Wednesday, July 30, 2014

(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) DRC report says miners owe US$3,7 billion in tax, fines
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00

Democratic Republic of Congo is owed an estimated us$3,7 billion in unpaid customs duties and fines by companies operating in its copper-rich Katanga province between 2008 and 2013, according to an unpublished report commissioned by the public prosecutor’s office.

The report, seen by Reuters and dated November 2013, is part of an ongoing government probe into suspected malpractice by customs agents and companies in the vast south-eastern province.

It accused companies there of under-declaring the value of imports and exports, and sometimes avoiding tax altogether, often with the collusion of customs officials.

Some companies named in the report questioned the accuracy of its findings. The head of the customs agency in Katanga also said proper consultations had not been held with the companies and the report’s findings were exaggerated.

Public Prosecutor Flory Kabange Numbi declined to comment directly on the report.

In a letter to local rights group seen by Reuters, he said it was too early to draw conclusions about the outcome of the overall investigation, which is continuing.

Congo’s mining production has been limited by energy and infrastructure problems, and the government is under pressure to maximise revenues from the sector if it is to stand a chance of hauling its 65 million people out of poverty.

Two government ministers backed the broader investigation, saying it must be completed and any cash owed by firms must be paid to the government.

The report, compiled by a team that undertook a 10-day mission to Katanga, led by Congolese Attorney-General Simon Nyandu Shabandu, examined 25 cases of alleged customs infractions.

It found that 11 companies were liable for us$741 million in unpaid taxes and fines, including Mutanda Mining, a copper miner 69 percent-owned by Glencore Xstrata plc.

The mission’s report said penalties were agreed by “all parties” following talks between the firms and the customs agency.

It noted, however, the experts had not visited Mutanda Mining, pending instructions from authorities.
Glencore strongly denied any wrongdoing and said the report was inaccurate. It said it had not agreed to any penalties.

“Contrary to what is stated in the draft document, no contact was made by the ‘mission’ with Mutanda mining. Mutanda has no outstanding taxes or fines,” said a Glencore spokesman in an emailed statement.
The mission said a further 252 alleged cases remained outstanding and it estimated the total amount owed to the state from these at US$3 billion. Chemaf, a privately owned Congolese company cited by the report as among the 11 owing taxes, also denied its findings.

“We are confirming that Chemaf does not owe US$21,4 million in unpaid taxes,” said Chemaf director Sebastien Ansel.

Representatives for Hyper Psaro, United Petroleum and United Oil & Soap — all named in the report as owing taxes — declined to comment. The companies are all part of privately owned Congolese fuel, commodities and transportation conglomerate Hyper Psaro Group.

Other companies identified as owing money — Comexas, Socimex, Sabot, Marine International, Frontier, Congo Loyal and Trade Service — either did not respond to requests for comment or could not immediately be traced. — Reuters.

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(HERALD ZW) New board for Zimpapers
February 6, 2014
Herald Reporter

COMMENT - Sounds like an MDC takeover. Zimpapers had better not go the route of NewZimbabwe, which has turned into a complete vulgar rag, with sensationalist news alternated with lots of ad hominem attacks on the state and the government. The continuous and underlying message being that Africans should not govern themselves - that should be left over to De Beers. - MrK

THE Zimbabwe Newspapers Group has appointed a new, 10-member board chaired by veteran civil servant and former Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet, Dr Charles Utete, for a period of five years beginning February 1 this year. Dr Utete takes over from Dr Paul Chimedza, who won the Gutu South constituency seat for Zanu-PF in last year’s harmonised elections and was subsequently appointed Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care.

Only three members, businessman Mr Delma Lupepe, development consultant Dr Nyasha Madzingira and chartered accountant Mr Rungano Mbire were retained from the old board that had three other members – Dr Chimedza, Retired Brigadier-General Epmarcus Kanhanga and Dr Munyaradzi Kereke – resign to run for political office.

Rtd Brig-Gen Kanhanga subsequently won the Guruve North National Assembly seat on a Zanu-PF ticket and was appointed Tourism and Hospitality Industry Deputy Minister, while Dr Kereke won the Bikita West National Assembly seat as an independent.

Three members from the old board, namely Mr Chakanyuka Karase, Alexander Kanengoni and Mr Joseph Mandizha, who were set to retire were not retained.

The new faces on the board are Mrs Doreen Sibanda (cultural expert and executive director of the National Art Gallery of Zimbabwe), Mrs Karen Dube (dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lupane State University), Mr Terrence Hussein (corporate lawyer), Mr George Manyere banking and corporate finance executive), Mr Felix Moyo (director of Information and Public Relations at the National University of Science and Technology), and Ms Rejoice Nharaunda (a renowned entrepreneur).

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'Zambians' participation in economy glaringly absent'
By Misheck Wangwe
Thu 06 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

ALEXANDER Chikwanda says the participation of Zambians in the economy is glaringly absent, largely on account of there being no institutions of development of various entrepreneurs that can turn to capital requirements.

And Chikwanda, who is finance minister minister and currently acting president, says President Michael Sata is in control of the country and in full command of the PF development agenda aimed at mitigating the levels of poverty among the citizenry.

Speaking when he opened the Natsave Lumwana branch yesterday, Chikwanda said the government was capitalising the bank so that it could modernise and have adequate resources to lend at reasonable rates.
And Bank of Zambia Governor Dr Michael Gondwe said there was increasing paradigm shift in consumer behaviour facilitated by developments in information technology and communication sectors.

"A survey conducted in 2009 established that only 37 per cent of the population uses formal and informal financial services, while 63 per cent are financially excluded. This is due to lack of physical access to financial service providers. It is important that financial institutions strive to bring financial services close to the public," Dr Gondwe said.

And NATSAVE managing director Cephas Chabu said the bank would continue to offer the required financial solutions to rural populations in the country.

Meanwhile, Chikwanda told Patriotic Front told Patriotic Front officials who attended the opening of the Natsave branch that useless squabbles among some party officials should not be allowed to divide the ruling party.

Chikwanda said with the PF, the country's interests would always be bigger than any individual's interests.

He said everyone in the PF must set an example of selflessness and tolerant leadership.

"If we become a party driven by useless squabbles and divisions, we are not going to attract anyone from other parties to join us. What will be the attraction? What will be the incentive or the purpose of other people joining us if you are always quarreling? Your responsibility is to guide our people in development tasks. We want you to show leadership," Chikwanda said.

He said President Sata's desire was to have party officials that would discuss issues in an honest manner and settle all differences amicably.

"You must learn how to maximise tolerance and accommodation of each other's opinion. People will always have differences. Even if you belong to the same mother and father, it's normal to differ, but what is important is to resolve those differences. Party officials, I want you to know that these things called affection, loyalty and respect are a reciprocal; if you don't respect people, they will not respect you and if you don't love people; they will not love you," Chikwanda said.

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Mpasa warns private firms against mistreating local workers
By Godfrey Chikumbi in Kawambwa
Thu 06 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

PRIVATE firms mistreating Zambian workers should not be allowed to make the government unpopular, says Kawambwa district commissioner Ivo Mpasa.

Speaking shortly after he addressed scores of workers who had been engaged by a named private company to work on power lines in the district without paying them for over a year now, Mpasa yesterday warned that he would not tolerate any private firm, local or foreign to keep exploiting workers because their actions bordered on making government unpopular.

He said although the government relied on firms for job creation and growth of the economy, it would not allow its people to be abused in any way.

Mpasa said the government was for the poor people, whose plight and welfare it was seriously concerned about and would always safeguard.

"What these private firms shouldn't forget is that each time they mistreat our people, they make them cry that the government is not protecting them; and this is bad. That's why as government, we shall strictly monitor actions of maltreatment against our poor workers and immediately stop it. There have been situations where a firm engages local labourers and after they have done the work, the workers are dumped without being paid. Such actions are evil because they are aimed at destroying the belief that our people have in our government," charged Mpasa.

He assured the workers that the government would continue creating jobs through so many developmental projects that were being initiated in the area.

And Mpasa said jobs created locally should be for the local people and not people coming outside the district.

He said he was against the idea of employing people from outside when local people were also yearning for the same jobs.

"If they are constructing roads, let them just come with their engineering experts, not mere labourers. If you come with labourers, what jobs will the locals get? We are doing all these to help alleviate poverty for our local people," said Mpasa.

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FQM asks govt for title to Kalumbila
By Gift Chanda in Solwezi
Thu 06 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

FQM says it wants the government to quickly grant title for its controversial 5,100-hectare land in Solwezi, claiming further delay will affect development of an investment economic zone and the town by the mining giant.

