Friday, March 29, 2013

Rupiah and the diplomats

Rupiah and the diplomats
By Editor
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

What happened yesterday at the South African High Commission in Lusaka raises a lot of questions.

Staff of the High Commission were asked to leave the premises before 10:00 hours. And by 09:45 hours, all members of staff of the High Commission who had been asked to leave had left. All this was in preparation for Rupiah Banda's visit to the High Commission. Indeed, around 10:00 hours Rupiah appeared at the High Commission in a Toyota Land Cruiser that was heavily tinted and its number plate removed.

Acting on a tip from members of staff of the embassy, we positioned our journalists at the High Commission in time for Rupiah's arrival. Our staff saw Rupiah in his heavily tinted Toyota Land Cruiser. And they recognised this Toyota Land Cruiser as one of the vehicles that is usually in his convoy. There was no mistake about Rupiah's identity.

Even the guard who appears in our front page picture saluting confirmed that the person he was saluting was Rupiah. This said, the question that arises is why did Rupiah have to appear at the South African High Commission in Lusaka under such high secrecy - staff of the High Commission sent away, Rupiah himself moving incognito in a heavily tinted motor vehicle and without the identifying number plate?

There is definitely some element of mischief here on the part of the South African High Commission in Lusaka and on Rupiah's part. Both didn't want that visit to be known; both wanted it to be secret. But why should a visit to the South African High Commission by a former Zambian president be a matter of such high secrecy? What are they hiding? Who are they trying to hide from? And why should they hide?

We hope the South African government of Jacob Zuma is not trying to interfere in the legitimate internal affairs of Zambia. Rupiah is facing legitimate criminal charges before our courts of law. Rupiah is not before a kangaroo court but before the courts he himself says he has confidence in. If Rupiah does not agree with his prosecution, he can seek legal redress within this same judiciary he has declared confidence in.

Rupiah has challenged the removal of his presidential immunity in the High Court of Zambia. No one has stopped him from doing so. And Rupiah is before a court that he believes will accord him a fair and just hearing. This being the case, where is the problem? What wrong has the Zambian government committed?

Is it wrong for the Zambian government to prosecute a former president who is believed to have committed a crime? The Constitution of Zambia and the laws of this country do provide procedures for bringing a former president to court to answer charges for the wrongs he did while in office. And if this is unlawfully done, the laws of this country do give adequate protection to Rupiah to seek legal redress, as he has done, through judicial review. Where is the problem? What is South Africa's concern?

Didn't South Africa itself prosecute Zuma when he was deputy president for corruption? Didn't the African National Congress terminate the presidency of Thabo Mbeki over these issues? Did the Zambian government protest that? Did the Zambian government interfere in their internal affairs? There are questions being raised about the expenditure on Zuma's personal home; has the Zambian government or have the Zambian politicians raised any issues concerning this?

Not very long ago, the South African police massacred defenceless miners in a manner that some of its own human rights activists are comparing to the apartheid Sharpeville massacre. No one in Zambia or indeed the whole SADC region raised any issue with Zuma or the South African government. This is a matter the South African authorities are dealing with internally.

We know that when it comes to issues of corruption, South Africa is not a good example for the region. It is a country in which corruption seems to be taking root very fast. While we respect the courage and determination of the people of that heroic country to free themselves from apartheid and its evils, we do not look up to them in matters of fighting corruption. They have not shown exemplary behaviour.

And our standards on the issue of corruption should not in any way be dictated by South African conduct. They have very little positive to show on this score. But it is not our duty to interfere with what formula they want to use to share the resources of that country. If corruption is their way of empowerment, we may have a problem with it, but we have no right to tell them what to do or what not to do.

They are a sovereign country and a sovereign people, but so are we and our country. Here we have vowed not to allow our leaders to abuse their stewardship role to enrich themselves, their families and friends. We think there is a better and more honest way of empowering ourselves.
If Rupiah feels victimised and believes he is being unfairly treated, our courts of law are open to him. Let him go there and seek redress as he is already doing. There is no redress over this matter that the South African High Commission or indeed the South African government will accord him. This is not a political matter for political lobbying; it is a legal matter that requires a legal defence. No amount of sneaking into and out of this and that embassy or high commission will save Rupiah from going to jail if he is found to be guilty of abusing his office and stealing public funds to enrich himself and his children.

Rupiah, despite having held the office of president, is a citizen of this country, who is equal to all other citizens before the law. There is a rule of law in this country. And the rule of law is based on equality before the law, or equal protection of the law as it is often phrased. This is fundamental to any just and democratic society. Whether politically or financially powerful, all are entitled to equality before the law.

The lifting of Rupiah's immunity made him equal to other citizens before the law. Rupiah will be prosecuted in the same way any other citizen will be prosecuted for committing a crime. In fact, in Rupiah's case, he is being treated with more respect or courtesy than an ordinary citizen. For this, he should be grateful.

We, therefore, appeal to all the foreign missions in Zambia to be careful with the way they deal with Rupiah and the situation he finds himself in. They shouldn't deceive themselves that they will be allowed to place the interests of Rupiah above those of the Zambian people. If Rupiah matters more to them than the Zambian people, they will soon realise that to us as a nation, the interests of the people take precedence over their commitment to Rupiah. They will also soon realise that Zambia, since independence in 1964, has never been recolonised by any other country. We value our place in SADC but we have not surrendered our sovereignty to any of our highly respected neighbours, including South Africa.

The behaviour of the South African High Commissioner to Zambia is questionable and needs to be explained. It may be necessary for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to summon him to come and explain his behaviour.

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Rupiah sneaks in, out of SA embassy

COMMENT - The comedy show that is former President Banda's presidency.

Rupiah sneaks in, out of SA embassy
By Joseph Mwenda
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FORMER president Rupiah Banda yesterday sneaked into the South African High Commission for a private meeting with that country's High Commissioner to Zambia Kgoshi Piet Mathebe.

A check at the High Commission located along Cheetah road in Lusaka's Kabulonga area found employees vacating the offices with a notice on the gate saying the consulate would be closed at 10:00 hours in the morning.

The South African high commission is normally open for business between 08:30 in the morning to 12:00 from Monday to Friday.

Security officers, however, sealed off the premises at 09:45, hours and were not allowing any visitors to the high commission.

"The 'Embassy' is closed. There is nobody inside, everyone has left and so you cannot be allowed (to come in)," said a security officer who was manning the gate.

When asked why the consulate was closed earlier than the indicated 10:00 hours, the officer said they had been given instructions not to allow people inside the premises including those for visa inquiries.

At exactly 10:28, Banda arrived in a tinted silver Toyota Land Cruiser V8 without a number plate and the security guard saluted for the people on board before directing the vehicle in.

When asked why they were not allowing anyone else to go inside the yard yet the stated vehicle was welcomed, the security officer confirmed that the man in the vehicle was former president Rupiah Banda and that he had a private meeting with the high commissioner.

"That is a private meeting that he (High ommissioner Mathebe) had with him (Banda)," said the officer.

Asked if it was possible to find out who else was attending the meeting, the officer said the entire building had been cleared apart from the people in that meeting and that they were not allowed to go anywhere near the office where the meeting was taking place.

The security officers later turned on this reporter and instructed him to leave the premises and park his vehicle at a distance, away from the high commission.

At precisely 12:15, Banda's vehicle was seen leaving the premises.

And sources said Banda went to meet Mathebe to discuss issues relating to the lifting of his immunity and his subsequent arrest.

The sources said Banda had been seeking sympathy from various diplomats accredited to Zambia by claiming that the Patriotic Front government was persecuting him.

Another source however said Banda was suspected to have been at the consulate for a telephone conversation with South African President Jacob Zuma.

Efforts to get a comment from Banda's principal private secretary Mikatazo Wakumelo proved futile as his phone which rung once at 15:45 went unanswered and was later unreachable.

All landlines for the High Commission went unanswered and the High Commissioner's mobile phone was unreachable.

Foreign affairs deputy minister Gabriel Namulambe said he did not have details of the meeting that was held for Banda at the South African High Commission because he was in Mpongwe thanking his voters.

Namulambe said he asked the Permanent Secretary (Margaret Miyoba) to get the details of the meeting but that she had also failed to get in touch with High Commissioner Mathebe as his phone was unreachable.

"I am told all numbers including cell phones are not being answered, so I can't tell you anything about that meeting," Namulambe said.

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UPND is decaying, says Siamunene

UPND is decaying, says Siamunene
By Cynthia Phiri in Sinazongwe
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

THE UPND is decaying, says the party's Sinazongwe member of parliament Richwell Siamunene.

And confusion reigned at Sinazongwe civic centre on Wednesday when councillors attempted to stop Siamunene, from attending a full council meeting.

Upon seeing Siamunene's vehicle, all the 14 UPND councillors left the council chambers for another office where they seemed to have convened a meeting to strategise on how to hound their member of parliament, who has been suspended following his appointment to the Patriotic Front government, out of the full council meeting.

The meeting, which was scheduled to start at 09:30 hours only commenced at 11:30 hours because of a caucus held by the councillors, who seemed to be divided over the matter.

The councillors claimed that Siamunene had no right to attend the full council meeting as Sinazongwe member of parliament because the UPND district officials recommended that he (Siamunene) be expelled from the party.

But Siamunene explained to the councillors that they had no right to lock him out of the full council meeting because the Speaker of the National Assembly had not declared his seat vacant.

