Saturday, March 03, 2007
Saturday March 03, 2007 [02:00]
Things don’t seem to be going well in the councils dominated by opposition Patriotic Front. It appears these councils have become a platform for a political contest between the Patriotic Front and the government. But there is a serious danger in this. If the Patriotic Front and those in government perceive councils as nothing more than a forum in which they can express their demands and execute their political agendas, then our councils won’t function effectively, efficiently and in an orderly manner.
There is need for all the players in our local government, and especially those in the opposition-dominated councils, to realise that there are serious limitations in our local government Act. Ours is not a decentralised local government system. A lot of power still resides in the Minister of Local Government and Housing.
The minister can single-handedly undo or frustrate what any council is trying to do. This is the way this Act was designed by Patriotic Front president Michael Sata in the early 1990s when he was Frederick Chiluba’s local government and housing minister. At that time Sata and his colleagues feared that if they gave a lot of autonomy to councils there would be anarchy.
They feared that mayors all over the country would behave like small presidents. So a lot of power was retained by the minister. And there is very little councillors can do without the support or consent of the Minister of Local Government and Housing. This is what the Patriotic Front should always bear in mind as it tries to engage the government in the councils it controls.
It is therefore not prudent for anyone to take an approach whose net effect will be to paralyse the activities of our councils and render them totally impotent and unable to address the many problems facing our neighbourhoods.
Without trying to blame anybody, our current local government Act makes it very difficult for opposition dominated councils to implement their own independent agendas. Those who designed this Act were definitely not interested in decentralisation. By saying this, we are not in any way trying to imply that decentralisation is a panacea. We know that there are limits to what it can achieve. And not all government functions can or should be decentralised. Decentralising weak states may compound problems.
An appropriate balance of centralisation and decentralisation is essential, and there needs to be complimentary attention to central government. Decentralisation requires a strong central entity to regulate, to provide an overall framework to manage the reallocation of responsibilities and resources in a predictable and transparent way.
And from what is happening, especially at the Lusaka City Council, the vulnerability of local governments to political capture warrant caution.
While we appreciate the government’s frustrations or irritations with the way the Patriotic Front is trying to do things, we don’t think it would be appropriate to make amendments to the current local government Act whose aim is simply to clip the wings of the Patriotic Front or the opposition in general where it dominates councils. The current Act is bad enough and there is no need to make it worse.
What is required are measures that will broaden decentralisation and not amendments that further curtail it. There are benefits in decentralisation. In the current era of state reform, everybody seems agreed that decentralisation of government is a good thing.
And the case for decentralisation can be argued on both political grounds - as strengthening democracy, accountability and participation by bringing government closer to its citizens - and economic grounds, those of enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of public service provision. But we shouldn’t forget that decentralisation requires the reform of the state and systems of governance, altering the structure and institutions of governance. This will also require us to improve the political, financial and administrative capacities of our councils as a precondition for successful decentralisation.
But in all this we should not lose the aim of decentralisation - the transfer of authority and responsibility from central to local government - aims to address failures to foster development and reduce poverty, and to consolidate democracy. Decentralisation requires sustained political will as an essential. It also requires the development of a democratic civil culture where conflicts are managed within certain limits and result in compromises, consensus or other agreements that all sides accept as legitimate. If this is not possible, it will be very difficult to manage our councils under the current legislation. Yes, in the opposition-dominated councils, opposition leaders like Sata can try to dictate what they want. But the numbers of councillors does not give them the monopoly - which they think they have - in running the affairs of councils.
The Minister of Local Government seems to possess even more powers than all the councillors put together. If the minister does not agree with the decisions of the council, and a conflict or crisis arises, the minister can decide to dissolve the council and appoint an administrator. This can go on and on. But the question is who suffers, who is the most affected?
It is the people that the councillors and the minister were elected or appointed to serve. For this reason there is necessity for tolerance and consensus building. It will also not do for the government to exert excessive pressure on opposition-led councils. Even the worst of frustrations or irritations should not push the government to come up with amendments that are aimed at nothing but to further render elected council representatives totally irrelevant.
We accept the fact that laws should be continually updated to make them conform to the realities obtaining on the ground. But this should be done with broad-mindedness and without any irrationality.
A lot of care should be exercised before local government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo takes any Bill to Parliament aimed at paralysing, or clipping the wings of, Patriotic Front. Ernest Mwansa is very right when he warns that it is dangerous to make laws that are specifically targeted at particular individuals or political parties. There is need to look beyond Sata and the Patriotic Front in any legislation the government comes up with on local government.
We also repeat our advice to the Patriotic Front on the harassment of Lusaka mayor Susan Nakazwe. She has not done anything outside what the law requires of her. It will not be possible for her or any councillor for that matter to deliver anything without engaging those in government in a meaningful way. We say this because in this country we don’t have a fully decentralised or autonomous local government. Everything is still very much dependent on the central government. So there is need for the opposition councillors to work closely with those in government if they have to harbour any hope of delivering meaningful service to our people. What they are trying to do would be much easier to implement if our councils were fully decentralised.
And it will also not be good for those in government to deliberately frustrate the work and programmes of councils not under their control. Ours is a multi-party political setup and everyone should be given a chance to perform their duties under this system. It will no longer necessarily be a question of one party dominating all levels of government. It’s time we started learning how to live and work under such a reality. There will always be need for a partnership between opposition-dominated councils and the government.
This is not a bad thing. It is a good thing for our democracy and needs to be encouraged. Let’s try to address all the problems - legal, institutional or otherwise - that are frustrating such cooperation so that our councils can effectively and efficiently serve our people. There is no need for a sterile showdown.
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Saturday March 03, 2007 [02:03]
LOCAL government and housing minister Sylvia Masebo is pondering taking amendments to Parliament on the local government Act for government not to recognise expulsions of councillors for political reasons. Contributing to debate on the budgetary allocations to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) on Thursday in the House, Masebo said by-elections resulting from such expulsions were unnecessary costs on the national budget.
Masebo said the K6 billion allocated for by-elections in this year’s budget was too huge. She said in the case of her ministry, there were over 1,000 councillors countrywide and unnecessary by-elections could therefore not be afforded. Masebo said the opposition could also effectively contribute to the governance of the country through councillors and their elected members of parliament. “If the trend continues, us in government will think twice about the law. The question I am thinking of is whether to bring amendments to the local government Act for government not to recognise expulsions of councillors which are purely political,” Masebo said. “Why should a councillor be expelled by a political party for performing duties in accordance with the law?” Masebo said all councillors should perform according to laws made in Parliament.
“You make a law here and someone comes through the backdoor to expel someone using party provisions!” Masebo remarked amidst heckling from Patriotic Front members of parliament.” “There is no need for heckling when I am talking, let’s give honour to this House,” said Masebo, who was irritated by the heckling and catcalls. She said such kind of expulsions made councils not to be effective in their work. “May I give notice that I will bring an amendment to the local government Act and I hope that both the left and right will support me,” Masebo said.
The Patriotic Front has suspended Lusaka mayor Susan Nakazwe pending expulsion from the party for welcoming Chinese President Hu Jintao at Lusaka International Airport last month during his state visit to Zambia contrary to party instructions. But Patriotic Front Chifunabuli member of parliament Ernest Mwansa said it was dangerous to make laws just because a situation had arisen. He said such legislation would target an individual or an institution. But Masebo rose on a point of order wondering whether Mwansa was in order to insinuate that an amendment could not be made to the law as a result of a situation especially when powers of Parliament were being usurped through the backdoor.
Deputy Speaker Mutale Nalumango in her ruling said Parliament was for debates and when the proposed amendment was taken before the House, debates would go on. Mwansa then proceeded to say targeted laws had their own dangers. Namwala UDA member of parliament Major Robbie Chizhyuka also rose asking whether it was not true that a law should be targeted to sort out mischief. Mwansa said while parliament had powers to make laws, members should be mindful that they were subject to the same laws. “It’s a wrong principle to legislate against an individual,” Mwansa said.
Roan PF member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili proposed amendments to the electoral Act to allow all presidential candidates to use the military helicopters to access inaccessible areas. He proposed that all political parties should disclose sources of funding. Kambwili also proposed that in view of high unemployment, the ECZ should use college and school leavers to conduct elections.
By George Chellah
Saturday March 03, 2007 [02:03]
ZAMBIA is in a fast lane to develop, President Levy Mwanawasa said yesterday. And President Mwanawasa said Zambia and Slovakia share similar views on the fight against corruption. Receiving credentials from Ambassadors from Czech republic, Thailand and Slovakia at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa said in all post-communist states in Europe, the Czech republic was considered to have undertaken the transition to a market economic system with the greatest success.
“Your country’s programme of rapid privatisation, price and currency stabilisation and the establishment of a new banking system, while preserving a low level of unemployment, has won strong popular support,” President Mwanawasa said. “At the same time these economic reforms together with the country’s political stability have attracted widespread foreign direct investment in your country. Zambia would greatly appreciate to get a leaf from Czech’s experience in the mentioned areas as our country is in a fast lane to develop.” He said there was need for Zambia and the Czech to revisit their bilateral agreements in order to embark on new and mutually beneficial areas of development cooperation. “Let me commend your government for the decision taken a few years ago in which the Czech republic placed Zambia and Angola as two countries in Southern Africa targeted for Czech’s development assistance, in areas such as agriculture, mining and tourism,” President Mwanawasa said. “I would also like to thank his Excellency the President of Czech, who in the recent past expressed his desire to visit Zambia. I do hope that you will put this intention to visit Zambia on your priority list. “Zambia is indeed very grateful for the gesture to be placed on your development assistance agenda. You may also wish to convey to the Czech president my willingness that he pays a visit to our country and I would also look forward to visiting the Czech Republic one of these days.”
