Saturday, February 22, 2014

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Essence of the Zimbabwean story
Sunday, 13 October 2013 01:39

Excerpts of a Presentation by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Professor Jonathan Moyo, to the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair 2013 Buyers and Media Cocktail held on Friday 11, October 2013, in Harare.

It is pleasing to note that the 2013 edition of the now industry-acclaimed Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair has brought together international buyers and media from Asia, the Pacific, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and America including the USA.

The inclusion of the USA reminds me of a proverbial incident involving Sarah Palin - the gaffe-prone vice-presidential candidate of John McCain’s 2008 losing bid for the White House.

Among many of her hilarious media-moments, Palin is famed for claiming that part of her international experience to qualify her for the number two job at the White House, was that she could see Russia and monitor events there from a window of her house in Alaska. But in a not-as-much-publicised related incident, Sarah Palin was asked by an interviewer which country alphabetically comes after the USA.

The question puzzled Palin and after lapsing into what appeared to be a trance, she came alive with a thunderous response delivered with the emphasis of a tea-party authority: “oh yes, the country which comes after the USA is the USB”, she told the bemused interviewer.

Well, I am sure we do not have with us at this 2013 Sanganai/Hlanganani Fair, international buyers or media from the USB. When everything is said and done, there’s a very important symbiotic relationship between tourism and the hospitality industry, on the one hand; and information, media and broadcasting on the other.

To understand that relationship, it is important to first appreciate that the main aim or critical purpose of the information, media and broadcasting sector in Zimbabwe is to tell the true and therefore authentic Zimbabwean story.

But in telling that story, there’s a twin challenge. First, not everyone has the same understanding of what the Zimbabwean story is or what the sources of that story are. Second, it is not self-evident or obvious to the information, media and broadcasting practitioners how the true Zimbabwean story is best told or what the best platform for telling that story is. We therefore must unravel this twin challenge.

To many, the Zimbabwean story is about events and incidents that happen in our country, specially the bad ones that grab the attention of the purveyors of headline news. From this perspective whose narrative is commonplace in and outside Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean story is headline news on the country as reported everyday by the local and international media.

While what is reported everyday as news is very important from the point of view of current affairs, it does not constitute the Zimbabwean story. This is because the Zimbabwean story is not about headline news but about the narration and projection of our God-given social, economic, cultural and natural heritage that makes us unique, different and thus unique as a people who constitute a world of wonders.

In this connection, the Zimbabwean story is about how our heritage has expressed itself in history, how it is expressing itself today and about how it is likely to express itself in the future in the light of its past and present expressions.

Against this backdrop, our heritage as the embodiment of the true Zimbabwean story is to be found in, among other things, our history; our geography; our institutions; our food; our culture and traditions; our arts; our sports; our monuments; our music; our wildlife; our leading biographies and our social, economic and cultural struggles in defence of our humanity.

These are but examples of our enduring sources of the true Zimbabwean story. One of the key questions we should interrogate as part of the 2013 edition of Sanganai/Hlanganani Fair is: How is the Zimbabwean story best told?

I have already indicated that telling the Zimbabwean story from the point of view of headline news is very limited and often misleading and thus not the best as that approach does not capture or convey our God-given social, economic, cultural and natural heritage.

The Zimbabwean story is best told through the platform of tourism and the hospitality industry. This is because, as a human endeavour, tourism is the convergence area or convergence zone of our heritage as a total package. Tourism mobilises the domestic and international consumers of our heritage in ways that tell the true Zimbabwean story.

In this context, tourism is the meeting point, the centrepiece or the engine of the Zimbabwean story. Although the Zimbabwean story is not to be found in headline news, it should be acknowledged that the negative onslaught against our country’s sovereignty, by those Anglo-Saxon countries that have imposed illegal sanctions and sought regime change through all sorts of foul means to the detriment of the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans across the political divide, has ironically benefited the telling of our true story by attracting unprecedented global interest in our country.

Because any news is good as far as brand recognition is concerned, our country has gotten a lot of free publicity from negative headline news. I don’t think there’s any rational living person or safari operator anywhere in the world who does not know that there’s a country called Zimbabwe and who is not interested in visiting or marketing our country for one reason or another.

The headline news of the last 14 years during which Zimbabwe has stood firm in defence of its sovereignty and God-given resources has made our country famous. However, as will be confirmed by your own experiences since your arrival for this Fair, travellers who visit Zimbabwe are pleasantly surprised to find Zimbabwe’s rich and exciting heritage which tells an engaging Zimbabwean story with nothing to do with headline news about fleeting events and incidents some if not many of which are either exaggerated beyond rationality or are in fact manufactured for negative political purposes.

As a result, the world is now keen to “meet” Zimbabwe in order to have the true and authentic Zimbabwean story not contaminated by negative or exaggerated headline news. It is for this reason that this World Travel and Tourism Fair is branded most appropriately as “Sanganai/Hlanganani”.

Through this Fair, you can “meet” Zimbabwe by feeling, experiencing, understanding and enjoying the country’s heritage which is the embodiment of the true and authentic Zimbabwean story.

What all this means is that whether you are here as a buyer or you are part of the media, you are essentially at the centre of the Zimbabwean story. We therefore welcome you and see you all as most cherished partners in telling our true story and look forward to continued interaction with you and your constituencies or markets beyond the Fair.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Where are the thinkers?
Saturday, 23 November 2013 23:26

There is something scandalous happening to this country’s economy. Everywhere you go, people are talking of a “liquidity crunch” and a “lack of capital”. How has the language of bookish economists gained such currency?

Clearly there is a problem. But what the pundits will not tell you is that, when it comes to the economy, the whole country has become a ridiculous theatre of the absurd.

Let’s look at a few interesting anecdotes. If you are in the timber business, and you operate a sawmill in the teak forests of Lupane, what would be your major costs? They have to be labour, energy (electricity or diesel), machine repair, transport and so forth. Let’s further dissect these costs.

What exactly does the labour cost entail? Paying the workers and supervisors who make things happen. These workers and supervisors are all Zimbabwean citizens. Here is your first absurdity: if you run a Zimbabwean company and you have Zimbabwean workers, why do you find yourself in a situation where you have to pay salaries in United States dollars? Mind you, this is a transaction between a Zimbabwean employer and a Zimbabwean workforce.

The ridiculous scenario does not end there. Once the sawmill owner has paid salaries in US dollars, the worker takes the pay and goes to a neighbouring village where he will buy a chicken for relish. He is buying the bird from a peasant family. These are free-range chickens which feed on insects, plants and the occasional morsel of isitshwala/sadza. The sawmill worker - let’s call him Mike the lumberjack - forks out US$4 for the “road runner” chicken. Once again, keep your eye on the currency being used. The medium of exchange is the US dollar. The setting is deep in the forbidding forests of Lupane, a staggering 12 000 kilometres away from the hot press of the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing which churns out the banknotes.

Mike gets his favourite relish.The seller of the “chicken makhaya” now has US$5 securely stored in her grimy doek. She remembers that she needs some sugar for her tea. Off she goes to the nearest general dealer’s store where she buys a packet of sugar for US$3. The sugar is made from cane grown in the southeast Lowveld. Again, you notice that the medium of exchange is the US dollar. This is a product made in Zimbabwe by Zimbabwean workers for Zimbabwean consumers. For crying out loud, where does the US dollar come in? The shocking absurdity of a Zimbabwean existence!

There are more than 60 countries which do not mint a national currency of their own. The figure may seem quite large, but do not be fooled.

Apart from nations that belong to monetary unions such as the Eurozone and therefore do not have sovereign currencies, most of the countries which do not have their own national currencies are small island nations with no economic clout whatsoever. How Zimbabwe joined the ranks of these forsaken islands is a story that is already in the public domain. But how Zimbabweans have connived to remain in that currency-less category is a scandalous tale that should jolt us out of our collective slumber before it is too late and in the national interest. After all, this proud nation is no midget in the economic arena. This stretch of land between the Zambezi and the Limpopo has been described as a vital part of “the Persian Gulf of precious minerals”. Surely, that must count for something.
It makes you wonder, does it not?

Which brings us to the shrill calls for the expulsion of “foreigners” from the small business sector. Who is leading those calls and to what end?

We hear a 30-day ultimatum has been issued to all foreigners operating retail and wholesale businesses, barbershops, beauty salons, bakeries, employment agencies and grain mills which are classified as “reserved sectors” of the economy. The other reserved sectors of the economy are agriculture (primary production of food and cash crops), transportation, estate agencies, tobacco grading and packaging, tobacco processing, advertising agencies, milk processing, provision of local arts and crafts, marketing and distribution. The concept of economic empowerment and indigenisation is understand by every right thinking Zimbabwean. The debate has long shifted from the rudimentary arguments to the more complex and nuanced aspects. What is creating discomfort is the failure by some top decision-makers in Government to realise that a Nigerian, a South African, a Ghanaian, a Congolese, a Kenyan cannot be classified as aliens in this age of economic integration.
African countries have small domestic markets which can never compete competitively with the likes of the European bloc, China, India, Russia and the US. Their markets, in terms of population size and per capita income, are too small to threaten the global economic status quo. This is where economic integration comes in. As individual nations, Africans will find the going very tough, but as a united bloc of countries Africa can achieve a whole lot more. Without economic integration, Africa will find it difficult, if not impossible, to build globally competitive economies.