He also told them that the council chamber did not belong to the UPND but government.

He told the councillors that their action lacked merit and only showed how ignorant the civic leaders were about local government procedures.

''This is a sign that the UPND as a party is decaying. I am aware that the instruction came from the UPND secretary general Winston Chibwe that I should be blocked from attending this meeting just to embarrass me. Looking at a person of his calibre, it's astonishing that he exhibited colossal levels of ignorance over local government procedures," he said.

President Michael Sata appointed Siamunene commerce deputy minister and this week, the UPND leadership in Sinazongwe convened a meeting at which they suspended Siamunene from the party and recommended his expulsion.

And chief Sinazongwe, who has declared support for Siamunene, advised the UPND councillors not to rush into anything they would regret.
Chief Sinazongwe said in any election, the people vote for a person who was able to deliver and not for a particular party, adding that until and unless Siamunene's seat was declared vacant by the Speaker, he had right to attend any meeting in his capacity as member of parliament.

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Kabimba gives Mweetwa seven-day ultimatum

Kabimba gives Mweetwa seven-day ultimatum
By Kombe Chimpinde
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba has given Choma UPND member of parliament Cornelius Mweetwa a seven-day ultimatum in which to apologise to him for alleging that he is still facing corruption charges.

This follows Mweetwa's statement in The Post of March 22 that one of the reasons that had divided African Parliamentary Network Against Corruption (APNAC) members on political lines was that Kabimba, who presented the motion to lift the immunity of the former president Rupiah Banda, was himself facing corruption allegations.

Mweetwa had said that although he supported the lifting of Banda's immunity to pave way for his prosecution, members of APNAC were still divided on the matter on party lines because of some moral issues.
"For instance, how can the Minister of Justice Wynter Kabimba who is facing corruption, be the one to bring the motion in the House to lift the immunity of another?" Mweetwa remarked.

But Kabimba stated in a letter to Mweetwa that he knew as he was making the statement that the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) had made an official statement on the issue.

"I expect you as president of the African Parliamentarian Network Against Corruption (APNAC), Zambia Chapter to verify such information with ACC before making such a defamatory statement against me," the letter read in part.

"Consequently, I am left with no doubt in my mind that your statement does not represent the position of APNAC but your personal views as an individual who is attempting to apportion blame to innocent persons like me for your failure to cultivate a successful legal career. In view of the above, I want you to confirm the following: That the said statement attributed to you was indeed uttered by yourself; that you still believe the same to be correct in substance and material facts as stated. In the absence of a written apology from you within seven days from the date hereof over the same, I shall be left with no option but to commence legal proceedings against you in the High Court for libel."
But Mweetwa said he did not owe Kabimba any apology.

Mweetwa accused Kabimba of adopting a style of threatening anyone objectively opposed to him with legal action.

"He can go ahead with the legal suit. I don't owe him any apology. I was speaking according to the information I had at that time. It is his name which is left with corruption allegations that he should clear. I am not responsible, it is him to clear his name," Mweetwa said.

He said that as an advocate against corruption, it was his duty to comment on corruption-related issues.

Mweetwa said Kabimba's intended legal action was meant to silence him and others.

"Wynter has introduced a governance style where everyone who questions him is threatened with legal action. That office (justice minister) is meant for people who want to be held accountable. What Kabimba must do is ask ACC to publically clear him, not secretly," said Mweetwa.

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Sata calls for unconditional love

Sata calls for unconditional love
By Fridah Nkonde
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has urged Zambians to show unconditional love to one another and move away from vices that have the potential to destroy the nation.

And President Michael Sata yesterday surprised the Lusaka Indian Ladies Association when he almost punctuated their lunch with first lady Dr Christine Kaseba as he took turns to greet them.

In his Easter message issued yesterday, President Sata said that Christians needed to reflect deeply on how they could relate with one another in conformity with the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ.
He said for his family and him, the Easter period had always been time for reconciliation and benevolence.

"During this important period, let us all remember that it's only real and absolute love and compassion for one another that can separate us from iniquitous vices such as corruption, greediness, bitterness and hate," President Sata said in a statement by his special assistant for press and public relations George Chellah.

"We need to constantly remind ourselves that these evil vices and many others can and will never put forward prosperity except to destroy our beloved country and its people. We need to overcome evil with love and care for one another especially remembering the plight of the less privileged in our midst."

President Sata urged Zambians to celebrate Easter conscientiously and never lose focus of the reason behind this season.

"Let this Easter period unify and remind us, particularly those privileged with the mantle of leadership that we must always endeavour to serve with utmost humility, sincerity and dedication to the country. For these are some of the virtues that articulate our belief and hope in the Christian faith," he said.

Meanwhile, first lady Dr Christine Kaseba during the Lusaka Indian Ladies Association (LILA) donations to NGOs at State House yesterday said mothers at the University Teaching Hospital mother's shelter needed a lot of help.

"That place needs as much help as it can because we have a lot of women who are waiting for patients and you can imagine the anguish of delivering and not going home with your baby and you have to wait till the baby is out," Dr Kaseba said.

LILA donated to various organisations assorted items including money, all totalling K30 million (KR30 000), with Ubutala bwa bumi, an organisation that the first lady chairs being one of the receipients.
She said LILA's gesture demonstrated that those that gave to others always received more.

LILA chairlady Jassi Kumar said the organisation was inspired by Dr Kaseba's example.

"We admire your contribution in the health sector, particularly the fight against cervical cancer. We will continue to need your blessings for our future endeavors," said Kumar.

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MMD needs to reorganise itself, says Mtayachalo

MMD needs to reorganise itself, says Mtayachalo
By Roy Habaalu
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE MMD on the Copperbelt says it does not make sense to continue participating in by-elections it has been losing.

Copperbelt information and publicity secretary Yotam Mtayachalo said there was nothing new working with UPND because the resolution was made last year.

"MMD at the moment needs to re-organise itself. I don't think that by us not participating in Lukulu West and Kapiri Mposhi is a sign of weakness or the party is dead, no. The party has made a good decision not to field candidates in Kapiri Mposhi and Lukulu West constituencies because first of all after the loss, the party is to start re-organising its structures. After we have done our homework, we can start participating in these by-elections but at the moment we have been losing these by-elections, so it doesn't make sense to be going in by-elections which you are losing. So for us, if UPND wins, it's a victory for MMD, it's a victory for the opposition, so it doesn't make a difference at all whether it's MMD or UPND; if one wins we are happy because we're members from one family," Mtayachalo said.

Mtayachalo appealed to MMD members in Lukulu West and Kapiri Mposhi to support UPND candidates in the forth-coming by-elections.

"And similarly also when there will be need for us to field a candidate in one of the constituencies in Zambia where we feel strong, UPND should also reciprocate and be able to support us," he said.

And Sinda MMD member of parliament Levy Ngoma said the UPND-MMD alliance would only fail if it reached unattainable levels.

Ngoma said those accusing party president Nevers Mumba of "leasing" the party to UPND's Hichilema were sponsored elements.

"They are sponsored elements because there are some people who don't want to see MMD, UPND, UNIP and ADD working together for a common good.

Those are a danger to multi-party democracy. It's not good to have so many disintegrated groupings and all they have to do is talking in the newspapers and the possibility of forming government is nowhere near. Right now Zambia is fed up of too many disintegrated political groupings. It's for the benefit of the general citizen that there is a strong and united opposition," Ngoma said.

Ngoma said governments worked well where there was a strong and united opposition.

"For me if such a thing (alliance) was to occur, that would be a very good development but of course it has to be on an agreed arrangement, there has to be a proper mechanism on how this thing is going to be done, no imposition. No one should think that I am the boss in this arrangement so that at the end of the day it benefits everybody," he said.

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UNWTO assembly will benefit SMEs - Tomas

UNWTO assembly will benefit SMEs - Tomas
By Gift Chanda and Edwin Mbulo
Fri 29 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA and Zimbabwe should work hard towards making the UNWTO General Assembly a success because of its benefits to the two host countries, a senior UNWTO executive has said.

Helder Tomas, the UNWTO deputy director for Africa region, said the general assembly in August stood to boost the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector in Zambia and Zimbabwe as well as give the two countries an opportunity to market themselves as ultimate tourism destinations.

The two countries will co-host the 20th session of the UNWTO General Assembly from August 24 to August 29 in Victoria Falls Town and Livingstone.

"We are expecting delegates from all over the world. From America, Asia, the Middle East…all of them heading to Zambia and Zimbabwe and all of them are to be transported, entertained, fed and accommodated and that brings along a number of opportunities for Zambia and Zimbabwe's SMEs," Tomas said on Wednesday.

"It also gives a unique opportunity for the promotion of the Victoria Falls, the promotion of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Africa as a tourism destination. Therefore, we need to really work together to make this event successful."

On the just-ended regional media workshop, Tomas said the UNWTO was satisfied that the objectives of highlighting to journalists the deeper meaning of tourism were achieved.

A Nigerian delegate, Ikechi Uko said participants had been enriched with a paradigm shift in tourism reporting.

Meanwhile, information deputy minister Mwansa Kapeya urged the media in Africa to take a leading role in telling the continent's success stories to the outside world.

Kapeya said there were many good happenings in Africa which unfortunately had largely gone untold and, therefore, unheard.

He said the international media's perception of Africa had often focused on the negative side of the continent such as poverty and crime.

