of 10, commonly known as C10, which is an African Union (AU)-formation advocating for Africa to have two permanent seats on the UN Security Council with veto powers and extra two non-permanent seats to address the historical injustices that Africa suffered and to adhere to the geo-political realities of the modern times.
Zambia and Namibia are two countries that represent the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region on the C10.
Out of the 193 members of the UN, Africa has 54 states, making it the continent with the highest number of UN member states.
Currently the UN Security Council is composed of five permanent members — China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America — and 10 non-permanent members of which only South Africa, Morocco and Togo are from Africa. The non-permanent seats are on a two-year regional rotation basis.
Labels: MICHAEL SATA, UN
Scott says agricultural sector has been static in 50 years
TIME PUBLISHED - Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 1:50 pm
Vice President Guy Scott has observed that the agricultural sector in Zambia has remained unchanged for the past 50 years.
Dr Scott says agricultural sector has not moved due to the land tenure system which is customary as well as state and hoped that the Commonwealth Agricultural Conference
currently taking place in Zambia will greatly benefit the sector.
The Vice President said this at the 25th Commonwealth Agriculture Conference being held in Livingstone under the theme is “Africa’s role in world food production”.
At the same occasion, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne of the United Kingdom, who is in the country, said that needs to improve food and energy by 50 per cent and provision of fresh water by up to 30 per cent by the year 2030.
Princess Anne said she is encouraged by the number of young people who are engaged in agricultural activities and hoped that they will be embedded in agriculture in order to allow the transfer of knowledge.
The Princess said Zambia has potential to develop in both the agricultural and tourism industries due to its rich soils and wildlife.
The Princess has since thanked the Zambian government and the Agricultural and Commercial Society of Zambia for its contribution to the agricultural sector.
The conference has representatives from 14 countries which include Australia, Botswana, Canada, England, Kenya, New Zealand, Papua Guinea, and Scotland. Others are United States of America, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Labels: AGRICULTURE, GUY SCOTT, LAND RIGHTS
Deadly Sanctions Regime: Economic Warfare against Iran
By Eric Draitser
Global Research, September 25, 2012
The ongoing overt and covert war against Iran, instigated by the United States and Israel primarily, seeks to isolate Iran politically, militarily and, most importantly, economically. The Western imperialists have as their goal no less than full-scale war with Iran, a key regional power and one that the United States has failed to control or otherwise manipulate since the revolution of 1979.
Their attempts to demonize Iran as an international pariah and an irrational actor on the world stage have been repeatedly thwarted, most recently at the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran, where two thirds of the world stood alongside Iran in condemning the sanctions imposed by the US and its European allies. However, Iran’s response to the series of aggressions and provocations by the West is not purely a diplomatic one as evidenced by the summit. Rather, Iran is engaging in a process of economic cooperation and mutual development with powerful regional and international partners – a process which could marry the economic future of Iran with that of other nations – thereby countering the continued attempts at economic strangulation by the West.
The Painful Reality of Sanctions
It is easy to think of the sanctions as a tactic in a political and diplomatic chess game between Washington and Tehran: they undoubtedly are part of such a match. However, the reality of the sanctions is that they are an economic weapon trained directly at the people of Iran, despite whatever rhetoric may emanate from Washington regarding the targeting of the regime. In fact, the sanctions are one of the most potent weapons in the imperialist arsenal, used by those in power in their attempt to foment chaos and unrest in Iran and topple the government from within. In an article entitled “Obama’s Counterproductive New Iran Sanctions” published in Foreign Affairs, the publication of the Council on Foreign Relations, Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution writes:
The Obama administration’s new sanctions signal the demise of the paradigm that has guided Iran policymaking since the 1979 revolution: the combination of pressure and persuasion…the United States cannot hope to bargain with a country whose economy it is trying to disrupt and destroy… The White House’s embrace of open-ended pressure means that it has backed itself into a policy of regime change.