Tristan Pascall, an assistant general manager at Kalumbila Mining Limited, a unit of the First Quantum Minerals (FQM) which has sued the Zambian government with respect to Bwana Mkubwa Mine, said the prolonged granting of the title by the government was a growing concern as it presented a risk to the development of the Kalumbila town and the Multi Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) in Solwezi.

The Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) mid last year ordered FQM to stop developing its Kalumbila mine project until controversial issues surrounding the development of the mines are settled.
The environmental agency disclosed that FQM had acquired 50,000 hectare surface rights without following procedure as they did not obtain presidential consent as required by law.

But Carl-John Collet, an official at Kalumbila Town Development Corporation, said on Tuesday that FQM had reduced the amount of land it has applied for from 6,700 to 5,100 hectares.

The controversy surrounding the Kalumbila land prompted President Michael Sata to constitute a task force to probe the acquisition of the land by FQM for the Kalumbila Mine project in Solwezi after establishing that there were serious irregularities in the manner it was acquired.

"This land is for Zambians. It is not like FQM will come and ship that land away," said Pascall said when commerce minister Emmanuel Chenda toured Kalumbila Mining Project in Solwezi on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Chenda said the government could not afford to delay the development of the multi-facility economic zone in Solwezi as the project would create jobs and revenue for the government.

Chenda said the government would address issues surrounding land title.

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Mature, UPND MP urges HH

By Kombe Mataka
Thu 06 Feb. 2014, 14:01 CAT

UPND Sinazongwe member of parliament Richwell Siamunene has advised Hakainde Hichilema to show maturity in his politics. Siamunene said it was unfortunate that Hichilema had continued speculating on President Michael Sata's whereabouts when State House had made it clear where he was and that he was on a working holiday.

Siamunene said Hichilema should apologise to President Sata for insinuating that he had gone to seek medical attention in India as opposed to going on a working holiday.

"As leaders, we must mature in our handling of political matters. We are in a mature democracy and this democracy demands that we concentrate on issues that are pertinent to the economy of this country as opposed to issues that are trivial in nature," Siamunene said.

"My strong advice is for Hichilema to humble himself and apologise. Let him come out publicly and tell the nation that he erred in his judgement. Let him concentrate on matters that can help the nation, not matters that are pedantic in nature."

Siamunene said there was nothing sinister about the President taking rest.

"There is no need to speculate on the whereabouts of the President. The President has indicated, he was in Ethiopia and from there he travelled to London," he said.

"The President has worked so tirelessly the past one year and he needed rest. He is a human being like any other who needs rest at one point or another."

Siamunene added that President Sata had an army of ministers and their deputies who were in charge of ensuring that the government was functioning when he is in or out of the country.

"The President has indicated that he is okay and we should take it that he is okay. He is a public figure of course but now people should not take advantage of his absence and start speculating on his health," Simunene said.

"The President is not running this government alone; he has Cabinet ministers, he has also permanent secretaries to continue implementing what has been done, so obviously he is supposed to take a rest and he just did that."

On Monday, Hichilema challenged State House to come clean on President Sata's health so that Zambians, including himself, could pray for him.

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Hakainde and Sata's health

By Editor
Thu 06 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

It seems Hakainde Hichilema does not listen to advice. Sometimes we can learn something valuable even from people we most detest.

If Hakainde was open to advice, learning, he would have picked something valuable in the editorial comment titled "UPND's propaganda about Sata's health" we carried in the edition of The Post of August 24, 2013. There is very little new we can say on this matter other than to repeat the arguments we put in that editorial comment. And we hereby reproduce that comment:

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

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

After the 2008 elections, the UPND were convinced that Michael would not get to the 2011 elections. This was after his treatment in South Africa for a heart condition in 2007. In this belief, they approached the Patriotic Front to form an opposition political pact with them.

This was in the hope that Michael would be dead before the 2011 elections and Hakainde Hichilema would assume overall leadership of the pact and become its presidential candidate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

They tried to do the same thing in 2011. They went round the country telling people not to vote for Michael because he was dying. But our people are kind and compassionate human beings and they were not swayed by such propaganda. They gave their votes to Michael and he won.
If the UPND wants to be in government soon, such an approach will not do. They should win not because Michael is not well healthwise but because they are better understood, supported, trusted. They should win because of their beliefs, what they believe in.

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

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

Then there is Jack Kennedy. Although he was the youngest person ever elected president of the United States and was the man who put the "vigah" into appearing vigorous, Kennedy was plagued with a number of serious ailments, only a few which were known to Americans at the time of his election. They included Addison's disease and a back so painful that he always wore a back brace, nearly always used crutches when photographers were not present, and regularly submitted to amphetamines and powerful anesthetics to quell his pain. Not to mention stratospheric cholesterol levels, which might be controlled by medication today, stomach disorders, and a history of sexually transmitted diseases. His administration's handling of the Cuban Missile Crisis likely will be debated for years but the fact remains that both conventional war - with the Soviet Union at least - and nuclear annihilation was averted. Even with a very bad back.

We wonder if we will resolve the matter of the health of presidents and presidential candidates, all while we mostly accept the physical and mental beatings the presidency inflicts upon those who hold the office. We don't have the best solution, but maybe we should mull over something Benjamin Franklin once said: "Nothing is more fatal to health than an over care of it."

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

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

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

It is important for Hakainde and his party to choose their campaign issues carefully. Hanging on to the issue of Michael's health, tribalism, racism and regionalism will not do.

And it is also important for Hakainde to learn to respect other people's legitimate entitlements. As Chembe Nyangu says, Michael is entitled to holidays paid for by the state, although he hasn't been very keen on taking them. Therefore, there is no need to always insinuate that he has gone for medical treatment in India every time he takes a short break from work, every time he leaves the country.
If Hakainde does not want to improve his number of votes, he should continue making Michael's health his only discernible political preoccupation.

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Japan team to explore mining opportunities in Zambia
By Masuzyo Chakwe
Wed 05 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

JAPANESE parliamentary vice-minister of economy, trade and industry, Yashihiko Isozaki says his country will this year send a high-level d­elegation to Zambia to explore mining opportunities in the country.

Speaking during a meeting with mines, energy and water development minister, Christopher Yaluma, on the sidelines of the ongoing 20th annual Investing in Africa Mining Indaba in Cape Town, South Africa, Yashihiko said Japanese companies were showing interest in investing in Zambia's mineral resources.

He said Japan's four basic initiatives for Africa included resource investment promotion and infrastructure improvement, which involved dispatching fact-finding missions, human resource development and sustainable resource development through sharing legal experiences and technological developments in curbing mine pollution.

And Yaluma said Zambia needed Japanese assistance in areas, such as capacity building to sustain the mining industry, saying there was serious lack of it in both financial and human resource.

"That is why I feel elated on your pronouncement of sending a team to come and look at mining investment," he said. This is according to a statement issued by first secretary for press and public relations at Zambia's High Commission in South Africa, Patson Chilemba.

Yashihiko agreed with Yaluma, further saying that Japan was hoping to develop projects; working with trained Zambian engineers in unexplored areas such as oil and gas as well as mineral exploration.

Yaluma said Zambia was trying to move into a new direction where mining companies would not just focus on mining, but should consider addressing social needs of the communities they operated in, to which minister Isozaki affirmed.

Yashihiko also asked Yaluma for Zambia's support over the decision by Japan to run for the United Nations (UN) Security Council seat for non-permanent members in 2015.

Yaluma said he would bring the issue to the attention of foreign affairs minister, Wylbur Simusa and Cabinet.

Yaluma yesterday led the Zambian delegation, which included mines deputy minister, Richard Musukwa and deputy high commissioner to South African Joe Kaunda, during the official opening of the Indaba at Cape Town Convention centre. He was also expected to deliver a speech during the four-day event which had attracted thousands of delegates from across the globe.

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Diversify, Panji advises farmers
By Christopher Miti
Wed 05 Feb. 2014, 14:01 CAT

This is excellent advice. Ultimately, we should create farms that don't have inputs, only outputs, and it is possible with permaculture and solar energy. - MrK

COLONEL Panji Kaunda says people are conditioned to thinking that maize is the alpha and the omega of food. In an interview on Monday, Col Panji, who is transport deputy minister but speaking in his capacity as a banana farmer in Sindemisale area of Vubwi district said, the Farmer Input Support Programme was not sustainable.