"The lesson from this is that the world owes us no obligation to market our continent, hence it is Africa's duty to tell its own story to the outside world. I therefore implore the media on the continent to lead the way in telling Africa's success stories," said Kapeya.

He, however, noted that the media could not tell stories and educate the public unless they were informed and educated first.

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Fish industry lacks govt's attention, says Phiri

Fish industry lacks govt's attention, says Phiri
By Pride Bwalya in Monze
Thu 28 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE Department of Fisheries in Monze says the fish industry has not received much attention as a vibrant industry that can contribute to national development.

In an interview at Mansangu Research Station, the departments senior research officer Simon Phiri called on the government to effectively support the fish industry because of its potential to contribute to the country's economic development.

Phiri said government needed to pump in a lot of money to revamp the industry and ensure that management of fisheries was made effective.
He said that there was need to invest in research programmes that were an integral part of fisheries management by equipping the department with the required equipment and tools for carrying out research programmes.

Phiri said Mansangu Research Station had the potential and all it required was increased support from the government in terms of adequate funding, transport and staff as lack of all these had critically affected operations of the department on the Kafue flats.

He said that the laboratory that was put up at a cost of KR14,000 in 2011 at the station was fully operational, installed with a biological microscope through efforts made by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock particularly the Department of Fisheries and was being used to carry out research activities on the Kafue flats that lie on the Kafue river.

Phiri said that the laboratory was also equipped with other types of equipment and specimen such as a water analysis kit, zoo plankton net, test kits which were used to undertake data analysis, fixing samples, a zoo plankton and phytoplankton.

He explained that currently, the Department of Fisheries was carrying out a stock assessment survey on the Chunga lagoon of the Kafue flats to ascertain the status of fish stocks in a given fishery at a particular time.

Phiri said that under the stock assessment survey, there was also gillnet survey which involved experimental gillnetting with a fleet of nets of different mesh sizes to determine the catch of its species composities, growth parameters and breeding status among others.

He further called on the government to ensure that the fisheries act was reinforced in order to help the department effectively control illegal fishing methods that had affected the breeding of fish.

Phiri said that fishing during the ban was a challenge to control due to lack of both water and road transport at the department to carryout patrols and monitoring.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH, WEB OF DEBT) It Can Happen Here: The Bank Confiscation Scheme for US and UK Depositors

It Can Happen Here: The Bank Confiscation Scheme for US and UK Depositors
By Ellen Brown
Global Research, March 29, 2013
Web of Debt

Confiscating the customer deposits in Cyprus banks, it seems, was not a one-off, desperate idea of a few Eurozone “troika” officials scrambling to salvage their balance sheets. A joint paper by the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Bank of England dated December 10, 2012, shows that these plans have been long in the making; that they originated with the G20 Financial Stability Board in Basel, Switzerland (discussed earlier here); and that the result will be to deliver clear title to the banks of depositor funds.

New Zealand has a similar directive, discussed in my last article here, indicating that this isn’t just an emergency measure for troubled Eurozone countries. New Zealand’s Voxy reported on March 19th:

The National Government [is] pushing a Cyprus-style solution to bank failure in New Zealand which will see small depositors lose some of their savings to fund big bank bailouts . . . .

Open Bank Resolution (OBR) is Finance Minister Bill English’s favoured option dealing with a major bank failure. If a bank fails under OBR, all depositors will have their savings reduced overnight to fund the bank’s bail out.

Can They Do That?

Although few depositors realize it, legally the bank owns the depositor’s funds as soon as they are put in the bank. Our money becomes the bank’s, and we become unsecured creditors holding IOUs or promises to pay. (See here and here.) But until now the bank has been obligated to pay the money back on demand in the form of cash. Under the FDIC-BOE plan, our IOUs will be converted into “bank equity.” The bank will get the money and we will get stock in the bank. With any luck we may be able to sell the stock to someone else, but when and at what price? Most people keep a deposit account so they can have ready cash to pay the bills.

The 15-page FDIC-BOE document is called “Resolving Globally Active, Systemically Important, Financial Institutions.” It begins by explaining that the 2008 banking crisis has made it clear that some other way besides taxpayer bailouts is needed to maintain “financial stability.” Evidently anticipating that the next financial collapse will be on a grander scale than either the taxpayers or Congress is willing to underwrite, the authors state:

An efficient path for returning the sound operations of the G-SIFI to the private sector would be provided by exchanging or converting a sufficient amount of the unsecured debt from the original creditors of the failed company [meaning the depositors] into equity [or stock]. In the U.S., the new equity would become capital in one or more newly formed operating entities. In the U.K., the same approach could be used, or the equity could be used to recapitalize the failing financial company itself—thus, the highest layer of surviving bailed-in creditors would become the owners of the resolved firm. In either country, the new equity holders would take on the corresponding risk of being shareholders in a financial institution.

No exception is indicated for “insured deposits” in the U.S., meaning those under $250,000, the deposits we thought were protected by FDIC insurance. This can hardly be an oversight, since it is the FDIC that is issuing the directive. The FDIC is an insurance company funded by premiums paid by private banks. The directive is called a “resolution process,” defined elsewhere as a plan that “would be triggered in the event of the failure of an insurer . . . .” The only mention of “insured deposits” is in connection with existing UK legislation, which the FDIC-BOE directive goes on to say is inadequate, implying that it needs to be modified or overridden.

An Imminent Risk

If our IOUs are converted to bank stock, they will no longer be subject to insurance protection but will be “at risk” and vulnerable to being wiped out, just as the Lehman Brothers shareholders were in 2008. That this dire scenario could actually materialize was underscored by Yves Smith in a March 19th post titled When You Weren’t Looking, Democrat Bank Stooges Launch Bills to Permit Bailouts, Deregulate Derivatives. She writes:

In the US, depositors have actually been put in a worse position than Cyprus deposit-holders, at least if they are at the big banks that play in the derivatives casino. The regulators have turned a blind eye as banks use their depositaries to fund derivatives exposures. And as bad as that is, the depositors, unlike their Cypriot confreres, aren’t even senior creditors. Remember Lehman? When the investment bank failed, unsecured creditors (and remember, depositors are unsecured creditors) got eight cents on the dollar. One big reason was that derivatives counterparties require collateral for any exposures, meaning they are secured creditors. The 2005 bankruptcy reforms made derivatives counterparties senior to unsecured lenders.

One might wonder why the posting of collateral by a derivative counterparty, at some percentage of full exposure, makes the creditor “secured,” while the depositor who puts up 100 cents on the dollar is “unsecured.” But moving on – Smith writes:

Lehman had only two itty bitty banking subsidiaries, and to my knowledge, was not gathering retail deposits. But as readers may recall, Bank of America moved most of its derivatives from its Merrill Lynch operation [to] its depositary in late 2011.

Its “depositary” is the arm of the bank that takes deposits; and at B of A, that means lots and lots of deposits. The deposits are now subject to being wiped out by a major derivatives loss. How bad could that be? Smith quotes Bloomberg:

. . . Bank of America’s holding company . . . held almost $75 trillion of derivatives at the end of June . . . .

That compares with JPMorgan’s deposit-taking entity, JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, which contained 99 percent of the New York-based firm’s $79 trillion of notional derivatives, the OCC data show.

$75 trillion and $79 trillion in derivatives! These two mega-banks alone hold more in notional derivatives each than the entire global GDP (at $70 trillion). The “notional value” of derivatives is not the same as cash at risk, but according to a cross-post on Smith’s site:

By at least one estimate, in 2010 there was a total of $12 trillion in cash tied up (at risk) in derivatives . . . .

$12 trillion is close to the US GDP. Smith goes on:

. . . Remember the effect of the 2005 bankruptcy law revisions: derivatives counterparties are first in line, they get to grab assets first and leave everyone else to scramble for crumbs. . . . Lehman failed over a weekend after JP Morgan grabbed collateral.

But it’s even worse than that. During the savings & loan crisis, the FDIC did not have enough in deposit insurance receipts to pay for the Resolution Trust Corporation wind-down vehicle. It had to get more funding from Congress. This move paves the way for another TARP-style shakedown of taxpayers, this time to save depositors.

Perhaps, but Congress has already been burned and is liable to balk a second time. Section 716 of the Dodd-Frank Act specifically prohibits public support for speculative derivatives activities. And in the Eurozone, while the European Stability Mechanism committed Eurozone countries to bail out failed banks, they are apparently having second thoughts there as well. On March 25th, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who played a leading role in imposing the deposit confiscation plan on Cyprus, told reporters that it would be the template for any future bank bailouts, and that “the aim is for the ESM never to have to be used.”

That explains the need for the FDIC-BOE resolution. If the anticipated enabling legislation is passed, the FDIC will no longer need to protect depositor funds; it can just confiscate them.

Worse Than a Tax

An FDIC confiscation of deposits to recapitalize the banks is far different from a simple tax on taxpayers to pay government expenses. The government’s debt is at least arguably the people’s debt, since the government is there to provide services for the people. But when the banks get into trouble with their derivative schemes, they are not serving depositors, who are not getting a cut of the profits. Taking depositor funds is simply theft.

What should be done is to raise FDIC insurance premiums and make the banks pay to keep their depositors whole, but premiums are already high; and the FDIC, like other government regulatory agencies, is subject to regulatory capture. Deposit insurance has failed, and so has the private banking system that has depended on it for the trust that makes banking work.

