SA MPs want Zimbabwe sanctions lifted
SOUTH African MPs on Wednesday called for a total removal of sanctions and restrictions imposed by the European Union (EU) against Zimbabwe. The Portfolio Committee on International Relations and Cooperation (PCIRC) said it is of the firm view that these sanctions and restrictions "have a negative impact on Zimbabwe's economic and political situation."
"It is clear that, in spite of the gradual removal of restrictions and sanctions, their impact on improving the political situation is yet to be felt by the people of Zimbabwe, hence our call to lift all restrictions and sanctions," said Tisetso Magama, chairperson of the committee. An unconditional removal of the restrictions and sanctions will help a great deal in the development of Zimbabwe and its people, added Magama.
The committee's call came amid reports that the EU is planning to lift some sanctions against Zimbabwe after it held a credible referendum on the new draft constitution on March 16.
More than 100 Zimbabwean prominent individuals have been under the EU travel ban and assets freeze since 2002.
The sanctions were originally imposed a decade ago in response to alleged incidents of human rights abuses and political violence.
[They were installed to make land reform fail, and to create a negative example for the rest of Africa, that they should not overturn their colonial land ownership patterns. - MrK]
Ebrahim Ebrahim, Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), said the Zimbabwean referendum was credible, as all 78 SADC (Southern African Development Community) observers agreed that it was fair and transparent.
While congratulating the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission and Zimbabweans for holding a credible referendum, the PCIRC remained concerned about isolated incidents of torture and intimidation reported during the referendum period.
"We condemn these incidents. They should not be happening at all," said Magama.
The committee further commended the good work by SADC, the South African government and other stakeholders for the successful holding of the referendum, as part of the process towards holding of harmonised elections later this year.
Labels: EU, SANCTIONS, SOUTH AFRICA, TISETSO MAGAMA
COMMENT - Why are sanctions on Zimbabwe manufactured and supported by a member of British Army Intelligence like Geoffrey van Orden? In collaboration with a former member fo the Rhodesian Special Forces (Selous Scouts) like Roy Bennett? Read more about Geoffrey and Roy's antics here
EU to lift sanctions on all but 10 Zimbabweans
by Staff Reporter
THE European Union is set to lift sanctions on all but 10 Zimbabwe government officials in response to the “peaceful” referendum on the new constitution, officials said on Friday.
The EU eased sanctions on Zimbabwe last month by lifting asset freezes and travel bans on 27 people, including six ministers, as well as well as one company – Divine Home (PVT) Ltd – which is owned by Zanu PF official David Chapfika.
Geoffrey Van Orden, a British member of the European Parliament who has previously campaigned for the sanctions to remain, said Friday that there were “moves to lift the EU restrictive measures on most of the Mugabe supporters that had previously been banned from Europe and had their assets frozen”.
He added: “Only 10 individuals from the 91 previously banned and two companies will remain on the list.”
The 10 individuals to remain on the blacklist, it is believed, include President Robert Mugabe and security chiefs.
The state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) – involved in the mining of diamonds in eastern Zimbabwe – is also seen staying on the sanctions list.
The EU had indicated last month that a peaceful and credible referendum will be reciprocated through the easing of sanctions.
But the latest moves are unlikely to appease President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party which says the sanctions are unjust and illegal. The party wants all sanctions on the country lifted – and has received the backing of its MDC coalition partners.
Van Orden MEP, who chairs the European Parliament 'Friends of Zimbabwe' group, said: "We recognise that there has been some movement in the right direction and this needs to be reinforced. The referendum was just a first step. The really important event will be the elections later in the year.
"Our concern now is that all the processes connected with the elections should be carried out fairly and correctly and that campaigning is free from violence and intimidation.
"A reduction in the restrictive measures is just about acceptable provided they can be quickly reimposed if there is any sign of violence, intimidation or manipulation of the electoral process. My understanding is that this is exactly what has been agreed.
"The changes meet the wishes of other African countries and will signal to Zanu PF insiders and to army and police chiefs that they have nothing to fear from real democratic change.
"The ball is now in Mugabe’s court."
The EU first imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 following presidential elections which it said were flawed.
But Mugabe’s Zanu PF party has fingered former colonial power Britain as the instigator of the measures in response to its policy of seizing land from white farmers and redistributing it to landless blacks.
Labels: EU, GEOFFREY VAN ORDEN, SANCTIONS
Kasukuwere paying price for silence
by Mai Jukwa
I OFTEN find myself pulling my hair out in frustration when I see people failing to respond to situations. An example is the ever so docile Kasukuwere who seems content to eat food and carry on business as usual whilst a determined opponent drags his name and reputation in the mud.
At this point it is now public knowledge that Dr. Gideon Gono is pulling no punches in his effort to destroy the youthful minister but Kasukuwere does nothing. He does absolutely nothing! What is most frustrating is that there is a great deal to say in response to the Governors provocations. Having analysed the facts of the case over the past few weeks this is what I would say if I were Kasukuwere. I would write a letter to Zimbabwe.
Over the past few weeks there has been a lot that has been written about my conduct as Minister in charge of Indigenisation. Some of the information you have read is true but a great amount of this has been a mix of innuendo and mischievous gossip.
It is important that Zimbabweans have a clear understanding of what we are trying to achieve through the Indigenisation programme. However, it is equally important that they have confidence in the process. The question on the minds of many Zimbabweans is if this programme benefits all Zimbabweans or whether it is a corrupt scheme merely to line the pockets of Minister Kasukuwere as some have alleged.
A quick background would be helpful. The Indigenisation programme is not a personal project born of my imagination. It is government policy set into law by the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act. The law directs companies with a capitalisation above a set threshold to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans own 51% of their shares.
The Act does not discriminate between mining, banking or telecoms. It simply states that if a company’s capitalisation crosses the set threshold then it is obliged to comply with this regulation. My role as Minister is to ensure that all affected companies’ come into compliance. This is through assisting these companies by extending deadlines in exceptional circumstances or offering state support in terms of guaranteeing financing in those cases where there is no local capital to absorb available shares.
As you can clearly see, I do not have the legal power to give special treatment or exemptions to particular industries, as the law does not have scope for any such ministerial discretion. It is not the case that Kasukuwere can simply allow the banks to carry on business as usual whilst demanding compliance from the mining and telecoms sector. If I adopted this position we would quickly find ourselves in court, as this would be in violation of the law and would be vigorously challenged by those entities that have been forced to indigenise.
Herein lies a great measure of the confusion surrounding media reports on the matter. Of particular interest to the public has been the seeming rift with Dr. Gideon Gono who has offered an alternative model to the current Indigenisation drive and has publicly disagreed with my approach in effecting the Indigenisation Act.
Whilst I hold the governor in very high regard and welcome his input and opinion, my position on the matter has always been that the final decision on policy implementation rests with my Ministry. This position will not change until such a time as I am removed from government or deployed to a different arena of service. Decisions about Indigenisation can only be made within the Ministry charged with that duty. They cannot be micromanaged by unauthorised external agencies. There are only three bodies to which I am obliged to give an account; these are Cabinet, Parliament and the office of the President.
If it were the case that the “one-size-fits-all” model is inadequate, as Dr. Gono suggests, then the best approach would be to table such a motion in parliament (if one is an elected official) and request an amendment to the legislation as it currently stands. If Parliament shares the same view as the Governor then the law would be amended and as Minister I would immediately be empowered to give special favours to the banks or whichever industry exempted by the amendment. As it stands I just do not have the power to do so and am bound by the law to implement the policy indiscriminately.
It is now a matter of public record that the Governor has summoned a number of institutions that have been indigenised and demanded access to documents detailing the transactions. By chance these documents have the next morning found themselves leaked to the Daily News. Naturally as a human being I resent the feeling of being undermined but in governance one learns to lay aside emotion and focus on policy.
I mention the issue of these documents because it lays out the foundation of what is now called the NIEEBgate supposed scandal.
The Governor went on to request that my Ministry surrender all documents related to indigenisation to his office for supervision. I objected to this purely on the grounds of principal. The RBZ has no legal mandate to scrutinise the activities of the Ministry. It is quite similar to Dr. Gono having demanded that the Ministry of Health surrender their internal documentation for review by his office. No self-respecting Minister would accept such an unwarranted intrusion by an unauthorised party. Not even a company executive would accept that from another manager.
Many in the media have speculated that I rejected these intrusions because there was a trove of ghastly secrets to hide. This is nonsense. My view was that the Governor was now being nuisance and behaving in quite a disruptive and adolescent manner both in public and in private and I was unwilling to continue entertaining his behavior.
After this much was communicated to the RBZ we were quite surprised when the Anti-Corruption Commission came knocking on our doors demanding the very documents that had been requested the day before. We made it clear that we believed they were acting as a proxy and in violation of their mandate. As such it was we would not co-operate unless they obtained a warrant. To obtain any such warrant from the courts they would need to show probable cause, something we knew they could not show given that they were simply operating as a proxy and without any just cause to harass us.