He said farmers should try other forms of farming that do not require chemical fertilisers.

"There is a lot of information on agroforestry farming where we have trees like Musangu and many others that our scientists have looked upon so that we can do small- scale farming without necessarily applying inputs. If you do this programme, for example, if you put Musangu in your field, within ten years you don't need chemical fertilisers anymore. And that particular farmer will never go back to the government and ask for fertiliser," Col Panji said.

He said agroforest farming was self-sustaining.

"We have over a number of years spent billions of kwacha, a bit of our money and donor funds researching into agroforestry, and it has been proved that these trees and crops that we have worked on do work very well. We have famous Musangu tree, Trephosia, Sesbania, Glyrisdia, Sunhemp, and many others that have been developed," Col Panji said.
He said there was need to migrate the farmers that qualify to the FISP Programme to agroforestry.

"Using the reforestation programme, we must plant the trees that are required in agricultural farming. It should be a requirement for all those who qualify for the FISP programme to also accept the agroforestry one. For two years, we can monitor these farmers to ensure that the trees are being looked after properly. The two years will ensure that trees that are usable in this period are ready for use by the third year. These farmers would then be weaned-off the FISP programme," Col Panji explained.

He said merely delivering inputs to the people does not make them farmers.

"Even the so called 'bumper harvests' that we are so proud of are a mirage. If we compare the amount of seed and fertilisers that are given to the farmers and the maize that we harvest, we will find that we are very much below the minimum numbers of bags that a farmer is expected to get," Col Panji said.

"The question we must ask ourselves as a nation is , 'can we sustain the subsidies on both consumption and production of maize, and still promote the growth of our agriculture to the levels of its potential'? The answer is 'no, we cannot'. Must we abandon the small-scale farmers to fend for themselves? No."

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Govt looking forward to working with chiefs - Inonge
By Abel Mboozi
Wed 05 Feb. 2014, 14:01 CAT

THE church will continue to interrogate political, economic and social problems that continue to befall the country, says the Council of Churches in Zambia.

And CCZ says the church can't stay away from politics because it has an obligation to promote peace and dialogue.
Meanwhile, gender minister Inonge Wina (left) says the government looks forward to working with traditional leaders in promoting peace, stability and family prosperity as Zambia celebrates the golden jubilee.

In her presentation to the forum for 31 female chiefs as advocates of peace and stability in Lusaka on Monday, Njira Bweupe a representative of CCZ said it was the role of the church to champion the cause of the less privileged in the Zambian society.

"The church in Zambia has continued to promote peace through interrogation of the political, economic and social problems that befall the country," Bweupe said.

"The three mother bodies CCZ, EFZ and ZEC have continued to issue pastoral letters to the general public that addresse various topical issues regularly."

Bweupe said in order to promote continued peace, the three church mother bodies regularly convened prayer meetings and dialogues to call for co-existence amongst the state, civil society and citizens.

And Bweupe said the church would continue to play its noble role of assisting in reconciliation and fostering peace and tolerance to divergent views.

"Whereas many politicians ask Christians to stay away from politics and just pray, the three church mother bodies namely: CCZ, EFZ and ZEC remind Christians that they have an obligation to participate in political processes," Bweupe said.

"The role of promoting peace and stability therefore cannot be abdicated by the church today, as it is a peacemarker."
Bweupe said many churches in Zambia operated from a prophetic voice and were guided by values of universal solidarity, the common good, respect for life and dignity of human beings.

"The church in Zambia helps in advancing peace by virtue of its far-reaching appeals and its ability to create new, shared identities that transcend the lines that divide societies," Bweupe said.

"This dimension of peace-building has long been appreciated by citizens and used to foster positive feelings of national identity, pride and unity in the face of internal political and ethnical divisions."
Meanwhile, Wina in her presentation said the vision of her ministry was to see a nation where there was gender equity, equality and full realisation of children's rights to sustainable development.

"From this vision, you are not only the drivers, but also enablers in the attainment of this vision," Wina reminded the 31 traditional leaders at the forum.

"As you may have observed, gender imbalances continue to be perpetuated by negative perceptions and attitudes that make women and girls become subservient to men and boys. It is therefore very important that you as female chiefs influence your chiefdoms to embrace values and norms that promote the rights of men and women, boys and girls."

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Hakainde and racism
By Editor
Tue 04 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

The remark by Hakainde Hichilema that Vice-President Dr Guy Scott is the only remaining colonialist in Zambia should not be tolerated because it is racist and goes against the spirit of our Constitution.

This country is a nation of many migrants who have come in from different parts of this continent and of this world. Most of the people who make up a greater part of our population arrived in this country in the 1800s.

And together, we have formed a nation called Zambia. This great nation of ours comprises people of different tribes and races. And all have made their contribution to the building up of this homeland of ours. To resort to tribalism and racism when we have differences with each other is barbaric.

Addressing a rally in Chifubu, Ndola on January 17, 1965, the founder of our Republic Dr Kenneth Kaunda made it very clear that "our society in Zambia shall be non-tribal, non-racial, and that our society in Zambia shall only judge each and every individual according to his behaviour".
Given this teaching, why is Hakainde so inclined to clinging to ethnicity, racism and regionalism in his politics?
We detest racialism, because we regard it as a barbaric thing, whether it comes from a black person or a white person. This is so because racism pollutes the atmosphere of human relations and poisons the minds of the backward, the bigoted and the prejudiced.
As we enter the 50th year of our independence, it is intolerable and unacceptable that the cancer of racism is still eating away the flesh and souls of some of our political leaders like Hakainde.
It is the duty of all patriots and progressive citizens to ensure that colour, race and tribe become only a God-given gift to each one of us and not an indelible mark or attribute that accords a special status to any.
Racism is a blight on the human conscience. And we should never allow our country to play host to racism. Nor shall our voices be stifled if we see that another is a victim of racial discrimination in our homeland or indeed anywhere in the world.
Racism must be consciously combated and not discreetly tolerated.
And again, we should follow the teachings of the founder of our Republic on this score: "The cause of non-racialism is the cause of mankind. It gives us the opportunity to classify man not by his colour, which is beyond his control, but by his action which, of course, is within his control. We should never be part and parcel of that type of society that will condemn people wholesale. That is an old and tired thinking completely unsuitable for a revolutionary. Further on this point, we must learn to hate what is done and not to hate the doer. What is meant here is, if we hated the doer as such, it would mean that even if he changed for the better, we would continue to hate him simply because he was what he was. On the other hand, if we learn to hate what is done, there is always a chance that the people whose activities we strongly disapproved will change, and then we would have no cause to hate them…" (Address to UNIP national council at Mulungushi, November 9, 1968).
Clearly, racism is rejected as contrary to law and justice. And as Christians, we believe that the world is God's world; and that God intervenes in it and gives a human person the power to transform it into a world of brothers and sisters.
It should not be forgotten that racial discrimination happens when there is a distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference which is based on race and which is pursued with the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the exercise of one's rights on equal basis in all areas of public life.
Any political outlook which bases value judgments on racial differentiation is contrary to the moral and ethical principles of humanity and deserves to be denounced, discredited and discarded. And we wish to emphasise that it is definitely against natural justice and Christian brotherly love to discriminate between people of different races and tribe. Nothing but evil can be the fruit of racial or tribal discrimination, a practice contrary to both justice and brotherly love. The practice of racial discrimination is contrary to the principle of unity of the human race, the oneness of the human family. The enjoyment of the freedom from racial discrimination will be a reality when people refrain from paying exaggerated attention to the accidental difference within the human family, especially the accidental difference of colour.
The human race is one. The fact of its oneness is not altered by any secondary differences in the various families that compose the human race. The whole human race has the same origin, the same nature, the same basic rights and duties and the same destiny. The whole of humankind is united by the common parenthood of God and by a common brotherhood in Christ. We wish to make it clear that we recall this truth of the essential oneness of the human family for the benefit of all sections of the community, and not to be influenced by paying undue attention to accidental differences within the human family. All human beings indeed do not possess the same gifts or talents; nor does life offer each the same opportunities. But this inequality of gifts and of opportunity has nothing to do with race for all citizens are entitled to develop a full civic, social and intellectual life.
We fully appreciate the history of our country in terms of race. This is a country in which there was a racially oppressed black majority. But it is also a country in which we had white people who sided and fought side by side with the blacks to remove white oppression and domination. And in a country with our history, non-racism from white Zambians was not an outlook that could simply be taken for granted. Therefore, people like Dr Scott, who have contributed immensely, through their personal example, to nurturing that outlook which is so evident in our country today, cannot be taken for granted. Let those politicians like Hakainde, who have based themselves on narrow ethnic constituencies, now ponder their example. And nobody should be allowed to interfere with their political rights because of stupid racial prejudice. This country will always be a homeland for all Zambians, regardless of their colour, tribe or origin. Dr Scott is as much Zambian as Hakainde. And probably Dr Scott is more patriotic to this collective homeland of ours than Hakainde.

