Thursday, September 12, 2013

Well done sekuru, Sata congratulates Mugabe
By Edwin Mbulo and Mwala Kalaluka in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says Robert Mugabe's landslide re-election is a demonstration of his people's confidence in his leadership and that of the ruling ZANU-PF.

And President Mugabe says Zimbabwe will remain an active member of the United Nations despite the chagrin and demonic tendencies of the political and military superpowers in Europe and America that dominate the organisation and have imposed hegemonic sanctions on his country.

During a colourful official opening of the 20th United Nations World Tourism Organisation UNWTO held at Victoria Falls Hotel in Zimbabwe's Victoria Falls border town on Sunday night, President Sata personally congratulated President Mugabe on his re-election.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Comrade sekuru Robert Mugabe on his re-election as President of Zimbabwe. Comrade Mugabe, well done to you and your party ZANU-PF," he said.

"Your victory signifies the trust and confidence the people of Zimbabwe have in you and ZANU-PF."

President Sata said the co-hosting of the UN tourism conference would strengthen the two countries' already warm bilateral relations.

"To you my brother Comrade Mugabe, without Amai Grace and indeed without Amai Christine, what we are seeing wouldn't have been possible because normally, a great man must have a great woman behind him, and well done the two young ladies," he said as the delegates applauded.

President Sata said tourism was a sector of great significance and also thanked UNWTO secretary general Dr Taleb Rifai for ensuring that the southern African region hosts the UNWTO general assembly for the first time.

"Although we are supposed to be Siamese twins, I don't want to steal the show. I now want to call upon the bigger twin to come and tell us what he called us here for because up to now, we have not eaten," said President Sata.

The two presidents later lit the Victoria Falls Bridge and while clasping each other's hands, they shouted "Pamberi" forward.

And President Mugabe said the West's ill-conceived and debilitating sanctions on his country disabled it from participating in bodies like the UNWTO.

"Your decision to hold this important global event at this venue inspires us," President Mugabe told Dr Rifai. "We expect it to leave an indelible mark on our memories and that it be part of our generational legacy, marking a clear turning point in the tourism fortunes of our two countries, of our region and indeed of our continent of Africa."

He said Africa's integration as one state would be a great catalyst to the growth of sustainable tourism, more so that Europe was trying to keep all the tourism dollars within the Eurozone by imposing punitive airport taxes on travellers.

He said Zimbabwe was enthused with the decision to hold the UNWTO general assembly at the Victoria Falls, which is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe.

"We are very enthused by the endorsement of our two countries as worth hosts of such a meeting," President Mugabe told the delegates seated on a sprawling hotel lawn overlooking the Victoria Falls Bridge.

"The hosting of the UNWTO general assembly inspires us in our ongoing and continued efforts since the coming into being of the state of Zimbabwe to maintain friendly relations with the whole international community, even with those countries with which we may not agree on all matters."

He said the hosting of the UNWTO at one of the seven natural wonders of the World was also a recognition that it was a safe and secure destination.

"Zimbabwe recognises the efficacy of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation's social and economic development strategy," President Mugabe said.

"We remained an active member of the organisation until 1999. Unfortunately, during the period 2000 to 2008, we faced immense
challenges occasioned in a large part by illegal debilitating sanctions imposed upon us by some sections of the West. These sanctions sadly came hard on the heels of the IMF, World Bank's ill-conceived economic structural adjustment programme, so-called ESAP. But other negatives disabled our active participation in bodies like in the UNWTO."

President Mugabe said in 2009, Zimbabwe, with the facilitation of SADC and the African Union, happily formed a government of national unity, which he said somewhat led to softening of the stances against his country 'on the part of our political and economic detractors of Europe and America'.

He noted that with Dr Rifai's support, Zimbabwe had again become an active member of the UNWTO and had since acquired a seat on the organisation's executive council.

"Since then, we have not looked back and following our successful two-nation bid with Zambia to co-host this session, we find ourselves here tonight," President Mugabe said.

"President Sata and I have since signed a golden book of tourism, thus becoming ambassadors for global tourism, never mind the chagrin of our detractors over this matter. In West Africa, they say 'don't mind them'. Please let all of you know that the signing of the golden book of tourism was not a mere ceremony for us, for through that act we recognised the important political and economic role that tourism can play in our two countries and our continent. We are committed to leveraging this sector as a key driver of our economic growth."

President Mugabe reiterated Zimbabwe's commitment to the founding values and principles of the United Nations.

"…not withstanding adversity of the demonic tendencies of some of the world's economic and military superpowers who dominate the organisation," said President Mugabe.

"We are very satisfied that the UN is a vital body for all humanity…it is on that basis that I, without reservation, gave my full support to the Zambia-Zimbabwe bid to host this general assembly. I'm very glad that the organisation decided to host the general assembly here."

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What type of Christian nation are we building?
By Editor
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

SEEING what is going on in our country - corruption, greed, vanity, divisions, injustice, unfairness - one wonders what kind of society we are trying to build in this country that has declared itself Christian.

But then we remember what Jesus said: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the Kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven." And from this, we learn that spirituality is a way of living life according to the spirit.

For a society to be fair, just and humane and to consider itself truly Christian, it needs to treat everybody equally, promote solidarity among its people, serve the needs of all and it must conform to God's vision or dream for the world.

If we return again to that popular symbol of justice, we see that it is blind. The underlying idea is that it will give each person her due or his rights equally, impartially. But we seem to live in a society, in a country where justice has become a tradable commodity. It is either on offer only to the highest bidder or it can be obstructed only by the most powerful. If it serves only the needs of the rich and powerful, then it is not social justice as we know it.

The notion of solidarity is rather common currency in many aspects of our social life. And many of us, individually or as a community, pray incessantly for the grace of solidarity with a category of people we sometimes refer to as "the less fortunate".

But this solidarity then is not a feeling of vague compassion or shallow distress at the misfortunes of so many people, both near and far. On the contrary, it is a firm and persevering determination to commit oneself to the common good; that is to say to the good of all and of each individual, because we are all really responsible for all.

Solidarity helps us to see the "other" not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as a our "neighbour", a "helper" to be made a sharer, on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of life to which we all are equally invited by God.

Solidarity means choosing to walk in the shoes of those who hurt the most. And we do it not because we derive some pleasure from the pain and comfort, but because we wish to see a change, a radical transformation of our community , our society as we know it; that is, a change from the point of view of those who are considered to be at the bottom of society.

If we refuse to take the side of the weakest segment of our people, we can expect to have at least two emotions or reactions. The first is outrage and revulsion for whatever forces conspire to keep people in a state of deprivation, oppression and marginalisation. This is the negative pole. Social analysis is good at provoking this kind of emotion. The second is a burning desire to work for change. This is the positive pole. Social justice is about laying out a plan and setting out on a path of transforming the structures of our society.

Social justice is not justice if the resources meant for all citizens are hijacked by a privileged few. As human beings, we all have essentially the same basic needs: food, health, shelter, work, and so on and so forth. To live a decent human existence, these are things we just cannot live without. The reality of life is that there are so many people who have been made to live without these basic necessities.

As long as there are people who are not able to enjoy these minimum conditions of human existence due to inhuman socio-economic and political structures, we cannot say we have a socially just situation.
It is said that one of the greatest injustices in the contemporary world consists precisely in this: that the ones who possess much are relatively few and those who possess almost nothing are many. It is the injustice of the poor distribution of goods and services originally intended for all.

Social justice is about guaranteeing the basic conditions of life for the most number of people, rather than a privileged few.
In the biblical account of the creation of the world, God had a dream of the kind of world He wanted to create. That dream broke down, due to sin. But it was not beyond repair and redemption. When God took the people of Israel out of oppression in Egypt, He had in mind to create a new society that would be the envy of and an example for all the societies that existed then. As we know from the evidence of the Old Testament, the dream was never fully realised. But as we also know from the New Testament, God has never abandoned that dream. In Jesus Christ, God made another attempt to revive and realise that dream.

We are told that the world that God saw prior to the incarnation was a divided world: a world with 'some white and others black, some in peace and others at war, some weeping and others laughing, some healthy and others sick, some being born and others dying'. The vision we have here is that of a dislocated, divided and traumatised world. This world is a far cry from the one we first saw in Genesis or after the Exodus. God would never look at this world with the same eye with which He looked at the world of Adam and Eve or saw the Promised Land from Mount Nebo (Deuteronomy 34). When God looked at that world, He saw and said 'It is good'. But when God looks at our world, He says, 'Something has gone wrong', 'Something has got to change', 'I need someone to change this', 'We need a new plan, and a new architect' - that is how the incarnation came to be.

This act itself is, first of all, an act of solidarity: Jesus freely chooses to identify with and take on the life of the poor, in order to bring about the salvation of the human race. It is, secondly, an act of protest. The status quo could no longer be allowed to continue; something had to change quickly and radically. But the most significant aspect - and this is the third point - is that God's act, ultimately leads to transformation.

Social justice does not come about because of a miracle; it takes work. It is a labour of love, even on the part of God. Social justice does not come about as an imposition from the outside; it happens from inside.

If you ever wanted to see a sketch of God's dream for the world, read Ezekiel 34; there you will catch a glimpse not only of what has gone wrong with our society, but also just what it will take to put it right again.

God has a dream for our world and our society. It is a dream of a world where there shall be no woman, man or child living in ignorance, disease, poverty and oppression.

