Monday, March 10, 2014

Sata's dreams for our children
By Editor
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

President Michael Sata says he doesn't want to see any child who doesn't go to school in Zambia during his presidency.

This is a commitment that deserves great esteem and applause. However, this is not a small commitment; it is a complex and gigantic commitment. And it needs to be immediately followed with appropriate government policies and programmes.

Modern man can't live without education and healthcare. The law of natural selection ensured that only the fittest primitive men survived. Modern man must get the most from the land, for life can no longer be dependent on nature and the environment. Education is needed for one to be able to meaningfully harness nature.

Literacy is accepted as a prerequisite for modern social life. Thus, there should be equal opportunity for all in this country to attain complete literacy.

A society which values its future affords the highest priority to providing education for all its young people. As it is commonly put: "Young people are the future of the nation."

Education on an increased basis is necessary if our people, our children are to increase their knowledge and love of God, to become enlightened citizens, and, in this modern world especially, to be equipped with those skills by means of which they may acquire a reasonable degree of material wealth and at the same time contribute to the good of the community.
Illiteracy is one of the principal causes of poverty and lack of development. It cannot be said that we have succeeded in promoting the creative potential of our citizens while there remains a large-scale problem of illiteracy in our society.
We have hard work ahead. With the current high levels of illiteracy, there can be no resting for any of our leaders and all of us as citizens of this country until we lift all our people out of illiteracy and ignorance. There can be no resting for any of us until the pledge that Michael has made to ensure that there is no child who doesn't go to school in our country is redeemed.
Children are the most valuable citizens in any society and the greatest of our treasures. Our children must no longer be threatened with the scourge of ignorance.
The value of everything we are doing today will and must be measured by how much it moves our children away from ignorance and illiteracy; it must be measured by the happiness and the welfare of our children. The children who don't go to school, who spend their time on the streets when they should be in school are testimony to an unfinished job, the job Michael wants finished during his presidency. There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children, it educates them and prepares them for the future. The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children, how it cares for its children and educates them.
Any good leader must be moved by seeing a child who should be in school not going to school. There has to be compulsory education up to grade nine or twelve. Each child has a right to education, and this right should be recognised and protected. We must take care of our children and show concern for their growth and development. Young people have to go to school - they need education.
And moreover, education is a major factor for social change. We will not have development for all until we have integral education for all. And lack of equal education opportunities lies at the base of the unjust social structures in our country. Everything must be done to ensure that every child goes to school, so that education is within the reach of all.
It may appear an impossibility to have no child who doesn't attend school before the end of Michael's presidency. Yes, there are challenges in achieving this but there is nothing impossible about achieving it. It is a dream that can, with effort, be turned into reality.
Moreover, it is worthwhile for Michael and all of us to keep on dreaming of a better nation in our present conditions and circumstances. We have no alternative. We must continue dreaming, with the hope that the better nation will become a reality - as it will, if we keep on struggling against the undesirable and for the desirable. We should never renounce our dreams, our utopia. Struggling for utopia means, in part, building it. We should never forget that today's reality was yesterday's dreams and that today's dreams will be tomorrow's reality. We have seen many of the dreams of the past, a great part of our utopias, become reality. And, since we have seen this, we have the right to keep on dreaming of things that will become reality someday in our country. If we don't think this way, we would have to stop struggling, for the only logical conclusion would be to abandon struggling for anything we desire or against anything we detest. And we think that a progressive person, a revolutionary never abandons the struggle for a better society, just as they never stop dreaming. So Michael should keep on dreaming about a nation without a single child not going to school because this will one day become a reality.

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Nurses' dismissal final - Shamenda
By Kombe Chimpinde-Mataka
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

LABOUR minister Fackson Shamenda says the UPND is inciting dismissed nurses to take action against the government.

But UPND spokesperson Charles Kakoma says the party is concerned with the manner in which the government is running the health sector. And Shamenda says ZCTU secretary general Roy Mwaba risks being arrested if he continues to incite nurses.

Reacting to the UPND's decision to mount a legal battle in defence of dismissed striking workers countrywide, Shamenda described as inhuman the opposition party's lack of regard for what patients went through when nurses were on an illegal strike.

Shamenda said the decision to dismiss the nurses was final and the government would not reverse it.

"This confirms the suspicions that people had that the strike could have been politically motivated because in the first instance, the people who should be sympathisers of the patients that were in hospital, they were going there and encouraging the nurses to continue being on strike in October when they staged the first strike action and saying 'they have got a good case' and wishing them well. That is tantamount to inciting them," Shamenda said.

He said that UPND must understand that the government had grounds on which nurses were fired, which were clearly backed b the law.

"If anything, once those nurses get a court injunction, chances of even the employer re-employing them may stop. The way the law is at the moment is such that you can't force an employer to reinstate anyone if they dismiss them, each side has got a right to terminate the contract. So they are jeopardising the chances of the nurses," he warned.

"We fired nurses because they did not follow the normal channels because they broke the law. Comparing the KCM or Shoprite case to this particular one is like comparing oranges to sausages. Nurses are essential workers, you can't trivialise these issues. People must understand the gravity of the action which was taken by the nurses."

Shamenda said that by law, it was an offence for anyone classified as an essential worker to go on strike even for a minute.

He said the government had in fact used its discretion to tolerate the strike action for as long as 10 days.

"It's like someone who is driving, and you find there is accident and you refuse to do anything; it is criminal," Shamenda said.

"Last year, the nurses got the highest adjustments of salary increment. It is unprecedented in the history of the country. We never had such an adjustment and we said we would work with unions to ensure the adjustments are implemented."

And Shamenda said he took great exception to remarks by ZCTU Mwaba that the action taken by the government would culminate into a crisis.

"I take serious exception to the statement by ZCTU and the Zambia Medical Association particularly. ZCTU and the Medical Association should have been the first ones to condemn the strike action by nurses," he said.

"I am disappointed with Roy Mwaba, who I am hoping was misquoted, because I think he is politicking. That is a very serious statement. In normal circumstances, he needs to be arrested because what he is saying can lead to the country becoming ungovernable. Where was he when the nurses went on strike in October when politicians were inciting them? 10 days down the line, when the nurses were on strike, ZCTU did not say anything."

"It is a very irresponsible statement by a seasoned trade unionist. He is supposed to condemn the action by nurses instead of insulting government, and no one is going to challenge government. He thinks he can direct government to reinstate nurses at a press conference? That is an insult! Majority of workers in Zambia, if not all, are condemning the strike action by nurses. He should not start daring government."
And Dr Katele Kalumba says the government must delink the health profession from labour unions.

Dr Kalumba says health workers should not use the mechanism that all other category of workers are currently using because of the sensitivity of their work.

"Surely, there must be a different mechanism that can be used in dealing with or having discussions relating to the conditions of service of health workers. I am making a public policy issue here, that can we create a track, away from the public service unionism that is used for negotiating conditions of service for health workers," he said.

"Can we use something similar to what we use when we are dealing with the security and defence force. I hope responsible and rational human beings can see this point and take it up."

Dr Kalumba described the strike action by nurses and the sacking of nurses as sad.

"It's sad news to hear what has happened. It's also outrageously sad that responsible unions can allow a situation to deteriorate to a level where nurses go on a strike and are fired, a situation that is endangering people's lives because they (unions) control health workers. Zambians cannot afford," he said.

"I hope there were no political baggages attached to the failure by the unions to be a lot more socially responsible to the limitation of the government negotiating position on this matter. I hope there is no such thing. If there is, it must be gotten rid of. It's an extraneous matter."

He said the welfare of the patients should come first, stressing that the firing of nurses that had gone on strike, at the expense of the well-being of patients in hospitals, was wrong.

"The primary interest of professionals such as nurses, just as that of government, should be the welfare of their clients," Dr Kalumba said.

"In this case, the patient, that is why there is an oath particularly for this category, doctors or nurses, which they take upon graduating to the professional category. This means against all odds, in the worst of circumstances, they would consider first and foremost, not themselves, not the politician, not the bureaucracy, not even the employer but the interest of the patient that they have sworn to serve," Dr Katele said.

"Now that is nothing to say about various grievances that health workers across the country do face. I live in a rural area; I understand the challenges that they have."

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Chikwanda proposes single account for non-tax revenue
By Kabanda Chulu
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

FINANCE minister Alexander Chikwanda has proposed that non-tax revenue collected by quasi-government institutions such as PACRA should be put in a consolidated account at Bank of Zambia to ensure transparency and accountability.

But there have been concerns that affected institutions would face operational challenges and might even fail to retain qualified staff if funding is delayed from the government.

