Thursday, March 20, 2014

(NEWZIMBABWE, AFP) Mugabe mourns champion of the oppressed Mandela
07/12/2013 00:00:00
by AFP

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe paid tribute to Nelson Mandela on Saturday, describing the South African liberation icon as "a champion of the oppressed".

"Mandela's renowned political life will forever remain a beacon of excellence," Mugabe, Africa's oldest ruler at 89, said in his first official reaction, carried by the state-run newspaper The Herald. Mandela, the founding father of modern South Africa and its first black leader, died late Thursday aged 95.

"Not only was he a great champion of the emancipation of the oppressed, but he was also a humble and compassionate leader who showed selfless dedication to the service of his people," Mugabe said.

"The late Nelson Mandela will forever remain in our minds as an unflinching fighter for justice," said Mugabe, who early this year criticised Mandela for being too soft on whites after the end of apartheid.

In a documentary in May, Mugabe said Mandela went "a bit too far in doing good to the non-black communities, really in some cases at the expense of (blacks)."

"That's being too saintly, too good, too much of a saint," he said.
Mandela's death evoked an outpouring of grief and tributes from world leaders and admirers across the globe.

In Zimbabwe, state and private radio stations played music in honour of the anti-apartheid hero while listeners phoned in with condolence messages.

Ties between Zimbabwe and South Africa run "long and deep" and after independence in 1980, Zimbabwe hosted South African liberation fighters and supported its struggle against apartheid.

According to former SA president Thabo Mbeki, Zimbabwe delayed its land reform revolution so that apartheid could be dealt with first.
Mandela will be buried on December 15 at his childhood rural home of Qunu in South Africa's Eastern Cape province.

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(GUARDIAN UK) How the ANC's Faustian pact sold out South Africa's poorest

In the early 1990s, we in the leadership of the ANC made a serious error. Our people still paying the price

South Africa's young people today are known as the Born Free generation. They enjoy the dignity of being born into a democratic society with the right to vote and choose who will govern. But modern South Africa is not a perfect society. Full equality – social and economic – does not exist, and control of the country's wealth remains in the hands of a few, so new challenges and frustrations arise. Veterans of the anti-apartheid struggle like myself are frequently asked whether, in the light of such disappointment, the sacrifice was worth it. While my answer is yes, I must confess to grave misgivings: I believe we should be doing far better.

There have been impressive achievements since the attainment of freedom in 1994: in building houses, crèches, schools, roads and infrastructure; the provision of water and electricity to millions; free education and healthcare; increases in pensions and social grants; financial and banking stability; and slow but steady economic growth (until the 2008 crisis at any rate). These gains, however, have been offset by a breakdown in service delivery, resulting in violent protests by poor and marginalised communities; gross inadequacies and inequities in the education and health sectors; a ferocious rise in unemployment; endemic police brutality and torture; unseemly power struggles within the ruling party that have grown far worse since the ousting of Mbeki in 2008; an alarming tendency to secrecy and authoritarianism in government; the meddling with the judiciary; and threats to the media and freedom of expression. Even Nelson Mandela's privacy and dignity are violated for the sake of a cheap photo opportunity by the ANC's top echelon.

Most shameful and shocking of all, the events of Bloody Thursday – 16 August 2012 – when police massacred 34 striking miners at Marikana mine, owned by the London-based Lonmin company. The Sharpeville massacre in 1960 prompted me to join the ANC. I found Marikana even more distressing: a democratic South Africa was meant to bring an end to such barbarity. And yet the president and his ministers, locked into a culture of cover-up. Incredibly, the South African Communist party, my party of over 50 years, did not condemn the police either.

South Africa's liberation struggle reached a high point but not its zenith when we overcame apartheid rule. Back then, our hopes were high for our country given its modern industrial economy, strategic mineral resources (not only gold and diamonds), and a working class and organised trade union movement with a rich tradition of struggle. But that optimism overlooked the tenacity of the international capitalist system. From 1991 to 1996 the battle for the ANC's soul got under way, and was eventually lost to corporate power: we were entrapped by the neoliberal economy – or, as some today cry out, we "sold our people down the river".