But when we look around us, everything we see reminds us that God's dream is an unfinished project. The kind of society we see and in which we live bears all the signs of a broken promise, and an unfulfilled dream. But this human and social agenda is by no means an abandoned project.



Maureen counsels opposition leaders
By Roy Habaalu
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

MAUREEN Mwanawasa says opposition political parties must respect the government and party in power. Appearing on Muvi Television's The Assignment programme on Sunday, Maureen said the opposition and Zambians in general should respect and support the government in its programmes.

She said the opposition should realise that President Michael Sata was in charge of the country and should be supported.

"President Michael Sata is our President now, and regardless of our political affiliation, he needs to be supported and respected. We need to see the proper role of the opposition being played by all opposition parties. Their role should be clear, without disturbing the governance of the country," she said.

Maureen said the opposition must be respectful of the party in government because their wish was to be in power, and they would then equally need to be respected.

"The party in government works to take the country forward, so when we criticise, we must be constructive and not destructive because there are a few people in political parties compared to the majority Zambians seeking basic necessities. We need ideas from the opposition for the benefit of the majority, not a few individuals, so the role of the opposition must be specific so that the party in power take this country forward," she said.

Maureen said she would like to see a united opposition that is supportive of the government of the day.

On corruption, Maureen said the vice took away public resources that should benefit the poor.

"Corruption takes away money meant for road construction and creation of employment, and if it's not curtailed, public resources will end up in the hands and pockets of a few people. The national cake must be shared equally, and every leader has a responsibility to ensure that public resources benefit all," said Maureen.

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RDA warns Chinese resisting to sub-contract road works
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

CHINESE contractors are resisting to sub-contract the mandatory 20 per cent of their road contracts to local contractors, reveals Road Development Agency chief executive officer Charles Mushota.

Mushota has threatened to terminate road contracts of foreign contractors that refuse to sub-contract 20 per cent of their road contracts to local contractors.

The PF regime has made it mandatory that all government contracts being implemented in the road sector, with a specific emphasis on the current 8,000 Link Zambia Project, must be 20 per cent locally sub-contracted to build capacity of indigenous local engineers and economically empower people .

Mushota revealed that while most foreign contractors have had no problems implementing the requirements, some Chinese contractors were resisting working with Zambians.

He cited AVIC International Project Engineering Company, the company contracted to rehabilitate about 400 kilometres of Lusaaka roads in a project called L400 and Sinohydro, as some of the Chinese firms he chided.

The L400 which is a four-year project is expected to see massive transformation of existing city roads and create thousands of jobs for unemployed youth.

"We did receive some reports in the last two days that some contractors were resisting to this," Mushota said last week during a public discussion in Lusaka.

"But to those which were brought to my attention and I would not be shy to mention the two companies - one of the company is the one contracted to do the L400 and I personally called the man in charge. I didn't have a nice time with him, I should admit."

He warned that he would terminate road contracts where foreign contractors had refused to embed the right threshold of local components in their works.

"Even if L400 was a loan from the Eximbank of China, I think I was ready to advise the government that if this is the way to go, they would rather do away with L400. And I should report that I received a call from China, the principals of L400, were trying to be very apologetic and I told them that God gave you two ears so that you can listen more and talk less but you its opposite and I think those are on L400, if you approach them, I think the attitude is different," said Mushota.

"The other company where I got a report was Sino hydro. I phoned Sinohydro and I gave them my piece. Also, I did instruct my director construction and rehabilitation that we should meet all the contractors because the resistance is not from all contractors but mostly it's from the Chinese contractors. They are a couple of success stories but at the same time, there is some resistance from the contractors but I can assure you that we are going to deal with them because the government has told us to implement the policy..."

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Govt on target to meet fertiliser demand
By Stuart Lisulo
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE GOVERNMENT is on target to meet fertiliser demand across the country before the September 30 deadline, according to official figures.

Figures from the Farmer Input Support Programme for the week ending August 16, 2013 have revealed that from the cumulative bulk of 60,956 tonnes secured, 26,641 tonnes have been dispatched to districts across the country, achieving a percentage ratio of 38 per cent in terms of distribution.

Agriculture minister Robert Sichinga said these figures suggest an achievement on the part of the government.

It has never happened before. From 26th June to 16th August, that is how far we have gone. My target is September 30 and we would have finished distributing the fertiliser that we have produced. This is a success story, Sichinga said.

He said if the rains were to come in October, most of the people would have received their fertiliser.

In terms of securing the cumulative bulk of fertiliser of which government's target was 70,000 tonnes, Sichinga said he government would have secured the remaining 9,044 tonnes by this month-end.

So far we have 86 per cent (of the cumulative bulk), with 14 per cent to go, he said.

And regarding the current status of tenders for the supply of top dressing fertilisers, Sichinga confirmed that his ministry was still working on the issue.

We want it to be done properly. What I don't want is this issue of corruption being involved in the tender bid process, he said.
Sichinga also reiterated the government's commitment and seriousness in taking down all existing cartels within the agriculture sector.

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Munali Nickel agrees to review mining methods
By Gift Chanda
Tue 27 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

MUNALI Nickel Mine has agreed to review its mining method to optimise profits, says mines minister Christopher Yaluma.

The country's sole nickel mine, which is scheduled to resume operations soon, was seeking ways of reducing costs after it identified complexities in tapping the ore body using its old mining methods, Yaluma said in an interview.

He explained that the mining methods which initially were being applied at the mine were wrong.

"They were wrong compared to the formation of the core ore and it was not only costly but very difficult to extract and produce as much nickel as possible to meet the targets in the initial business plan," Yaluma said.

"But other methodologies of mining will be applied once operations resumes."

Independent consultants were recently sought by Mazabuka's Munali Nickel Mine to look into the mining methods, design of the mine as well as other operational difficulties.

Underground operations at the mine have been suspended since November 2011 due to cash-flow problems caused by the low global nickel prices and operational disruptions.

Operations were halted in June 2011 after a sink hole emerged due to the mining method.

Yaluma said China's Jinchuan Mining Group, which pulled out of Munali Mine last year following a fall in metal prices, has returned and was likely to inject capital to resume output.

In 2010, Jinchuan helped revive Munali, which first halted operations in mid-2008, with an investment of about U $37 million.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Jonathan Moyo impostor dupes paper
Fake ... Jonathan Moyo's purpoted Twitter account which appears to have fooled a newspaper
27/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THEY are the bane of many celebrities and other public figures – parody Twitter accounts updated studiously by wags devoted to poking fun at prominent personalities.

Twitter rules say users creating parody accounts must state so, but some just ignore this rule, as Zimbabwe’s former Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo recently found out.

Moyo, a senior member of the Zanu PF politburo and the party’s leading strategist who is challenging his loss of the Tsholotsho North seat in the July 31 elections in the Electoral Court, has told of his shock after a weekly newspaper published comments purportedly made by him on Twitter.

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, in its regular ‘Muckracker’ column, published an article on August 9 under the headline ‘Moyo is right, this is daylight robbery’ – making reference to the MDC-T’s massive election defeat in the July 31 elections.

The newspaper said: “Moyo unwittingly tweeted; ‘This is daylight robbery’, and demanded a recount. We couldn’t agree more with Moyo, except the daylight robbery is nationwide.”

On August 23, the same column had another piece on Moyo based on his alleged Twitter account under the headline ‘Irony writ large’.

The columnist claimed that “Jonathan Moyo is indefatigable in his quest to overturn his defeat in Tsholotsho North. In his petition for the nullification of the results and a re-run for the election, Moyo described the pro-Zanu PF ZEC’s decision to declare Roselene Sipepa-Nkomo the winner as ‘improper and irregular’. And as usual, the irony is always lost on Moyo who on August 6 ranted on Twitter: ‘They tell the West they have been cheated when they are the worst cheats’. There you have it!”

The only trouble, Moyo told New on Tuesday, is that he has never sent a tweet in his life.

“I don’t spend time on Twitter or Facebook because there is a lot of serious work to do in the real world. I have no Twitter-handle, no Facebook account and no website and I am not about to start any,” Moyo said.

He added: “Whilst being mimicked communicates a kind of pleasure, a social high you’re giving the other person, and I have no intention of spoiling their twisted unnatural fun, I find someone using my name and image to say things that I don’t believe in and that I would never do or say totally unacceptable.

“It’s worse when malicious newspapers with well-known known axes to grind pick this Twitter rubbish and publish it as fact without any shame.”

Moyo – who said he believes that the main author of the Muckracker column is Iden Wetherell, the group senior associate editor of Alpha Media Holdings – charged that, “In typical Rhodie-style, Wetherell has no natural sense of right or wrong and that is why he has all sorts of unnatural fantasies that make him a weird fellow with queer and un-African behaviour.

“What Rhodies like Wetherell say about some of us has nothing to do with facts or reality but it is all imaginary stuff based on hateful falsehoods. In the circumstances, it is foolhardy for Rhodies like Wetherell to imagine that they will get away with their unnatural habits, dirty lies and hateful propaganda under the cover of false Twitter accounts.

“The real irony that is lost to Iden Wetherell is that he does and says things that are just unnatural.”

The offending Twitter account, @Jonathanmoyo, says in the bio: “Jonathan Moyo - Former Minister of Information and Publicity. Currently ZANU (PF) Politburo Member. Tsholotsho, Zimbabwe”.

It appears journalists at the Zimbabwe Independent may not be the only ones tracking the account for interesting bites from the master of put-downs. Other local and international journalists also appear to have been duped and are among the parody account’s 1,950 followers.