The Cyprus haircut on depositors was called a “wealth tax” and was written off by commentators as “deserved,” because much of the money in Cypriot accounts belongs to foreign oligarchs, tax dodgers and money launderers. But if that template is applied in the US, it will be a tax on the poor and middle class. Wealthy Americans don’t keep most of their money in bank accounts. They keep it in the stock market, in real estate, in over-the-counter derivatives, in gold and silver, and so forth.

Are you safe, then, if your money is in gold and silver? Apparently not – if it’s stored in a safety deposit box in the bank. Homeland Security has reportedly told banks that it has authority to seize the contents of safety deposit boxes without a warrant when it’s a matter of “national security,” which a major bank crisis no doubt will be.

The Swedish Alternative: Nationalize the Banks

Another alternative was considered but rejected by President Obama in 2009: nationalize mega-banks that fail. In a February 2009 article titled “Are Uninsured Bank Depositors in Danger?“, Felix Salmon discussed a newsletter by Asia-based investment strategist Christopher Wood, in which Wood wrote:

It is . . . amazing that Obama does not understand the political appeal of the nationalization option. . . . [D]espite this latest setback nationalization of the banks is coming sooner or later because the realities of the situation will demand it. The result will be shareholders wiped out and bondholders forced to take debt-for-equity swaps, if not hopefully depositors.

On whether depositors could indeed be forced to become equity holders, Salmon commented:

It’s worth remembering that depositors are unsecured creditors of any bank; usually, indeed, they’re by far the largest class of unsecured creditors.

President Obama acknowledged that bank nationalization had worked in Sweden, and that the course pursued by the US Fed had not worked in Japan, which wound up instead in a “lost decade.” But Obama opted for the Japanese approach because, according to Ed Harrison, “Americans will not tolerate nationalization.”

But that was four years ago. When Americans realize that the alternative is to have their ready cash transformed into “bank stock” of questionable marketability, moving failed mega-banks into the public sector may start to have more appeal.

Ellen Brown is an attorney, chairman of the Public Banking Institute, and the author of eleven books, including Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free. Her websites are and For details of the June 2013 Public Banking Institute conference in San Rafael, California, see here.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) Zimplats appeals land repossession

COMMENT - ZIMPLATS is robbing the Zimbabwean people blind. No country with Zimbabwe's resources needs a cent in 'donor aid', which is a scam. Pay the people of Zimbabwe the value of their natural resources, and you can keep all 'donor aid', which is 1/4 trillion to Africa a year, but Africa loses 1 trillion a year in raw materials - like platinum, diamonds,gold, oil... Let's get to the root of the problem.

Zimplats appeals land repossession
28/03/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PLATINUM miner, Zimplats, has lodged an appeal against the government's proposed compulsory acquisition of about 50 percent of its mineral resource which was confirmed by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu last month.

In a statement Thursday Zimplats chief executive, Alex Mhembere, said: “Further to the announcement regarding the proposed compulsory acquisition of land, Zimplats confirms that (it) lodged an objection on 27 March to the preliminary notice … with regard to the President’s intention to acquire compulsorily 27,948 hectares of land held by Zimplats”,

Zimplats – listed in Australia and majority-owned by South Africa-based Impala Platinum (Implats) - holds a special mining lease over two areas in the country totalling 48,535ha in extent.

But in February Mpofu said the government had "repossessed" 27,948ha of the land "with immediate effect" without compensation adding the mineral resource would be offered to other investors.

"Zimbabwe has not realised significant value from the platinum sector beyond the traditional statutory payments. We can no longer continue having our minerals refined outside the country," said Mpofu.

"You can only compensate for land that has been bought. The ground belongs to Zimbabwe and there cannot be talks of compensation when the land belongs to you."

The company was given 30 days to appeal the move and management immediately indicated they would challenge the development.

“Implats and Zimplats are taking legal advice in order to protect their rights and, in addition, remain in consultation with the relevant government authorities,” the company said at the time.

The land seizure adds to the uncertainty clouding Zimplats's operations in teh country following allegations of possible irregularities in the company’s indigenisation compliance programme.

Implats signed a conditional, non-binding term sheet for the transfer of 20% of Zimplats to employee and community trusts and 31% to a state-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

The deal is expected to see the company comply with laws requiring foreign companies to transfer at least 51 percent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals but sharp differences have emerged in government over the transaction amid allegations of possible irregularities.

Implats, which is implementing a US$450 million expansion programme at Zimplats, however says it is committed to the country despite the uncertainty.

Zimplats is the biggest mining investor in Zimbabwe with management saying the company employs nearly 10,000 people in the Mhondoro-Ngezi area, where its operations are situated.

Zimbabwe's platinum output puts it in third place, behind world leader South Africa, and second-place Russia.



Zimbabwean law allows for the compulsory acquisition of land. When we are done proving that to you at Zimplats, like we did at Chiyadzwa and Marange we will then exchange 51% of your share capital for that land like we should have done in the first place, that's why the good old man said Kasukuwere made a mistake, you do not negotiate with someone when you have nothing to offer or when he or she has nothing to fear. This time they know we can take the land and I know the Russians and the Chinese are all waiting to come and do a processing plant in Zimbabwe as soon as we take this from this Australian firm...better teach them not to put sanctions on people whose wealth they were theiving....and another thing, please put this on fast track and get it through the courts quickly we don't want something going on for over two months because we realise that Zimplats are playing for time thinking Tsvangirayi will win and they will end up giving nothing to the indeginous people of Zimbabwe.....

people should know that the land in question is the one they where not using if you go that area you wont even believe that the is platinum&gold undergrownd because it is undeveloped after 5hys of them holding on to it now other companies from RSA and and others are going to take it and to make matters worse implats did not BUY THIS LAND THEY ONLY PAID APPLICATION FEE

after moving around the world have found that no foreign company can buy and own land in any country but they get leases, and considering Implats did not buy the land but applied for certification to mine its about time the riches of the soil are enjoyed by the rightful owners.

mhembere and your zimplats go hang. who are you to want to hold the country at ransom. stupid cadavers. you should not abuse your welcome but resisting a more equitable opening of mining opportunities to others. you did not buy this land and you are not processing the platinum locally after all. fckn filius nullius
Changamire Dombo

What ransom? Some people are trying to lift the country from savagery, but Mpofu and his gang are simply trying to loot. With idiots like you Nkoko, Mpofu and Kasukuwere will just become fatter and fatter!!

let us put politics aside this company has more than has 45k hectures(russian companies produce more than 300% of ouput on less land this guys have) and they are not using 27k hectures for the past 15yrs ever sinve they got it they never used it therefore gvt took it and is going to give it to someone else it was catually long over due this is a law made long before 1996 that mining companies will lose rights they are not using go there today and look yourself not verything is zanu/mdc all people on this forum needs to learn that and critise on facts not just blame mdc or zanu for everything without understanding the situation surrounding the issue at hand

are u out of your mind this company if they where rily interested in investing in Zimbabwe let them build their processing plants in Zimbabwe then, but they can't y coz they are employing their kith and kin in their countries and therefore developing their countries. Its about time we enjoy the fruits of our land

after elections fat Mpofu will never talk about this again.because he is Rick James hes rich

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) UK admits to illegal regime change agendas

UK admits to illegal regime change agendas
Saturday, 23 March 2013 18:29
Nomsa Nkala

Britain last week made a stark admission of its apparent involvement in gruesome regime change agendas in developing countries in the last two decades, which has seen more than five weak nations falling — with over 200 000 civilians killed — and the impoverishment of other states including Zimbabwe.

In debunking the apparent deviousness of the supposed world’s most powerful and democratic nations, Britain – which is believed to be one of the biggest sponsors of the MDC-T in Zimbabwe – admitted on Tuesday last week pursuant of regime change agendas in developing nations which are ‘sugar coated’ as democracy drives.

The admission was made by one of Britain’s most powerful politicians, former Deputy Prime Minister Lord John Prescott, in a seemingly well thought-out plea to his counterparts to revisit their conscientiousness.

Commenting on the West’s invasion of Iraq 10 years ago, Lord Prescott, in an interview with CNN said: “Looking back, everyone should ask themselves whether the war was justified, and whether the true objective was in fact regime change, not weapons of mass destruction… I've come to a conclusion: the justification for the intervention was wrong [We] may have got rid of (then Iraq President) Saddam (Hussein) , but it certainly never brought peace.” The former Deputy Prime Minister, who was also vice-chairman of Britain’s War Council at the time, shared that he “feels a share of responsibility for the Iraq war.’’

In the past two decades, the West has been actively pursuing what it coined as a “democracy agenda’’ in more than five developing countries, among them Zimbabwe, largely leaving a trail of destruction in some nations and instability leading to intense human suffering in others.

But as Lord Prescott painstakingly admits, although the regime change agenda in some cases was successful, certainly peace has not been achieved. It is largely believed that the real agendas for the West’s invasions of these countries have mostly been to control resources and means of production, among them oil, minerals and land, in the case of Zimbabwe.

In 2001, after Zimbabwe embarked on its land reform programme, the United States spearheaded the imposition of an embargo, dubbed the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA), claiming gross human rights abuses allegedly perpetrated by the Zanu-PF government led by President Mugabe. The sanctions led to an unparalleled economic decline in the country which resulted in acute human suffering. The real agenda here was reportedly regime change with the hope of repossessing the land.