What I call our Faustian moment came when we took an IMF loan on the eve of our first democratic election. That loan, with strings attached that precluded a radical economic agenda, was considered a necessary evil, as were concessions to keep negotiations on track and take delivery of the promised land for our people.

Doubt had come to reign supreme: we believed, wrongly, there was no other option; that we had to be cautious, since by 1991 our once powerful ally, the Soviet union, bankrupted by the arms race, had collapsed. Inexcusably, we had lost faith in the ability of our own revolutionary masses to overcome all obstacles. Whatever the threats to isolate a radicalising South Africa, the world could not have done without our vast reserves of minerals. To lose our nerve was not necessary or inevitable. The ANC leadership needed to remain determined, united and free of corruption – and, above all, to hold on to its revolutionary will. Instead, we chickened out. The ANC leadership needed to remain true to its commitment of serving the people. This would have given it the hegemony it required not only over the entrenched capitalist class but over emergent elitists, many of whom would seek wealth through black economic empowerment, corrupt practices and selling political influence.

To break apartheid rule through negotiation, rather than a bloody civil war, seemed then an option too good to be ignored. However, at that time, the balance of power was with the ANC, and conditions were favourable for more radical change at the negotiating table than we ultimately accepted. It is by no means certain that the old order, apart from isolated rightist extremists, had the will or capability to resort to the bloody repression envisaged by Mandela's leadership. If we had held our nerve, we could have pressed forward without making the concessions we did.

It was a dire error on my part to focus on my own responsibilities and leave the economic issues to the ANC's experts. However, at the time, most of us never quite knew what was happening with the top-level economic discussions. As s Sampie Terreblanche has revealed in his critique, Lost in Transformation, by late 1993 big business strategies – hatched in 1991 at the mining mogul Harry Oppenheimer's Johannesburg residence – were crystallising in secret late-night discussions at the Development Bank of South Africa. Present were South Africa's mineral and energy leaders, the bosses of US and British companies with a presence in South Africa – and young ANC economists schooled in western economics. They were reporting to Mandela, and were either outwitted or frightened into submission by hints of the dire consequences for South Africa should an ANC government prevail with what were considered ruinous economic policies.

All means to eradicate poverty, which was Mandela's and the ANC's sworn promise to the "poorest of the poor", were lost in the process. Nationalisation of the mines and heights of the economy as envisaged by the Freedom charter was abandoned. The ANC accepted responsibility for a vast apartheid-era debt, which should have been cancelled. A wealth tax on the super-rich to fund developmental projects was set aside, and domestic and international corporations, enriched by apartheid, were excused from any financial reparations. Extremely tight budgetary obligations were instituted that would tie the hands of any future governments; obligations to implement a free-trade policy and abolish all forms of tariff protection in keeping with neo-liberal free trade fundamentals were accepted. Big corporations were allowed to shift their main listings abroad. In Terreblanche's opinion, these ANC concessions constituted "treacherous decisions that [will] haunt South Africa for generations to come".

An ANC-Communist party leadership eager to assume political office (myself no less than others) readily accepted this devil's pact, only to be damned in the process. It has bequeathed an economy so tied in to the neoliberal global formula and market fundamentalism that there is very little room to alleviate the plight of most of our people.

Little wonder that their patience is running out; that their anguished protests increase as they wrestle with deteriorating conditions of life; that those in power have no solutions. The scraps are left go to the emergent black elite; corruption has taken root as the greedy and ambitious fight like dogs over a bone.

In South Africa in 2008 the poorest 50% received only 7.8% of total income. While 83% of white South Africans were among the top 20% of income receivers in 2008, only 11% of our black population were. These statistics conceal unmitigated human suffering. Little wonder that the country has seen such an enormous rise in civil protest.

A descent into darkness must be curtailed. I do not believe the ANC alliance is beyond hope. There are countless good people in the ranks. But a revitalisation and renewal from top to bottom is urgently required. The ANC's soul needs to be restored; its traditional values and culture of service reinstated. The pact with the devil needs to be broken.