But there is a very worrying thing about Hakainde's tribal and racial political outlook. Why is Hakainde so concerned about tribe and race? What type of leader will Zambia have if one day we were to wake up and find we have Hakainde as president of the Republic? What will be the position on tribe and race in his scheme of things? And where will that leave the country?

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Our challenges in education
By Editor
Wed 05 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

Finance minister Alexander Chikwanda says Zambia has remained stagnant due to weak investment in education.
And Chikwanda urges that "We should not gloss over the challenges that we have in the sphere of education. There is no other way any society can go forward without commensurate investment in education. Education is the only way through which societies enhance productive capacities of their nationals." We agree.

Our country's position in the emerging world of globally interconnected economies will doubtlessly be dictated by how successful it is in overcoming the severe limitations of its educational system, which is the foundation of sustained development.

Our country's future depends on the educational advancement of its people. Despite heavy expenditure on the sector over the decades, the rules of the system have proved to be significant hurdles to improvement. The system remains non-adaptive.

Achieving constructive improvement in our educational system will certainly be a cumbersome task. And this will require all our educated people to take up the cause of those who desperately need an efficient education system.

Education is one of the main factors that determine our attitude. As in the case of having a meal, it is not how much you consume that matters but how much you digest and use. In reality, we have knowledge and wisdom in information, but the thirst remains. A good education system ought to teach us not only how to make a living but also how to make a healthy livelihood.

Allocations of public spending on education have to be channelled properly. There is need for some revolutionary thinking on how to optimise the allocation in a proper manner.

The growing economy of Zambia needs a large number of citizens with a range of professional skills. The system should be able to ensure their employability. To achieve a proper blend of skilled people, vocational education has to be accorded utmost attention. The number of vocational institutions will need to grow.

The remarkable economic success of the Asian tigers has long fascinated the world. But how did the Asian tigers become an economic success story? This question warrants an overview of public policies that facilitate their fast and sustained economic growth. Initially, the policies and economic plans adopted by the Asian tigers were not much different from the policies and plans pursued by Zambia.

For example, South Korea started its journey towards economic takeoff with import substitution. But then the roads diverged. The Asian tigers sustained their economic growth at least for three decades since their takeoff in the 1960s, whereas our economic growth preceded in fits and starts. The Asian tigers witnessed, on average, more than a seven per cent growth rate between 1960 and 1990. In 1990, their share in the economy of the developing world was almost 34 per cent.

Several explanations have been put forth for the unprecedented economic growth of these countries.
The education and human development indicators of these countries were much higher compared to other developing countries even prior to their economic takeoff. Distribution of land and income was comparatively more equitable due to early land reforms.

The argument goes that the economic miracle of the Asian tigers was mainly due to their initial conditions. Skilled workforce and comparatively equitable distribution of resources provided an impetus to the growth process.

Politico-strategic factors are also cited as an explanation for the Asian economic miracle. First, the United States provided support to South Korea and Taiwan due to its geopolitical interest in the region. Second, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore enjoyed a great deal of political freedom to deal with rent-seeking preferences of the bureaucrats and other vested groups due to the authoritarian regimes in these countries.

Park Chung-hee in Korea and Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan are particularly credited with steering these countries out of poverty and putting them on the path of sustainable growth. Third, timely land reforms in South Korea and Taiwan helped eliminate a potential source of opposition to industrial initiatives. Land reforms were also vital in the initial stages of development at least from these three angles.

First, land reforms increased rural productivity and income, increasing domestic savings as a result. Second, higher incomes resulted in higher demand for goods. This was needed before finding demand for goods in the outside world in the form of exports. Third, redistribution of income contributed to political stability, an important factor in creating an environment for domestic and foreign investment.

The third broad explanation for the economic success of the Asian tigers is the proactive role of the state in economic development. The governments of these countries made liberal use of industrial policies. They invested in ports, transportation and telecommunication. For example, Singapore focused on an adequate supply of electricity and on developing an effective telecommunications system that proved instrumental in making it a financial hub.
The governments of these countries created markets rather than depressing them. For example, postal saving banks were created to channelise domestic savings, and development banks were established for the rationing of credit on the basis of well-defined and transparent parameters.

Priority industries were given preferential access to capital, credit and foreign exchange. The governments also provided subsidies, such as provision of credit at lower interest rate, to the favoured industries. Governments actively encouraged firms to export. Exports provided a performance-based criterion for allocating credit, encouraged the adoption of international standards, and accelerated the diffusion of technology. Contests among exporters were widely used as incentive devices.

Now the question is: what lessons can we learn from the development stories of the Asian tigers? First of all, we need to appreciate that much of their focus was on development of human resources by investing in education and training of their people. For example, in South Korea, the expenditure per student at the primary level increased by 355 per cent (in real terms) from 1970 to 1989, whereas in our case, it was declining during the same period. We need to realise that our people are our real assets. The youth bulge can become our competitive advantage if we invest in human resource. Unfortunately, our public spending on education, training and health of the people is relatively still very low.

Equitable distribution of resources and incomes, on the pattern of the Asian tigers, is a must for political stability. In our case, gaps have widened with the passage of time. Wide economic and social disparities can never result in sustainable growth.

To follow in the footsteps of the Asian tigers, we need to invest more in education and training. Education is a vital component of any society. As Thomas Jefferson wrote: "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never shall be."

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(HERALD ZW) Tendai Biti: Sick mentality or a sick nation?
February 6, 2014
Tichaona Zindoga Senior Political Writer

It is true that Zimbabwe faces many challenges, mainly economic, which have persisted for a number of years. No one is sure what the future holds for the country, but people are moving on with their lives. The rains are falling, too, barring a season of want ahead. The nature of most Zimbabweans is to hope for the best, sometimes naively.

Yet such patience, optimism and resilience while marking a distinctly industrious, resourceful and adaptable people, has not been universally well received.

It has earned Zimbabweans a view from some quarters that they are a passive and a cowardly people. They should have been South Africans or the Arabs, the perceived common denominator of which is the knack for violence.

There are people in Zimbabwe and outside who wish we were like that because it would serve certain political ends. That is why Zimbabwe earned itself sanctions by the West so that the socio-economic troubles would nudge passive Zimbabweans out of their inertia and render the country ungovernable – to the detriment and demise of a particular political order.

With the elections come and gone last year, one would not be quite surprised, given its outcomes, that a particular section of society hopes things do not go well in the country, hence predictions of sad, “stolen” Christmases and “tough 2014”.

Yet one man, Tendai Biti, stands apart in his wish and depiction of a dire situation in Zimbabwe which may lead one to pose the critical question as to whether he and those who associate with him and his views are sick in the mind or whether Zimbabwe is a truly sick country come out of some pestilence.

Take Biti’s (presumably) latest piece in his “Wananchi” series, for example, which one could set somewhere between Hamlet’s Denmark or some post-apocalyptic period best captured in those horror movies, all of which is made creepier, scarier, by Biti’s uncannily creaky syntax and common grammatical mistakes.

He tells us: “As the national crises rages (sic) on, the kwashiorkor of love grips the nation.

“It is the age of war. conflict, attrition, intolerance, malice and gossip (punctuation his).

“Brother rises against brother, comrade (punctuation his) against comrade and faction against faction. There is no honour or limit in this fight.

“The winds are clearly up and about and depression seems to be the order of the day. It has been a long while since the citizen felt this desperate state of moral nakedness.”

It has been a long time since the citizen felt this desperate sense of foreboding, he tells us, and divines that the country is going nowhere.
The imagery that Biti uses is quite rich in its preoccupation with sickness and disorder.

Before one can attempt to unpack this sickness insofar as it can be applied to Biti or the nation of Zimbabwe at large one should go further to examine what Biti’s solutions to the “crises” are.

He tells us: “It is in times like this that the true patriots amongst us must rise above the mediocrity of party jackets and other anecdotal descriptions and put the country first. That means that the Wananchi in their own organisations, political parties, churches (punctuation his) and unions must place this issue firmly on the national agenda.

