Saturday, December 15, 2012
POSTED: December 6, 8:17 AM ET
by Matt Taibbi
Big news yesterday in the United Kingdom, where the citizenry surveyed its domestic banking system and discovered that it couldn't find a single person trustworthy enough to put in the top job at the Bank of England. So they went to Canada and stole that country's central banker, Mark Carney, who just happens to be a former Goldman, Sachs executive – he was once Goldman's managing director of investment banking.
Carney's appointment may be seen as an admission that the British banking sector is now so tainted, only an outsider can be trusted to govern them. Almost all of the major English banks have been dinged by ugly scandals. The LIBOR mess, in which banks have been caught messing around with global interest rates for a variety of sordid reasons, has most infamously implicated Barclays, but the Royal Bank of Scotland is also a cooperator in those investigations.
Meanwhile, HSBC has been accused of laundering billions of dollars of Mexican drug money, a monstrous mess that recalls the infamous Bank of New York scandal of the late Nineties involving Russian mob money; officials have described the HSBC culture as "pervasively polluted." And the British bank Standard Chartered is now being forced to pay $330 million to settle claims that it laundered hundreds of billions of dollars on behalf of Iran.
But Mark Carney is no Elliott Ness, brought in from the outside to clean the streets of Chicago. Instead, he's another Geithner-esque character who will almost certainly prefer a hands-off regulatory approach, and seems to view the power of the government and the central bank as being necessary mainly to help bolster public confidence in the banking system. He'll likely be another central banker in the mold of Ben Bernanke, who's used endless rivers of cheap loans and money-printing programs like Quantitative Easing to keep floating corrupt banks all night long, for as long as they want to keep playing the roulette table. Here's the Guardian's prediction with regard to Carney:
He and many others in central bank circles know that most of the Britain's banks are very highly leveraged. That without the support of the Bank of England's quantitative easing programme, and its very low lending rates – all effectively backed by British taxpayers – Britain's banks would effectively be insolvent.
And so Carney will continue with quantitative easing – which has provided British banks with the liquidity needed to indulge in speculative activity both at home and abroad, speculative activity that bears a scary resemblance to that undertaken before the crisis.
What the banking system really needs is a guy who will step in and force bankers to go back to being boring, risk-averse drips who lend businesses money to buy new equipment or fleets of trucks or whatever. What we have instead are coked-up wannabe big shots straight out of Boiler Room who are washing Mexican drug money and laundering Middle Eastern cash and playing around with wild price-fixing schemes – pretty much everything you can think of that isn't quietly counting beans and helping grow the economy.
The British have a tough job ahead trying to clean that mess up, but appointing another Goldman vet to a crucial government job – the latest in a long line of such appointments, stretching from Bob Rubin to Hank Paulson to Neel Kashkari to former Ex-Im Bank chief Kenneth Brody, former Bush chief of staff Josh Bolten, and former Fannie Mae president James Johnson – doesn't sound like a good start.
By Henry Sinyangwe
Mon 10 Dec. 2012, 08:50 CAT
COMMERCIAL banks in the country say they recognise the need to reduce lending rates following government's introduction of the monetary policy rate.
Vice-President Guy Scott recently during the Zambia International Business Advisory Council in Lusaka expressed worry at the high lending rates being charged by commercial banks despite the introduction of a policy rate being implemented by the central bank.
At inception, the Bank of Zambia set the policy rate at nine per cent, but has since been adjusted to 9.25 per cent.
But Bankers Association of Zambia chief executive officer David Chewe said there is a recognition that lending rates should be brought down considering the introduction of the transparent mechanism such as the monetary policy rate.
He attributed the prevalent high interest rates to the non-transparent mechanisms in the past years.
"We need interest rates to go down, but we are coming from a background where there was no transparent mechanism and now with the introduction of a transparent mechanism, we hope that we can quickly see that realignment happening and see the interest rates lowered," Chewe said.
He claimed that the policy adjustments that the Bank of Zambia has implemented had also resulted into the lending rates reducing.
"…We have started a journey where we are now seeing a realignment of the various imperfections that existed in the past to an extent that we are trying to look at what has transpired in the industry and relate it to the budget. What we have highlighted is that the policy adjustments that the Bank of Zambia has implemented have resulted into the lending rates reducing and we have been able to see the lending rates reducing from about 24.6 per cent to about 18," Chewe claimed.
He said the association had been negotiating with various stakeholders and the banks to ensure that the corporate tax was also reduced.
"As a result of the collaboration that we had with the BoZ and the Ministry of Finance, we had the corporate tax rate reduced from 40 to 35 per cent; that was because of engagement and discussion with an understanding that the corporate tax rate was going to result in the banks adjusting their lending rates," Chewe said.
"There was the discussion of measures relating to the statutory reserve ratio which was part of the initial pointers that we had identified and subsequently, there was a policy rate that was introduced and the policy rate was meant to be a more transparent mechanism for transmitting monetary policy."
He further claimed that the average lending rate had reduced to 16 per cent, which was a clear indication that rates have been going down.
"For the small to medium enterprises, the lending rates have also reduced, they range between 14 and 21 per cent in banks that have participated in submitting the data that we submit to government," said Chewe.
"On the deposit side, when you look at the aggregate deposit that the banks have been able to mobilise, the total picture is that 80 per cent of the deposits are in current account meaning that the owner of the account would want to have access to money and that would not warrant any interest."
Friday, December 14, 2012
Wednesday, 12 December 2012 16:57
Zimbabwe, like the generality of post-colonial Africa is still smitten by the brutal scourge of ancient social ills, be it famine, disease, pauperisation or any other forms of harassment.
This is despite the fact that the continent began the overturning of the colonial political order way back in 1956, with Zimbabwe achieving its political victory 32 years ago.
Now the country is heading for elections due in March 2013 and there can be no mistaking that the people of Zimbabwe are hungry for true revolutionary change. They want a better country, a functioning economy controlled by themselves, and they want to define their own destiny. It is abundantly clear that our people are not hungry for benevolence, be it from local politicians or from foreign donors. They are hungry for an opportunity to change their own lives – to look after themselves.
The answers we seek as a people can only come from this revolution that was started by pre-independence nationalists who brought down the British colonial empire. It is only the revolution that can overturn the old order set up by colonisation – as indeed we saw in 2000 with the dismantling of the colonial land tenure, when white-held farmlands were heroically occupied and reclaimed by the indigenous masses who had been disinherited of their land rights for 110 years.
It is only the revolution that can satisfy the aspirations of the people, and this is precisely why the economic empowerment policy must be the epicentre of the revolution as it stands this day. The revolution must not be a myth by which our politicians perpetually hoodwink the masses at election times. Rather the revolution must of necessity transform the poor into an organised economic force.
The force must have as its axis a conscious commitment to genuine wealth creation for the entire country – a genuine revolutionary desire to ensure broad-based utilisation of national resources for the benefit of everyone. The revolution must not be a front for selfish elites seeking self-aggrandisement in the name of the people. Until and unless the corrupt lot within the revolution are eliminated the cause of the people will continue to be thwarted, and that is unacceptable.
Much as it is plausible for President Robert Mugabe to promise to individually deal with corrupt elites within Zimbabwe's revolution, it must be made crystal clear that whistle-blowing alone cannot be enough to thwart the culture of corruption. The power to ruthlessly deal with the corrupt must be within the revolution itself and not only at its top. Crooks must fear the people more than they fear the leader.
If we allow the people to deal with corrupt elites the way we allowed them to deal with white commercial farmers who occupied our farmlands then corruption will disappear in a year just like the era of white-commercial farming did. This writer longs for a day when the corrupt will flee the country with the masses in hot pursuit, and that day is surely coming without fail. It may tarry but it will come. Accountability in a revolution is the responsibility of the masses and that must be the case always.
It is one thing to come up with high sounding and impressive initiatives like land reclamation and the economic empowerment policy; and yet another thing to complete the complex task of fully implementing these policies to their intended end. In completing this task our politicians must be reminded that the revolution is not in political power, but that political power is in the revolution.
One cannot establish a political power base in order to safeguard the revolution; rather one makes a revolution in order to safeguard power. Those in power do not own the revolution. The revolution owns them and can uplift or destroy them.
The goals of the revolution must have to be fully and profoundly defined so that the vision of the revolution is so clear that everyone finds cause in pursuing and defending it. Bludgeoning of those who see no cause in joining the revolution is called tyranny, and it does not do any good to the decent cause of the revolution. That is why political violence has nothing to with the nobility of revolutions, but all to do with the primitiveness of hopeless politicians.
The revolutionary change we seek in Zimbabwe must mark the birth of a new society – a society of progressive indigenous producers running the economic affairs of the country. We cannot keep talking of a revolution when our politicians are in the notorious habit of addressing rallies comprised of the old colonial peasants – resigned to fate, naïve, credulous, slaves of obscurantism, and ferociously submissive to inferiority.
The revolution must of necessity celebrate the birth of a new society made up of a breed of citizens who are aware of their responsibilities, citizens who are working for the future by pursuing new technologies and facing up to competition in the global market.