In 2003, the United States and allies invaded Iraq with the red herring being that the country had weapons of mass destruction. These allegations however turned out to be false as no nuclear weapons were found even after the US army managed to capture and publicly kill Iraq’s President Saddam Hussein. The West immediately took control of the country and its oil. It is estimated that about 172 227 people died in Iraq, 121 227 of them civilians.

Libya also became a victim. Its leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was labelled an “an enemy of his people’’ following an uprising within the country. Col Gaddafi was eventually booted out of power, later captured and publicly humiliated and killed by rebels in that country backed by the US government. After Colonel Gaddafi’s death, it emerged that the US and other Western countries had taken control of the country’s oil resources. And again, the country has never known peace since. About 25 000 people were reportedly killed during the uprising.

The same tactics had been previously used in Tunisia and Egypt giving rise to what has become known as the Arab Spring.

In all instances, the West funds opposition groups in the targeted countries, successfully dispose the country’s leadership and then walks away leaving behind chaotic states. In Afghanistan, tens of thousands of civilians have died in the decade long war initiated by the United States.

Commenting on America’s eargerness to invade Iraq, Lord Prescott said: “I was convinced in America you (making reference to the interviewer) were already preparing for war, despite us talking about the UN. You were getting your military machine ready. You were going to do it before the hot summer. So there’s no doubt in America — and I told (former British Prime Minister, Mr) Tony (Blair), the Yanks are going in whether you agree or not.”

Lord Prescott however, said Mr Blair “certainly believed” the invasion was because of the alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Blair has also been giving interviews on the Iraq invasion repoterdly admitting that the war did not turn out the way he hoped it would. Nonetheless, he still insists that invading and toppling President Saddam Hussein was the right thing to do at the time.

Lord Prescott also told CNN that the action that was taken to stop the bloodshed in Kosovo and Sierra Leone, had helped persuade them to believe that military action in Iraq would be the right thing to do.

“Tony (Mr Blair) came to the view,” Lord Prescott recalled, “that no leader of a country was entitled to treat his people like that . . . It was for all us then to intervene to stop that.”
And with the international focus now on Iran and Syria, Lord Prescott disclosed, in the interview, that although the Iraq experience had taught him “(Mr Blair) wants to do it now in Iran, possibly, and Syria. Absolute bloody crazy, in my view,” he said.

“You've got to ask yourselves, what are you doing it for, just to get rid of the evil men around the world? Because I've got to tell you, there's been more killings in Iraq since they've left, and still continuing.”

The British Embassy, stationed in Harare, last week asked for more time to respond to questions on Lord Prescott’s statements and whether regime change is part of that country’s agenda in developing states. However, political Analyst and dean of the Faculty of Communication and Information Science at the National University of Science and Technology, Dr Lawton Hikwa, insisted that regime change was an extension of the British foreign policy.

“Indeed . . . illegal regime change is part of the British foreign policy,” he said.
“From the outset colonialism was basically about plundering and amassing wealth from the colonised lands by the Western nations.

“Then the post-colonisation the relationship was maintained so that they could continue asserting their influence over that territory.

“So, anyone else who seemed to be acting contrary to that agenda was seen as an obstacle hence the beginning of regime change. Therefore, pre and post independence the British foreign policy, of which illegal regime change is a centre piece, has not changed at all,” said Dr Hikwa. Photo: Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire


(STICKY) (SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Britain in major climbdown on Zimbabwe

COMMENT - So the British equivalent of the CFR, Chatham House, is going to part of these negotiations? Just a reminder, De Beers is the biggest diamond miner in the world, and it is clear who owns De Beers. Also, now it is clear why the old intelligence service hacks like the Zimbabwe Vigil are agitating against Patrick Chinamasa.

Britain in major climbdown on Zimbabwe
Saturday, 23 March 2013 20:33
Kuda Bwititi

In a move that signals a major policy climbdown, the British government has invited Zimbabwe’s re-engagement team for talks aimed at exploring ways of restoring diplomatic relations between the two countries.

The invitation marks the first time London has formally sought to resolve its longstanding bilateral dispute with Harare spanning 14 years.

The re-engagement team — comprising Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiators Cde Patrick Chinamasa (Zanu-PF); Mr Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Mrs Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga — is scheduled to set off for the meeting today.

Cde Chinamasa told The Sunday Mail yesterday that the British Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Mark Simmonds, sent an invitation letter to the Zimbabwe Government recently.

He said the invitation was a sign that Britain intends to lay the path for a new chapter on Zimbabwe.

“We have been invited by Britain through its Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Mark Simmonds,” he said. “For us, it could be an indication that Britain realises that its foreign policy on Zimbabwe is collapsing and they want to embark on a new path.

“Events will tell, but, Britain should realise that its foreign policy on Zimbabwe is not sustainable.”

Cde Chinamasa said his team will use the interface to call for the unconditional scrapping of sanctions on Zimbabwe and also reject foreign interference in domestic processes.

He added that advocating the shutting down of pirate radio stations that are beaming into the country through international donor funding is also on the agenda.

The Zimbabwe-Britain meeting will also involve representatives from other countries that include the United States, Canada and Australia as well as the European Union.

In addition, British think tank Chatham and members of the House of Commons will take part in the deliberations. “Besides Britain, we are going to engage representatives of countries that imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe which are EU member states, Australia, Canada and the US.

“Some of them are actually calling themselves ‘Friends of Zimbabwe’, which is a misnomer because they have imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe.

“We will use the platform to call for three main issues which are: the unconditional lifting of sanctions; the demand for these countries not to interfere in our internal affairs, especially through non-governmental organisations as well as to inform them that we are going to implement the closure of pirate radio stations as required by the GPA.”

The re-engagement team was set up by the inclusive Government to help restore normal relations between Zimbabwe and the West.

Since its appointment, the team has met Western government representatives.

Relations between Britain and the Southern African state soured after the former colonial power reneged on its obligation to finance the historic land reform programme, which corrected land distribution imbalances that disadvantaged the majority. London internationalised the bilateral dispute by peddling falsehoods about Harare’s adherance to the rule of law and human rights and ultimately convinced its Western allies to impose sanctions.

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(STICKY) (NEWZIMBABWE) US says no change yet on Zim sanctions

COMMENTS - Not only does ZDERA need to be revoked, the Zimbabwean people have to be apologized to, and compensation paid for both material and emotional damages. ZDERA caused the destruction of the Zimbabwe Dollar in the year 2002, which caused the fall of tobacco exports in 2002.

US says no change yet on Zim sanctions
26/03/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter I AFP

THE United States is reviewing its sanctions on Zimbabwe but has made no decision yet to follow the European Union in easing an assets freeze and travel visa ban, a top official said Monday.

Washington commended the government for holding a "peaceful and credible constitutional referendum" earlier this month, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

It was "an important first step in the nation's development of democracy," he said of the March 16 vote called to approve a new constitution.

But the United States is still waiting to see if it can "serve as a precedent for upcoming presidential elections."

"So we're going to continue to review our sanctions, but we want to get the democratic process back on track in Zimbabwe."

The European Union on Monday lifted sanctions against 81 people and eight entities in Zimbabwe following the March referendum.

However, President Robert Mugabe and a handful of others remained on the EU blacklist, a European diplomat confirmed.

The United States began imposing targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2001, which include financial sanctions and travel bans on a list of firms and individuals, including Mugabe.

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton said in August during a visit to South Africa that Washington would reward efforts by Zimbabwe's leaders to pave the way toward free elections, saying the United States is prepared to "match action for action."

In a recent interview, Washington’s top envoy in Harare, Bruce Wharton, suggested sanctions targeting some 121 individuals and 71 firms would likely be easier to reverse while the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZIDERA) would require congressional action.

“The individual sanctions, the targeted sanctions, is something that the executive branch of government can deal with and we are prepared to make adjustments to those in response to positive developments in Zimbabwe’s movement back towards to full democracy and the rule of law,” Wharton told SW Radio Africa.

“ZIDERA - which basically instructs American representatives to the international financial institutions to oppose new loan facilities or debt-forgiveness for Zimbabwe until such time as the country returns to the rule of law, respects human rights and has credible elections - is a congressional, that’s actually a law, something that our Congress will have to examine and consider about.

[However, it also gives the US President wide discretion as to whether or not or how to implement the law. ZDERA directs the US Secretary of the Treasury to direct US Directors at international financial institutions to issue a veto on loans to the Government of Zimbabwe. Also, the US Treasury Secretary falls under the Executive Branch, which means the President can direct him to do whatever he wants. - MrK



(c) MULTILATERAL FINANCING RESTRICTION- Until the President makes the certification described in subsection (d), and except as may be required to meet basic human needs or for good governance, the Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States executive director to each international financial institution to oppose and vote against--

(1) any extension by the respective institution of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the Government of Zimbabwe; or

(2) any cancellation or reduction of indebtedness owed by the Government of Zimbabwe to the United States or any international financial institution.

“(But) I don’t have any insight into the Congressional schedule or consideration of ZIDERA. I did have a couple of really important conversations with senior members of the US Congress when I was in Washington and I know there’s concern about it and interest in it so it’s a live issue but I couldn’t predict about when ZIDERA would be reviewed.”


Tichaona Kwazvichasvika

Our own Zimbabwean banks are not even credited as transactionworthy by paypal yet these people claim sanctions are for gvernment officials. Tell the truth....