The notion that the sanctions are somehow intended to pressure Tehran into coming to the negotiating table and making the necessary concessions is completely fraudulent. The ruling class in the United States (and Israel) knows full well that sanctions do not work in this capacity. One need only look to recent history for examples of sanctions that crippled nations and destroyed the lives of citizens but had little to no appreciable impact on the rulers – Iraq, Myanmar, etc. Instead, the sanctions serve as a necessary prelude to either regime change or war. This policy, aside from being immoral, is a belligerent one, greatly escalating tensions and the possibility of war.
One of the desired effects of the sanctions is the devaluation of the Iranian currency. The most recent data suggest that the Iranian rial has lost more than half of its value since January, when the sanctions were announced. This trend has only accelerated since July, when the new sanctions were fully implemented, preventing countries around the world from doing business with the Iranian central bank, a move aimed at destroying the Iranian export economy, particularly oil exports. In fact, Reuters reported in April that the inflation rate in Iran was hovering around 21.5%. This was well before the sanctions came into effect in July, after which inflation has increased even more dramatically. Nowhere are the sanctions more painful than in the oil export market. According to recent data, Iran’s oil sales in July of 2012 fell to a quarter of sales from July 2011. In fact, Iran has even admitted that much of the unsold oil is now being stored either in ports or on tankers at sea – a startling revelation that demonstrates quite clearly the difficult economic predicament Iran faces. Such a significant drop in sales means that state revenues are down, only exacerbating the already difficult economic situation in the country.
However, the sanctions are not intended to cripple merely the commercial economy, they are also designed to erode public confidence in the government and foment unrest. With the creation of an inflationary crisis, staple foods, medicines, and other basic necessities have become significantly more expensive and in much less supply, naturally generating anger from the Iranian people. This, combined with the removal of food subsidies at the behest of President Ahmadinejad, has generated a feeling of unease within the general population regarding their economic future, which, in turn, has exposed very serious fractures within the political establishment in Tehran. Despite all of these challenges to its economy and the impact on the population, Iran remains committed to its own mission of independent economic and political development. The defiance Iran has shown the United States and the imperialist ruling class is rooted in a larger strategy, one that combines economic development with diplomacy, seeking to find an alternative to either continued resistance in isolation or capitulation to the US and Israel.
Energy – Pipelines & Power Lines
The sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union are intended to cripple the Iranian economy by specifically attacking Tehran’s ability to participate in the world oil market. However, it is important to note that the sanctions are not solely directed at actual oil sales but, rather, all the mechanisms necessary for international oil transactions including debt settlement, tanker insurance, and much more. Indeed, in examining the sanctions in their totality, one begins to see that they are intended to strike at the heart of the Iranian economy and hamper Tehran’s ability to do business of any kind. Despite all of this, Iran continues to survive economically. Much of this is due to the fact that Iran has effectively cemented its economic relations with key international actors, particularly India, Pakistan, and China, each of whom has resisted pressure from the United States to scale back their dealings with the Islamic Republic. In fact, Bloomberg recently reported that China has continued to purchase Iranian oil in massive amounts despite the sanctions. This demonstrates not only that China wants to continue to do business with Iran, but that Iran sees expanded engagement as the only way to ensure their continued economic growth.
In fact, Iran-China trade is booming as many Western companies pull out of Iran due to the sanctions and international pressure. This has left the door open for China to fill the void, having imported more than $45 billion from Iran in 2011. China is not the only international player to increase Iranian oil imports since the embargo. Countries such as Italy, Japan, and India have also begun to increase their imports of Iranian oil despite the arm-twisting of the US. These major energy importers view Iran not as a pariah state and threat to world peace as Western demagogy would have one believe. Rather, they see in Iran the possibility of a long-term strategic and economic ally that, due to political circumstances, could become heavily dependent on them. Although the energy exports themselves are very significant, it is the delivery infrastructure, especially pipelines, which permanently cements these sorts of mutually beneficial economic arrangements and, consequently, makes the continued isolation and subversion of Iran more difficult. Perhaps the most important of all the pipelines in which Iran is a participant is the Iran-Pakistan pipeline, also known as the “Peace Pipeline”. This project will deliver Iranian energy to Pakistan – a nation dealing with a protracted and crippling energy shortage. The pipeline is crucial to Iranian strategy not only because it will generate much needed revenue for Tehran, but also because of its significance as a symbol of the warm relations between Iran and Pakistan. Moreover, this project is still in its early incarnation. One can easily imagine the pipeline being extended into China, thereby becoming China’s direct link to the vast energy resources of the Middle East while providing Iran with the security of a superpower ally.