The Ducth Embassy in Harare (@DutchEmbassyZim) and leading journalists including the UK Guardian’s Africa correspondent, David Smith (@SmithInAfrica), Reuters journalists Nelson Banya (@nelsonbanya) and Stella Mapenzauswa (@stellamap), 1st TV’s Violet Gonda (@violetgonda) and Southern Eye newspaper Kholwani Nyathi (@kholwaninyathi) all appear to have fallen for the impostor.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) MDC-T MPs to boycott parliament opening
26/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE MDC-T says its MPs will boycott next Tuesday’s official opening of the seventh parliament, and the party will direct its MPs to abstain from voting for Speaker and Senate President.

Morgan Tsvangirai’s party initially considered asking all its MPs not to take up their posts in parliament, claiming elections had been rigged by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

But the plan was abandoned over fears of a rebellion, and now the party says its newly-elected lawmakers will not be in the chamber when President Mugabe officially opens parliament.

At a recent Zanu PF politburo meeting, Mugabe asked his party to nominate Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission chairman Jacob Mudenda as Speaker of the House of Assembly. The party also resolved to retain Edna Madzongwe as Senate President.

MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said: “I don’t think the MDC-T will be able to provide a candidate for the Speaker position as technically we do not have the numbers to win against Zanu PF.

“We will also not support any Zanu PF candidate for the position and what it simply means is that we are not going to vote.

“Attending the official opening ceremony and listening to the speech is tantamount to legitimising the manner Mugabe was elected, yet we know the election was stolen.”
The seventh Parliament will have 270 MPs – including 70 from the MDC-T – and 80 Senators.

The Constitutional Court has dismissed the MDC-T's claims of election fraud, ruling that President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party won the July 31 election freely and fairly.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Next leader could be a woman: Stevenson
26/08/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S ambassador to Senegal Trudy Stevenson has expressed the hope that the next country’s next leader could be a woman.

Speaking, in a recent interview with African Press Agency at its Dakar head offices, Ambassador Stevenson argued that a woman president would "certainly raise the country’s profile in virtually every sphere".

Liberia elected Africa’s first ever woman head of state, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf during the 2007 elections while the Malawian President Joyce Banda succeeded Bingu Wa Matharika who died last year.

Stevenson said incumbent vice president Joice Mujuru who has been in the position since 2004 stood a good chance of taking over from President Robert Mugabe who has run the country since independence in 1980.

Mugabe, who turned 89 this year, was last month re-elected or a new five-year term in office, and analysts see him serving the full term despite concerns over his advanced age and rumoured poor health.
Mujuru has been touted as a possible successor but she would likely be challenged by defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Despite denying harbouring any presidential ambitions, the two rivals are said to be fiercely jostling for the top job behind the scenes with analysts warning that Zanu PF could be torn apart if Mugabe’s succession is no handled properly.

Meanwhile, regarding the post electoral climate in the country, Ambassador Stevenson was categorical, stating that: “there will be no post-electoral violence this year!”

She said Zimbabweans have learnt from their past mistakes in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential poll when scores were killed and injured.

“Generally speaking, Zimbabweans are not violent … we dislike violence and I doubt it very seriously if there would be any election-related violence.” she said.

She explained that “even a post-Mugabe Zimbabwe will remain peaceful and progressive,” adding, “the proof is that Zimbabweans have already yielded to President Mugabe’s call to remain one, united and peaceful”.

The envoy also called on the international community particularly Africans not to believe in the “tales told about my country’s wrongs in the indigenisation and land reform process”.

She asked: “don’t you think it is fair for Zimbabweans to own only 51 percent of the businesses in the country and their land?”

Ambassador Stevenson said bilateral cooperation with Senegal ranges from education, to mining, tourism and agriculture with significant exchanges between the two countries in these areas.

Most importantly, she said that Senegal stands to benefit greatly from Zimbabwe’s experience in dairy farming and tourism in which the country has a comparative advantage.

“But we in Zimbabwe want to learn from Senegal’s experience in how people and animals co-exist in several of Senegal’s animal parks”, the envoy said with a smile suggesting admiration.

She revealed plans by the two countries to strengthen bilateral trade through a joint commission that is expected to meet in Harare soon.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mugabe ridicules ‘ignoramus’ outgoing PM
National hero ... President Robert Mugabe defended Karakadzai's NRZ deployment
25/08/2013 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

We will hit back, Mugabe tells West

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe launched a new broadside at bitter rival and outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Sunday saying working with the MDC-T leader required “real patience and endurance” because he was an ignoramus who was woefully unaware of his ignorance.

The Zanu PF leader was speaking at the National Heroes Acre in Harare during the burial of retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai who was also the general manager of the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ).

“You see, an illiterate person who is aware that they are ignorant, you can deal with (them) better,” Mugabe said in apparent reference to Tsvangirai’s lack of college-level education.

“You are better off with an ignorant person who is aware, conscious, of his ignorance, who accepts that he is ignorant, but if you are ignorant of your ignorance inhamo huruhuru; uchifunga kuti kusaziva hungwaru, ah, unopinza vanhu munhamo.

“Kuti mufambidzane muchinzwanana hurukuro dzacho nema ideas acho zvinobva zvasiyana kure kure.”

Mugabe and Tsvangirai worked together over the last four years in an uneasy coalition government formed after a disputed vote in 2008. The arrangement ended with the Zanu PF leader’s decisive victory in last month’s elections which were rejected as fraudulent by Tsvangirai.

The MDC-T challenged the resuls of the presidential elections at the Constitutional Court but later withdrew the petition saying there was no chance of a fair hearing. The court determined the case regardless and ruled that the Mugabe's re-election was "free, fair and credible".

The Zanu PF leader however, said he was baffled that the MDC-T would publicly dismiss the country's judges as biased only to then go to the same courts with its election petitions.

“Ndiani anoti sikiriri kufunhaidza majudge. Vose kutuka asi mangwana wozoenda kwavari kuti ndinenyaya yandinoda kuti muione, vakare vawabva kutuka nezuro? Koruzivo rwaunarwo rwakaita sei? Ndivo vainzi namai vangu dofo chairo iro," he said.

“Munhu ungave dofo kupfuura ipapo? So, well, I hope our country will never get ignoramuses muyine vana vakaenda kuma universities vakaenda kuzvikoro vatinosimudzira. Vamwe vanobva vati ndivo vatinoda, chamunoyemura chii? Harare kuvhotera, Bulawayo kuvhotera, chiendai munopihwa zvamakavhotera ikoko.”

The rival leaders rowed bitterly in the lead-up to the elections over reforms which Tsvangirai insisted were needed to ensure a free and fair ballot, including changes to media and the country’s security establishment which is seen, by the opposition, as fiercely pro-Zanu PF.

And it was the latter demand which Mugabe particularly mocked on Sunday, dismissing his rival was a mere “frog aspiring to be a crocodile”.

He said: “Since when has a frog aspired to be a crocodile? Ehe, tinoruma, takaruma masettlers muno, without those biting teeth we will not have got our country.

“Kozoti iwe unotawuka tawuka zvako uripapa you want to do sector reforms? Zvinosekesa! Knowledge yacho unoiwana kupi? Where did you get the knowledge to do that reform from? Hanzi we must do security sector reforms.

Karakadzai’s deployment to head the NRZ was also one of the so-called militarisation of civilian institutions the MDC-T objected to and wanted stopped.

But Mugabe said the objections were nonsensical, insisting the military and security offers were qualified and had the necessary experience for the roles.

“Men and women with the correct political ideology and military prowess such as Karakadzai formed the backbone of our defence forces at independence,” he said.

“With time, their immense skills came to be deployed variously as the situation demanded. Hence, these military cadres have from time to time been deployed to civilian positions in their various capacities.”

“Karakadzai was retired from the Air Force to go and head one of our critical parastatals, the National Railways of Zimbabwe, as its general manager.

“We have similar examples in other state-owned enterprises. They have brought into these institutions invaluable skills and vital experience which have made great impact on parastatal’s performance and service delivery.

“One gets surprised when our detractors question the wisdom of deploying ex-military officers in State institutions and they describe such deployments as the militarisation of institutions concerned.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. These men and women are role models of valour, patriotism, honesty, industriousness and discipline, all qualities that are beyond reproach.”

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(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Mugabe threatens ‘tit-for-tat’ UK, US action
National hero ... Rtd. Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai died in a car crash last week
25/08/2013 00:00:00
by Reuters

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe threatened "tit-for-tat" retaliation against companies from Britain and the United States on Sunday if the Western nations persisted in pressuring his government with sanctions and what he called "harassment".

The veteran leader’s latest verbal broadside against his main Western critics followed their questioning of his re-election in a July 31 vote that his rival Morgan Tsvangirai denounced as a "coup by ballot" which he said involved widespread vote-rigging.

Mugabe, who at 89 is Africa's oldest leader,

You can let go of that meme now, Reuters, the elections are over. - MrK

has rejected the fraud allegations and was sworn in on Thursday for a new five-year term in the southern African nation that he has ruled since its independence from Britain in 1980.

"They should not continue to harass us, the British and Americans," he told supporters at the funeral of retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai.

"We have not done anything to their companies here, the British have several companies in this country, and we have not imposed any controls, any sanctions against them, but time will come when we will say well, tit-for-tat, you hit me I hit you."

British companies in Zimbabwe include banking groups Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Plc.