Only the indigenous actor can create for Zimbabwe an independent national economy. The foreign actor cannot by definition create an independent economy for Zimbabwe, and history has taught us enough brutal lessons about this.
The indigenisation of Zimbabwe's economy must not be treated as a battlefield of political contests between the country's political parties. Rather it must be an occasion for all Zimbabweans to learn how to meet their own needs and how to constantly improve the quantity and quality of production in the country's economy.
The economic empowerment policy cannot be allowed to be about a few politicians posturing as little human messiahs ready to heroically save the hapless masses from the ruthless jaws of poverty. Creating an independent national economy is a national cause and must always be treated as such.
Poverty eradication is not and cannot be an act of charity or even political benevolence. Poverty cannot be ended by giving people money or any other forms of handouts. In fact acts of charity have degenerated into the most vulgar forms of pretences at tackling the scourge of poverty – and many charities today perpetuate poverty more than they try to stop it. One can read Dambisa Moyo's book "Dead Aid" to see clearly the ruin created by treating aid handouts as an act of eradicating poverty.
In the context of the Zimbabwean revolution it must always be remembered that poverty alleviation starts with a transformation of the mindset of the poor and that the implementation of anti-poverty policies must always involve the active participation of the beneficiaries if the economic handicaps hindering a people's progress are to be completely removed. Poverty resides more in the mind than it does in its various forms of manifestations; and nothing can be done about eradicating poverty if the mindset of the poor is not transformed.
Our people must have a mindset that instructs that poverty cannot be eradicated by the culture of receiving, and that jobs in themselves are never designed to end the poverty of the employed.
Jobs can play the crucial role of pacifying the pain of dire poverty by making the employed spend the rest of their lives in the comfort of mild poverty, or if lucky in mild riches, but no job is designed to create wealth for the employed, not one.
It is time Zimbabweans transform themselves from mere voting statistics in the eyes of their politicians. The people must become synonyms of respect and of course respect is earned and not just granted. We earn respect by making politicians feel our presence and serious sense of national duty. We cannot allow unscrupulous politicians the luxury of feasting on our people's apathy.
The people of Zimbabwe must transform into proud and worthy economic combatants who defend the just cause of economic empowerment – cadres who successfully and adequately shoulder their part in social production as members of this great body that is the people.
Our working class must not be so blinded by the need for jobs as to forget that employment creation that does not benefit the nation's revenue coffers is in itself a form of national exploitation. We must take stock of where our jobs are coming from; otherwise we inadvertently export our economy for the benefit of foreign nationals, and that can only be done to our peril.
Our intellectual community must take up a historic responsibility to promote the reduction of the gap between the rich and the poor; between town and country. We face the dire danger of an intellectual community that serves the interests of foreign liberalism, and most of our intellectuals are in the employment of foreign forces that come through the donor community. These have developed a disdain for the revolution and they have become part of the greater problem as they front Western interests.
There must be a strategic alliance between our working class and the indigenous business class, together with our intellectual and political classes. Only then will our revolution become a guaranteed success.
The emblem that must unite us all is the democratic and popular revolution that seeks to make Zimbabwe the first revolutionary success story in Africa. The country is in good standing to achieve this great feat given the way the land reclamation program is admired and envied across the continent – all in contrast to its ferocious vilification by the Western word.
We must as of necessity ensure that the revolution draws on the strength, the richness, and the invincibility of the masses.
We have today among us delusionary politicians who believe the revolution anchors on their invincibility, and this is across the political divide.
You cannot have a revolution that derives its power from a single individual's prowess, or even from a clique of elites. This is precisely why it is difficult to describe the political pursuits of the MDC-T as revolutionary. When some people make assertions that Morgan Tsvangirai is the "face of the revolution," or that without him there is no MDC then what you are dealing with is not a revolution but a mere movement. Rallying on the perceived bravery of one man cannot logically be the foundation of a revolution.
Zanu-PF has had a relatively long history of leadership change starting from Ndabaningi Sithole, Chairman Herbert Chitepo to President Robert Gabriel Mugabe from 1977 to date, and these changes are what perhaps distinguishes a revolution from a mere movement. If Ndabaningi Sithole led a movement the party could have died when he was removed from power, and if Chitepo led a movement the party could have disintegrated at his tragic death. Revolutions are bigger than their membership and leadership. A revolution is when ideas find bayonets and it does look like Zimbabwe's revolution has bayonets in war veterans and its young revolutionaries.
Abel Muzorewa's movement died earlier than Muzorewa himself because the UANC was no revolution but a sell-out movement. Edgar Tekere's correctly named Zimbabwe Unity Movement died way before Tekere because again it was a mere movement.
A true revolution defines its own norms and it does not borrow its points of reference from foreign sources. A true revolution is not made up of people who judge the quality of their social, cultural and economic lives according to the norms in foreign countries.
Zimbabwe we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!!
Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia.
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
Zanu-PF National Chairman Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo will lead a high-powered delegation to South Africa for the 53rd National Elective Conference of the African National Congress. In a statement, Zanu-PF external affairs department said other former liberation movements in the region have also been invited to the conference.
The conference is slated for December 16 to 20 in Mangaung, Bloemfontein. Zanu-PF and the ANC enjoy a special and fraternal relationship. An ANC delegation attended the Zanu-PF’s 13th Annual National People’s Conference held recently in Gweru.
The leader of the delegation, ANC national executive member and justice and constitutional development minister Jeff Radebe delivered a solidarity message.
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
MDC-T will reverse the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive that Government has embarked on if it forms the next Government.
Party secretary general and Finance Minister Tendai Biti made the revelations during a live debate on StarFM radio on Wednesday evening.
“(MDC-T Government) will review the entire Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act so that it is not about percentages,” said Minister Biti.
“We will allow a law that ensures that there is genuine empowerment in Zimbabwe, children are going to school, hospitals are coming. It is not about figures.
“It is about ensuring that everyone is participating. The 51/49 percent is a wrong concept. That is why you only find that model here in Zimbabwe. You don’t find it in South Africa. The BEE in South Africa is totally different.”
He said empowering the people by giving them jobs, education, information and communication technology was key.
Zanu-PF Secretary for Indigenisation who is also the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere who was also on the programme said it was clear the MDC-T wanted to reverse the empowerment of Zimbabweans.
“Zimbabweans must not have any doubt about where the MDC-T stands. The cat is out of the bag. When it comes to the empowerment of our people it is genuine empowerment. For us it is just more than a conviction. It is a faith. We believe in empowerment of our people by giving them the opportunities and the resources to succeed,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
He said companies were willing to comply with the indigenisation and economic empowerment drive but were being discouraged by the MDC-T.
“He (Minister Biti) has been blocking banks from empowering the workers. He personally has told Standard Chartered Bank, which came to Zimbabwe willing to comply with the law, and said don’t worry we will change this Government.
“This is the type of creature that we are in. It is unfair to the workers. We are saying let’s find our own solution,” said Minister Kasukuwere.
He also dismissed allegations by Minister Biti that companies that have been donating money for community share ownership schemes were being compelled to do so.
“Companies like Zimplats were the first to give us US$10 million as a donation. There was no coercion. How do you threaten David Brown (Implats chief executive officer)?
“On his own accord he said to me, Minister I know we have not done enough for the community. Here is US$10 million. We have since gone to negotiate with other companies and said this makes sense and we have managed to develop schools.”
Minister Kasukuwere said Minister Biti should instead be grateful for the negotiations that the ministry was conducting with companies. He said Mimosa had managed to write off the US$57 million that the central bank owed the company.
Minister Biti said there was no legal basis for community share ownership schemes.
“Community shares don’t have legal existence vis-à-vis the Indigenisation Act. On what legal basis are companies made to part with US$10 million or US$50 million? There is nowhere in the Act that compels companies to donate money to community share schemes.”
Minister Biti said his party wanted foreign direct investment compared to the indigenisation drive.
Minister Kasukuwere said MDC-T was involved in the crafting of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act but was now trying to distance itself from its implementation.
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:00
Rodney Pachiti Herald Reporter
PERI-URBAN farmers have taken advantage of the recent rains to intensify planting ahead of the 2012/2013 farming season. In a recent tour of areas surrounding Harare, The Herald established that peri-urban farmers had started planting following a wet spell experienced in those areas since last week.
Resettled farmers in Dema, Juru, Bhora, Chabwino and Domboshava lauded the Presidential Well Wishers Inputs Scheme for making available seed in time for the planting season.
Mr Israel Chingwanangwana of Juru said although the rains had delayed, there was no need to panic. He however, appealed for immediate help in accessing fertiliser.
“It has been raining everyday and if the rains continue we are expecting a bumper harvest. Our only worry is the shortage of fertiliser, which is beyond our affordability. A bag of top dressing is selling for US$40 and Compound D is fetching at least US$36,” said Mr Chingwanangwana.
Farmers in Domboshava are using cow dung as a substitute for Compound D.
“For the mean time we are using cow dung to plant maize and soya beans but we are hoping to get the promised fertiliser in time to allow for the cobs to mature and produce healthy grain,” said Mrs Susan Shumba.
