Saturday, March 24, 2007
By Concerned former UPND supporter
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
The inconsistencies in UPND speak volumes of the underlying problems in the party which are yet to come to the fore.
The UPND of today depicts a typical opportunist party which does take a stance on any issue. They are always taking the middle road on any issue, and are neither here nor there.
Going by their actions, we do not know whether the UPND supports the FOI bill or not, we do not whether UPND is part of the opposition or not, we do not know whether UPND is in an alliance or not.
Their pronouncements and actions are so pliable, they take a twist at any time to suit the imperatives of that particular day without necessarily looking at the background or geneology of an issue and this for me is very dangerous politics.
I guess even journalists develop cold feet to report on what is pronounced by UPND members. On this score PF has shown maturity in that on any issue of national concern, they take a stance whether right or wrong, ugly or good and that way it is very easy to gauge and know their policies and philosophy.
In all fairness, it is just a few days ago that HH vehemently rejected the call for UPND to join MMD by his MPs, to an extent of wanting to accuse the Post journalist George Chella of trying to make mileage out of the issue. It is rather sad to hear, a few weeks later, the UPND president say that he will now meet President Mwanawasa if that’s what it means to help millions of Zambians come out of poverty.
This is tantamount to injecting politics in a realm where it is not supposed to be. What kind of inconsistency is this? Is it a coincidence that UPND is spearheading the sponsorship of opposition political parties and at the same time agitating for a meeting with Mwanawasa?
By Ronald Chola
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
The statement by UPND president Hakainde Hichilema as reported in The Post on 21st March, 2007 that he would meet President Mwanawasa if it would help millions of Zambians come out of poverty speaks volumes about this opportunist. I urge the UPND president to tell the nation his agenda for his meetings with Levy rather than wrapping his ambition in our poverty.
How would his meeting with the president help Zambians come out of poverty? Poverty reduction in Zambia does not begin and end with anybody meeting Levy. The overall effort to reduce poverty for an opposition party lies in offering checks and balances at branch, ward, council, district and ultimately national level.
It is about active participation in development programmes at local level which will result in overall development of our country. Like the human cell is the basis of human life where all activity takes place, so is the branch the basis of all development for our country. No wonder the late Anderson Mazoka wanted to stand for elections as a branch chairman for Bauleni. He understood the importance of the branch as the basis of development of our nation.
What development policies have been articulated at branch level by UPND which would eventualy sum up to a national agenda? Poverty reduction is about demanding accountable utilisation of our national resources. It is about effective parliamentary representation in our National Assembly.
It is about offering criticism when the government appears to pursue an agenda which is at variance with the aspirations of the people - issues like the IMF tax proposals, investment policies, local government, social welfare, cultural, privatisation, media and many other governance issues.
We have seen how the Democrats in USA are always at the Republicans, constantly keeping them in check to ensure that the american people are effectively serviced. We don’t hear of clandestine meetings between George Bush and Hillary Clinton, Al Gore or Obama with suspect agendas.
Have you seen how the British Prime Minister Tony Blair is kept on his toes in the House of Commons by the opposition to ensure that the interests of the citizens are protected and that governance issues are properly adhered to?
We demand this development approach from Hakainde Hichilema and his UPND. We do not want opportunists trying to capitalise on our poverty to stealthily ascend to the MMD top post as was the case with the UPND presidency. The nation is watching you.
Address cattle disease problem
By Daniel Maimbo
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
I want to address the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives, Ben Kapita, on the cattle diseases and subsequent restriction of cattle movement from and within Southern Province and indeed other provinces.
Kapita, it’s like your veterinary department in the Southern Province are more interested in exercising their power of banning stock movement at the expense of finding a long lasting solution of controlling the recurrence of these diseases almost annually. We are fed up of this nonsense of banning cattle movement each year without regard to the hardships the ban impacts on the people who depend on cattle for their income.
Disease control is not just about banning cattle movement, why do they always wait until there is an outbreak to be heard? We see medical doctors taking preventive measures against malaria, cholera and other diseases. What are your officers doing? All they do is get excited about announcing stock movement without any regard to the serious consequences this causes on the poor pastoral farmers. Your lip-service in this area is proving just that. There is serious lip-service on addressing the issue of cattle diseases in Zambia. Minister Kapita, go to Botswana and see how the minister of agriculture reacts to cattle diseases.
Luo as chief Chibesakunda
By Newton Ng’uni
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
In your Post issue of 16th March 2007, you carried an article entitled “Hunger a Major Problem in Rural Areas- Chibesakunda” in which you made reference to senior chief Chibesakunda of the Bisa people in Northern Province. To start with, there is only one senior chief of the Bisa in Luapula, Northern and Eastern provinces and that is senior chief Kopa who resides in Chinama area in Mpika district. Chief Chibesakunda who resides in Mutambe area of Chinsali district is not a senior chief of the Bisa.
It must be pointed out that while President Mwanawasa recognised a Bob Bwembya Luo as chief Chibesakunda on 27th September, 2006, the day before the elections, Luo cannot be chief Chibesakunda simply because, as a “non-Mwina Ng’ona’, he does not qualify. Luo’s succession to the Chibesakunda’s throne depicts how those with influence can get anything they want through manipulation of the government institutions. Indeed circumstances surrounding the death of the previous chief and the names of contenders to the Chibesakunda throne notwithstanding, Bob Luo cannot ascend to any throne in any Bisa Chiefdom simply because he is not a Mwina Ng’ona.
Therefore his so-called succession to the Chibesakunda throne is invalid and must not be allowed to stand.
Under Bisa traditions, only Umwina Ng’ona (a member of the Ng’ona Clan) can ascend to the throne of chieftaincy in any of the areas where Bisa have settled. Who is Umwina Ng’ona? Umwina Ng’ona is a daughter or a son of a woman belonging to the Bena Ng’ona clan. A daughter or son of a man who is Umwina Ng’ona cannot be Umwina Ng’ona and therefore cannot ascend to the chieftaincy even if the father or grandfather was a chief. To become chief one must trace his lineage to a woman who is Umwina Ng’ona. For this reason (and taking the late chief Chibesakunda as the reference point), only three lines can produce a chief under Bisa traditions and these are: (i) Brothers to the late chief. These are male children borne to the chief’s mother or borne to the chief’s mother’s sisters. (ii) Nephews to the late chief. These are children of the chief’s sisters. The chief’s sisters must be daughters borne to the chief’s own biological mother and/or daughters borne to the chief’s mother’s sisters. And (iii) Grandchildren of the chief. These are children of the chief’s nieces. The children of the chief’s nephews do not qualify. Under Bisa traditions, a chief cannot bear another chief. Chief’s are determined through women. The chief’s nieces are children of the chief’s own biological sisters and female children of the chief’s mother’s sisters. Since everyone who succeeds to the throne in any Bisa chiefdom must trace his lineage to a mother who is Umwina Ng’ona. Luo cannot qualify and his attempt and eventual so-called succession is invalid ambition.
Who is Bob Bwembya Luo in the context of succession to the Bisa throne in Mutambe Areas? Bwembya’s great grandparents on his mother’s side (which is cardinal in succession matters) came from chief Makasa’s area in Kasama district. These were Chapanswa and his wife Chileshe Kalonde. They later moved to Chinsali. In Chinsali one of their daughters, Chipepo Chapanswa got married to chief Chibesakunda Chikuni. Between them they had children one of whom is Chibulu. Chibulu Chibesakunda (Chikuni) is the mother to Bwembya Luo. Mama Chileshe Kalonde was not a Mwina Ng’ona and therefore all children and grandchildren borne to her and to her children cannot be Abena Ng’ona.
The only way any of the descendants of mama Chileshe Kalonde could be Umwina Ng’ona and qualify to become chief was if any of her male descendants married a female Mwina Ng’ona from the Royal clan and bore a son. Such a son would qualify to be chief Chibesakunda and technically speaking, could become chief in other Bisa chiefdoms.
Thus for Bwembya Luo to be chief Chibesakunda, his mother, Chibulu Chibesakunda must be Umwina Ng’ona; meaning that her own mother Chileshe Kalonde must have been Umwina Ng’ona. As shown above, neither Mama Chileshe Kalonde nor Chipepo Chapanswa nor Chibulu Chibesakunda is Umwina Ng’ona and therefore Bwembya Luo does not qualify to become chief Chibesakunda. Alternatively Bob Luo could have qualified to become Chief Chibesakunda if Luo had married a sister or a niece or “grand niece” ‘to the chief, instead of marrying a chief’s daughter. Therefore, under the circumstances, the closest Bob Luo can get to being Chief Chibesakunda is to act for 12 months after the death of a chief in any Bisa chiefdom.
A biological son or grandson to the late chief can act during the time (12 months) the dead chief is being prepared for burial. This is allowed because he cannot become a substantive. Indeed when Chibesakunda Chikuni died before Chibesakunda J. Chushi Kapandansalu took over, it was Chikuni’s first borne son who acted for 12 months in Mutambe area.