Moving the motion to amend the Competition and Consumer Protection, the Environmental Management, the Fees and Fines, the Patents and Companies Registration Agency and the Weights and Measures Bills, Chikwanda said fees and any other revenue collected by these institutions should become part of the national treasury.

However, Committee on Legal Affairs, Gender and Child Matters chairperson Jack Mwiimbu said witnesses interviewed at the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Zambia Environmental Management Agency said operations of the entities would be affected.

"Mr.chairman, your committee was told that their budget flows will be affected and operations will be stifled if the national treasury suffers budget deficit. For instance, ZEMA requires timely funding to carry out its work and previously, they faced problems when they relied on direct funding from government," said Mwiimbu.

"We are aware that these measures are aimed at enhancing revenue collection and will ensure greater sharing but there are concerns that delayed or reduced funding might result in withdrawal of certain incentives thereby forcing qualified personnel to leave."

But Chikwanda assured that funds would be placed in a dedicated account at BoZ that would be ring fenced and ready for use whenever an emergency arose in the concerned institution.

"Their operations will neither be affected nor compromised and before money is deposited into control-99, funds necessary for operation including emergency activities will be availed," he said.

And Committee on Delegated Legislation chairperson Moono Lubezhi said witnesses interviewed at Patents and Companies Registration Agency and Weights and Measures Agency, also said provision of efficient services would be affected due to delayed funding.

"They said that funding should be timely and adequate to ensure smooth operations," she said.

In response, Chikwanda said all funds would be put to good use.

"Operational costs of these institutions will not be affected, all we want is to ensure these funds become part of general revenue and should be accounted for," said Chikwanda.

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Govt hails private maize buyers
By David Chongo in Mwinilunga
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE government has described as positive the role played by the private sector in providing farmers with alternative market for their maize produce other than through the Food Reserve Agency only.

And agriculture permanent secretary Dr David Shamulenge has assured transporters of farming inputs in Mwinilunga that charge rates for distribution of inputs would be increased to cushion their costs after several of them boycotted the exercise, demanding better terms.

Dr Shamulenge noted that private buyers had made tremendous contributions toward reducing wastage of stock by providing farmers with options to sell their produce beside FRA.

He said in recent years, maize stock had been wasted because farmers solely depended on FRA for standardised markets.

He noted that since milling firms started purchasing from farmers directly, the government had seen remarkable stock uptake.

Dr Shamulenge confirmed when he inspected progress of the Farmer Input Support Programme at various locations in Mwinilunga on Tuesday that transporters were not coming forward to distribute the inputs at the current rate of K0.60 per bag per kilometre, preferring instead the 2012/2013 rate at K1.50.

He said the transporters' concern that many distribution routes were not cost-effective with the current rate was genuine.

Dr Shamulenge said the government wanted inputs to reach farmers without further delays and, therefore, would award the transporters the preferred rates on specific routes.

Mwinilunga district marketing development officer Emmanuel Ndonyo said despite only seven out of 17 transporters detailed for the exercise working, 13,425 bags of D compound fertiliser out of 18,110 received as well as a combined total of 6,681 seeds of the 9,000, maize, 600 rice and 400 groundnut 10kg seed packs had been disbursed to farmers.

Dr Shamulenge, who was accompanied by acting North Western acting provincial agricultural coordinator Derrick Simukanzye, urged Ndonyo to encourage transporters to resume the exercise with the change in rates and ensure that farmers quickly access the inputs.

And Simukanzye said Mwinilunga was the only district in the province to have beaten its target of purchasing maize stock totalling 109,000 50kg bags.

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Sata must deal with current plunderers - APNAC
By Allan Mulenga
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

CORNELIUS Mweetwa says President Michael Sata should deal with plunderers in the PF for people to take him seriously on his commitment to fight corruption.

Commenting on President Sata's statement that 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 the plunder of public resources, Mweetwa, who is African Parliamentarians' Network Against Corruption Zambia chapter president, accused President Sata of remaining "mute" on the current plunderers in the government.

"You cannot take Mr Sata serious for what he says because I was actually wondering what things he was talking about when he said he wants to up the fight against corruption. His own secretary general Wynter Kabimba has come out in the open. I believe that what honourable Wynter Kabimba has done is an honourable thing to come out in the open and say here where we are in PF, we are entrenched in corruption," he said. "There are corrupt elements; ministers and leaders are preoccupied with registering companies and corruptly awarding themselves tenders or contracts, and also they are spending a lot of tax payers' money flying around."

Mweetwa said President Sata could only be taken serious if he deals with senior government officials allegedly being involved in corrupt practices.

"To date, President Sata has remained mute on those issues. So, how can he talk about plunderers when he is mute about the current plunderers? Which plunderers is he talking about, if he cannot comment about the plunderers that the Minister of Justice has been saying are in PF? So, until he deals with the question of his plunderers who are in PF that honourable Kabimba is talking about, we are not going to take him serious," said Mweetwa.

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Govt warns of stern action on contractors engaging inmates
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Kawambwa
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LABOUR deputy minister, Ronald Chitotela, has warned contractors in Kawambwa of stern action on their reported hire and use of inmates for cheap labour.

Chitotela's warning comes in the wake of reports of some contractors in Kawambwa allegedly engaging prisoners to do their work instead of the local people.

Chitotela, who is also PF member of parliament for Pambashe constituency in Kawambwa, said local contractors who were engaging inmates risked termination of their contracts, especially those that were financed by the Constituency Development Fund.

He said it was wrong for contractors in the district to engage inmates to do their work when most local people were yearning for employment.

" I am not cautioning those contractors, I am warning them. Let them not hire and use inmates to do their work. All they (contractors) want is to avoid many local youths who are unemployed so that they maximise on their profits, if they use cheap labour provided by inmates. We shall not spare contractors, especially those engaged to do CDF projects once they are caught hiring prisoners; and this is not just a warning for Kawambwa, but to contractors countrywide," Chitotela warned.

He has since castigated the local authority for tolerating contractors who were known to have been hiring prisoners.

"The council management should immediately put this to an end because it is not right. There are many unemployed youths and as government, our emphasis is on job creation for unemployed youths and not prisoners. There is a way prisoners can fundraise, but not to sale their labour to contractors with selfish motives," said Chitotela.



Chirwa pleads not guilty to abuse of office
By Namatama Mundia
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PROFESSOR Clive Chirwa yesterday appeared in the Lusaka Magistrates' Court and pleaded not guilty to failure to disclose interest and abuse of authority of office charges.

And Lusaka principal resident magistrate Obbister Musukwa yesterday dismissed an application by former Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) chief executive officer Prof Chirwa's co-accused Regina Mwale that she should be tried in Kabwe, saying he had jurisdiction to try the matter.
This is in a case where Prof Chirwa, 58, of plot 206/101, Ibex Hill, an academician, is in the first count charged with failure to disclose interest contrary to the Laws of Zambia.

Prof Chirwa is in the second and third count jointly charged with Mwale, 50, an accountant of High Ridge in Kabwe and ZRL finance director for abuse of authority of office, after the duo allegedly authorised payment of K72,282,210 to Fallsway Apartments for the former's accommodation, an amount which was beyond the professors entitlement, an act which is arbitrary and prejudicial to the rights and interests of the government of Zambia.

When the matter came up, Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) senior legal and prosecutions officer Silumesi Muchula told the court that the matter was coming up for plea and he was ready to proceed.

But one of the defence lawyers Mulilo Kabesha said he was not ready as he had just been served with the indictment but Muchula insisted that he served the defence on time, a situation which prompted magistrate Musukwa to order that the parties retire to his chambers.

When they emerged from the chambers, magistrate Musukwa told Prof Chirwa that in the first count, it was alleged that on dates unknown but between November 1, and December 31, 2012, in Lusaka, being a public officer as CEO at ZRL, the accused recommended at a ZRL board meeting that Clavel Incorporated Limited, a company in which he was an officer and shareholder, be given a contract to train Zambia Railways employees without disclosing interest.

Asked if he understood the charge, Prof Chirwa responded in the affirmative but denied committing the offence.

After magistrate Musukwa read out the two counts of abuse of authority of office, Kabesha, who is representing Mwale, said he had preliminary issues.

Kabesha said the accused were alleged to have committed the offences in Kabwe and and that the court with jurisdiction on the two counts was the Kabwe court.

"We are aware that it's not mandatory; this court can hear it but for the sake of convenience to the accused persons, especially A2 (Mwale), it's our prayer that this court invokes section 77 of the CPC Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia and transfer the trial of the two counts to Kabwe," he said.

Prof Chirwa's lawyers from Simeza Sangwa and Associates were not party to the application.

Muchula submitted that the preliminary issue raised by Kabesha as regards jurisdiction of the matter was based on convenience only, adding that it was not supported by section 69 of the CPC.