The public order ActThe public order Act
By The Post
Fri 14 Dec. 2012, 13:00 CATc order Act and its implementation.
It is clear that in its current form, the public order Act is not advancing liberties, but is curtailing inalienable rights, which include freedom of speech and expression, freedom of assembly.
The public order Act in its current form and implementation has not changed things much from the way they were under the one-party state. Despite some amendments having been made to the public order Act to try and bring it in tune with a multiparty political dispensation, its enforcement or implementation has not changed much from what it was under the one-party state.
Yes, it is true freedom of expression and that of assembly are sometimes abused by various individuals and groups, and society sometimes needs protection from such abuses. But the solution is not to try and take away such liberties in a generalised way. And moreover, what is at stake here are not small privileges that the government of the day extends to some citizens. We are here dealing with fundamental liberties which exist independently of government.
And since these liberties exist independently of government, these rights cannot be legislated away, nor are they subject to the momentary whim of an electoral majority. And this is a fundamental principle upon which democratic government is founded. It is said that governments in a democracy do not grant fundamental freedoms; governments are created to protect those freedoms that every individual possesses by virtue of his or her existence.
But what should the government do in cases where such freedoms are abused? The answer, by and large, is nothing. It is not the business of government to judge such matters. In general, the cure for abused freedoms is more freedom.
It may seem a paradox, but in the name of free expression, a democracy must sometimes defend the rights of individuals and groups who themselves advocate such non-democratic policies as repressing the freedom of expression of others.
We cannot continue with the practices of the one-party state when it comes to the protection of fundamental freedoms such as the freedom of speech and expression and that of assembly.
Since the end of the one-party state, successive MMD governments, without exception, have abused the public order Act to curtail the freedoms of the opposition and others opposed to them. The MMD rule is over. And sometimes it may be politically expedient to make them taste their own medicine, their own quinine. And indeed this current Zambian government has made them taste that. But we cannot continue on that path because we can't build a progressive and democratic nation on the basis of revenge.
What the MMD in government did to many people, including ourselves, cannot be forgotten. We all face the challenge of coming to terms with the past in ways which will enable us to face the future as a united people, a progressive and democratic nation at peace with itself.
And in saying all this, we are not in any way implying that we should forget the way the MMD enforced the public order Act. Whilst we can forgive, we can never forget. And this is so because the more we keep that on our minds, the better we will be in ensuring that it is not repeated.
Michael Sata and the Patriotic Front are not in government for the purpose of retribution. They were voted for by the great majority of our people on the understanding that they were better placed to help create a more just, fair and humane society in our homeland. And this can't be done with feelings of retribution and revenge.
Again, we must emphasise, that in saying this, we do not mean that this government should not punish crimes committed by MMD leaders when they were in government. Those who committed crimes, abusing their public offices, should all, without exception, be arrested and prosecuted for their crimes. This is not revenge or hatred. It is simply a fair and just way of maintaining the rule of law.
We are more concerned today about the way this government is perpetrating the wrong and evil practices of the successive MMD governments when it comes to enforcement of the public order Act. We are concerned because freedom of speech, expression and assembly are the lifeblood of any democracy. To debate and vote, to assemble and protest, to ensure justice for all - these rely on government's respect for fundamental rights.
Before people can govern themselves, they must be free to assemble and express themselves. Citizens in a democracy live with the conviction that through the open exchange of ideas and opinion, truth will eventually win out over falsehood, the values of others will be better understood, areas of compromise more clearly defined, and the path of progress opened. The greater the volume of such exchanges, the better.
We defend these rights for everybody, including for those who have declared us their enemy number one, for those whose only discernible preoccupation is to attack us, to destroy us, out of the conviction that, in the end, the protection of these liberties for the enjoyment of everyone will lead to greater truth and wiser public actions than if they are stifled.
Furthermore, we defend these rights for everyone because the suppression of these rights for the people we detest or we may find unreasonable today is potentially a threat to our exercise of these freedoms tomorrow - which perhaps someone else might find offensive.
All people are harmed when the fundamental rights or freedoms of one person or group of persons are repressed. This is so because if what they are trying to do or say is right, society is deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. And if they are wrong, society loses out on the clear perception and livelier impression of truth produced by its collision with error.
Therefore, the government has a duty to protect these inalienable rights for all citizens, including for the political opponents of those in power, through restraint, and by limiting their own actions.
We have to realise and accept the fact that human beings possess a variety of sometimes contradictory desires. People want safety yet relish adventure; they aspire to individual freedom yet demand social equality. Democracy is no different, and it is important to recognise that many of these tensions we are witnessing in our country today, are present in every democratic society.
A central paradox exists between conflict and consensus. Democracy is in many ways nothing more than a set of rules for managing conflict. At the same time, this conflict must be managed within certain limits and result in compromises, consensus or other agreements that all sides accept as legitimate.
An over-emphasis on one side of the equation can threaten the entire undertaking. If groups perceive democracy as nothing more than a forum in which they can press their demands, the society can shatter from within. If the government exerts excessive pressure to achieve consensus, stifling the voices of the people, the society can be crushed from above.
The answer is that there is no single or easy answer. Democracy is not a machine that runs by itself once the proper principles and procedures are inserted. A democratic society needs the commitment of citizens who accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity of tolerance. And it is for this reason that the culture of democracy is so important to develop.
In a democratic society, citizens have a right to gather peacefully and protest the policies of their government or the actions of other groups with assemblies, demonstrations, marches, petitions, boycotts and other forms of direct citizen action.
And such assemblies or protests are a testing ground for any democracy. The ideals of free expression, freedom of assembly and citizen participation are easy to defend when everyone remains polite and in agreement on basic issues.
But protestors - and their targets - do not agree on basic issues, and as such disagreements may be passionate and angry. The challenge is then one of balance: to defend the right to freedom of speech and assembly, while maintaining public order and countering attempts at intimidation or violence. To suppress peaceful protest in the name of order is to invite repression; to permit uncontrolled violent protests is to invite anarchy.
Clearly, there is no magic formula for achieving this balance. In the end, it depends on the commitment of the majority to maintaining the institutions of democracy and the precepts of individual rights. Democratic societies are capable of enduring the bitterest disagreements among citizens - except for disagreement about the legitimacy of democracy itself.
We urge the government to urgently review the entire public order Act and also exercise limitations in the way the current law is being enforced. We feel there is something clearly not right in the way the public order Act is being enforced against the opposition. They have the right to be there and to conduct their political activities. If they break the law, then the law should take its course as no one is above the law.
But even when this happens, there has to be equality before the law, or equal protection of the law, because this is fundamental to any just and democratic society. Whether political ally or opponent of those in power - all are entitled to equal protection before the law and under no circumstances should those in power impose additional inequalities; they should be required to deal evenly and equally with all citizens.
There is no democratic society that can tolerate the current public order Act and the way it is being enforced in a manner that appears to be arbitrary or subject to political manipulation.
Michael and the Patriotic Front have the will and ability to change things for the better; they have the political support to enable them to do good. And there is no good reason why this public order Act and its enforcement should remain the way it has been under the previous regimes of the MMD. And because Michael and the Patriotic Front have more to give, more will be demanded of them, and more will be expected of them.
Labels: PUBLIC ORDER ACT (ZM)
By Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 14 Dec. 2012, 14:00 CAT
SOUTHERN Province PF secretary Brian Hapunda has asked Given Lubinda to go back to UPND if he cannot remain fully loyal to PF.
And Lubinda, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Kabwata PF member of parliament, says it is not the first time allegations of treachery against the party concerning him have been raised.
Hapunda said members with divided loyalty must not be tolerated in the party.
"We challenge him to denounce his loyalty to the party where he served previously. If he is failing to do that, then let them get back," Hapunda said.
"It's also a warning to the party to be careful with those who are joining from other political parties.
We must scrutinise all the people joining us so that we do not have double loyalty. For example, some have still maintained loyalty to their former party and are not fit to be called PF," he said.
Hapunda said the onus was on Lubinda to show cause why he should not be expelled from the party.
"The first step has been taken. That is from the office of the secretary general and the onus is on the accused to show cause why action must not be taken against him and this is a lesson to others that there is no sacrificial lamb and sacred cow in the PF," he said.
Hapunda said that members must always be reminded that the rules and procedures of the party just like those of any club or organisation, must be adhered to.
"Members must show loyalty to the party and must not be seen to be exhibiting double loyalty. This will also be a warning to other members who have become informers of the opposition UPND, MMD and other journalists who are fighting against our cause," he said.
Hapunda further recommended that all those suspected of being moles in the party also be allowed to exculpate themselves by issuing them with disciplinary letters.
And in an interview yesterday from Equatorial Guinea, Lubinda, who said was representing President Michael Sata at the ACP (African Caribbean Pacific countries) summit for heads of state, said people were free to say what they wanted over him.
The PF has accused Lubinda of working with UPND and MMD against the government.
He has been given a seven-day ultimatum to explain his alleged disloyalty to the PF.
Asked to comment on the contents of the letter which had clearly outlined the allegations levelled against him by some members of the party through the secretary general, Wynter Kabimba, Lubinda said he was going to treat all media reports concerning the matter as hearsay.