Error 3028: You have accessed your account from a sanctioned country. Per international sanctions regulations, you are not authorized to access the PayPal system, For more information about your PayPal account status, contact complianceverification

I know China is not laughing about all these positive activities from EU and USA. Zimbabwe is back and will be better in no time.
I am coming home soon. Tell the world I am coming home.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) UK protest group targets Chinamasa

COMMENT - Zimbabwe Vigil is the 'rights group' that is headed by a member of British Military Intelligence (Geoffrey van Orden), and who consults with a member of the Rhodesian Special Forces (Roy Bennett). Read all about them, and their sabotaging of the Malawian government and economy here.

UK protest group targets Chinamasa
26/03/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

UK-BASED protest group, Zimbabwe Vigil, called protests Tuesday against Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, who is in London for a series of meetings with British government officials and donor organisations.

Chinamasa is part of a coalition government delegation that includes Cabinet colleagues, Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC).

Chinamasa’s Zanu PF party sees the meetings - the first high level engagement between Harare and London in several years - as “an indication that Britain realises that its foreign policy on Zimbabwe is collapsing and they want to embark on a new path.”

Relations between the two countries have been frosty since the European Union imposed sanctions against Zimbabwe in 2002, accusing President Robert Mugabe's government of human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

However, Zimbabwe vigil said Chinamasa – one of several officials banned from travelling to Europe under the sanctions which were suspended on Monday – should not have been allowed into the UK.

“We are saying Chinamasa is part of a regime which is responsible for gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe; he is part of a regime that is responsible for electoral fraud, the violent put-down of political opponents and rampant corruption,” a Zimvigil coordinator said on Tuesday.

“By allowing him to freely travel the world, we are simply saying people can preside over these unacceptable abuses and still get away with it.”

Asked whether engaging with Zanu PF officials would not help the British government influence events in Zimbabwe, Zimvigil said the meetings had nothing to do with human rights and ensuring free and fair elections.

“European Union countries are largely motivated by their interest in Zimbabwe’s diamonds. That is why the sanctions have been suspended,” she said.

“There is no other justification for suspending sanctions as to a reward a constitutional referendum when both the MDC-T and Zanu PF are saying they will change the charter should they win the next elections.

“Clearly, the referendum has been a waste of time and money which the country can ill afford. We are also concerned that the terms of the GPA have not been fully implemented which means we are unlikely to have credible fresh elections.”

Zimbabwe is due to hold fresh polls later this year to replacae the coalition government which came into office after a violent vote in 2008.

Chinamasa has already said the new elections must be held by June 29.
But the MDC formations have rejected the timeframe saying more time is needed to implement reforms that will help ensure a credible vote.

“Elections by June 29 are unworkable considering what needs to be done. Chinamasa should work with Minister Matinenga in drawing a roadmap to elections,” said Luke Tamborinyoka, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman.

“The ministers will prepare timelines taking into account the legal requirements and the political reforms that need to be implemented before the Principals come up with the date for elections.”

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Rupiah calls himself an endangered species

COMMENT - Wow. Former President Rupiah Banda arrested.

Rupiah calls himself an endangered species
By Mwala Kalaluka
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

RUPIAH BANDA says he is an endangered species following his arrest for abuse of office over a Nigeria oil procurement deal.

And Banda, whose passport has been seized, opted not to say anything yesterday over the charge during interrogations on grounds that the case in which he challenged the lifting of his legal immunity is now before the courts.

Former president Banda, whose immunity was lifted by Parliament in view of a catalogue of allegations bordering on corruption and money laundering activities during his presidential tenure, arrived for questioning at the Drug Enforcement Commission offices at exactly 09:00 hours.

At around 11:00 hours, Banda was formally arrested and charged.

Bond formalities were finalised at the DEC offices because the probe team did not want to take him to a different police station to be charged.

A few minutes after 12:00 hours, Banda, who was in the company of his lawyers, Sakwiba Sikota and Prof Patrick Mvunga, came out of the DEC offices and greeted the journalists but as they tried to move close to him, he said: "If you could, just remain there please. You know I am an endangered species, so I don't want to be close to you."

Sikota said his client had been arrested in respect of the issue "of the so-called oil".

"So tomorrow you can come to the court, we will be there. He has been released on bond in his recognisance, with two sureties also in their own recognisance, obviously because he is not a flight risk. He is a well-known person, so there is no need for him to be incarcerated because the charges are bailable," said Sikota as Banda stood beside him.

"They are saying something to do with Nigerian oil. From the way the thing is crafted, I am not very sure where the allegation is. We will see what kind of witnesses they will bring and so forth. They don't know how much is involved. They haven't stated how much is involved."
Asked what Banda's defence would be, Sikota said the truth was going to be their defence.

"The truth is that he is innocent and there is nothing wrong that he has done. That is the truth which shall come to pass and which we shall all see. It will also show you that this was obviously persecution… I think it is going to be very amusing. In South Africa, you had what is called the Rivonia Trial; that is one where Nelson Mandela was charged with treason and so on. In Zambia, we had the Zero Option. You remember the Zero Option?" Sikota asked as Banda chipped in: "And I was also involved in that one."

He said it seemed the PF wants to have one of its own, which will be a 'lollipop and balloon trial'.

"You saw the results of the Zero Option. It was all trumped up. People were inconvenienced for many months and everything, and you saw for yourself there was no case. So the parallels are there," said Sikota.
MMD vice-president for administration Brig Gen Dr Brian Chituwo and Banda's executive secretary Mikatazo Wakumelo have signed as his sureties.

Banda added that his case affected the Zambians, hence it was necessary that they keep tags on it.

"May I thank you again, to all the press and all the Zambians interested in this case…it's a good thing that you sit in the sun for many hours to hear what my lawyers are going to say," Banda said.

"Naturally, it would have been better if I was sitting at home but I am a law-abiding citizen, I have to go through what everyone else goes through once they are charged."

Addressing chanting MMD and UPND cadres that were however outnumbered by anti-riot paramilitary police officers at Ridgeway Post Office, Banda said the whole world knew what was happening in Zambia.

This was after he was asked what would happen to his Carter Centre programmes since his passport had been seized.

Government Joint Investigations Team spokesperson Namukolo Kasumpa said Banda had been formally arrested and charged in connection with the procurement of the Nigerian oil, which did not benefit the Zambian government.

"He has been charged with abuse of authority contrary to section 99 1 of the Penal Code Chapter 87 of the Laws of Zambia. He has been released on police bond and he will appear tomorrow today before the senior resident magistrate," said Kasumpa.

"As part of his bond conditions, he has surrendered his passport and two working sureties, as well as KR500,000 in his recognizance. The next interview will be on the 4th of April, next week on Thursday, 2013."

And sources said Banda opted not to say anything under warn and caution because of his lifting of immunity case that is expected to come up for hearing in the High Court tomorrow.

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Political successors

Political successors
By Editor
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

In order to guarantee that it doesn't change its colour, a political party must not only have a correct political line and correct policies but must train and bring up thousands or millions of successors who will carry on its cause.

In the final analysis, the question of training successors for a political cause is one of whether or not there will be people who can carry on the political work started by the older generation, whether or not the leadership of that political party will remain in the hands of people committed to its founding cause, whether or not the new generation of leaders will continue to march along the correct road laid down by the founders of the political party.

In short, this is an extremely important question, a matter of life and death for all our political parties. It is a question of fundamental importance to the future of our country.

The Patriotic Front is a bit lucky on this score because its supreme leader, Michael Sata, has a longstanding commitment to developing young leaders. Most of the most effective politicians in our country today have passed, in one way or another, through Michael's political hands.

It is no wonder his political party today has well thought-out, well-planned youth programmes. If they continue on this path, in the next five to ten years, the Patriotic Front will have a good pool of young leaders ready to take over from most of the people we see in the top leadership of the Patriotic Front today, including from Michael himself. We do not foresee a succession crisis in the Patriotic Front when the time for Michael and his current crop of top party leaders comes to step aside. This is so because there is a lot of work going on to develop a new generation of leaders. And this is something that is not being left to chance. From the highest levels of the party down to the grassroots, there must be constant attention to the training and upbringing of successors.

But what are the requirements for worthy successors? They must be politicians who serve the overwhelming majority of the people of Zambia. They must be patriots and not mercenaries who turn against their own country and their own people in the service of corruption, greed and vanity.

They must be good politicians capable of uniting and working together with the overwhelming majority. Not only must they unite with those who agree with them, they must also be good at uniting with those who disagree and even with those who formerly opposed them and have since proved wrong in practice. But they must especially watch out for careerists and divisive elements and prevent such bad elements from usurping the leadership of the party at any level. They must be models in applying the party's democratic centralism, must master the method of leadership based on principle and must cultivate a democratic style and be good at listening to the masses. They must be modest and prudent and guard against arrogance and impetuosity; they must be imbued with the spirit of self-criticism and have the courage to correct mistakes and shortcomings in their work. They must never cover up their errors and claim all the credit for themselves while they shift all the blame on others.

There is need for all our political parties to purposefully train thousands of cadres and hundreds of first-rate mass leaders. They must be cadres and leaders who are politically far-sighted, competent in work, full of the spirit of self-sacrifice and loyal and devoted in serving the nation and their political parties. It is on these cadres and these young leaders that our political parties should rely for their links with the membership and the masses, and it is by relying on their firm leadership of the masses that our political parties can succeed in their work. Such cadres and young leaders must be free from selfishness, from individualistic heroism, ostentation, sloth, passivity and arrogance; such are the qualities and style of work our political parties should demand from their members, cadres and leaders.