A nephew or grandson who is borne of the chief’s sister or chiefs niece cannot act when a chief dies because any of these can succeed immediately and block both the tradition and chances of others who may be eligible. President Mwanawasa must investigate how he came to recognise a person who does not even qualify to be chief. President Mwanawasa must know that what has happened in Mutambe is an insult to all Bisas and must not be allowed to stand.
Labels: HAKAINDE HICHILEMA
By Nomusa Michelo and Sandra Lombe
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa's daughter Mirriam Luwale Mwanawasa is among several people who have been allocated unadvertised plots in Lusaka's Makeni area on farm number 397a. According to records obtained from the Ministry of Lands, Mirriam was allocated an unadvertised plot number F/397a/148 this year.
In January this year, the Ministry of Lands called for applications for 40 residential plots of the subdivided Farm 397a, (F/397a/94 to F/397a/133) when in fact the farm had been subdivided into 62 residential plots. According to a plan obtained from Lusaka City Council (LCC), which is responsible for city planning, farm 397a was subdivided into 62 plots, with property numbers ranging from F/397a/94 to F/397a/155.
An advert placed in the Times of Zambia dated February 14, 2007, published the names of 40 successful applicants who had attended interviews and were allocated the plots. The plot that Mirriam along with several other people were allocated was not advertised by the ministry. Others allocated the unadvertised plots include Lusaka Province police commanding officer Wasakaza N’guni on F/297a/136 and Alex Luhila Cadman on F/297a/139b.
Lands minister Bradford Machila said the ministry would investigate the allocations to ensure they were properly allocated. "We shall look into the process through which these allocations were done. We are mindful of the fact that there could be a multiplicity of factors such as the replacement allocation following the occurrence of double allocation," he said. "We thank you for bringing this to our attention. It is important for us to restore the public's confidence in the integrity of the ministry and begin to shake off this tag of corruption."
Machila said some of the allocations may have been made as compensation following irregular re-entry of a property or a ruling in the Lands Tribunal. "We are still trying to ascertain in what category these allocations may fall or there were at the discretion of the Commissioner of Lands (Frightone Sichone)," Machila said. "There could be an instance of compensation or replacement following an improper or irregular re-entry of property previously owned by someone."
Meanwhile, legal counsel in the Ministry of Lands Anna Mwitwa has resigned her position amidst investigations on allegations of corruption at the ministry. According to sources, Mwitwa is one of the officers in the ministry being investigated by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) on allegations of corruption. Sources say Mwitwa early this year resigned after being questioned by the DEC but later rescinded her decision and returned to work.
In an interview, Mwitwa confirmed that she had resigned her position as she was taking up a new job in the private sector. "That's a light thing, yes I resigned. I am taking up a new job in the private sector," she said. When asked if there were other reasons for her resignation, Mwitwa declined to say much. "I can't comment. I am not a public figure for me to give you such information." But Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Lands Bernard Namachila said he was not aware of Mwitwa's resignation. However, sources say Mwitwa's resignation was not accepted and she has since been asked to return to work.
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
While it is no longer our wish to keep whining about the role of colonialism in the misery of Africa, there are compelling reasons that make it necessary for us to refer to the past. First of all, when we talk about Europeans’ messy experience of colonialism in Africa, we should remember that we as Africans were in the first place never asked whether we really wanted to be guinea pigs of such a scheme. We were forced into it.
Of course we know what role some of the traditional African leaders played in selling their kingdoms, their land to the Europeans in exchange for bottles of whisky, clothing or guns. During their scramble for Africa at the end of the 19th Century, European powers staked claims to nearly the whole of Africa as they bargained over the separate spheres of interest which they intended to establish. When the Europeans invaded Africa, they overwhelmed the poor continent with nothing but unrestricted loot. They simply turned the continent into a money-making machine as they ripped it of its vast resources. And this destruction continued from the late 19th Century into the mid 20th Century when we decided that enough was enough. To this day, the colonial imprint across the African continent is visible in a number of ways.
That said, the important thing now is that we have learned as Africans that it was a mistake from the start to have allowed the Europeans to introduce their authoritarianism on us.
However, there is no need for us to keep singing the blame-game song without trying to find ways of improving the lot of our lives. After all, we know very well that there is actually more to our continent than just a vast history of failure, stagnation or brutal subjugation by the West. We now know that if we continue doing the right thing as we have started doing, our future is certainly not as bleak as it may appear at present.
But do we agree with Cuba’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs director for Africa’s sub-Saharan region Ambassador Ivan Mora Godoy that Africa is still a forgotten continent in a number of ways. And here is why. Today, it is not an ambiguous fact that Africa continues to be the world’s poorest region and its average per capita national income is a third lower than the world’s next poorest region, South Asia. And we should take note that most of our countries have lower per capita incomes now than they had in the 1970s or the 1980s.
We also know from United Nations statistics that half of Africa’s estimated 930 million people live on less than a dollar per day. We are also aware that Africa’s total economic output is not more than US$420 billion, just 1.3 per cent of the world’s gross domestic product, which is less than the GDP of countries like Mexico. Africa’s is the only region which continues to register low investments and savings since the 1970s. Africa’s share of world trade has declined to half of what it was in the 1980s, totaling only 1.6 per cent.
Further, the continent’s share of global investment is less than 1 per cent. Ours is the only continent where education standards are not improving and we still have many children not going to school. We therefore have the highest levels of illiteracy. We also know the burden that HIV/AIDS has caused on us. As the rest of the world continue to reap the fruits of globalisation, Africa continues to be on the losing side, lacking both the skills and the infrastructure to attract foreign investment.
This is the true picture of Africa. It really looks like a forgotten continent.
Some people have argued that for Africa to creep out of its miserable condition, it may perhaps need the assistance of Western countries. Many campaigns have thus been undertaken to seek ways of mobilising resources for Africa’s development. We know of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Commission for Africa. It has been in place for several years now. However, we are very certain that Africa is yet to realise the benefits of Prime Minister Blair’s Commission for Commission, if at all they will ever come forth.
Although we take note of efforts like those of Prime Minister Blair, what is also true is that the current international economic system will not in any way assist Africa to come out of its troubled history. If anything, the world economic order is not designed to help Africa deal effectively with its development challenges. And this has been deliberately made so by the rich nations of the world. The poverty of Africa is what appears to be the source of their continued richness. And it does not even make it a source of shame for the rich nations that their source of wealth is a poor continent like Africa. It bothers the rich very little that at their source of wealth is the heart of the world’s misery.
As Ambassador Mora is suggesting, we as Africans need to start finding friends who are interested in our progress. We need to start forming alliances with those who understand and share our experiences. We should start refusing to continue to be exploited in the manner it has been for many years now.
We can find ways of adding value to our resources and exploiting them for our own benefit and not for the selfish gains of the rich nations. We should refuse to continue allowing our abundant wealth to be used for the development of the economies of rich nations. If they ask us to open our markets, we should always insist on being sure of what benefits we will derive from that. If foreign investments should be unrestricted into our countries, let it be so in order to develop our own economies and not vice-versa. Let us not provide more opportunities for the rich nations to continue invading us like they have done in the past. We have to start seeing through their schemes and say no to their insatiable appetite for our resources.
Until we start reversing the present world economic order, we as Africans will truly continue being considered a forgotten continent.
By Larry Moonze in Havana, Cuba
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
AFRICA is still a forgotten continent, Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs director for Africa's Sub-Saharan region Ambassador Ivan Mora Godoy has said. In an interview at the ministry, Ambassador Mora said the big powers and the current international economic system placed Africa in deep level that made any developmental efforts an enormous burden.
"Africa still is a forgotten continent by the superpowers and the current concept of development or world economic order cannot help Africa progress and overcome those challenges affecting the majority of the continents population, such as disease, hunger and underdevelopment," Ambassador Mora said.
"The US and Europe must include Africa to benefits of globalisation and all systems of trade and development."
He said it was sad that Europe and the United States were not extending the benefits of international trade and technology transfer to Africa.
"This is why Africa and Cuba are today fighting together to reverse the current world order," Ambassador Mora said.
"There is no long list of challenges for our countries, for us it is economic development first because we cannot continue to be exploited in the manner it has been for centuries."
He said in case of Africa with all its abundant natural resources, that wealth went to develop the West.
Ambassador Mora said it was thus sad that the benefits of trade were still disadvantaging Africa.
"We have to reverse to that. We want real free access to markets in Europe and the United States. Eliminate the protectionist tendencies in international economic relations," Ambassador Mora said.
He said the concept of intellectual property, unresolved World Trade Organisation (WTO) Doha Round issues and problems of access to technology transfers under the so-called globalisation was a way by the US and Europe to continue exploiting the developing world.
"They want our economies to continue to be open without opening theirs to our products. All they want are facilities to invade our markets without any sense of need for reciprocity," Ambassador Mora said.
"It is a matter of survival for us and for them it is all about satisfying their big appetite. They are fundamentalists."
He said Cuba was convinced that all those countries that scrambled and finally colonised Africa should compensate the continent for what it suffered.