They went to the courts and failed to show probable cause and were slapped down by the Magistrates court. What then happened is unprecedented. The Anti-Corruption Commission proceeded to approach a High Court Justice without advising the court that that a similar application had been rejected by a lower court. Lawyers will appreciate how extraordinarily unlawful that action was. We immediately challenged that warrant. Some parts of the media have conveniently excluded the details of what happened in court that day. The commission was not blocked from investigating us but admitted of their own accord that they had acted unlawfully and that the warrant they were trying to use was fraudulent. We did not even have to argue our case, they admitted this of their own volition and dropped their case.
If the commission is operating of its own accord then we are more than ready to embrace and assist them in their investigations. Our concern was simply that it was likely not a coincidence that they came and demanded documents that Dr. Gono had demanded and been denied access to.
In addition to that, our concerns have been heightened in recent days by revelations that the commission is being paid holiday allowances to the tune of hundreds of thousands and also receiving houses are cars worth over six million dollars from the Reserve Bank. In our view, this unhealthy relationship raises serious questions about conflict of interests and the independence of the commission. It also lends credence to our initial concerns about their involvement. The commissions empowering Act of 2004 states quite clearly that their funding must only come from Parliament. No other government official is allowed to give money, cars or houses to senior officials of the commission.
However, we are very much willing to work with the Anti-Corruption Commission in a transparent and accountable manner. This begins with them writing to us, raising their concerns and explaining which documents they require and for what purpose they require those documents. If we are satisfied that these concerns are legitimate and not merely a ruse to acquire documents for an unauthorised third-party then we will gladly surrender this information.
Amai Jukwa is a loving mother of three. She respects Robert Mugabe, is amused by Tsvangirai and feels sorry for Mutambara. She plays on Facebook and Twitter
Labels: MAI JUKWA, SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE
Policing our mealie-meal
By The Post
Fri 22 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
Jamas Milling managing director John Coutlis blames the current shortage of mealie-meal on weak monitoring mechanisms by law enforcement agencies. Coutlis accuses law enforcement agencies of allowing rampant smuggling of mealie-meal to neighbouring countries.
True as it may be that the current shortage of mealie-meal is caused by illegal exports to some neighbouring countries, law enforcement agencies are not in a position to stop it. This is not a new problem. This problem has been there from the 1980s. All sorts of check-points were put along our borders to try and stop the smuggling of mealie-meal. Even songs were sung to discredit smugglers of mealie-meal. But the smuggling continued.
We don't think the demand for Zambian mealie-meal in our neighbouring countries is in itself a bad thing. It does offer an opportunity to our farmers and millers to increase their market. There is a bigger problem than this: Zambian maize and mealie-meal are highly subsidised. We are subsidising both production and consumption. We have subsidised fertilisers and other inputs. And the maize that is bought by our millers is sold to them at a subsidised rate.
This, in itself, means that Zambia is subsidising the consumption of maize meal in the neighbouring countries. For a very long time, the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo has been dependent on Zambian maize and mealie-meal. There are also substantial amounts of mealie-meal that go to Angola. Our subsidised fertilisers get to Malawi and other neighbouring countries.
In our planning, there is no provision for subsidising our neighbours. We are planning our maize stocks and mealie-meal supply on the basis of our population without taking into account Katanga and eastern Angola. Any increase in demand across our borders, or even within our country itself, can cause serious shortages of mealie-meal.
But policing our borders is not the solution. Even if we wanted to, we have a very long border with our neighbouring countries which is not possible for us to police. The solution to this problem lies far beyond law enforcement. It is an economic problem that needs economic solutions. At the rate we are subsidising our maize and mealie-meal, it doesn't make economic sense for the Katangese and others to engage in production of maize. Why waste their time and money when they can get the mealie-meal cheaply from Zambia? It doesn't matter whether the mealie-meal is smuggled to them or not. What matters to them is having the mealie-meal.
The solution lies in making the cost of producing maize and the prices of our mealie-meal economic and competitive. This demands, among other things, the removal of subsidies from maize production and mealie-meal consumption. But is this possible in our current situation? Our answer is a categorical no. We are not in a position right now to arbitrarily remove maize and mealie-meal subsidies.
To do so will first require us meeting certain prerequisites. It demands crop and foodstuffs diversification. We need to wean off our people from excessive dependence on maize meal. When this is done, we can then start reducing or totally removing subsidies from maize production and mealie meal consumption. When this is done, those who engage in maize and mealie meal production will have the right to sell their maize at the market price to the Democratic Republic of Congo and other neighbouring countries. Exporting subsidised mealie-meal doesn't make economic or financial sense when the whole issue is viewed from the interests of the nation as a whole. It may make sense and appear to be very profitable at an individual trader level, but the nation is losing out.
We love our neighbours but we don't think we have the capacity to feed them every year with subsidised mealie-meal. Some of them are actually very rich countries with more resources than ourselves. Why should we subsidise their mealie-meal consumption? One can sympathise with fertilisers being smuggled into Malawi because that country is relatively poorer than us but with a population that is equal to ours to feed. The smuggling of fertilisers into Malawi may be out of necessity or need. But the same cannot be said about the smuggling of mealie-meal into Katanga or eastern Angola.
Bold decisions will need to be taken over this issue. We have to introduce our people to other foodstuffs that are available in our country and are cheaper to produce. Let's teach our people to start looking positively at rice consumption. It is much easier and cheaper to feed a large population on rice. If Asia was as dependent on maize meal as we are, many of the citizens of that region would be dying from hunger every year. It is much cheaper to produce rice than maize. Rice doesn't need fertilisers and other expensive inputs that maize needs. And every region of our country has the capacity to produce enough rice to feed its inhabitants and have a surplus for export. Probably in that way, our neighbours may also learn to eat rice and in that way create a market for our rice growers.
We also have crops like cassava, millet, sorghum, sweet potatoes and so on and so forth that our people can turn to and reduce their dependence on maize meal.
But the movement away from maize will not be spontaneous, it has to be a guided one. In the first place, our people's movement to maize meal was not spontaneous, it was guided. This country has not always been dependent on maize meal. Maize meal is something that has been foisted upon our people by the commercial farmers who accompanied the mining activities on the Copperbelt.
There is a huge market for maize in our region and in the world. Let us exploit that market by producing maize in the manner that is commercially and financially viable. Let us come up with a system that will help us phase out subsidies to maize production and consumption. We understand the political sensitivities that are tied to mealie-meal. And already, there are some political vultures that are without shame, trying to make political capital out of the mealie-meal shortages that some of our towns have been experiencing. Politics will always be there around mealie-meal if it remains the sole staple food for our people.
And this should always be borne in mind when dealing with mealie-meal. The changes that we are advocating should take these political realities into account.
Labels: JOHN COUTILS, MEALIE-MEAL, MILLERS
COMMENT - There would be no need for NGOs or 'Donor Aid' at all if the mines were taxed or nationalized.
Africa's overdependence on health aid irks NGO
By Edwin Mbulo in Vilnius, Lithuania
Fri 22 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
AFRICAN countries' reliance on international donors to fight diseases is making funding countries' struggles to deliver required resources on the continent difficult, says Robin Gorna.
In an interview at the on-going Communities Delegation of the Board of the Global Fund here, Gorna who is the executive director of AIDS Strategy, Advocacy and Policy (ASAP) based in the UK said the Global Fund had counterpart financing requirement for recipient countries to place a lot of local financial resources in the fight against TB, Malaria and HIV and AIDS.
"What concerns and saddens me is the level of dependence that many African states have on the international community. Despite the moral obligation of the donor community to support them they are not meeting the needs of their own citizens by using their own resources in the health sector. We need to find a way to work most effectively as the international community will struggle to deliver the resources that are required if it doesn't see African countries step forward to use their own resources on improving the lives of their citizens," she said.
[Are you going to support them in their effort to tax their own natural resources, so they won't all of a sudden find that their political opposition is heavily armed, and ready to march on the capital. Or find that the IMF suspends 'budget support' and creates a crisis of payments, like in Malawi when they gave small fertilizer subsidies to their own farmers - with great success. This is how that ended. - MrK]
Gorna said it was challenging to get recipient countries understand the complications of the Global Fund structures which she described as the most remarkable instruments in the world in making sure that the money reaches the people that need it most to save lives.
"The Global Fund has saved lives and changed the course of people's illness and health and does it in such a way that it respects the needs of people with TB, HIV and Malaria," Gorna said.
She said African leaders had pitiless spending strategies with huge amounts of money going on military spending rather than the health sector.
Gorna who is a facilitator at the Global Fund Communities Delegation retreat said Africans were dying in numbers out of treatable illnesses such as TB and malaria.
On women empowerment, Gorna said HIV and AIDS had adversely affected women and children in Africa while political leaders have not paid attention to effectively treat them equally in the fight against the epidemic.
Labels: NGOs, TAXATION
Tunkara's arrest saddens former UNZASU president
By Staff Reporter
Fri 22 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
FORMER UNZASU president Kelvin Hambwezya has described the arrest of current union leader Ali Tunkara for forgery, uttering false statements and attempted theft as shameful.
Hambwezya has advised the current student leadership to lead the union in a mature manner bearing in mind the important role it plays in the country.