So, before the Zimbabwean authorities start victimising Nigerians, Zambians and other Africans who are operating small businesses in this country, they have to be reminded that it is European colonialists who shaped Africa’s geo-political configuration. The so-called borders which confer nationality are an imperialist construct. When we sought help in toppling the colonial system, it is the Zambians, Mozambicans, Tanzanians, Batswana, South Africans who made huge sacrifices to expedite our attainment of freedom and democracy. If these nationalities were our brothers and sisters yesterday, how do they suddenly become greedy “foreigners” who want to gobble up our economic cake today? No, no, no. Nigerians are not our enemy. If there is a law which says my Nigerian brother is my foe, then that law is unjust and must never be obeyed.

Instead of promoting xenophobia on the continent, nations should be taking bold and decisive measures to scrap intra-Africa visas. Tourism and intra-Africa trade and investment are being hampered by restrictive visa regimes that are relics of the bygone era of colonialism.

While it is vital to remain alive to the threats of terrorism and organised crime when discussing the merits or demerits of visa regimes, the people of Africa cannot justify a situation where it is easier for an Englishman to travel from London to Harare than for a Nigerian to travel from Lagos to Cape Town.

As Zimbabwe grapples with the vagaries of economic decline and the headaches associated with the frantic search for funding for the 2014 National Budget, we need to convince the world that we are indeed a nation of celebrated thinkers and doers.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Govt probes land deals
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

Government has ordered provincial land committees in Masvingo and Mashonaland West to investigate allegations that some land reform beneficiaries are subletting land to former white commercial farmers.

Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Douglas Mombeshora disclosed that his office is receiving disturbing reports that indicate that some land reform beneficiaries are covertly getting into partnerships with former commercial farmers. Dr Mombeshora noted the sub-letting of land is illegal.

“I have since advised the Minister of State for Provincial Affairs for Masvingo Province Cde Kudakwashe Bhasikiti to assist members of the provincial land committee in carrying out proper investigations into the underhand land deals that are said to be going on in Masvingo East district.

As a ministry we are disturbed and keen to ascertain the ownership status of the farms in the district hence Cde Bhasikiti and his team will carry investigations and present a report to us so that we can take appropriate action.

“The provincial lands committee comprises of members of the security sector, so it is possible that the police will assist in these investigations,” said Dr Mombeshora.

Since last year hundreds of landless villagers from Zaka, Bikita, Gutu and Chivi have been occupying farms in Masvingo East district, setting up makeshift structures arguing that the new black owners were proxies of former farmers. Police at one time moved in and destroyed the structures on the farms but the land-hungry villagers refused to move.

Dr Mombeshora added that there are also reports that leasing of land was also rampant in Mashonaland West province.

Commenting on a proposed land audit, Cde Mombeshora revealed that a funding request has since been presented to Treasury.

“We have submitted our presentation to Treasury and once our budget is approved we will then carry out the audit countrywide,” he said.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) ‘President Mugabe is a wise leader’
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00

President Mugabe is a wise leader who can play a crucial role in the democratisation of the United Nations, visiting Cuban Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla has said. He also condemned the illegal economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West, saying they must be scrapped expeditiously.

In an interview soon after meeting his Zimbabwean counterpart Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi in Harare yesterday, Cde Parrilla said he was highly honoured to have met President Mugabe last Friday.

He said his meeting with the President centred on strategies for greater co-operation between the two countries. “It was a great honour for me to meet a freedom fighter. He is a wise man. I was impressed by his creative approach on how the world body can be more democratic and more inclusive,” he said.

“We had a very fruitful and frank discussion with His Excellency on the UN reforms and the power of the General Assembly. I think you know that we share the same world view.” Also speaking to journalists after yesterday’s meeting, Cde Mumbengegwi said Cde Parrilla’s visit demonstrated “the strong bonds of friendship and brotherly solidarity that exists between the two countries”.

He said Cuba contributed immensely to Zimbabwe’s independence from British colonial rule by providing military training to liberation fighters, among other forms of assistance. He said more than 3 100 Zimbabwean students, specialising in mathematics and science, have graduated from Cuban tertiary education institutions since 1985. The meeting focused on bilateral areas of co-operation.

“The bonds can be traced back to the period of Zimbabwe’s struggle for independence from colonialism and its vestiges,” said Minister Mumbengegwi. “We are mindful that Cuba played a very crucial role in spite of the fact that it was facing its own challenges caused by the cruel and unwarranted embargo imposed by the United States. Cuba was among the first countries to establish diplomatic relationships with Harare. As you all know, Cuba is strong in tourism and services and we are going to make a follow up on how we are going to benefit.”

Minister Mumbengegwi said Zimbabwe was committed to the principles and values of the Non-Aligned Movement, which include sovereign equality and non-interference in the internal affairs of member states, among others. Cde Parrilla arrived in the country on Friday and is expected to leave today.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Zim gems up for grabs in Belgium
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00
Kuda Bwititi

Zimbabwe is set to commence the sale of Marange diamonds on the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC) market in Belgium this week, with an initial consignment of 500 000 carats expected to fetch good prices.

The development, which will have a positive impact on the country’s economy, comes at a time when a cocktail of measures have been adopted to increase revenue generation in the mining sector.

AWDC is the diamond capital of the world with more than 1 800 companies and dealers and a capacity to handle 80 percent of the world’s rough diamonds and 50 percent of polished gems, guaranteeing local diamonds a diversified market.

This week’s auction is expected to see the country fetching massive returns on its diamonds unlike in the past when auctions had to be done “clandestinely” as a way of sidestepping the illegal economic sanctions.

The development will certainly come as good news to Finance and Economic Planning Minister Patrick Chinamasa who is desperately looking for revenue sources for the 2014 National Budget which must be announced before the end of next month.

Indicators from the Antwerp market last week showed that Zimbabwe’s gems are likely to attract hordes of buyers, as there is growing demand for rough diamonds.

Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa last week disclosed that the inaugural sale of local diamonds on the Antwerp market will be held between 4 and11 December. Minister Chidhakwa added that an official from Antwerp, who was in the country last week to access modalities for the sale of the precious stones, had placed a seal of approval on the gems that Zimbabwe will be shipping.

“I am aware that an expert was here to assist us over the past few days and the diamond companies had an opportunity to meet him and prepare the parcels so that they are consistent with the Antwerp exchange.

“They (diamond mining companies) are trying to reach a target of 500 000 carats and I am sure they have already achieved that. This is to test the market. Hopefully, if the market is doing well, we will send more,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa noted that the sale of diamonds on the auction market will enhance transparency, as all diamonds will be accounted for.

“We hope that the prices arising out of that first auction will encourage our companies to continue to go the auction route.

“I also think that when you compare with the tender systems that we used to have, I think that there is much greater transparency in the auctions system and we hope that system will give us the benefits that we are looking for including the issue of being transparent.

“We want to continue to move towards a transparent diamond mining system and a transparent diamond marketing system that gives Zimbabwe the best benefits available,” he said.

In a recent interview, Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) managing director Engineer Jerry Ndlovu projected that the Antwerp sales will increase revenue inflows by at least 20 percent.

“Definitely, we are most likely to see an increase of above 20 percent. Demand for our unique Marange Diamonds will definitely increase pushing prices up.

“On average we used to sell at a lowest price of US$50 per carat and a highest price of US$100 per carat for rough diamonds depending on the market forces but due to our footprint on the Antwerp market, we expect to get higher prices,” he said.

Engineer Ndlovu said the opening of the Antwerp market would see all sales concluded within two days, a major progress from the previous system that resulted in sales taking months to complete.

“Conclusion of diamond sales which was taking up to three months to complete will now take the normal 48 hours. Despite the fear on the global market that Zimbabwe is going to flood the market and lower prices, Zimbabwe will in actual fact be able to access the best market prices for its gems,” he said.

Engineer Ndlovu said the entry into the Antwerp market would help to unlock capital for ZMDC.

“ZMDC will now be able to procure inputs from EU countries. It will also be able to access foreign loans for its operations and lure investors in the diamond industry from European countries. It will also access capital to rehabilitate and re-equip existing mines as well as resuscitate closed mines.

“A vibrant Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation will cascade into downstream industries and manufacturing services and suppliers. Supportive industry that had been negatively affected will also benefit from the lifting of sanctions” he said.

Resource Exploitation Watch Chairman Mr Tafadzwa Musarara said the Antwerp market will open massive potential benefits for Zimbabwe.

“First of all I think the Minister of Mines has to be commended for the work that he has done in this short space of time in office.

“By going to the Antwerp market, we are now playing with the big boys in the diamond industry. Before this our diamonds used to be bought by middle men who would then sale them to the same Antwerp market that we now have direct access to.