"I am not in a hurry. People can say what they want for as long as they don't associate with me. Zambians appreciate that I have been through this gossip and hearsay about me before," Lubinda said.
"Even when I saw the letter, my first reaction was let me see the letter because even if I asked someone to read the letter to me, I am sure they will try to emphasise certain points or distort its contents."
Lubinda said that the issues raised in the letter were between him and Kabimba and that he would not abuse anyone by making them the conveyor of his response.
"I don't want to react to the press because I don't know if what has been carried is accurate…but to the author of the message. I will respond to the author of the letter and the people that he copied the letter to. The secretary general was writing to me. I don't believe he was writing to Zambia. The matter is between me and him," Lubinda said.
"As you know, this man is very methodical. I like to follow procedure. It is my letter and I will treat it as such."
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 14 Dec. 2012, 14:00 CAT
FORMER MMD chairman for elections Gabriel Namulambe yesterday questioned the source of funding for Nevers Mumba's 'mansion' in Kabulonga.
Announcing his resignation from MMD to join PF at the PF secretariat yesterday, Namulambe, who is also former member of parliament for Mpongwe, said there were issues that were being raised concerning the rentals for Mumba's house.
"Who is paying for it? Whether it is money which belongs to the party, I don't know where that money is coming from because I am told that house is being rented in dollars. We don't know who is responsible for paying because we know that Mumba may not have the capacity to pay for that.
I take it since there is no declaration for whatever is raised, I think those monies are coming from what is being raised for the party. I don't want to be part and parcel of doing the wrong at the expense of the poor members who would want to be given direction," said Namulambe.
Efforts to get Mumba to comment on Namulambe's allegations failed as he was reported to be on the road. Those who answered his mobile phone said Mumba was in a meeting.
According to records, Mumba proposed K62.6 million monthly expenditure for his personal emolument and operations of the MMD president's office.
According to a letter dated August 7, 2012 and copied to then MMD chairman Michael Mabenga, Mumba submitted to NEC K25 million for personal allowances/entertainment and 500 litres of fuel at K4.1 million, while K12 million was to be paid as accommodation allowance every month.
Two bodyguards would accrue the monthly earning of K10 million with K7 million going to office operations, while a driver was to be paid K2.5 million. The maid and gardener would be paid K1.2 million and K800,000 monthly, respectively.
And Namulambe said MMD had lost direction under Mumba.
He said the MMD was becoming undemocratic within its structures and that was because of the dictatorial tendencies that had been exhibited by Mumba.
"I am doing this with the total conviction of my heart not that I have been persuaded by anybody," he said.
He said he was also displeased with the manner that Major Richard Kachingwe was hounded from the party secretariat. Namulambe said he told Mumba that the action that was taken was wrong and demanded a full NEC meeting, but that the party went ahead to appoint Kapembwa Simbao as acting national secretary using a kangaroo National Executive Committee.
"Our party has lost direction in the sense that there is too much pettiness," he said.
And Namulambe said the recent revelations about the MMD owing the Bank of Zambia were true.
He said the matter of the debt came up even during late president Levy Mwanawasa's reign but that the former president sought for justification on how the money was used.
"The party borrowed, it does not matter who was in the office that time when the money was borrowed but the fact is that the MMD borrowed the funds. You cannot say that the party does not owe BoZ that kind of money and on the other hand you state that the money was borrowed at the time when other people were in office. The fact still remains that the party as an entity owes," he said.
Namulambe said the MMD should honour the debt that was gotten in its name.
He said he was foreseeing a situation where the MMD would be declared bankrupt because of its failure to raise the funds it owes.
"As at now, the steady income of the party is the contribution from members of parliament. If you look at these contributions and the K4 billion, I don't know when it will be paid. The best we can do about such issues is to sit down and negotiate with the government," he said.
He said the MMD was putting reasonable people like Situmbeko Musokotwane, Dr Brian Chituwo and Felix Mutati in a very awkward position.
Namulambe said the party constitution prescribes that party funds that are mobilised should be declared, but that this had not been the case since Mumba became president.
Meanwhile, Namulambe said he has not been bought by the PF but that he just wanted to take development to Copperbelt rural which he said had never been in the opposition.
"I was approached to take up a position of deputy minister but I declined, saying I was okay. But with the way I am seeing things, the MMD is sinking. The best for me is not to seek for a position of minister or what but to become a member of the ruling party to avoid people speculating that I am crossing the floor because I want to take up the position of deputy minister," he said.
And PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba challenged PF members that had divided loyalty to follow Namulambe's step by resigning from the party.
Kabimba said Namulambe had made a decision of resigning from the MMD instead of betraying the party and pretending to be in the party.
"There are people in our party that think they can belong to two political parties; PF and other parties. We shall not allow that. If you are man and woman enough, follow the principle of Namulambe. We care about PF because the death of this party is your death and my death. It is for this reason that we shall not allow anybody in this party that is going to act in a treacherous manner," he said.
And Kabimba has called on PF members to guard against the party being hijacked by outsiders.
"When you have an organisation that has been hijacked by visitors, then you have a problem. Let us all learn the mistakes that MMD has made. MMD is dead today because the leadership of that party was given to people that had come in without a vision for the party. Mumba came into MMD and took up leadership from outside and does not care whether the party survives or not," he said.
Kabimba also appealed to other MMD members that had remained to follow Namulambe.
Namulambe resigned together with MMD Mpongwe district chairman Silas Ngowani, his district party secretary Christopher Chilangwa and former Mpongwe district commissioner, Rasford Bulaya.
The briefing was also attended by PF chairperson for elections Sylvia Masebo, community development deputy minister Dorothy Kazunga and PF Lusaka Province chairman Geoffrey Chumbwe.
MMD vice-president Michael Kaingu said he was out of town and could not comment.
MMD spokesperson Dora Siliya's phone went unanswered while those of party chairman Kabinga Pande were off, including that of Dr Brian Chituwo.
By Namatama Mundia
Fri 14 Dec. 2012, 14:00 CAT
LUSAKA High Court judge in-charge Jane Kabuka yesterday reserved ruling on preliminary issues in the matter where expelled MMD national secretary Richard Kachingwe has challenged embattled party president Nevers Mumba's continuation as MMD leader to December 28, 2012.
This is in a case where Maj Kachingwe in his capacity as MMD national secretary sought an injunction to restrain Mumba from performing his duties as MMD president on the ground that he was unqualified.
When the matter came up for hearing of preliminary issues raised by Mumba, through his lawyer Makebi Zulu, the court heard that Maj Kachingwe had not sued in his own behalf but for and on behalf of the MMD, adding that the latter was expelled from the party.
He said there was no authority or indeed a resolution by any member of the National Executive Committee (NEC) for Maj Kachingwe to commence the proceedings.
Zulu added that the proceedings in court were not sanctioned, consented to or approved by NEC and he had been instructed to discontinue the matter by MMD, on whose behalf proceedings had purportedly been brought.
Zulu urged the court to dismiss the matter based on irregularity and asked for costs either from Maj Kachingwe or his advocates.
But Maj Kachingwe's lawyer Hobday Kabwe said the application for preliminary issues was not appropriate for determination of the matter because the affidavit in support as read together with the one in opposition and in reply raised a wide number of very controversial issues.
He said the question whether Maj Kachingwe was no longer a member of the MMD remained unresolved.
Kabwe said it was essential that there should be no dispute of fact on disposal of own action under the provisions of order 14A which the defendant and his advocates wished the court to dispose of the entire case on an alleged point of law.
He said Maj Kachingwe was the chief executive officer of the party who did things on behalf of the NEC as their secretary and made decisions on their behalf.
Kabwe said Maj Kachingwe sued in his capacity as national secretary of the MMD and requested that until the matters that are squarely before the court are determined, he still remained in the same capacity that he had commenced the action.
He said the application must fail with costs because it did not attain the condition precedent for it to succeed.
In reply, Zulu said the insistence by Maj Kachingwe that he was still national secretary did not take away what had been filed to show that there was an expulsion and an instruction to discontinue the matter by the party, on whose behalf he purported to bring this action.
After hearing submissions from both parties, judge Kabuka reserved ruling to December 28, 2012.
by David Smith I The Guardian
IS LIBERATION blood thicker than democratic water? In his biography, At the Deep End, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai tells how he was "stunned" by South African president Thabo Mbeki's part in a "conspiracy" to divide and weaken the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
It is also now a footnote in history that when Julius Malema, then president of the African National Congress youth league, turfed a BBC journalist out of a press conference, he had been extolling the virtues of President Robert Mugabe and mocking the "Mickey Mouse" opposition for using air-conditioned offices.
Such incidents illustrate how many in the ANC still see Mugabe as a brother in Africa’s liberation struggle while dismissing the MDC as a Johnny-come-lately conjured up by western imperialists.
Mbeki's successor, Jacob Zuma, is however broadly seen as less sympathetic to Mugabe and more neutral in his mediation efforts ahead of elections expected next year.
Sitting down with Zuma at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, I put to him bluntly: what went wrong in Zimbabwe? He demurs: "I avoid being judgmental to other people."