"Facing the consequences of neo-liberal colonialism, today's economic and political system that is completely unfair to poor countries - the only way to overcome that all those countries that had benefits of the exploitation of resources of Africa, countries that colonised African countries and put very deep levels to possibility of development, those countries still responsible for the inability of the region to participate in world trade, and those countries who were responsible for political conflicts and enforcing arbitrary frontiers during colonisation among African countries have the responsibility to help African countries today to overcome underdevelopment," Ambassador Mora said.
"Of course all governments of the continent are responsible for their individual country's development. We are very convinced most African governments have been trying many, many years to overcome these challenges but it's been impossible. The burden is enormous, that big war is extending and keeps on growing."
He said Cuba would not compromise on African issues and assist Africa because the basis of the Cuban state was very much linked with African roots.
"We cannot talk about the Cuban nation without talking about our African roots and the Spaniard roots," said Ambassador Mora.
"That family that came from Africa as a slave, exploited in a very brutal manner, together we participated in the whole process of Cuban independence. This is why from the very beginning, the Cuban Revolution has been indebted to Africa."
Ambassador Mora said Cuba's President Fidel Castro in recognising the links between the island and Africa, from the beginning of the revolution was ready to help African people in their independence cause and national sovereignty.
"Cuba sent troops to help the process of independence of Africa. We were neither participating for political nor economic benefits," said Ambassador Mora.
"We can mention without looking for any glory about how Cubans were very much involved in Angola to face the aggression of apartheid by supporting SWAPO and Che Guevarra fighting in the Congo. From Africa we only took out bodies, the remnants of our compatriots who died in combat. Africa is grateful about this and we feel the fullness of brotherhood."
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
THERE is no genuine freedom that comes to people on a silver platter without much struggle and bloodshed, business consultant Bob Sichinga has said. And Oasis Forum chairperson Bishop Paul Mususu has said most politicians have no loyalty to principles and their ideologies. And many Zambians have expressed frustration at the government's delay in enacting the new constitution.
At a Press Freedom Committee of The Post public discussion on the constitution-making process on Thursday night, Sichinga, who is former Kafue member of parliament said no genuine freedom was a product of bequeathal from the powerful, the power holders to the governed. Sichinga said there was no genuine freedom that came to people on a silver platter without much struggle and bloodshed anywhere in the history of man's politics and governance. "All Zambians who seek change have deluded themselves that the goodwill and good naturedness of the President or his government was so good that they will cede power passed on the lackadaisical demand from a few disgruntled elements in the nation," he said. He said it was difficult to believe whether President Mwanawasa had formed the CRC with good intensions.
He said President Mwanawasa was only compelled by Zambians to initiate the process of having a new constitution. Sichinga said from the interaction he had with President Mwanawasa, there would be a lot of excuses as to why a new constitution should not be implemented. He said the excuses could range from floods and the problems in Zimbabwe as a way of delaying the process. "There is no genuineness by this government to finding a solution to this problems," Sichinga said.
"It is not even Parliament that will bring about this change. I have just come from there. During the election period, the constitution was not even a campaign issue. The constitution must have been the most urgent issue to address poverty when people campaigned last year."
He said despite having a new electoral Act of 2006, there were over 50 election petitions in court this year. He said people would as change as many members of parliament as possible but that there would be no development. Sichinga said at the moment, people should have agreed about the constitution, especially that there have been three successive CRCs in the past 20 years.
He said there was an urgent need to reform the legislature, judiciary and executive in order to balance the distribution of power. Sichinga said it was not possible for Parliament to pass genuine laws because they were all endorsed by the standing orders committee that comprise government ministers.
He said previously, members of parliament have presented media bills in Parliament but that they have not been enacted up to now because the government has opposed them. "Although on paper an MP can bring an Act, it will be shot down," he said. "That is why I am saying Parliament cannot bring about change." Sichinga said the President enjoyed powers to convene and dissolve Parliament and that these powers could be abused.
He said there was need to have a situation like in Ethiopia that allows the law to take effect four weeks after being approved by Parliament if the President resists to endorse it. He said under the current Constitution, there was no budget law that allowed the equitable distribution of budgetary allocation to enhance development. Sichinga said it was important to discuss the constitution matter with all stakeholders.
He said there was need to leave behind a legacy for the next generation and a good constitution for all Zambians. "The biggest problems with us Zambians is that we are too scared to stand up for what we believe in," he said. Bishop Mususu said the struggle for a new constitution needs the participation of all citizens. He said President Mwanawasa's statement that people would not eat the constitution was true but that the constitution would make people eat.
He said the constitution struggle was more agonising as compared to the ease with which the Chiluba third term bid was fought. He also reiterated that there should be no funding for political parties.
Bishop Mususu said currently there was no loyalty to principles and ideologies among politicians. He said what needed to be funded were constituencies. "How do you explain a situation where someone is in a nomination booth and receives a call that let someone who is popular stand instead of you?" he asked. He said after the dissolution of Parliament, there should not be anyone including the Vice-President who should remain enjoying tax payers money.
Bishop Mususu said there was need to put in place political systems that would continue.
He agreed with the fact that there was need to exert pressure on government but maybe not to the point of shedding blood, unless it was necessary. He, however, said in the spirit of dialogue, they could achieve much. Bishop Mususu said Oasis Forum was back and that they would commence the advocacy until a new constitution was enacted.
Law Association of Zambia president William Mweemba said the government was deliberately trying to delay the process of constitutional reforms. He said there have been two different Constitution Review Commissions (CRCs) that had recommended the same things regarding the contents of the new constitution. Mweemba said the government believed that it required a census and a referendum to change certain provisions of the constitution like Article 79 and part III that contained the bill of rights in order to enact a new constitution. He, however, said a census was conducted after 10 years and that the next census was expected in 2010. He said for now, the country recently held general elections and that the voters roll was well up to date and could replace the census exercise.
Mweemba said it was possible to go ahead with the constitution-making process without holding the census. He said the CRC had not recommended having a referendum but that Zambian people wanted a new constitution and that there was no need for a census.
One of the audience members George Mwanapabo from Catholic Commission for Justice Development and Peace (CCJDP) said President Mwanawasa promised to abide by the CRC recommendation and wondered how he has changed his mind. Mwanapabo said the Oasis Forum and Constitution Coalition 2008 submitted roadmaps but the government has not responded. He said President Mwanawasa has no political will to allow people have a new constitution. "Let us rise because we can only have it enacted through pressure," he said.
Another audience member Ireen Hapula from CCDJP Solwezi said there was a lot of taxpayers' money spent on the CRC and that all the stumbling blocks in having a new constitution should be removed to avoid losing huge sums of money. She said people were tired of talking and needed action.
Former Copperbelt University Student's Union (COBUSU) president Emmanuel Mwange said there was need for a constitution Jihad (struggle for constitution) as the only solution to having the constitution soon.
Mwange said the President should not look at himself as a king, or chief but as a chief servant of the people. "We need to resort to a constitution revolution from today," Mwange said. "We have continued to wallow in poverty because our leaders are enemies of the people. There is no need for anyone to give them the benefit of doubt. If we set Parliament on fire and fire on the street, don't you think we will change the situation? Let Oasis Forum come up with a common stance."
In response, Mweemba said no individual had the right to give Zambians a constitution. He said people needed to give themselves a constitution but they also required Parliament to be involved. He said recently NGOCC went to meet President Mwanawasa on gender issues but during that meeting President Mwanawasa raised the issue of the constitution. He said afterwards, NGOCC submitted a new roadmap on the constitution on behalf of Oasis Forum and they were now waiting for a response.
He said Oasis Forum made a deliberate decision to stop advocacy during the election period and that they would start working in the second week of April. Another participant Kondowe, a teacher agreed with the idea of a constitutional revolution. "We need war for us to have peace. Even KK, the people that were fighting colonialism shed blood for us to have this independence," he said. Kondowe said Europe had to go through wars to get rid of autocratic leadership and that was what people needed to do in Zambia.
However, James Lukuku said it was not about bloodshed that a new constitution would be achieved. Lukuku said the government should also have privileges and people should not undermine government's value. "Let's give them a chance," Lukuku said amidst shouts of disapproval from the audience. "Don't erase the value of government." Operation Young Vote president Guess Nyirenda reminded President Mwanawasa that "whatever goes up, comes down." Nyirenda said there was need for continuous pressure on the government until it yielded to the people's demands.
By Patson Chilemba
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
POST managing editor Amos Malupenga has said the protection of whistle-blowers is key in the fight against corruption. And Evelyn Hone College journalism lecturer Ceasar Jere has said there is need to scale up the training of journalists in investigative journalism. Meanwhile, freelance journalist Dickson Jere said it would be important for journalists to do more than relying on handouts and leakages in the fight against corruption.
Featuring on a Transparency International Zambia-sponsored programme on ZNBC television on Thursday under the theme, "Are media practitioners doing enough to expose corruption?", Malupenga said although a lot was being done by the media practitioners in exposing corruption, a lot more still needed to be done. He said for now, it would be illogical to condemn public media houses for not doing enough in exposing corruption because most of it involved senior government officials who they could not expose for obvious reasons. He said until public media had the necessary editorial independence from the government, it would not be possible for them to effectively participate in the fight against corruption.