Speaking in light of the arrest of University of Zambia Students' Union (UNZASU) president Ali Tunkara and two other students for forgery, uttering and attempted theft of KR50,000, Hambwezya said he was saddened by the development.
"I am trembling with shame to see UNZASU president being dragged to court over alleged criminal activities. UNZA is known for fighting for justice. Since it was formed it has championed good causes," Hambwezya said.
"I humbly request the University of Zambia authorities and government wings involved to sort out the matter administratively especially that the money was not stolen because their future will be in tartars."
Hambwezya said it was important for UNZASU leaders to run the union in a mature enough manner and not embarrass those that once led it.
"I ran that institution at a critical time during the third term debate of the late president Frecerick Chiluba… We organised demonstrations, collaborated with Civil society organisations and together we brought to a halt that attempt to abrogate Constitution of the land. So UNZASU is known for such things not illegality. Can the President (Michael Sata) pardon these guys," said Hambwezya.
The Drug Enforcement Commission arrested Tunkara and two other students for forgery, uttering of false documents and attempted theft involving K50 million (KR50,000).
Tunkara, 25, of 22/11 Emmasdale Lusaka, was arrested and jointly charged with Augustine Mukuka, 24, of Chilanga and Philip Siame, 24, of 7876/2 Woodlands Extension, Lusaka.
It is alleged that Tunkara whilst acting jointly with Mukuka and Siame, both students at UNZA, between December 1, 2012 and January 31, 2013, did forge the signature of the deputy Dean of Students, purporting that he had authored an introductory letter to a named bank to enable them open a bank account for the union and deposit a cheque of K50,000,000, donated to the student union by Munali PF member of parliament Nkandu Luo through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).
Tunkara has meanwhile pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Labels: ALI TUNKARA, KELVIN HAMBWEZYA, STUDENTS, UNIONS, UNSAZU
Kaingu defends Dora's 'finger'
By Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 22 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
MICHAEL Kaingu says there is nothing wrong with a person raising a middle finger against another.
Kaingu who is MMD vice-president for politics and Mwandi member of parliament, said in an interview that Dora Siliya should be left alone to do her good works because debates on what punishment should be meted on her for raising her middle finger in Parliament last Friday is completely irrelevant to the Zambian culture.
He said there is nothing insulting about what the Petauke member of parliament did by raising her middle finger against those who remained in Parliament to debate a motion on the lifting of former president Rupiah Banda's immunity.
"Whether people like it or not, I am grounded in cultures. I have studied the Bemba cultures because they are many. There are Bisas, and all other tribes in that region. I have studied the Ngonis. There is
nothing insulting about raising a middle finger. They should just let Siliya continue with her good work," said Kaingu, whose daughter Iris, was found guilty and convicted for producing obscene material that corrupt morals.
"Even if that (Dora's action) is on video, what does the raising of a middle finger mean? Part of my PhD study is on culture, there is no culture in Zambia that uses that as an insult… 73 cultures in Zambia have nothing on record that shows that actually the raising of the middle finger is an insult."
He defended Siliya, describing her action as just a mere mocking expressing.
"Even if you are talking about globalisation, that we are living in today…that expression is not an insult per say. It is a mocking sign. Otherwise who can explain to you what it really means? Well people may come up with their own translations but it's no different from any other expression such as the PF's fist. It does not mean one is threatening violence, when they raise it; it is just a way to mock a person. UNIP has a slogan where they raise two fingers, does that mean an insult? It just means they are teasing those that are not UNIP. Somebody else could translate that to mean peace," Kaingu explained.
"…Its not an insult that is what I am saying. It could be offensive just as a fist is or Karate Chop which is the symbol of the UPND. Maybe a person who must be offended is an Italian because they know what it really means. It is a perception. We must be mindful how we mainstream other people's cultures in our cultures."
He said Zambians should learn to interact and express themselves freely.
"Let us learn to interact. We are so tensed up in this country," said Kaingu.
Parliamentary chief whip Yamfwa Mukanga on Tuesday said Parliament would definitely have to deal with the issue of Siliya's insulting gesture in the House.
And home affairs deputy minister Steven Kampyongo described Siliya as morally bankrupt, while some youth have called for Siliya's expulsion from Parliament.
Labels: DORA SILIYA, INSULTS, MICHAEL KAINGU, MMD
Two more PM staffers arrested, spokesman
by Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office said Thursday police had arrested two more members of his staff, bringing to six the number detained since Sunday.
In a statement, Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said: “Police have arrested two more members of staff from the Prime Minister’s Communications Office, caretakers, Spiwe Vera and Elizabeth Banda.
“This brings to six the number of staff members from the Office of the Prime Minister arrested inside five days. Lawyers have been dispatched to Harare Central Police Station to attend to them.
Four party officials were arrested Sunday, along with prominent rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa who was trying to represent them during police searches of their offices and homes.
The four top officials are accused of compiling information on the state’s failure to prosecute cases of high level corruption.
Tamborinyoka said the premier considered the “attack on his Office as an affront to democracy and to the rule of law.”
“It is an attack not only on the members of staff but also on the institution of the Office of the Prime Minister,” he said.
“The Prime Minister appraised the SADC Facilitation Team on Wednesday night of the deteriorating situation as we begin preparations for the elections.
“However the Prime Minister is aware that these are unnecessary distractions that will dismally fail to divert our attention from the democratic agenda of delivering a new Zimbabwe.”
Labels: BEATRICE MTETWA, MDC, MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
Responsibility for political violence
By The Post
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
Leaders should take full responsibility for the political violence we have been witnessing in the nation, especially during by-elections. And in the final analysis, as home affairs deputy minister Steven Kampyongo has correctly observed, it is the leaders who will be made responsible for this violence.
Kampyongo's advice to our political leaders not to run away from their responsibility of ensuring peace as they are the ones that are taken to The Hague, and not the perpetrators of crime on the ground, seems to be timely and needs to be heed.
It is true that "most of the times, the people who go to the International Criminal Court of justice in The Hague are leaders and not the main culprits on the ground".
This is so because if our political leaders did everything possible to stop political violence, we would not be witnessing the violence we see at almost every highly contested by-election.
It may be easy for our leaders to escape responsibility for the results of the political violence they command in our jurisdiction. But this may not be the case when it comes to the International Criminal Court. In our situation, it requires evidence of the leaders being directly and physically involved in the violence for them to be nailed to the cross. It is very rare that a political leader is found with a machete, knife or panga in his hands. They engage in violence through directly or indirectly commanding their cadres and others to do so.
They themselves will be safe somewhere at some command post. And when the police pick up those involved in the violence, the leaders are usually not there. This is why when there is violence, they never condemn the violence of their own cadres or supporters because it is them who send them to engage in violence. Only those who are not involved in encouraging or perpetrating political violence can condemn the violent actions of their own cadres.
But there is a limit to how far our political leaders can evade responsibility for the violent actions they command their cadres and supporters to engage in. One day, they will cross the line. When one engages in violence, one cannot know with certainty how far that violence will go. What may seem to be a small isolated by-election violence by a limited number of cadres may turn into a massacre of so many people. And at this point, the leaders may have to be smoked out of their command posts to come and answer for the crime they encouraged or condoned. This is what takes some of our politicians to The Hague. This is what Kampyongo is talking about.
Where our jurisdictions fail to arrest and prosecute the political leaders behind political violence, the International Criminal Court of Justice comes in. And this is how Kenyan President-elect Uhuru Kenyatta and his associates have found themselves at The Hague. Uhuru was not found with pangas, machetes, stones or guns ready to be unleashed on his opponents. But he was found to have had complicity in the violence that took place.
This political violence we witness every so often is as a result of political leadership failure in some of our political parties. Good political leadership cannot tolerate or encourage in any way the violence that we witness at most of our by-elections. Good leaders would not send or encourage their cadres or supporters to go and physically harm or kill their political opponents.
But investigations could easily reveal that we have political leaders in this country who are encouraging violence. We have seen this in Mufumbwe in more than one by-election. We have seen this in the Livingstone by-elections. Human life has been lost in the political violence that accompanied these by-elections. The cadres who were involved in this violence come from political parties. It is a fact. And the leadership of these political parties knows very well which of their cadres were involved in this violence. It is also a fact that it is the political leadership that ferries some of these violent cadres to areas of by-election campaigns. Some of them even ask for re-enforcements of violent cadres from Lusaka when the by-elections are elsewhere.
It is clear that some of these cadres are violent because the political leadership has foisted it upon them; they are rewarded for being violent, for engaging in violence, for being physically and otherwise tough with their political competitors. And this is why they are ferried from one by-election to another. They are taken to every by-election in the country. If political violence is not rewarded by anyone, it would have ceased a long time ago. We witness violence because there are people who reward it, who pay for it. And it is not the cadres who pay for this violence. It is the leaders who pay for it. If this is so, why should the political leadership escape responsibility for the maiming and deaths we have witnessed in by-election campaigns?
In our view, the political leadership should be the first one to account for this violence.
No good political leader should support anything that physically injures or maims a human being, regardless of where that human being politically belongs. No good leader should support the killing of any human being just to win some votes.