“It’s a gigantic boost to our sector because in terms of prices, we can expect to get about 100 percent more than what we were getting before. More importantly, the direct interaction that we will have with the big boys in the diamond industry means that we can create further synergies with them for the beneficiation of our diamond industry,” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Chidhakwa disclosed that plans to clean diamonds before their sent to the market are already afoot.

“We agreed that all diamonds from Zimbabwe starting from the 1st of February 2014 will have to be cleaned. There is a deep acid cleaner that is applied to diamonds which ensures that the diamonds are clean and the valuation will then be done and the marketing will be undertaken. We agreed that they will have to bring in equipment and we will work with our companies in bringing in this equipment which is used for the cleaning of diamonds. We hope this will help us increase revenue from diamonds,” he said.

He added that the 24 hour surveillance of all diamond mines will ensure that there is full transparency in the mining of the precious mineral.

“The second thing is that in a bid to strengthen the security systems at Marange, as much for existing diamond mining companies and those that will come in the future, we expect that the entire process at the diamond mining sites as well as the marketing sites must have CCTV and that CCTV becomes available also to Government through ZMDC as a shareholder,” said Cde Chidhakwa.

Minister Chidhakwa said Government has resolved to cut down the 15 percent tax for local diamond cutters and polishers who have failed to kick off operations because of the restrictive taxes.

Other tax reforms in the mining sector are expected to be announced during the budget presentation which is due before January next year.

Zimbabwe got the green light to trade its diamonds on the Antwerp market following the lifting of sanctions on the companies mining diamonds in Marange by the European Union.

Last week, the World Federation of Diamond Bourses President Ernie Blom described Zimbabwe’s entry onto the Antwerp market as a positive step.

“I think it is a positive step and will benefit both Zimbabwe and Belgium.

“They are KP compliant and based on this should be able to trade on the world markets.

Zimbabwean diamonds are being sold in many other markets so why not in the EU (Antwerp)?

“While Zimbabwean diamonds might not always be of the highest quality they make up for this in volume which has helped sustain the demand for rough diamonds when many other mines around the world have seen a drop in production.

“In 2012 Zimbabwe generated 8 million carats and in 2013 they are expected to generate 16.9 million carats,” Mr Blom was quoted as saying by the media.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Exposé of De Beers’ murky dealings in Chiadzwa
Sunday, 01 December 2013 00:00

As part of a colourful narrative of corporate greed, corruption, intrigue and a conspiracy of silence, the story of how De Beers, a creation of Cecil John Rhodes, raped the diamond fields of Chiadzwa in a 12-year period has not been fully told.

True to history, only dribs and drabs of what truly transpired are beginning to emerge, signifying, on the one hand, how the country and the continent continue to lose out despite being richly endowed with minerals resources, and, on the other hand, how global international conglomerates continue to squander the goodwill offered by African governments.

De Beers, a company formed by Cecil John Rhodes in 1888 and subsequently taken over by the Oppeinheimer family, is described as a cartel of companies whose sphere of influence spans the whole diamond value chain from mining, trading and marketing.

A recent report released by the Centre of National Resource Governance (CNRG) indicates that suspicions that De Beers, whose first footprint in Zimbabwe’s Marange field was first registered in 1994 when it successfully applied for an Exclusive Prospecting Order (EPO), was secretly siphoning diamonds from Marange under the guise of prospecting first came to light in the 1990s after Government actively began pursuing its affirmative action policies.

Young black geologists, as a consequence, found their way into the employ of De Beers, but suspiciously they were denied access to Marange.

All the while, the company continued to compile dossiers of adverse reports of the fields as a viable investment option, but nevertheless continued prospecting.

It is not clear how the company’s exclusive prospecting order (EPO) was extended three times against the standing provisions of the Mines and Minerals Act.

Some groups believe that there was active collusion by local officials who abetted plans by the conglomerate to prejudice the Zimbabwean Government.

“Section 94 of Zimbabwe’s Mines and Minerals Act states that ‘no order shall be granted for a period in excess of three years but an order may be extended by the Minister, on the recommendation of the Board, for a further period or periods not exceeding three years in all.’

“This means government extended De Beers EPO three times since the initial expiration of its EPO in 1997,” observes the report.

But the scale and extent of De Beers’ greed didn’t escape the eyes of the locals.

It is believed that villagers became curious when the company set up what was believed to be a “makeshift diamond processing plant” at Bezely Bridge.

The plant operated only at night.

Armed with tips from local geologists and villagers, some Government officials began to confront the company, while others steadfastly stood in its defence.

Some of the officials that were compromised even lamely claimed that De Beers was doing “experimentation for fertiliser manufacturing.”

Some incensed officials (names withheld) even threatened the interests of the Oppeinheimer family, which controlled a 40 percent in the company then, if they did not exit from Marange.

When De Beers’ licence abruptly expired on 29 March 2006, they hastily withdrew.

It is alleged that after the withdrawal of De Beers, white South Africans - employees of De Beers - invaded the area and contracted villagers, whom they taught to identify the precious stones, to start panning for diamonds, which they bought once every fortnight.

But as word spread, artisanal miners grew initially from less than 100 in May 2006 to 10 000 in seven months time.

African Consolidated Resources, which had hastily been awarded an EPO after De Beers’ departure, also waded into the picture but Government withdrew its licence over the manner the EPO was granted.

Former Minister of Mines Dr Obert Mpofu tried to seek legal recourse by suing De Beers for fraud, but in a typical Hollywood espionage script, all the records vanished from Mining Promotion and Development Unit of the Government. And the case seems to have died a natural death.

To this day, De Beers professes innocence, claiming that the company prospected Marange for a little under 10 years.

It also claims that it divested from Marange because it does not mine alluvial diamonds.

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(HERALD ZW) Govt targets 2 million hectares of maize, small grains

December 2, 2013
Masvingo Bureau

Government has set a target to put two million hectares under maize and small grains this season as part of efforts to boost food security and bring an end to chronic food shortages.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development responsible for Cropping Davis Marapira recently said Government was targeting at least 1,6 million ha under the staple maize crop with another 400 000 ha under small grains in this current farming season.

He said small-holder and large-scale irrigation schemes were expected to account for 14 000 ha that would be mainly under maize. He said Zimbabwe was angling to achieve maize production of 2,2 million metric tonnes in the current season, a development that would make the country cease to be a net importer of food.

“We have set a target to put 1,6 million ha under maize in both communal and commercial farming areas as part of efforts to ensure that the country produces enough food and stop the importation of food.

“We have also set a target to have 400 000ha under small grains such as sorghum and millet because we want to leave no stone unturned in our quest to achieve food security,’’ he said.

Deputy Minister Marapira said most of the maize would be grown in the traditional maize-growing regions in Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces that receive good rains while low rainfall-receiving regions like Masvingo and the Matebeleland were expected to grow small grains.

He said Government would ensure that both communal and commercial farmers had access to seed and fertilisers, adding that plans were already underway to import additional fertilisers from South Africa to augment the locally produced commodity.

Seed supplied to farmers so far, he said, only met 40 percent of the requirements for this season while fertiliser supply was at about 35 percent of the season requirements.

He said Government was releasing funds almost daily to pay for fertilisers and seed so that this year’s farming season becomes a success provided the country receives good rains.

Government has already availed US$161 million for the procurement of inputs during the current farming season while tens of thousands of villagers across Zimbabwe’s rural communities also received support in seed and fertiliser under the Presidential Well-Wishers Inputs Support Scheme.

He said Zimbabwe this year also intends to grow 300 000ha of cotton mainly in the Midlands province. The country also expects to increase ground nuts production with 350 000ha having been earmarked for the crop while soya beans was expected to cover 75 000ha.

Deputy Minister Marapira said the country also expected to grow 45 000ha of sugar cane in the Lowveld on the back of anticipated strong performance by out growers who are mainly indigenous beneficiaries of the country’s land redistribution programme.

Zimbabwe has over the past decade been blighted by severe food shortages blamed on recurrent droughts and lack of sufficient support to farmers by Government especially during the inclusive government era.

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Evils in our politics
By Editor
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Elfreda Kansembe, home affairs deputy, says the dawn of modern politics in the recent decades has come with all sorts of evils.

It is true that our multiparty political dispensation has come with many vices. Instead of uniting our people to solve their common problems, multiparty politics has divided them. Everything seems to have been politicised along partisan lines. Good things are criticised and undermined for no good reason other than narrow partisan interests.

Similarly, bad things are defended for no good reason other than narrow partisan interests. This is not good politics because multiparty politics was not designed to paralyse society; it was designed to unite people in all their diversities and complexities to co-operate in solving the common problems of society.

One of the most important things in a country is unity - of the people and of all their forces. How can a country solve its problems and stand firm if it is split up in several pieces? A nation that is divided into countless parts can't tackle its basic problems.