"Section 69 of the CPC not only tries to replace where the offence was committed but also applies to the jurisdiction of where the accused was apprehended. The two accused persons were apprehended in Lusaka on 22nd November, 2013. The accused persons are amenable to this court," he said.

Muchula said the application of transferring of the matter was misplaced as it was supposed to be made in the High Court.

Ruling on the matter, magistrate Musukwa said he was guided by section 69, which he said was instructive.

He said his court had jurisdiction to try the mater as the accused were apprehended in Lusaka.

Magistrate Musukwa dismissed Kabesha's application and ordered that the accused take plea in the two counts of abuse of authority.

And Prof Chirwa and Mwale denied abusing the authority of their offences.

The second and third counts allege that the accused persons authorised the payment to Fallsway Apartments on unknown dates but between February 1 and March 2, 2013 in Kabwe.

Magistrate Musukwa adjourned the matter to January 15, 2014 for commencement of trial and extended the accused persons' police bonds.



Yaluma explains PS on mine boards
By Misheck Wangwe in Kitwe
Fri 06 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

MINES minister Christopher Yaluma says it is a statutory requirement that his permanent secretary should sit on the boards of the mines to provide guidance.

Meanwhile, Yaluma says time has come for him and the PF government to be very tough on foreign mine investors that have refused to give business to locals.

In an interview in Kitwe on Wednesday, Yaluma said the permanent secretary in his ministry, Dr Victor Mutambo, sits on the boards of some mining companies to represent the interests of the government and the Zambians at large.

Yaluma said permanent secretaries in other ministries also sit on boards of various institutions to provide guidance and ensure that the interests of government on behalf of Zambians are protected.

"Yes, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Mines Dr Mutambo sits on the board of First Quantum Minerals and also on the board of KCM. That's by statutory requirement; it is in the mines Act. He provides guidance on what is needed as regards the various laws and anything which is of special interest from the government. The setup of representation of permanent secretaries on various boards is similar across all sectors. I can give you an example of Zambia Railways, the National Airports Corporation and Zesco. There is representation at permanent secretary level of every particular discipline," Yaluma said.

Asked whether it was possible for Dr Mutambo to execute his duties diligently as permanent secretary when on the other hand, he was enjoying incentives of the investors as a member of the board of directors, Yaluma said his involvement was more of serving the interests of government and also to provide guidance as stipulated by the law.

He said the government did not see any conflicts in the situation because the participation of a permanent secretary in any board was clearly stipulated.

"There should be no conflict because if there is any contentious issue that he thinks should not be discussed in that board meeting and he doesn't want to comment, he reports back to the Ministry, we look at it, then it goes back," Yaluma said.

"Take for instance at First Quantum, the PS has no powers to grant or make a decision. Whatever comes from there, if there is anything, he reports back to us. He is a technocrat, a controlling officer vested with powers to listen and guide on what the law stipulates."

And speaking during a meeting with the Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors and the Kitwe District Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Lunte Lodge, Yaluma said the government was not happy that mining investors had been very treacherous in the manner they were conducting business in the country.

He said local mine suppliers and contractors had been sidelined for a long time, adding that going forward, the government would start to act to protect its people.

"I want to apologise that we have even taken long to act since we came into government two years ago. We must address the huge challenges and hurdles our people are facing in terms of doing business with the mines. Give me up to January and you will see things happening. We are going to make serious decisions as a government because there is no way everything should be going into foreign hands. Even the supply of a simple motor for the mines is done by foreigners; it's unacceptable," Yaluma said.

And speaking earlier, Association of Mine Suppliers and Contractors president Augustine Mubanga said there was need to re-look the mines and minerals Act number seven of 2007 as it was defective on the issues of mines procurement from local companies.

He said the legislation did not provide for punitive action against mining companies that fail to comply with the law

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Pardon Makamba, Chinotimba urges Mugabe
05/12/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZANU PF legislator, Joseph Chinotimba on Wednesday urged President Robert Mugabe to pardon James Makamba and allow the exiled businessman to return home.

Although other rumours are associated with his exile, Makamba left the country in 2005 after being charged with violating the country's exchange control regulations.

Speaking in Parliament, Chinotimba said Mugabe could use his presidential powers to allow the businessman and former Zanu PF Central Committee member and MP to return and help contribute the national development.

However Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said there was nothing stopping Makamba from returning home.
He urged Chinotimba to pass on the message if he knew the businessman’s exact whereabouts.

“It is true what the honourable member has said that President Mugabe is a kind-hearted person but he has also never chased anyone from the country,” said Mnangagwa.

“If there is anyone who is outside the country then it is that person who knows the reason why they are outside. Maybe the honourable member (Chinotimba) may get in touch with him since he knows his whereabouts and find out why he is away.

“Zimbabwe is a peaceful country and everyone is welcome to come but if there is something wrong he (Makamba) did then maybe he would be afraid to come but it will be only him who knows that.”

Makamba skipped bail and fled the country while being prosecuted him on charges of allegedly externalising £3,7 million, US$2,1 million and R15 million.
The former ZBC disc jockey has interests in telecommunications, retail, mining and consultancy.

He led the local consortium which was awarded a licence to establish Telecel Zimbabwe, now the country’s second largest mobile telecoms company.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, REUTERS) Mandela legacy: peace, but poverty for many blacks
Bad deal for blacks ... Last apartheid-era SA president Frederik de Klerk with Nelson Mandela
05/12/2013 00:00:00
by Reuters

IN the 10 years after he withdrew from public life, Nelson Mandela divided his time between a mansion in one of Johannesburg's wealthiest suburbs and his ancestral home in Qunu, a village in South Africa's impoverished eastern Cape.

The contrast could not have been starker.

In one, his neighbours were cast in the image of the white "Rand Lords", the mining magnates and bankers who built the sprawling city - and Africa's biggest economy - from the vast gold reserves in the rock beneath their feet.

In the other, they were black peasant farmers living in thatched "rondavel" huts and eking out a living on windswept hillsides in scenes that have hardly changed in centuries, let alone the two decades since the end of apartheid.

While few query Mandela's achievement in dragging South Africa back from the brink of civil war in the early 1990s and brokering a peaceful end to three centuries of white dominance, tougher questions are being asked of the country he leaves behind.

Despite more than 10 years of affirmative action to redress the balance under the banner of "black economic empowerment", South Africa remains one of the world's most unequal societies and whites still control huge swathes of the economy.

In the words of leading trade unionist Zwelinzima Vavi, its structure is akin to an Irish coffee - black at the bottom, with some white froth and a sprinkling of chocolate on the top.

On average, a white household earns six times more than a black one, and nearly one in three blacks is unemployed, compared with one in 20 whites.

Such ratios are fodder for critics of the 1994 settlement that brought the curtain down on nearly half a century of institutionalised white-minority rule and saw Mandela anointed South Africa's first black president.

The numbers also support the anecdotal evidence from wealthy urban neighbourhoods - including Mandela's Houghton - where, 19 years after the birth of his "Rainbow Nation", most of the black people to be seen are housemaids, security guards or gardeners.

"Mandela has gone a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks)," Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said in a documentary aired on South African television in May 2013.

"That's being too saintly, too good."

He let us down - Winnie

The defenders of Mandela's settlement note that Mugabe's violent seizure of white-owned farms in neighbouring Zimbabwe from 2000 triggered an eight-year economic collapse and confirmed his fall in the eyes of outsiders from respected liberation hero to international pariah.

Yet his criticism of Mandela finds echoes in some corners of the African National Congress (ANC), the 101-year-old liberation movement that joined forces with the unions and the Communist Party to topple apartheid.

In a 2010 interview with the wife of British author V.S. Naipaul, the anti-apartheid firebrand and "Mother of the Nation" Winnie Madikizela-Mandela accused her former husband of selling out after being broken by his 27 years in apartheid prisons.

"Mandela did go to prison and he went in there as a burning young revolutionary. But look what came out," she was quoted as saying.

"Mandela let us down. He agreed to a bad deal for the blacks. Economically, we are still on the outside. The economy is very much 'white'. It has a few token blacks, but so many who gave their life in the struggle have died unrewarded."

Even among academics, there is broad acceptance that in its sparring with then-president FW de Klerk in the early 1990s, the ANC under Mandela, a self-confessed economic novice, focused too much on the quest for political rather than economic power.

In less polite terms, the ANC's stance translated into a quip popular at the dinner parties of wealthy whites: "We'll give them the vote but keep the banks."

William Gumede, a professor at Wits Business School in Johannesburg, said it was wrong to argue that Mandela sold out.

"However, the economic negotiations were not as robust as the political ones," he said.

"There was a glib acceptance among most in the ANC that all they needed to do was capture political power, and then they could transform the economy. It was a simplistic argument, and it was also the Mandela argument."