Both are Rothschild companies. - MrK

These are already the target of an "indigenisation" policy that requires they cede a majority stake to black Zimbabweans.

The policy has also been applied to foreign mining houses in the mineral-rich country including those owned by South African companies such as Impala Platinum.

The United States has a far more limited corporate presence in Zimbabwe than Britain.
Targeted sanctions

Mugabe and prominent members of his Zanu PF party, which won a two-thirds majority in the July 31 election, are the targets of financial and travel sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union. These were applied by Washington and Brussels to punish alleged election-rigging and abuses of power.

The European Union in March eased most sanctions against Zimbabwe after the country's voters approved a new constitution which paved the way for July's poll, but kept Mugabe and nine of his closest associates on the list.

It will review relations with Zimbabwe because of its "serious concerns" about the election, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Thursday. Its verdict on the vote will be crucial to a decision on whether it continues to ease sanctions.

Britain said last week Mugabe's re-election could not be deemed credible without an independent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities.

U.S. officials also said the July 31 election was flawed and Washington had no plans to loosen sanctions until there were signs of change in the country.

In contrast, observers from the regional 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union broadly endorsed the vote as free and peaceful, and called on all parties to accept its results.

Mugabe still enjoys support in Africa for his role in the liberation guerrilla war that helped end white-minority rule in what was formerly Rhodesia, and led to its independence.

He frequently accuses his critics of racism and of wanting to decolonise Zimbabwe. "They think, we the blacks are inferior, they are superior. But in Zimbabwe we will never accept that a white man, merely because he is white is superior, no. We will chase them away," Mugabe said about Western powers on Sunday.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Mining Indaba to focus on regional cooperation
This article was written by Professor Tshuma on 24 August, at 23 : 41 PM

ORGANISERS of the Mining and Infrastructure Indaba said this year’s edition of the conference will focus on ways to improve cooperation in the fields of mining, infrastructure development, human resources and financial services in a move meant to enhance Africa’s simultaneous economic growth.

Event organizers, Utho Capital Investments said preparations to the 5th edition of the Mining Indaba were at an advanced stage with most of the logistical arrangements already in place.

Utho has also confirmed the dates for this year’s edition of the Indaba to be held at the Harare International Conference Centre which are from the 25th to the 27th of September.

The Indaba, themed “Redefining Africa: Harnessing Our Resources Collectively” is expected to be a fifth consecutive event which is used as a platform to market and discuss mining and infrastructure related investments and developments in the continent and even abroad.

Conference Manager, Matildah Zungunde who is Utho Capital marketing executive said the 2013 theme was crafted after the realisation that there was need for African countries to work together to exploit resources which endow the continent.

“The theme is about African countries working together collectively to harness mining, financial, and human resources to ensure sustainability and prosperity on the continent, thereby beginning the process of re-defining itself to a continent of abundance and wealth,” said Zungunde.

She said Africa can only re-define itself in a collective, Ubuntu manner.

Zungunde said the conference was about the Africans coming together to discuss the key areas in different economic sectors ranging from mining, infrastructure, human resource.

She further said that the Indaba will discuss measures to be taken collectively in an effort to move development and economies into the future.

“The conference is about Africa coming together to discuss the fundamental areas of mining, infrastructure development, financing and human resources and what needs to be done collectively in order to move development and economies into the future,” she noted.

She also said that without this continuous dialogue among African countries, each country will operate in a silo and Africa will not be able to attract the requisite funding required to implement major infrastructure projects that benefit regions, nor negotiate mining deals in a position of strength.

The Zimbabwe Mining Indaba is now a permanent fixture and international event for Zimbabwe.

The Indaba has become a household name in Zimbabwe and is widely regarded as one of the most high profile conferences in the country with an attendance averaging 700 delegates every year.

Several delegates are expected to present papers on different topics with the key note address expected to be made by the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe.

Other speakers expected are Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) representative, Minister of Indigenisation, Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Chamber of Mines President Alex Mhembere, Retired Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai of the NRZ and World Bank representative among others.

Meanwhile, a field visit to Freda Rebecca Mine is expected on the last day of the Indaba.

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Mugabe’s people-centred policies brought victory: Langa
This article was written by Professor Tshuma on 24 August, at 23 : 13 PM

THE Zanu-PF Matabeleland South province chairperson, who is also the Insiza North Member of Parliament elect and outgoing Deputy Minister of Public Service, Andrew Langa has dedicated the recent whitewash win by the revolutionary party in his province to President Mugabe.

In an exclusive interview with The People’s Voice, Langa said the resounding victory was as a result of the people-centred programmes and policies which were initiated by President Mugabe which touched the hearts of the people.

He said the people from Matabeleland South province went back to the drawing board and made an informed decision to vote for Zanu-PF, adding that consistency in principle by the president was the biggest selling point for Zanu-PF and people decided to shun the enemy by voting MDCs and other political parties out.

“The clear, people-centred programmes and policies initiated by the president of the Republic of Zimbabwe who is also the Zanu-PF president rang bells in the minds of the people of Matabeleland South and they went out in their numbers and voted for Zanu-PF candidates,” he alluded.

“These programmes like the land redistribution and indigenisation and economic empowerment steered Zanu-PF into this thunderous victory.”

He said everyone knows that the candidature of President Mugabe was undoubtedly incontestable and silenced those that talk of vote rigging saying they were enemies of democracy as he said the July 2013 elections were a reflection of the people’s will.

Langa dismissed the MDCs who were saying that the Matabeleland region was their stronghold saying the MDCs had lied to the people of Matabeleland, thus this time around they were voted out together with their lieutenants.

“The Matabeleland region was never the MDCs stronghold,” he said.

“The MDCs came and lied to our people in the 2008 election but this time around the people discovered the truth and proved the opposition political parties wrong.”

He however urged the people from the region to work together for the betterment of the region and the country at large.

Langa challenged fellow region mates to work in unison and consolidate what the region achieved so that they can chart the way forward for economic revival and human resource development through the construction and maintaining of the educational infrastructure in the region.

In the recent harmonised elections, Zanu-PF collected all the 13 Lower House seats.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) West driven by personal hatred: Mugabe
Malawi visit ... President Mugabe, his wife Grace with Malawian President Banda and her husband (File Photo)
By NewsDeskAugust 17th, 2013

PRESIDENT Mugabe says the West’s refusal to accept the results of the July 31 elections had nothing to do with credibility of the polls, but personal dislike of him.

Speaking to journalists on arrival at Kamuzu International Airport on Friday, Mugabe said he was happy to be in Lilongwe as Zimbabwe was a friend of Malawi.

“The West wants to think for us and take decisions for us and give us direction. What we decide as the correct course, they will not agree with us unless the decision serves their interests,” Mugabe said, speaking in earshot of Malawian President Joyce Banda who welcomed him.

“In this case, it is Robert Mugabe they don’t like, who is a Zimbabwean, an Africa and also friend of Malawi.”

Mugabe said he was in Malawi for the routine SADC summit to put heads together with other leaders to move the regional bloc forward.

“We have come to SADC, it’s our ordinary meeting held once a year. We come to review decisions made in previous meetings and where necessary, make new decisions.

“In this meeting we are reviewing decisions made last year and charting the way forward and also to bestow the burden of holding the organisation together on Malawi. President Banda becomes our new person for the next year.”

Mugabe won the July 31 elections with 61,09 percent of the vote to MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai’s 33,94 percent.

Zanu PF clinched 160 seats out of the 210 House of Assembly constituencies for a crushing 76 percent dominance in the Lower House.

After factoring in 60 women’s quota seats elected by proportional representation of six for each of the 10 provinces, the final composition of the 270-member National Assembly comes to 197 seats for Zanu PF, 70 for MDC-T, two for MDC, and one independent, giving Zanu PF just under 73 percent of the total seats in the National Assembly, but well over the two thirds majority of 180 seats.

Zanu-PF also made a near clean sweep of councils after winning 1,493 wards against 442 for MDC-T.

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(HERALD ZW) Harare Agricultural Show opens
August 24, 2013 Wenceslaus Murape Top Stories
Herald Reporter

THE Harare Agricultural Show opened on a low note yesterday as has always been the situation with the first day. By late yesterday afternoon, some exhibitors were still putting final touches to their stands.Most exhibitors usually start working on their stands on the first day of the show.

Most exhibitors interviewed said they did not expect much business on the first day. Zimbabwe Agriculture Society spokesperson Ms Heather Madombwe said by late afternoon yesterday 1 495 people had attended excluding exhibitors and volunteers compared to last year’s 1 335.

“It is our expected first date attendance number and we are generally pleased. Sandra Ndebele and Kapfupi will entertain the crowds today,” she said.

Show organisers say since the show was running concurrently with the UNWTO in Victoria Falls, it was impossible for some companies to exhibit at both functions

She said there were 300 cattle entries this year compared to last years’ 268. On August 29 there would be a bull show with viewing of the bulls starting on Sunday.

The Mukono Bull Sale would see 45 quality bulls of five different breeds selected from 10 registered breeders being sold. This year, show-goers would also be treated to Zimbabwe Defence Forces displays, drum majorettes, fireworks displays, dances from different groups among other things and music from various musicians including the Chimbetus, Peter Moyo and Winky D.

This year’s show is running from August 23 to 31 under the theme “Environmental, Entrepreneurial, Educational”.
Children under the age of 12 pay US$1 and adults US$5.