Our multiparty political dispensation seems to have divided the people into petty political parties that bring no guidance to the nation. It seems to have weakened the people and set one humble section against others. It seems to have divided the ignorant and misled people into factions supporting unscrupulous and greedy politicians. Thus, it has weakened the people; it has confused the people and has made multiparty politics appear to be an artifice aimed at dividing the people. The form of political organisation should promote unity, if possible. The unity of our people is vital for us as a nation to solve our problems. It is only through the unity of the whole nation that poverty can be defeated. And it is, therefore, imperative for us to overcome anything that impairs this unity.

And with multiparty politics, we have seen a resurgence of politics of violence. And it shouldn't be forgotten that it was the political violence of the late 1960s that led to the formation of the one-party state. And it can also not be denied that during the period of the one-party state, there was no political violence in the country. The tribalism and regionalism that had characterised the politics of the late 1960s also ended with the introduction of the one-party state.

During the one-party state, money became a much lesser factor in politics. Anyone could set themselves a political agenda without needing much money. But with the reintroduction of multiparty politics, money became a big factor in elections. The electoral process became a target of political prostitution. The crooked, the corrupt prostituted it to falsify the will and interests of the people. So many times, the electoral process was used to put into office the most inept, most shrewd, most corrupt, rather than the most competent and the most honest. In the 2011 elections, we saw the most treacherous and corrupt politicking and electioneering, which has led to so many parliamentary elections nullified. Cheating and lying in politics has become the order of the day since our return to multiparty politics. Politics based on morality, values and principles died.

One seldom hears about principles, values, standards or common aims in today's political discourse. Politics is today like gambling in a casino. Our whole political arena has become a huge casino, with politicians and their supporters changing their positions like cards being shuffled.

But we know very well that the individual does best in a strong and decent community of people with principles and standards and common aims and values. This being the case, let us try in a new time and in a new way to restore morality, principles, values, standards in our politics. Let us teach ourselves and others that politics should be an expression of a desire to contribute to the happiness of the community, of the nation rather than of a need to cheat or rape the community, the nation.

Our multiparty political dispensation has unleashed, in our politics, a wave of selfishness that is difficult to accept. We seem to have forgotten the primary purpose of politics. It is necessary to remind ourselves that politics should be for the good of the people and the country, and not for the political survival of any individual or political party. If the spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate all of us, we would not witness the wrangling, bickering and power-struggling which leaves the public dismayed and disheartened. If the spirit of the primacy of the common good were to animate all our politicians and their supporters, we would not be witnessing the violence that characterises our election campaigns and we would see campaigns being carried out in a peaceful and honest way, devoid of any violence and slander of political opponents.

Multiparty politics has unleashed a fierce competition for power or political office that seems to have no limits. In the present atmosphere of fierce competition and character assassination, it is important to remind ourselves, once again, of the noble goals of political activity - the promotion of the common good and the service of all the people.

In saying all this, we are not in any way calling for a return to one-party state politics. For all the deficiencies of our multiparty political dispensation, we should never even for a moment think of returning to a one-party state political system. We say this because the single party state, except at rare moments in history, is a recipe for tyranny. What we have learnt from the Soviet experience and from the African experience is that the concept of the party as a vanguard which has the right to rule by virtue of calling itself something and which is entrenched in the constitution as a permanent godfather of this society, is a disaster.

But again in saying this, we should be mindful of the fact that as much as multipartism can indeed favour democracy, it cannot always guarantee it. Democracy, like any other human institution, is vulnerable and fragile. And as Pope John Paul II aptly put it, "Authentic democracy is possible only in a state ruled by law, and on the basis of a correct conception of the human person."

Democracy is a demanding form of government, and neither leaders nor common citizens are naturally prepared for it. Therefore, a long process of moral and civic education is required in order to understand and implement a real participatory democracy. There is no perfect form of human government. Abuses can take place in every system, but the fundamental value of democracy is to allow the participation of citizens in the government of their country.

It is common knowledge that no system is perfect, as any system can be manipulated in order to exploit the very people whose best interests it is meant to serve.

In any true democracy, more is needed than political institutions and practices such as voting. We must hold on to some values, standards, principles, norms, common aims, some expectations and aspirations. This is the environment, the atmosphere, that makes democracy work. This is the so-called "political culture" which we feel is so necessary in Zambia today if multiparty democracy is to succeed.

The fundamental value we must have is a respect for diversity and acceptance of pluralism. Gone are the days when everyone was supposed to think the same way, belong to the same party, support the same programme. True believers in multiparty democracy welcome dialogue and debate over views contrary to their own because they realise that they themselves may not always be right. They recognise that there is a specific role to be played by each different organisation in a spirit of unity amidst diversity. This value of respect for diversity and dialogue means a realisation that political parties are important but they are not the only actors in a democracy.



Govt will blacklist plunderers - Sata
By Kombe Chimpinde-Mataka
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says his government will ensure the efficient functioning of all anti-corruption structures and systems, including forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth and blacklisting of individuals involved in plundering of public resources.

And President Sata says the government will ensure action is taken against any civil servants and public officials found to have engaged in corruption, including perpetrators of the scourge in the private sector.

Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia has welcomed President Sata's pronouncement as good but requiring more "walking the talk".
Launching the Anti-Corruption Week ahead of the UN International Anti Corruption Day, which falls on December 9, President Sata last evening said the government was resolved to protect public resources in order to deliver on its mandate.

"You will recall that soon after forming government, we embarked on strengthening the anti-corruption legislation and this culminated in the re-introduction of the abuse of authority clause, the granting of more powers to the Anti-Corruption Commision and the domestication of relevant clauses of these international conventions and protocols into the new anti-corruption Act No. 3 of 2012," President Sata said.

"To this end, our government shall ensure the efficient functioning of all anti corruption structures and systems, including asset forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth and black-listing of corrupt individuals and companies, implementation of laws to ensure exposure of, and action against private sector corruption and quicker processes to deal with any civil servants and public officials found wanting."

President Sata also said his government would forge stronger partnerships across all sectors to deal with challenges of fighting corruption.

He said public servants must endeavour to seriously adhere to the Public Service Code, which the public sector players doing business with government must observe.

"Citizens of this great nation expect a high standard of conduct from their public servants in their provision of public services," he said.
"We are, therefore, determined to build public confidence in the operations of government and this can only happen if the public service begins to seriously adhere to the public service code of conduct and act professionally with integrity at all times during the delivery of services to the public. These transparency procedures and codes of conduct must also apply to the private sector."

President Sata said Zambia had placed high degree of commitment on fighting corruption.

He said Zambia had signed and ratified the African union Convention on Prevention and Combating Corruption and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) protocol on corruption.

"It's indisputable that corruption diverts the scarce national resources from intended areas of public investment, thereby leading to increased levels of poverty, unemployment, social injustice, distortions in cost of goods and services as well as erosion of confidence by investors and cooperating partners," he said.

"Our government shall continue to promote transparency and accountability in matters of public finance, the Judiciary and public procurement."

President Sata said persistent corruption undermines the value of democracy, sustainable development and the rule of law.

"This year's theme is 'Zero corruption, one hundred per cent development.' The theme clearly provides us with a vision for accelerated development once corruption is eradicated," the President said.

"The theme is thus not only appropriate but resonates with our government's development agenda."

He encouraged Zambians to participate in activities lined up for this week, which will culminate into the commemoration of the Anti-Corruption Day on December 9.

Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia president Lee Habasonda welcomed President Sata's pronouncement, saying now Zambians want to see the government walking the talk.

He said Zambians had begun wondering whether it was worthwhile spending their money following up on suspected ill-gotten wealth when there was little or no return on the same.

"Perhaps we should employ other strategies," Habasonda said.

"Corruption is a complex thing. For us to defeat it, we agree those things must be done, but let's start from the leadership. If he starts with his own party, that's going to be appreciated."

On blacklisting individuals and companies, Habasonda said his organisation had written to the government to deal with an official at Zambia Revenue Authority but nothing had happened.

He also said there were issues at the Electoral Commission of Zambia, which he said was dealing with a company that had a troubled history.

"For us, it's a good pronouncement but we want to see a little more walking the talk. We want to see the Auditor General's report followed up closely…" he said. "At Zesco, we wrote them a letter over a French company which was blacklisted by the World Bank. We want action that we will believe the government means what it says," said Habasonda.



Rate of govt borrowing is alarming - Haabazoka
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe and Stuart Lisulo in Lusaka
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE rate at which the PF government is borrowing and the manner it is managing external debt is very worrying and alarming, says Dr Lubinda Haabazoka.

And Dr Haabazoka says the introduction of windfall tax is inevitable in Zambia because appropriate mine taxes should be the major source of national financial sustainability. Meanwhile, Professor Oliver Saasa has advised the government to invest more in understanding its capacity to servicing debt.

Commenting on the decision by Parliament to pass a motion to give the finance minister powers to raise Zambia's debt ceiling from K20 billion to K35 billion, Dr Haabazoka, a Copperbelt-based economist who is also a lecturer of business studies at the Copperbelt University, said the government must begin to demonstrate fiscal discipline to avoid external borrowing.