However, Malupenga said The Post still counted on public media personnel as good partners in the fight against corruption. "Sometimes these colleagues give us very useful tips which end up in big stories when we follow them up," he said. Malupenga also said there was need to focus more on protecting whistle-blowers if the fight against corruption was to be won. He said at the moment, the whistle-blowers were very vulnerable because there were no legal provisions in place to protect them. "We all know that the whistle-blower is not protected because we see how people panic to trace the source of information when sensitive information is published," Malupenga. "Their concern is not to establish whether or not what is leaked is true. They just want to know the person who leaked the information so they can victimise or harass them for being responsible citizens."
Malupenga urged patriotic citizens from all corners of Zambia to report cases of corruption because The Post could not be everywhere at the same time to pick up such information. Malupenga said investigating corruption was not an easy task and that was why the co-operation of all well-meaning citizens was required. He was commenting on Dickson Jere who said The Post had not done much in terms of follow-ups after exposing the land saga in the Ministry of Lands. Jere said there was too much reliance on official statements and also leaked documents like letters which formed the bulk of what was termed as investigative journalism. He called on journalists to do more investigations independent of leakages if the fight against corruption was to be meaningful.
But Malupenga said The Post always conducted its own investigations which might not yield the desired results as quickly as some people might wish. "But that is the nature of investigations," he said. "And we don't want to ignore anything because sometimes a small leaked letter can end up as a very big story depending how things are handled. On the land issue, our investigations have continued but we are mindful that the government's investigative wings are carrying out their own investigations so we have to move carefully in order not to prejudice those investigations. When we are ready to publish something, we will do that."
Dickson further said the protection of whistle-blowers was cardinal and therefore deliberate efforts should be put in place to introduce laws meant to protect them from victimisation by perpetrators of corruption. He said current happenings in the country in as far as the fight against corruption was concerned showed how vulnerable the whistle-blower was as some people had lost jobs for blowing the whistle. And Ceaser Jere said investigative reporting was not something that could be achieved overnight. He said there was need to scale up investigative reporting and training in the country if Zambians were to look up to the media in the fight against corruption.
By Bivan Saluseki in Blantrye
Saturday March 24, 2007 [02:00]
A showDOWN of polularity is set for tomorrow as two rivals in President Bingu wa Mutharika and former president Bakili Muluzi both address rallies in Blantrye. The Malawi government through the Ministry of Local government has ordered chiefs to attend President Mutharika’s Democratic Progressive Party Rally at Njamba Freedom Park in Blantrye while Muluzi adresses his in Mulanje under United Democratic Front.
Police here cancelled a rally for Muluzi citing safety and security reasons but UDF has obtained an injuction countering the police order. “Kindly be advised that due to security constraits, you are kindly requested to reschedule the rally to either Saturday, 24th March 2007 or any other day convenient to yourselves apart from the proposed day of 25th March 2007,” stated the letter.
Amid opposition from the church and other civil society organisations, Muluzi has announced his intention to contest the 2009 elections. His relationship with President Wa Mutharika went sour after government started pursuing him over corruption allegations, which he denied.
In Blantrye, most residents still talk highly of Muluzi and say he would win if he stood against the current President. The two rallies will therefore show who could amass more people, some Malawians say.
Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007
By Peter Mavunga
March 23, 2007
The British media has turned peddling lies about Zimbabwe into a fine art. That they hate the country's leadership with a vengeance is well known. What is questionable is their orchestrated campaign based on twisted facts, lies and damn lies to suit their own ends. I take ITV's main evening news story a fortnight ago as a tiny but interesting example. The bulletin was dominated by an "exclusive" by Martin Geisler who purported to have entered the country to report under cover despite the current ban on British journalists in Zimbabwe.
He entered the country clandestinely to report a demonstration in Harare against the Zimbabwe Government's alleged poor human rights record and the country's deteriorating economic conditions.
What is interesting is that the report gives the impression that the demonstration that was the subject of his report was only one of many that are taking place everyday throughout the country. He also does what he can to create the impression that Zimbabwe is a police state where people are not free.
For dramatic effect, the reporter lowers his voice as he tells his viewers during a car ride that he is en route to a secret hideout where some of the protesters who he intends to interview are waiting for him.
Television viewers are shown a handful of protesters who were never the less portrayed as "the whole country" rising up against the Government.
Views are told these protesters, who have "nothing to lose" in Mugabe's Zimbabwe, have decided: "Enough is enough" and are now prepared to stop at nothing to bring about change. Indeed we are shown a man taking a piece of concrete from the ground which he lifts up and drops in front of him on the tarmac.
To us viewers, this is hardly the actions of a nation in revolt. It is very small beer compared to the poll tax riots we witnessed in the dying days of Mrs Thatcher's government.
But the ITV news report wants us to believe a revolution is in the making. And the reporter chooses his interviewees very carefully to convey his message.
"You think I am alive?" one so-called protester asks him rhetorically. "I am already dead."
This is ITV's idea of objective reporting. It is meant to support the contention that the people of Zimbabwe are so oppressed that they feel they are already dead or that they feel they have nothing to live for and that violence to achieve change is the only viable solution to their plight.
The general impression given is that Zimbabweans are now very angry about their country that they see disintegrating before their eyes owing to an economic meltdown with 1 700 percent inflation and no infrastructure to talk about and they see violence as the only answer.
So central is this report to ITV's news schedule that it is reported twice on Thursday 1 March 2007, first in the early evening bulletin at 6 o'clock, then again in the main evening news at 10.30pm. It is a clever piece of British propaganda reported without any reference to when the demonstration took place.
Instead, the reporter tells his viewers "these protests are happening everyday" and he seems to enjoy the bit when he adds that all the people of Zimbabwe including the police, the army and all — are fed up.
The truth is that the demonstration had occurred a week earlier specifically to coincide with certain events taking place in Western capitals. To have reported it as a single, isolated event would not have fitted into the British grand design. It had to be presented as an everyday occurrence even though it was patently untrue.
What was also curious was the fact that the few people who spoke to the reporter, including Henry Olonga, did so in full view of the camera without attempting to hide their identity. Not that I did not want to see their faces. I was just confused that the reporter had earlier lowered his voice when talking about his secret rendezvous with the people concerned leaving the impression this was all done hush hush.
It was of course all acting, designed to create an impression of impending danger both to himself and to the people he was going to meet. The fact that these protesters were happy to be interviewed on record suggests it was the reporter's ploy to create the impression that Zimbabwe was a dangerous place to be where, as he put it: "you always feel you are being watched and you never know who is behind you."
Another contributor to Giesler's report was Fred Muleya, now based in the UK. He was eager to confirm what his interviewer wanted to hear.
An example of this was Giesler's leading question enquiring if Muleya did not believe such demonstrations were likely to get bigger? The interviewer sounded a trifle disappointed that the crowd of protesters was not larger but he needed not worry.
Muleya was only too pleased to confirm that in his view the people of Zimbabwe had had enough and it was his hope and belief that these protests "will get bigger".
This prime time news UK style is a lot of twaddle in my book both in presentation and content. Yet for the innocent eyes and ears of the British public who are bombarded with such anti-Zimbabwe material everyday, it must have been very difficult to disbelieve such a report presented as it was in all seriousness by an experienced journalist through one of the main news channels in the land.
Demonstrations such as was reported on 1 March do not happen everyday in Zimbabwe. I know because if they did they would be reported everyday. I keep a close eye on these things.
When I visited the country for three to four weeks at a time as I sometimes do, I did not witness these demonstrations taking place everyday.
Only in November 2006, my friends were visiting the country and they came back to report no such demonstrations taking place on a daily basis. My own family were in Harare from the end of December to mid January this year but they too reported no demonstrations taking place on a daily basis. In compiling this article, I spoke to a number of people in Zimbabwe who knew nothing of demonstrations taking place everyday as Giesler would want us to believe.
It is clear therefore that the ITV's main report on March 1 was a pack of twisted facts, very misleading in the extreme. The demonstration and biased reporting that went with it were two sides of an orchestrated campaign with twin objectives.
First, it was to perpetuate the propaganda against the government of Zimbabwe for committing the cardinal sin of attempting to tackle the unequal land distribution created by the minority settler regime.
Secondly and more to the point, these were part of an annual ritual designed to facilitate the extension of sanctions against Zimbabwe. The demonstration this year, as was a similar one last year, was orchestrated as a means to provide the IMF and the European Union with the evidence to justify continuing their sanctions against Zimbabwe.
They needed fresh evidence that things were bad in Zimbabwe. Television images of protesters in the streets, however contrived, did the trick and Western governments needed nothing else to help them decide to extend or not to extend the sanctions.
And decide they did. My point is that their decision was based on lies, damn lies that stank to the core.
Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007
By Stephen Gowans
March 23, 2007
Arthur Mutambara, the leader of one faction of Zimbabwe's main opposition party, the MDC, and one of the principals in the Save Zimbabwe Campaign that's at the centre of a storm of controversy over the Mugabe government's crackdown on opposition, boasted a year ago that he was "going to remove Robert Mugabe, I promise you, with every tool at my disposal." (1)
Educated at Oxford, the former management consultant with McKinsey & Co. was asked in early 2006 whether "his plans might include a Ukrainian-style mass mobilization of opponents of Mugabe's regime." (2)
"We're going to use every tool we can get to dislodge this regime," he replied. "We're not going to rule out or in anything – the sky's the limit." (3)
Last year Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of an opposing MDC faction, and eight of his colleagues, were thrown out of Zambia after attending a meeting arranged by the US ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, with representatives of Freedom House, a US ruling class organization that promotes regime change in countries that aren't sufficiently committed to free markets, free trade and free enterprise. (4)
Funded by the billionaire speculator George Soros, USAID, the US State Department and the US Congress's National Endowment for Democracy (whose mission has been summed up as doing overtly what the CIA used to do covertly), Freedom House champions the rights of journalists, union leaders and democracy activists to organize openly to bring down governments whose economic policies are against the profit-making interests of US bankers, investors and corporations.
Headed by Wall St. investment banker Peter Ackerman, who produced a 2002 documentary, Bringing Down a Dictator, a follow-up to A Force More Powerful, which celebrates the ouster of Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, Freedom House features a rogues' gallery of US ruling class activists on its board of directors: Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Otto Reich, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Steve Forbes, among others.
The campaign to replace Mugabe with the neo-liberal standard bearers of the MDC is rotten with connections to the overthrow of Milosevic. Dell, the US ambassador, prides himself on being one of the architects of Milosevic's ouster. (5) He held a senior diplomatic post in Kosovo when Milosevic was driven out of office in a US-UK engineered uprising.
Dell's mission, it would seem, is to be as provocative as possible, sparing no effort to tarnish the image of the Mugabe government. In early November 2005, Dell declared that "neither drought nor sanctions are at the root of Zimbabwe's decline," an implausible conclusion given that drought has impaired economic performance in neighboring countries, and that sanctions bar Zimbabwe from access to economic and humanitarian aid, while disrupting trade and investment. "The Zimbabwe government's own gross mismanagement of the economy and its corrupt rule has brought on the crisis," Dell charged. (6)
When not disparaging Mugabe's government, Dell can be counted on to be doling out largesse to the opposition (US$1 million, according to one source, to get the Save Zimbabwe Campaign off the ground earlier this year.) (7)
Responding to Dell's call for the opposition to unite, Mutambara has declared his new unity of purpose with MDC opponent, Tsvangirai. "Our core business," he announced, after violent clashes with the police earlier this month, "is to drive Mugabe out of town. There is no going back. We are working together against Robert Mugabe and his surrogates." (8)
While Mutambara is certainly working with Tsvangirai to drive Mugabe out of town, what he doesn't explain is what he wants to replace Mugabe with. The opposition, and the powerful Western governments that back it, make it seem as if they're offended by Mugabe's qualities as a leader, not his policies, and that their aim is to restore good governance, not to impose their own program on Zimbabwe.
We should be clear about what the MDC is and what its policies are. While the word "democratic" in the opposition's Movement for Democratic Change moniker evokes pleasant feelings, the party's policies are rooted in the neo-liberal ideology of the Western ruling class. That is, the party's policies are hardly democratic.
The MDC favors economic "liberalization", privatization and a return to the glacial-paced willing buyer/willing seller land-redistribution regimen – a status quo ante-friendly policy that would limit the state's ability to redistribute land to only tracts purchased from white farmers who are willing to sell.
Compare that to the Zanu-PF government's direction. Mugabe's government is hardly socialist, but it has implemented social democratic policies that elevate the public interest at least a few notches above the basement level position it occupies under the neo-liberal tyranny favored by the MDC. A Mutambara or Tsvangirai government would jettison policies that demand something from foreign investors in return for doing business in Zimbabwe. Foreign banks, for example, are required to invest 40 percent of their profits in Zimbabwe government bonds. (9) What's more, the MDC leaders would almost certainly end the Mugabe government's policy of favoring foreign investors who partner with local investors to promote indigenous economic development. And Zimbabwe's state-owned enterprises would be sold off to the highest bidder.
Moreover, the land redistribution program would be effectively shelved, delaying indefinitely the achievement of one of the principal goals of Zimbabwe's national liberation struggle – reversing the plunder of the indigenous population's land by white settlers. Mugabe, it is sometimes grudgingly admitted in the Western press, is a hero in rural parts of southern Africa for his role in spearheading land reform, something other south African governments have lacked the courage to pursue vigorously. South African president Thabo Mbeki's reluctance to join in the collective excoriation of Mugabe is often attributed to "respect for Mr. Mugabe as a revolutionary hero (he led the fight that ended white rule in Zimbabwe in 1980, and was a key opponent of apartheid) and because the issue of white ownership of land in South African is also sensitive." (10)
Contrast respect for Mugabe with the thin layer of support the US-backed Save Zimbabwe Campaign has been able to muster. It "does not yet have widespread grassroots support," (11) but it does have the overwhelming backing of the US, the UK, the Western media and US ruling class regime change organizations, like Freedom House. Is it any surprise that Zanu-PF regards the controversy swirling around its crackdown on the opposition's latest provocation as an attempt by an oppressor to return to power by proxy through the MDC?
1. Times Online March 5, 2006.
4. The Sunday Mail, February 5, 2006.
5. The Herald, October 21, 2005.
6. The Herald, November 7, 2005.
7. The Herald, March 14, 2007.
8. The Observer, March 18, 2007.
9. The Observer, January 28, 2007.
10. The Globe and Mail, March 22, 2007.
Stephen Gowans's Blog
Posted: Friday, March 23, 2007
March 23, 2007
MOST White liberals and their media (including websites) are useless when it comes to evaluating issues from a Black point of view. They are not only useless when African nations and leaders have to be defended against the aggression of the US and Europe, but some go a step further and are more dangerous by how they spread the racist lies of the West. I guess they only view racism as when someone stands in a crowded place and shouts the "N" word.
I did not expect them to be able to evaluate issues from an African point of view, especially as most of them could not even get it right on Venezuela during the coup attempt in 2002.
For all the distrust they have of their governments, they are more than ready to believe those same governments when they attack African leaders and nations.
A prime example, Haiti. Most of the antiwar and anti-Bush media were quiet on that issue. They did not see the US, France and Canada having a major role in illegally forcing the first democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of office and into exile. (Read: The Ouster of Democracy by Gary Younge, March 2004)
White liberals who just did not get it can read articles on the Haitian Coup at africaspeaks.com. Some Whites understood the issues in part, but they were not so moved as to sustain a campaign for the return of Jean-Bertrand Aristide as the legitimate, democratically elected president of Haiti, who commands the support of the majority of Haitians along with wide support from Black Africans abroad.
Next on the list is Zimbabwe.
The US and Britain have been involved in an effort to oust the democratically elected leader of Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe, ever since he turned away from the intangible and unjust IMF and World Bank policies and started reclaiming illegally obtained land from White settlers for redistribution to Black Zimbaweans. They were not against Mugabe for reports of human rights abuses, as in the past, when such reports surfaced, they were still praising Zimbabwe under President Robert Mugabe as a model country in Africa. For more information, although long, this article is worth reading: Zimbabwe Under Siege by Gregory Elich. There is a comprehensive list of additional articles for further reading on raceandhistory.com.
Next on the list is Somalia.
The US and Ethiopia illegally invaded Somalia and ousted the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) which had popular support. The ICU brought a measure of stability to Somalia for the first time in sixteen years.
In the article "A New War in Africa" Gwynne Dyer explains:
"This is a war founded on a misconception and driven by paranoid fantasies.
The misconception was the US government's belief that the Islamic Courts, local religious authorities backed by merchants in Mogadishu who wanted someone to curb the warlords, punish thieves, and enforce contracts, were just a cover for al-Qaeda.
So the US instead backed the warlords who were making Somalis' lives a misery.
American support is the kiss of death in Somalia, so the warlords were finally dislodged in Mogadishu last June by an uprising led by the UIC and supported by most of the population."
Visit africaspeaks.com for more on the crisis in Somalia.
Although some Whites do take the time to examine issues from an African point of view, they are too few and far between. If you doubt me, simply check your favorite antiwar, anti-Bush, anti-imperialism websites and you will see the absence of pro-African commentaries on any or all of these issues. (Even the considerably rated Comedy Central's "Today Show" hosted by John Stewart lacks substance in dealing with African issues.)
To informed Africans, most of these so-called liberal Whites are not liberal at all. White Supremacy still comes first to them and has to be first addressed before they can see the truth from a Black perspective.
We understand the circumstances that keep many from researching issues properly and not easily breaking away from colonial institutions and neocolonial policies. Many are struggling with bread and butter issues on a daily basis and do not yet appreciate why they MUST make time for informing themselves.
Understanding the issues is also about addressing poverty. Those with the means and especially those involved in the media have no excuse for misleading many.