And Czech republic Ambassador to Zambia Vaclav Jilek described the relations between Zambia and the Czech as cordial. “With the support of the government of Zambia I will strive my best to move the relations further,” he said. And receiving credentials from Ambassador-designate of the republic of Slovakia to Zambia, Pavan Ivan, President Mwanawasa said the relations between the two countries date back to the time of Zambia’s independence. “Our two countries share similar views on many issues such as the fight against international terrorism, drug trafficking, environmental degradation and corruption, which are regular agenda items at the international fora,” President Mwanawasa said. “We would appreciate cooperation with your government in cardinal areas which are fundamental to the development of good governance and democracy in Zambia.”
He said he was aware that in a survey conducted a few years ago in Europe, 50 per cent of some European companies and nationals considered and chose Slovakia as the best place for investment.
“This is an area of great interest to Zambia and my government would therefore, be keen to learn more from you. Zambia tales pride in its highly skilled human resources, which require enhanced skills training in order to keep abreast with the latest technological advances,” President Mwanawasa said. “My government would therefore welcome technical assistance and other forms of cooperation for basic and advanced training in areas which your country has expertise, such as engineering, agricultural studies, information technology and others. This would equip our youth with the knowledge and skills to take the Zambian economy forward.” President Mwanawasa instructed foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana to arrange a meeting with the Slovakia Ambassador to discuss hydro energy.
And Ambassador Ivan said he wishes to develop political dialogue between the authorities of the two countries. “There is a good potential on both sides to be explored in the fields of trade exchanges, industrial or mining cooperation as well as tourism. In this connection, Slovakia would like to participate in the industrial or energy projects like small hydro-power stations and development of the further economic progress of Zambia,” Ambassador Ivan said.
“Slovakia’s experts mainly from the engineering, hydro or technical areas are ready to establish communication with their partners in Zambia. My country also wishes to develop university and cultural exchanges for the benefit of mutual interest of our countries.
“Such concrete steps will be useful for mutual understanding and for better promotion of your wonderful country in Slovakia and for introduction of my country in Zambia.”
And receiving credentials from the new Thailand Ambassador to Zambia, Domedej Bunnag, President Mwanawasa said he was hopeful that the two countries would share experiences such as the achievements in gemstone mining, which accounts for one third of Thailand’s GDP. “Undoubtedly, this sector has contributed to the welfare of the Thai people. Furthermore, I believe the cooperation between the two countries would put the spirit of South-South cooperation into reality,” he said. He said Zambia and Thailand have exchanged views and shared common positions on a number of issues on international agenda. “Such as the reform of the United Nations, respect for human rights and the protection of the environment,” President Mwanawasa said.
President Mwanawasa also said the relations between the two countries were further strengthened through their joint membership in international organisations such as the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the UN. And Ambassador Bunnag said there has been progress in relations between Zambia and since the establishment of diplomatic ties. “Indeed this is a great privilege for me to be appointed Ambassador to Zambia, a stable and peaceful country in Africa. I am confident that with your personal support I shall be able to fulfill my mission,” he said
By Nomusa Michelo
Saturday March 03, 2007 [02:00]
DISMISSED lands minister Reverend Gladys Nyirongo has appealed to President Levy Mwanawasa to ensure that justice prevails in her case. Speaking on arrival from South Africa at the Lusaka International Airport on Thursday night following her dismissal on Wednesday, Rev Nyirongo who was in a sombre mood and reluctant to speak, said she wanted to be given chance to justify herself.
“I have no comment, whatever has happened has happened. I can’t comment until I have appeared before the President (Levy Mwanawasa). Please spare me. I can’t make any comment. All I can appeal from my father, the father of the nation (President Mwanawasa) is justice because others have been heard. That is all,” Rev Nyirongo said. “I am very grateful for this appointment. I am very grateful actually, there is nothing else I can say, nothing. I will stay obedient, that is all I can say. I hope I’m given also my time to justify.” At one point, Rev Nyirongo got upset with photojournalists, saying they had taken enough pictures of her and her family who had done nothing wrong.
“Ti lekeni. Ta chita chani? Monga taba. (Leave us alone. What have we done? As if we have stolen.)” Meanwhile, Transparency International Zambia has commended The Post for exposing scandals at the Ministry of Lands and has welcomed the firing and suspension of Rev Nyirongo and acting Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Frightone Sichone, respectively. “It is good that the President has acted quickly and with a sense of urgency over this matter. We hope that this will serve as a deterrence measure to all Zambians especially those that hold public office to avoid abusing their official positions for private gain,” Lungu said. “We also wish to commend The Post Newspapers for professionally exposing the scandals that are occurring at the Ministry of Lands. The Post has continued to be ahead of our law enforcement agencies diligently in exposing such matters.”
He said the swift action by government would not have been taken without the gallant approach of investigative journalism of The Post Newspapers. “We, however, wish to express our concern that despite the President having been aware of the alleged abuse of office of the Reverend Nyirongo and Mr Sichone, it had to take a report in The Post for him to take action on the matter,” Lungu said. “We wish to strongly urge him to be more proactive and not reactive to press revelations. The onus and challenge now is on the Anti-Corruption Commission to be also steadfast in investigating and prosecuting Reverend Nyirongo and the Commissioner of Lands.”
Lungu also appealed to President Mwanawasa to extend this approach to the ruling party where senior party officials implicated in corrupt practices have gone scot-free.
Friday, March 02, 2007
By Obert Simwanza
PARLIAMENT yesterday approved the over K18 billion allocation to State House in this year’s national Budget. Presenting the allocations, Vice-President, Rupiah Banda, said State House was a national institution and should therefore be in a condition befitting its status. He said the fleet of vehicles at State House was not in good condition as most of the vehicles were bought 12 years ago and therefore needed replacement. The allocation would include payment of personal emoluments, recurrent departmental expenditure and institutional support expenditure all amounting to K18,998,354,852. In the previous Budget, K12,025,087,395 was allocated to State House.
In supporting the allocation, Kalomo MP Request Muntanga (UPND) said since most of the vehicles at State House seemed to have outlived their lifespan, Government could transfer them to other departments.
Moomba MP Vitalis Mooya (UPND) said it had become clear that repairs for State House had kept on increasing each year, an indication that the building was too old. He said for instance last year, Government spent K 6 billion on repairs saying the only logical thing was to build another State House. Mr Mooya said building another State House was not a sign of extravagancy as the house neither belonged to an individual or a political party but was for the country.
Kabwata MP Given Lubinda (PF) said advisors to President Mwanawasa should advise him correctly to avoid embarrassing the institution of State House. Mr Lubinda said the advisors should realise that State House was an institution of governance and not an extension of somebody’s village. WORKS and Supply Minister, Kapembwa Simbao said for the two years that he had worked at State House, President Mwanawasa had refused rehabilitation works preferring the money to be used on other developmental projects.
Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili (PF) said the landscaping at State House was not befitting an institution of such status.
Sinazongwe MP Raphael Muyanda (UPND) said the golf course at State House needed to be worked on and that it could be used as a source of revenue if golf tournaments were hosted there.
Chairperson of the committee on supply Mutale Nalumango asked Finance Deputy Minister Jonas Shakafuswa to apologise to the House after he had told MPs to shut up as he was contributing to the allocation. Ms Nalumango said the sentence shut up was unparliamentary and therefore Mr Shakafuswa should withdraw and apologise.
In winding up debate, the Vice-President commended the House and emphasised that State House was not for the party in power but for all Zambians.
Mines and Mineral Resources Deputy Minister Maxwell Mwale told the House that Government would be reviewing all development agreements with mining investors to amend some clauses. Mr Mwale said the negotiating team would commence the negotiations this month, adding that the decision to review some agreements was to make them in line with the requirements of the Zambian people.
He was responding to a question from Mr Sejani who wanted to know when Government would start re-negotiating the contracts entered into with some investors who purchased the mines from ZCCM.
Mines Minister Kalombo Mwansa said on the negotiating team, the Government would not require the services of outsiders other than those from Government and the team put in place. He was responding to a supplementary question from Roan MP Chishimba Kambwili (PF) who wanted to know whether some MPs would be among the negotiating team.
Labels: STATE HOUSE
Friday March 02, 2007 [02:00]
THE news coming out of our Ministry of Lands is not pleasant at all. It is very disturbing. While we welcome the measures that President Levy Mwanawasa has taken following our exposure of malpractices at the Ministry of Lands, we feel much more needs to be done and the dropping of one minister, suspension of the Commissioner of Lands and the possible arrest of some civil servants will not do much.
The importance of the land tenure system and the process of land alienation to Zambia’s development and our people’s wellbeing is cardinal to our nation’s progress and prosperity. Land is essential to human society and therefore, the manner in which it is acquired, used and managed is very important. The low rate of economic growth and the high poverty levels can partly be attributed to our failure as a nation to address the inadequacies and deficiencies in our country’s land tenure system and the process of land alienation.
Zambia still faces significant challenges with respect to democratising its land tenure and administration. At the same time, the country is experiencing growing cases of tenure insecurity, especially in the squatter compounds.