South Africa and the world watched in awe when, on February 11, 1990, Mandela left Cape Town's Victor Verster prison and raised his fist in salute to the crowds as he stepped out on his and the nation's "Long Walk to Freedom" - the title of his subsequent autobiography.

The start of a momentous political transition, it was also a key moment in the evolution of a cult of Mandela both at home and abroad.
Man and myth

In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with de Klerk, and in 1995 he won over all but the most diehard right-wingers as he saluted the overwhelmingly white Springbok side that won the Rugby World Cup in Johannesburg.

He is immortalised in a stained glass window in Soweto's giant Regina Mundi church; statues of him dancing, boxing or raising his fist are dotted across the country; and in 2012 the central bank issued a set of bank notes bearing his face.

The announcement about the notes came on February 11, the 22nd anniversary of his release from prison.

In such an atmosphere, it was perhaps inevitable that some episodes of his single five-year term as president are glossed over.

His close personal friendship with Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi drew criticism - and a fierce rebuttal from Mandela, who said:
"Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Gaddafi can go jump in the pool."

The 2010 "blood diamonds" testimony of British supermodel Naomi Campbell at a Hague war crimes tribunal also shone an uncomfortable light on a dinner Mandela hosted in 1997 for Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, whose presence at the table called into question South Africa's 'ethical' foreign policy.

Then there is the infamous 'Arms Deal', a $5 billion defence equipment contract that erupted into a massive scandal for Mandela's successor, Thabo Mbeki, and remains the defining episode in the ANC's slide from post-apartheid grace.

Amid fierce criticism of Mbeki and the current president, Jacob Zuma, also embroiled in the furore, many South Africans have chosen to forget that the deal was first announced in 1998, when Mandela was still in office.

On the streets of the sprawling black township of Soweto, where police and disgruntled unemployed youngsters still face off in sporadic, violent protests over poor housing and public services, there are plenty who do not buy the Mandela myth.

"Mandela kept on saying: 'I am here for the people, I am the servant of the nation.' What did he do? He signed papers that allowed white people to keep the mines and the farms," said 49-year-old Majozi Pilane, who runs a roadside stall selling sweets and cigarettes.
"He did absolutely nothing for all the poor people of this country."

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tony Blair could have invaded who?
05/12/2013 00:00:00
by Bernard Bwoni

ALL the devious and dishonest denials and the deceitful negation from the architects of the flagitious sanctions and invasion plots, with their local collaborators deceiving the nation into believing these were travel bans, restrictive measures and genuine engagements. Some called the sanctions a myth and a make-believe story forged by Zanu PF. The conniving, the concoction and the cunningness of the duplicitous designers of the sanctions and their local partners, some dubiously dubbed them prohibitive measures against the regime.

All the malevolent protagonists denied their existence, the US vehemently denied, the EU washed their hands and the local opposition uxoriously laughed off the sanctions as mere restrictions on the ‘oppressive regime’. We were fooled into believing these were mere visa bans on President Mugabe and his ‘cronies’, to prohibit them from travelling to Europe and America. The local opposition in Zimbabwe was disingenuously boisterous, artlessly dismissive and naively opinionated about the existence of economic sanctions against Zimbabwe.

The dogmatically goofy Tendai Biti used to front these crooked disclaimers. They brushed off Zanu PF’s incessant cries of the ravaging effects of the mercilessly criminal sanctions. None of the architects of the sanctions was morally upright or honourable. Those who callously crafted the illegal sanctions blocked their ears, covered their eyes and filled their western-funded bellies to the nation’s sanction-induced poverty-stricken commotion.

The sanctions were and are still as real as life itself, an austere life inflicted on an innocent nation and its people by a counterfeit local opposition which spuriously claimed to be brokers of democracy and liberators of the people. The small print is what legitimised these deceitful designs and muddled the whole nation. The documents are written in such a way as to mesmerise, to suffocate and armed the credulous local opposition with immoral means for national onslaught and destruction.

As Chester Crocker beautifully and chillingly put it, “In order to separate people from Zanu-PF we must make their economy scream and I hope you senators have the stomach for what we about to do”. The US former Secretary for African Affairs and this statement he made in his testimony to the US Senate hearing in 2003. And he was right; boy oh boy did the Zimbabwean economy scream! However it was the sanction-busting Zimbabwean spirit that triumphed over the adversity, that resilience that lifted the amazing people of Zimbabwe from the depth of despair to the summit of hope. The sanctions failed to break that Zimbabwean spirit, the western handlers and those they handheld failed in their sinister quest to break that Zimbabwean spirit. The only other option was a callous plot to invade Zimbabwe which was entertained by the naïve ones; the Tony Blair project and Thabo Mbeki has an honorary place at the Heroes Acres!

In the eyes of those resolved on subverting national sovereignty, those with peculiar concerns on Zimbabwe in the time period and socio-political climate, re-colonisation was served with cheap wine for the local opposition. There is no doubt that democracy is one of the best things to ever happen to mankind. However it is just too vague a term if misunderstood, misinterpreted or misrepresented deliberately or naively. Deliberately misinterpreted and misrepresented by those with a delitescent inducement and genuinely misunderstood by some who were founded and funded by those who deliberately misinterpreted the process as a means to their own end.

Yes I have said it! It is very easy to fabricate and contrive allegations of human rights violations, lack of rule of law and civil liberties. The fabrication as a means to an end, the deceitful forgery as justification to disparage Zanu PF, the devious concoction as an excuse to intervene militarily and the contriving as a blueprint for sanctions; Uncle Tony to the rescue! It is Zanu PF’s contumacious attitude to the neoliberal ethos that is the sole reason for the economic and political sabotage that befell Zimbabwe and the MDC’s dutiful embrace of the same is the reason for the continuation of the sabotage. The Tony Blair project! Political and economic warfare is used as a means of subverting a nation. There is no way of correcting this crude political caricature.

The journey towards political legendary is not a haphazardly and hastily walked one. It entails having a cause, a just cause, a dedication and commitment to national course and national cause, an unshakeable belief in the cause. No lubricant required to make hasty the process; it does not require one to inflict sanctions and stealth bombers against own people to hasten their peregrination towards political glory. Even Uncle Tony’s invasion would not do it! A genuine cause not one manufactured for own selfish self-serving ends, for the purposes of illegal regime change. The destitution and economic hardship that has been inflicted upon us is the price we might have to pay to safeguard our political and economic independence. We might have to develop even higher-tolerance thresholds in the face of the distress and privation induced by these specific economic sanctions and future threats of Tony-inspired invasion plots.
Bernard Bwoni (Disappointed citizen).

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(BDLIVE SA) ANC left weak as SA ‘shifts to right’, says Kasrils

by Natasha Marrian, 04 November 2013, 07:15

SOUTH Africa is at a "fork in the road" and looks to be shifting more down a conservative path to the right than to the left, former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils said on Sunday, wading into the debate on the trajectory of the country as its 20th year of democracy approaches.

Left-wing political parties such as the Economic Freedom Fighters and the Workers and Socialist Party are set to contest the 2014 polls, at a time when the left within the African National Congress (ANC) is arguably at its weakest.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) is in crisis, with its top brass at loggerheads over the posture of the federation in relation to its allies, the ANC and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Mr Kasrils, a member of both the ANC and the SACP, has been increasingly critical of the government, particularly over the so-called secrecy bill and the Marikana massacre. He served in the cabinet of former president Thabo Mbeki and was among the ministers who stepped down after Mr Mbeki’s recall from his post by the ANC.

Mr Kasrils was speaking at the launch of the National Union of Metalworkers of SA’s (Numsa’s) Research and Policy Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand. Numsa is a key player in the battle playing out at Cosatu, staunchly defending suspended general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi in the internal fallout over his admission of an affair with a junior employee.

Numsa is at odds with the ANC over its adoption of the National Development Plan, which the union has likened to the Democratic Alliance’s (DA’s) policies. Its leadership under general secretary Irvin Jim has largely stepped into Mr Vavi’s role of taking a critical stance towards the alliance partners, particularly on the ANC’s approach to the economy. Numsa supports nationalisation of the mines and monopoly industries as well as the Reserve Bank.

"The forces in our country that want to take us down the road to the right have recovered from the 1994 change," Mr Kasrils said. "A lot of our people and government and parties are part of that approach now, it’s not a conspiracy, the interests have become similar, you see, and are pushing us down the road."

The Marikana massacre marked a turning point for South Africa, he said.

Police gunned down 34 mineworkers at Lonmin’s Marikana operations in Rustenburg in August last year.

Mr Kasrils said he entered the struggle against apartheid because of the Sharpeville massacre — the 1960 protest in which 69 people were killed by apartheid police — but Marikana was "worse than Sharpeville" because it was "premeditated".