The Iran-Pakistan project is not the only important pipeline under construction. In fact, Iran is currently in the process of implementing no less than fifteen new pipeline projects all throughout the country. This is more than just economic expansion. Instead, it is the necessary modernization of the energy infrastructure of the country, allowing the Islamic Republic to maintain its status as one of the world’s leaders in energy exports while, at the same time, improving delivery capabilities within the country itself. Energy exports and pipelines are also at the heart of the expansion of relations between Iran and Turkmenistan. Having emerged in recent years as a world leader in gas exports, Turkmenistan has become a crucial player in the Caspian region, necessitating a close working relationship with the Islamic Republic. As Iranian President Ahmadinejad recently stated, relations between the two countries must be cultivated and expanded. This demonstrates not only Iran’s desire to have friendly relations with its neighbors, but also Tehran’s recognition of the dangers of isolation in the region, particularly at a time when Caspian energy exploration and development are still in the early stages.
Oil and gas are not the only forms of energy that Iran is looking to export in order to subvert the US-led sanctions. One of the most critical aspects of Iranian energy exports is the sale and delivery of electrical power, particularly to Pakistan which, as already mentioned, suffers from a painful and perpetual energy shortage. Iran is poised to become Pakistan’s energy benefactor as there has been renewed interest in upgrading and expanding the shared energy infrastructure of the neighbor countries. It was recently reported that an Iranian firm is planning a one gigawatt power project in Pakistan that will connect the Iranian port at Chabahar with the Pakistani port of Gwadar. This is a hugely significant deal because it will provide much needed electrical power to Pakistan while solidifying, in physical form, the close relations between the two countries. However, what this project also indicates is the growing importance of Iranian ports, especially Chabahar, as well as other infrastructural and technological projects, to the future of Iranian economic development.
One of the most common misconceptions regarding Iran is the belief that the future of the Islamic Republic’s economic development rests solely on the energy sector. On the contrary, Tehran is in the process of developing a number of ports and other projects that will spur growth and development in the coming decades. The first and most important of these projects is the Iranian port of Chabahar. Situated on the coast of Iran, Chabahar is intended to be a port of regional and international importance. Tehran recently announced that it will invest $25 billion into the Chabahar port to transform it into one of the great energy hubs of the world. Naturally, China figures prominently in this vision, as it looks to Chabahar for that coveted land-based access to the Indian Ocean. However, China is not the only regional player that is interested in the port. Recently, Iranian representatives met with their Indian and Afghan counterparts to discuss regional trade and the role of Chabahar. In light of this meeting, it is clear that Chabahar is fast becoming one of the most important ports in Asia. Additionally, the port would make Iran an integral player in commercial shipping, providing access to the Iranian market to international companies that would otherwise be impossible. This opening of Iran via the Chabahar port undoubtedly figures prominently in Tehran’s plans to integrate itself into the world economy on its own terms, rather than those dictated by the Western imperial powers.
Iran is not solely relying on Chabahar. In fact, Iran has recently announced more than $4 billion of investment into a number of Iranian ports. This level of investment demonstrates Iran’s willingness to invest in its own economic future while, at the same time, showing outside observers that development is not just an idea, it is a reality. These ports, Tehran hopes, will transform the country into a shipping center that could rival those of the Gulf monarchies and make Iran an indispensible partner for the region and the world’s powers. The Islamic Republic has also turned its eyes to the sky in search of development. Iran has recently launched a full-fledged space program and is currently constructing a national space center to be used for the launch of satellites by itself and other Muslim countries. Iran’s foray into the space sector benefits the country in a number of ways. First, and perhaps most importantly, this development is a major propaganda victory for Iran. It catapults the country into the top tier of world powers, gaining Tehran the respect of nations around the world. Beyond the propaganda however, the development of a space program provides fertile ground for Iranian science to make other technological breakthroughs in a number of different sectors.