Young people are a decisive factor once the political line is determined. Therefore, it is important for our political parties to train large numbers of young politicians in a planned way.

What we see today in the way young people are handled in our politics is a recipe for disaster. Young people are mobilised, bought beer and set on anarchy. They are not being taught any principles; they are merely hired thugs to insult, humiliate and sometimes physically attack political opponents. This is not a recipe for developing young leaders, successors. What this does to a political party is nothing but destruction. This is why most of our political parties don't survive for a long time.

If the Patriotic Front continues to pay more attention to the development of its young leaders, it will, as Wynter Kabimba says, stay in government or in power for a very long time. This is the only way to engender devotion to the party from young people.

Young people are the most active and vital force in society. They are the most eager to learn and the least conservative in their thinking.
We must help young people to understand that ours is still a very poor country, that we cannot change this situation radically in a short time, and that only through the united efforts of our younger generation and all our people, working with their own hands, can Zambia be made prosperous.

It is important to pay special attention to young people because all over the world, it is young people who are actually involving themselves in the struggle to eliminate injustices. They are the ones who most quickly identify with the struggle and the necessity to eliminate the unjust conditions that exist. Therefore, the basic clay of our work must be the youth. We should place our hope in them and prepare them to take the banner from our hands. And we salute all those political parties and political leaders who have arrived at this conclusion and are doing everything possible to train and develop a new crop of leaders in a planned and meaningful way.



Dora should not waste time defending herself - Ng'oma

Dora should not waste time defending herself - Ng'oma
By Allan Mulenga
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

DORA Siliya should stop wasting money and time defending herself for raising a middle finger in Parliament, says Dr Alex Ng'oma.

Commenting Siliya's defence that she gestured in an insulting manner in Parliament because she was provoked by Bwacha PF member of Parliament Sydney Mushanga, Dr Ng'oma, who is University of Zambia political science lecturer, urged Siliya to be accountable for her action.

"Dora Siliya should be accountable for what she did. She is in Parliament not to pursue personal agendas or behave in a way she likes, but to represent the masses back there in Petauke district who cannot represent themselves in Parliament," he said. "She cannot go to Parliament to insult other people with the middle finger. We expected her to understand that Parliament is our honourable place where you are expected to behave in a respectable manner."

Dr Ng'oma said as an adult, Siliya should learn to control her emotions even under provocation.

"Adults should display maturity even when they are provoked. They must control their emotions and follow the laid down procedures of lodging complaints in Parliament. So, on that score Dora Siliya has failed. I can give her a D+," he said.

Dr Ng'oma said Siliya who is also MMD spokesperson should exercise humility and seek forgiveness.

"It does not help to be arrogant and defensive by hiring other people to speak on her behalf just because she has money," said Dr Ng'oma.
Siliya's gesture has received widespread condemnation from different sectors, including the Church, with some youth organisations threatening to block her from entering Parliament during the next session should the Speaker not expel her from the House.

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Court issues arrest warrant against Mpombo

Court issues arrest warrant against Mpombo
By Namatama Mundia
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

CHIEF resident magistrate Joshua Banda has issued an arrest warrant against former Zambian High Commissioner to Nigeria George Mpombo for non-appearance in court.

In this case, Mpombo, who is former defence minister in the Rupiah Banda administration, is charged with theft by public servant, forgery and uttering a false document involving K18 million.

When the matter came up yesterday for mention and fixing of defence dates, Divisional Prosecutions Officer (DPO), a Mr Mwanza, told the court that Mpombo was not before court and that it was not the first time he had not presented himself in court.

He said the state had made efforts to secure Mpombo's attendance.
Mwanza said he met the Director of Public Prosecutions, who was trying to liaise with Mpombo's counsel so that the accused finds his way to court.

Mwanza applied for an adjournment but magistrate Banda observed that Mpombo had not been appearing in court on several occasions.

Magistrate Banda then issued an arrest warrant against Mpombo to be returned on April 8.

Allegations are that Mpombo jointly and whilst working together with others unknown, being a public servant as defence minister, stole K18 million, which came into his possession by virtue of his employment.
On the second count, it is alleged that Mpombo forged a tax invoice number 6358 and receipts number 2846 and 4468 purporting to show that it was genuinely issued when in fact not.

In count three, Mpombo is charged with uttering a false document.
It is alleged that Mpombo knowing and fraudulently uttered false documents, namely two receipts, tax invoice and retirement of special imprest forms to Winniver Simwinji Mhlanga.

The offences are alleged to have been committed between June 2008 and September 2008 in Lusaka.

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Court hears how Nevers opened private bank account in Canada

Court hears how Nevers opened private bank account in Canada
By Namatama Mundia
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:01 CAT

THE Lusaka Magis-trates' Court yesterday heard that a private bank account was opened at the Zambian High Commission in Canada during Nevers Mumba's tenure without the knowledge of other staff.

And the court also heard that Mumba, the MMD leader, received a donation of 122, 229.85 Canadian dollars from a private company Barrick Gold Corporation for a cultural exchange programme.

This is in a case where Mumba is charged with failure to comply with applicable procedure relating to management of public funds and three counts of abuse of authority of office contrary to the Laws of Zambia.
Mumba is alleged to have willfully failed to comply with applicable procedure relating to management of public funds contrary to section 33(2)(b) of the repealed Anti Corruption Act No. 38 of 2010.

It is alleged that Mumba between June 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011 at the Zambian High Commission in Canada, being a person whose functions concerned the use of public revenue, willfully failed to comply with laid down procedures in receiving and disbursing CAD$122,229.85, a donation to the Zambian government by a private company called Barrick Gold Corporation.

It is alleged further that Mumba, between October 1, 2009 and December 31, 2010 being a person employed in the public service, abused his authority of office by awarding contracts valued at CAD$9,000, CAD$19,850 CAD$5,248 for electrical works, carpeting and construction of a deck at the Zambian High Commission residence in Canada to three Canadian private companies Restcon Construction Services, Argos Carpet Limited and Stanmark Construction respectively without following laid down procedure.

Testifying after trial commenced before chief resident magistrate Joshua Banda, former Canadian deputy high commissioner Nedson Nzowa, 52, of Makeni said that in December 2011, officers from the government joint investigations went to the mission and interviewed workers there.
He said he was asked to explain the cultural exchange programme and he explained that the mission had a strategic planning meeting which discussed, among the issues, the cultural exchange programme.

Nzowa said he told the officers that Mumba told him to work closely with mission liaison officer Carolina Rodrigus and one Bridget to make efforts to get a venue for the cultural exchange programme and that all venues asked for a deposit before any negotiations.

He said Mumba called him to his office and told him that they were not making any headway because the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had not sent any money and that if they delayed, a donor would be found.

Nzowa said he advised Mumba that any donation would further delay the programme because approval from the ministry was needed because the accounts were audited and that auditors would query where the money came from.

He said after some days, first secretary for accounts Emma Hamweetwa consulted him after Mumba asked her how an account that could not be audited could be opened.

Nzowa told the court that he told Hamweetwa that it was not possible because accounts were audited and if they had to open one, they needed approval from the ministry.

He said he had also briefed Mumba that owners of the venues that had been found needed a deposit, saying the MMD leader told him to leave the matter to him.

Nzowa said the cultural exchange programme was held on October 24.
And Nzowa said that in December 2011, both he and Mumba were recalled but that he was asked to sit in until the new high commissioner reported.

He said after Mumba had left, Carolina went to his office to consult him after two people called her and asked for a file on the cultural exchange programme.

Nzowa said the two, Dr Joseph Daka and Marble Chipasha, stood on the other side of the embassy.

He said he was shocked because he did not know there was a file kept by one of the local staff and he was also shocked that unauthorised individuals could ask for documents from the embassy, saying it was irregular.

Nzowa added that he told Carolina to ask the two people to see him so that they could explain why they needed the file but that they never showed up.

"I decided to go through the file to investigate what they were looking for. Most things I found there were surprising. I was number two from Dr Mumba but most of the things I saw on the file, I had not seen them before," he said.

Nzowa further said he discovered that Mumba had received CAD$122,229.85 and he called Hamweetwa to find out if they had received money in the mission account but she responded in the negative.

"I also discovered that there was a private account opened for that money. I saw on the file that there was payment vouchers designed for that activity which were different from normal payment vouchers from government," he said.

Nzowa said it was highly irregular for a mission to open an account without his knowledge and Hamweetwa's because approval was needed.
He said he was surprised that Dr Daka and Chipasha, who had earlier asked for the file, were also signatories to the private account.
Nzowa produced two copies of transmission of money in the amounts of CAD$41,500 and CAD$80,729.85 respectively to the private account.

He said the transaction of the money to the private account was done without the knowledge of any diplomatic staff, adding that that donation was to the government.

Nzowa said the investigators interviewed all the members of staff on the issue and they collected files.

He said the officers showed him a batch of documents from Barrick Gold by officer Desmond Chibola but he told the investigators he knew nothing about them.

Nzowa said the other investigators were a Mr Mukelebai and a Mr Kanganja.

And Nzowa told the court that he wrote to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, recommending that Argos Carpeting be awarded a contract to renovate the residence at 9 Mission Inn Grove because it was found to be a reputable company which competed favourably with Feel Flooring Limited and Brookside.

He said the mission never received response until he was shown a letter from the ministry, where they had instead approved Brookside and the investigator queried why the ministry's advice was ignored.
Nzowa also said he had advised Mumba against involving his spouse in the quotations.