Many have described Mugabe as a dictator, but Zuma pointedly avoids the word. "I wouldn't because in Zimbabwe Zanu PF holds its conferences, they elect Mugabe; I don't look at how that happened.
“They regularly hold elections and that's why you could say these elections did not go very well. What else do you need? People do things in different places in different ways.
"If you are telling me there have never been elections in Zimbabwe, either in the ruling party or the general election, it would be a different story. How Zimbabweans are influenced in one or the other is a different matter."
Malema, who has visited Mugabe like an apprentice to a master, reportedly claimed that Zuma “hates” Africa’s oldest leader.
Zuma denies this, saying of their personal relationship: "It's good. We were freedom fighters together, we know each other from way back. So I've known him for a long time."
Does that mean Mugabe receives preferential treatment? "Not necessarily. I deal with issues as they come as an ANC and as an individual.
“What we need in Zimbabwe is to ensure that Zimbabwe is democratic, that's why we talk to all of them, let the Zimbabwean people decide which party leads them. We can't interfere."
And what of this notion that the MDC is a stooge of British and American interests? "We don't say that in the ANC.
“Much as it is true that we come from the liberation movement with Mugabe, but that to us does not give anyone a licence to mishandle his country, so if at all there was mishandling of the country we'd be critical.
"We don't say because a person has come from not a liberation movement, they cannot be democratic. What determines everything is how people run their affairs in their own countries.
“We are not going to prefer them in terms of their history, but we are going to prefer them in terms of what they do.
"However, the history will remain the history: the fact that I was a freedom fighter together with Mugabe is a fact we cannot erase. We must judge what people do at a given time."
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Coltart says 'rights violators' stymying signature of Rome Statute
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE is reluctant to ratify the Rome Statute because hardliners who have over the years thrived on violating human rights fear prosecutions by the International Criminal Court (ICC), says Education Minister David Coltart, a renowned lawyer.
Yet he says the question is not whether the country will ever subject itself to the jurisdiction of the ICC - but rather, when.
“Those responsible for crimes are fearful that ratification will bring prosecutions on their own heads,” Coltart told a Consultative Assembly of Parliamentarians for the ICC in Rome this week.
“But we have made significant progress along the road towards ratification and we are far closer to ratification now than we were in 2008.
“I think that Zimbabwe will eventually ratify but in our experience I think that there are lessons for us all,” he said.
President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since independence in 1980, has been accused together with his allies in Zanu PF of gross rights violations during his unbroken 32-year rule.
Many people say he should be held accountable for the killing of more than 20, 000 people in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions during a brutal military campaign codenamed Gukurahundi, which means “the early rains that wash away the chaff before the spring rains.”
Mugabe and his security apparatus, including the police and the military stand accused of unleashing violence in the 2008 run-off elections that killed hundreds of MDC supporters.
Coltart says while the violence has dramatically subsided, human rights breaches continue.
“There are ongoing human rights abuses, including the selective application of the law, massive corruption and tight control of the electronic media. The military looms large and constantly threaten that they will not accept any transfer of power away from Mugabe's party, Zanu PF.”
The ICC was formed to investigate and prosecute individuals accused of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
Some 121 countries have subjected themselves to its jurisdiction, but counties like the United States, China and Russia have stayed away citing sovereignty. Of the 121 signatories, 33 are African nations.
Many African leaders, including Mugabe, accuse the ICC of targeting feeble Third World politicians while living Western rights violators to go scot free.
Former US president George Bush and British premier Tony Blair are often cited in such arguments for their role in the Iraqi war.
To dispel such criticism, Coltart said, the ICC should convince America to join it.
“We need to redouble our efforts to persuade our American friends in particular to ratify especially during the important window opened during President Obama's final term of office.
“Given President Obama's human rights credentials, it is hard to believe that he personally would be against ratification. I am under no illusions regarding the difficulty of persuading the American military of the need to ratify but I think that President Obama's final term presents us with a unique opportunity,” he added.
by Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a crisis meeting Wednesday with the MDC-T-run Masvingo city council after key emergency services equipment was seized in a US$3.6 million salary dispute with employees.
The local authority is scrambling to block the auctioning of its fire tenders and ambulances as well as computers which were attached after council employees successfully petitioned the Labour Court over some US$3.6 million in salary arrears.
MDC-T spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, confirmed that Tsvangirai and several senior officials had met Masvingo mayor Alderman Femius Chakabuda and his team in a bid to resolve the crisis.
“Tsvangirai held an emergency crisis meeting with the Masvingo City Council leadership because the attachment of council property by the Messenger of Court is an issue of extreme concern to us,” said Mwonzora.
He said Tsvangirai sympathized with the city council’s financial predicament but wanted the workers to be paid their outstanding salaries.
The MDC-T is – which runs most of the country’s towns and cities, is concerned that the crisis in Masvingo will worsen an already poor track record in the administration of local authorities after a number a number of councils facing allegations of incompetence and corruption.
The party recently fired several councilors and officials across the country over corruption allegations.
Meanwhile the Masvingo council has approached the High Court in a bid to block the sale of the equipment.
Justice Andrew Mutema reserved judgement over the chamber application filed by council lawyers Chihambakwe, Makonese and Ncube.
The council argued that it had filed it had filed an application to rescind the Labour Court judgment adding that the sale of the property should called of pending determination of the application.
Council also claimed that its operations would collapse if the property was sold and further challenged the quantification of the arrears.
by Staff Reporter
THE UNITED States will accept a win by President Robert Mugabe in the forthcoming elections – provided the polls are held in a free and fair environment, U.S. Ambassador to Zimbabwe Bruce Wharton has said.
The US has isolated Mugabe over the past ten years, accusing him of rights violations and fixing successive polls.
“Yes, we will embrace President Robert Mugabe if he wins free and fair polls,” Ambassador Wharton told reporters during a visit in the second capital of Bulawayo on Wednesday.
He said Washington had no interest taking political sides in Zimbabwe, adding that if Zanu PF wins a credible vote, the US will respect the outcome.
”Our aim is to see the will of the people respected,” he added.
Zimbabwe is currently working on constitutional reforms ahead of next year’s ballot.
Mugabe last week vowed to “fight like a wounded beast” to win the elections and avoid a repeat of 2008 where he was defeated by MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round.
He went on to deploy violence that forced Tsvangirai to withdraw from the second round vote.
Although the soon-to-be 89-year-old leader has repeatedly denounced political violence since the formation of the unity government in 2009, critics question his sincerity and ability to win any vote without coercion.
Ambassador Wharton met with Mugabe last month as he assumed office as new US envoy, pledging to “engage in a dialogue that is respectful”.
And so far, the ambassador says, his interactions with Zanu PF have been positive.
“We have established smooth communication, and we even attended Zanu PF’s conference last week and we were treated with respect,” he added.
Wharton also refuted charges by Mugabe at the conference that the US government was orchestrating a plot to take him out.
He said Washington will continue working closely with the Zimbabwean government especially on the humanitarian front.
“Overall in Zimbabwe, we provide ongoing support to the Zimbabwean parliament and constitution making process and we have invested more than 1 billion dollars in health and humanitarian assistance in the last ten years.
“The US also promotes business linkages, encouraging American investors to look closely at Zimbabwe’s educated labour force and long term growth potential,” he said.
By Joan Chirwa-Ngoma
Thu 13 Dec. 2012, 16:00 CAT
PATRIOTIC Front members of parliament have accused foreign affairs minister and Kabwata member of parliament Given Lubinda of treachery.
And PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba has given Lubinda a one-week ultimatum to exculpate himself following allegations of his collaboration with opposition MMD and UPND to discredit PF's decisions and policies.
In a letter to Lubinda dated December 10, 2012 copied to President Michael Sata, Kabimba stated that the alleged acts by Lubinda were in breach of the latter's obligation as a member of the PF under its constitution for which the party intends to institute disciplinary action against him.
Well-placed sources yesterday disclosed that Lubinda's recent conduct has been a matter of discussion at so many fora, including cabinet meetings.
Lubinda was once spokesperson for the UPND during party founder Anderson Mazoka's time before he defected to the United Liberal Party which entered into an electoral pact with the PF for the 2006 elections. Before then, Lubinda was Kabwata member of parliament under the UPND and was re-elected MP in 2006 under the PF-ULP ticket.
"We have a problem and it's high time the senior party and government leadership acted decisively on this matter. We cannot allow this situation to continue; it's not fair for the party especially the poor people who sacrificed for this victory," the sources revealed.
"We struggled for 10 years before getting into government and we shall not allow Given Lubinda to sink us with his bitterness and frustration. Those of us who are at Parliament know for a fact that Lubinda has been 'double-dealing'. We are glad that even the President has picked this information through his security network because we are told he warned ministers during the last Cabinet meeting, which was held on Monday.
"We are informed that the President expressed concern and took strong exception to cabinet ministers leaking information to the opposition. He told the meeting that his security network has informed him of certain ministers' clandestine activities. We only hope action will follow after this."
The sources accused Lubinda of working with the opposition, especially UPND to frustrate government efforts, particularly in the House.