At present the impoverished majority do not see any hope other than the ruling party, although the ANC's ability to hold those allegiances is deteriorating. The effective parliamentary opposition reflects big business interests of various stripes, and while a strong parliamentary opposition is vital to keep the ANC on its toes, most voters want socialist policies, not measures inclined to serve big business interests, more privatisation and neoliberal economics.

This does not mean it is only up to the ANC, SACP and Cosatu to rescue the country from crises. There are countless patriots and comrades in existing and emerging organised formations who are vital to the process. Then there are the legal avenues and institutions such as the public protector's office and human rights commission that – including the ultimate appeal to the constitutional court – can test, expose and challenge injustice and the infringement of rights. The strategies and tactics of the grassroots – trade unions, civic and community organisations, women's and youth groups – signpost the way ahead with their non-violent and dignified but militant action.

The space and freedom to express one's views, won through decades of struggle, are available and need to be developed. We look to the Born Frees as the future torchbearers.

• This is an edited extract from the new introduction to his autobiography, Armed and Dangerous

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what's left
Good Liberation Hero-Bad Liberation Hero
Posted by what's left on December 6, 2013
By Stephen Gowans

It seemed almost inevitable that on the new day Western newspapers were filled with encomia to the recently deceased South African national liberation hero Nelson Mandela that another southern African hero of national liberation, Robert Mugabe, should be vilified. “Nearly 90, Mugabe still driving Zimbabwe’s economy into the ground,” complained Geoffrey York of Canada’s Globe and Mail.

Mandela and Mugabe are key figures in the liberation of black southern Africa from white rule. So why does the West overflow with hosannas for Mandela and continue to revile Mugabe? Why is Mandela the good national liberation leader and Mugabe the bad?

A lot of it has to do with the extent to which the liberation projects in South Africa and Zimbabwe have threatened white and Western economic interests—hardly at all in Mandela’s South Africa and considerably in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe.

The media-propagated narrative is that Mandela is good because he was ‘democratic’ and Mugabe is bad because he is ‘autocratic.’ But scratch the surface and economic interests peek out.

Land ownership in South Africa continues to be dominated by the white minority, just as it was under apartheid. What land redistribution has occurred has been glacial at best. In Zimbabwe, land has been redistributed from white colonial settlers and their descendants to the black majority. South Africa’s economy is white- and Western-dominated. Zimbabwe is taking steps to indigenize its economy, placing majority control of the country’s natural wealth and productive assets in the hands of blacks.

The centrality of economic interests in the Western demonization of Mugabe are revealed in York’s complaint about Mugabe’s plan to indigenize Canadian-owned New Dawn Mining company, a process which would force a few wealthy Canadians to surrender a majority stake in the mining of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth. In York’s view, an African government giving its people an ownership stake in their own economy is unthinkable, but many wealthy countries, including Canada, have done the same.

Mandela, in contrast, rejected calls to nationalize South Africa’s mines, accepting Western and white domination of the country’s economy as a bedrock principle of sound economic management.

And so it is that Mugabe, the redistribtor of land and mineral wealth away from the descendants of white colonial settlers and foreign owners to black Africans is seen as devil incarnate in a Canadian newspaper that concerns itself with reporting the news from the perspective Canadian corporate interests. Canadian business wants the world to be open to profit-taking, and doesn’t care for governments that stand in their way. York reflects that bias. And Mandela didn’t get in the way of it.

Recycling the usual myths that make up the anti-Mugabe demonology, the Globe and Mail propagandist writes that Zimbabwe’s economic difficulties are due to Mugabe’s mismanagement, not to Western sanctions, erroneously describing sanctions as limited to travel restrictions on Mugabe and his closest associates. This overlooks Washington’s Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, which has blocked financial assistance to Zimbabwe from international lending institutions, a major impediment to the country’s economic development. It’s as if York blamed the Soviet Union’s crippled post-WWII economy on communist mismanagement, eliding Operation Barbarossa and the Nazi invasion from history. In this, York follows the standard operating procedure of the Western propaganda system, attributing a country’s economic troubles to mismanagement and not the sanctions that cause them.