The system of rules and practices under which persons exercise and enjoy rights in land or the general conditions upon which land is held should not be static; they should respond to changes taking place in our country. We note with great disappointment that the current legal and institutional framework is not totally in tune or in line with what is on the ground, that is the demands and needs of the people.
The land issue should be perceived as one of human rights and constitutional concerns. And when one critically examines our land tenure system and the process of land alienation, the picture emerges that we have not really sat down to draw our own land laws. We are applying land laws hastily assembled or picked up from other jurisdictions without any relevance to the situation here.
Our institutional framework for land delivery and management is very weak.
It is dangerous that the Commissioner of Lands has exclusive discretion to approve or reject an application for land. The Commissioner of Lands can parcel out land single-handedly to anyone he desires. This may not be desirable, but this is the law. Clearly, the law makes the Commissioner of Lands vulnerable to abuse; it is too weak and has no controls. However, no one has seen the need to change the law and make the commissioner’s use of powers more democratic and transparent.
Furthermore, some chiefs have joined the bandwagon of land thieves and are making a killing on selling land. Corruption, undemocratic tendencies in the administration of land and other factors have in fact combined to make it very difficult for the great majority of our people, especially the poor, to acquire or secure land.
In order to improve the system of land tenure and the process of land alienation, some of the statutes related to land management require amendments. There is need for a major land policy overhaul so that all the various needs of our people are captured. And the new land policy must be quite different from previous ones. It must be based on the widest possible opinion; government must promote the widest possible consultation before penning down the policy. There is urgent need to revisit the 1995 land Act to redress its harmful effects, especially those that marginalise the already disempowered, the poor and the peasant farmers.
The right to access land is not guaranteed in our Bill of Rights. In order to ensure effective rights, this must be there. Since land is missing in the Constitution, it is not easy to protect it from abuse. For example, it was possible to introduce the 1995 land Act without public involvement because it was not a constitutional matter.
Land is the basis of all human activity from which we derive all the basic necessities of life. Therefore, effective institutional framework for land delivery, administration and management should stress the need for an integrated approach that includes a wide range of stakeholders.
And from the events of this week it is very clear that there is need to change the law and make the Commissioner of Lands’ use of power more democratic and transparent.
What has been exposed this week is something that has been going on for a very long time. People entrusted with managing our country’s land on behalf of our people have been enriching themselves by exploiting the weaknesses in the system. They have parcelled to themselves land, sold it at very high profits and through that they have created a serious demand for land. This is because they have turned land into a speculative commodity. Those whose job is to administer our land system have the power to compromise many people who are looking for land.
Zambia has abundant land resources but millions of our people have no access to land. Access to land is still one of Zambia’s major nightmares. However, unlike other countries, this is not due to the shortage of land. There is plenty of land in Zambia to satisfy the needs of everyone. The shortage is due to the inefficient methods of land ownership, its management and utilisation. Consequently, there are hundreds of thousands of our people with no access to land.
There is urgent need for us as a nation to begin addressing the problems associated with the land delivery system in our country in order to ensure equitable access to land and in this way promote national development. Land law reform in Zambia is an urgent necessity. We can no longer continue with the current system that is reeking of corruption in every pore.
However, we are pleased with the practical response Levy has given to the corruption that has been exposed in the Ministry of Lands. This is how things should be.
This is what zero tolerance of corruption should mean. But we urge Levy to go beyond the sackings, suspensions and arrests of those who perpetrated or were suspected to have corrupt dealings in land to reforming the whole system. This is the only way we can ensure that things like these are not easy to practise. If not, the replacements of these characters will soon fall to the same practices.
By Brighton Phiri and Nomusa Michelo
Friday March 02, 2007 [02:00]
THE Ministry of Lands is stinking with corruption, President Levy Mwanawasa said yesterday. And President Mwanawasa disclosed that he dismissed former lands minister Reverend Gladys Nyirongo and suspended acting Permanent Secretary Frightone Sichone for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices. Meanwhile, police officers yesterday morning sealed off Mulungushi House which houses the Ministry of Lands thereby blocking Ministry of Lands workers from entering their offices to pave way for investigations by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
Speaking at State House when he swore in newly appointed lands minister Bradford Machila, President Mwanawasa reminded him that he was being transferred to a ministry that was stinking with corruption. “As for you the new minister of lands, you are going to a ministry which is stinking with corruption. I expect you to ensure that this mud is swept away. I direct you to sweep clean the ministry,” President Mwanawasa said. “You have all heard and experienced the confusion and circus at the ministry.” President Mwanawasa disclosed that Rev Nyirongo approached First Lady Maureen Mwanawasa, Vice-President Rupiah Banda, home affairs minister Ronnie Shikapwasha and ACC director general Nixon Banda asking them to persuade him to prevail over the appointment of Sichone as acting permanent secretary when Secretary to Cabinet Joshua Kanganja announced his appointment. “She submitted that Sichone was as corrupt as the former PS Mukuka Zimba. Does she think I am easily swayed?” asked President Mwanawasa.
President Mwanawasa disclosed that Rev Nyirongo, while serving as lands minister, allocated two plots to herself, two plots to her son, two to her husband and four to her two daughters. He further disclosed that Rev Nyirongo defied his directive by approving the allocation of a 20,000 acres land to an investor in Mpika, a move he said he was opposed to. President Mwanawasa said he expected Rev Nyirongo to support his policy of ensuring that any allocation of land beyond 1,000 acres was subject to his approval. He said Rev Nyirongo further exhibited an act of defiance by reporting Sichone to DEC and ACC. He said it was not the responsibility of politicians to report anybody to law enforcement agencies, saying it was his responsibility and that of the Secretary to Cabinet.
However, President Mwanawasa said he had since asked DEC to investigate all the allegations levelled against Sichone. He said he was satisfied that allegations against Sichone indicated that he had abused his office. He said it was sad that people involved in corrupt practices were now reporting each other. President Mwanawasa directed Machila to look for a new Commissioner of Lands. He said there were two more ministries involved in corrupt practices. President Mwanawasa disclosed that he had directed Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo to seal off Ministry of Lands offices to facilitate thorough investigations over the alleged corrupt practices.
According to sources, the ACC also searched Sichone’s house on Wednesday evening and continued their search at the ministry yesterday. A check at Mulungushi House found workers loitering outside as early as 07:30 hours as the entire building was sealed, allowing only officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and the Ministry of Energy and Water Development. Workers from other ministries were allowed to enter the premises only on production of their identity cards. The Ministry of Lands workers were asked to go home by assistant director for human resources and administration Mary Kabinga who said that they would be informed when to return to work.
Some officers at the Ministry of Lands who spoke on condition of anonymity said while investigations were welcome, there was need to also investigate people who acquired land at the ministry because they were the ones bribing officers. One of the workers said it was an anomaly for Rev Nyirongo to report her subordinate to the ACC, because it was not possible that any alleged corrupt activities occurred without her knowledge. Allegations of corruption and abuse of authority of office have been made against Sichone, who is being investigated by the ACC. Last week, Rev Nyirongo reported Sichone to the ACC over allegations of corruption.
Meanwhile, according to records obtained at the Ministry of Lands, Rev Nyirongo obtained a plot, property number Lus/35386 on April 13, 2006 measuring 0.165 in her maiden name, Gladys Zitha. And on the same date, her husband Jim Nyirongo also obtained property number Lus/35387, next to Rev Nyirongo also measuring 0.165. Records also show that her son Davy Nyirongo was offered property number Lus/36120. Records further show that lands deputy minister Moses Muteteka also obtained a plot in Lusaka property number Lus/36434. When contacted for comment, Muteteka said he had no idea that he owned the said property. “I have no idea about that. Don’t get me involved in things I don’t know about. Just deal with issues as they are,” Muteteka said.
In a statement on Wednesday evening, President Mwanawasa’s special assistant for press and public relations, John Musukuma announced Rev Nyirongo’s dismisal. “His Excellency the President has terminated the appointment of Minister of Lands Gladys Nyirongo and has appointed Bradford Machila as new minister of lands. These decisions are with immediate effect,” Musukuma stated.
Before his appointment, Machila served as deputy Justice minister. At the time of her dismisal, Rev Nyirongo was in South Africa leading a Zambian delegation at the African Forum on Corruption. At the forum, Rev Nyirongo said the establishment of a national integrity system in 2006 in Zambia and the signing of the Southern Africa Development Community protocol against corruption were positive steps in the fight against corruption.
By Speedwell Mupuchi
Friday March 02, 2007 [02:00]
THERE is no single mining company on tax holiday, finance minister Ng'andu Magande has said. And Magande told Parliament on Wednesday that achieving the targeted five per cent end of year inflation this year would be a toll order. Winding debate of the budget speech, Magande said government was not giving any tax holidays to those investing in mining sector.
He explained that corporate tax for mines making a profit was 25 per cent. Magande said most mining companies had not yet started paying the 25 per cent corporate tax because they were still investing. "KCM (Konkola Copper Mines) is investing all of its profits in Konkola Deep Mining Project. Once they start making profits they will pay 25 per cent tax as per development agreement," Magande said. "We need to be very careful not to scare our investors sinking their money into a 1.5 kilometre mine shaft. If you went to Konkola you will find some of the sophisticated mining equipment in the world." Magande said the new tax regime for mines was attractive enough and that government hoped to develop the mining sector to be one of the best in the world. Corporate tax is only paid if a company is declaring profit and most companies are hiding in re-investment to avoid paying the tax.