"We are aware that Lubinda has been planting point of orders, questions and clarifications amongst opposition MPs to embarrass government and certain cabinet ministers he doesn't like for reasons best known to himself.
For instance, we know how he went out of his way to try and derail or embarrass Sylvia Masebo when we were debating the ministry of tourism," the sources said. "We also know how he has been conniving with some elements within UPND and MMD to instigate or incite unnecessary acrimony between the government and the opposition parliamentarians. We challenge Lubinda to deny that he didn't play any role in instigating the debate on the K1.5 billion allocation to the first lady's office."
The sources added: "You may wonder how we know all this; its simple, the same opposition MPs he has been courting are now fed up of him and are reporting back to us. It's the opposition MPs that are informing and warning us against Lubinda's alleged activities. They are also wondering what has gone wrong because the man keeps bothering them with notes to instigate points of orders, interjections and questions, which are against the government and its policies."
The sources said a number of ruling party parliamentarians are now convinced that Lubinda is with PF for expedience.
"Clearly, from his conduct, we can all see that Lubinda is only with us for expedience and it's just a matter of time before his true colours are seen. This is the man who even boasts at the bar when drinking with certain opposition MPs that he is more comfortable in UPND than PF.
So why is he with us? How can we trust such a guy?" a source asked. "You can even see the contempt on the guy's face when the President and certain ministers he doesn't like are talking. This we have all seen and are now fed up. We suffered for this party and we shall not allow people that came only yesterday to demean our leadership, especially the President.
"Lubinda must be reminded that he is what he is because of President Sata's kindness and fatherly approach to matters. He is even lucky to be a Cabinet minister? Therefore, its him of all people in PF today that need to show maximum loyalty to the party and the President in particular."
And Kabimba stated that the PF had received adverse reports against Lubinda over his alleged disloyalty to the ruling party.
"…It is alleged that you have been actively working and/or collaborating with some members of the opposition in the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) with the intention of discrediting the party's decisions and policies and hence bringing the name and image of the party into disrepute. It is further alleged that you have been responsible for planting some of the adverse articles in the Daily Nation newspaper against the party and its leadership," he stated.
"In your collaboration with some opposition members of parliament, you have been responsible for leaking confidential information to them which information came into your possession as a senior member of the party. Such information has been regularly posted by your collaborators or yourself on the Zambian Watchdog so as to discredit the image of the party and its leadership."
Kabimba stated that the party therefore intends to institute disciplinary action against Lubinda based on the above allegations.
"In view of the foregoing, I would be obliged to receive from you an exculpatory statement within seven days from the date hereof for reference to the disciplinary committee of the central committee for consideration and determination of this matter," stated Kabimba.
Lubinda could not comment on the matter as he was reportedly away in The Gambia for official duty.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
by Violet Gonda I VOA
ZIMBABWE says it is deploying troops to war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo as part of a peacekeeping force pledged by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) last week.
Regional leaders meeting in Tanzania agreed to provide 4,000 troops for a neutral force to be deployed in eastern Congo where M23 rebels have waged a brutal onslaught against the government of President Joseph Kabila.
This will be Zimbabwe’s second troop involvement in DRC after deploying hundreds of soldiers in 1998 to help Laurent-Désiré Kabila’s regime fight off rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.
The war proved costly for Zimbabwe, gobbling a massive chunk of the national fiscus and analysts believe it played a huge part in the country’s economic decline.
But this time around, the circumstances will be different, according to Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Joey Bimha who says government will not be footing the bill.
“This is what is called a neutral international force, and SADC will have to source out funding for it… Zimbabwe will contribute troops and of course at some expense to it but most of the expenses are going to be sourced from outside - from the African Union and even the United Nations,” Bimha said.
SADC is said to be currently working on modalities and sources say the troops will be dispatched in a matter of weeks.
Bimha said the mission, not likely to be deployed for more than one year, will aim to keep the warring sides apart and achieve some level of stability in the eastern side of the DRC.
Tanzania promised to contribute a battalion while other regional nations said they will "activate" a standby brigade of 3,000 soldiers by mid-December.
It was not immediately clear if President Robert Mugabe’s coalition partners had endorsed the plan. But the proposal has certainly not been brought before the legislature.
Political commentator Rejoice Ngwenya said the Zimbabwean parliament should not be ignored in such decision-making processes even if the troops are part of a broad regional peacekeeping force.
Ngwenya said even though Zimbabwe is “part of the SADC family that has helped broker a lot of misunderstandings” in the country, authorities should be circumspect about redeploying troops in DRC.
“We were there before,” Ngwenya said. ‘We lost millions of dollars every day and that war was responsible for taking our economy down.”
He added that while the current constitution does not necessarily require parliament to approve troop deployments to foreign countries, legislators should at least be allowed to “sit down and look at the facts, look at the financial implications and also look at the political implications.”
By The Post
Wed 12 Dec. 2012, 10:10 CAT
Food security is central to the economic, political and social future of our country. Meeting the basic needs to families must take top priority in any government planning, with an agricultural policy that really respects the earth, the farmer and the consumer. Hunger in our society is a sign of gross injustice and a block to development.
We need to provide food at prices which both give a just return to farmers and are reasonable to consumers. We evaluate agricultural policies with particular concern for the sacredness of the land, and justice, especially towards the poor.
Independence is meaningless if we cannot feed ourselves as a country. And since independence, successive governments have been battling with the issue of food security. Many initiatives have been undertaken by government to deal with this challenge. The total failure of these endeavours to achieve the basic and essential objective of supplying all our people with enough food to develop their potentialities for enjoying a full life is today more evident than ever. We still have today many people who each day cannot meet the basic food needs necessary for a decent human life. And it is a strict duty of justice not to allow fundamental food needs to remain unsatisfied. Economic justice requires that each individual has adequate food to survive to develop and thrive. And economic growth depends in the very first place on social progress.
By now, it is perfectly obvious that the agricultural policies we have been pursuing have failed to eradicate hunger and give our people the necessary food security. We cannot say these policies haven't been well-meant. They actually have been more well-meant though unsuccessful. The painful truth is that, despite the efforts to eradicate food insecurity, this challenge persists and tends to grow. Why?
What this means is that we need to go back to the drawing board, re-examine critically everything we have done so far in this domain. We need to come up with new initiatives to enable us to meet our people's needs for basic foodstuffs as much as possible.
Our government has been spending too much money every year subsidising the production of maize and mealie-meal. But nothing seems to be changing, and this is increasingly becoming a permanent feature. The government is spending over US$300 million every year to subsidise maize production and mealie-meal consumption. The government is buying a 50-kilogramme bag of maize at K65,000 and selling it to the millers at K60,000.
And part of this maize and mealie-meal is consumed in the neighbouring countries. Even some of the subsidised fertiliser ends up in our neighbouring countries. What it means is we are subsidising maize production and consumption not only in Zambia but also in our neighbouring countries. This is not sustainable, no matter how much we love our neighbours and would like to help them.
An immediate solution to this problem should be found. Probably there may be need to consider modifying our subsidy to maize production and consumption. If this cannot be done in a more efficient and effective manner, a total removal of the subsidy to maize production and consumption may be inevitable. In saying this, we are not in any way advocating total removal of subsidies to agriculture. We are simply recognising the need for more efficient and effective subsidies. The current subsidy to maize production and consumption has proved not to be efficient and effective.
And this also calls for serious consideration of other food crops like rice. We cannot continue to depend on maize for our staple food; it's too expensive. It will be much cheaper for us as a nation to start seriously considering increasing the consumption of rice, which is much cheaper to produce. Rice doesn't need fertilisers and it is much more environmentally friendly to produce.
We shouldn't cheat ourselves that we have always been consumers of maize meal. The consumption of maize meal is something that was promoted by the mining corporations and the commercial farmers they had promoted. Our people were consumers of millet, sorghum and cassava. The consumption of maize meal was very limited. The same way we were made to become dependent on maize meal can be done to rice. We should learn to start to live within our means. In our traditional society, maize was produced cheaply because there was no use of fertilisers and other complicated farming methods.
At the current cost of producing maize, it can be said to be beyond us as a staple food and we have to start looking elsewhere. We are not saying the production of maize should be stopped. No. What we are saying is that maize should be produced, sold and consumed at its real cost. Those who can afford to eat maize nshima two or three times a day, let them do so, while those who cannot afford it are provided with affordable alternatives like rice.
Of course, the issue of maize meal has been highly politicised. But it can also be depoliticised in the same way. And this government is in a far much better position to change things because it is a highly popular one. If Michael Sata went around the country explaining why we need to increase the consumption of rice and reduce on maize, people will understand him better and follow. There is need for political mobilisation on this issue. Making food cheaper both in terms of production and consumption should be the aim of this government.
It will be very difficult under the current policy and approach to have sustainable agricultural production and food security. We are spending too much money for very little food security. If part of the money we are spending on maize subsidies was diverted to other crops, we would achieve a much higher level of food security than we currently have. If something has failed, there is no need to hang on to it, come what may.
Moreover, the majority of the world population lives on rice. We have all the conditions in almost every province of our country needed for the production of rice and other food crops. It is not wise for us to cling so much to maize. A political decision needs to be made for us to adopt more rational, more sensible agricultural and food security policies.