"Marikana is the turning point, we are at that fork in the road and we have got to wake up and blow our whistles and wave our red flags.

"I believe I have been an optimist all my life … but I believe that we are moving to the right, we are moving down that road."

He said it was only the working class of the country, who at this point was able to arrest this development and set the country down a more "progressive" path.

November 04 2013, 07:15

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At the mercy of investors
By Editor
Thu 05 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

The growth of the investment in mines instead of bringing more revenue to the government is imposing additional challenges on it. There are many costs the government has to directly incur to enable the mines operate efficiently. For instance, the government has to ensure that there is adequate investment in roads, railways and other communication networks.

Adequate investment also has to be made in meeting the power needs of mining. We are told on high authority that the power that the mines use is subsidised by the rest of us. And we have been doing this for the last two decades.

We are told mineral production has increased over the last two decades. But one factor in our national life remained with us all through the last two decades or so, and is with us still, and that at the bottom of the social scale there is a mass of poverty and misery equal, if not worse, in magnitude to that which obtained two decades ago.

We have been reminded by many experts and institutions that we are not getting much revenue from mining, and efforts should be made to collect more taxes from the mining companies. The World Bank has told us to do that. The International Monetary Fund has advised us to do so. Many mining and economic experts have advised us to find ways of increasing our revenue from the mines. Our very own mining expert, Dr Mathias Mpande, is also today advising us to do the same. But those in government, for reasons best known to themselves, find it extremely difficult and unacceptable to increase revenue collections from mining undertakings. They find it easier to go and borrow money and increase the national debt. This is difficult to understand. This needs to be explained.

We submit that the true test of progress in mining is not measured by the amounts of money transnational mining corporations are investing and the tonnes of minerals they are producing, but the elevation of a people as a whole through increased government revenues from mining.

The Zambian people know to their cost the danger which comes from allowing transnational corporations to make super profits at their own expense. We all know that there is something seriously wrong with the way we are dealing with investors in the mining sector. We seem to be treating them like eggs. We have public officers who speak for the transnational mining corporations and not for the people they are elected or appointed to serve.

Yes, we appreciate the need to attract foreign investment in our mining sector. But it shouldn't be investment for the sake of investment; it should be beneficial investment.

As Dr Mpande has correctly observed, we have countries in this region, the SADC region, that are benefitting from the exploitation of their mineral wealth. And Botswana is a good example of that. Most, if not all, of the mining operations in Botswana are joint ventures between the government of that country and private foreign investors on a fifty-fifty basis. In this way, what the government foregoes in taxation, it receives in dividends. And in this way, it is easier for the government of Botswana to keep mining taxes relatively low because the government is the shareholder and as such, a dividend recipient.

But still taxes are paid. And therefore, the benefits accruing to the people of Botswana from their country's mineral wealth is relatively much higher. In our case, most of the mines are predominantly owned by foreign enterprises. What we lose in taxes, we don't gain it in any other way. The tax we lose here is the tax they end up paying in their home country. After that, we go to those same countries trying to borrow money that could have been ours if we had prudent tax and investment policies.

It's difficult to believe that these policies are designed by our own people against their own country. The current policies are not different from those we had during the colonial era. Probably even the colonial government collected more revenue from mining than we are doing today. Why should this be the case? There are only two possible answers: incompetence or corruption. If it is a question of incompetence, who is incompetent in this whole chain of decision making? Is it the politicians? Is it the technocrats who are advising and assisting them in policy formulation and implementation?

If it is corruption, who is corrupt in this scheme of things? Is it the politician who is receiving kickbacks from mining corporations to come up with fiscal policies that benefit them? Or is it the technocrat who has been corrupted?

Whatever the situation, there are some of our people who are benefitting from this chaos. But the true test of progress in a nation is not the accumulation of wealth in the hands of a few people receiving bribes, commissions or kickbacks, but the elevation of a people as a whole.

The Zambian people know to their cost the danger which comes from allowing public officers to grow rich and permitting them to use their influence to silence opposition to their harmful policies and practices, to degrade our national life, and to bring reproach and shame upon our people, in order that a few unscrupulous scoundrels might be able to add to their ill-gotten gains.

Dr Mpande says that countries with good mining policies benefit much from their minerals. This cannot be disputed. We are not benefitting much from our mineral resources because of our poor or bad policies. Again, this cannot be disputed. If it is in dispute, why are we not benefitting much from our mineral resources? Why is everyone telling us to change our policies about collecting more revenue from the mines? Are all these experts and institutions urging us to collect more revenue from the mines wrong? And Dr Mpande correctly concludes:

"That's why almost all the countries that are intelligent, Botswana is basing its taxation on sharing benefits from the mineral resources. If you use that route, then you had better become a partner in the production, cutting, marketing of the diamonds. It is capturing 75 per cent of diamond revenue into Botswana and that revenue is being used for development…"

Truly, we are "purely at the mercy of investors, who are declaring profits they themselves determine". For how long should things continue this way?

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Mucheleka counsels govt on windfall tax
By Kabanda Chulu
Thu 05 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

GOVERNMENT should not continue betraying Zambians by refusing to bring back the windfall tax which is an easier way of collecting revenue from the mines, says Lubansenshi Independent MP Patrick Mucheleka.

Reacting to mines minister Christopher Yaluma that government has no immediate intentions to revise the mining taxation regime to bring back windfall taxes, Mucheleka yesterday advised government to take full responsibility by seizing the opportunity to reap maximum benefits from the extractive industries whose contents were a wasting asset.

On Tuesday, mining expert Dr Mathias Mpande said it was worrying that the country was only benefitting two per cent of revenue from the mines that only pay tax based on profits they felt comfortable to declare.

Dr Mpande said the country faces a leadership crisis in dealing with problems in the mining sector and that countries with good mining policies benefitted much from their minerals, citing Botswana's 50-50 shareholding as an intelligent way of sharing benefits from mineral resources.

"It is unfortunate and sad for the Zambian people that such sentiments are coming from a minister. In today's edition of the Post, there is a story quoting Ghanaian President John Mahama that Ghana will embark on a renegotiation exercise with companies especially those in the extractive industry on new stability agreements. This shows that Ghanaians have realized that the mines are making abnormal profits at the expense of local people," Mucheleka said.

"What is so special about mining companies investing in Zambia when everyone else is revising agreements to benefit from the super profits?"

He explained that some people, including government ministers, who were against windfall taxes do not understand how the system works.

"Mining companies will still make realistic profits because the windfall tax will only be triggered at certain price thresholds, besides it is a less complex way of collecting revenue whether ZRA has capacity or not, the country will still get something," Mucheleka said.

"Most of these mining companies are doing all sorts of things to avoid tax payments; they are also involved in tax evasion, tax avoidance and transfer pricing but with the windfall tax system in place, we shall capture correct revenue when the prices are triggered."

He said government had no choice but to do the right thing by bringing back windfall taxes.

"Government is borrowing money to build infrastructure, water facilities, and roads in areas where the mines are based. The mines are taking everything away yet government is subsidising the mines, for example, why should we continue talking about Chingola-Solwezi road which is in a dilapidated state but is used to transport copper ores for the mine?" asked Mucheleka.

"These same mines are subjecting our people to work under laborious and poor conditions, even their corporate social responsibility is poor because they usually donate a mini bus, sponsor a televised football match, they can do more but it is up to government to save people who are feeling the pinch."

Several people, including civil society and opposition parties, have called for the reintroduction of windfall taxes to increase revenue from the mines whose contribution to the national treasury is a paltry two per cent of GDP.

Recently, finance minister Alexander Chikwanda called those calling for reintroduction of windfall tax 'lunatics.'

In 2008, under Levy Mwanawasa, government introduced a windfall tax on base metals at a minimum rate of 25 percent with a revenue projection of at least US$ 415 million per annum.

For copper, the windfall tax was put at 25 percent at a price of US$ 2.50 per pound but below US$ 3.00 per pound, 50 percent for the next 50 cents increase in price and 75 percent above $3.50 per pound.

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500 NFCA miners lose employment

By Misheck Wangwe in Chambishi
Thu 05 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

OVER 500 miners that were constructing NFCA's South East Ore Body in Chambishi have been laid off following the decision by ZEMA to halt the operations.

And the unionised workers yesterday staged a protest in Chambishi demanding that ZEMA rescinds its decision to suspend the construction of the SEOB.

But the Southern Africa Resource Watch says ZEMA must be commended for acting decisively over the SEOB as it was being constructed without considering the interests of the poor community and other stakeholders.

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency ordered the Chinese-owned Nonferrous Cooperation Africa Mining of Chambishi to halt its operations at its South East Ore Body project for failing to comply with the laid down conditions of the investment.