He said the government's rush to get loans and debts being acquired through capital markets was an economic hazard.

"We can borrow as a country but we should not exceed certain limits, otherwise we will be pushing the debt burden to the future generation. Borrowing, even just for consumption when you have an expanded government, a civil service that is also bloated, then monies will just be servicing the existence of the government," Dr Haabazoka said.

"Let us first look at fiscal discipline, let us look at ways of maximising tax collection and then find ways of spending these scarce resources and cut costs in terms of government expenditure. The rate at which we are accumulating debt has doubled, it's very alarming and it is rumoured that in the next five years, the government will borrow US$5 billion dollars and that's very unsustainable."

Dr Haabazoka said developed countries like Japan were also overburdened by debt but the advantage was that their debt was domestically sourced.
He said the biggest problem was that the Zambian government was getting debt externally.

"If we are not careful as a country, we will find ourselves in a situation where the budget allocation to vital sectors will be competing with interests that come with debt repayment. We have to be careful," Dr Haabazoka said.

And Dr Haabazoka said the mines could not in any way suffer because of windfall tax, adding that by definition, the government would only tax excess profits.

He said mineral resources belonged to Zambians and windfall tax must be introduced so that mining investors would not always pocket everything once they get excessive profits.

"Windfall tax is a prerequisite for financial self-sustainability. When you look at the period of the late president Levy Mwanawasa when we had windfall tax, the country was doing well because we had resources and we embarked on large infrastructure development projects. Today, the mines are not paying enough taxes. Look at their contribution to GDP (Gross Domestic Product), it's very low and it does not represent a true picture of how much the mines were getting," said Dr Haabazoka.

He said there was need to enhance transparency in the way mining firms were declaring expenses and profits so that the government could collect appropriate taxes.

And Prof Saasa, who is chancellor of Mulungushi University and a managing consultant, said debt sustainability analysis was not necessarily 'objective'.

"Our debt sustainability analysis does not bring sufficient comfort to feel comfortable that we can continue borrowing. A debt sustainability analysis is required and we are not actually doing this with sufficient comfort, and government was the first to acknowledge that," Prof Saasa said.

He said there was need for the government to circulate the debt sustainability analysis in the public domain to allow for wider consultation.

"When these analyses are prepared, they should be put into the public domain so that people have an opportunity to look at them and guide government and become part and parcel of information sharing. They are subjective documents done by human beings and I am glad government conducted the analysis, but to share that information is equally important because that would have informed government that we can actually still extend it to K35 billion" he said.

"I am not so sure whether our parliamentarians were well versed in terms of the implications; probably, it was more of a vote according to whether one was PF or the opposition. The debt sustainability analysis should have been one of the documents that all parliamentarians should have been exposed to and simplified in a way so that by the time they go and vote in Parliament, they should feel comfortable that this document has indicated that for the next 5 or 10 years, the executive is allowed to go beyond the threshold, then the voting will be based on the facts rather than party affiliation."

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Accept you're no longer in power, Rupiah tells MMD

By Roy Habaalu
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

FORMER Republican president Rupiah Banda says MMD members must recognise and accept that they are no longer in power.
And Banda ulogised the late Frederick Chiluba for his sacrifice to ensure that Zambians enjoy democracy.

During an MMD end-of-year women's choir competition held at party president Nevers Mumba's residence in Kabulonga on Saturday, Banda urged MMD members to remain united and focused if the former ruling party was to bounce back to power.

Banda, in a statement by his deputy administrative secretary Kennedy Limwanya advised MMD members to "recognise and accept the reality that they were no longer in power, which called for more sacrifice and doubling of their organisational capacity if they were to continue remaining relevant in Zambia's political dispensation."

Banda advised MMD members to encourage one another and not to look for faults in each other, as all people make mistakes. And Banda said no Zambian president sacrificed as much as Chiluba did.

"No Zambian president and his colleagues of which one of them is seated here sacrificed so much to ensure that Zambians enjoy democracy. We had been in a one party state and we suffered a lot as Zambians and I'm not extricating myself from that rule because I was also a member but the fact is president Chiluba and many of you here fought very hard to ensure that Zambians go back to democracy; that's something which they sacrificed so much; many of them sacrificed their jobs, many of them were put in prison, many of them were hurt, their homes were broken in order to fight against the one part state," said Banda.

"Regardless of what other people say about our former presidents, we must never forget that they sacrificed so much for us to have democracy. We suffered so much under one-party rule. But these people fought so much. We must continue to fight," said Banda.

He paid tribute to MMD founder members and in particular Heritage Party president Godfrey Miyanda for his sacrifice, saying he had tirelessly stood for the Zambian people in their time of need and that the country valued his service.

The event was also meant to honour all the former MMD presidents, of which Banda was the third, after the late Levy Mwanawasa, who had succeeded Frederick Chiluba.

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Nevers calls on Sata to seek forgiveness for failed promises
By Allan Mulenga
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

COMMENT - President Sata 'should apologizie' - why, to make the MMD look better? Just like in the USA? Nevers Mumba has no, repeat, no original ideas of his own. None. Ignore. By the way, there is something particularly obnoxious about a charlatan who used the cloth to hide behind. Call me conservative. :) - MrK

MMD president Nevers Mumba has asked President Michael Sata and the PF to seek forgiveness from Zambians for failing to deliver campaign promises. And Mumba has advised President Sata against using "a strong hand" in dealing with the nurses' strike.

Commenting on President Sata's statement in Mansa that it was not possible for the government to introduce free education because it is a cost, Mumba said Zambians would not take kindly to excuses from President Sata and the PF for failing to deliver campaign promises.

"Zambians are upset that they were taken for a ride. They were given promises that are now being backpedalled. Our advice is that there is no Zambian who is going to take kindly the comment that 'there will be no free education' without government coming out in the open to ask for forgiveness for the promise that they gave," he said.

"Zambians are not expecting anything outside what PF promised. They are not asking PF to do anything that they didn't promise. All they are saying is, 'this is what you promised us, please deliver it. If you are unable to deliver it, tell us that you are sorry for the promise and tell us that you did wrong to ruin our votes by telling us what is not true'."

Mumba accused the PF of backtracking on its campaign promises.

"It is incumbent upon government to come clean and explain to the Zambian people that their intentions were made to do the right things, but they have discovered that governance is more than being in the opposition making political promises," he said.

"That might play a little bit with the Zambian people not just to backpedal and expect Zambians to accept it."

Mumba claimed that the PF made promises out of ignorance of the governance system.

"The first step for the PF is to let the Zambian people know that they did not exactly understand what was involved in running government. They made those promises because of that ignorance. In the absence of that repentance, the Zambians will not take their backtracking," he said.

And Mumba advised President Sata to employ dialogue in resolving the impasse between the government and striking nurses.

"At the moment because of what people are going though and the promises that the PF made, it is unnecessary for the party in government to use a strong hand to try to wish away the grievances of the public sector. The public sector was promised certain things; those things have not been delivered," he said.

"I would advise very strongly that in the interest of keeping the peace of our country, the government prefers the issue of dialogue and understanding what the plight of the public workers is instead of saying 'the government is going to strike'."

Mumba disclosed that he had written President Sata on the issue surrounding nurses' strike action.

"I have done a letter in which I have asked the President to be able to consider dialogue to the level where our public sector workers could feel confident that government is committed to resolving their issues. That statement in Mansa was unfortunate," he said.

Mumba said the opposition would not take kindly to the government's manoeuvres to fire striking nurses.

"We will not take it kindly if the government attempts to fire these public workers that are aggrieved in the same manner that the government did not take kindly to KCM trying to offload those thousands of workers. It will be unfortunate for government to take that route, because there is room for negotiation. They are negotiating for the things promised to them. I think government should listen," said Mumba.

President Sata on Saturday warned nurses to resume work before the government strikes.

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Scott urges public-private partnership for job creation
By Francis Lungu
Mon 02 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

VICE-PRESIDENT Dr Guy Scott says the government's plan to create 200,000 jobs in the next one or two years can only be attained in partnership with the private sector.

He said the government's drive for economic growth should heavily involve the private sector because without partnership, employment opportunities could not be created.

Vice-President Scott (below) was speaking on Friday evening in Lusaka during the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) annual gala dinner.

He said the PF was a pro-business government and was particular on what type of business it encouraged.

Vice-President Scott noted that Zambia was an expensive destination to do business, but that the government was doing everything possible to address challenges hindering smooth business activities.

"Zambia tends to be a high cost destination of doing business, some of it is the fault of government because of high taxes, but some businesses have taken advantage to distort the business environment with high prices. We have a very distorted private economy," he said.
He said the government was still focused on growing the economy which required huge amounts of resources.

He noted that the country's Gross Domestic Product had grown to considerable levels, giving the economy the capacity to borrow for sustainable economic growth.

Vice-President Scott said the PF government acknowledged the country's economy had to be competitive to guarantee sustainable growth, but that it required bold decisions.