And Magande said with the reported 12 per cent inflation level for February 2007 announced by the Central Statistical Office, the targeted end of year inflation level of five might be a toll order. "This time of the year we usually have high inflation rates because the crops are still in the fields," Magande said. From the last quarter of last year inflation dropped to a single digit reaching eight per cent by the end of the year. Magande called on the House to support measures to increase tax threshold from K320,000 to K500,000. He also said government was concerned about management of limited public resources and extended President Levy Mwanawasa's invitation to members of parliament to supervise their use. He also said he did not subscribe to the idea of increasing Constituency Development Fund to K1 billion.
Magande said members of parliament should instead acquaint themselves with learning to understand how councils operated and how to supervise resources. "Allocating K1 billion is an easiest way of throwing money," Magande said amid murmurs from members of parliament. However, Magande said the CDF had been increased from K60 million to about K200 million.
By Gweny Phiri
Friday March 02, 2007 [02:00]
FORMER Namibian president Sam Nujoma has called on professionals, academicians and governments to work together with a common vision and purpose of action in exploiting the abundant mineral resources in Africa. Nujoma, who is in the country for a study tour, on Wednesday visited the Nchanga Open Pit mine in Chingola and the Konkola Deep Mining Project (KDMP) in Chililabombwe. He said there was need for professionals in industry, academicians and governments to work together in exploiting the abundant mineral resources in Africa for economic development.
He said part of his study tour aimed at stimulating interest and discussions on how people in Africa could develop manufacturing industries based on local mineral materials which would promote economic development through employment creation and increase productivity to add value. Nujoma said the governments needed to develop policies and framework which would ensure equitable exploration and production of mineral resources with due regard to the local communities, national development and the environment. He said industrial concerns needed to invest in educational and training institutions in order to promote research and development.
He said copper resources were abundant in the sub-region and they could provide a means for economic development if the copper producing countries began to invest in downstream projects that would add value to copper produced including the production of electronic products from copper. He said in order to develop, Africa has to develop itself and create local manufacturing industries to promote, protect and develop its mineral wealth for the benefit of its people. He said people have to consciously and actively participate in the struggle for economic independence.
Thursday, March 01, 2007
By Florence Bupe
Thursday March 01, 2007 [07:09]
THE rate of inflation rate has gone back to a double-digit for the month of February 2007, which has been recorded at 12.6 per cent. The figure signifies an increase of 2.8 percentage points from 9.8 per cent in January 2007. Central Statistical Office (CSO) acting director Modesto Banda explained that the rise in the inflation figure was due to the increase in annual inflation rates for food, beverages and tobacco, petroleum products transport and communication, as well as increased house rentals. Compared with the same period last year, the annual rate of inflation increased by 2.3 percentage points.
Of the total 12.6 per cent rate, food products accounted for 2.2 per cent, while non-food products in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) accounted for 10.4 percentage points. "A comparison of prices between January 2007 and February 2007 shows that the national average price of a 25 kilogram bag of roller meal increased by 5.3 per cent from K26,636 to K28,045. Bus fares also went up significantly," Banda said. And according to the CSO monthly bulletin for the month of February, Zambia recorded a trade surplus valued at K17.8 billion in January 2007, a reduction from the December 2006 trade surplus figure of K176.1.
Banda said the country needed to devise alternative ways to generate more export products other than copper if trade surplus had to be increased. "As you have noticed, trade surplus has significantly reduced. There is a great need to look at other areas to generate products for export, such as the agriculture and processing sectors, and also the textile manufacturing industry," he said. The total value of exports for December 2006 was K1.2 trillion, compared to K1.3 trillion in January 2007, with copper accounting for 50.6 per cent. The CSO has further disclosed that of the 4.9 million population available to engage in labour, 16 per cent were unemployed. WM
By Times Reporter
LOCAL Government and Housing Minister Sylvia Masebo yesterday presented to Parliament the Markets and Bus Stations Bill that seeks the establishment and regulation of markets and bus stations in Zambia. Ms Masebo told the House that the Bill also sought, among other objectives, to provide for the establishment of management boards for markets and bus stations and to repeal and replace the Markets Act of 1937.
Her counterpart at Science, Technology and Vocational Training Brian Chituwo also presented to the House the Bio-safety Bill whose objectives include the regulation of research, development, application, import, export, transit, and use of genetically modified products.
“The Bill seeks to regulate the release or placing on the market of any genetically modified organisms (GMOs) whether intended for use as a pharmaceutical, food, feed or processing, or a product of a GMO,” Dr Chituwo said. The Bill would ensure that any activity involving the use of any GMO or its product prevents any socio-economic impact or harm to human and animal health or any damage to the environment, non-GMO crops and biological diversity. Dr Chituwo said the Bill would set and implement standards for the assessment, evaluation and management of any potential risk involving the use of any genetically modified organism or product of a GMO.
“The bill will establish the National Biosafety Authority (NBA) and prescribe its powers and functions, provide for the establishment of the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) and provide for public participation, information and consultation in the field of bio-safety,” he said.
The Bill also seeks to provide for a mechanism for liability and redress for any harm or damage caused to human and animal health, non-GMO crops, socio-economic conditions, biological diversity of the environment by any GMO or its product. Dr Chituwo said the Bill would also provide for the formation and registration of institutional bio-safety committees.
Speaker Amusaa Mwanamwambwa referred the Markets and Bus Stations and Biosafety bills to committees on local Governance, Housing and Chiefs Affairs and that of education, science and technology respectively. The Speaker asked the two committees to submit their reports to the House on Tuesday March 20, 2007. Mr Mwanamwambwa said members wishing to make any submissions or amendments to the two proposed pieces of legislation should do so within the time-frame provided (Cont on P2).
By Times Reporter
GOVERNMENT is dismayed by the proliferation of trade unions, which it says poses a serious challenge to employers and the State. Labour and Social Services Minister Ronald Mukuma said in Lusaka yesterday that the proliferation of unions had led to complaints from employers that they were spending too much time and money bargaining with different unions in the same establishment. “In some cases, there are frictions among the unions in one industry which works against the interest of the workers,” he said. He said this when he officiated at the tripartite consultative labour council meeting in Lusaka yesterday.
Mr Mukuma said the proliferation of trade unions was not in conformity with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) principle of dealing with the most representative body. His ministry had issued directives to employers to engage in collective bargaining only with the most representative unions in their sectors to foster national development. He said trade unions should ensure they elected union representatives whose area of operations was directly related to the aspirations of their union. Mr Mukuma said he was saddened by the failure of some trade unions to submit audited books of accounts to the Labour Commissioner. He directed that the Labour Commissioner should follow up such unions and ensure the law was strictly adhered to.
The consultative meeting was tasked to review labour laws and come up with legislation that would be able to effectively deal with casualisation, labour broking and short-term job contracts. The minister urged participants to deliberate objectively and without advancing partisan issues.
Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Danny Musenge said since Zambia was a signatory to many international conventions, it was important it adhered to the requirements of such conventions.
Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president Leonard Hikaumba said there was need for employers to stop violating workers’ rights. To this effect, he said the council meeting was important so that it could address most of the issues regarding violations of workers’ rights.
He commended Government for reducing Pay-As-You-Earn and broadening the tax base in this year’s Budget. “At least an effort was made. We are not saying we are satisfied with the move but it’s a move we have recognised. Our appeal is that the burden should be taken off the workers,” Mr Hikaumba said. Mr Hikaumba said the union was still concerned about the conditions of service for Government workers who had sacrificed a lot during the time that the country was making strides to reach the Highly Indebted Poor Countries’ (HIPC) completion point. The workers were further subjected to a wage freeze in the years 1998 and 2004. Mr Hikaumba said time was now ripe for the workers to be awarded improved conditions of service. And the Zambia United Local Authorities Workers Union (ZULAWU) has called on the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to speed up arrangements for the tripartite meeting with the Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) to address conditions of service for employees in local authorities.
ZULAWU deputy general secretary Amon Daka said following the directive by Local Government and Housing Minister Syliva Masebo to the union and LGAZ to prepare for the meeting, the two parties were ready. Mr Daka said in an interview in Ndola yesterday that ZULAWU had already made submissions to the Government.
By KANGWA MULENGA
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has dismissed Minister of Lands, Gladys Nyirongo, and appointed Deputy Minister of Justice, Bradford Machila to replace her with immediate effect. The President’s special assistant for press and public relations, John Musukuma, announced the termination of Rev. Nyirongo’s appointment in a statement in Lusaka last night. "His Excellency the President has terminated the appointment of Minister of Lands, Reverend Nyirongo and has appointed Bradford Machila as new Minister of Lands. These decisions are with immediate effect," Mr Musukuma said.
Two weeks ago, Ministry of Lands permanent secretary, Mukuka Zimba, was suspended to pave way for administrative investigations concerning alleged misdeeds at the ministry. Commissioner of Lands Frighton Sichone was appointed to act as permanent secretary. Flurries of allegations have in the recent past, come out in the press on alleged land allocation irregularities.
Rev. Nyirongo issued a public statement that she had asked the Anti Corruption Commission to investigate Mr Sichone, who denies any wrongdoing alleged in the press. Meanwhile, in her last official assignment as minister, Rev. Nyirongo addressed a forum on corruption in South Africa where she said transparency and accountability in leadership was key to stamping out corruption.