Most of the quotations produced had Mumba's wife's name Florence on attention.

Nzowa said he was also interviewed on the electrical works done at the residence.

Meanwhile, earlier when the matter was called, Mumba's lawyer Mekebi Zulu applied that justice minister Wynter Kabimba be summoned before court to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt of court in view of an article which appeared in The Post newspaper dated March 7, where he commented on Mumba's case, which is still in court.
But the state said it needed time to respond to the application.
The matter comes up today for continued hearing.



L/stone cures 87% of TB patients - Dr Hara

L/stone cures 87% of TB patients - Dr Hara
By Brina Siwale in Livingstone
Tue 26 Mar. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LIVINGSTONE cures at least 87 per cent of tuberculosis patients once they are put on treatment, says district medical officer Dr Cliff Hara.
Speaking during the commemoration of World TB Day which fell yesterday, Dr Hara said the achievement was a great success for the Livingstone management team.

"The 87 per cent cure rate for Tuberculosis (TB) means that out of every 100 sputum positive patients put on treatment, 87 are successfully cured. This has been achieved not only by the medical team but also the patients themselves and their relatives," he said.

Dr Hara, however, expressed sadness that some TB patients were not helping in the fight against the disease by refusing to take their medication and not adhering to instructions given by the doctors.

"Others continue drinking alcohol even when they are still on treatment. Some community members encourage TB patients to stop their treatment and instead seek help from traditional healers," said Dr Hara.

And Livingstone district commissioner Omar Munsanje commended the district management team for achieving the 87 per cent TB cure rate.
He said there was need for a continuous dissemination of information on the disease to the community.

"As a district we are not spared. This calls for community involvement in the control of the disease. And as a patient, if you are placed on TB treatment please remain committed to finishing the treatment and go for voluntary counseling and testing," said Munsanje.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Desist from hate speech: VP Mujuru

Desist from hate speech: VP Mujuru
Saturday, 23 March 2013 20:25

Vice-President Mujuru lays flowers on the grave of Jane Shamu — the sister of the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Cde Webster Shamu, at a memorial service for the minister's mother, Ambuya Mary Shamu, in Musengezi yesterday. Looking on is Cde Shamu (fourth from left), his wife Constance and the minister's friend, Cde Dexter Nduna (extreme left).

Lincoln Towindo

Vice-President Mujuru yesterday urged Zimbabweans to desist from hate speech and fanning tribal tensions ahead of the general election scheduled for later this year.

Speaking at the memorial service of Ambuya Mary Shamu, mother to Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu at the family’s rural homestead in Musengezi, Cde Mujuru said hate speech has no place in Zimbabwe. She said peace should prevail throughout the election period.

“When you use hate speech against one another or when you attack each other on tribal grounds, then you have no place in Zimbabwean politics,” she said.

“God created us all differently and we should all accept each other the way we are. God also gave us people such as Mbuya Shamu who saw no tribe; people who united us in spite of our differences. We pray that we have more people like her in leadership.”

She said women are often handed the difficult role of uniting families and communities.

“Most of us have very little understanding of the concept of womanhood but from the testimonies we heard today on the life of Ambuya, we got an insight into that very concept.

Ambuya Shamu, though I never knew her on a personal level, was an embodiment of that very concept. But to add on to what has already been said, the way she united people in her family and the community is the true definition of womanhood.”

Speaking at the same occasion, Cde Shamu, who is also the Zanu-PF national political commissar, said the revolutionary party was working towards a resounding electoral victory.

“From tomorrow on-wards, there shall be no time to rest for all party members,” said Cde Shamu.

“We need to ensure that in areas where there are no cells or ward committees, things are put in order.

“We do not want to see this happening in Chegutu West alone but countrywide.”

Ambuya Shamu succumbed to unstable congestion cardiac failure last month and was buried at Plot Number 32 in Musengezi. She was 90.

The memorial was attended by Cabinet ministers and members of the Zanu-PF central committee and Politburo as well as party supporters.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

(DAILY MAIL ZM) Anglo American team explores for oil

COMMENT - De Beers was founded in 1887 by NM Rothschild & Sons, which was also funding Cecil John Rhodes at the time. They also funded Standard Chartered Bank (STANCHART). Anglo-American Corporation was founded by J.P. Morgan and sir Ernest Oppenheimer, whose family remained the face of De Beers throughout the 20th century. Anglo-American De Beers is jointly owned through swapped shares - at one point the ratio was that 33% of Anglo shares were owned by De Beers, and 33% of De Beers shares were owned by Anglo.

For Zambia's mining industry to be foreign owned is a direct assault on national sovereignty.

(DAILY MAIL ZM) Anglo American team explores for oil
Posted by online editor on Mar 25th, 2013
Anglo America partnersBy CYNTHIA MWALE in Chavuma

A TEAM from Anglo-American Plc has this month explored for oil and minerals in North-Western province following the expression of interest to invest in the area.

The London-based mining giant is also interested to set up a mine in Chavuma’s Kahongo area after Government granted a large-scale prospecting mining licence.

Both Zambezi district commissioner Catherine Mukuma and Chavuma district commissioner Chipawa Chipawa confirmed in separate interviews in Chavuma that the team was in the province on March 14, 2013.

Ms Mukuma said the investors have shown interest in exploring oil in Zambezi, which shares borders with oil-rich Angola.

She said the company has also indicated the presence of copper in the area.

“We had some investors that came and approached our office from Anglo-American. They have also given us interest to deal in Zambezi [in] exploring oil and copper exploration that is in Nyakulenga and west bank in Chief Impidi,” she said.

Meanwhile, Mr Chipawa said the investors confirmed the abundance of copper deposits in the area and are expected back in the country next month.

The investors have been given the licences to explore copper, platinum, gold, cobalt, zinc and lead.

“Just recently, we received people [investors] that came to do mineral explorations, Anglo-America Corporation, they were in the district.

They are coming back in April. There is a place where they have identified that their are minerals such as platinum, gold and cobalt, zinc and lead.

So they are very much interested in opening up a mine in this district [Chavuma] and that is Kalongo area as you go to Zambezi. So we will rely so much on that because they had shown much interest in coming here especially that the road network is conducive,” he said.

Mr Chipawa said the investors have taken samples for testing, adding that, “They [investors] want to come and ground in April. They have got the licence for exploration and what is remaining is to come and start the works.”

Two months ago, Government issue a prospecting large-scale mining licence to Anglo-American Plc to carry out exploration works in the province.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

(GLOBALRESEARCH) U.S.-Sponsored Genocides: From Guatemala to Congo

U.S.-Sponsored Genocides: From Guatemala to Congo
By Glen Ford
Global Research, March 23, 2013
Black Agenda Report 19 March 2013

Guatemala has put its U.S.-backed genocidal maniac on trial, but Washington continues to protect its agents of mass murder in the Democratic Republic of Congo. “There is no auditorium big enough to hold the all the living Americans who should justly be charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.”

The man who unleashed a genocide against the Maya Indians of Guatemala, former dictator and general Efrain Rios Montt, went on trial for his crimes against humanity in Guatemala City, this week. By all rights, the 86 year-old Montt should be joined in the dock by scores of still-living United States officials, including former President George Bush the First.

“The genocide would have been impossible without the United States.”

Back in 1954, the CIA overthrew the reformist government of President Jacobo Arbenz, whose land reform measures had angered the United Fruit Company. The U.S. termination with extreme prejudice of Guatemalan democracy ultimately led to a 36-year rebellion and civil war, with the Americans backing a succession of dictators. General Montt was the most monstrous. In the 1980s, his regime declared total war on the Mayan people of the country’s highlands. Whole villages were massacred and entire regions laid waste as the military attempted to drain the human sea in which the guerilla movement swam. Army documents show clearly that the native Maya were targeted for extermination because of their ethnicity; that all Maya – a majority of Guatemala’s population – were considered enemies of the state. Rios Montt is the first Latin American former head of state to be charged with genocide in his own country.

However, this crime is not Rios Montt’s, alone. The genocide would have been impossible without the United States, which had run the show in Guatemala since 1954 and had armed the general to the teeth. The U.S. corporate media like to call President Ronald Reagan the “Great Communicator” but, in Guatemala, he was the Great Exterminator, encouraging and financing General Rios Montt’s orgy of mass murder.
Reagan described the racist butcher as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment” who was “getting a bum rap.” All told, a quarter million or more Guatemalans died in the 40 years since the CIA robbed them of their democracy and independence.

“The Maya were targeted for extermination because of their ethnicity.”

In 1999, when the civil war was over, President Bill Clinton apologized for the harm done to Guatemala by the United States. But by then, Clinton had already set in motion a far larger genocide in the Democratic Republic of Congo – a U.S.-sponsored holocaust that has so far claimed 6 million lives. In a just world, Slick Willie would join an auditorium full of Obama, Bush and Clinton administration operatives who, over the space of 16 years, made eastern Congo the charnel house of the planet. Susan Rice would have a place of prominence in this vast assemblage of criminals, as among the most culpable for the worst bloodbath since World War Two.

In fact, there is no auditorium big enough to hold the all the living Americans who should justly be charged with genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. There are too many – great crowds of them from each administration, especially in the last ten years, since the invasion of Iraq. Imperialism in its last stages maintains an ever-lengthening Kill List.

Guatemala is coming to grips with its past, in a trial that will probably last a few months. The United States has an infinity of crimes to answer for.

For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

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