As to the democrat vs. autocrat dichotomy, it is a propaganda contrivance. It’s what Western governments and media use to legitimize leaders who protect Western corporate interests and demonize leaders who threaten them.

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Mediocrity in our foreign missions

By Editor
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

Request Muntanga, Kalomo UPND member of parliament, says "there should be a fairest minimum standard set for those going into diplomatic service so that the country can get proper representation".

And Jack Mwiimbu, Monze Central UPND member of parliament, says "professionalism in the public service should be promoted".

No one can sensibly argue against what Request and Jack are saying. Without professionalism in the public service, government will not function efficiently, effectively and in an orderly manner.
It cannot be denied that, as Jack observes, "those posted in foreign service also lack credentials. As a result, staffing in foreign missions is mediocre". This needs to be corrected. And this can be corrected if there is a desire to do so.

The practice of sending unqualified relatives, friends and ruling party cadres to diplomatic missions started more than two decades ago. Attempts to make foreign service postings professional failed. People were trained for many months at NIPA with the hope of them going into foreign service. Very few of such NIPA graduates are in our foreign service today. What is needed for them to go into our foreign service doesn't seem to be professional qualifications but personal connections. They should either be relatives or friends of highly placed people in government and the ruling party. This qualification is not an easy one for everyone to get. You can't choose your relatives, you are simply born into a family without choice. And there is a limit to how much access one can have towards certain people to make them one's friends. Even among party cadres, only a few manage to have direct access to the key leadership. In general, there is little merit in the way people are selected for posting to the foreign service.

As a result, people with no abilities or skills to do the jobs required of a foreign service officer are the ones employed as such. It is good for these unemployed citizens, but it is certainly not good for the country and it doesn't serve the common good of all.

Diplomatic missions are very important for a country that wants to move forward, to make progress and improve the lives of its people.

When Zambian diplomats negotiate a treaty, attend a state dinner, or arrange a visa for a traveller to Zambia, they all have the same mission - to represent the interests and policies of Zambia.

An ambassador is the President's highest-ranking representative to a specific nation or international organisation abroad. An effective ambassador has to be a strong leader - a good manager, a resilient negotiator and a respected representative of Zambia. A key role of an ambassador is to coordinate the activities not only of the foreign service officers and staff serving under him, but also representatives of other Zambian institutions in the country.

Therefore, this calls for professional, well-trained diplomats who can effectively and efficiently represent Zambia's interests abroad under the direction of the ambassador. This also calls for foreign service officers who are capable of listening to and observing what is going on in the host country, analyse it and report to the ambassador and Lusaka. This demands the posting to our foreign missions of officers or staff who are able to understand or appreciate in a more sensitive manner the needs of other countries and their people.

Given these responsibilities, those we post to our foreign missions should have the necessary skills needed by these jobs. Some of the officers or staff should be very well versed in economic matters and be able to negotiate new trade laws and deals. We also need officers who are action-oriented "go-to" leaders responsible for all embassy operations from real estate to people, to budget.

This is a political relation requiring good political officers in our embassies who can keep the ambassador up to date on the political events and changes occurring in the country. And these being diplomatic missions in itself calls for officers with skills in public diplomacy to build mutual understanding and support for Zambia's policies by reaching directly to publics in foreign countries working with the media and all manner of people-to-people exchange.

Our embassies also need people who are well trained in consular duties and whose primary job is assisting and protecting Zambian citizens abroad. If you lose your passport, find yourself in trouble with the law, or want to get married to a foreigner overseas, our consular officers should be able to help you. Consular officers also issue visas to non-Zambian citizens who wish to travel, work, study or live in Zambia. This requires some reasonable knowledge of consular duties. If we send people who have no understanding of these issues, we should expect a poor service in this regard.

And due to the high level of interaction between countries in our interconnected world of today, professional diplomatic officers are needed in each country to aid in and allow such interactions to occur.