From Johannesburg, Rosaria Lubumbashi of ZANIS, reports that Rev. Nyirongo was leading a Zambian delegation at the Africa Forum on Corruption where she said for purposes of accountability, Zambian leaders were encouraged to declare their assets and swear an affidavit to the Chief Justice once they take up public office. The former minister said leaders were also encouraged to declare on an annual basis, their assets as a matter of transparency and accountability to society.
She said the establishment of a national integrity system in 2006 in Zambia and the signing of the Southern Africa Community Development (SADC) protocol against corruption were positive steps in the fight against vice.
And speaking earlier, South Africa ’s Minister for Public Service and Administration Fraser Moleketi said the concept of national integrity system was fundamental to the development of an anti-corruption discourse. Ms. Moleketi said values of the national integrity system needed to permeate all institutions of state, the corporate sector and civil society and that measures relating to anti-corruption must be identified within particular institutions.
By Patson Chilemba
Thursday March 01, 2007 [02:02]
LUSAKA City Council (LCC) town clerk Timothy Hakuyu has disclosed that the local authority will be demolishing illegal structures in Kalikiliki compound in the next three days. But some Kalikiliki residents have warned of 'total war' against any move by the council to destroy their buildings.
Commenting on the seven-day ultimatum issued by local government minister Sylvia Masebo last week on the destruction of illegal structures between Kalikiliki and Ibex Hill suburb, Hakuyu said the council could not move in immediately because they were still putting in place necessary logistics. "On the seven-day ultimatum, I approached the minister (Masebo) that we needed to put in place necessary logistics. But it is within a matter of days and not weeks that we shall be moving in. It won't take more than three days from now," said Hakuyu.
But some Kalikiliki residents, who chose to remain anonymous, warned that any attempt to destroy their structures would result in unending war. They said just as the LCC and police were mobilising, so were they. They warned that any attack against them and their structures would be met by 'very stiff' opposition.
Masebo last week instructed LCC and the police to demolish illegal buildings in the area between Kalikiliki and Ibex Hill suburb in Lusaka within seven days. During a tour of the area that has been encroached by squatters in Kalikiliki, Masebo said there was need to move in quickly before the situation got out of hand. She said Zambia had abundant land hence there was no need for people to scramble for land in Lusaka. "What is happening in Lusaka is very bad," Masebo said.
She said some unscrupulous male youths were going round selling plots for K800,000 and telling the buyers that they should construct houses within three weeks failure to which the council would repossess the land. Masebo said there was need for the council to increase the number of inspectors that would regularly monitor and ensure there were no illegal allocations of plots.
She warned that whoever bought illegal plots should know that a time would come when the structures they constructed would be demolished. Masebo said Zambia was the only country where foreigners came and acquired land and market stalls at the expense of citizens.
However, Masebo blamed some Zambians for selling land to foreigners.
Thursday March 01, 2007 [02:00]
IT is sad that in the midst of these downpours, structures in Kalikiliki compound will be demolished in the next three days. We appreciate the irritations of our city council authorities over these illegal structures in Kalikiliki. But we shouldn’t approach this problem of squatter settlements as a social evil that has to be eradicated. We say this because such a confusing and knee-jerk reaction and attitude towards squatter settlements will not help the more basic question of adequate housing for all.
For the millions of our poor people, urban areas will continue to be a means for improving their quality of living and environment, besides getting better jobs and income.
This will always be in contrast to deteriorating conditions in our rural areas that have generated a considerable flow of migrants to cities. Of course urban migrants’ priorities change over time, depending on the various conditions that they find themselves in. But one of the first dilemmas they face and which persists for a long period, is the question of an adequate house. With little resources, financial or otherwise, skills or access to them, the drastic option of illegally occupying a vacant piece of land to build a rudimentary shelter is the only one available to them. The problem is further compounded by the apathy and even anti-apathy of various government agencies which view the development of squatter settlements as an evil, a crime.
Considering the magnitude and scale of the housing deficit and lack of concerted action or inadequate response from government agencies, there is no doubt of the positive role that squatter housing plays in housing the millions of poor families. The main question of land ownership and over-utilised infrastructure and services will, however, always remain unanswered.
This problem did not start today. The UNIP government tried to deal with it. Michael Sata as Chiluba’s local government and housing minister tried to deal with it. We can say successive generations of governments have tried to deal with it and adopted a number of approaches in trying to find a solution to the dilemma of squatting.
The UNIP government adopted the popular approaches of settlement upgrading and sites-and-services.
There is no doubt squatter settlements in our urban areas are an inevitable phenomenon. As long as urban areas offer economies of scale and agglomeration economies, our large cities will always continue to grow, attracting migrants from rural and smaller urban areas, leading to more squatting.
There is no quick-fix solution, universal or otherwise, that can solve all the problems of squatting in all parts of our country.
Considering the inevitability of squatting, the need is primarily for a change in attitude towards squatting, squatters and squatter settlements. What is needed is an enabling approach, where instead of an attitude of confrontation, we strive to create an enabling environment, under which people, using and generating their own resources, could find unique solutions for their housing and shelter problems.
The key question to be asked here is: Why do our people squat? Someone can say it is because there is an illegal sale of plots. Yes, this may be true but there is much more to it than this simple corruption. There is the question of people not having adequate financial resources and other collateral required to legally settle themselves. There is also the question of the high cost of land and other housing services, apathy and anti-pathy on the part of the government to assist them, high acceptable building standards and rules and regulations; lop-sided planning. These reasons leave no option for the low-income household but to squat on a vacant piece of land.
It should be our task to give millions of Zambians, especially the poor, an essential piece of dignity in their lives - the dignity that comes from having a solid roof over one’s head, running water and other services in an established community.
The state should provide sites with the basics of electricity, water and sewerage and a foundation. But the responsibility for putting a roof over people’s heads should depend on mobilising the sweat equity of our people themselves. In saying this, we are not advocating the dishing out of free houses. That can’t work; it hasn’t worked anywhere even under the best socialist programmes. We can’t build an economy or a society purely on the basis of entitlement. People have to make a contribution. They have to have a sense of ownership which they don’t get from being given blocks of rented accommodation which they don’t own, don’t have a stake in and haven’t helped design and build.
We do appreciate the problems and challenges the leadership of our city councils are facing over this problem of squatting. We also understand their impotence given the magnitude of this problem countrywide. But there is need to deal with this problem in a more humane and compassionate way. Demolishing illegal structures and leaving people without shelter in the middle of a season of heavy rains may appear to be too cruel. Unless we have somewhere to take them, let us wait until the end of the rainy season.
As we have already stated, this is a very big and complex problem for which neither ourselves nor anyone else has magic solutions. It therefore requires a lot of level-headedness, calm minds and compassion.
There is no need for panic solutions because this problem didn’t start yesterday nor is it going to end tomorrow - regardless of how many structures we demolish in a punitive manner in the middle of rainstorms. We are not criticising anybody, we are merely raising concerns; we are looking at the human factor and the options available for our affected people who happen to be invariably poor and voiceless. This is not a simple problem, it is a complex one requiring a lot of thought and meditation.
By Fridah Zinyama
Thursday March 01, 2007 [02:02]
COMMERCE Permanent Secretary Davidson Chilipamushi (right) has assured Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that their incentives will be included in the Citizens Economic Empowerment (CEE) Act. Chilipamushi’s assurance comes in the wake of complaints by some members of the business community in Southern Province. The business community has said their interests have not been taken care of under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), which seems to focus more on bigger investors.
They complained that more incentives were given to bigger investors when SMEs were made to pay more taxes and did not have any special incentives to help them grow. However, Chilipamushi said government would put in place deliberate incentives to support the Zambian citizens. “The CEE Act would help SMEs form partnerships which will help to create equity and fairness in business,” he said.
Chilipamushi said the Ministry of Commerce in collaboration with the Private Sector Development Programme would next month embark on countrywide sensitisation programmes to help create awareness on the CEE.
And Chilipamushi said government would remain firm over the US$500,000 that is required for one to qualify as an investor under the ZDA Act. “We realised that investors coming into the country with US$50,000 did not bring in serious investment,” he observed. Chilipamushi said some so-called investors only came into the country to speculate and left afterwards. “This is why we are putting in place all these measures to ensure that proper investment is brought into the country,” he said.
Chilipamushi also assured investors who had been registered under the Zambia Investment Centre not to worry about being deported. “I am aware that some officers at Immigration have been saying that they would deport all investors who came into the country with investment worth US$50,000,” he said. “It is a technical issue which will have to be addressed by the Ministry of Commerce and home affairs.” ZDA acting director general Glyne Michelo said the ZDA Act would be amended to include more suggestions from stakeholders.
By George Chellah and Inonge Noyoo
Thursday March 01, 2007 [02:00]
LOCAL government minister Sylvia Masebo has written Attorney General Mumba Malila over Lusaka mayor Susan Nakazwe's suspension from the opposition Patriotic Front (PF). But PF chairperson for local government and housing Wynter Kabimba said there was nothing the Attorney General could do to prevent their action on Nakazwe.
Commenting on Nakazwe's suspension, Masebo said Nakazwe would continue performing her civic duties despite the suspension. "Unless she is expelled from the party. But in this case, one has to look at the reasons if she will be expelled on account that she went to perform her civic duties then it's a matter of seeking legal advice from the Attorney General," Masebo said. "I have since written to the Attorney General seeking an interpretation of the law that, 'if the party expels somebody on account of performing civic duties then should we as government respect such a decision?"