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(HERALD ZW) Baba Jukwa, Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks
July 14, 2013 SuperAdmin Mai Jukwa

A FEW months ago, I wrote on Deborah and Bruce, the British and American ambassadors. It was my charge that they were shameless hypocrites; not of conscious or deliberate effort but by an involuntary and subconscious superiority complex that has permeated their collective white psyche over a number of centuries.

They have an odious sense of entitlement, poking their noses into the affairs of others and doing this with a troubling self-righteous air though their own compound is filthy beyond compare.

They are a law unto themselves

I used to believe the Western world was deliberately objectionable — that they chose to be unjust.

I have since entered a different regime of thought. The contradictions of the Western world are so obvious, so egregious, as to be obvious to even the offender. At least one would think so. Quite clearly this is not the case.

The West does not think itself unjust; if anything it sincerely believes itself to be the salt of the earth.

I now have no doubt in my mind that the British and American ambassadors believe their own nonsense about regime change efforts being motivated by a desire to further human rights and democracy.

Instead of seeing themselves for the gratuitous racists, slave drivers, colonisers, segregationists, Iraq invaders, sanction mongers and greedy capitalists that they are, the British (and their white imperial comrades) see themselves as paragons of virtue.

Not only so, they are puzzled when their acts of global “generosity” are rejected by Africans, Asians and Latin Americans.
The white world sees nothing unjust in Australia or New Zealand.

They were welcomed by the indigenous peoples of those lands and rewarded this generosity with subjugation.

Today Australia and New Zealand are living examples of the wickedness of unchecked white imagination.

They take, take, and continue to take.

Their own lands are not enough for them.

Baba Jukwa and WikiLeaks

Baba Jukwa claims that he is a member of Mugabe’s inner circle.
He is not.

However, let us assume that he is and that all he said thus far was indeed true. Let us assume that Baba Jukwa is indeed leaking State secrets. The contradictions are obvious.

Consider how PayPal, an American online payments processing engine, and VISA, all came together and pulled the plug on WikiLeaks’ funding when Julius Assange began releasing American diplomatic cables and the War Logs.

It was alleged that by exposing American soldiers shooting innocent civilians from a helicopter gunship that Julian Assange was compromising American national security.

Today Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London; his co-conspirator has not been equally lucky and is languishing in an American military facility.

Consider how Facebook seems to very much support the posting of pictures of individuals, their names and phone numbers, together with the encouragement to “phone them and give them no rest” (harassment) as not being in violation of their terms of service.

Would Facebook hold the same position if an anonymous profile began posting the phone numbers of David Cameron’s children and threatening to kidnap them as Baba Jukwa has done to Kasukuwere?

The page would be shut down in minutes.

It is not only that they have offered tacit approval; they have actively encouraged Baba Jukwa.

The Economist and even the BBC carried adoring articles on Baba Jukwa.
It is inconceivable that these organisations would lend support to a page that calls for the abduction of children.

The cunning whites will hurry to say that Mugabe is, in their view, a dictator so the rules that apply for him do not apply to them.
I hate to put things in such prosaic terms but this is precisely how white people think.

It is for this reason that the Americans do not hesitate to drop a bomb to target an alleged insurgent even if he is in bed with his wife and children.

Imagine the outrage if the Russians — pursuing a Chechen rebel — sent in a missile into Manhattan and killed 20 Americans and defended their action by arguing that they had sought the cooperation of the Americans in bringing the rebel to justice but had received no assistance and thus felt compelled to “eliminate” him by any means necessary.

This seems inconceivable because it is grossly unjust but it is happening in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The white world feels that its blood is more precious than the blood of other non-white nationalities.

This is why the West wails itself sore over Sandy Hook, where a mere two dozen kids were killed, but speaks very casually about Iraq where it’s soldiers and the sectarian militia it formed butchered hundreds of thousands.

All this is born of an inherent sense of supremacy that is characteristic of white society. It is not so much born of race but culture.

Mainstream political rhetoric in America unabashedly refers to “safeguarding American interests.”

In their view if a dictator (read Saudi Arabia and Bahrain) serve American oil interests then he is to be supported and supplied with fighter jets.

This sick state of mind is pervasive within the Western world.

Bolivia’s ‘cheap’ President and Edward Snowden

Edward Snowden exposes the depth of Western supremacist thought.
On discovering that the Americans were spying on them, the French and Germans were dismayed.

Allies should not spy on each other, they complained.
Notice that their objection is not to spying against the rest of the world.

Their view is clearly that the Americans can violate the rest of the non-white world with total impunity as long as they do not spy on their fellow “civilised” Europeans.

If it was the case that the Americans had been spying on Bolivia, Nigeria or India then that would have been perfectly acceptable even in view of the fact that none of these nations is at war with America or has expressed any aggressions against it.

But notice that this, the French and Germans are not complaining about spying in general, what has upset them is that they have been put in the same category as niggers for whom they would have expected such activity to be targeted against.

Again the duplicity is obvious to anyone who is not white but the Europeans themselves are entirely oblivious.
One could describe it as intellectual blind spot.

It is blind spot that allows Western ambassadors to jump up and down in synthetic rage at what they call abuses by Mugabe yet their Queen dines with the Saudi despot in whose country women are second class citizens and thieves have feet cut off for having stolen motorbikes. They are oblivious to the violence of their contradiction.

The forced landing of the Bolivian presidential jet outraged Latin America, rightly so.

It is inconceivable that the very nations that routinely scream themselves hoarse over the rule of law would have so flagrantly violated established conventions.

But the message from Europe was clear: you are not one of us and we do not consider your presidency as being of equal weight with that of a European leader.

This is what the Europeans communicated when they forced the Bolivian jet to the ground.
Zero respect.

Their talk of equality is empty and those who take it seriously are to be pitied.

China is hacking us

The Snowden saga exposes the duplicitous nature of Westerners.
Over the past six months the Americans wasted no time to tell the world how nasty the Chinese were.

They were hacking into American computers and the civilised Americans found this unacceptable.
The Chinese had to be put in their place.

This is how cunning and manipulative these people are.
Though they knew that they were actually hacking the Chinese at a greater scale they still thought it right to dishonestly present themselves as an angel of light.

It is the height of deception, but one must not consider this conduct to be out of character.
This is just how they operate.

They manipulate and they deceive.
I view Westerners in quite ungenerous terms.

Their history is littered with slavery, colonialism, and war mongering. It struck me the other day that the only nations that ever talk about sanctioning any other nation on earth are white.

No other race is interested in sanctioning anyone.
It is just the whites. They must ask themselves why this is so.

Ndini muchembere wenyu Amai Jukwa

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Biti swims against the current, after ‘Titanic’ sank
This article was written by Our reporter on 22 August, at 08 : 38 AM

Tendai Biti’s Facebook post on the eve of President Mugabe’s inauguration, after leaving the office of the Minister of Finance, is a sad reminder of the tenure of this man at the helm of Zimbabwe’s Treasury.

He bid farewell to an office he served as the “worst finance minister” in the history of Zimbabwe’s economy – an office once occupied by greats such as Cde Enos Nkala and Dr Benard Chidzero.

Ironically, interestingly Europeans (Euromoney, etc) dubbed him the “best finance minister of Africa”. The ironies of life!

Outgoing Zanu-PF Justice Minister and once Acting Minister of Finance Patrick Chinamasa branded Biti nothing more than a gatekeeper of Zanu-PF policies that were already underway in the finance ministry when he took over. “He is a gatekeeper for our policies,” said Chinamasa on a trip to the United Kingdom. “He is irrelevant in Zimbabwe’s political economy”.

On his Facebook profile, ‘Wananchi Biti’ is fighting tooth and nail to remain relevant. He is no longer relevant. He and his colleagues in the MDC-T thought they would beat Zanu-PF at the elections by making the economy dysfunctional. They were wrong. People saw that as proof of their incompetence.

With a whole host of other ministers who were dysfunctional and later booted out at the elections, ‘Wananchi Biti’ is already in reminiscent mode, nostalgia setting in – the jet setting, the international trips and pomp and ceremony – all niceties afforded secretaries of state are no more. The per diems and the foreign country hospitality are all gone. For them this was more important in government than delivering success and showing that they have better policies than Zanu-PF.

Zanu-PF now has a chance to show what they can do without the prophets of doom, who thrive by scaremongering tactics telling people how they will suffer under Zanu-PF, as if they do not know what Zanu-PF can do. After all the party has been in power for more than 30 years, schooled these ‘wananchis’ and made them the ‘intellectuals’ they claim to be.

Like the Chinese Communist Party, Zanu-PF has gone through changes. It has suffered setbacks, but has shown that it has capacity to bounce back; thanks to the MDC-T and its desire to see it fail. The late Josiah Tongogara once remarked that “Ian Smith was a great teacher,” because each time he struck, Zanu would regroup and learn from his tactics. The MDC-T was a great teacher for Zanu-PF. It can never be complacent anymore, never taking anything for granted.

Biti’s legacy will be all the political, not economic, statements he made and all the efforts at bringing disaster to Zimbabwe so that the MDC-T can then shine. He was part of the group that crafted sanctions, wanted to declare Zimbabwe a Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC), land reform reversed and indigenisation and empowerment stopped, among a host of policies.

He squandered a chance to shine as finance minister and thus sent himself into oblivion. He also squandered the chance to outshine MDC-T party leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, by showing more mettle and competence, so he sank with him.