“The tumbling economy must feature heavily in this dialogue.”
He tells us of the need for national dialogue that “must vaccinate itself against elite capture and the reproduction of another GNU 2.”
He goes further to call for the revision of the land reform programme “by ensuring full and adequate compensation in whatever form to the previous owners” and to deal with the “reform agenda in relation to “the state of the media, the militarisation of Zimbabwe, the collapse of the electoral system, the fear of our people requires permanent reform.”

He tells us, in his rich terms that, “The country cannot (sic) remain a smelly warty colony of destructive nationalism.”

He counsels that we “must turn the present vicious cycles of exclusion to virtuous circles of inclusion. No more, no less.”

And his other grand solution to Zimbabwe’s problems is an international donor conference in the mould of 1981’s Zimbabwe Conference of Reconstruction and Development.

A cursory look at the above will no doubt show that the kind of sick images that Biti conjures up reveal a sick man within, an ambitious politician and as a member of a sick and wasting opposition after July 31.

He behaves more like Shakespeare’s Hamlet who falls into mental demise over events surrounding the death of his father and the subsequent marriage of his mother to Hamlet’s father’s murderer.

Hamlet’s soliloquies and the story at large are replete with images of disease, poison and decay and death.

Of course, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark,” (as in Zimbabwe) as Horatio helpfully notes, but Hamlet’s mind is debased and vengeful and confused.

Biti no doubt is bitter and confused over July 31 and wants to reverse it by means fair and foul.

He, and by extension the political formation that he subscribes to, seek to enter power by the back door via GNU 2.

It is very curious when democrats, like we were all made to believe the MDCs to be, begin to decry processes such as elections on the basis that they are “vicious cycles of exclusion” and advocate for negotiated and ultimately undemocratic “virtuous cycles of inclusion”.

Which means there will be many GNUs, surely?
The gods, nay, Biti, must be crazy!

His fawning to the West in both dangling the idea of compensation to former white commercial farmers and their playing “reconstruction” (as if we are post-war, again another Bitian image) is just astounding.

Western countries are broke, and they reneged on promises to fund land reforms in Zimbabwe both pre- and post-Independence; how are they expected to act differently this time around?

Biti could be such a depraved fellow.

He confirms the MDC-T’s culture and reliance on the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe. This is evident when he tells us of the “tumbling economy” which must be hyped so that Zanu-PF “bites the bullet and initiates dialogue”. Is it not ironic that a person who professes his ownership of and love for the country wishes it ill at the same time?

Where is the patriotism?

Where is the love when one rather hopes that “there will be no Zimbabwe by Christmas”? Zimbabwe may be facing challenges but it is the sick minds of the likes of Biti which will make it mortally sick.

Wishing the country bad or portraying it in gloomy, hopeless terms is meant for two destructive outcomes, namely: lack of faith in the country by the outside world, thereby snuffing out meaningful engagements; and secondly, to build an apathetic, despondent or alarmed citizenry, which some people can profit from.


(THOUGHTLEADER SA) Flipping the corruption myth

Transparency International recently published their latest annual Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), laid out in an eye-catching map of the world with the least corrupt nations coded in happy yellow and the most corrupt nations smeared in stigmatising red. The CPI defines corruption as “the misuse of public power for private benefit,” and draws its data from 12 different institutions including the World Bank, Freedom House, and the World Economic Forum.

When I first saw this map I was struck by the fact that most of the yellow areas happen to be rich Western countries, including the US and the UK, whereas red covers almost the entirety of the global South, with countries like South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia daubed especially dark.

This geographical division fits squarely with mainstream views, which see corruption as the scourge of the developing world (cue cliché images of dictators in Africa and bribery in India). But is this storyline accurate?

Many international development organisations hold that persistent poverty in the global South is caused largely by corruption among local public officials. In 2003 these concerns led to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which asserts that, while corruption exists in all countries, this “evil phenomenon” is “most destructive” in the global South, where it is a “key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development”.

There’s only one problem with this theory: it’s just not true.

Corruption, superpower style

According to the World Bank, corruption in the form of bribery and theft by government officials, the main target of the UN Convention, costs developing countries between $20 billion and $40 billion each year. That’s a lot of money. But it’s an extremely small proportion — only about 3% — of the total illicit flows that leak out of public coffers. Tax avoidance, on the other hand, accounts for more than $900 billion each year, money that multinational corporations steal from developing countries through practices such as trade mispricing.

This enormous outflow of wealth is facilitated by a shadowy financial system that includes tax havens, paper companies, anonymous accounts, and fake foundations, with the City of London at the very heart of it. Over 30% of global foreign direct investment is booked through tax havens, which now collectively hide one sixth of the world’s total private wealth.

This is a massive — indeed, fundamental — cause of poverty in the developing world, yet it does not register in the mainstream definition of corruption, is absent from the UN Convention, and rarely if ever appears on the agenda of international development organisations.

With the City of London at the centre of the global tax haven web, how does the UK end up with a clean CPI?

The question is all the more baffling given that the city is immune from many of the nation’s democratic laws and free of all parliamentary oversight. As a result of this special status, the city has maintained a number of quaint plutocratic traditions. Take its electoral process, for instance: more than 70% of the votes cast during council elections are cast not by residents, but by corporations — mostly banks and financial firms. And the bigger the corporation, the more votes they get, with the largest firms getting 79 votes each. This takes US-style corporate personhood to another level.

To be fair, this kind of corruption is not entirely out of place in a country where a feudalistic royal family owns 120 000 hectares of the nation’s land and sucks up about £40 million of public funds each year. Then there’s the parliament, where the House of Lords is filled not by election but by appointment, with 92 seats inherited by aristocratic families, 26 set aside for the leaders of the country’s largest religious sect, and dozens of others divvied up for sale to multi-millionaires.

Corruption in the US is only slightly less blatant. Whereas Congressional seats are not yet available for outright purchase, the recent Citizens United vs FEC ruling allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on political campaigns to ensure that their preferred candidates get elected, a practice justified under the Orwellian banner of “free speech”.

The poverty factor

The UN Convention is correct to say that poverty in developing countries is caused by corruption. But the corruption we ought to be most concerned about has its root in the countries that are coloured yellow on the CPI map, not red.

The tax haven system is not the only culprit. We know that the global financial crisis of 2008 was precipitated by systemic corruption among public officials in the US who were intimately tied to the interests of Wall Street firms. In addition to shifting trillions of dollars from public coffers into private pockets through bailouts, the crisis wiped out a huge chunk of the global economy and had a devastating effect on developing countries when demand for exports dried up, causing massive waves of unemployment.

A similar story can be told about the Libor scandal in the UK, when major London banks colluded to rig interest rates so as to suck about $100 billion of free money from people even well beyond Britain’s shores. How could either of these scandals be defined as anything but the misuse of public power for private benefit? The global reach of this kind of corruption makes petty bribery and theft in the developing world seem parochial by comparison.

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If we really want to understand how corruption drives poverty in developing countries, we need to start by looking at the institutions that control the global economy, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the policies that these institutions foisted on the global South, following the Washington Consensus, caused per capita income growth rates to collapse by almost 50%. Economist Robert Pollin has estimated that during this period developing countries lost about $480 billion a year in potential GDP. It would be difficult to overstate the human devastation that these numbers represent. Yet Western corporations have benefitted tremendously from this process, gaining access to new markets, cheaper labour and raw materials, and fresh avenues for capital flight.

These international institutions masquerade as mechanisms for public governance, but they are deeply anti-democratic; this is why they can get away with imposing policies that so directly violate public interest. Voting power in the IMF and World Bank is apportioned so that developing countries — the vast majority of the world’s population — together hold less than 50% of the vote, while the United States Treasury wields de facto veto power. The leaders of these institutions are not elected, but appointed by the US and Europe, with not a few military bosses and Wall Street executives among them.

Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, has publicly denounced these institutions as among the least transparent he has ever encountered. They also suffer from a shocking lack of accountability, as they enjoy special “sovereign immunity” status that protects them against public lawsuit when their policies fail, regardless of how much harm they cause.

Shifting the blame

If these patterns of governance were true of any given nation in the global South, the West would cry corruption. Yet such corruption is normalised in the command centres of the global economy, perpetuating poverty in the developing world while Transparency International directs our attention elsewhere.