Martin Luther King saw the problem with White liberals and in his letter from the Birmingham jail he wrote:
"...First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."
Friday, March 23, 2007
Friday March 23, 2007 [08:27]
Zimbabwe will not succumb to forces of aggression bent on destabilisation of the country, but will continue defending its inheritance, territorial integrity, sovereignty and gains of the liberation struggle, Vice-President Joseph Msika said here on Thursday.
Msika was quoted by ZBC News as saying that Zimbabwe has been enjoying peace and tranquillity since independence in 1980 despite futile attempts by imperialists machinations and lies peddled by western media to destabilise the country.
Speaking at graduation of 304 police officers in Harare, Musika said the police and other law enforcement agents should strengthen their vigilance and deal effectively with all illegal, violent demonstrations among other disturbances which are being sponsored by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Msika said the government will not stand aside and watch such political manoeuvres threatening peace and stability which was born out of a protracted liberation struggle.
He reminded the opposition party MDC that the so called regime change can only come through the masses in a free and fair election.
Msika urge the police not to be deterred from executing their duties, saying the previous spate of violence which sparked the country were meant to depict a picture of violence in a country that has been at peace for the past 26 years.
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
The government’s decision to come up with a Markets and Bus Stations Bill is highly welcome and long overdue. According to the Minister of Local Government and Housing Sylvia Masebo, this bill seeks to provide - inter alia - for the establishment and regulation of markets and bus stations and the establishment of management boards for the markets and bus stations.
As the chairperson of the Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs, Regina Musokotwane, rightly observed in her report to Parliament on Wednesday, this is an opportunity for the country to bring rational economic and political conduct in our markets and bus stations and to identify and network with legitimate stakeholders.
It is indeed an opportunity for Parliament to enact a good law that will address the chaotic manner in which our bus stations and markets appear to operate. And in the words of the parliamentary committee, “It is time to overcome the emergence of markets and bus stations political warlords”.
It is encouraging to note that the committee discussed this highly political issue in a non-partisan way. This is important because, as Masebo observed, political party involvement in the running of our markets and bus stations have to a large extent proved to be an impediment in the smooth operations of these markets and bus stations.
But this did not happen by accident. This monster in the markets and bus stations was a creation of our past leaders in government who in their own wisdom thought that they could only have a firm hold on power with the support of cadres from the markets and bus stations.
As a result, these leaders allowed their political thugs to infiltrate and take total control of the markets and bus stations. The cadres became untouchable and did as they pleased in these markets and bus stations.
And what did we see as a result? These thugs usurped the powers of our local authorities. They made the operations of these local authorities very difficult, if not impossible.
These thugs in the name of cadres would collect millions of kwacha on a daily basis which ended up in their pockets and those of their sponsors, all in the name of supporting the ruling party. We also witnessed the proliferation of market associations within markets, mainly by political cadres, which further contributed to the anarchy in our markets and bus stations.
Of course we recall that even in the UNIP days, markets were highly politicised. We remember that when ever Dr Kenneth Kaunda visited towns and districts, markets were closed temporarily for the marketeers to welcome him. We also remember that in most cases, those who sought to run market stalls had to produce the UNIP membership cards before they were allocated stalls.
But even as the market place was highly politicised in those UNIP days, we do not remember a day when UNIP cadres collected levies purportedly on behalf of the ruling party. UNIP utilised the markets mainly for political mobilisation. And this they did very well.
Today, the anarchy in our markets and bus stations has mainly been perpetrated by the ruling party. And it is good that the MMD national secretary Katele Kalumba, the chief executive of the party, is also the chairperson of this parliamentary committee which has seen “the need to overcome the emergence of markets and bus stations political warlords” including the proliferation of market associations.
The MMD government, if it means well in bringing up this law, should ensure that its cadres are kept away from the running and managing of our markets and bus stations.
However, we are also aware that this is not solely an MMD problem. We know that in areas where opposition Patriotic Front controls the local authorities, its cadres have also taken control of markets and bus stations for similar selfish motives.
But like Monze UDA members of parliament Jack Mwiimbu appropriately observed, this matter should not be politicised. All the major political parties that have a measure of influence and control in these markets and bus stations should go back on the ground and explain to their cadres the need to de-politicise these places because they belong to all citizens regardless of their political affiliation.
And the local authorities, which are mandated by the people, should be allowed to manage these markets and bus stations without hindrance from the cadres and their associations.
In fact, these cadres do not even manage these markets and bus stations. They collect millions of kwacha in levies on a daily basis but our local authorities are expected to manage and maintain these markets and bus stations.
There is need to de-politicise our markets and bus stations. Today, our people are not conducting business in these places in the manner that they should, nor are the market and bus users enjoying the usage of these facilities.
And President Levy Mwanawasa should be commended for this bold decision he has taken because it goes to the root of MMD’s successful organisation as oftentimes it is claimed that the strength of a political party lies in how established it is at the market place.
Of course Levy has seen through the emptiness of this claim which is usually forwarded by some party leaders and their followers for their own selfish motives and simply as a source of livelihood.
We know that it will not be an easy task for Levy to convince all those MMD members who have been surviving on market and bus station levies for some years now but this work should be done. In fact, Katele should be very useful in this process because the parliamentary committee that he chairs has also endorsed the government’s intervention in this matter by way of bring up the Markets and Bus Stations Bill.
It is high time our people experienced sanity and good order in the markets and bus stations. The amount of disorder and chaos currently taking place in our markets and bus stations is nauseating, to say the least.
By Emily Mujuda and Speedwell Mupuchi
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
LOCAL government minister Sylvia Masebo has said that involvement of political parties in markets was an impediment to smooth operations of markets and bus stations. Giving a policy statement in Parliament on the markets and bus stations Bill on Wednesday, Masebo said political factors greatly influenced the overall management framework of markets and bus stations in a negative manner. She also said the presence of associations in markets and bus stations negatively affected the smooth running of the public utilities because they became competitors of councils in management and control of the institutions.
"In the case of Lusaka and Copperbelt towns, it was found that in some cases the local authority was completely sidelined by these associations which in itself weakened the authority of councils who by law are the legal owners and managers of these facilities," she said.
Masebo said it was obvious that the current legislation, management structure procedures employed by councils had not coped well with the current demands of markets and bus stations. She said the proposed market and bus stations Bill would bring the act in line with modern market trends that would promote the efficient operations and management of markets and bus stations in the country.
She observed that despite infighting between drivers, or bus operators, congestion, accidents and crime to some extent, political activities had become everyday events in bus stations. "Mr Speaker, the proposed markets and bus station Bill provides that all markets in Zambia shall be under the control and management of local authority," she said. "It has also been found necessary to come up with an optional management system of markets and bus stations, hence the establishment of management boards in the proposed legislation."
Masebo stated that the market and bus station board would be responsible for recruitment of management teams composed of members with requisite expertise in managing markets and bus stations. "It is important to note that well managed markets/bus stations as envisioned under this system will create the necessary enabling environment which will attract flourishing business which can be re-invested in the improvements of markets and bus stations while at then same time allowing the local authorities have additional income," Masebo said. Masebo said the proposed Bill and model for management of markets and bus stations was aimed at attaining financial self-sustainability of markets, hence the removal of subsidies from local authorities.
Acting chairperson of the committee on local government and housing and chiefs' affairs Regina Musokotwane presenting a report said the Bill was very serious and could fracture the very foundation of democracy and economic behavior if not handled properly. She said it was appropriate for Parliament to enact a good law to address the chaotic manner in which markets and bus stations operate. Musokotwane said the committee supported banning of market associations from operating in markets on the basis that it would prevent them setting bases in markets and bus stations. However, she said the committee was concerned with the power which the Bill proposed to give to the local government minister.
She said some aspects of the Bill did not support the spirit of the decentralisation policy, in which the participation of sub-structures was cardinal. "They are also concerned that vesting too much power in the minister will not only overburden the minister but also slow down the decision-making process in markets and bus stations," she said.
The committee proposed amendments to certain clauses requiring persons to be in partnership with a local authority, payment of levies prescribed by local authorities and submission of business plans for market or bus station for five years to the local authorities with approval of the minister. Musokotwane urged the government to take into account the interests of bus operators with regard to high levies once the proposed bill became law. She said the committee recommended for public interest to be protected by allowing fair competition among suppliers of goods and services at markets and bus stations instead of introducing a pricing ceiling for food articles sold in markets.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
THE media ethics Bill will lead to censorship and hinder free flow of information, United Liberal Party (ULP) president Sakwiba Sikota has warned. Commenting on politicians' calls for the introduction of a media ethics Bill, Sikota said ULP was disturbed by the growing trend of intolerance towards the media. "Recently we have seen attempts to yoke the Freedom of Information Bill to media ethics Bill. We have noted that these positions have been taken because certain politicians have recently been criticised in the press. This is clearly a knee-jerk reaction from these who feel the press has not been kind to them," Sikota said.