We should never support anything that brings about hatred, injuries or death. We should never support anything that brings about hostilities between any groups of people in our country, or indeed on earth. We believe that God's people were created to work together. And as Dr Kenneth Kaunda once observed, "One might say this is idealism. I don't accept that. This is idealism combined with realism. So long as different factions of people are fighting, they displease God. So long as there are differences between men, this does not make God happy. And I believe, those of us who believe in the holy creation must come out at all times clearly without fear of others to speak in terms of human relations. Let us not fail to do this. Otherwise there is total destruction for mankind as a whole." And he adds: "Selfishness and, in some cases, complete lack of understanding of our responsibilities and obligations - both as leaders and followers have bedeviled our efforts to build greater unity among Zambians. Parochialism among certain sections of our community has been on the increase and has tended to throw dust into the eyes of our leaders and followers alike."
You cannot build a united nation on the basis of violence. Those who want to win elections - national elections - have to mobilise the whole country and they can't do that with violence. If you attack one group in one area, there is a likelihood that you will also be attacked in another area. Where will this end? What are the consequences of all this? Violence never unites people, it divides people and almost always breeds counter-violence. Those who resort to violence are not very different from animals. Violence is something that puts its perpetrators next to animals.
At the rate we are going, some of our political leaders may soon find themselves at The Hague for fanning political violence and even encouraging ethnic hostilities that may lead to violence. Today they may think they are smart and nobody knows what they are doing. But tomorrow, what is being done under the cover of darkness will come to light. The political arena is not a battlefield where people should stand to lose their lives or be maimed for life. There is need for us as a nation to start fixing responsibility for political violence to the political leadership. It is them who start it and it is them who should end it. If we want to end political violence, we have to deal with it at the leadership level. There is a Chinese proverb which says that "to defeat an army, you must capture the leader".
Labels: POLITICAL VIOLENCE, STEVEN KAMPYONGO
Tonga chief counsels HH
By Roy Habaalu
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
CHIEF Sinazongwe says Hakainde Hichilema's tribal sentiment can divide the country. Commenting on Hichilema's statement that those who think their tribes were superior to others were fools, chief Sinazongwe of the Tonga people of the valley said leaders should preach peace and unity and not segregation among its citizens.
He said all human beings were equal and that no tribe was foolish or superior to others.
"Tribalism won't take us anywhere. We (Tongas) can't form a government out of one (Southern) province; this is what you should understand. We can't form a government under one province unless you are supported by many provinces that consist of many tribes but if we start segregating, there is no way we can find support from our brothers and sisters," he said.
"If we continue segregating, talking about tribalism, we will never rule. Let's network with others just like we shouldn't let others feel that they own this country. Government is for everybody. This is our government. This must be realised that segregation won't help us. If you just concentrate on Southern Province, you won't rule. Why are we leaving the national cake to others? Let's be with them and work together."
Chief Sinazongwe said all those that had accepted government appointments were doing it in the interest of the nation and for the good of the people.
He said Hichilema should have accepted to serve under President Michael Sata so that he learns and understands how the government operates.
Chief Sinazongwe said Zambia was not a personal to holder asset for any particular tribe or individual.
On Sunday, Hichilema said those who consider their tribes more superior than others were fools.
During a briefing in Lusaka, Hichilema said those that saw their tribes superior to others were simply fools because it was God who created everyone.
We should not demonise each other on the basis of choices we never made. No one chose to be born in a particular area, he said without disclosing the tribes that consider themselves superior to others.
Labels: CHIEF SINAZONGWE, HAKAINDE HICHILEMA, SOUTHERN PROVINCE, TRIBALISM, UPND
Thornton urges sharing of tax info to curb evasion
By Kabanda Chulu
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
BRITISH High Commissioner to Zambia James Thornton says there is need to improve the exchange of tax information between different countries so that multinational companies stop playing 'cat and mouse' with revenue authorities.
And High Commissioner Thornton has advised government and opposition parties to be tolerant of each other and uphold the highest standards in politics, human rights and fundamental freedoms if Zambia is to continue receiving foreign investments.
Outlining Britain's priorities for its presidency of the Group of Eight (G8) of world leading economies in Lusaka on Tuesday, High Commissioner Thornton said his country would focus on three key areas of tax, trade and transparency aimed at benefitting Africa.
He said there was need for a serious debate on tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance being carried out by multinational companies.
"This is a problem that affects both the developed and developing worlds. We want to look at how to better exchange tax information between different countries so that these big companies stop playing cat and mouse with revenue authorities," High Commissioner Thornton said.
"Here in Zambia, effective taxation will be critical if the nation's riches are to fully benefit its people. Zambia is endowed with abundant natural resources and DFID (British aid organisation) is looking at ways in which it can support the Zambia Revenue Authority."
On trade, High Commissioner Thornton said one problem with trying to buy and sell goods abroad was the sheer amount of paperwork involved in doing so.
"We want to use the World Trade Organisation's ministerial meeting this December to help resuscitate the Doha round and secure agreement to get rid of this bureaucracy because such a deal alone can be worth US$70 billion to the global economy and help trade flow freely across the world," he said.
"We also want to use the G8 to unblock trade corridors across Africa and reduce transport costs that slow down the movement of goods. As a landlocked country, Zambia is also a transit hub for the region and we shall support more programmes to boost regional trade and integration."
On transparency, High Commissioner Thornton said there was need to raise global standards so that more information should be available on land deals or mining contracts in order to ensure that citizens benefit from their countries' resources.
"In the G8, we will look at how we can make all government data more open and transparent and how we can use new technology to make it accessible to citizens so that information is published on the internet and we can all see how much governments are being paid for the natural resources and how much money is invested in the economy. For Zambia, enacting the freedom of information Bill is critical and we hope Parliament will table the matter in the next session," he said.
He said when seeking to invest, businesses look at a wider picture including politics, human rights and fundamental freedoms such as freedom of association and assembly.
"We call on all in Zambia -government, opposition and civil society - to uphold highest standards in these areas of freedoms. All have a right to express themselves and to congregate peacefully but all should recognise that others have that right too," said High Commissioner Thornton.
Labels: JAMES THORNTON, TAX EVASION, TAXATION
Africa, Asia trade corridors to boost Zambia's economy - Melu
By Henry Sinyangwe
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT
MIZINGA Melu says the growing trade corridors between Africa and Asia will further boost Zambia's economy. During the 'Over the counter Bankassurance launch' with African Life Assurance on Tuesday evening, Melu said the bank was adapting to the change in the growth of Zambia's economy. She said she expected the Zambia economy to continue growing at over 7 per cent.
"Zambia's economy has been growing faster over the last five years than at any time in history. And Standard Chartered, as a global company operating in Zambia, is adapting to this change. In fact, adapting to change and to our customers' changing requirements, is something we have been doing successfully in Zambia for 107 years," Melu said.
She said responding to customers' local requirements and local conditions was a hallmark of the bank in Zambia.
Melu said the bank remained unique in its presence and capabilities across its customer segments.
"By meeting our customers' current business requirements and working to meet their future requirements, our strategy has been focused on growing our networks and deepening our relationships," Melu said.
She said the bank was targeting to increase insurance penetration to 10,000 customers in the next five years.
"We started with 199 customers in 2009, to a staggering number of 3,400 in 2012. We hope to increase insurance penetration to 10,000 more bankassurance customers through our ever expanding branch network of 24 outlets," Melu said.
She said the introduction of insurance policies had solidified the bank's standing as a 'one-stop shop' for financial solutions.
Melu said the partnership between the bank and African Life Assurance underscored the value and benefits that customers stood to realize from the blend of expertise and synergy.
And African Life Assurance managing director Gary Corbit said his organisation which currently had 700 young employees aimed to expand to all districts of the country.
Corbit said African Life Assurance would aim to continue providing best services.
Labels: MIZINGA MELU, TRADE
Govt dismisses Banda's persecution claims
By Mwala Kalaluka
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
THE government says former president Rupiah Banda will be prosecuted and not persecuted for the wrongs he is suspected to have committed while in office.
Reacting to complaints by Banda following over four hours of questioning on corruption and money laundering-related allegations, chief government spokesperson Kennedy Sakeni stated in a press release yesterday that the alleged wrongs against Banda had been clearly itemised for his response.
"It is unfair for former Republican president Mr Rupiah Banda to accuse government of persecuting him through the ongoing investigations into his alleged wrongdoing while in office," Sakeni stated.
"Mr Banda, like any other citizen, in his situation, is enjoying his full human rights and freedoms such as legal
representation, including the assumption that he is innocent until proven guilty, as per law established."
He stated that further and beyond this, as former Head of State, Banda was still enjoying all other privileges such as state security that go with the status of his office.
"So, what persecution is Mr Banda complaining about? We challenge him to point out any injustice or violation of his human rights that he has suffered during the ongoing investigations," he stated.
"But this country is governed by the rule of law. There are no sacred cows. Whoever is suspected to have done something wrong is called to account for their actions in accordance with the law. The people of Zambia have done just that: to ask their former Head of State to account for his actions in the manner he presided over their resources while he was in office."
Sakeni explained that the law was very clear in its provision on the removal of a former president's immunity when there is suspicion of wrongdoing so that they can exonerate themselves.