Even if we do decide to focus on localised corruption in developing countries, we have to accept that it does not exist in a geopolitical vacuum. Many of history’s most famous dictators — like Augusto Pinochet, Mobutu Sese Seko, and Hosni Mubarak — were supported by a steady flow of Western aid. Today, not a few of the world’s most corrupt regimes have been installed or bolstered by the US, among them Afghanistan, South Sudan, and allegedly the warlords of Somalia — three of the darkest states on the CPI map.

This raises an interesting question: which is more corrupt, the petty dictatorship or the superpower that installs it? Unfortunately, the UN Convention conveniently ignores these dynamics, and the CPI map leads us to believe, incorrectly, that each country’s corruption is neatly bounded by national borders.

Corruption is a major driver of poverty, to be sure. But if we are to be serious about tackling this problem, the CPI map will not be much help. The biggest cause of poverty in developing countries is not localised bribery and theft, but the corruption that is endemic to the global governance system, the tax-haven network, and the banking sectors of New York and London. It’s time to flip the corruption myth on its head and start demanding transparency where it counts.



(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Land reform gets another thumbs-up, but . . .
Sunday, 05 January 2014 00:00
Harmony Agere In-Depth Reporter

The land reform programme got yet another thumbs-up from an unlikely source following the publication of a report that stated that the agrarian reforms have transformed the lives of Zimbabwe’s rural populace.

The report, which was published at the end of last year by the Institute of Development Studies of the University of Sussex, indicates that the Zimbabwean economy is on the recovery that has been aided by the growth of rural businesses as a result of the land reform programme.

However, there are reports that the gains recorded so far could be swept away as some newly resettled farmers are alleging that they are being forced to leave their farms to pave way for other farmers, in cases that stink of corruption.

The study by Ian Scoones, a professor at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, further suggests that the programme has significantly improved the agricultural sector.

According to Scoones, production initially collapsed in the early stages of the programme due to the challenges associated with the general state of the economy.

He, however, stated that the agricultural sector has been stable since 2009.

The report attributed the stabilisation to the increase in tobacco and cotton production.

The report states that “of around 7 million hectares of land redistributed via the land reform programme, 49,9 percent of the people who benefited were rural peasants, 18.3% were unemployed or in low-paid jobs in regional towns, growth points and mines, 16,5 percent were civil servants, and 6,7 percent were of the Zimbabwean working class.”

Contrary to the claims by critics of the land reform programme who are alleging that only Government bureaucrats were benefiting, the report indicates that only 4,8 percent of the land went to business people, and 3,7 percent went to security services.

Since the introduction of the land reform programme, farming activities have been on the increase in Zimbabwe with tobacco production leading the way.

A total of 153 million kilogrammes of tobacco were auctioned in the past season.

The successful land reform programme has managed to address a number of colonial injustices. To date, over 150 000 A1 and over 20 000 A2 farmers have benefited from the land redistribution exercise.

The Government in June 1998 published the policy framework on the land reform and resettlement programme Phase II.

The programme envisaged the compulsory purchase over five years of 50 000 square kilometres from the 112 000 square kilometres owned by white commercial farmers, public corporations, churches, non-governmental organisations and multi-national companies.

Broken down, the 50 000 square kilometres meant that every year between 1998 and 2003, the Government intended to acquire 10 000 square kilometres for redistribution.

By the beginning of the new millennium, Government moved swiftly to address the colonial ill by introducing an Act which removed the willing-buyer-willing-seller policy and replaced it with an Act which provided for compulsory acquisition of land by the Government for redistribution.

As a result of the Act, thousands of disenfranchised blacks who had been driven out of the fertile lands into “reserves” were allocated arable land.

However, despite recording many positives, the programme has been tainted by some greedy and corrupt elements who are slowing down the gains of the land reform programme.

There have been reports of corrupt land officials who are receiving bribes to corruptly allocate land in areas that have already been allocated to other farmers, causing strife and disunity in the process.

The illegal land allocations are alleged to have worsened after the 2013 harmonised elections.

Mrs Maurine Chindunda of Riversdale Farm in Chegutu said corruption is rife in her area.

“I am afraid that I might lose my farm anytime.
“I was allocated this farm 10 years ago, but last week, I was approached by some land officials who told me that I was supposed to move out and pave way for another farmer. I am, however, resisting that directive,” Mrs Chindunda said.

Another affected farmer, Jericho Mubai of Hurungwe, said he was forced to co-exist with another farmer.

In an interview, the Minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement, Cde Douglas Mombeshora, said his office had received numerous complaints about illegal land allocations and was looking into the matter. He said district administrators are not mandated to allocate land and warned those that are doing so that they will face the full wrath of the law.

“We have received reports about illegal land allocations and, as a ministry, we are going to put an end to that practice,” Minister Mombeshora said.

Senior Government officials have also castigated corrupt land dealings, saying such acts reverse the gains of the land reform programme.

Speaking at the recently held Zanu-PF Harare Provincial conference, Cde Amos Midzi, the chairman of the province, warned party members to desist from illegal land allocations.

“I would like to warn those that are illegally evicting and allocating land to stop doing so. As Government, we have proper structures that were established for those specific purposes,” he said.


(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Tobacco farmers urged to diversify
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

The Hurungwe District Administrator (DA) has urged tobacco farmers in the area to venture into grain farming as well. In an interview on Thursday, Ms Tsana Chirau hailed some tobacco companies for urging farmers to consider farming maize alongside tobacco. She noted that the practice would improve the state of food security in the district.

“It is high time for those farmers who produce tobacco alone to diversify into food crops so that we maintain a safe level of food security in the district.

“It is worrying that when most tobacco farmers sell their tobacco, they focus on purchasing sofas, generators, bicycles and wardrobes. They forget to buy grain for their families’ consumption. They only realise that after their funds would have been exhausted,” she said.

Ms Chirau also called on other tobacco companies to promote the farming of food crops alongside the golden leaf.

This year’s tobacco selling season starts in three weeks’ time.


(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) ‘No EU Summit without Zim’
Sunday, 02 February 2014 00:00
Morris Mkwate

The African Union (AU) has resolved to cancel the European Union-AU Summit scheduled for Brussels, Belgium, in April this year if President Mugabe is not invited, thereby setting the stage for the EU to climb down on its punitive stance on Zimbabwe.

Leaders who attended the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly, which ended in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Friday, also agreed that the continent should take control of its natural resources and not allow foreigners to dictate their exploitation.

The leaders also resolved to realign the education systems of African countries with policies that promote entrepreneurial skills and job-creation.

Addressing journalists soon after arriving back home from the AU Summit yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said the African Heads of State and Government elected not to attend the EU-AU interface if the Europeans do not invite Cde Mugabe.

He said it was “absolute madness” for the bloc to exclude the President, especially after his election as AU First Deputy Chairperson. He added that the AU Commission has been tasked with ensuring that every leader is invited to Brussels.

“We were never in any doubt that they were going to climb down and capitulate. We do not even know why they decided to try this in the first place because they tried it before and they were forced to capitulate.

“And it seems they have very short memories: they tried it again this time. Of course, Africa took a very firm position to say if President Mugabe is not invited to this Summit, then there will be no Summit because no African Head of State was going to attend a Summit where President Mugabe is being excluded.

“That is the decision that was taken at the African Union that all Heads of State and Government must be invited without exception if the Summit is going to take place. And so, faced with this situation, I do not think the European Union has any option. One never ceases to marvel why the European Union always wants to come up with self-imposed humiliation.”

The EU-AU Summit is expected to be held from April 2 to 3. It will mainly focus on strategic priorities between the two continents and review the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES).

The strategy seeks to deepen relations through a “strengthened political partnership and enhanced co-operation at all levels”. It is also tailored to promote sustained development and implemented through successive short-term action plans.

One of its overarching objectives is “reinforcing and elevating the Africa-EU political partnership to address issues of common concern”.
The EU did not invite Zimbabwe to the Summit, ostensibly as an expression of its long-standing impasse with the country.

The bloc imposed targeted and economic sanctions on the Southern African nation at the instigation of former colonial power Britain, which was vehemently against the land reform programme. It is this month expected to review the punitive measures.

Cde Mumbengegwi said the firm position taken by the African leaders was likely to force the EU to rescind its decision on Zimbabwe as the grouping was keen to hold the Summit. He said: “They did not have to take this position and now they are humiliated. And so, as it is, I do not know if the invitation has arrived yet, but we know that it will have to come because they want the Summit to go ahead and Africa will only go there if President Mugabe is invited to this Summit.

“After all, President Mugabe is now the First Deputy President of the African Union. How can you hold a Summit between two organisations and then one organisation has the arrogance to say to the other organisation, ‘Yes, let’s meet as two organisations, but we don’t want your Deputy President to be present.’ I mean this is madness! This is just madness!