By Moses Kuwema
Wed 12 Dec. 2012, 12:00 CAT
LAWYER John Sangwa has called for the arrest of Ndola High Court judge-in-charge Munalula Lisimba on charges of corruption and abuse of authority of his office as a judicial officer.
And the Judicial Complaints Authority (JCA) has acknowledged receipt of the complaint lodged by Sangwa and that of his three clients against Lisimba.
"In accordance with the provisions of section 26(2) of the Judicial (Code of Conduct) Act No. 13 of 1999, as amended by Act No. 13 of 2006, your complaint shall be laid before the Authority for consideration," stated the JCA letter dated 11th December 2012 and signed by Dr Winnie Mwenda.
According to a complaint letter dated December 11, 2012 and addressed to the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) director general, Sangwa of Simeza Sangwa and Associates Advocates called on the Commission to investigate and possibly arrest justice Munalula.
"Since I applied for His Lordship's recusal in a matter and lodged a complaint against His Lordship with the Judicial Complaints Authority, I have received information from some lawyers both in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt who have similar complaints against His Lordship.
This has caused me to believe that the events outlined in my affidavit, copy of which I attached, are not isolated but part of a pattern of behaviour which not only violates the provisions of the Judicial Code of Conduct Act, but also the provisions of the Anti-Corruption Act going back many years," he stated in his letter.
Sangwa stated that most of the lawyers he had spoken to were unwilling to go on record for fear of retribution not only from His Lordship Lisimba, but other justices in a similar position or sympathetic to His Lordship.
He stated that he was of the belief that given the powers and resources of the ACC, it should be possible to overcome constraints and establish the veracity of the allegations.
"May I take the liberty to suggest that investigations should not be limited to the cases I have referred to in my affidavit but extend to all the cases allocated to His Lordship since his appointment as a puisne judge. However, special attention should be given to cases in which decisions are pending and those, which have been discontinued. I am available to attend on you for further discussion of this matter if need be," Sangwa stated.
The board of directors for Zambezi Portland Cement Limited and their lawyer, Sangwa, have accused Lisimba of bias in the manner he was handling matters involving the company.
According to a complaint letter dated December 6, 2012 and addressed to the Secretary of the Judicial Complaints Authority, Simeza Sangwa and Associates, on its own behalf and on behalf of Dr Rajan Mahtani, Joan Craven and David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan, stated that they were ready to clarify their allegations.
"We hereby, in line with the provisions of Section 25 of the Judicial Code of Conduct Act No. 13 of 1999, as amended by Act No. 13 of 2006, submit a complaint against His Lordship Mr. Justice Munalula Lisimba, the allocating Judge of the High Court at Ndola," the letter read in part. "The basis of the complaint is that His Lordship has conducted himself in a manner inconsistent with the provisions of Section 6 of the said Act."
The complaint arises from an ongoing court case between Antonio Ventriglia and Manuela Ventriglia as the first and second plaintiffs, respectively, and the Eastern and Southern African Development Bank and Robert Mbonani Simeza, in his capacity as Receiver of Zambezi Portland Cement Limited in receivership and Zambezi Portland Cement Limited as the first, second and third defendant respectively.
Sangwa in his affidavit of December 4, 2012 which was filed in the Ndola High Court registry, asked that the order for leave to issue contempt proceedings against the complainants be set aside and that the court case be transferred to another judge on account of bias.
"On the 29th day of November, 2012, an application was made before this court, exparte for leave to commence committal proceedings against me, Mrs. Joan Craven, and Mr. David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan," he submitted. "This court on the same day granted the ex- parte order for the plaintiffs to commence committal proceedings against me, Mrs. Joan Craven and Mr. David Kamalarajan Kanaganayagan."
Sangwa stated that the said proceedings were being commenced against him on the premise that he was the defendants' advocate in the case and also as an advocate for Finsbury Investments Limited, a company that was not a party to the proceedings.
"Mr. Justice Munalula Lisimba, who has been adjudicating in this case and who granted the said order for leave to commence committal proceedings dated 29th November 2012, has conducted himself or behaved in a manner, which has convinced me that he is biased in that he has been providing benefits to the plaintiffs by failing to be impartial in the determination of the many applications, which have been presented by the plaintiffs in this and other cases, in which the plaintiffs are directly involved or have interest in the outcome," he stated.
Sangwa asserted that he believed judge Lisimba was biased because owing to his pole position at the Ndola High Court, he had been allocating to himself cases involving the plaintiffs or those which they had an interest either directly or indirectly.
He then outlined the number of cases that judge Lisimba had allocated to himself, including the one where Antonio and his three sons, Claudio, Daniele and Valerio were recently deported after they were declared prohibited immigrants, an action which compelled them to commence judicial review proceedings on November 21, 2012.
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Chief Mpande on mining taxes
By The Post
Tue 11 Dec. 2012, 10:20 CAT
Chief Mpande of the Mambwe people of Mbala has joined the voices calling for increased tax collections from Zambia's mines.
Chief Mpande says the government should raise sufficient resources from the mining sector to finance development programmes. Very few people will object to what chief Mpande is saying. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and many other multilateral and bilateral agencies have urged the government to find ways of increasing its income from mining taxes.
Zambia, as a country, could benefit more than it is currently benefiting from the mining industry. All countries that depend on natural resources face the shared challenge of taxation: determining tax levels and administering tax revenues in an efficient, effective and orderly manner that balances the needs of government and investors.
Mining depletes a valuable natural asset and taxing mining corporations is a way of generating savings that can be redeployed to increase the productive capacity of the rest of the economy, and thereby help sustain the country over the long term. Despite the revival of our mining industry over the last few years, its contribution to government revenues has remained relatively low.
The mining industry accounts for 15 to 18 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product and exports over US$3 billion worth of copper per annum, but contributes just 8 per cent of total revenue.
This is not something we should accept or do nothing about. It is an unacceptable state of affairs that needs to be changed. There is scope for increasing government revenues from the country's mining activities. There is scope to improve the progressivity of the current mining tax regime.
But we share the bitter feeling of impotence that our government may have over this issue.
It is not easy to change mining taxes overnight because a less predictable regulatory environment could be seen as increasing instability and risks for mining investors. And given the large upfront investments, long-term commitments and long investment payback horizons inherent in the mining industry, less stable and predictable policies would scare away investors.
Mining investors need stable and predictable policies which they see as being essential in evaluating mining projects' perceived risks and economic viability. Frequent changes in regulations and indeed laws may create an air of uncertainty for investors.
Over the last few years, it has been unclear which direction Zambia was taking in relation to the taxing of mines. We had the introduction of windfall taxes; we had the removal of windfall taxes; we had the lowering of the rate of royalties and their subsequent increase; and we had the lowering and subsequent increase of the corporation tax and so on and so forth. In a word, Zambia's recent history of regulatory changes did act as a constraint on both new investment as well as the continued operation of some established mines.
It would seem that the last two or three governments of the MMD did not have a clear and consistent policy on how mining activities should be taxed. Each successive MMD regime brought with it some changes in the taxing of the mining industry. Consistency and predictability was thus, in some way, lost. It is the duty of this government to restore or establish consistency and predictability in the taxing of the mining industry.
There have been some changes in the mining tax regime, albeit very small ones, introduced by this government. The debate is still raging on what needs to be done, on what will constitute appropriate taxing of the mines.
We share the government's cautious or prudent approach to this issue. It may not be prudent to act in a hasty manner. It may not be prudent to make any further major changes to the mining fiscal regime at this time. A lot of work is needed before much can be achieved in this area. There is need to mobilise technical assistance from cooperating partners and from the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to enhance mining tax and improve the collection of mining taxes which are currently underperforming.
We need help to raise the country's capacity to collect taxes. There is need to increase our knowledge and expertise in valuing what is mined and ascertaining what its worth is. Today, we have many minerals that are being shipped out without being properly processed. We cannot fully ascertain the value and composition of what is being shipped out for us to tax it properly.
There is need for a new mining regulatory and tax regime that balances the interests of the mining investors and the country. We need to create a win-win situation.
Right now, we have a situation of disagreement over the tax regime. The government and the mining industry are failing to find an equitable balance between the commercial interests of the industry on the one hand and, on the other, the industry's contribution to national prosperity. Such a regime needs to cover, in a clear and transparent manner, taxation, as well as the government's obligations to provide macro stability, governance, infrastructure and social services that the mining industry needs to prosper.
In return, the government and the public at large need assurances that the mining industry is in fact contributing sufficient tax revenues to support the communities within which they operate and at levels consistent with profits they receive from extracting the country's natural resources. Unless such a regime is agreed upon, the mining industry will continue to dispute any increases in taxes and thus the government's revenues will be constrained. And moreover, the regime will remain unstable, thereby undermining investor confidence.
A lot of work is needed before we can start to benefit fully from the exploitation of our mineral resources. Having minerals in our country, in itself, guarantees us nothing. It offers us instead the opportunity to succeed as well as the risk of failure. It is both an opportunity and a challenge. It is an opportunity in the sense that if we manage our affairs well, we can get good revenues from it to develop other sectors of our economy and thus improve the living standards of our people considerably.