Lastly, the space center helps integrate Iran into the region and Muslim world by making it an attractive partner for other nations wishing to launch satellites or other projects. The space center, like the ports and pipelines, helps Iran overcome the isolation imposed upon it by the US, Europe, and Israel. Iran has had to endure an unprecedented international assault in recent years. Because of the unwillingness of the government and the Iranian people to bend to the will of the Western imperialist ruling class, the Islamic Republic has been attacked quite literally from all sides. Having to endure a covert war of sabotage and terrorism while being demonized internationally, Tehran has managed to repel these attacks to this point. Despite economic hardship caused by the US-imposed sanctions, Iran continues to keep an eye toward development and progress. As the world saw recently at the Non-Aligned Movement Summit, Iran is not as isolated as the US and Israel would like to see. On the contrary, Iran looks to other nations of the world for partners while taking the initiative to build its own future. Of course, nothing infuriates the forces of international finance capital and imperialism more than economic independence. For this reason, Iran will remain the bogeyman for much of the Western world while working to shape its own economic future.
Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City. He is the Founder and Editor of StopImperialism.com as well as host of the Stop Imperialism podcast. He is a frequent contributor to Russia Today, the Center for Research on Globalization, and many other sites and publications.
Articles by: Eric Draitser
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Labels: GREAT DEPRESSION II, IRAN, SANCTIONS, WAR CRIMES
Calls for UN reforms grow louder
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 00:00
Caesar Zvayi at the UNITED NATIONS, New York
PRESIDENT Mugabe joined other Heads of State and Government — among them monarchs — at the grand debate of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that began here yesterday.
The debate started amid a pall of turmoil that put into question the UN’s relevance to the world’s geo-political challenges. President Mugabe’s highly anticipated address is slated for tomorrow afternoon.
That the debate could open amid the possibility of an Israeli strike against Iran without even a whimper from the secretary-general called into question the practicality of the lofty ideals that permeate the UN Charter, among them the pledge to “save the world from the scourge of war”.
The increasing instability in North Africa brought about by the spread of rebels across the Sahel region in the wake of the Western-spawned instability in Libya, the continued victimisation of Iran over its civilian nuclear programme by countries with the biggest stockpiles of warheads in the world, the global riots in the Muslim world prompted by the Islamophobic tendencies of the West, and rising tensions in Asia over competing claims to small, potentially mineral-rich islands, all cast a shadow over the relevance of the world body as currently constituted.
All this is occurring under UN watch without any substantive solutions emerging from the UN headquarters which always seems to take a cue from Washington.
The UN’s readiness to follow Western dictates and failure to stamp authority on global affairs has heightened calls for UN reforms at best or the relegation of the world body to the dump where the League of Nations, that similarly failed to maintain world peace culminating in the second Anglo-Saxon war between 1939 and 1945, lies.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad raised the bar in his address to a high-level plenary on the rule of law yesterday as he called on world leaders to reform the structure of the UN to provide for “a democratic and fair framework” for other emerging nations among them the BRICS comprising Brazil, India, China and South Africa. “Effective steps must be taken toward reforming the structure of the UN in order to establish a
democratic and fair framework in this organisation,” Mr Ahmadinejad said. Speaking ahead of an address by her boss to the same plenary here yesterday, South Africa's foreign minister Maite Nkoana Mashabane said her country's position was that for the UN to legitimately drive a rule of law agenda globally, it needed critical reforms to make it more democratic and representative. “When you talk about the rule of law, you also talk of democracy. We should be talking about the democratisation of these institutions under the UN,” Maite Nkoana Mashabane told the SABC. More than 120 Heads of State and Government, sheiks and monarchs convened here for the grand debate and other sideline events under the theme: “peaceful resolution of conflicts”.
Addressing the high-level meeting, Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran was ready for dialogue. "The nuclear issue is not a problem. But the approach of the United States on Iran is important. We are ready for dialogue, for a fundamental resolution of the problems, but under conditions that are based on fairness and mutual respect," he said On Thursday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will once again submit a bid for non-member state recognition, despite opposition from the US and Israel.