“The AU Commission has been tasked to follow up on this decision of the African Union that each and every Head of State must be invited. They have been mandated to follow up this issue and ensure that it is done because, if it is not done, then there is no Summit.”

Regarding the AU’s Agenda 2063, a vision expected to guide the continent over the next 50 years, the minister said the summit resolved that Africa must take control of its natural resources following glaring evidence of poverty in the midst of wealth.

He said member states would harmonise approaches to ensure they do not lose out to foreign investment. On education, he revealed that during plenary sessions, President Mugabe spoke of the need to reconsider the present job-market-oriented system and move to one that promotes entrepreneurial skills and job-creation. Agenda 2063 seeks resource control, education realignment, greater participation of the African state and a shift from donor-dependency, among other elements.

Foreign ministers, who attended a retreat ahead of the Summit, unanimously agreed that a “strong, bold leadership” was required to steer the continent to prosperity.

“As you are aware, Agenda 2063 has become extremely important on the agenda of the AU because it is an effort to come up with programmes of action over the next 50 years. It is work in progress. The AU wants to formulate that action programme. It was underlined that Africa is rich in resources and yet Africans are poor. Therefore, Africans must control these resources, then we can become masters of our own destiny.

“Another point endorsed by Summit was that of the education content in Africa. It was underlined by the President during discussions that it was good our children attend school, but the concern was about the content.”

The 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU General Assembly — held under the theme “2014 Year of Agriculture and Food Security” — closed with the leaders also making major decisions on agriculture, peace and security as well as relations between Africa and the International Criminal Court (ICC). On agriculture and food security, member states are expected to implement key activities that will be discussed after six months. Summit also reinforced its position that no sitting African Head of State and Government should be brought before the ICC.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Farmers predict high yields

Sunday, 12 January 2014 00:00
Mercy Bofu

The Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) has expressed confidence that the country will reach its maize production target of 2,2 million tonnes following the favourable rainfall the country has received in recent weeks.

In an interview last week, ZFU vice-president Mr Berean Mukwende said farmers were also geared towards high output on the back of the input support they received from Government.

He, however, encouraged maize producers who are still planting to wind up and shift focus to other food crops.

“We are encouraged by the downpour and we hope that this continues throughout the season so that we achieve our targeted hectarage, especially on maize where we are targeting 2 million tonnes.

“I am sure this is achievable considering the support that farmers got from the Government. Up to now I can confirm that farmers are still receiving fertilisers under the Government scheme.

“We are also encouraging farmers to wind up the planting of food crops like maize since it is now late. Rather, they can concentrate on crops like sugar beans and cow peas.”

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union president Mr Wonder Chabikwa concurred, saying the rainfall pattern was encouraging.

“Though some low-lying areas were affected by flooding since they were receiving high rainfall daily, we foresee a great future in terms of yields,” he said.

“We are also expecting increased yields for cotton and tobacco. Many farmers are now in the fifth reaping season.”

Over the past few years, the country has harvested low yields owing to erratic rainfall, forcing authorities to turn to grain imports.

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(SUNDAY MAIL ZW) Farmers battle to meet maize hectarage target
Sunday, 22 December 2013 00:00
Sunday Mail Reporter

A combination of factors, including poor funding for farmers and erratic rains, are threatening to choke the country’s bid to plant 1,7 million hectares of maize this season, farmer representative unions have warned.

In separate interviews last week, representatives of some of the leading farmers’ unions in the country disclosed that less than half of the targeted hectarage has been put under maize so far as farmers battle a shortage of inputs.

The erratic rainfall pattern the country has been experiencing so far has seen most farmers stagger planting in a bid to minimise losses that could result from a sustained dry spell.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers’ Union (ZCFU) president Mr Wonder Chabikwa conceded that the ordinary farmer is struggling.

“Collectively our farmers are yet to plant half of the targeted hectarage as most of them struggled to secure funding on time while others are still waiting for significant rains before planting,” he said.

“We also have a situation that most of the early planted crop is showing signs of moisture stress and this has also made farmers think twice about continuing with planting before they are convinced that the rainy season is truly upon us.

“The majority of farmers are now scared of dry planting since it has proved to be risky in the recent years after farmers had to replant which would be very expensive considering the cost of inputs.”

Mr Chabikwa, however, revealed that the significant rains that the country received last week should see farmers taking to the field and increasing on the hectarage that has already been put under maize.

“Planting is already at an advanced stage in areas that were receiving rainfall during the period when most parts of the country were experiencing a dry spell.

“These include parts of Masvingo, Matabeleland South and North, Midlands and southern parts of Mashonaland West. However, we expect planting to be in full swing throughout the country on the back of the wet spell we are currently experiencing,” he said.

Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union second vice-president Mr Berean Mukwende said the late rains have forced farmers to turn to early maturity varieties.
“Farmers who are planting now should consider medium to short-term maturity varieties since this is now a short season.

“Planting dates of crops are so important since the maturity period does not only rely on the availability of water but also day length and other factors, which is why we are saying irrigation development should be one of our priorities with the current trends of the country’s rainfall pattern,” he said.

Presenting the 2014 National Budget last week, Finance Minister Cde Patrick Chinamana disclosed maize output is estimated to have dropped to 798 500 tonnes this year, down from 968 041 tonnes in 2012 due to decreased hectarage and input supply challenges.

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Nelson Mandela leaves US$4m estate to family, staff and ANC
By Reuters
Mon 03 Feb. 2014, 16:10 CAT

COMMENT - At some level I understand that Presidents will have more money than most, and that $4 million is really not that much money nowadays, even frugal. However, you can't shake the feeling that this money was accumulated because President Mandela refused to take back the mines and the land, which would have economically empowered all South Africans. - MrK

Nelson Mandela left his roughly $4.1-million estate to his wife Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released Monday.

Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers said wife Graca was likely to waive her right to half the estate, opting instead to receive four properties in Mozambique and other assets.

Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust.

The home in Houghton, Johannesburg where Mandela died on December 5 will be used by the family of his deceased son Makgatho.

"It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death," the former statesman wrote.

Mandela's children each received $300,000 in loans during his lifetime and will have that debt scrapped if it has not been repaid.

The will was first written in 2004 and last amended in 2008.

Even before his death, Mandela's children and grandchildren frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his investments.

Several have already put the Mandela brand behind commercial projects including wine, clothing, artwork, a social network and a reality television show.

Executor Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy head of South Africa's Constitutional Court, said the reading of the will to the family had been "charged with emotion" but no one had yet contested it.

Mandela's other bequeathments reflected a life in politics and championing education.

Mandela gave around $4,500 each to members of staff, including long-time personal aide Zelda la Grange.

The will also provided around $9,000 each for Wits and Fort Hare universities, and the same amount to three other schools.

The African National Congress, which Mandela led to victory in the first democratic elections in 1994, could receive between 10 and 30 percent of his royalties.

The cash will be used specifically to promote "policies and principles of reconciliation amongst the people of South Africa."

Family feud

It is unclear if the will can prevent family battles over who controls the Mandela name, which have seen family remains exhumed and reinterred and exhumed and reinterred again.

Eldest daughter Makaziwe reportedly had the locks changed on Mandela's rural home after his death to exclude his eldest grandson Mandla, the head of Mandela's clan.

Makaziwe and Mandla both lay claim to lead the family following the death of the anti-apartheid hero in December.

Makaziwe is backed by his second wife Winnie and Mandla has the support for the royal family of his tribe.

Three executors will now be tasked with winding up the estate and carrying out Mandela's wishes.

They are George Bizos, who represented Mandela at the trial that jailed him for 27 years; Moseneke, the deputy head of the country's Constitutional Court who spent years with the icon imprisoned on Robben Island; and Themba Sangoni the head judge in Mandela's birth province the Eastern Cape

Mandela became South Africa's first black president after the first all-race elections in 1994 and his politics of forgiveness and reconciliation made him a global peace icon.

He died December 5 and was buried 10 days later in his rural boyhood home of Qunu

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Nelson Mandela leaves US$4m estate to family, staff and ANC
By Reuters
Mon 03 Feb. 2014, 16:10 CAT

COMMENT - At some level I understand that Presidents will have more money than most, and that $4 million is really not that much money nowadays, even frugal. However, you can't shake the feeling that this money was accumulated because President Mandela refused to take back the mines and the land, which would have economically empowered all South Africans. - MrK

Nelson Mandela left his roughly $4.1-million estate to his wife Graca Machel, family members, staff, schools and the ANC, according to a summary of his will released Monday.