"In addition we have seen those who have always wanted to introduce repressive media laws sensing an opportunity to seize upon persons or parties, which previously stood for liberties such as press freedom, turning against their previous liberal stances to create a conservative coalition against media freedom." Sikota said the conservative coalition against media freedom wants to introduce a media ethics Bill that would lead to restriction as to who could write or practice as a journalist. "The conservation coalition against the media also wants a Bill, which would allow for penalties like deregistration or even criminal sanction against newspapers, editors and journalists," he observed.
"The argument is that journalists are 'irresponsible' and politicians need to have some protection against the media." He said the people against media freedom argued that currently there were voluntary regulatory bodies that could not compel any media body to become a member and even a member to compel them to do anything to correct the mistake made to someone.
He said people who were unfairly attacked by the media could sue for libel. "I have often been unfairly treated by the media. This has, however, never made me decide that there is a need to clamp down on the press," Sikota said. "Even The Post newspapers have had what I consider to be unfair or defamatory editorials about me. As a public figure I must firstly learn to have a thick skin and as a liberal, I must secondly be prepared to defend the right of the press to publish stories that may not be accurate on me."
He observed that the media had never demanded that they should have immunity from civil libel. "The press is therefore already under control by ways of the threat of libel suits," said Sikota. "We in the ULP believe that we should have a more permissive society and not retract into censorship and repression."
By George Chellah
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
WE should condemn people like Tsvangirai, Zimbabwean minister of state for national security Didymus Mutasa has said. And Mutasa said the desire by the sub-region to foster unity and solidarity among member countries was being stifled by external forces. Addressing journalists yesterday, Mutasa accused Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai of bringing untold suffering on people.
"If you, particularly young people, don't live up to be courageous people, who will be our leaders?... but to live as people who will do anything that the white man requires you to do, then there will be no Africa as we want it to be and pan Africanism will be gone totally," Mutasa said. "And so, I think we should condemn people like Tsvangirai, Mutambara, Dhlakama and other people who have brought about untold suffering to their people for the sake of wanting to be leaders because they are being told to be leaders by the likes of Blair and Bush."
He said Tsvangirai and others should be quietly ignored. "People like Tsvangirai and others, when I say like others. I mean others who operated in Mozambique who were not people of their own standing, who were sent to do certain acts, which were criminal by the outside countries. People that we should quietly ignore because the moment you put into writing the dirty work that is being done by Tsvangirai, the dirty work that was done by Dhlakama of killing his won people that kind of thing, you know it will be sad for Africa," Mutasa said. "They are working under the so-called save Zimbabwe campaign...save Zimbabwe from whom? Save Zimbabwe from the people who have brought it about and what are they saving it for? Saving it for the white man who is slowly losing land and slowly getting out of our country."
Asked about reports of brutality in Zimbabwe, Mutasa responded: "Being brutal, I can't understand when you say the government is being brutal because it is taking care of people who are breaking the law. Tsvangirai has caused untold suffering to our police forces everybody reports about him having been beaten but nobody reports about his people who have been throwing petrol bombs to sleeping officers of our police at midnight and Zimbabwe will not tolerate that kind of lawlessness," Mutasa said. "And when Tsvangirai goes into a police station and starts ordering the officers there to release his people that would have been arrested... well the police force don't have any orders from opposition leaders. They will only be ordered by their minister of home affairs and Tsvangirai is not a minister of home affairs. So they got angry with him yes and boxed him, he deserved it."
Mutasa said calls for SADC assistance were actually made from Tanzania. "The outgoing President of Tanzania Comrade Benjamin Mkapa, he made that request to all SADC leaders and I think it was a very well intended and good request. He said that 'you are surprised that when Zimbabwe is under attack by Bush and Blair the SADC leaders appear to him to simply stand and do nothing' and said that must be a thing of the past," Mutasa said.
"Zimbabwe came into being because frontline states and Tanzania helped us who were in the bush, who were fighting against imperialism and Mkapa is reminding the present SADC leaders to do the same as Comrade Kaunda, Seretse Khama and others did for us." He said there was need for the region to stand together. "You see there is a saying that 'we should hang together to avoid hanging separately'.
Last time, it was Mozambique, which was under attack by Dlakama at the request of Western nations and now its us who are under attack by Tsvangirai at the request of Blair and Bush, who knows what happens tomorrow? Mutasa asked. "Is it not likely to be Zambia or some other SADC country, which will suffer the same consequence? All we are saying is that we should stick together because we are people who come from the same regional grouping. "Working in the way that they would help Zimbabwe, in the same way that Zimbabwe helped Mozambique militarily, we also went, helped the DRC militarily together with Namibia and Angola."
Mutasa said he did not think that the problems in Zimbabwe were with Tsvangirai.
"Tsvangirai is doing this in order to facilitate Blair and Bush to bring us up to the United Nations. And that is where SADC and other friends of Zimbabwe should stand with Zimbabwe and refuse that," Mutasa said. "This is an issue, which is internal between us and our people it has absolutely no need to be taken to the UN. "When SADC stands together and refuse so Africa will stand together and refuse and so the imperialists will fail that's what I am trying to say."
Asked what would happen if Western countries think of military aggression, Mutasa answered: "We are ready! don't you realise that Smith was supported by the so-called West people with South Africa nearest to us?" Mutasa asked. "And we have always said that the defeat of Smith was the defeat of the Boers in South Africa, it was the defeat of the Portuguese and the British. And you young people must learn that you must read our history and not behave like Western dogs who are pulled along and left wherever the West want them to be. We are not like that in Zimbabwe."
He also said he did not come to Zambia to complain as it was being felt. "I was invited by our colleagues here, the invitation was in 2005. It has come now because we are following this meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission on Defence and Security. Our President yes, knows I am here but he has not sent me here," Mutasa said. On President Levy Mwanawasa's statement in Namibia, Mutasa said: "I also think that you are making a report based on another report, perhaps which you did not read. I happen to have read President Mwanawasa's comments and I don't think that what he said is what you are interpreting for him to have said," Mutasa said.
"The fact that he has likened Zimbabwe to the Titanic is only a simile and not that he is referring to Zimbabwe as a sinking ship. He will not do that because I know he knows Zimbabwe, he has been there most recently and he certainly knows that we are not sinking, if at all we shall ever sink." And Mutasa said the desire by the sub region to foster unity and solidarity among member countries is being stifled by external forces. During the 23 Zambia-Zimbabwe Joint Permanent Commission (JPC) on defence and security, Mutasa called for unity among member states in the sub-region.
By Christopher Miti in Chipata.
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
Chief Malama of the Kunda people in Mambwe has criticised government for its habit of assisting people only during elections. And chief Malama urged government to engage credible road contractors in the district. In an interview in Chipata, chief Malama said Mambwe district had a lot of problems that needed to be addressed as soon as possible.
“We don’t know what government thinks about us. We are facing a lot of problems in Mambwe but what we see is government coming to us during election period,” chief Malama said. He expressed worry that the people of Mambwe would have a food deficit because most crops had been washed away by floods. Chief Malama said government should use a helicopter to deliver relief food to the people in some areas of the district. “Both roads and bridges have been damaged by the rains, so government should just use a helicopter to deliver the food to the people,” chief Malama said.
He also challenged government to engage credible road contractors.
“The Chinese have already displayed a good job on the Chipata-Mambwe road. so we want such contractors to work on the other roads, because good roads are important in the economic development of the country,” said chief Malama.
By Webster Malido
Friday March 23, 2007 [02:00]
DEMOCRATIC Republic of Congo (DRC) Katanga Province governor, Moses Katumbi, has said that the decision to restrict the movement of copper concentrates was made in the interests of both his country and Zambia. In a telephone interview from Lubumbashi yesterday, Katumbi said some crooked people were stealing copper concentrates from both the DRC and Zambia and they were making false declarations at the border.
"People are stealing materials here. Can Zambia accept to export these stolen materials? So you see, I am protecting both countries. It's also to protect Zambian investors because we are brothers," he said. "People are not paying taxes. Zambia is losing. Congo is losing. “Trucks are crossing the borders illegally, with no papers."
Katumbi said his decision was also aimed at protecting people's lives as some of the materials being illegally moved from the DRC across the region were radioactive. He maintained that he would stick to his decision of March 6, 2007 to restrict the movement of unprocessed materials, especially copper, between the DRC and Zambia in the interests of the economies of both countries.
Katumbi said both Zambia and the DRC have been losing in terms of revenue as most of the transported materials entering the border point were under-declared. He said before he made the decision to restrict the movement of copper concentrates, the DRC was losing about US$450 million monthly due to false declarations at the border. Katumbi said he had a duty to build the economy of his country.
Katumbi said another problem he discovered was that some of the trucks were illegally transporting radioactive materials such as uranium. "I am protecting the people because they can't feel the problem today but after some years, people are going to get sick from diseases like skin cancer from the radioactive substances which are moving from the DRC to Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Tanzania," he said. "Unprocessed materials will not leave the Congo. I am going to make sure that they don't leave. I need to control these things in the interest of both Zambia and the Congo."