She said Nakazwe has not been performing because of political interference. "A bad precedence is being set. Otherwise, the mayors won't be performing or following the law because of such political interferences. So that's the issue I would like the Attorney General to assist me so that as minister I can protect these mayors. We need to protect them," Masebo said. "That's why I have written to the Attorney General for interpretation... I want to know. Suppose the party expels her on account of performing civic duties? What should we do? Because as minister I have told the councillors that they should perform according to the law."
Masebo described Nakazwe's suspension as sad. "That's the level of Zambian politics. That's why the opposition weaken themselves through such actions. The opposition when they don't make it to State House become so bitter because of having lost the elections and they want those who have been elected to fail to perform their duties," Masebo said. "Such an action in the long run will destroy PF because that action is not supported by many right thinking members of the public. There are a lot of their members who have left the party because of such unreasonable decisions. What did they want her to do?"
She said if PF does not want its councillors to perform, it should advise them to resign so that people could elect new leaders. "Let them do what Kaunda did when he was barred from standing in 1996. He told his people not to contest the elections so PF should do the same because it's very unfair," Masebo said. "In one line they want people to be councillors and in another they don't want them to follow the law. So they should just let them resign so that new people are elected."
And Kabimba who is also former Lusaka City Council town clerk said there was nothing the Attorney General could do to prevent their action on Nakazwe. "So that communication between madam Masebo and the Attorney General is academic because the mayor has been suspended as a PF member and there is nothing the Attorney General can do. Unless madam Masebo is telling the Attorney General to dissolve PF, which they can't do, anyway," Kabimba said. "The mayor is a party member and she has been suspended as a member of PF. Just like Mwanawasa warned his Cabinet and deputy ministers on the 10th of February that if they don't attend party functions they risk being removed from their positions. Why didn't they write to the Attorney General seeking clarification over Mwanawasa's warning?"
And a gender activist Sara Longwe has expressed disappointment with PF's decision to suspend Nakazwe. Longwe accused PF of misusing its position to deprive the Zambian women an opportunity for another women to serve the nation. "She is their member but once elected she is a representative of everybody in the country. She is entitled constitutionally to do her civic duties. It is sad that the PF president says the party is supreme over civic duties. Parties are there to service people, not their own interest or egos," she said. Longwe said it was not proper to have interfered with the mayor's duties given to her by law. "We and the women movement in Zambia are very disappointed with the Patriotic Front. I am begging to think it's a good thing that they don't get into government, it's a good thing they did not win," said Longwe.
But Roan Patriotic Front member of parliament Chishimba Kambwili has said the mayor needed to be suspended as she had exhibited the highest level of insubordination. "I want to clear the air. People are just blaming without knowing the whole issue. We did not suspend her for going to the airport escorting Mwanawasa but that she was insubordinate on instructions given.
Vernon Mwaanga made it clear that all parties had been invited to welcome the Chinese President except the PF. Wynter Kabimba wrote directly to the mayor informing her that government position is that they were not invited but she went contrary, which is insubordination," he explained. Kambwili said any other party would have done the same. "Even UDA or MMD would have done the same. It's not Sata who has suspended her from the party but the entire central committee on the basis of the Chinese President (Hu Jintao)," said Kambwili. On Tuesday, the PF suspended Nakazwe and John Howard 03 councillor Boniface Musondamwaume.
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
By Ernest Mwape
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [09:13]
The recent revelations of corrupt practices by the Commissioner of Lands should not just end up with the investigation of one or two individuals at the ministry. Most of officers at the Ministry of Lands probably have dubious arrangements (third party real estate companies) through which they sell government land.
How else can one have four plots in one area? ACC should start with people who advertise and sell land to find out how they obtained several plots, when most of us don’t have anything despite repeated attempts to get some. I suspect that the recent revelations were made by officers who are not happy with efforts to reform the land allocation system (especially publishing of results of land allocation in daily papers). What is needed is to get back the land/properties from all those who will be found wanting, but give them the responsibility to implement reforms that would help improve land allocation because they know the loopholes and weaknesses in the current law.
Second, Cabinet should quickly pass a law forbidding sale of undeveloped land; and that any sale of such developed land should be made after ten years. That way all ministry officers who have been dubiously obtaining land and selling it at commercial rates will stop this corrupt behaviour. Equally important is the need for the government to come to terms with the fact that land is not free in Zambia. Even the traditional rulers are asking for a small token if you are coming from another part of the country to settle in their villages. Traditional rulers refuse to give land to local authorities because they know it is sold by the officers.
Why shouldn't the traditional rulers or the government get this money being made by officers dealing in land-related issues? I believe that traditional rulers would quickly offer their land for development purposes if the government offered to share with them any revenue generated from sale of such land (as is the case in the wildlife sector). As of now, traditional rulers are not willing to give land to Lusaka City Council for cemeteries beause LCC does not share the money realised from sale of graves with these traditional rulers.
Sichone shouldn’t trivialise land issue
By Frank Lungu
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [09:09]
The issue of “Lands commissioner's plots raise questions" as was the headline in The Post of 26 February, 2007 cannot just go without a comment. The issue of land is so important that I find it difficult to understand why the lands commisioner who is now acting as the permanent secretary in the ministry is trivialising it.
People have gone to war because of land, people have killed because of land, people have inflicted pain on one another because of land and therefore to read the contents of the interview with the Commisioner of Lands Frightone Sichone gives me worries and I am sure a lot more other Zambians are disappointed.
It should be clearly known that I should not know someone at the Ministry of lands for me to get a small piece of land but that if I follow the laid down procedure then I can acquire land. But going by the lands commisioner’s explanation, it is very difficult to acquire land in Zambia if you don't know anyone at the Ministry of Lands or if you are not a senior government official.
This is a dangerous situation that we creating for ourselves.
Let me also commend the Ministry of Lands employees who gathered courage and exposed this man and his clique.
I would like to urge the ACC to move in now and investigate the matter without undue delay. This issue is serious and should not be handled lightly so that sanity and dignity could be brought to the ministry.
We are not developing
By Concerned citizen
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [08:57]
I would like to comment on some of the issues that prick my heart every time I move around this country of ours. Just over the weekend I went to the Copperbelt. It was a sorry sight to say the least. It’s as though this country had suffered the ravages of war or a grave tsunami.
One wonders what is really happening in Zambia today. This government should save us the embarrassment by saying that this country is going in the right direction as far as development is concerned. From what I understand, national development in simple terms is an improvement in areas such as education, health, infrastructure, nutrition, housing and so on.
But what is obtaining on the ground in Zambia currently is astounding and perplexing to say the least.
After the presentation of 2007 budget by Hon Magande, I was left in a state of great despair and hopelessness. Our finance minister who is fond of the financial jargon like GDP, inflation rate, macro- and micro development and so on which many Zambians do not care to know did not articulate real issues which the ordinary Zambian would like to hear.
I want to know how much money I am going to pay for a bag of mealie- meal and if my children are going to get jobs after they leave school. Zambians are not going to eat single-digit inflation rate.
What development can the MMD government boast of? Can bringing in bogus investors who are given tax rebates for 5 years and thereafter leave our country and citizens in the cold be called development?
There is absolutely nothing to write home about in terms of what this country is manufacturing except that Zambia has become a dumping place of used cars, substandard goods etc. It’s a shame that we are even importing toothpicks. When is this country going to manufacture finished products from its God-given raw materials and stop selling what others have manufactured?
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [02:00]
The government’s initiatives to increase south to south cooperation deserve encouragement. And as President Levy Mwanawasa correctly observed yesterday, Zambia could learn a lot from cooperating closely with Vietnam and improve the living standards of our people. There is therefore need to increase the levels of cooperation through bilateral consultations.
There may be need to seriously consider opening diplomatic missions in countries like Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea. And in addition to Brazil there may be need to open missions in Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. We know that missions cost money but if well managed by competent people this may not be an exercise in futility; it may yield very good results.
A country like Vietnam cannot be ignored by any serious Third World or south country. This country is doing very well in many sectors and indeed we can learn a lot through cooperation with it. While Vietnam became a centrally planned economy after the war with the United States ended, economic reforms in the 1990s have helped drive the creation of a sub-national government framework.
Though the centre still exerts substantial control, the sub-national governments have some discretion. We can surely learn something from Vietnamese decentralisation. The issue of decentralisation continues to dodge us and we don’t seem to have a way to the practical challenges we face in this domain.
We can also learn a lot of things from Vietnam in education. Key priorities for Vietnam are provision of basic education to remote and marginalised children and improved teaching quality throughout the system; increased support to universities with additional cutting edge and high-value interventions in tertiary education and support for the knowledge economy; and continuation of support to basic education that addresses both poverty alleviation and qualitative issues. We still have serious problems and challenges in this area and we need the cooperation and support of countries like Vietnam.
Rapid commercial growth, rising living standards, and migration to urban areas are expected to drive Vietnam’s power demand growth at 13 to 15 per cent per year until 2010. Also electricity access has increased dramatically in Vietnam, from around 51 per cent households in 1995 to around 81 per cent now. Again, we have challenges and problems in this area and it will be a good opportunity for us to learn from Vietnam how it is addressing this problem.