Two months after the death of the 95-year-old South African statesman, lawyers said wife Graca was likely to waive her right to half the estate, opting instead to receive four properties in Mozambique and other assets.

Royalties from his books and other projects, as well as his homes in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Qunu and Mthatha were left to a family trust.
The home in Houghton, Johannesburg where Mandela died on December 5 will be used by the family of his deceased son Makgatho.

"It is my wish that it should also serve as a place of gathering of the Mandela family in order to maintain its unity long after my death," the former statesman wrote.

Mandela's children each received $300,000 in loans during his lifetime and will have that debt scrapped if it has not been repaid.
The will was first written in 2004 and last amended in 2008.

Even before his death, Mandela's children and grandchildren frequently clashed over who leads the family and who should benefit from his investments.

Several have already put the Mandela brand behind commercial projects including wine, clothing, artwork, a social network and a reality television show.

Executor Dikgang Moseneke, the deputy head of South Africa's Constitutional Court, said the reading of the will to the family had been "charged with emotion" but no one had yet contested it.
Mandela's other bequeathments reflected a life in politics and championing education.

Mandela gave around $4,500 each to members of staff, including long-time personal aide Zelda la Grange.

The will also provided around $9,000 each for Wits and Fort Hare universities, and the same amount to three other schools.

The African National Congress, which Mandela led to victory in the first democratic elections in 1994, could receive between 10 and 30 percent of his royalties.

The cash will be used specifically to promote "policies and principles of reconciliation amongst the people of South Africa."

Family feud

It is unclear if the will can prevent family battles over who controls the Mandela name, which have seen family remains exhumed and reinterred and exhumed and reinterred again.

Eldest daughter Makaziwe reportedly had the locks changed on Mandela's rural home after his death to exclude his eldest grandson Mandla, the head of Mandela's clan.

Makaziwe and Mandla both lay claim to lead the family following the death of the anti-apartheid hero in December.

Makaziwe is backed by his second wife Winnie and Mandla has the support for the royal family of his tribe.

Three executors will now be tasked with winding up the estate and carrying out Mandela's wishes.

They are George Bizos, who represented Mandela at the trial that jailed him for 27 years; Moseneke, the deputy head of the country's Constitutional Court who spent years with the icon imprisoned on Robben Island; and Themba Sangoni the head judge in Mandela's birth province the Eastern Cape

Mandela became South Africa's first black president after the first all-race elections in 1994 and his politics of forgiveness and reconciliation made him a global peace icon.

He died December 5 and was buried 10 days later in his rural boyhood home of Qunu

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Evaluate ACC's performance
By Editor
Mon 03 Feb. 2014, 14:00 CAT

Corruption has never been an easy evil to fight anywhere.
It also doesn't die quickly. Fighting corruption is like trying to eliminate cockroaches in a house. They don't disappear so easily. One has to be persistent to eliminate them.

To forge iron, you need a strong hammer. Similarly, to effectively fight corruption and win, you need strong institutions, laws and individuals.

Our fight against corruption doesn't seem to be going very well. There are many wonderful pronouncements against corruption - even from corrupt elements themselves - but very little progress is being recorded.

The institutions and individuals tasked with the responsibility to champion the fight against corruption on behalf of our people seem to be in a paralysis. There is very little positive that seems to be coming out of our Anti Corruption Commission.

Public expectations are very high when it comes to the work and mandate of our Anti Corruption Commission. But what has this institution delivered since its establishment in 1982 following the enactment of the Corrupt Practices Act No. 14 of 1980? And what has it achieved since the repeal of the Corrupt Practices Act and its replacement by the Anti Corruption Commission Act of 1996? Our answer to these questions is a categorical: very little, if not nothing.

The enactments that led to the establishment of our Anti Corruption Commission were good products of political will to fight corruption. But it has proved that political will alone is not enough to enable us to fight corruption effectively. Political ideas are worthless if they are not inspired by noble, selfless sentiments. Likewise, noble sentiments are worthless if they are not based on correct, fair ideas and practices.

When we look at very high-level corruption issues that have been unearthed and even prosecuted in this country, we will find that the role of the Anti Corruption Commission in all this has been very small, if not nothing.

The highest level of corruption prosecution ever reached in this country was that of Frederick Chiluba and those connected to him in his MMD government. Here, a former president, Minister of Finance, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Secretary to the Treasury, the chief of intelligence and other very high-ranking government officials were investigated and prosecuted for corruption.

The great majority of them were convicted. And civil proceedings were commenced in the London High Court against Chiluba and his accomplices and the Zambian government won. But again, corruption in the Rupiah Banda government denied the Zambian people recovery of what Chiluba and his friends had stolen. In all this, the role of the Anti Corruption Commission was very minimal. These were not matters initiated and investigated by the Anti Corruption Commission. Of course, a few officials were recruited from the Anti Corruption Commission to join the investigations and prosecution. But this was not a matter that was led by the Anti Corruption Commission.

And even today, the prosecution of Rupiah and those around him are not matters which the Anti Corruption Commission can in all honesty claim to be leading. Their participation in these issues is merely symbolic.
But this is an institution that is mandated by law to investigate and prosecute corruption in our Republic. Taxpayers' money is every day being spent on the Anti Corruption Commission to do its job. But can it be said that the Zambian taxpayer is getting a fair return from the Anti Corruption Commission? Again, the answer is a categorical no.

As things stand today, the Anti Corruption Commission is simply a ceremonial institution to show people that we are committed to fighting corruption and we have set up an institution for that purpose. In its current form and structure, the Anti Corruption Commission is a dead, useless but costly institution.

In saying this, we are not in any way trying to discredit, belittle and undermine those who work for this institution. We are merely trying to take a critical and self-critical approach to life in the firm belief that no institution, whatsoever, should expect to be free from the scrutiny of those who give it their loyalty and support, not to mention those who don't. There is no doubt, of course, that criticism is good for people and institutions that are part of public life. And this sort of questioning can also act, and it should do so, as an effective engine for change, for improvement.

We need to critically examine the reasons for the Anti Corruption Commission's poor performance. We need to find out if it is the legal framework that is inhibiting it from efficiently and effectively delivering on its mandate. If this is so, let the necessary legal amendments be made. We also need to find out if it is the organisational framework that is making the work of the Anti Corruption Commission difficult. If this is the case, let's effect the necessary organisational changes to make this very necessary public institution efficient and effective. If it is the individuals who are simply not up to the tasks they have been employed to carry out, let the necessary changes be made in personnel so as to enable the institution to operate efficiently and effectively.

Leaving things the way they are is very dangerous because it may lead to many false interpretations and wrong assumptions.

Some of the inefficiencies and deficiencies of the Anti Corruption Commission lead to the assumption of political interference in its work. This is an institution that has been very poor in investigating and prosecuting matters involving senior government officials, political appointees. Such people are only investigated and prosecuted for corruption when they fall out with the sitting government or are no longer influential in it. Even where there is meaningful public suspicion of corruption of senior government officials, the Anti Corruption Commission never moves in.

However, this approach has the dangerous consequence of making the sitting president appear to be protecting members of his or her government when this may not be so.

Public institutions need to account for the public money invested in them. The Anti Corruption Commission is not exempt from this accountability. And there is need for the relevant parliamentary committee to critically evaluate the work of the Anti Corruption Commission and recommend the necessary amends. This is so because as things stand today, the Anti Corruption Commission cannot easily justify public investment in it. The results of their work are not tying in with what the public is putting in it. More is expected, and justifiably so, from this institution.

As things stand today, the Anti Corruption Commission is operating more or less like an ineffective anti corruption complaints commission that is not able to move anything by itself or at its own instigation.

This inefficiency and ineffectiveness of the Anti Corruption Commission is putting too much pressure on the political authorities and other institutions of the state that are closely connected to its work. It is putting unnecessary pressure on the presidency to match its anti-corruption pronouncements with deeds or action. It is also putting unnecessary pressure on the National Prosecution Authority, which, in the final analysis, has to take responsibility for its work.

Things cannot be allowed to continue this way if legitimate public expectations on the fight against corruption have to be met. All the necessary changes, whatever it takes, must be made.

More can be said and needs to be said. What has been stated in this comment is merely an introduction to the detailed debate and evaluation of the performance of our Anti Corruption Commission. More public discourse is needed, and must take place, on this issue.

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