But NFCA chief executive officer Wan Chunlai described ZEMA's decision as shocking and rather draconian.

In an interview yesterday, NFCA corporate affairs manager Nelson Jilowa said the workers had been laid off because ZEMA had suspended the operations at SEOB.

Jilowa said as a law abiding mining company, NFCA management had suspended all operations at the SEOB project and the workers had been sent home.

"As NFCA, we were taking the SEOB project and the employees as one. We cannot make any development without the employees and it's not our intentions to send them home, it is ZEMA's decision. When a decision is made to lift the suspension, the employees will be called and remember, it's not only these 500 miners, there are about 5,000 prospective employees whom we envisage to employ at the completion of this project and they have also been seriously affected," Jilowa said.

He said the laid off miners would be paid their accrued dues.
Jilowa said NFCA had no option but to comply with ZEMA's directives.

"In the absence of the audit report, which to us is the basis of this decision by ZEMA, one would be left with no option but to speculate that it could be the misunderstandings that have been there between us from NFCA and Hybrid Poultry Farm that has contested this project," Jilowa said.

He said the mining company was on the ground and had created a cordial relationship with the municipality, the community in Twashuka and Mukulumpe areas that would be affected by the SEOB project.

"We have put up a package for the affected communities and people are very happy. We updated ZEMA about this," Jilowa said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of NFCA workers from the suspended SEOB protested in Chambishi demanding that ZEMA immediately lifts the suspension because their families would suffer.

The workers that attempted to match to Hybrid Poultry Farm were intercepted by the police and senior officials from the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers.

NUMAW president James Chansa appealed to the workers to be calm as the union would sit with all stakeholders involved to resolve the matter.
The workers later dispersed.

But the Southern Africa Resource Watch campaign officer for Zambia Edward Lange said the suspension of the SEOB projects was long overdue because NFCA was doing it without due regard for the community.

"If you go to the municipality, they don't even have where they are going to take those people. If investors are going to be taking Zambia like an animal farm where they can do anything that they want without observing the laws of the land, then we are not going anywhere. ZEMA must be allowed to execute its mandates diligently and professionally without any interference," said Lange.

NFCA's SEOB project worth US$832 million (about K5 billion) was approved by ZEMA on September 5, 2012.

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Physically challenged bemoan failure to get jobs in Solwezi mines
By Vincent Chilikima in Solwezi
Thu 05 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PEOPLE living with disabilities in Solwezi have bemoaned the lack of employment opportunities in the mines despite their desire and ability to work.

North Western Province chairperson for Zambia Federation of the Blind Godfrey Makwayanga said the disabled were finding it difficult to be employed in the mines. He appealed to the mines to instead consider employing children of the disabled.

Makwayanga's concerns on the lack of employment were echoed by a sketch performed by the hearing impaired during this year's commemoration of the International Day of the Disabled held on Tuesday at Mitukutuku farm for the disabled in Solwezi district.

The sketch depicted how the hearing impaired were being denied employment in the mines and chain stores regardless of technical qualifications acquired for the jobs and therefore felt stigmatised and discriminated against in society.

However, First Quantum Minerals Kansanshi Mine public relations manager Godfrey Msiska said the employment policy of the mines considered the hazardous environment and high safety standards which required employees to be highly alert and swift in movement.

After handing over ten wheel chairs worth K20,000 at the event, Msiska said Kansanshi Mine's philosophy was to empower people in communities where they operate.

And Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) Provincial coordinator Living Ngandwe appealed to the government and well wishers to revamp the 312 hectares Mitukutuku Farm.

Ngandwe explained that the UNIP government had built structures at the farm for training disabled people in farming and carpentry, adding that many disabled people had realised meaningful livelihoods from the now defunct facility.

Meanwhile, North Western Province permanent secretary Augustine Seyuba said the government was committed to promoting the rights of persons with disabilities.

Officiating at the function on behalf of Seyuba, deputy permanent secretary Alfred Chingi said government had come up with a new disability Act No. 6 of 2012 to ensure that the rights and welfare of people with disabilities were taken care of.

He disclosed that government had increased the grant for ZAPD in the 2014 budget and further removed customs duty on imported equipment and vehicles for the disabled adding.

Seyuba also said the disabled were being given priority attention in accessing farming inputs under government's Food Security Pack programme being implemented by the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health.

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BoZ calls on banks to improve risk management
By Gift Chanda
Thu 05 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

THE Bank of Zambia has called on commercial banks to improve risk management to withstand external shocks as they deepen links with the global financial system.

Speaking at a PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) organised discussion forum for bank directors and executive committee members of management held in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula, BoZ deputy governor in charge of operations, emphasized the importance of safe and sound banking systems. She said countries and their commercial banks must evolve with international trends to manage risks.

"To be part of the international financial system and to remain competitive, countries have to adopt internationally accepted standards," she said.

She highlighted the role the Basel II framework could play in further enhancing the risk management practices of banks.

The Basel II framework is an internationally adopted best practice standard that promotes better risk management, greater transparency and corporate governance in the operation of commercial banks.

"Questions have been raised by the industry, especially in developing countries, about the relevance of the Basel framework as it was designed for internationally active banks," Dr Kankasa-Mabula said.

Dr Kankasa-Mabula said the position of the central bank was that as Zambia integrates with the rest of the world, the country cannot afford to have regulatory standards in the financial sector that deviate from global ones.

"Any deviation will hurt the country both by way of perception and also in actual practice. The perception of a lower standard will put Zambian banks at a disadvantage in global competition," she said.

"In practice, it has to be recognised that Basel II provides for improved risk management systems in banks. It is important that Zambian banks have the cushion afforded by these risk management systems, to withstand shocks from the external systems, especially as they deepen their links with the global financial system."

And Stephen Scott, a senior associate at PwC South Africa, said commercial banks that adopt the Basel II framework may find it easier to tap into capital markets to boost onward lending especially to the SMEs.

He said the adoption of the Basel II framework by commercial banks would be a step in the right direction.

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(GLOBALRESEARCH) Western Sponsored Humanitarian Crisis in Syria: Foreign Supported Insurgency Responsible for Civilian Deaths
By Nicola Nasser
Global Research, December 04, 2013

Creating a humanitarian crisis in Syria , whether real or fabricated, and holding the Syrian government responsible for it as a casus belli for foreign military intervention under the UN 2005 so-called “responsibility to protect” initiative was from the very eruption of the Syrian conflict the goal of the US-led “Friends of Syria’ coalition.

Foreign military intervention is now ruled out as impossible, but what the Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin described on last November 29 as “the biggest humanitarian crisis in a decade” was created and this crisis “is worsening and no end is in sight” according to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC) on November 11.

Objective and non-objective as well as official and non-official reports about the responsibility of the Syrian government are abundant, but that of the insurgents has been for too long covered up and only of late come under the scrutiny of human rights organizations and media spotlight.

The early militarization of civilian protests in Syria aborted all prospects for a long overdue peaceful change in Syria and created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today.

Militarization opened the Syrian doors wide for foreign military, intelligence and political intervention to turn a national conflict between the haves and have-nots into a regional and international one.

More importantly, unguardedly and grudgingly but knowingly the so-called “Friends of Syria” also opened the Syrian doors to al-Qaeda linked offshoots as an additional weight to enforce a “regime change;” in no time they hijacked the armed leadership of the marginal local armed insurgency and became the dominant military power out of the control of the intervening regional and international powers who financed, armed and logistically facilitated their infiltration into Syria.

The responsibility of the “Friends of Syria,” both Arab and non-Arab, for the militarization and the ensuing humanitarian crisis was highlighted by the US former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s call on Syrian rebels not to disarm as much by the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari opposition to a political solution through the upcoming Geneva – 2 conference next January 22.

When the United States last December added al-Nusra Front to its list of terrorist organizations, topped by al-Qaeda, supposedly to tip the balance in favor of what is called, in US terminology, the “moderates” against the terrorists in the Syrian insurgency, it was a measure taken too late.

The US measure was only a green light for the beginning of another war inside the Syrian war, this time launched by The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Da’a-sh) against all others in the insurgency, including al-Nusra Front.

The end result was further exacerbation of the Syrian humanitarian crisis, for which the United States & partner “friends” could not be absolved of responsibility and should be held accountable.

The responsibility of the insurgency, which is politically sponsored, financed, armed and logistically facilitated by them, is now unfolding to uncover the fact that the militarization of the early legitimate peaceful protests has created the largest humanitarian crisis in the world today by the military tactics the insurgents used.