As we have already stated, our diplomatic missions handle very important issues on behalf of our government and our people. And as such, a lot of attention should be paid to the quality of officers and staff posted to these missions. The embassy is responsible for representing the whole country abroad and handling major diplomatic issues, such as preserving the rights of citizens abroad. The ambassador is the highest official in the embassy and acting as the chief diplomat and spokesperson for our country. This certainly calls for certain qualities that cannot be ignored if good representation is what we are looking for.

We, therefore, need diplomats who are capable of efficiently and effectively representing our country in the host country; protecting the interests of our country and its citizens in the country they are serving in; negotiating with the government of the host country; accurately and intelligently monitoring and reporting on conditions and developments in the commercial, economic, cultural and scientific relations between the host country and our country. These are not easy tasks. They require certain levels of experience and education. And if we really want to do well as a country, we have to change the way we appoint people to diplomatic postings.

We do appreciate the fact that things have been wrong for a long time and a culture of doing things the wrong way has taken root. But this is a revolutionary government out to change many wrong entrenched practices. And as such, this wrong approach to the staffing of our diplomatic missions should be stopped by this government and not perpetrated by it. Therefore, the observations made by Request and Jack deserve very favourable consideration.

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PF will never betray Zambians - Kabimba

By Henry Sinyangwe
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

Justice minister Wynter Kabimba says the PF will never betray Zambians that voted the party into power. He was reacting to Alliance for Better Zambia (ABZ) president Frank Bwalya who said President Michael Sata and the PF have betrayed Zambians over the need for a new people-driven constitution.

Bwalya stated yesterday that the sudden U-turn by PF on the need for a new constitution had consolidated the common belief that the ruling party can't be trusted.

"It has become common for PF leaders, including President Sata, to shamelessly say or do something contrary to what they championed prior to the 2011 tripartite elections. As such, Mr Sata's statement that Zambia doesn't need a new constitution but amendments to the current defective constitution and that there will be no referendum, is but another manifestation of PF dishonesty," Bwalya said.

He said that what President Sata stated in Mansa on Saturday was contrary to his earlier pronouncements.

"Moreover, it is contrary to the PF Manifesto which states, and I quote; 'Under the MMD government the opportunity to have a new constitution that reflects the will and aspirations of the people, and which could stand the test of time has once again eluded the Zambian people. The colossal expenditure of more than K135 billion incurred under the National Constitutional Conference has been a sheer waste of scarce resources that could have been applied to meaningful national development. This failed process has been nothing but a betrayal of the Zambian people. Additionally the rule of law, social justice and the justice delivery system have been compromised. In order to redress the above, the PF government shall: Establish in consultation with stakeholders a Committee of Experts to review the recommendations of all previous Constitutional Review Commissions in order to draft and present a constitution which will reflect the will and aspirations of the people for submission to a referendum and subsequent enactment only, by the National Assembly." (22 LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. PF Manifesto 2011 - 2016. Governance and the Administration of the State page 42)," said Bwalya.

He stated that the PF Manifesto clearly states PF's regret that MMD failed to deliver a new people-driven constitution.

"Moreover, the citation makes it clear that PF believes in subjecting the new constitution to a referendum and then presenting the new constitution to the National Assembly only for enactment. Against this background, our party Alliance for Better Zambia believes that PF is a dishonest party and that it will not deliver a constitution that will reflect the aspirations of our people. It is therefore regrettable that another golden opportunity to have a good constitution has been lost. It is even more regrettable that again a lot of money has been spent on a process to come up with a new constitution only to be informed that a new constitution was not necessary," Bwalya stated.

He stated that the PF should admit that they too have betrayed Zambians and that they don't deserve to be trusted.

"We find the statement by Mr Sata that Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) calling for a new people driven constitution don't represent anyone but themselves totally unacceptable. The credible NGOs including churches calling for a durable people driven constitution in Zambia have been consistent for many years. As a matter of fact, when Mr Sata was in the opposition, his party shared the same position of NGOs. It is therefore immoral that President Sata should today rubbish their calls saying they only represent themselves," Bwalya stated.