Vietnam’s environment is under considerable stress from rapid economic growth, urbanisation and rising human pressure on relatively scarce natural resources. While it has gradually improved its environmental regulatory framework, Vietnam has very limited capacity for implementation. It is therefore feared that continued rapid growth will cause further environmental degradation. We can also learn something from Vietnam’s challenges with the environment. It’s not only from the successes and positive things that we learn something; it is also from the failures and negative things that we learn something.
Vietnam has achieved levels in basic health indicators that are remarkably better than other developing countries with similar or even higher per capita incomes. Much of this achievement has been the result of widespread practices of promoting social solidarity and a relatively egalitarian distribution of wealth and income. And since the early 1990s, Vietnam has presented a clear example of a country in which the trajectory of a concentrated HIV/AIDS epidemic may be greatly curtailed by a highly focused programme aimed at stopping transmission.
Vietnam has succeeded in translating economic growth into poverty reduction in recent years. Despite low per capita GDP the country enjoys infant mortality rates, life expectancy and adult literacy levels at par with richer countries like China. We can surely learn something from this that will help us deal with our own problems in this domain.
Ninety per cent of the poor in Vietnam, or three-quarters of the population, live in the rural areas which is why rural development and agriculture are critical to Vietnam’s development. We have serious rural development problems for which we don’t seem to have answers. We need the cooperation of other countries in this domain.
Ongoing activities in the social development programme in the country include building on successful building experiences using community-based approaches to include decentralised delivery mechanisms in a range of projects, and furthering the gender equality agenda. We can learn something from how all this is helping to further policy dialogue in the country and how it is helping to empower women economically.
We shouldn’t forget that the world economy is being reshaped by new technologies, services and trading relationships. And much of this dynamism is being fuelled by ambitious developing-world nation-states like Brazil, India and South Africa. As governments, businesses and regional blocks in the global south expand their horizons, they increasingly bypass rich northern states.
The idea of south - south cooperation is fuelled by a growing realisation that poor nations might find appropriate, low cost and sustainable solutions to their problems in other developing countries rather than in the rich north.
For example, if African farmers need boreholes to access water, it surely makes more sense to access India’s huge pool of expertise than to send expensive European water engineers. And there is need for us to incorporate this altruistic principle into our foreign policy. With our huge market potential as Third World countries and the special features of our development models, we may support one another and draw on each other’s strong points to achieve common development for mutual benefit.
We are of the view that we should proceed from a strategic height, probe actively and intensely new channels and ways for cooperation, safeguard our common interests to the fullest possible extent and join hands on coping with challenges brought about by economic globalisation. We should strengthen solidarity, closely cooperate and coordinate with each other. We should take an active part in formulating the “rules of the game” in the international economic field, propel the reform of the international economic, financial and trade systems and strive to win over the right to equal development.
We should, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, actively develop external economic, trade, scientific, technological and cultural cooperation to accelerate our development. Only through uniting ourselves, can we elevate our position in the south-north dialogue and preserve our own interests to the fullest possible extent in the process of globalisation.
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has said Zambia stands ready to support efforts aimed at reviving a grouping for copper producing countries in southern Africa. Mr Mwanawasa said this is in an effort to create a fair price for the product on the international market. He was speaking when former Namibian president Sam Nujoma paid a courtesy call on him at State House yesterday.
The President advised Mr Nujoma to use his current university geological studies to lobby leaders of copper producing countries in the region to revive the initiative of creating a cartel. “While you are studying, you should take advantage to prod those in leadership in these leading copper producing countries in the region to create a cartel because we want to create a fair price for copper on the market,” he said. He recalled that when Mr Nujoma was president of Namibia, the two countries brainstormed on the idea of forming a cartel among the countries.
And Mr Nujoma said there was need for Namibia, Zambia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as leading copper producers in the region, to form a cartel to ensure that minerals were utilised for the benefit of the people in the region. Mr Nujoma, who is a student of Economic Geology at the University of Namibia is in the country on a study tour. He, however, recognised the role that information technology played in mineral development and marketing.
He acknowleged that the four copper producing countries were currently supplying the world with the mineral which was widely used in technological advancement. Mr Mwanawasa further said that during Mr Nujoma’s rule, Zambia and Namibia initiated the Livingstone-Katimamulilo power interconnection project and conceived the idea of a joint agriculture venture. He expressed hope that the joint agriculture project in Sesheke between the two countries would be fully implemented before his second term of office expires. After the meeting, the two visited the funeral house of Mr Nujoma’s late friend Allan Phiri in Lusaka’s Olympia Park. -ZANIS
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [02:00]
I OWE it to Dr Kaunda and the people of Zambia, visiting former Namibian president Sam Nujoma has said. And Nujoma said Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba was doing fine. Speaking when Dr Kaunda paid a courtesy call on him at Lusaka’s Hotel Intercontinental yesterday, Nujoma said Dr Kaunda and Zambians supported Namibia’s liberation struggle at the time they also faced difficult times. "I thank you Dr Kaunda and the people of Zambia for everything...I thank you for what you did to me and the Namibian people during the fight for our independence," Nujoma told Dr Kaunda, who responded: "I am humbled."
Nujoma said it was not easy for Zambia to have successfully assisted the movements for liberation struggle in Southern Africa. "During that time, there were no road and rail links to the coast for Zambia as the only link was via Zimbabwe and South Africa, which were under racist regimes. I still remember Tazara...it is a symbol of our liberation struggle," Nujoma said. He urged the young generation to emulate the unity and love that was exhibited during the liberation struggle of southern Africa.
He said SADC countries should consider expanding their railway network and construct a dam on the Zambezi River to improve the water supply to countries like Namibia that were drought prone. Nujoma said the SADC leaders should now focus on changing the lifestyle of their people now that the liberation struggle was over. He expressed his concern on continued instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). "Every effort should be made by all of us to maintain peace and stability in DRC. Peace is a must if we are to develop," he said.
Nujoma recollected that during his tenure in office, both the Namibian and Zambian governments talked about a joint venture in agriculture along the borders of Sesheke and Senanga. "I don't know how far our technical team have reached," he said. He reiterated his call for Angola, DRC, Zambia and Namibia to consider establishing a cartel of marketing their mineral resources so that it could benefit their people. "This is the only way our people will benefit from their resources," he said. At this stage, Dr Kaunda asked: "How is President Pohamba doing?"
Nujoma said President Pohamba was doing fine and that he was recently in France to attend the Franco-Africa summit. "He actually told me that he met President Mwanawasa at the summit," Nujoma said. Nujoma commended Dr Kaunda for dedicating his last years of life to saving lives from HIV/AIDS.
He told Dr Kaunda that Namibians were excited with his Kenneth Kaunda Children of Africa Foundation activities in their country. "It is important that we are doing something even after our retirement," he said. Dr Kaunda also commended Nujoma for having gone back to school, saying it was important for retired leaders to be doing something even in their advanced age. "Education is an important tool in life, hence our decision to make education free for all during our time of leadership," said Dr Kaunda as Nujoma responded: "That time was under extreme difficulties." Dr Kaunda thanked Nujoma for having considered Zambia, his second home, for his study tour.
By Fridah Zinyama
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [02:00]
SOME surveying experts have called for the registration of the Surveyor’s Institute of Zambia (SIZ) if the profession is to offer quality services to the public. And Quantity Surveyors Registration Board (QSRB) has warned all unregistered firms or individual surveyors of legal action if they continue conducting business illegally.
The experts, who sought anonymity, expressed concern that despite the country having 30 registered quantity surveyors and 40 registered valuation surveyors, a regulatory body mandated to promote professionalism had not yet been registered. “Over 200 of us are unregistered despite meeting the qualifications of a bachelor’s degree with at least two years local professional experience,” the experts complained.
They said it was surprising that some surveyors had found it easier to get registered abroad than in their own country. “Therefore, out of frustration we have left the country to practise abroad and sacrificed our right to registration in our own country,” they said.
According to the surveyors, it was now common to hear of stories of trained, seasoned and vibrant surveyors turned insurance brokers, bankers, journalists or engineers in order to run away from the man-made frustrations in the surveying profession. “The current Quantity and Valuation Surveyors Registration Board Act does not protect the interests of unregistered surveyors,” the experts said. “Therefore, an independent surveying Act is fundamental to granting constitutional protection of unregistered surveying against unfair and unjust treatment whether registered or not.”
They also added that there was urgent need to enact a law to regulate conditions of service for surveyors. “The amendment of the act will help to protect graduate surveyors from the mushrooming casualisation in the country,” the surveyors said.
And QSRB registrar Kelvin Mulalelo said it had come to their attention that some unregistered firms were engaged or undertaking quantity surveying and construction cost consultancy. “These firms or the individuals involved are not registered by the board to undertake any quantity or construction cost consultancy,” Mulalelo said. “The board warns that it is an offence under the sub-section 21 (2) of the quantity surveyors Act cap 37 of 1995 of the Laws of Zambia for non-registered person or firm to engage in these services.”
Mulalelo said legal proceedings would be taken against anyone found contravening the Act.