"You have to borrow money to do business. The role of government is to ensure flow of money in long term-at least 10 years. We intend to maintain levels of growth…through growth, we are pulling thousands out of poverty. We want to get the benefits of this (economic) growth by pulling people out of poverty," he said.

Vice-President Scott also said Zambia had one of the highest population growth rates in the world, a situation he described as a challenge which the government had to deal with to equate with economic growth rate.

He also appealed to Zesco to increase power supply for the economy to remain competitive.

Currently, Zambia's hydro power generation capacity is 1,557 megawatts against the total demand of 1,850 megawatts. Demand for electricity has kept on growing in recent years due to factors such as population growth and increased economic activities.

And ZACCI president Geoffrey Sakulanda said business continued playing an important role in economic development and in job creation.

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(THOUGHTLEADER SA) The Democratic Alliance does the Time Warp again
Posted by: William Saunderson-Meyer
Posted on: November 30, 2013

COMMENT - Apparently when the former apartheid National Party, the former Progressives (read: Republicans) and neoliberal fallouts from the ANC merge, you get the Democratic Alliance. - MrK

The normally smug and steady Democratic Alliance has over the past month metamorphosised into South Africa’s political equivalent of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.

This dizzying plunge through a Verwoerdian time warp was triggered by the Employment Equity Amendment Bill (EEAB), which prescribes swingeing penalties for private sector companies that don’t meet the government’s rigid new targets for racial and gender representativeness.

In “just a jump to the left”, the official opposition, hoping to make inroads on the black vote in 2014 and arguing that the Bill was “completely compatible” with its policies, joined the ANC to vote it through the National Assembly.

In response, over the next few weeks all hell was let loose by the DA’s old guard liberals. Leading the charge were James Myburgh, a former DA researcher who now runs the influential Politicsweb site, Institute of Race Relations analyst Anthea Jeffery, and political commentator RW Johnson.

The language was emotive, claiming the perfidious abandonment of sacred principles. Myburgh wrote of the “racial marginalisation” of minorities and of the DA leadership betraying “its supporters, its history, its principles and, indeed, the future of South Africa itself”.

Former DA leader Tony Leon restrained himself momentarily, and then with a joyful shudder of schadenfreude over the predicament of Helen Zille, his replacement as party leader, joined the fray. In a consummately subtle Business Day column, he without once mentioning Zille by name, compared her “flip-flop” performance unfavourably with the liberal steadfastness of previous DA leaders such as Helen Suzman, Frederik van Zyl Slabbert and himself.

Leon’s laudation of Slabbert’s liberal fortitude would have stung particularly. Slabbert was for a long time reviled in liberal circles for almost destroying the Progressive Federal Party, a predecessor of the DA, when he in 1986 he resigned as leader because he felt Parliament and “white” politics had become irrelevant.

Battered by this storm of Transylvanian proportions, the DA leadership initially laid low. Then came the step to the right when the pressure became too much. After a fiery caucus meeting Zille emerged to announce the DA’s withdrawal of support for the suddenly “Verwoerdian” Bill.

It was the parliamentary team that had “dropped the ball”, explained Zille, without a blush. There had been “deficiencies … sequential errors”, and ultimately a “plane crash”.

Although Zille’s disingenuous attempt to blame the parliamentary DA – she is after all the national leader and her alter ego Lindiwe Mazibuko is parliamentary leader – was shabby, it worked. Zille and Mazibuko emerged unscathed from the plane crash and two deputy shadow ministers were shafted instead.

Any sense of victory on the part of the old liberals was short-lived. At last weekend’s DA federal council meeting – talked up by commentators as a battle between the “old guard” and the “black caucus” – it was yet again “a jump to the left”, with perhaps a concessionary little bum wiggle to the right. The DA’s final word, for the moment, is that “race remains a legitimate measure of disadvantage”.

The sop to the DA’s minority-group supporters lay in Mazibuko stressing that race was not a “permanent proxy for disadvantage”, but a “horizon” of which the limits would depend on how successful broad-based black economic empowerment measures were.

Judging by public and media reaction, Zille has emerged from this mad whirl with her reputation a little ragged. But it’s not as simple as that.

Although it has taken some messy zigzagging, it is something of a personal triumph for Zille that she has dragged the DA into a new political dimension. For good or ill, only elections will tell, the DA has been fundamentally transformed. For the first time its policy is based on the fact that in South Africa race defines disadvantage and consequently, restorative action is a necessity.

There is irony in all this. While it is true that the 2013 EAAB is disastrously unworkable and Zille should never have supported it, by this most recent articulation of DA policy Leon should never have opposed the 1998 Act in the first place.

Liberalism, of all ideologies, is not an unchanging religious creed. While remaining anchored in individual rights and freedoms, it has to adapt as best to an ever-changing political terrain. Sure, Zille dropped the ball, but she recovered to score a try.



Sata warns nurses
By Kombe Chimpinde-Mataka and Godfrey Chikumbi in Mansa
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata has warned nurses to resume work before the government strikes. And President Sata says that it is not possible for the government to introduce free education because it is a cost. Meanwhile, PF secretary general Wynter Kabimba says the party should maintain President Sata for the success of the party.

Speaking when he featured on Mansa's Radio Yangeni where he went to thank the people for voting for Dr Chitalu Chilufya in the recent Mansa Central parliamentary by-election, President Sata said nurses should not have gone on strike without declaring a dispute.

"Let me tell you something; if you your daughter tells you that let me nyela beat you, you just laugh. Nurses are not governing, us we are running that government. We have a minister who is responsible for running that government. We want to follow the law. Let us follow the law, let us follow channels. But if you want to make shortcuts, we as government we have everything at our disposal: we have the police, the courts, so if we want to make shortcuts we can easily make shortcuts and enjoy the shortcuts; it's not blackmail. We have a garden boy, you have a house girl, do they tell you what to do? When we as government strike, we strike one way, not like them," President Sata said.

"If you ask labour minister Mr Shamenda, nurses did not declare a dispute for them to go on strike but we understand they have children. Those nurses who are strking, they are human beings, they have relatives in hospitals and some of their relatives are dying with them going on strike; probably they would have helped someone who is dying. But I don't want to use this channel to tell you what government is thinking, I will leave it to the MPs to deal with them."

President Sata also said defects in the new constitution could be corrected by way of amendments.

"If there are defectives, we don't need a new constitution, we can amend this constitution. If you have a chapter that you want, you can insert in the bills of what you want. We appointed a committee to look at the constitution and when they bring that document, we are not in a hurry. If there was a vacuum, we would have been in a hurry," President Sata said.

"How do you bring in a referendum? We have only had one referendum during Mwanakatwe, how do you come and want to bring in a referendum in between? Secondly, the procedure is that me, I'm hands-off. When the committee (technical committee) finishes they will deal with the justice minister who will take it to Cabinet. But what I am saying is if there are defects, we can call for amendments."

President Sata also castigated civil society organisations that were criticising the government over the constitution-making process, saying that they represented themselves and not the views of people.
He also said he desired for Zambians to have free education before he was voted in office but he realised that that would mean overtaxing the same people.

"When we were in the opposition, it was simple to say we are going to have free education but we didn't realise that we are overtaxing you people who are paying tax and you know education has a cost to build a classroom, to bring a desk, we need to pay a teacher," President Sata said.

"Conditions prevailing in the country right now cannot allow us to implement free education because we are going to punish children who are in the same schools."

He said he wanted to have more schools built in all parts of the country but that meant paying teachers.

And President Sata said his party had achieved a lot in 90 days.
"In 90 days, we have achieved a great deal: increased salaries for civil servants including teachers, in 90 days, we have not done it under 180 days," he said.

And President Michael Sata yesterday deferred the ground-breaking ceremony of Luapula University to next year.

And Kabimba said political parties that have been successful in the world have maintained one leader.

Speaking at a thanksgiving rally at Mansa's Kaole Stadium yesterday, Kabimba said the PF should maintain President Sata who was not out of step with anything that has happened in the world.

He said the cause of the poor had always been in President Sata's blood.

"We all know, those of us who have worked with you, that the cause of the poor is your vision. The cause of the poor runs in your blood; it is not something that comes as an after-thought," he said.

Kabimba, who attributed the victory of the PF to discipline among officials in Mansa, said the ruling party would not compromise on the same.

"We won elections in 2011 because there was discipline in the party and I want to urge the party we ought to maintain discipline because that is what will guarantee success," he said.

At the same rally, Southern Province minister Daniel Munkombwe urged party members to allow President Sata to rule in peace.

Munkombwe said it was too short a time or period for confusion to engulf the party.

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Kumar was very arrogant - Shamenda
By Allan Mulenga
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

LABOUR minister Fackson Shamenda says he will not support deported Konkola Copper Mines chief executive officer Kishore Kumar's return to Zambia because of his arrogance to him and President Michael Sata.

Commenting on Vice-President Guy Scott's statement that Kumar has appealed against the deportation and the government was considering the move, Shamenda said Kumar not only exhibited arrogance towards him, but also to President Sata.