He stated that ABZ's position was that the treachery of PF may make Zambians lose faith in the political dispensation which had the potential to create instability in the political system of the country.
But Kabimba, in response to Bwalya, said the constitution-making process was still in the process and that the technical committee had not yet handed over the final report to the government.

"So you can't make an allegation at this stage the PF has betrayed the Zambians when the PF government has nothing in its own hands in form of the final report of the constitutional bill. It is not fair to politicize things out of context. I have written to the technical committee that they must hand over the report on or before December 31. When we have that document in our hands as government and we have taken whatever decision that the government takes, which decisions I am sure will be in the interest of the Zambian people, then one can make a comment," Kabimba said.

He said there was need to make statements that unite the nation.
"We were voted by the Zambian people. There is no way we can betray the people of Zambia that put this government into office, and we can't. So to make statements prematurely does not show that you are making comments in good faith. Let's try and make statements that unite the country," said Kabimba.

Speaking in Mansa on Saturday, President Sata 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.

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Holistic corruption fight will win Sata kudos - Milupi
By Kombe Chimpinde-Mataka
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

ADD president Charles Milupi says President Michael Sata's fight against corruption will win him kudos during his tenure if it remains holistic.

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 plundering of public resources, Milupi said the fight against corruption had to be transparent.

"It cannot be directed to State House. State House keeps the political will," he said.

"I think His Excellency the President of Malawi (Joyce Banda) has shown a very strong example. We have seen cabinet being dissolved because of allegations of corruption, we have seen certain actions against ministers being taken, accounts of government officials being frozen. That is the kind of action the President should take."

Milupi said there should not be sacred cows in the fight against a corruption.

"When he (President Sata) is seen to be dilly-dallying in terms of addressing issues pertaining to internal corruption within his government and then talks about plunderers and so on, that is not a holistic fight against corruption," he said.

"These are very senior ministers, top ministers, who are saying 'that other minister is corrupt and this one is corrupt' and when they are called by the Anti Corruption Commission, the President says 'don't call them until you clear it with me'. It shows the fight against corruption is no longer transparent."

Milupi reminded President Sata that plunderers could only be conclusively dealt with in the presence of serious political action.

"Now, when he talks about pursuing plunderers today and so on but when PF came into power, they had assured the country that individuals that were involved in corruption in the previous government would be prosecuted and we supported them but what we have seen is that these allegations which we also made, there is no case on which we have had progress. So these five years will pass with people going to court, with no will really to conclude these cases," Milupi said.

"For instance, when the former president's immunity was lifted, it was a big thing; by now we would have seen the conclusions on some cases.

Are we going to go through the process we went through during (Fredrick) Chiluba's prosecution? In the end, other than that judgment in London by a foreign court, do we have a judgment here in Zambia?"
He said the success of ensuring that the state recovers what had been plundered was in establishing the guilt of those that allegedly plundered resources.

"How are you going to blacklist them because the only way you can know someone is a plunderer is when they go to court and they are convicted? Before that, they are innocent," said Milupi.

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KCM should not be treated like a small god - Sichula
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe in Chingola
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

CHINGOLA residents should start preparing for reality that one day, they will have to survive without mining, says district commissioner George Sichula.

And Sichula says Konkola Copper Mines should not be treated as a small god and be allowed to arm-twist the government into submitting to its demands and extra incentives.

Sichula said, recent economic resurgence in the former cleanest town in Zambia was due to economic refocusing and diversification from mining as some economic activities sprung up in different parts of the town.

"We have a big and ready market in the Democratic Republic of Congo for maize, crops and all sorts of agriculture products," Sichula said in interview.

"As a district, we are looking at investments in agriculture, fish farming and just other investors who are coming to invest away from mining. And these investments have been increasing since the PF came into power."

Sichula said the recent economic resurgence in Chingola, coupled with increased infrastructure development had seen some natives who abandoned Chingola returning and investing in the town.