"When he addressed his supporters on Monday after appearing before the Joint Investigative Team, Mr Banda is on record as urging sympathisers to remain calm as the investigations would provide him a chance to answer to the various allegations leveled against him," he stated further.
"What has suddenly changed that Mr Banda should now say he is being persecuted over the same process he had earlier welcomed as an opportunity to clear himself over the allegations?"
Sakeni indicated that the Patriotic Front was a responsible government with a duty to ensure public resources benefit Zambians.
Labels: CORRUPTION, KENNEDY SAKENI, RUPIAH BANDA
Rupiah wants immunity back
By Namatama Mundia and Moses Kuwema
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
FORMER president Rupiah Banda has asked the Lusaka High Court to quash Speaker Dr Patrick Matibini's decision to proceed to deliberate a motion, which led to the lifting of his immunity because it was illegal and irregular.
And Banda's son, Andrew, says Zambians will be the ultimate judges on the matters surrounding his father.
According to originating notice of motion for an order of centiorari pursuant to the provisions of order 52 of the Rules of the Supreme Court filed in court on Tuesday, Banda has cited Attorney General Mumba Malila as respondent in the matter where he is challenging Speaker Dr Matibini's ruling of March 15, 2013 that it was in order for the motion to be laid before the National Assembly notwithstanding that its legality was being challenged in the High Court.
Banda, through his lawyers Shamwana and Company, Prof Patrick Mvunga, Eric Silwamba and Sakwiba Sikota has stated on the ground of procedural impropriety, that the decision of the National Assembly of Zambia to proceed and to remove his immunity on a simple majority of 80 out of a total of 158 members of parliament was illegal and irregular.
He wants an order of centiorari to remove into court for the purpose of quashing the decision of the National Assembly, by modus operandi of a resolution purporting to lift his immunity.
Banda has also stated that the decision of the National Assembly to deny him an opportunity to be heard and adopt a summary procedure prior to resolving that he was amenable to the jurisdiction of any criminal court was contrary to the principal of the audi alteram partem was therefore illegal and irregular.
He added that the decision to move the motion without due and proper inquiry as to whether the allegations presented as grounds constituted acts performed in his personal or office capacity was illegal and irregular.
On illegality/excess of jurisdiction, Banda stated that the decision by the National Assembly to resolve that he may be charged with any criminal offence or be amenable to the criminal jurisdiction of any court, in respect of any act done or omitted to be done by him regardless of whether such offence or allegations was included in the catalogue of offences or allegations presented by justice minister Wynter Kabimba in his speech as grounds to move the motion was illegal and in excess of the jurisdiction of the House.
He stated that it was unreasonable for Speaker Matibini to proceed with the motion notwithstanding that a petition challenging the state's intention to lift his immunity had been filed at the High Court and therefore subjudice.
Banda wants an order for costs and that all necessary and consequential directions be given.
The matter has been allocated to judge Anne Sitali.
And in an interview at The Post offices, Andrew said the inner feelings of the majority of Zambians regarding the happenings on his father were unknown.
"The ultimate judges of what goes on are the Zambians themselves. We don't know the inner feelings of the majority Zambians. My advice to the government as this goes on, please let them deliver on their promises, the country is on its knees for development," said Andrew who was reluctant to comment about the removal of his father's immunity.
Andrew said Zambians must be united now than ever before.
"There are people that are for and there are people that are against. So let the due process of the law take its course on the big man's issues," he said.
And in defending St Ignatius Catholic Church priest Fr Charles Chilinda's description of members of parliament who supported the removal of his father's immunity, as not having clean hands, Andrew said Col Panji Kaunda who has since written a letter to the Catholic priest asking him to report people without clean hands to law enforcement agencies, must be fair to the Banda family.
He said Fr Chilinda was free to express his opinion on any national issue.
"That's his personal opinion. There could be many other people out there who do not have platforms like Fr Chilinda has. Let other people express themselves freely. I am not speaking on behalf of my family, I am speaking as Andrew. Col Panji must be fair to this Banda family. He is entitled to his opinion about everything but there have been some family ties from a long time ago. It is this same Rupiah Banda, when Dr Kenneth Kaunda was voted out of office, who stood by the old man right up to the end. You know when you lose power, people run away from you. We have been in touch, the children, the grandchildren when the Kaunda family had some of their children displaced, some of my brothers looked after Col Panji's children in London when he was embattled. Our families have looked after each other well," Andrew said.
Andrew said it was also not fair for Col Panji to say he could walk with his head high.
"Who cannot walk with his head high? I am in court but I can walk with my head high. I don't know of any Banda family member who is walking with his head down. The fact that we have been close as members of the two families, he cannot claim to be clean. He cannot be holier than thou. He was the son of the president and ran some of the most lavish businesses. He had Lupenga airlines, what happened to that? He does not have a background where he worked, he just came from the army so to start questioning where his wealth came from, I think it will be unfair either, those are the privileges that he had and he went bankrupt. Even the issue of his bankruptcy, it is still an issue in this country. Somebody who is bankrupt cannot be appointed to a higher office of minister. In short what I am saying is that people who live in glass houses must not throw stones at others," said Andrew.
Labels: LEGAL IMMUNITY, RUPIAH BANDA
Opposition working with millers to undermine govt - Musenge
By Abigail Chaponda and Misheck Wangwe
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
COPPERBELT minister Mwenya Musenge says the shortage of 25 kilogramme bags of breakfast mealie-meal in most parts of the country could be a political ploy by some millers and opposition political parties working together to undermine the government.
And Musenge says he is disappointed with some police officers especially those manning road blocks and border posts for allowing smuggling of mealie-meal.
During a tour at Roan Antelope Milling on Tuesday, Musenge said possibilities of some partisan individuals playing tricks to paint a picture that the government was not working, could not be ruled out.
He said there were individuals wanting to undermine the government to gain political mileage.
"As far as we are concerned, milling companies are producing mealie-meal and the country has enough. The question is: where it is going? There is a puzzle that needs to be undone. There is something seriously wrong and we are making headways on these issues," Musenge said.
"These people think we don't know, we are aware of their plans. Some opposition political parties and some millers and some foreigners have come on board as well and are working together. They want to buy out mealie-meal in the Copperbelt because it is a strategically strong political province to make an impression that the government has failed so that they can vote the PF government out of power. Dr Kenneth Kaunda was removed from power because of the mealie-meal crisis and this is what these people are planning."
He said he had visited all the milling companies on the Copperbelt and found that there was plenty of mealie-meal and that he did not understand how the country could be experiencing shortages when the commodity was available in the country.
And Musenge said he was aware that some men in uniform were receiving kickbacks and conniving with some milling companies to allow them smuggle mealie-meal out of the country.
"We are also investigating police officers especially those manning road blocks and border posts. They are corrupt because they are receiving bribes and allowing the smuggling of mealie-meal. These people are not patriotic and once they are caught, they will be dealt with severely," he said.
Musenge said police officers should love their country more than anything easy because allowing smuggling of the staple food meant that they were killing the nation.
He said if police officers had failed to perform their duties, PF had patriotic members who were more than willing to perform their duties by intercepting smugglers.
"PF has patriotic members who are more than willing to work for their government, President and party to correct the situation. If police officers don't want to work, PF members can work. It is unacceptable for a country to run out of mealie-meal when millers are producing enough for the country and exports," said Musenge.
And Antelope chief executive officer Emmanuel Efstahiou confirmed that some millers were loading mealie-meal at night and exporting to other countries.
"It is true that mealie-meal moves at night when others are not watching. The government should do something about this situation because this is what is causing the shortages," said Efstahiou.
On Monday, Jamas Milling managing director John Coutlis blamed the current shortage of mealie meal on weak monitoring mechanisms by law enforcement agencies.
Coutlis accused law enforcement agencies of allowing rampant smuggling of mealie meal to neighbouring countries.
Meanwhile, police on the Copperbelt have impounded over 600 bags of mealie-meal at Kasumbalesa border destined for the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Police officers deployed at Kasumbalesa have also impounded about 10 trucks laden with mealie-meal and maize.
Police sources yesterday disclosed that the Copperbelt command had deployed over 150 officers to curb smuggling which had caused shortages of mealie-meal in most towns in the province.
"The operation at Kasumbalesa border started on Tuesday and it will go on for some time because we want to end this smuggling problem. It is an open secret that the border is porous and these traders and millers have taken advantage of that and they have been transporting the commodity in huge quantities. It is shocking to see bulks of mealie-meal that illegally enter Congo and these traders are saying it's because of huge demand and good prices in that country. One bag in Congo DR costs over KR100," a police source said.
The sources said police had sealed off the border to end smuggling as the issue of mealie-meal had become sensitive.
The source said many millers had agents and secret depots at the border selling the commodity for them.
Labels: MILLERS, MMD, MWENYA MUSENGE, UPND
Chiefs elect Nkomeshya leader of their House
By Joseph Mwenda
Thu 21 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT
CHIEFTAINESS Nkomeshya Mukamambo II of the Soli people of Chongwe has become the first female to head the House of Chiefs in its 49 years of existence.
And chieftainess Nkomeshya has called on land stakeholders to help review the Lands Act of Zambia in ensuring its equal distribution.