The Biti bravado and fearlessness we saw in 2008 is gone. It has been replaced by a timid, pensive-looking individual who does not know what hit him over the last five years. Even Tsvangirai has ‘replaced’ him with a series of so-called legal and political advisers who have spelled more disaster for that party.

He has now resorted to Facebook battles. The ground battles have already been won by Zanu-PF. He is no longer commenting on real issues. All his comments are general and are simply anti-Zanu-PF, not articulating what the MDC-T can do. This has always been the source of the downfall of the MDC-T: criticizing Zanu-PF, but offering nothing in return.

Biti will look back and see how ineffective a finance minister he has been. He fought a fight, but a wrong one. He fought himself and his party.

*Comments and suggestions to

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(TALKZIMBABWE) Embattled Tsvangirai calls for emergency retreat
This article was written by Our reporter on 22 August, at 17 : 44 PM

MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has summoned his party leadership to an emergency retreat this weekend, amid reports that they are calling for him to resign as party leader. He has failed three attempts to unseat President Mugabe.

There is widespread frustration, anger and despair following the fraudulent July 31 elections. Tsvangirai will also be meeting with strategic partners such as civil society organisations.

The party’s last line of appeal against the elections through Sadc became increasingly difficult as President Mugabe was made Sadc’s Deputy Chairman, effectively meaning that he will have to deal with any reports from the MDC-T. Zimbabwe has also joined the Sadc Troika.

The MDC-T was also shocked by the announcement in Lilongwe at the weekend that President Mugabe would succeed Malawi’s Joyce Banda as the chairperson of the regional body next year.

Party members say they are frustrated by what they see as a lack of leadership in Tsvangirai and those at the top – especially those who they perceive to have missed the golden opportunity to effect change while sitting in Parliament for the past five years.

The party’s treasurer-general, Roy Bennett, resigned last week saying he was utterly frustrated at the arrogance of those in leadership.

Tsvangirai is said to have launched a nation-wide grassroots outreach campaign to fortify his supporters in the wake of the announcement by Sadc that Zimbabwe elections were fair, peaceful and credible.

The MDC-T national spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the emergency meeting, saying: “We will be reviewing our position at a special retreat of the National Executive.

“We are going to be re-strategising regarding how we can carry forward with the struggle.”

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, told The Zimbabwean newspaper that the party still had options to revitalise itself in the post-election period, maintaining that they had not yet exhausted the diplomatic route.

“Of course, what happened at the Sadc summit dampens spirits but we remain positive. Sadc is still to issue its final report on the elections and we are engaging all the countries in the region,” he said.

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GBM dividing PF - Zulu
By Roy Habaalu
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

FORMER Copperbelt youth chairman Menyani Zulu says the Patriotic Front will not allow Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba to divide the party and will have no option but to throw him out.

Reacting to Mwamba's recent categorisation of some PF members as riffraffs, Zulu said the defence minister should be flushed out of the party for insubordination.

Zulu said Mwamba's agenda of dividing the party was no longer a secret.
He said Mwamba had a political history of using money to buy support, a method that had failed.

"GBM should tell us who he's referring to and the people he's fighting. We know what he wants; he wants to divide the party. He's hiding something and those cheating him will be chucked out of the party with him," Zulu said.

"It's too much and we will have no option but throw him out of the party; we won't allow him to divide our members.

If he's man enough and a minister of defence worth his salt, let him mention the riffraffs he's referring to. If he fails, then he is a liar and a coward," he said.

Zulu said Mwamba had no right to claim he loved President Michael Sata more than those that suffered with him when he (Mwamba) was dining with the MMD.

He said Mwamba was desperate now after realising that he had overrated his popularity. Zulu said Mwamba should not think the party leadership was ignorant when it kept quiet on his outbursts.

"This is the man who was dining with a corrupt regime, a regime that had no respect for its people. When we were crossing this country with President Sata, he remained in the comfort of the corrupt and today he should preach to us about love for President Sata! The people that love the President are known and he (President) knows them well. Those people he's calling riffraff are appointed by the President and (Mwamba) calls them riffraffs, where is the love for the President? You call his appointees riffraffs and claim your love for him! It doesn't make sense. Something must be wrong with that man," he said.

Zulu said President Sata was an institution that could not be duped by lip-service.

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(STICKY) Sata, Mugabe are cut out of revolutionary fabric - Mzembi
By Edwin Mbulo in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

THERE are some very glaring similarities in Presidents Michael Sata and Robert Mugabe in that there are both cut out of the revolutionary fabric, says Zimbabwe's tourism minister Walter Mzembi.

And UNWTO secretary general Taleb Rifai said the 20th General Assembly was an important event not only for Zimbabwe and Zambia but the entire Africa and the world.

In an interview before Rifai's arrival at the Victoria Falls International Airport on Thursday, Mzembi said PresidSents Sata and Mugabe had provided leadership and focus in the collaboration of the two countries.

"There are some very glaring similarities between our two heads of states in that they are both born and cut out of the revolutionary fabric, Pan-Africanist in their very full rights and more importantly, leading patriotic front parties between the two countries," Mzembi said.

He said the two Presidents had enjoyed a very cordial and warm relationship.

"Very brotherly relationship, which has provided us the leadership and focus that we have been looking for as ministers in terms of the integration of the region and collaboration of sister states towards meeting the objectives of bringing prosperity to our two republics," Mzembi said.

He said Zimbabwe was at 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 in the preparations of the UNWTO general assembly which starts today.

"I had budgeted for 10 per cent of unseen circumstances, maybe spiritual issues, but those that we can see with the naked eye, we have attempted to correct and bring the train back on the rail. So by and large, I'm happy with what we have done so far," he said.

And speaking to Rifai, Mzembi said the general aassembly coincided with the celebrations of the inauguration of President Mugabe to his seventh term in power.

And Rifai said the UNWTO coincides with this important experience that the people of Zimbabwe went through.

"We are very delighted that the elections went in a very civilised and smooth way and the will of the people of Zimbabwe was very clear," he said.

He said the UNWTO General Assembly was already a success as it was the best-ever attended event.

"You can hear and feel the success from the very beginning. Once it starts well, everything is going to go well. This is one of the best attended general assembly. The rate of registration has been very high and we have never seen the number of ministers and delegations in previous assemblies," he said.

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PF govt will never accept aid tied to governance - Kabimba
By Gift Chanda
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

JUSTICE minister Wynter Kabimba has warned foreign diplomats who tend to blackmail the government with assistance to keep their aid. He said there was a drift in culture where aid was now being used by many donors "to govern our country".

"We are now drifting into a culture where you have a carrot and a stick from many diplomats. They are saying unless you do A there will be no aid for you on this side," Kabimba said at a farewell dinner for Indian High Commissioner to Zambia, Ashok Kumar on Thursday.

"Aid is being tied to the question of how we govern ourselves as a country."

Kabimba, who is also PF secretary general, said the ruling party would never accept aid tied to governance.

"Those that think that they can use aid to govern our country, they can keep their aid because I do not see the correlation myself between the two," he said. "We would like to have allies like India that relate with us with mutual respect."

He said High Commissioner Kumar stood out as a diplomat who knew Zambia's financial needs but never used the political stints of aid to arm-twist the government.

"These are the genuine friends of Zambians, and it is for that reason, Ashok, that we are solemn you are leaving," he said.

High Commissioner Kumar, who resigns from diplomatic service at the end of this month after 33 years, said he would greatly miss Zambia because his stay in the country had been wonderful.

He said even his daughters did not want to leave Zambia because they had come to love the country.

"After 33 years in diplomatic service I have ceased to think that I represent one country - India," High Commissioner Kumar said.

"Zambia is my 9th country as a diplomat, we have been to developed countries and developing countries but here in Zambia, my family want to stay. My daughter keeps crying that I don't want to leave Zambia."

First Republican president Dr Kenneth Kaunda, who also graced the event upon arrival from Zimbabwe, where he had gone to witness President Robert Mugabe's inauguration, gave tribute to India's support to Zambia.

Dr Kaunda said India had been Zambia's all-weather friend.
The farewell dinner was organised by the Indian Business Council of Zambia (IBCZ).

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UPND's propaganda about Sata's health
By Editor
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

IT is very cheap politics for the UPND leadership to try and twist the provisions of Article 36 of the Constitution of Zambia to cast doubt on President Michael Sata's physical and mental capacity to discharge the functions of his office.

This is taking opportunism to the extreme and dangerous proportions. We know that the UPND has been very opportunistic when it comes to Michael's health.

After the 2008 elections, the UPND were convinced that Michael would not get to the 2011 elections. This was after his treatment in South Africa for a heart condition in 2007. In this belief, they approached the Patriotic Front to form an opposition political pact with them.
This was in the hope that Michael would be dead before the 2011 elections and Hakainde Hichilema would assume overall leadership of the pact and become its presidential candidate.

But to their displeasure, Michael is still here and he was healthy and strong enough to defeat them and their MMD partners in the 2011 elections. But they still can't believe that the man they thought would die before 2011 is still there and probably ready to defeat them again in the 2016 elections.

Their mischief is clear. There is no function of his office that Michael has failed to perform since taking over as President of the Republic of Zambia.

We are not Michael's doctors but it's clear that the man has no problems performing his presidential functions. And moreover, there is no human being who doesn't fall ill. And can Hakainde or his servant Ephraim Belemu say they never fall ill? Who doesn't fall ill? We all get hit by this or that illness and we simply soldier on, recover and continue with our work.