"We need to accept that someday in future, copper, being a wasting asset, will finish," he said. "It is not going to be there forever and people must begin to think of something away from mining and diversify into agriculture. There are areas that have no minerals and are doing better than us. We also need Manda Hill and Arcades Shopping Malls and those will begin to employ people and make money. Mining is not everything and we shouldn't treat KCM like a small god in Chingola."

And Sichula said, Vedanta Resources had not shown commitment to running KCM in a manner that adds value to Chingola.

"KCM has not been sincere in the way they conduct their business," he said. "The way they have been planning to lay-off massive numbers of workers without consulting government shows that KCM has an element of pride and they think they are government on their own. But one thing they are forgetting is that issues of jobs are very sensitive and should be handled as such."

Sichula advised KCM to stop offending government.

He was optimistic that the technical committee on mining headed by Tranta Mining chief executive officer, Dr Sixtus Mulenga, would deliver a report that will guide government in dealing with KCM.

"I don't know how they were dealing with the previous government but as for this Patriotic Front, it's the government that can't be compromised and we are not in government to deal in barter system," said Sichula.
"We know with these decisions on jobs, KCM was trying to blackmail government and sit down and negotiate…but they can't blackmail us and we are now just waiting for the report from the technical committee."

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Govt is looking into nurses' plight - Sata
By Allan Mulenga
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:01 CAT

PRESIDENT Michael Sata says he is happy that the nurses have called off their strike, adding that the government is looking into their plight.

President Sata yesterday wondered why MMD president Nevers Mumba was talking about the nurses' strike when he had failed to preside over his party.

"Go and ask him why he is commenting on nurses' strike when these people have gone back to work. He has failed to take care of his hair, how can he keep his people?" he said.

President Sata said it was good that the nurses had heeded his call to go back to work, so that negotiations with the government could commence.

"I asked them to go back to work and they have done that. The government is looking into their plight," said President Sata.
On Sunday, Mumba advised President Sata against using "a strong hand" in dealing with the nurses who were striking.

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.

"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 could strike.

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Zambia records 58% fall in new HIV infections
By Fridah Nkonde
Tue 03 Dec. 2013, 14:00 CAT

LOCAL government minister Emerine Kabanshi says the task of getting to zero new HIV infections, zero deaths, zero stigma and discrimination is daunting but achievable. And Kabanshi says Zambia is on the right track to reducing new HIV infections to zero.

During commemoration of the World AIDS Day 2013 under the theme 'Getting to zero in Zambia; zero new infections, zero AIDS deaths, zero stigma and discrimination,' in Lusaka on Sunday, Kabanshi said there was a national drop of 58 per cent in new infections.

"It will be interesting to see from the Zambia Demographic Health Survey how Lusaka district is fairing in reducing new infections to zero. There are, however, encouraging indications that with the 58 per cent decline in new infections countrywide, the HIV and AIDS prevalence may be averaging between 12 and 13 per cent," Kabanshi said.

She said there had also been an encouraging 56 per cent reduction in AIDS-related deaths since 2001 and a further 95 per cent reduction in the number of new HIV infections among children owing to the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme roll-out for pregnant mothers.

Kabanshi said the development was commendable and provided hope that with more concerted efforts, Zambia was on the right track towards reducing new HIV infections to zero.

"I am delighted to learn that Lusaka district has conducted an estimated 69,100 Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision as of August 31, 2013. This number represents 13 per cent of the estimated 531,323 national total of male circumcision undertaken as of August this year. This is commendable because medical male circumcision is said to have the potential of reducing HIV transmission by as much as 60 per cent," she said.

Kabanshi said the report from the Lusaka district community medical office showed that 98 per cent eligible persons living with HIV and AIDS had been successfully put on antiretroviral therapy.

She urged Zambians not to be complacent with the achievements made so far, adding that prevention of new infections was key to achieving the vision of having a friendly, green, healthy and prosperous city of Lusaka, free from the threat of HIV and AIDS.

Kabanshi said there was need to ensure that most vulnerable members of society such as young people, women, and girls are equipped with skills and knowledge that could help them abandon risky behaviours.

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