Speaking during the Chiefs Indaba held at Fairview hotel in Lusaka yesterday, chieftainess Nkomeshya called for the support of other traditional leaders in balancing rural-urban land development.
"The House of Chiefs has been standing for 49 years. There has never been a female holding that position of a chairperson. I thank the members of the House and I am grateful to my God. It poses a lot of challenges. It is not about being a chairperson of the House of Chiefs, my responsibility now
covers the entire chieftaincy of the country comprising 286 chiefs, they are my responsibility. I need to hear from them as I also need to be supported. We need to work together with all stakeholders in rural and urban areas," she said.
Chieftainess Nkomeshya highlighted the need for equal distribution of land.
"We need to sit down and come up with a position that will help this country on how our land will be equally distributed and a further explanation of issues pertaining to land under customary tenure," said chieftainess Nkomeshya.
"For example, if consent has been given for land under customary tenure, what does it mean? If a person has failed to utilize it to the satisfaction of the Commissioner of Lands who has the power to reposes, where does it go? Does it revert back to its original jurisdiction? Those things need explanations. We need time to scrutinize these issues."
And Commissioner of Lands Barnaby Mulenga said issues of land needed serious discussion now that the country is in the process of amending its Constitution.
"…94 percent of land in Zambia falls under customary tenure, while only six per cent is State land under leasehold tenure. This is very important to discuss now when we are coming up with a new constitution and the fact that it has made provisions specifically talking about customary and State land… There is a difference between customary land and customary tenure. There are certain portions of customary land that have been converted from customary tenure to leasehold tenure. That is changing the conditions upon which you are holding the land but it does not change the categorization as somebody sitting on customary land," Mulenga said.
He said there was no law in the Country that allowed a change of land from customary to state ownership.
"What is there is to convert the conditions upon which you are holding it in order to get a title, but the land does not change to fall under State Land," said Mulenga, adding that some game management areas, schools, clinics and forest reserves are still sitting on customary land.
Lands minister Wybur Simuusa said the challenges relating to customary land led to a drawback in the country's economy development efforts.
"We acknowledge the fact that customary land which is not on formal title prevented the occupants from using it as security for accessing formal credit financing," said Simuusa.
Labels: CHIEFS, CHIEFTAINESS NKOMESHYA
False Flags, Fake Media Reporting, Deceiving the Public: Social Engineering and the 21st Century “Truth Emergency”
By James F. Tracy
Global Research, March 19, 2013
On March 9, 1995 Edward Bernays died at the age of 103. His professional endeavors involved seeking to change popular attitudes and behavior by fundamentally altering social reality. Since he laid the modern groundwork for deceiving the public we are for better or worse living out his legacy today.
Several years ago Project Censored directors Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff identified and explained the “truth emergency” that is among the greatest threats to civil society and human existence. This crisis is manifest in flawed (or non-existent) investigations into 9/11 and other potential false flag events, fraudulent elections, and illegal wars vis-à-vis a corporate-controlled news media that fail to adequately inform the public on such matters. While neglecting or obscuring inquiry into such events and phenomena major media disparage independent and often uncredentialed researchers as “conspiracy theorists” or, more revealingly, “truthers.”
The truth emergency continues today, and social engineers like Bernays long understood the significance of undermining the use of reason, for it is only through reason that truth may be determined and evaluated. To be sure, individuals and institutions that have successfully achieved legitimacy in the public mind are recognized as having a monopoly on the capacity to reason and are thus perceived as the foremost bearers of truth and knowledge. Through the endorsement of “experts”—figures perceived as authoritative in their field—the public could easily be persuaded on anything from tobacco use and water fluoridation to military intervention abroad.
Today reason is defined one dimensionally; its relationship to truth largely taken-for-granted. Yet as Leibniz observed, reason marks our humanity, suggesting a portion of the soul capable of a priori recognition of truth. With this in mind the modern individual in the mass has been rendered at least partially soulless through her everyday deferral to the powerfully persuasive notion and representation of expertise. However narrowly focused, under the guise of objectivity the institutionally-affiliated journalist, academic, bureaucrat, and corporate spokesperson have become the portals of reason through which the public is summoned to observe “truth.”
These agents of reason are largely bereft of emotion, moderate in temperament, and speak or write in an unsurprisingly formulaic tone. The narratives they relate and play out present tragedy with the expectation of certain closure. And with a century of commercial media programming the mass mind has come to not only accept but anticipate such regulation and control under the regime of institutionally-sanctioned expertise.
The selection and arrangement of experts by corporate media guarantees a continued monopoly on “truth,” particularly when presented to an uninquisitive and politically dormant public. Yet this phenomenon extends to ostensibly more trustworthy media outlets such as public broadcasting, where a heightened utilization of credentialed expertise is required to ensure the consensus of those who perceive themselves as more refined than the Average Joe.
This preservation of what passes for reason and truth cannot be sustained without a frequent dialectical struggle with unreason and falsity. Since many individuals have unconsciously placed their genuine reasoning faculties in abeyance and often lack a valid knowledge of politics and history, their unspoken faith in government and the broader political economy to protect and further their interests is groundless. Against this milieu those genuinely capable of utilizing their reasoning capacities in the pursuit of truth are often held up as heretical for their failure to accept what is presented as reality, with the requisite “conspiracy theory” label wielded in Orwellian fashion to denote such abnormal intellectual activity.
Lacking the autonomous use of reason to recognize truth, form often trumps substance. For example, a seemingly obscure news website with unconventional graphics or an emotional news presenter purporting to discuss the day’s affairs is typically perceived as untrustworthy and illegitimate by a public conditioned to accept forms of news and information where objectivity and professionalism often camouflage disinformation.
In 2013 the truth emergency is greater than ever, and in the era of seemingly never-ending pseudo-events and Potemkin villages presented by major media as the reality with which we must contend, the application of independent reason in pursuit of truth has all too frequently been replaced with an unthinking obeisance toward the smokescreen of expertise disguising corporate power and control.
 Peter Phillips and Mickey Huff, “Truth Emergency and Media Reform,” Daily Censored, March 31, 2009.
 “Edward Bernays, ‘Father of Public Relations’ and Leader in Opinion Making, Dies at 103,” New York Times, March 10, 1995.
Articles by: James F. Tracy
About the author:
James Tracy's work on media history, politics and culture has appeared in a wide variety of academic journals, edited volumes, and alternative news and opinion outlets. Tracy is editor of Union for Democratic Communication’s journal Democratic Communiqué and a contributor to Project Censored’s latest book, Censored 2013: The Top Censored Stories and Media Analysis of 2011-2012. Additional writings and information are accessible at memoryholeblog.com.
Labels: EDWARD BERNAYS, NEOCOLONIALISM, PROPAGANDA
Government to gazette Draft Constitution following landslide “Yes” vote
Wednesday, 20 March 2013 08:59
The Government is now expected to gazette the Draft Constitution after more than 3 million Zimbabweans voted in favour of the proposed new supreme law during last Saturday’s referendum.
The document will be presented to Parliament 30 days after gazetting. A two-thirds majority should endorse the Draft for it to be presented to the President for assent.
Announcing the referendum result at the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission command centre in Harare on Tuesday, Chief Elections Officer Mr Lovemore Sekeramayi said 3 079 966 people voted “Yes” while 179 489 voted against the Draft.
Also speaking at the command centre, Zec chairperson Justice Rita Makarau said: “The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has now completed the collation process of the referendum result. Allow me on behalf of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to thank and congratulate the people of Zimbabwe for the demonstration of maturity shown during the conduct of the referendum, which was a peaceful process throughout.
“Also allow me to thank all observers and observer missions who took time to observe the process and have given insights into our readiness and capabilities for the anticipated general elections later in the year.
“I also wish to congratulate the constitutional parliamentary committee (Copac) for the work carried out in coming up with a Draft Constitution which was the subject of this referendum.”
Labels: CONSTITUTION, COPAC
Tsvangirai on ‘Yes’ vote landslide
by Morgan Tsvangirai
Zimbabwe’s draft constitution which was supported by the three main parties in the ruling coalition gained 95 percent support in a public referendum held on March 16, according to results released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission on March 19.
MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai gives his reaction:
The people of Zimbabwe have overwhelmingly voted for a new Constitution, endorsing a new dispensation and a new value system that sets in motion a new and democratic paradigm for the country.
From the Zambezi to the Limpopo, millions voted for a new era that respects human dignity; an era that will see the broadening of basic human rights, the empowerment of women and the setting of term limits for the President and heads of other public bodies.
From today, we have ushered in a new Zimbabwe that must necessarily come with a new culture of Constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law. This means inculcating a new value system among Zimbabweans, especially politicians and the security sector, to respect and adhere to the Constitution and stick to the cardinal dictate that no one is above the law.
Today, we witness the culmination of our struggle for a new dispensation for which a new, democratic Constitution is a key milestone.
Today, we celebrate this landmark achievement after many years of tears, sweat and blood, which has punctuated our experience since we started the democratic struggle through the Constitutional movement which we began in 1997.
Thus, the new Constitution is a baby of the democratic struggle in Zimbabwe.