By George Chellah
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [02:00]
THE Patriotic Front (PF) has suspended Lusaka Mayor Susan Nakazwe and John Howard ward 03 councillor Borniface Musondamwaume. But Nakazwe yesterday said she expected to be suspended. In a letter dated February 26, 2007 to Nakazwe, which was also copied to PF president Michael Sata, the provincial chairman, district chairman and ward secretary, PF secretary general Dr Guy Scott stated that Nakazwe had been suspended from the party with effect from February 24, 2007. "I refer to the above quoted matter and also to the charge letter to you dated 09th February, 2007. I would like to inform you that the Central Committee meeting held in Lusaka on Saturday 24th February 2007, decided that you be suspended as a member of the Patriotic Front with effect from the date of the said meeting," stated Dr Scott. "The suspension shall remain in force pending disciplinary proceedings in respect of the hearing of your case. Following this suspension, all your rights and privileges as a member of the party are hereby suspended accordingly."
Dr Scott, who is also Lusaka Central PF member of parliament, further wrote to Musondamwaume to inform him about the Central Committee's decision to suspend him from the party. And PF Lusaka province chairperson Rhoda Nsama led a team of party members in two buses from Nakazwe and Musonda-mwaume's wards to the Civic centre to deliver the duo's suspension letters. However, Lusaka town clerk Timothy Hakuyu stopped them from proceeding to the mayor's office and only allowed three people to deliver the letter to the mayor's office. When contacted yesterday, Nakazwe calmly responded: "That's all right. We have been expecting it, thank you."
On January 16, 2007, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata threatened to discipline Nakazwe for not attending the party's demonstrations against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) tax proposals and the privatisation of Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZNCB). Nakazwe went to Lilayi Police Training College for a pass-out parade officiated by home affairs minister Lt Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha instead of attending the demonstration organised by PF.
On February 2, PF threatened to suspend and later expel Nakazwe for being part of the people that welcomed Chinese President Hu Jintao at Lusaka International Airport. Dr Scott said it was gross indiscipline for Nakazwe to attend the ceremony when she had been written to and told not to attend. "She is going. I will be very surprised if she remains in the party. Unless president Sata who is out of the country has gone for a brain transplant and he comes back a soft man," he said.
He said the government had snubbed the party's top leadership but mayor Nakazwe, in her own wisdom, decided to attend. "She is dead meat. If she wants to join MMD, let her join. Her case is straightforward," he said.
And addressing journalists on arrival from London earlier this month, Sata said he would be receiving a report over the PF councillors that went to welcome President Hu at the airport.
"Some indisciplined councillors were doing our civic duty. They were saying civic duty; what civic duty? What came first, is it PF or civic duties? The choice is yours, choose now," Sata said. "So people with one leg in comfort and the other leg in the struggle will have to go. This is a struggle and I will only go with people who are willing to go with me in the struggle."
Sata urged all PF leaders that thought that there was comfort in MMD to cross over.
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
By Mueti Moomba,China
Tuesday February 27, 2007 [02:00]
It makes very sad reading whenever some of our politicians open their mouths and are qouted when they are supposed to be speakers for the voiceless and a channel through which the underprivileged in our society are represented at a higher level. Reading what Ntundu said makes one sad as it brings a glaring example of the people we have elected to represent us. I am sad that there is an area in the home province that is represented by an immature and incompetent man like Ntundu.
What Ntundu was supposed to be discussing was the budget speech and unfortunately he launched into a scathing attack on an innocent citizen of the country who was not even present to defend himself. If Ntundu in his demented self thinks Fred M'membe is a thief, why then hasn’t M'membe been arrested.
If in Ntundu's opinion, owning a mansion or a Jaguar is only through means of thieving then Ntundu has not lived. We are increasingly seeing a culture where politicians who have turned politics into a career are in the habit of singing blind praises for the sitting presidents and turn them into villains once out of office. Remember how many people surrounded Chiluba at one time and how many were ready to defend what he said even with their lives but look at the man now and how many true friends he has.
While President Mwanawasa could be good in his own way, he is not the best thing that has happened to Zambia since life spread and he is prone to error like all of us and especially if he is surrounded by men of Ntundu's calibre.
Everyone is entitled to support who they want and if Ntundu doesn’t know that fact by now or cannot stomach it, then he might as well stop masquarading as a politician and just be the illiterate party cadre he can be.
Blind loyalty will not take us anywhere and people like Ntundu whose highest point in life is meeting the Queen of England are not fit to even represent any Zambian constituency. There are a lot of poor people in Ntundu's constituency that he should be more worried about before he even gets himself a pay rise.
His real masters are the poor struggling multitudes in Gwembe who barely afford two meals in a day while Ntundu is happy to live a life of luxury and can even taunt the humble people in society. Please let anyone with anything on Ntundu report it so that we can tell who is cheap, corrupt and a spineless jobseeker.
MPs should discuss real issues
By Derricks Mwendafilumba
Monday February 26, 2007 [02:00]
The attack by Gwembe member of parliament on a newspaper editor is definately directed at Fred M’membe. It hurts to realise we send these honourable men and women to Parliament at great cost only for them to flip-flop and attack the people who vote for them. Hon MP for Gwembe is supposed to address the many issues affecting the people of his constituency rather than spend quality time in Parliament talking about an editor who has never worn a tie or suit.
Who told him that a suit and a tie is the dress code for every Zambian? Southern Province used to be the maizebelt of Zambia and with the abundant rains we expect MPs to work round the clock and boost agriculture in the province. Fred M’membe and The Post have come a long way from the days of a weekly newspaper to a popular daily newspaper. It has not been easy and the weak and impatient fell off but others have hung and soldiered on and the benefits can now be seen by all.
Honestly, is it a crime for an editor of a big newspaper to reside in Longacres? Do we expect him to live in a shanty compound? For the information of the Hon MP a Jaguar from Singapore can cost as little as eight thousand dollars and not 53000 US dollars. Besides that’s his hard-earned money and not taxpayers money.
Ntundu should apologise
By Jenkins Chisoni
Tuesday February 27, 2007 [02:00]
Bauze!Bauze!The Post.Sosa! Sosa! The Post icalo cilekumfwa. An attack on The Post is an attack on the freedom of speech of the people of Zambia for which we are envied by most African countries today and in this light, whatever we hate about some of the things Sata has said in the past, at least we should give him credit for his addiction to The Post. He knows the true value of the paper to the nation. Let us be honest, democracy or the fight for it (since we are still struggling) would not have reached this level in our country without the role The Post has played.
Sata has looked at his past in The Post like he would look at his image in a mirror and magnanimously apologised for having participated in sending Fred M'membe, late Mwape and late Lucy Banda Sichone to jail on trumped-up charges. Even before Sata, KK also apologised to the paper for what he had said about the paper when he was in power when he realised the important role the paper has been playing consistently in the developing democracy in our country.
What lessons have you drawn from the apologies, Brian Ntundu-MP for Gwembe? Are you going to wait for your term in Parliament to come to an end to see how wrong you are to attack The Post and its editor? If you follow the guidance and wisdom provided by Speaker Mwanamwambwa, I am sure you will improve as our representative in Parliament, particularly if newness to debating freedoms in the House is a limiting factor. Zambians living in Gwembe area of Zambia elected you to Parliament for all us so that you can bring development to that area for all of us, including Fred M'membe and myself, should we choose to relocate to the area according to the attractions you will create as MP.
The Kariba Dam which brought suffering and displacement for a lot of our people in the Gwembe valley in the fifties was decided upon and built by Federal parliament MPs whom we had no control over. Eventually we have accepted the dam as our asset, development and attraction for all Zambians on the northern bank. I am sure you have met some new Gwembe residents Honourable MP, haven't you? Do you discriminate against them just because they are not originally from the area? Is that the reason why you want to know the origins of the name M'membe? I am sure you are happy that The Post has given you all the villages Fred's parents come from, albeit the information was partially given during the Barotse Royal Establishment controversy on languages.
What about me whose parents were attracted from outside by copper? What crime have I committed to be born Zambian? Home affairs declared me Zambian by birth when my lawyer, who is now the Republican President, filed my case. Do you want me to falsefy my identity with fake villages to be acceptable? No! That I can't do Mr MP. You might find my surname more acceptable than Fred M'membe's but my father came with it from outside Zambia. So, who is a Zambian, Honourable MP, if we follow your thinking? Naturalised Shwatzenegar from Austria is governor of California and Senator Barak Obama Jnr, with his full Luo tribal names from Kenya where his grandmother is still living, is running for nomination as President of the most powerful nation on planet earth, why do you think I cannot serve my Zambia faithfully Honourable MP? I assign you personally sir to fight for my rights as a full citizen in Parliament instead of discriminating against me.
We have not read much about you in The Post previously Honourable MP and therefore may I take the honour, as one of the addicted readers of the paper, to welcome you to readership of the consistent and fair newspaper, The Post. Good luck in the House. I hope my reaction is not misconstrued as an invasion on the debating freedoms of the House; if it is, I unreservedly apologise to the House through the Honourable Speaker.
Lack of maturity among politicians
By Kennedy Herbert, Ndola
Wednesday February 28, 2007 [09:06]
I wish to start by expressing my disappointment over the attacks by Brian Ntundu, member of parliament for Gwembe, on Fred M’membe.
I feel it’s time that our members of parliament knew the reasons why they go to Parliament and what issues they are to debate, in Parliament.
I see no reason why a member of parliament who understands problems and tours his constituency can start attacking an editor of a newspaper, saying he should advertise his payslips so that we see who gets more money.
Talking about Jaguars and not wearing suits is not the job people who voted for you expect you to do on their behalf.
I strongly believe there are more serious problems and issues that need your concern in Gwembe than attacking an editor.