How many of our politicians are either on hypertension or diabetes medication? And how many of our politicians are every day swallowing ARVs? Can they be said not to be fit for public office?

The truth is Michael is enjoying reasonably good health. And he is also living a very careful life when it comes to his health. Don't forget that this is a man who not very long ago was a chain smoker, contaminating his lungs with nicotine every day. But he has shed off that dangerous habit which he was involved in for more than five decades.

Michael leads a very disciplined life. He carries out his duties in an orderly, efficient and effective manner. He knows when to take a rest. And he knows when to go for medical examinations. He doesn't live like most of us who only go to see a doctor when we are not feeling well even when we have the opportunity to have periodic medical examinations.

But as Bishop John Mambo says, those who used to predict his death have left him still walking this planet. Equally, one can say those who think they will outlive Michael, they will leave him here to complete his mission as President of the Republic of Zambia.

They tried to do the same thing in 2011. They went round the country, telling people not to vote for Michael because he was dying. But our people are kind and compassionate human beings and they were not swayed by such propaganda. They gave their votes to Michael and he won.

If the UPND wants to be in government soon, such an approach will not do. They should win, not because Michael is not well healthwise, but because they are understood, supported, trusted. They should win because of their beliefs, what they believe in.

As far as a normal eye can see, Michael is in good health. And he seems to be keeping a good check on his health. These insinuations of him not being well only go to raise the question of just how healthy our leaders must be in order to serve, and, conversely, how much illness and or infirmity we can accept among those who occupy our country's highest posts.

Maybe we can learn something from the Americans. At the age of 65, Dwight Eisenhower had a serious heart attack, at a time when there was nowhere near the arsenal of methods available today to treat heart disease. All the same, he was elected to a second term the following year and lived another 14 years.

Then there is Jack Kennedy. Although he was the youngest person ever elected president of the United States and was the man who put the "vigah" into appearing vigorous, Kennedy was plagued with a number of serious ailments, only a few of which were known to Americans at the time of his election. They included Addison's disease and a back so painful that he always wore a back brace, nearly always used crutches when photographers were not present, and regularly submitted to amphetamines and powerful anesthetics to quell his pain; not to mention stratospheric cholesterol levels, which might be controlled by medication today, stomach disorders, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases. His administration's handling of the Cuban missile crisis likely will be debated for years but the fact remains that both conventional war - with the Soviet Union at least - and nuclear annihilation was averted. Even with a very bad back.
We wonder if we will resolve the matter of the health of presidents and presidential candidates, all while we mostly accept the physical and mental beatings the presidency inflicts upon those who hold the office. We don't have the best solution, but maybe we should mull over something Benjamin Franklin once said: "Nothing is more fatal to health than an over care of it."

Anyway, it is unfortunate that this whole issue has been sparked by members of Michael's own government and party. The UPND is simply a vulture. And vultures are opportunistic by nature and character - they scavenge. And UPND is scavenging on the bad discourse going on in the Patriotic Front and its government.

But this opportunism on the part of UPND will backfire. In politics, it's important to know the feelings, mood and character of one's people. Zambians, like most Africans, don't like this type of talk or propaganda. Look at Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe's health has been an issue for the opposition MDC and its backers for a very long time. But Mugabe, at 89, is still there and has overwhelmingly defeated them in an election.

UPND needs to choose its campaign issues carefully. Opportunism can sometimes be very costly. And it won't be long before UPND starts to pay the price for all this. Mark our words.

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UPND wants Sata's health examined
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

UPND Mbabala member of parliament Ephraim Belemu has demanded that a board of medical officers be constituted to examine President Michael Sata's health to allay fears raised by Geofrey Mwamba that some senior party members believe that he is not fit. And UPND says it will no longer notify police before holding protests and meetings.

Speaking at a briefing held at the UPND party secretariat yesterday, Belemu, who is UPND chairperson for tourism, said there was need for more elaboration on sensitive claims by Mwamba, whom they believed was a senior member of the ruling party.

"PF, from their own argument as confirmed by GBM (Mwamba), has confirmed that there is a clique within PF that believe that the President will not live beyond 2016 and, therefore, they want to find a successor," Belemu said.

"Now to the extent that he (Sata) is Republican President also, as a member of parliament and as a citizen, I have an interest in that and I want to demand as follows; Cabinet must immediately cause a board of medical practitioners to be appointed in accordance with Article 36 of the Constitution of Zambia so that the capacity or lack of capacity of President Sata can be ascertained by medical experts as opposed to Mwamba telling us that the President is fit," he said.

"I know there is a tendency to say we cannot touch the health of an individual but to the extent that someone is the Republican President of the sovereign Republic of Zambia, is a public figure and we have an interest, particularly when Cabinet ministers in the ruling party are fighting over who should succeed him."

Belemu said those discussing President Sata's health, together with Mwamba, were not qualified to state whether the head of state was in good health as they were not medical officers.
During a briefing at the ZNBC premises on Wednesday, Mwamba said no one should think President Sata would die today or tomorrow.

"We know that there is a scheme that certain people have teamed up... they have already said that President Sata... in fact, some of them are saying that he would die before 2016. So, it is about time that they started positioning themselves, which is very unfortunate. You see, every human's life destiny is from God," he said. "No one should think President Sata will die today or tomorrow. Probably even those that think that President Sata will die today, they are the ones who will die..."

Meanwhile, UPND deputy secretary general Kuchunga Simusamba said his party had with immediate effect stopped notifying police when holding public rallies.

He said the UPND would now be policing the rallies with their own field marshals.

"We have reasonable suspicion that the PF does not want UPND to hold meetings and protests because many senior PF members are anticipating a presidential by-election, and this is according to Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba. So because of this anticipated by-election, the PF does not want UPND to have a head-start," Simusamba said.

"As UPND, we have now resolved that UPND will no longer notify the police of their intentions to carry out protests or hold public meetings. We shall hold these protests and public meetings randomly and spontaneously in different locations of our cities without informing the police," said Simusamba.

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Levy sincerely loved Zambia - Nalumango
By Kombe Chimpinde
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LEVY Mwanawasa was sincerely in love with Zambia and Zambians, says Mutale Nalumango. And Nalumango says Mwanawasa's corruption fight that caught up with some of his close friends was not out of hate but love.

In an interview ahead of Mwanawasa's memorial service slated for September 1, Nalumango, a former deputy speaker of the National Assembly, said the late president would not agree to any policy or decision that was not in the interest of Zambians.

"To me, he was a great leader. In my world, it is hard to find men as sincere as I saw him. To him, Zambia came first. He was not afraid of other people's opinions because he knew what he wanted for Zambia and he was not one who was so power hungry," Nalumango said.

"In fact, I remember him telling me one day saying, 'I don't know why people want to stay forever (as presidents) because this is too tedious; it's a lot of work'."

Nalumango said Mwanawasa, who died in August 2008 at Percy Military Hospital in Paris where he was evacuated after he collapsed during an AU Summit held in Egypt, was a hard worker with an excellent memory.

"Basically, I am talking of integrity which comes from his sincerity. In fact, for me, I would call him a statesman," she said.

Nalumango said Mwanawasa was specific about what he wanted to do for the country.

"He never went with the wind just because people are shouting and they want this or that done. He knew what he wanted for Zambia and he followed his path in trying to develop," Nalumango said.

"Yes, as a democrat he listened but even in the listening, his vision was clear and not played by power and other distracters. So he was a great man. I fondly remember him oh…I miss him."

Nalumango said that she was hopeful that more leaders of Mwanawasa's sort would emerge.

She however said that Mwanawasa faced a number of setbacks during his tenure, such as the issue of legitimacy, an element which was used against him and his government.

"People thought he came in almost as a minority..." she said.

"Another challenge he found was the challenge of the constitution. The issue of the constitution was a handful to be able to sort it out. Within his cabinet, there was no total agreement as to which way to go; the constituent assembly or what was later called the NCC (National Constitution Conference), whether it was okay to go through the enquires Act. For him, he really meant to have the constitution go through before the end of his last term in office."

Nalumango added: "There was also an issue of mines when he came into office, when mine investors were withdrawing because of unprofitability. He had to make serious decisions, like to keep the mines on care and maintenance until a proper investor had come. He was very strong on the Zambian assets."

She said she was happy that some of the fruits of Mwanawasa's labour had and still benefit Zambians.

"Criticisms and insults that we received… I don't want to name some people, in the end people saw that it went well for Zambia and many people fondly remember him," he said.

And Nalumango said Mwanawasa's fight against corruption, which also affected his friends, was not done out of hate but the love he had for country.

"He had no time to waste. You will remember how he handled certain ministers only with allegations, not with proof. He had to put them away from cabinet or the Executive and proved innocent. And yet he loved people, even some people who were perceived to have been persecuted by him. He did it out of love and an opportunity for us to prove ourselves innocent. He was a lovely man," Nalumango said.

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Muchiga small-scale farmers appeal for more satellite depots
By Jonathan Mukuka in Nakonde
Sat 24 Aug. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE FRA has bought over 650,000 by 50 kilogramme bags of white maize in Muchinga Province since the start of the maize marketing exercise on July 27. Muchinga Province agricultural and cooperatives coordinator Victor Mulopa disclosed this in an interview.

Dr Mulopa said a total of 653,584x50 kilogramme bags of white maize have been bought as at Tuesday from various satellite depots dotted throughout the province.

He said the exercise was going on smoothly, adding that it was good that most of the small-scale farmers were taking their maize to FRA depots for sale.