It is a challenge because having a potential and beneficially exploiting that potential are two different things. How much we will benefit from the exploitation of our mineral resources will depend on the correctness of the decisions we take and on the deals we strike with the mining corporations. And this rests upon our shoulders and on no one else's.
But there is no use continuing to mine when we are not getting anything out of it. This is a resource that is depleting as we mine. If it's not profitable to mine now, let's stop it and leave the minerals for the future generations to exploit in a probably more profitable manner. The current generation has a duty to account for what it is doing to the country's minerals.
If at the end of the day we exhaust our mineral potential without anything to show to the future generations, there will be trouble. And in this regard, chief Mpande's observations are correct and deserve the most favourable consideration.
By Staff Reporters
Tue 11 Dec. 2012, 12:00 CAT
POLICE on the Copperbelt yesterday apprehended MMD president Nevers Mumba in Lufwanyama, where he was about to address a meeting without a police permit. Meanwhile, the Bank of Zambia is pursuing the MMD over a K4 billion debt owed to liquidated Meridian BIAO Bank Zambia Limited, Commerce Bank Zambia and MOPED Investments Limited.
Copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo confirmed the development, saying Mumba would be charged with the offence of unlawful assembly.
"You know, he has been here since Saturday. On Saturday he wanted to cause confusion in Chifubu but we prevailed and today he went to Lufwanyama and he thinks we are not on the ground. So officers apprehended him right from there because the law is very clear; he must have a permit to hold any gathering whether closed-door; we can't allow that," said Tembo.
And according to one of the officers who arrested Mumba, the MMD leader was met by police on the way to a meeting when they picked him.
"We met him on the way, but because we have good informers, they informed us," he said.
The sources said Mumba failed to cooperate with the officers and had a heated argument with them.
According to the officers, police had to wait for him and his entourage that included Muchinga MMD member of parliament Howard Kunda to have a meal at a named lodge in Kalulushi en route to Kitwe Central Police where he was to be detained.
When contacted over his arrest, Mumba said: "It's becoming too much; this is too much, it's too much! It's unfortunate they are using so much police force, trailing us from Ndola to Lufwanyama."
He said he had gone to meet some chiefs and MMD leaders in Lufwanyama when police arrested him.
"And yet chiefs are going to State House every day and we are not raising any issue; they sent a battalion of police to follow me and my entourage in Lufwanyama, I am not going to accept this," Mumba said, "There is no democratic country that stops its people from meeting their leaders and chiefs. If they think they will sustain this, they are mistaken, our theme is 'Don't Kutina'; our spirit is not broken."
He said he was aware that everything was coming from State House and President Michael Sata.
Mumba urged President Sata to inform the police to "back off" and allow them to enjoy their liberties.
"He should respect the opposition and allow our end of year audit of our leadership. I don't need a permit from police to meet our leaders, I don't need a police permit to meet our chiefs. Stop this jungle kind of leadership," he said.
He, however, said Zambia's police, which was one of the professionally trained in the region, was being made to look like losers.
"They (police) are telling us 'it's too much, but we have to follow what Lusaka are telling us'; they can't wait for MMD to bounce back so they can also enjoy liberty," claimed Mumba.
And according to a letter dated October 18, 2011 from Bank of Zambia (BoZ) assistant director-regulatory policy and liquidations Norbert Mumba addressed to MMD national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe, the former ruling party had not settled the K4 billion it owed the Central Bank, the current receivers of Meridian BIAO Bank Zambia Limited (MBBZ), Commerce Bank Zambia Limited and Meridian BIAO Bank and MOPED, all liquidated.
"We write to demand settlement of outstanding debt owed by your party amounting to K4 billion. The breakdown of the debt is as follows: MBBZ K2,801,150,684.93, Moped Investment Limited Debt (MBBZ) K798,348,493.15, CBL K444,550,242.37," read Mumba's leatter.
"You are no doubt aware that the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and the former liquidation managers have on several occasions written and contacted your party seeking settlement of the debt but to no avail. We now request prompt settlement of the debts and you may wish to call the undersigned to agree terms for settlement."
Meanwhile, National Pensions Scheme Authority has complied with the police's request for it to surrender two motor vehicles that the MMD took to the institution as collateral but are part of a proceeds of crime probe against the party.
NAPSA director-general Charles Mpundu told The Post in an interview yesterday that the Authority handed over the two motor vehicles because it does not want to be seen to be abetting criminality.
"Yes, we did," said Mpundu when asked on the status of the motor vehicles. "They have been with us for some time and they have been surrendered. When there is a matter which borders on criminality, we can't be seen to be abetting. We need to cooperate with the investigative wings. They did put across a request for us to release them and we did that."
Police requested NAPSA to hand over two motor vehicles that the opposition MMD surrendered to the Authority as collateral because they are a subject of criminal investigations.
In a letter dated December 6, 2012 addressed to Mpundu by a G. Masumba, director, on behalf of the Inspector General of Police, the two motor vehicles were part of the investigations into alleged possession of property suspected of being proceeds of crime.
The motor vehicles in question - a Mitsubishi Canter light load vehicle and a Toyota Toyoace bearing registration numbers ALC 6660 and ALC 6630 - are owned by Africa Strategic Transportation Logistics Limited and the MMD secretariat, respectively.
The MMD petitioned the seizure of the 176 motor vehicles which were part of the government joint investigations team's probe into the party campaign materials that were suspected to be proceeds of crime.
"A court petition has been instituted by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy MMD against the state with regard to some of the motor vehicles impounded throughout the country which are the subject of investigations," stated Masumba.
But Mumba said in an interview yesterday that he was not aware of any money the party owed to NAPSA because it had settled its outstanding bills.
"I am not aware of any money that we owe to NAPSA; we settled our bills with them. And what I understand is that we paid all our debts and that is an old matter," he said.
Mumba said nothing had been brought to his table to alert them of the recent claims by NAPSA and not even the party lawyers knew anything.
"Our lawyers would have told me and they have not told me anything so I doubt there is anything but if there is our lawyers will engage us," said.
NAPSA had impounded two MMD vehicles demanding payment of K90.6 million for refurbishment of Lusaka House and has threatened to take action against the former ruling party within seven days in the event of non-compliance.
By Moses Kuwema in Lusaka and Christopher Miti in Chipata
Tue 11 Dec. 2012, 12:00 CAT
LUAPULA Province MMD vice-chairman David Chanda says the party is at the crossroads because of the arrogance being exhibited by Nevers Mumba and Michael Kaingu.
And Angela Cifire says the MMD's squabbles may lead to the downfall of the former ruling party if not checked.
In an interview, Chanda said many MMD members were confused as they did not know which direction to take.
"We expect the leaders to come out and extend an olive branch to those members who feel they are not happy with the expulsion of Maj Richard Kachingwe instead of labeling them to be disgruntled. Just because people don't agree with you, it does not mean that they are disgruntled. They should realise that arrogance will not help them but the principles enshrined in the constitution are what will help their leadership," Chanda said.
He observed that Mumba and Kaingu were being tortured mentally because of the wrong-doings that they had committed.
Chanda accused Mumba and Kaingu of disrespecting the constitution and urged them to respect divergent views.
"The level of politics being practiced by the two leaders is barbaric. The MMD has a constitution that is supposed to be talking and not the leaders talking. When you have the individuals in an organisation talking and not the document talking then you will have confusion. That's why we have this confusion," he said.
Asked about his views on the appointment of Simbao as national secretary, Chanda said it was wrong.
"First of all morally, Simbao should have realised that there is total division and he should have said no because even a quorum was not formed when he was appointed. I have no respect for people who don't respect the constitution. The arrogance of Mumba and Kaingu won't take them anywhere, their days are numbered and they will regret at one point," said Chanda.
And commenting on the infighting that has characterised the MMD, Cifire, the former MMD Luangeni member of parliament and former information deputy minister, said the current situation was as a result of egoism.
She said the infighting in MMD came about because certain members felt they were "more equal than others".
"These people who feel they are more equal than others, they want themselves and the leadership to be the only people that have a say in MMD…At some stage, leadership is about being able to show vision to the people that are being led and also the people to be able to appreciate that. Now if you get to the point where you think that everything is about you and not the bigger picture of what the party is, then you get to these situations," Cifire said.
She said the current happenings in MMD were a split over certain people whose egos had become bloated.
Over a week ago, MMD national secretary Major Richard Kachingwe expelled party president Mumba, saying he did not qualify to hold the position because he was still leader of the Reform Party.
The same day, Mumba expelled Maj Kachingwe from the party and later appointed Kapembwa Simbao to act in his position, accusing Kachingwe of working with the ruling party to destabilise the MMD.
"As the egos grow larger, each one of them still wants to be bigger than the other person and hence the split that is being seen now. At a time when they should have gone back to the drawing board to say 'let's examine our souls and correct these situations', what is happening is just continuing with these situations. What is happening now is just about me, me and they will not be able to correct the situation until they go down and that will mean the end of MMD," warned Cifire.