These tactics include mortar shelling of civilian densely populated areas under government control, targeting public services infrastructure of power, oil and gas, hospitals and health clinics, schools and universities, stealing public warehouses of strategic basic food reserves, dismantling and stealing public and private factories, flour mills and bakeries, interrupting or cutting transportation and traffic on highways, assassinations, extrajudicial killings and public beheadings, suicide bombings in city centers, targeting and besieging minorities, destroying and desecrating all religious and historic relics, flooding Syria with tens of thousands of foreign mercenary fighters obsessed by the al-Qaeda-like bizarre interpretations of Islam who violently compete among themselves for local leadership and war exploits because they are controlled by competing foreign intelligence agencies, and subjecting the population who come under their control to their brand of Islamic law courts, fatwas and orders, which dumped women out of society altogether to be reserved only for their sexual needs, etc.

However, exploiting the fact that the regular army was deployed along some seventy miles of the ceasefire line for a confrontation with the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on the Syrian Golan Heights and trained for a regular warfare, their strategic military tactic was from the start to entrench themselves among the civilian population, using them as human shields, in countryside towns and villages where the army has no presence and where even the police and security agencies maintain minimal presence or none at all.

The early successes of the insurgents were military exploits against peaceful civilians; they were not achieved in military vs. military battles. It was enough for a few rebels to hold any such peaceful town or village hostage, but it needs an army operation to kick them out.

Except for the northern city of ar-Raqqah, which Da’a-sh turned into what the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar on last November 8 defined as “Syria’s answer to (Afghanistan’s) Kandahar – the birthplace of the Taliban” since the rebels stormed the city early last March, the Syrian state maintains control and presence in all the major cities.

But the official Arab Syrian Army had been on the defensive for some two years since the eruption of the insurgency in 2011. It needed this time to adapt, train and allocate counter insurgency units to fight in irregular city wars.

Since its strategic victory in al-Qaseer early last June it has gone on the offensive and is rapidly gaining more ground and achieving successive successes ever since.

However, the insurgency bears the main responsibility, mainly during the “defensive” interval, for the civilian plight; waves of refugees and displaced people came out from the areas under their control to find refuge either in government held cities or across the nearest borders with neighboring states. The latest largest wave of refugees of the Syrian Kurds into northern Iraq had nothing to do with government and was caused by infighting among insurgents.

The fact that the Syrian state and government were reacting rather than acting against the insurgency is now coming to light. This fact is now acknowledged by the UK-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which reported on this December 3 that it had documented the death of (50,927) government soldiers versus (36228) insurgents including (6261) non-Syrian fighters.

Rebel infiltration into countryside towns and villages was the main reason for more than two million internally displaced civilians who left their homes as soon as they could out of fear either of the rebels themselves and their practices or the inevitable government retaliation. They were taken care of by the government in government shelters.

In addition to Christians and other minorities targeted by the rebels who posture as the defenders of Sunni Islam, most of the refugees and those displaced are Sunni Muslim Syrians and more than one million of them are hosted by their compatriot Alawites in the west of the country, a fact that refutes the narrative of the US government and media about a “civil” and “sectarian” war in the country.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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(HERALD ZW) UK invasion plot: Nujoma speaks out
December 4, 2013
Mabasa Sasa in ETUNDA VILLAGE, Namibia

Namibia’s founding President Cde Sam Nujoma chats to Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to Namibia Ms Chipo Zindoga at his residence in Etunda Village, Namibia

Any attack on Zimbabwe is an attack on the entire SADC region and will warrant a military response from the bloc, Namibia’s founding president, Dr Sam Nujoma, has said. The Father of the Namibian Nation spoke in the wake of revelations that Britain, under former premier Tony Blair, approached South Africa seeking co-operation in a military invasion of Zimbabwe during Thabo Mbeki’s presidency. South Africa rejected the overtures.

Diplomatic sources also told this paper that Britain had approached at least two other southern African countries to provide land and airspace for a possible invasion of Zimbabwe at the turn of the millennium.

This was when Zimbabwe had embarked on its revolutionary Fast-track Land Reform Programme.

It is understood that one of the countries (named) actually agreed but backtracked when Zimbabwe sent an envoy to ask the leadership of that nation why it wanted to assist in an invasion of a fellow Sadc member state.

The source said, “At least three countries were approached. One of them rejected the idea flatly, one listened to the proposal and then rejected it, and another went along and only stopped when Harare made it clear it was aware of the plot. That is where it crumbled, but this tells Zimbabwe to remain vigilant as such threats can never be consigned to history.”

In an interview in his home village of Etunda in Northern Namibia earlier this week, Dr Nujoma — who was president from Namibia’s independence in 1990 until 2005 — said while he had not been approached to assist in an invasion of Zimbabwe, it should be made clear to the whole world that such an action would never be tolerated by the region.

He said, “Namibia will never betray an African country to allow an imperialist country to use our territory as a base for aggression against any member of the African Union.

“If anyone attacks any Sadc member we will be there. These imperialists understand nothing, but the language of force. We are ready for them.

“Why all of a sudden is Renamo causing problems in Mozambique? Sadc should raise an army and wipe out the rebels who try and destabilise the region, like we did in the DRC.”

This was in reference to renewed rebel activity by Mozambique’s Renamo after having first instigated a civil war that ran from 1975 to 1992 and cost more than one million lives and affected its neighbour to the west, Zimbabwe.

Dr Nujoma said Africa must be prepared to confront the European Union and NATO in battle if need be.

“Member-states of the African Union must contribute to the Standing Force to defend the continent of Africa. What happened in Libya and now in Egypt should not be allowed anywhere else. No African country should be used to harbor foreign troops on its territory, including the American AFRICOM.

“We know they are stationed in Stuttgart, Germany and they have been there since the Second World War. Now they want to come to Africa. Africa should be prepared to fight them…

“It should be clearly stated that any attack on Zimbabwe is an attack on Sadc. I can be commander myself, we are already fighters and we don’t need guns or training from anyone.”

Dr Nujoma added: “We congratulate Zanu-PF and President Mugabe for fighting the machinations of the British and neo-colonialists in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a shining example on the African continent…
“We say no to the return of imperialists in our lifetime and we follow in the footsteps of Robert Gabriel Mugabe,” he said.

Dr Nujoma urged the youth of Africa to follow in the example of the liberation movement generation that sacrificed much to achieve political independence.

Among sitting heads of state and government in the region, only Presidents Mugabe, Jose Eduardo dos Santos (Angola), Hifikepunye Pohamba (Namibia), and Jacob Zuma (South Africa) had a direct experience of the liberation struggle.
“The youth of Africa must follow in the footsteps of their forefathers. We must start fighting to liberate our economies.”

He said Africa had won many battles against the West before and it would draw from these experiences to continue resisting oppression as it strives towards economic independence.
Dr Nujoma said empowering African people was the next logical stage in the struggle for true independence, and this battle would be premised on improving education and building capacity in the citizenry to run economies and nations in the best interests of indigenes.

There was no reason why, he noted, Africa could not industrialise within the next 10 years and become self-sufficient.
“All resources of Africa must be used in the interests of the African people. Let us produce for ourselves… We are not poor, they (Europe) are the ones who are poor.”

Dr Nujoma said Europe was vulnerable at the moment and Africa must take advantage of this to surge forward economically and in asserting sovereignty over its resources.

He said he could not understand why Europe and America were busying themselves with developments in Africa and yet they were facing immense problems of their own back home.
“In Greece, in Italy, in Portugal and all over Europe, their people are dying of hunger. They are poor, they are suffering. Why should they bother us?

“Europe and America must concentrate on supporting their own people who are dying from hunger over there.”
A fortnight ago, Cde Mbeki said Blair’s regime put pressure on Tshwane to abet an invasion of Zimbabwe.
The British wanted to depose President Mugabe unconstitutionally and impose MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in his stead.

Interestingly, around the time of these invasion plots, Tsvangirai told a rally in Harare that he was prepared to remove President Mugabe from office “violently”.
Before Cde Mbeki’s revelation, a senior officer in Blair’s uniformed service had also said the military option had been strongly considered.

Lord (General) Charles Guthrie, Chief of the General Staff of the British Army from 1997 to 2001, said Blair had asked him to look at an invasion of Zimbabwe. Lord Guthrie said his response was, “Hold hard, you’ll make it worse.”

Labelled Blair’s favourite general, Lord Guthrie is credited with conniving with the then Prime Minister to send troops to Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

In his memoirs (“A Journey: My Political Life”), Blair said, “People often used to say to me: If you got rid of the gangsters in Sierra Leone, Milosevic, the Taliban and Saddam, why can’t you get rid of Mugabe? The answer is: I would have loved to; but it wasn’t practical (since in his case, and for reasons I never quite understood, the surrounding African nations maintained a lingering support for him and would have opposed any action strenuously).”