He also said he was happy that FRA had started paying the farmers who supplied the maize at the start of the marketing exercise on July 27.
Dr Mulopa said payments would continue and appealed to the small-scale farmers to continue taking their maize to the nearest FRA depot for sale.

Meanwhile, small-scale farmers in Muchinga Province have appealed to the government to consider opening up more satellite depots.

Dr Mulopa said the small-scale farmers in Mafinga, Mpika, Isoka and Nakonde have petitioned the government to consider setting up more satellite depots as close to their areas as possible.

He said in Mpika, the small-scale farmers have proposed the setting up of satellite depots at Mupamadzi, Kanseke, and Chambeshi.

In Isoka, the proposed depot is at Mulilo, while in Mafinga, the small-scale farmers proposed the setting up of another depot at Chitapo.

For Nakonde, the proposed satellite depot is at Chitambi.
Dr Mulopa said his office was of the view that the outcry by the farmers to set up more satellite depots were genuine as the facilities would enhance the marketing exercise in those outlying areas.

He said he had since communicated to the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture on the proposed satellite depots.

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PF's future under threat - Lubinda
By Moses Kuwema
Fri 23 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

GIVEN Lubinda says the PF's future is more under threat from its internal squabbles and not any opposition political party. In an interview, Lubinda, who is Kabwata PF member of parliament, said he did not see any political party posing a threat to the PF in 2016 but that the threat for the PF's continued stay in power would come from within the party.

"I don't see any threat to the PF except ourselves. I don't see a threat from the opposition, the only threat I see is within ourselves. We are in such a fortunate position that the opposition will not have a bearing on our chances in 2016. For as long as we allow President Michael Sata to deliver, the opposition will not have it easy in 2016. It will be much harder for them in 2016 than it has ever been before, because there will be very few things to criticise," Lubinda said.

Lubinda advised PF members not to be distracted by petty issues.
He said the infighting among party members should be stopped.

"Don't use internal squabbles as a way of politicking. For an opposition political party, that is a good strategy. For an opposition political party when you have got squabbles, you can take them to the public, media because you want to show the dynamism in that political party. But for a party in government, there are much more expectations from the people than bringing squabbles in public. I think that the party in government must show unanimity at all times. You must show that there is unity of purpose and if people are going to be punished and so on, it must be done in such a manner that you don't create an impression that things are out of hand," Lubinda said.

He said those who genuinely want the PF to continue in power must render their total support to President Sata.

He said PF members should also make sure that even the statements they make do not distract the President from fulfilling his mandate.

"We should not make statements that bring unnecessary criticism to the party or government. When we read stories about arrogance from a party that is in government, it is not comforting, it is disheartening. We don't want to be reading stories that the people in government are arrogant, too big-headed. I pray that all of us will humble ourselves because this is about service. Once we do that, 2016 will be much easier for PF than 2011," he said.

Lubinda said the rate at which the country was being developed would make it difficult for opposition political parties to campaign.

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PF aligns national development plan manifesto
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Fri 23 Aug. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda says aligning national development processes to political party cycles will ensure political party manifestos are translated into development plans.

Officially opening the launch of the 2012 annual progress report of the Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) 2011 - 2015, Chikwanda said national development plans should be made permeable to adjustments in policy shifts.

"Due to the mismatch between the current SNDP and the policy shift of the PF government's development agenda, government took a bold decision to revise the SNDP to reflect the policy focus of the PF government," Chikwanda said.

"Further, the revision of the SNDP will enable government to align the national development planning process to the political cycle so that each government that comes into power is able translate its manifesto into programmes through subsequent national development plans."

Chikwanda said the revised SNDP would give due prominence to investing in capital projects and programmes in agriculture and promoting agro-processing, accelerating infrastructure development and promoting development in developing the energy sector.

He said the government would also invest significantly in education and skills development as well as improving health service delivery and water and sanitation.

"People armed with skills, commitment and suitable work ethic are the most significant resource any country has," said Chikwanda.

"Government will in the plan period continue to address bottlenecks that invariably inhibit smooth implementation of any plans. This will include accelerating implementation of the decentralisation policy, putting in place integrated planning and budgeting framework, undertaking reforms on public finance management and speedily implementing the e-governemnt, private sector and financial sector development programmes among many others."

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(LAND DESTROYER REPORT) Syria gas attack story has whiff of Saudi war propaganda

William Engdahl is an award-winning geopolitical analyst and strategic risk consultant whose internationally best-selling books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages.
Published time: August 21, 2013 15:12

A man, affected by what activists say is nerve gas, breathes through an oxygen mask in the Damascus suburbs of Jesreen August 21, 2013. (Reuters / Ammar Dar)

The reports of massive chemical attacks in Syria might become the “red line” for the US for active military intervention. But even rudimentary analysis of the story shows it is too early to believe its credibility.

The Middle Eastern newspaper, Al Arabiya, reports that “At least 1,300 people have been killed in a nerve gas attack on Syria’s Ghouta region, leading opposition figure George Sabra said on Wednesday…” The paper went on to claim that the Government of President Bashar al Assad was responsible for the attacks. If confirmed it could be the “red line” that US President Obama previously stated would tip the US into active military intervention in Syria, using No Fly Zones and active military steps to depose Assad.

That in turn could erupt into a conflagration across the Middle East and a Super Power confrontation with Russia and China and Iran on one side, and the USA, UK, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar on the opposite side. Not a happy prospect for world peace at all.

Therefore the story is worth analyzing carefully. When we do, several things jump out as suspicious. First the newspaper breaking the story was Al Arabiya, initially saying that at least 500 people have been killed, according to activists. From there it got picked up by major international media. Making the story more fishy by the minute were reports from different media of the alleged number of dead that changed by the minute - 635 then to 800 by USA Today and 1,300 by Rupert Murdoch’s SkyNews.

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows bodies of children and adults laying on the ground as Syrian rebels claim they were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 2013. (AFP Photo)

A handout image released by the Syrian opposition's Shaam News Network shows bodies of children and adults laying on the ground as Syrian rebels claim they were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus on August 21, 2013. (AFP Photo)

Al Arabiya, the origin of the story, is not a neutral in the Syrian conflict. It was set up in 2002 by the Saudi Royal Family in Dubai. It is majority-owned by the Saudi broadcaster, Middle East Broadcasting Center (MBC). Saudi Arabia is a major financial backer of the attempt to topple Syria’s government. That is a matter of record. So on first glance Saudi-owned media reporting such an inflammatory anti-Assad allegation might be taken with a dose of salt.

When we examine the printed content of their story, it gets more suspicious still. First they cite “activists at the Syrian Revolutionary Command Council said regime fighter planes were flying over the area after the bombardment, accusing the forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad of using chemical agents.” This is doubtful on many levels. First we can imagine that anti-government (unnamed) “activists” fighting Assad’s forces would not be exactly neutral.

The story gets even murkier. Further in the text of the article we read that the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said dozens of people were killed, including children, in fierce bombardment.” Now the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) has been the source of every news report negative against the Syrian Assad government since the war began in 2011. More curious about the humanitarian-sounding SOHR is the fact, as uncovered by investigative journalists, that it consists of a sole Syrian refugee who has lived in London for the past 13 years named Rami Abdul Rahman, a Syrian Sunni muslim who owns a clothing shop and is running a Twitter page from his home. Partly owing to a very friendly profile story on the BBC, he gained mainstream media credibility. He is anything but unbiased.

The other aspect of the suspicious reports is the “convenient” fact they coincide with the arrival two days earlier of an official UN weapons inspection team, allowed by the government, to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use in the Syrian war. It begs the most obvious question: What conceivably would Bashar al Assad stand to gain from using banned chemical weapons just at the time he has agreed to let a UN chemical weapons team into Syria?

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on August 21, 2013 allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. (AFP Photo)

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by the Local Committee of Arbeen on August 21, 2013 allegedly shows Syrians covering a mass grave containing bodies of victims that Syrian rebels claim were killed in a toxic gas attack by pro-government forces in eastern Ghouta and Zamalka, on the outskirts of Damascus. (AFP Photo)

They initially were called to investigate evidence of any chemical weapons used in a March 19 attack in Khan al-Assad and in two other locations. In May, Carla Del Ponte, a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said that testimony gathered from casualties and medical staff in Syria indicated that the nerve agent sarin was used by rebel fighters. They found no evidence of use by Government forces. That proved highly embarrassing to the faction of war hawks in the Pentagon and State Department, agitating for Obama to escalate direct military intervention including a no-fly zone, de facto an act of war against Assad’s regime. In 2012 Obama declared that the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian President would cross a “red line” and change US calculations on whether or not it should intervene in the conflict.

Finally, the region reported to be the site of the poison gas attack by Assad forces, Eastern Ghouta, was re-secured from the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nusra jihadist terrorists, by Government troops in May as part of a major series of rollback victories against the insurgent forces and is not currently a scene of any major resistance to Assad forces.

Pending confirmation by genuinely independent judges of the latest allegations of Al Arabiya, we are well-advised to leave the reports in the category of war propaganda, in league with others such as the Gulf of Tonkin in 1964. That incident, we might recall, was faked by the Pentagon to railroad Congress into giving President Lyndon B. Johnson authority to “assist any Southeast Asian country whose government was considered to be jeopardized by communist aggression." The resolution became Johnson's legal justification for deploying US forces and the onset of open war against North Vietnam.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.

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