Because this Constitution is our baby, owned collectively by the people of Zimbabwe, any act of impunity or violation of the provisions of this charter would be an act of infanticide and will not condoned or tolerated.
Zimbabweans, especially the government and state institutions, face the sternest test of sincerity because we have adopted this Constitution on the eve of an election.
Our conduct in the next election must show that we truly believe in Constitutionalism. This will be demonstrated by the way we adhere strictly to the letter and spirit of the new charter. It can only be a new, progressive and democratic charter to the extent that we comply with it and chart the new era of respect for human dignity and human rights that it enshrines.
As we look at events around us, let us not despair because in any transformation process, especially towards the end, there are always going to be events deliberately designed to stifle change and to distract us from the key goal.
We must remain steadfast and focussed despite these attempts to divert our attention from our democratic agenda.
I urge all Zimbabweans to remain resolute and determined in our march towards total transformation. Change is certain and inevitable.
Today, we have endorsed a new contract which spells out how we want to be governed.
Today, we have ushered in a new value system which poises our country for the many great opportunities that lie ahead.
Today, we have put in place the foundation for a new Zimbabwe.
Yes, we must congratulate ourselves for this achievement.
The major lesson as we put into effect this new Constitution is that indeed, a new Zimbabwe is possible well within our lifetime.
Labels: MORGAN TSVANGIRAI
95 percent Zimbabweans approve new constitution
ALMOST 95 percent of Zimbabweans voted in favour of a new constitution that paves the way for new elections, results showed Tuesday.
Tallies released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) reported 3,079,966 voters were in favour of the new constitution and 179,489 were against. A total of 56,627 votes were spoilt. The official turnout of 3,317,695, which is well more than half the 5,6 million eligible voters, was higher than many analysts had expected.
The voter turnout easily dwarfs the 1,282,302 votes cast in the 2000 referendum when Zimbabweans rejected a draft constitution sponsored by President Robert Mugabe’s government and opposed by trade unionists and rights groups.
The turnout is also higher than the 2,696,670 who voted in the 2005 general elections, the 2,421,973 who cast their ballots in the March 2008 general elections and the 2,514,750 who voted in the June 27, 2008, presidential election run-off.
The new constitution sets a maximum of two five-year terms for the president. However, the limit will not apply retroactively, so Mugabe, 89, and in power since independence from Britain in 1980, could rule for the next decade.
Presidential decrees will also require majority backing in the cabinet, and declaring emergency rule or dissolving parliament will need the approval of two-thirds of lawmakers, changes that will take effect after the next election.
A new constitution and a referendum were conditions of a 2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two rival MDC factions led by Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube.
The constitution will now be rushed through Parliament and then be delivered to President Mugabe’s desk for assent before it becomes the supreme law.
Mugabe is expected to announce dates for the general elections shortly afterwards.
Labels: CONSTITUTION, COPAC
MDC-T's dossier of shame
Sunday, 17 March 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter
The MDC-T dossier alleging an increase in political violence across the country has crumbled before it has even been put on the agenda of the party’s wishful Sadc summit following revelations that the 37-paged document is just a wishy-washy attempt by the party to hide its electoral shortcomings.
Political observers and diplomats from the region who have gone through the dossier told The Sunday Mail that the document entitled “Violence and Deterioration of the Political Situation,” which is being circulated in the region by the MDC-T’s secretary for international relations, Mr Jameson Timba, is just a futile attempt by the British-sponsored party to attack the process of voting because the party has nothing to offer during the forthcoming harmonised elections.
A Sadc diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons, said officials from his country had gone through the dossier and after checking the facts on the ground from the staff from his office, his government was disappointed with the conduct of the MDC-T.
“Officials from my country called my office last week to check the contents in that document and when we saw the document, we verified the contents with the relevant authorities and we discovered that there are lots of exaggerations, inaccuracies, and misrepresentations and, in some instances, outright lies about the situation on the ground.
“It’s undiplomatic for us to talk about these issues, but as a country we felt the MDC-T was taking us for granted. We have our own way of checking what is going on in Zimbabwe, that’s why we have an embassy here, but still we saw efforts to deceive our country. As my country’s representative here, I didn’t take it lightly.
“The MDC-T is in Government with Zanu-PF and the other smaller MDC and we thought they would approach issues differently,” said the diplomat, adding that “I don’t see any country in the region taking contents in this document seriously. If the MDC-T wants an extraordinary summit on Zimbabwe, I think they should use better channels.”
Under its Annexure A entitled “Recorded cases of violence and human rights abuses/2013 violations,” the MDC-T cites the January 16 2013 demonstrations against US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Bruce Wharton by a group of Zanu-PF supporters who were demonstrating against the imposition of sanctions as a form of violence and human rights abuse.
The MDC-T even cited the case where about 500 students from the University of Zimbabwe on February 9 protested against the issue of residency as a sign of an increase in political violence.
The party showed its desperation by even citing the alleged defiance by the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Cde Webster Shamu, and his permanent secretary Cde George Charamba to meet PM Tsvangirai as another form of political violence and human rights abuse.
“So the MDC-T has reduced itself to being a defender of the rights of the US ambassador? When Zanu-PF supporters demonstrate against the US ambassador, that suddenly becomes a human rights violation; but when MDC supporters demonstrate, that is described as freedom of expression. The double standards are just stinking.
“And can someone from the MDC-T explain how demonstrations by those students at the UZ can be classified as an increase in political violence. Is this how desperate the MDC-T has become? We thought they had embarrassed themselves enough with the Christpowers Maisiri case,” said a top political scientist from the UZ.
The political scientist said after going through the MDC-T dossier one is left with no option but to conclude that the MDC-T is now clutching at straws as elections are now fast approaching.
“In the dossier the MDC-T is clearly suggesting that court processes in the mentioned cases should be halted because they amount to violence and human rights abuses.
“The MDC-T is saying all demonstrations that are not pro-MDC must be stopped because they amount to violence and all political meetings not called by the MDC-T also amount to violence.
“All investigations and arrests by the police and even court process are now being classified as political violence and human rights violations while traditional powers of chiefs must be suspended as they also amount to political violence and human rights violations.
“On the other hand, NGOs, according to the MDC-T dossier, are sacred while the MDC-T is free to bring in voter clubs, but if members of the armed forces register to vote, this is classified as a human rights violation.
“Some cases that are even before the courts are being cited while even cases where people have been acquitted by the courts are also cited as cases of violence.
“The temptation is to laugh, but then the MDC-T seems to be taking this wishy-washy document serious,” said the political scientist.
Said the political scientist: “The MDC-T has discovered that its JUICE is too bitter and not sweet for any voter to swallow.
“The party has also discovered that its attack on Zanu-PF’s indigenisation programme has boomeranged and so it’s time to take cover under imagined violence.
“As we head towards elections, we surely should budget for this and more laughable attempts to abuse the electoral process.
“We are in the full picture that Timba, who is being pushed out of the PM’s office, thought he could redeem himself and win Tsvangirai’s favour first through the Christpowers case and through this dossier, but then all this clearly justifies the moves to push him out of the PM’s office.”
Political analyst and University of Zimbabwe lecturer Dr Charity Manyeruke said the MDC-T’s actions were a sign of desperation as the party is panicking at the prospect of losing this year’s harmonised elections.
“It’s a clear act of desperation because everyone in the country knows that there are no serious incidents of political violence taking place in this country,” she said.
Dr Manyeruke said the MDC-T’s actions were shameful because the party has resorted to “searching” for acts of violence.
“The question is: do you search for incidents of violence or these acts appear in the open?
“The problem with some political parties is that they go out of their way on a fishing expedition to look for small cases of violence and present them as politically motivated,” she said.
Labels: MDC PROPAGANDA, POLITICAL VIOLENCE
Thousands decide on constitution
Saturday, 16 March 2013 22:03
Sunday Mail Reporters
Thousands of Zimbabweans voted in a peaceful constitutional referendum yesterday with President Mugabe reiterating that all stakeholders were consulted during the crafting of the Draft Constitution.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) could not readily give national statistics by last night, but information gathered countrywide shows that most polling stations recorded high voter turnouts in the morning and towards the close of polls.
A few polling stations opened way after the scheduled 7am owing to the late delivery of voting material, among other reasons. Dual citizenship holders and Zimbabweans below the age of 18 were turned away while no cases of violence were reported.
Three voting centres at Murambinda Growth Point ran out of ballot papers and had to request additional supplies. ZEC chairperson Justice Rita Makarau told journalists in Harare yesterday that vote counting would begin soon after polling stations closed last night.
Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe drew huge voter volumes, prompting ZEC to deploy additional manpower to the busiest polling centres such as Katiyo and Chimhodzi.
More than 1 000 ballots had been cast at Mashambanhaka centre in Uzumba by midday. In the Midlands, Gokwe recorded 16 000 voters and Zhombe 9 769 at the close of voting.
In Mutare, 28 497 people had cast their votes by 6pm. Of this figure, 12 943 were drawn from Mutare Central and the remainder from Chikanga-Dangamvura. In Nyanga, 22 465 voters had cast their ballots by 4pm while Chipinge saw more than 30 000 others having voted by noon. Many others were also turned away after failing to produce the requisite documents.