Unlike last year’s abortive bid for full UN membership, which required Security Council approval, this year’s bid is bound to succeed as it only requires a simple majority vote in the 163-member General Assembly. Observers say Mr Abbas is expected to come to the General Assembly on Thursday with a more modest proposal — to upgrade Palestine's current status as a UN observer to a non-member observer state — but likely putting off the date for submission of a resolution to the assembly, where there are no vetoes, until after the US presidential election in November.
The Palestinians expect overwhelming support from the assembly for the enhanced UN status, which they hope will give broad international legitimacy to the pre-1967 lines as Palestine's border and grant them access to UN agencies and possibly the International Criminal Court to table their grievances over the excesses of the Zionist regime in Tel Aviv.
Labels: ROBERT MUGABE, UN
PM’s men storm Karimatsenga home
by Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s representatives on Monday scaled the security gate at the family home of his estranged wife, Locardia Karimatsenga, in a bid to deliver gupuro, a divorce token under traditional customs, her lawyers have claimed.
The MDC-T leader is locked in a bitter divorce tussle with Karimatsenga who successfully petitioned the courts to block his marriage to new flame, Elizabeth Macheka last week.
Karimatsenga’s lawyer said Tsvangirai’s emissaries have in recent days visited the homes of her relatives in a bid to end the relationship and, on Monday, jumped the gate as her family home to deliver the gupuro.
“I can confirm that the PM’s emissaries went and jumped into the Karimatsenga homestead in Christon Bank. It is unthinkable that the PM’s emissaries exhibit such unlawful behaviour,” Everson Samukange told the state-run Herald newspaper.
“There was no one at the premises, except for the gardener. The modern thing they could have done was to knock at the gate rather than to jump. We are actually wondering what their motive was.”
Last week Tsvangirai’s representatives are said to have visited the home of Locardia’s aunt in Borrowdale where they left a letter in the letter box. Another letter was also hurled over the precast wall of Locardia’s house in Greendale.
Samukange said he was trying to contact Tsvangirai’s lawyers, Thabani Mpofu and Innocent Chagonda, over the letters as well as to discuss their request for an out of court settlement.
“I have been trying to get in touch with Advocate Mpofu and Chagonda over the letters, but I have not been successful,” he said.
Karimatsenga insists she is still married to Tsvangirai after he paid lobola to her family last November.
But the MDC-T leader says he only paid damages for making her pregnant and ended their relationship after it was hijacked by political rivals and state security agents to embarrass him.
Karimatsenga is also seeking US$15,000 in spousal maintenance from Tsvangirai but insists she has not wish to divorce him and is comfortable with being in a polygamous marriage since she is the first wife.
Labels: MARRIAGES, MDC, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
Zimbabwe resumes payments to Malawi pensioners
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE is set to resume remitting pension payments to Malawian former mine workers, the country's ambassador to Malawi has confirmed.
The remittances had been stopped due to the country’s decade-long economic recession as well as the lack of records of beneficiaries.
Ambassador Thandiwe Dumbutshena confirmed the development in Lilongwe noting that millions of Malawians played a key part in developing Zimbabwe’s economy, many of them working in the country’s mines.
“In recognition for the industriousness of Malawians and the role Malawians played in the economic growth of Zimbabwe we are committed to paying their pension,” Dumbutshena told local media.
The Zimbabwe Mining Industries Pension Fund recently visited up to eleven districts in Malawi in a bid to identify surviving mine workers.
The Fund’s public relations officer Thumani Ndlovu said they had identified at least 500 beneficiaries but the records of 200 others could not be verified because the beneficiaries had since died and there are no records.
“It becomes a challenge to identify beneficiaries because Malawi does not have a national identity system,” he said.
An official in Malawi’s Ministry of Labour, John Mawango, called on relatives of relatives of deceased former workers to obtain death certificates to enable easy processing of pensions.
At least three million Malawians are believed to have lived in Zimbabwe after many moved south during the federation of Rhodesia (Zambia and Zimbabwe) and Malawi when the latter was used as a source of cheap labour on farms and mines.
Labels: MALAWI, MINING, PENSIONERS