"I don't like his Kumar approach to industrial relations and I will not support his coming back anyway. From my point of view, I don't like arrogant employers. Even they have an attitude like the apartheid or neglecting the workers, we are trying to harmonise industrial relations," he said.

"...not that employers should be arrogant; we want to have a situation where there is harmonious industrial relations for higher levels of productivity. The employer will get his part, the government will get the resources from the taxes and then the employees will have a comfortable life. That's all what we want in life and that is the approach of the Patriotic Front government."

Shamenda said he would not tolerate arrogant employers in the country.

"I have reported his behaviour which is highly unwarranted. As for whether he was going to come back or something, my working relationship with him will be very difficult," he said.

Shamenda said unlike his predecessor, Kumar was not reasonable when dealing with labour matters.

"I don't care whether there is Kumar or no Kumar, but as far as I am concerned Kumar was very arrogant. He was arrogant to me; he was arrogant to the President. So for me I have no time for such characters. So far I am working very well with other persons, like his predecessor; he was a gentleman. I highly regret that he left. You could differ in principle, but still more he was a very humble fellow. He was a polite guy," he said.

Shamenda said Kumar should shoulder the blame for his deportation.

"...for Kumar when the President said, 'you should go and tell Kumar he should not dismiss people', he said, 'me industrial relations are not my priority, I am going for a technical meeting'. I said, 'my friend, the President is saying I should discuss this issue with you'. He says, 'policy statements are rhetoric.' That is how the whole thing started and then he went for that technical meeting at Intercontinental Hotel. That is when the Minister of Home Affairs wanted to confirm from him, then he started running away. That is how he was declared a PI prohibited immigrant," said Shamenda.

On Friday, Vice-President Scott told Parliament that Kumar had appealed against his deportation, and the government was considering the move.

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PF wants to slide Zambia into another debt trap - Magande

By Abel Mboozi
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

COMMENT - "And Dr Situmkeko Musokotwane last week said the rate at which Zambia's external debt is climbing is worrying." Wow, really. This is the same Finance Minister who shielded the mines from taxation, and justified that by saying "We can always borrow". Short memories, perhaps, or just blatant hypocrisy and corruption?

Zambia now has more sources to borrow from - Musokotwane
By Bright Mukwasa
Fri 04 Mar. 2011, 04:01 CAT

‘Zambia can’t stop borrowing’
Written by Kabanda Chulu
Thursday, June 11, 2009 12:28:12 PM

" ZAMBIA can’t stop borrowing because available local resources are not adequate to sustain the financing of many projects around the country, finance minister Situmbeko Musokotwane has said. "

"“And the US $7 billion debt we had, in absolute terms it was a small amount by any standards but through our inability to service it, that was too huge because economic activities that needed to be sprouted out of that did not happen.” " - MrK

IT is sad that the PF wants to slide Zambia into another debt trap that would be difficult to dismantle, Ng'andu Magande has charged.
Magande, who is National Movement for Progress president, said it is surprising that the PF government is against the re-introduction of windfall tax on mines when it is the only sure way of raising reasonable revenue for the country.

He wondered why the PF government which campaigned on the premise of re-introducing the windfall tax was backpeddling over the matter and was now resorting to huge external borrowing.

"Even if the government does not want to re-introduce this tax on mines, what other tax sources are they intending to get money from in the mining sector? Money lies in windfall tax and the PF should tell the nation whether it is its policy not to implement the windfall tax," Magande said.

Levy Mwanawasa's government in 2008 introduced a windfall tax on copper at 25 per cent owing to the sector's low contribution to government revenue which still stands at less than two per cent.

Magande, as finance minister then, said the government envisaged to earn at laest U$415 million annually from the windfall tax as mining companies accounted for over 80 per cent of the country's export earnings.

However, Rupiah Banda's government in 2010 scrapped the tax amidst calls from civil society and opposition political parties to have it maintained.

The PF during its campaigns in the run-up to the 2011 elections promised to reintroduce the tax but finance minister Alexander Chikwanda last year, categorically indicated that the windfall tax would not be brought back and called those calling for its re-introduction 'lunatics.'

Commenting on Parliament's decision to allow Chikwanda to increase Zambia's external borrowing ceiling from K20 billion to K35 billion, Magande said in Lusaka yesterday that Zambians had now seen for themselves that the PF does not mean well.

He said the expansion of the mining industry in Zambia was fast and that was where economic growth was coming from.

"The expansion of the mining industry is very fast, that's where all this growth is coming from and then we have growth of six to seven per cent but poverty is still high because there is no equitable distribution of wealth which is supposed to be done by the government," he said.

He said taking the route of external borrowing would only take Zambia back into a debt trap situation.

"Why can't we really learn? It was going to be a different scenario if we had people in government now that have never served in similar capacities. The minister of finance has been in government before, so are President Sata and Vice-President Scott, so why can't we learn from those mistakes?" Magande asked.

"There is no doubt that the decision to raise the external debt ceiling would plunge Zambia into the Third Republic times, where her external debts would swell to unimaginable levels, which is sad."

Magande said former president Frederick Chiluba could not buy medicine in hospitals and that he built no single school then because he was servicing the external debt.

"Even medicines were in short supply because the government could not buy them. It is therefore, sad that the PF want to slide Zambia into another debt trap that would be difficult to dismantle," Magande said.

And Dr Situmkeko Musokotwane last week said the rate at which Zambia's external debt is climbing is worrying.

Dr Musokotwane, who is the immediate past finance minister, said it was saddening that Zambia's external debt which stands at U$3.2 billion was getting pushed up because of quick borrowing.

He was debating a motion in Parliament moved by Chikwanda, asking the House to permit him to increase Zambia's external debt borrowing ceiling from K20 billion to K35 billion re-denominated currency.

"The rate at which Zambia's indebtedness is climbing is too fast. Two years ago the debt was U$1.5 billion, today it's U$3.5 billion, in two years, you are talking of an increment of U$2 billion, this is too fast," Dr Musokotwane said.

"UNIP increased the debt from zero to U$7 billion in 27 years now we are increasing the debt by U$2 billion in two years, this is worrying people," he said.

Dr Musokotwane said in the Yellow Book, external debt indicated that a U$2 billion bond would be issued in 2014, meaning that the debt would shoot to over U$5 billion by next year.

"In three years, from U$1.5billion to U$5.7 billion, this of course is now getting close to where we were when we got debt relief, which is definitely worrying," Dr Musokotwane noted.

He said external borrowing of 75 per cent was substantial and raised questions.

Dr Musokotwane said the external debt could even be more than U$3.2 billion because he was not too sure the control called 'contingency liabilities' was included in the amount.

"These are amounts of money that can potentially become real debts. Of hand is the ZAMTEL liability; there is no question of the fact that the Libyan company(Lap-Green) transmitted something like close to U$400 million to acquire ZAMTEL," he said.

"Obviously they will not accept that such money goes into the drain, it is a contingent liability subject to judgment or agreement to the government and of course with time, we don't expect the US$400 million to be less than $500 million then."

He said the same applied to the Railways Systems of Zambia which has reverted to Zambia Railways.

"So, if you add all these plus other smaller amounts, I suspect we could already be owing U$3.7 billion which means that in actual fact, we could have already reached the existing limit perhaps even exceeded it. So, the debt issue is obviously a serious one," Dr Musokotwane said.

Bweengwa UPND member of parliament Highvie Hamududu in his debate said it was wrong for the government to premise the 2014 national budget on the decision to increase external borrowing.

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Govt 'regrets' delay in delivering farming inputs
By Gift Chanda in Lusaka and Creavat Chituta in Zambezi
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

AGRICULTURE minister Robert Sichinga has apologised to farmers for the late delivery of farming inputs this year. Sichinga said the delay was regrettable but assured that food security was not going to be significantly impacted. Farmers across the country have expressed disappointment over the late delivery of inputs for the 2013/2014 farming season.

"Our plan was to have delivered the Compound D and seeds by 31st October but we have been delayed by one month," Sichinga said in an interview on Friday. "I regret the delay; I wish I had done it, as I said, by 31st of October."

Sichinga said for D compound fertliser, "everybody has received" while seed had been dispatched to all provinces except Central and Lusaka provinces.

"For those provinces, I am using the Disaster Management Unit to deliver. The trucks are going out today Friday so by next week Friday, we will have delivered to everybody," he said.

"For urea fertiliser, we have completed Luapula, we have done a good part of Northern, some parts of Muchinga and we're now proceeding to other provinces. We want to complete the distribution of urea by end of December."

On payments to farmers that supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency in the last marketing season, Sichinga said the farmers were still owed K68 million.

"We are hoping to clear that not later than next week," he added.
Meanwhile, chief Chinyama of the Luvale speaking people of Zambezi district has appealed to the government to prioritise the area when distributing the inputs.

He said the government should distribute inputs to places like Chinyama Litapi located in the west bank about 96 kilometres from Zambezi town.
He said distributing inputs late in his chiefdom was a challenge because the area usually experiences floods.