About 15 000 people had voted in Buhera by mid-morning with close to 500 having been denied access to the voting booth.
Speaking to journalists soon after casting his ballot at Mhofu Primary School in Highfield, Harare, President Mugabe said he was confident a majority of voters would endorse the proposed new constitution.
The Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces - who was accompanied by First Lady Amai Grace Mugabe - added that a new Supreme law would fulfill the wishes of a large percentage of the population.
“It is the people who made the constitution. We went round asking the people questions: what sort of Parliament do you want? What sort of President do you want? How many terms?
“People were giving their answer and when we put the Draft together, we invited what were called stakeholders to discuss all parts of the constitution.
“The stakeholders said, ‘Yes, this is what we said and no this is not what we said’, and adjustments were made and corrections were made.”
Responding to concerns that the electorate was not accorded sufficient time to scrutinise the Draft, Cde Mugabe said the views captured in the document originated from the public.
“But, of course, at end of the day, perhaps more time was needed for the people to read the final document. But the views came from the people; the ideas came from the people and, so, we cannot be blamed for having ignored the people.
“From the beginning, we said the exercise was going to be a people-driven exercise and that is what it has been . . . This is a day when we call upon all Zimbabweans to decide our destiny. If we vote ‘yes’ in this referendum, it means our new constitution will have been made.”
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also cast his vote at Chaminuka Primary School in St Mary’s, Chitungwiza.
He told journalists that the referendum afforded Zimbabweans the opportunity to choose a home-made constitution.
“What is significant for the country is that the people of Zimbabwe are not outsourcing their destiny to anybody else. We have defined this for ourselves,” he said.
In Mutoko, voting kicked off well despite being marred by low voter turnout. Officials at some polling stations in the district distributed voter education materials to those waiting to cast their ballots.
The officials said they received the material late, leaving them without an option, but to distribute it on referendum day.
In Mt Darwin, a heavy downpour in most parts of the district in the morning kept many voters away. The numbers, however, later improved with more voters turning up from mid-morning.
Over 200 people had lined up to vote at Kandeya and Madondo polling stations by 6am while Kamutsenzere and Chiunye saw more than 265 people casting their ballots by 7am.
In Muzarabani, 6 202 voters had exercised their constitutional right by noon.
The voter turnout in Chikomba was low in the morning, averaging 20 people per polling station. The figures only increased as the day progressed. The highest turnout was recorded at Murambinda district office where over 700 people had voted by mid morning.
Officials said the 47 polling stations in the constituency had recorded over 100 voters each by 10am.
In Marondera, urban polling stations witnessed high turnouts while rural centres recorded low numbers. An average of 20 people reported at urban centres every hour.
In Zhombe, there was no activity at Bertha Mine polling station by 7am. Only polling officers were ready to cast their vote while waiting for the general electorate to pitch up.
About 20 people had already queued at Zhombe Mission by that time while some locals who sought to observe the poll were turned away because they were not accredited.
In Gokwe, nearly 200 people thronged Raji polling station in Chemagora. The voters formed a long queue and were allowed into the centre in batches of 30.
Over 100 people had cast their votes by 9 30am, according to the returning officer, Mr Ganyiwa Gift Allan.
However, the number of voters at most polling stations at Gokwe Centre was low. Some areas in the district were inaccessible by road, prompting Zec officials to use a helicopter.
In Hurungwe, voting started at a slow pace, but, later gathered pace.
Most of the polling stations in and around Karoi and Magunje were yet to record 100 voters by 9am.
The situation was, however, different in the surrounding farming areas where some polling centres had recorded more than 400 voters by 11am.
In Mazowe, voting started at the scheduled time with the number of voters increasing as the day progressed. A total of 31 dual citizenship-holders were turned away at three polling stations in the morning.
Communication problems between constituencies were also experienced owing to the district’s predominantly mountainous terrain.
Gutu witnessed a low voter turnout at most polling stations with the elderly forming the bulk of voters. Most voters in Harare visited polling stations in the morning with Town House recording about 2 000 ballots by the close of voting.
In Mount Pleasant, several voters turned up well before polling officers while other areas such as Avondale, Alexandra Park and Belgravia saw more youths voting.
There was a low turnout at polling stations in Borrowdale whereas long queues formed at many polling centres in Mbare, Highfield, Glen Norah and Glen-View.
Zaka and Bikita recorded huge volumes of voters most of whom turned up to cast their ballots at around 6.30am.
In Zaka Central, where Zec set up 46 polling stations, voters also formed long queues. Voting was smooth throughout the Zaka constituencies. The situation was the same in Bikita.
Voting also progressed smoothly in Hurungwe and Kariba where all stations opened on time.
By around 6pm, there was no activity at nearly all polling stations visited.
The latest statistics could not be obtained at Kariba district command centre, but, 3 900 people had voted by 10am and 175 had been turned away.
Zec officials were making frantic efforts to assist about 80 fishermen on an island on Lake Kariba who wished to vote. A boat had been secured for the exercise.
In Zvishavane, lack of adequate voter education resulted in hundreds of prospective voters being turned away while voter apathy was evident in urban areas.
Voting also went on peacefully in Masvingo with 205 589 people having cast their votes in the province’s seven districts by 2pm.
About 4 674 others had also been turned away for various reasons, including failure to provide the required identity documents.
In Bulawayo, most polling stations were male-dominated while youths opted to stay away.
In the city centre, most polling stations started off on a low note, although the numbers increased towards the end of day.
More than 500 people had cast their ballots at the Small and Large City halls before midday while after 2pm the numbers had reached about 800.
The TM Hypermarket polling station attracted the highest number of voters. Over 1 000 people had cast their votes by 2pm. At Queen Elizabeth Primary School in Nkulumane 11 169 people had voted by midmorning while four were turned away for failing to produce proper documents.
A total of 138 people had cast their ballots at Mafekela Primary School in Luveve by lunchtime. At Stanley Square Hall in Makokoba, more than 600 people had voted by 2.30pm while 28 had been turned away for failing to produce the required documents.
In Matobo, the majority of voters were women. Many villagers said they were unaware of the contents of the Draft Constitution, adding that no awareness campaigns were held in their respective areas.
Voting in Umzingwane began on time, albeit with few voters coming to cast their ballots. The figures improved during the course of the day.
Binga recorded a low voter turnout despite having 117 polling stations.
Villagers attributed the low numbers to the long distances they had to walk to the nearest polling stations.
Others said they chose not to vote because they did not know what they were voting for. In Kamativi, some polling stations did not even witness a single person voting by 8.30am.
At Cross Dete there were about seven people at the polling station at 7am.
Bubi and Nkayi, however, registered high voter numbers. In Beitbridge, voting went on peacefully at all the 86 polling stations in the district.
There was a huge turnout at most centres visited.
Lutumba polling station had by 12pm recorded a total of 325 votes while Tshapfutshe and Langeni had 226 and 272 votes respectively.
In Tsholotsho, there was a high turnout of voters with 300 being the highest voter turnout.
In Bulilima, Mangwe and Plumtree, polling started without incident.
In Mashonaland West, voting progressed peacefully although the turnout was rather subdued at several centres.
At Dudley Hall Primary School in Norton, proceedings started with the sealing of ballot boxes in the presence of observers at 6.30am.
Voters started trickling in after 7am, braving the chilly weather.
At Murombedzi Growth Point, the turnout was low in the morning. It was the same situation at Murombedzi Primary School and Murombedzi Vocational Training Centre.
Close to 300 people had cast their vote at the three polling stations at Waverley Primary School in Kadoma by mid morning.
In Sanyati, around 350 people had voted at Sanyati Government Secondary School by late afternoon.
Justice Makarau told journalists that no incidents of violence had been reported. She said some polling stations, however, opened late.
She said: “We have not received any cases of violence. The latest brief that we received from the police was just about 20 minutes ago.
“The reasons for the delays countrywide have been related to fuel shortages, vehicles breaking down and delays in the delivery of polling station materials in some instances.
“We have also experienced bad weather conditions; that is excessive rains in Mashonaland Central, especially, and, lastly, we have also delayed in opening some of the polling stations due to late delivery of tents in Harare province.
“Regarding communication, we are experiencing difficulties in communicating in certain areas especially Matabeleland North and Mashonaland Central.
“The communication lines in Mashonaland Central are currently all down due to bad weather. The provincial logistics committee is trying to establish the cause and to rectify it.”
Sadc Executive Secretary Mr Tomaz Salamao, who is also part of the regional bloc’s observer team, said he was happy with the way Zimbabweans had conducted themselves during the process.
“Everything is going very well and we are happy with the proceedings thus far and in view of that we really commend the Zimbabweans and encourage them to come over and cast their vote,” he said.
Mr Salamao said the successful holding of the referendum had put Zimbabwe in a good position to successfully hold the harmonised elections later this year.
“The referendum is part of the GPA and an important milestone towards the next and most important step (harmonised elections).
“I believe what is next is an important milestone and a historic milestone. We hope that Zimbabweans will perform the same way and take full responsibility of their own destiny.”
Labels: CONSTITUTION, COPAC