On Wednesday, some members of parliament raised concern over Katumbi's decision, saying it had led to a lot of trucks being marooned at Kasumbalesa border post. However, Katumbi said Zambia should not complain much because of the 500 trucks at the border, only 41 had Zambian registration numbers. He said the rest of the trucks were from other countries and he expected those countries to complain more than Zambia.
According to Katumbi's statement of March 6, 2007, dealers were reminded that pursuant to article 85 of the Mining Code and article 218 of its Regulations, export of unprocessed minerals (mineral scraps, malachite, etc) was forbidden, except with conditional authority from the Ministry of Mines. "It has been noted that besides the violation of the above provisions, the weight declared is below the real weight carried," Katumbi stated. "It is a fact that a false declaration is a breach of the law on the part of the exporter and loss on the part of the government. Besides, the under declared weight damages roads. "In the light of the foregoing and while waiting for the strengthening of control mechanisms by the services concerned, it has been decided to suspend export of the above mentioned minerals until further notice."
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Your Excellency, Our acceptance of your thoughtful invitation to join in the celebration of your independence day clearly reflects the importance that I, the Government and people of Zambia attach to the excellent relations, which happily exist between our two sister countries. Zambia cherishes these relations, which are deeply rooted in our shared history, similar cultural and social values as well as common aspirations and destiny. Moreover, Zambia treasures the good neighbourliness, the sincerity and candid pursuit of mutual benefit, which characterize the relations existing between our two countries.
Your Excellency, These relations would not have been possible without the peace and stability prevailing not only within the territories of our two sister republics but also in the southern African region as a whole. Peaceful and stable conditions are some of the key ingredients, which would pave the way for the stimulation of our bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture and fisheries, education and professional training, energy, mining and road transport, to mention but a few. Above all, our bilateral relations and cooperation are made possible thanks to the hard work of the human resources and the focused leaderships of both our countries.
Your Excellency, Zambia admires the economic growth that Namibia has achieved as a result of the good economic policies that His Excellency Dr Sam Nujoma and his Government formulated soon after your country gained independence and that he vigorously carried out during his three terms of office. I have no doubt that you too are implementing similar policies designed, on one hand, to reduce poverty and, on the other hand, to improve further the living standards of our Namibian brothers and sisters.
While prosperity is one side of the coin, adversity and challenges form the other side of the same coin. I believe that poverty, lack of access to clean water and sanitation, and the scarcity of arable land for the majority of Namibians are some of the huge challenges with which your Government must be grappling.
The most unappealing of all the challenges, in my opinion, is corruption. It robs the ordinary men and women of critical resources for national development, which end up in the hands of few individuals or syndicates. Corruption further erodes foreign investors' confidence and dissuades others from injecting valuable resources in a given country's economy apart from distorting the cost of doing business. Above all, corruption tramples upon democracy and good governance. For this catalogue of evil consequences, corruption must be fought with tenacity while those who commit it must be exposed regardless of their stations in society.
Your Excellency, I am delighted to note that you and your Government have also declared a merciless war against corruption in Namibia and are squarely addressing the other challenges. I hasten to assure you and your government team that, with determination, resourcefulness and methodology by all the Namibian people, coupled with support from and cooperation with friendly nations, you and your Government are bound to succeed in overcoming these challenges. In its pursuit of these noble objectives, the Namibian nation should always remember that Zambia shall always stand by its side.
The relations between our two countries assume another dimension and a new meaning with our integration into the framework of the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Within SADC our countries have collaborated closely, together with other member States, to mobilize resources from the international community, which have enabled us to develop transport, energy and other infrastructures. External resources equally assisted the Region in working towards convergence in the finance sector and to cooperate in many other sectors such as agriculture, health, human resources development, tourism, mining, politics, defence and security.
Thanks to the combined efforts by member States,. the SADC region has enjoyed the most peaceful and stable conditions on the African continent. Similarly, it has been credited with the most democratic and transparent elections in the last few years following the adoption of the SADC Principles and Guidelines governing Elections. The recent elections held in Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Madagascar and Lesotho have all attested to the credibility of these principles. The SADC region has further distinguished itself by adopting common positions and spoken with one strong voice on a number of continental and international issues. The mention of some of the successes accomplished leads me to declare that all the achievements recorded can be attributed to the SADC people's and leaders' realisation that our future lies in a common destiny.
Your Excellency, If truly all SADC member States have a common destiny, they must all surely rise and lend a helping hand when one of them should run into serious difficulties. As I am speaking right now, one SADC country has sunk into such economic difficulties that it may be likened to a sinking Titanic whose passengers are jumping out in a bid to save their lives. The nationals of the said country are abandoning it in hundreds on a daily basis and crossing its borders in search of any means of survival in all the neighbouring States or beyond.
Zambia has so far been an advocate of quiet diplomacy and continues believe in it. But the twist of events in the troubled country necessitates the adoption of a new approach. In this regard, Zambia is inclined, in conjunction with other neighours or other willing SADC countries alone, to explore the possibility of engaging our brothers and sisters in the leadership of this distressed country in a more supportive manner. Lest I am misunderstood, I wish to state categorically that the Zambian Government excludes the direct or indirect involvement of any foreign State, which is not a SADC member, in its quest to dialogue with its counterpart in the troubled country.
Zambia is convinced that time has come for a fresh start in our relations with our common neighbour. Your Excellency, Both our countries envisage an African continent free from poverty, devastating pandemics, economic depression, oppression and armed conflict. However, Zambia is saddened to observe that our beloved continent has never enjoyed total peace and stability at anyone time. It is ever afflicted by one conflict or another. Today, varying conflict situations are prevailing in Chad, Central African Republic, Cote d'ivoire, the Darfur region of the Sudan and Somalia. We are equally appalled by the large-scale degradation of the environment, plunder of natural resources, abuse of human rights, suffering and displacement of civilian populations which arise from these conflicts.
Zambia and Namibia ought to continue joining continental and international initiatives aimed at restoring peace and stability in trouble-torn African countries. In this respect, I commend Your Excellency and your Government for the invaluable military assistance that your country, Angola and Zimbabwe extended to the DRC Government during the 1998 to 2003 war of aggression. On' this auspicious occasion, allow me to salute the bravery of all the gallant men who sacrificed their own lives to save those of our dear Congolese brothers and sisters.
Despite its never~ending and vexing conflicts, our African continent is advancing on its way to unity and prosperity. It is slowly consolidating peace, security and stability as well as harnessing its economic gains in its quest for sustainable development. To this end, the efforts by the African Union and the international community to end conflicts together with the attendant impunity and violations of human rights on our continent must be applauded. Your Excellency, In international affairs, the commonality of our two countries' interests finds its concrete expression in' our membership to the same organisations such as the Commonwealth, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and the United Nations.
In this context, it is not by mere coincidence that Zambia and Namibia are members of the African Union Committee of Ten (C-10) Heads of State and Government on the UN Reforms. Very often, our two countries speak with one voice on matters of mutual interest to the SADC
sub-region, the African International Community.
On conflicts in the Middle East, Zambia has stood by the side of Palestine and its people who seek to regain their occupied territories and live in peaceful co-existence with their neighbour.
At the same time, we recognise the right of Israel to exist. That is the reason why we are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be resolved through a negotiated settlement. To this effect, we continue to call upon the protagonists to engage in genuine dialogue with a view of finding a lasting solution.
The conflict in Iraq was premised on the wrong assumption of the presence of weapons of mass destruction. It has along the way taken an unpleasant and unpredictable turn for which the US Government and its western allies are responsible. The latter must now quickly find an appropriate solution to the Iraq conflict. The same Western States, which have greatly benefited from the current economic order, must demonstrate their magnanimity to take on board development issues in the Doha round of trade negotiations. Moreover, they must consider elimin'ating their subsidies to agricultural products and opening up their markets to agricultural produce from the African continent. It is a matter of equity and moral obligations on their part to level the playing field if our continent should gain from the "aid for trade" policy that they have adopted.
Your Excellency, the outlook of the international situation is unpredictable to the extent that it compels the developing countries to deepen further our cooperation with the ultimate view of realising political and economic integration. We are bound. to accelerate integration at sub-regional and regional levels if we can do our utmost to strengthen our bilateral relations through the implementation of various programmes and projects. In this regard, I commend our experts from Zambia and Namibia for conducting negotiations on various memoranda of understanding and agreements in the fields of education, taxation, air, road and water transport. I would also like to urge them to expedite the conclusion of their negotiations in those sectors where mutual agreement has not yet been achieved.
Your Excellency, Allow me to seize this opportunity to re-assure you of my Government's commitment to further expansion of the bilateral relations and cooperation between Zambia and Namibia for the mutual benefit of our peoples.
In the brotherly spirit of the Zambia-Namibia relations, I now have the singular pleasure to invite you all to join me as I propose a toast to:
The continued personal good health of your Excellency Mr. Hifikepunye Pohamba, President of the Republic of Namibia, and the First Lady, Mrs Pohamba; The continued friendship and cooperation between the Republic of Zambia and the Republic of Namibia; and the peace, happiness and prosperity for the people of Namibia.
I thank you.