The traditional leader was speaking when a team of veterinary staff from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, headed by the acting provincial veterinary officer Peter Banda, paid a courtesy call on him at his palace in Chinyama Litapi during the monitoring of the ongoing vaccination of cattle against Contagious Bovine Pleural Pneumonia (CBPP).

Chief Chinyama urged the veterinary staff to cover all the areas in his chiefdom. He, however, cautioned farmers against refusing to vaccinate their cattle.

Dr Banda said the government was committed to eradicating CBPP in order for the country to have healthy animals.

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Support students for higher education - Lungwangwa

By Allan Mulenga
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

PROFESSOR Geoffrey Lungwangwa says the economic growth the country is experiencing should result into increased support to students pursuing higher education.

Commenting on education deputy minister Professor Nevelyn Wilombe's statement that financial constraint has denied a lot of young people an opportunity to attain higher education, Prof Lungwangwa, who is a former education minister in the MMD government, said the government needed to perceive tertiary education as a long term investment which yields high returns.

"There should a realisation that investment in education is a long term investment; it pays highly; the benefits are much higher for society ultimately. What we see as economic development in the tiger nation like Singapore, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, those were investments which were made in education 30 years ago. They are now reflected in the higher benefits of economic boom for the nations because human resource is necessary for economic development," he said.

"Even in our country, the investment we are looking at now in tertiary education will have greater benefits to our society, 20, 30 years from now."

Prof Lungwangwa urged the leadership to change its perception towards higher education by increasing budgetary allocation towards the education sector.

"It requires change of mindset on the part of the leadership as a whole that education bears very high levels of returns to society eventually. This entails that there should be more allocation of resources from the national budget to support students entering tertiary level education," he said.

"The economy now is doing well; it is registering positive economic growth and that should be manifested in a higher level of support to students in tertiary education. There should be a realisation on the part of the leadership, especially those in the Ministry of Finance."

Prof Lungwangwa said the economic boom should be translated into increasing students' bursaries and scholarships in higher education.

"Now, the economy has been improving since 2002, we have been registering positive economic growth, which means that there should be a concerted effort on the part of the government to support higher education," he said.

"This means that there should be more resources going towards students' bursaries and scholarships so that more and more students should be able to access bursaries and also scholarships, including students' loans. There should be a mix on bursaries, students' loans and scholarships."

Prof Lungwangwa said bursaries scheme should strictly be awarded to vulnerable students.


Andrew advises UPND, MMD to form alliance
By Stuart Lisulo
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ANDREW Banda says UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema and his MMD counterpart Nevers Mumba should 'cease-fire' and form an alliance if the opposition is to win the 2016 polls.

But Mumba says it would be 'premature' to speak on the matter now. In an interview, Banda, who is a member of the MMD, said the time was right for both parties to put aside any differences, unite and form an alliance if the country was to have a strong opposition.

"I am actually flabbergasted that at a time when the country needs a strong opposition, some people are saying they can do it on their own. Nobody can do it on their own - none of the two can do it on their own. So mutual respect is very cardinal here; appreciating one's strength and weakness, and those that are in it for themselves (that is what is being exhibited) must be isolated," Banda said.

He said the country had now reached a level where strong 'checks and balances' were needed in order to hold the government to account.

"We need a strong, united opposition. We are all affected by a lack of delivery of farming inputs, lack of employment, load shedding and these issues of HIV/AIDS and strikes; that should be what bring us closer together as Zambians. So, when you see opposition leaders who are not agreeing to work together to check the PF, the responsibility will be now for Zambians to separate those that are selfish so they can lead on their own. What is happening now is very sad; one day you hear somebody from MMD attacks the UPND, then there's a counter-attack; in who's interest are they doing this? Meanwhile, the majority of the people are relishing for a strong opposition," he said.

Andrew, one of Rupiah Banda's sons, said it was important for the electorate to analyse and watch the two leaders in the opposition and assess whether they truly had the nation's interest at heart.

"If leaders in the opposition are failing to work together, they must be identified so that they can lead themselves. Zambians must pull towards uniting and rallying behind one leader that has the capacity to deliver the country to its rightful place," he said.

And in analysing recent by-election results, and the 'regional politics' at play, Andrew said it only 'made sense' for both opposition leaders to engage positively.

"I don't have any doubt that the MMD's strength lies in the East province, but if that is not managed properly (in Vubwi) and if they don't talk to each other, definitely they will split the vote. Eastern Province is a different ball game to Mansa. They still need to continue dialoguing about how to approach Vubwi and Malambo," he said.

But Mumba said speaking on the matter now would 'jeopardise' any opportunities around the issue.

"Of course our members can speak, just like Andrew has spoken and even from the UPND they'll speak, but I cannot speak now because we are going to be the final people to make a statement. So if I speak now, it'll be premature," said Mumba.

And when contacted, Hichilema said he could not comment on the issue of forming an alliance.

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'Zambia not likely to have people-driven constitution'
By Prince Chibawah in Mansa
Sun 01 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

ZAMBIA will not have a people-driven constitution because politicians have tried to draft a constitution that protects their powers and guarantees abuse of office, says FDD spokesperson Antonio Mwanza.

And Mwanza has charged that the government's failure to provide leadership and social benefits to the people is due to the current 'weak Constitution'.

Speaking on Mansa's K FM radio on Wednesday, Mwanza said the country was not likely to have a people-driven constitution because majority citizens had left the constitution-making process in the hands of the politicians.

"Since 1973, we have had a lot of constitution-making processes. We had the Chona Constitution Commission, the Mvunga Constitution Commission, the Mwanakatwe Constitution Commission, the Mung'omba Constitution Commission and now the technical committee constitution reform. All these five constitution commissions have not resulted in a people-driven constitution, for the simple issue of politics having taken precedence of our common sense. Politicians have tried to draft a constitution that protects their powers and guarantees the abuse of office, guarantee excessive powers. They do not want to draft a constitution that gives the ordinary citizen ultimate power to provide checks and balances to the elected officials," he said.

He noted that successive constitution-making processes had been politically driven and that the content had also not been protected.

"…and the history of this country from 1964 is that we have been dealing with the issue of a constitution. It's paramount to state that the Constitution we are using in this country is a constitution which was handed over to us in the United Kingdom in 1963. Hence it was formulated, drafted, signed, sealed and handed over to the people of Zambia by the British government. It still represents the one party mentality, the one party laws, the one party regulatory system," he said.

"A constitution can only be as good as the people want it to be, meaning that what people want is what makes a good constitution. If 80 per cent or majority of what the people are asking for is present, then that is a good constitution. But if the majority things that people are aspiring to see in the constitution are not there, then that is a bad constitution."

He added that the submissions of the Zambian people towards the constitution-making process had always been consistent and they had now grown tired of submitting same things.

"They (citizens) have always asked for a majoritarian president. They have asked to have a 50 per cent +1 clause. They asked to have Cabinet outside Parliament. They consistently asked to have a running mate, they asked to enhance the role of Parliament as a watchdog institution. They have also asked for the independence of the Judiciary and the Electoral Commission of Zambia. The independence of the Attorney General's office, the independence of the Auditor General's office, the institutions of governance," Mwanza said.

"The people of Zambia understand that power should be entrusted in institutions and not individuals. Because if institutions of governance are more powerful, then we know we are safe and secure. It's very dangerous to entrust powers in a man born of a woman. That's why people have been submitting that they need governance institutions to have supreme powers over man."

Mwanza said there was need to respect the constitution-making process by only including the wishes of the majority citizens in the final copy of the constitution.

"A constitution is a very important document in any society where people live. And we know that a constitution is a document of the land that spells out the values, aspirations of the people of a particular land that they have.

This is why if we want a government that is properly balanced, the Executive that has no excessive powers, powers which they can easily abuse; if we want to have a Legistrature that is proactive and representing the people's wishes, making laws that are relevant to bring development to its people at the grassroots; if we want a Judiciary that can be a panacea of justice, Judiciary that can ensure fairness, a Judiciary that everyone can be looked upon without a face that the law can be actually blind, then you need to have a constitution that epitomises the aspirations of the people," he said.

Meanwhile, Mwanza said the current Constitution was feeble, resulting in the government's failure to provide sustainable development to the people.

"The government's failure to provide leadership and ensure we secure these minerals that the Chinese and other foreign countries are looting from our mines is because of a weak Constitution we have. The failures by us as a people to hold our leaders accountable is because of bad laws we have. We have people that have been stealing from this country, looting government coffers, and they have walked to freedom because the laws we have are so weak that we cannot prosecute them. Today, we have court cases that are academic because the laws we have cannot guarantee the conviction of a former head of state," he said.

Mwanza asserted that the government had continued to abuse powers and national resources due to feeble laws.

"Today, we have a government that has continued to abuse people's rights, a government which continues not to adhere to the people's rights. People are jailed without the due process of the law. We have a government which is now picking up people from their homes and put them in jail without possible trials and later on the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions), in his famous ruling, goes for nolle prosequi as he has always been doing, because we have weak laws in the country. The people's development cannot be guaranteed," said Mwanza.

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