A number of factors are said to have weighed against an invasion of Zimbabwe.

Firstly, the Zimbabwean military is battle-hardened, having been involved in frontline action almost every year from the start of the liberation struggle in 1996 up until the deployment in the DRC war that ended in 2003. The British Military Advisory and Training Team was in Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2000 and knew of the Zimbabwe Defence Force’s capacity.

Secondly, there were some 100 000 British white citizens in Zimbabwe at the time and London knew they would be affected by any invasion.

Thirdly, Britain was at the time over-stretched in Afghanistan and then afterwards in Iraq.

Another factor was that at the time the United States – Britain’s largest ally – appeared unconvinced about the efficacy of an invasion, especially after the experience of Somalia in the early 1990s when Zimbabwean troops essentially rescued American troops from a quagmire they had sunk themselves in.

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(NEWZIMBABWE, THE GUARDIAN UK) Blair ‘plot’ drove military to back Mugabe
03/12/2013 00:00:00
by Blessing-Miles Tendi

FORMER South African President Thabo Mbeki claimed in an interview with Al Jazeera recently that he once came under pressure from Tony Blair to assist in a military invasion of Zimbabwe to remove Robert Mugabe from power. Blair's office has denied Mbeki's allegation. Mbeki, however, remained adamant.

Mbeki's accusation has sparked furious debate, with disagreement about which of the two former leaders is telling the truth. For instance, Ian Birrel writes in the Independent that "it is impossible to determine whether the whisky-drinking president's [Mbeki] recollection is accurate given the emphatic denial by Blair – not that the former Labour leader has always proved the most reliable witness in history". Birrell also asks us to consider whether a military invasion of Zimbabwe "would really have been such a bad idea" – a consideration that critics of Mugabe may find palatable.

Mbeki is a politician who divides opinion in South Africa and Zimbabwe, so while his claim has drawn the critical attention of some, others have simply dismissed it because they regard him as complicit in the political and economic crisis that affected Zimbabwe for much of the last decade. Opinion on Blair, particularly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, is equally polarised.

However, these debates reveal more about the various commentators' predispositions towards Blair, Mbeki and Mugabe, than they do the full meaning of Mbeki's disclosure. It also matters less which one is telling the truth, although it bears mentioning that this is not the first time Mbeki has spoken about this alleged British invasion plot.
When I interviewed him in 2011 he talked at length about the purported invasion scheme, which had South Africa as the intended military base. Mbeki smoked his tobacco pipe throughout our discussion, but there was no whisky in sight. Mbeki was as lucid as a tea drinker – just as he was in his interview with Al Jazeera.

Blair, in his autobiography A Journey, revealed a frustrated desire to topple Mugabe. John Kampfner’s book Blair Wars also records that "on one trip Blair found himself in the company of (former international development secretary) Clare Short. They talked for long periods about intervention. Blair confided in her that "if it were down to me, I'd do Zimbabwe as well' - that is send troops".

Crucially, in 2012 I interviewed Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, who served as chief of general staff from 1994 to 97, the professional head of the British army, and chief of defence staff from 1997 to 2001. Guthrie did not name Blair, but was adamant that in 2000 he advised figures in the government against an invasion of Zimbabwe because, as he said, "it is a very difficult military operation. My strong recommendation was do not touch Zimbabwe".

A military invasion of Zimbabwe was therefore contemplated in sections of the British government, but what is more important to consider is whether the Zimbabwean leadership was at the time aware that an armed intervention idea had been floated by some in Britain, and what the consequences of this would be.

In 2000, the Zimbabwean intelligence organisation violated diplomatic law enshrined in the Vienna Convention (1961) when it compulsorily unlocked a freight delivery, which was destined for the British embassy in Harare, on suspicion that it included military equipment for the purpose of overthrowing Mugabe.

No military equipment was discovered but the incident revealed the insecurity permeating the country's intelligence services in this period. Reflecting on this 2000 diplomatic bag incident, Didymus Mutasa, the Zimbabwean minister for state security between 2005 and 2009, said in 2005 that the fear Britain was planning to stage a military operation in Zimbabwe was "very real" in Zimbabwean military and intelligence circles at the time. No doubt, Mbeki had shared Britain's armed invasion plan with the Zimbabwean government.

Experts on Zimbabwean politics have in recent years been attempting to explain how and why the country's military became increasingly involved in politics from 2000. Zimbabwean opposition politicians have also been concerned with this development. The opposition leader and former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai went as far as saying that the choice between him and Mugabe in the July 2013 presidential election was an option between democratic and military rule, because Mugabe was now a "puppet" of the military.

Indeed, many commentators and opposition politicians believe that Zimbabwe's military generals, who all fought in the country's 1970s liberation war, have sided with Mugabe against the opposition or, as Tsvangirai would have it, they have usurped Mugabe's power in order to ensure that no leader lacking liberation war credentials comes to power in their lifetime.

I have interviewed many of these military generals. Several of them certainly are opposed to Tsvangirai because he did not participate in the liberation war. But they also say how foreign factors have influenced their behaviour since 2000. These external influences include their knowledge of Britain's furtive campaign for military intervention in Zimbabwe in 2000, the imposition of European Union sanctions on Zimbabwean generals in 2002 and former British foreign secretary Robin Cook's abrupt severing of Britain's military relationship with Zimbabwe in 2001.

These foreign influences helped forge a siege mentality in the Zimbabwean military, and partly shaped the Zimbabwean generals' decision to side with Mugabe against internal opposition they regarded as in cahoots with Britain - read more about this in the forthcoming Journal of Southern African Studies article. Whether Blair actually considered military intervention or not is beside the point. What is significant is who in Zimbabwe believed that he considered it, why and with what consequences for Zimbabwean civil-military relations.

Blessing-Miles Tendi teaches African politics in the University of Oxford's Department of International Development and is the author of Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe: Politics, Intellectuals and the Media

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The Post Newspapers Zambia
Mucheleka, Namugala want windfall tax re-introduced
By Abel Mboozi on Friday 29 November 2013, 14:00:00 CAT

LUBASENSHI Independent member of parliament, Patrick Mucheleka and his MMD Mafinga counterpart, Catherine Namugala, have called on the government to re-introduce windfall tax on the mines.

In their separate debates in Parliament on Wednesday, the two backbenchers said it was wrong for the government to incur a huge external debt when it could raise more money from the mines.

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.

According to then finance minister Ng'andu Magande, the government expected to earn at least US $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 amid calls from civil society and opposition political parties to have it maintained.

And the Patriotic Front, during its campaigns, promised to re-introduce 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'.

The House on Wednesday voted for a motion moved by Chikwanda that, in terms of section three of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act 366 of the Laws of Zambia, Parliament authorises him to increase by statutory instrument the amount outstanding at any given time on external loans from K20 billion to K35 billion.

In his debate on the motion, Mucheleka warned that posterity would judge the nation harshly with the burden it was placing on future generations through the huge external debt.

"The mining sector appears to be the only option to avoid over borrowing because what is coming out from this sector is not enough," he said. "It is very sad that the PF government campaigned on the premise to come and restore the windfall tax, but that has not happened."

Mucheleka said it was sad that only eight per cent of revenue coming out of the mines was what remained in Zambia.

"People are pretending as if they are irritated by what is happening. You all know where the tax avoidance is coming from; you all know the under-pricing that is taking place in the mining sector and you know what you are supposed to do, but you are not doing it," he said.

"This is why the perception out there is that there are some people who seem to be benefitting from what is going on in the mines and that is unacceptable."

He said the UNIP government took 27 years to leave the external debt at U$7 billion when it left power while the MMD left it at U$500 million after the debt write-off.

"When PF came into power, external debt was U$1 billion or so, but in the third year of this government, we are talking of getting back to U$7 billion within three years. It's not a prudent way of managing the economy," he said.

Namugala when opposing the move to increase excise duty on airtime from five to ten per cent said the government should not overburden the poor by such a move, but should introduce windfall tax.

"It is bad economics to tax the poor, because we all know that the poor people are in the majority. So, when you tax them, you are reducing their capacity to spend on their goods and services, what the minister is saying is that when a person in Mafinga spends K10 on airtime, they are going to speak for a shorter period of time than they did before," he said.

Namugala said increasing excise duty on airtime would make it more expensive for the people who need to communicate using cell-phones.

"We have time and again asked the government to introduce windfall tax, if you need to raise revenue, tax those that are creating massive wealth in this country," she said.

"Tax the mines because we all know that when they create wealth, this wealth goes out of this country, we all know that when a poor person creates wealth in Zambia, they will use it to increase productive capacity of our economy."

Namugala said it was high time Chikwanda faced the truth about the need to tax the mining companies to enable Zambia raise her revenue base.

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