Saturday, August 11, 2007
By Brighton Phiri and Noel Sichalwe
Saturday August 11, 2007 [04:00]
Zambians should respond positively to President Levy Mwanawasa's call for dialogue, former FDD president Lt Gen Christon Tembo urged yesterday. And the Oasis Forum has petitioned the SADC heads of state to intervene in Zambia's current constitutional crisis to prevent the matter degenerating into anarchy and chaos, ahead of next week's summit.
Commenting on President Mwanawasa's call for dialogue on the constitution making process, Lt Gen Tembo said the President's position must be supported with the seriousness it deserves.
"If President Mwanawasa is calling for dialogue in good faith, it is a good thing for the country. He should be commended because there must be genuine desire for genuine dialogue of the country has to get rid of the current tension among citizens," he said.
Lt Gen Tembo said with a positive response to President Mwanawasa's call for dialogue, the acrimony and tension will disappear amongst stakeholders on the constitution making process.
"I urge all Zambians to support this call. We should not always criticise each other, even when someone means well. If Mwanawasa means what he is saying, let us all support him so that we can realise our desire for a people driven constitution."
Ptresident Mwanawasa on Thursday called for dialogue to afford people a forum for expressing and responding to specific issues of concerns on the constitution making process. He was speaking in Malaysia after attending the 8th Langkawi International Dialogue which he said emphasised on dialogue as an effective tool for addressing various challenges within and among nations.
And according to a petition signed by the Oasis Forum and the Collaborative Group on the Constitution (CGC) comprising of 13 civil society organizations, the Oasis stated that the summit should impress upon President Mwanawasa to commit himself and his government to do the people's will in the constitution making process in Zambia.
"That SADC form a special mission to intervene in the current constitution crisis in Zambia to prevent the matter degenerating into anarchy and chaos," the petition read in part. "That your summit recognizes the importance and need for President Levy Patrick Mwanawasa to first show leadership and humility over the constitutional making process in Zambia before he seeks to exercise similar moral authority in the constitutional issues of other member states."
The Oasis stated that the chairmanship of SADC which President Mwanawasa was going to assume carried important responsibilities that required the incumbent chairperson to exercise leadership in government first in the host country before extending the leadership to other nations. They noted that the civil society in Zambia wished to petition the SADC heads of state during the summit on important matters affecting the democratic governance in Zambia.
The Oasis stated that President Mwanawasa had appointed the Mung'omba Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) in February 2003 following a public outcry for a new constitution which should be people driven. They stated that pursuant to the term of reference number 22 of the Mung'omba CRC, the CRC was mandated to recommend the mode of adoption of the Zambian constitution.
The Oasis noted that in several addresses to the nation and statements, President Mwanawasa promised to abide by the CRC recommendations on the contentious mode of adopting the constitution. They observed that even the ruling MMD in its submission to the CRC dated September 24, 2004 also undertook to abide by the recommendations of the CRC on the mode of adoption of the constitution.
The Oasis indicated that the CRC toured all the 150 constituencies and visited other countries within the region and in Europe to conduct comparative studies. They stated that the CRC further engaged local and international experts to render advice on the mode of adopting the new constitution.
"The Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission was appointed against the backdrop of opposition from the Oasis Forum," the petition further read. "The Oasis Forum objected to the appointment of the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission and refused to nominate representatives to sit on the Commission because the committee was appointed under the Inquiries Act and section five of that said Act renders all the work of the Constitution Review Commission a mere recommendation which previous presidents in the Republic of Zambia have refused to act upon."
The petition stated that on the basis of President Mwanawasa's pleas to trust him, the Oasis Forum members submitted to the CRC in protest. The petition also stated that in its final report to President Mwanawasa, the CRC submitted that a new constitution should be adopted through a constituent assembly followed by a national referendum and that Parliament should enact a constitution.
"President Mwanawasa and his government have now recanted their earlier repeated assurances to abide by the recommendations of the Mung'omba Constitution Review Commission and have now introduced a bill called the National Constitutional Conference Bill which is intended to be passed into law within the month of August before the Zambian Parliament adjourns sine die," the petition stated.
The Oasis noted that the provisions of National Constitutional Conference (NCC) Bill placed control of the Constitutional Conference in the President and the Minister of Justice to the extent that under sections two and 13(2) of the Bill, the adoption process was envisaged as ending with a mere recommendation to the Minister of Justice.
They stated this situation flew in the teeth of international constitutional making norm.
"The experience of progressive governments in the region who have successfully held their constituent assemblies or constitutional conferences needs to be shared with your brother the President of the Republic of Zambia," stated the petition.
By Brighton Phiri
Saturday August 11, 2007 [04:00]
REFORM Party president Pastor Nevers Mumba has asked Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) leaders to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis conclusively when they meet in Lusaka next week. Speaking on QFM Radio Face the Media programme on Thursday, Pastor Mumba said Zimbabwe's crisis required urgent attention of SADC leaders' attention.
"I would like to see the Zimbabwe issue being attended to conclusively during the SADC summit," Pastor Mumba said.
He further asked the SADC leaders to discuss measures that would protect the region's resources from exploitation by foreigners. He said it was time the regional leaders discussed measures on how they could empower their own citizens.
"I would like to see Zambians become more important in the developmental process of our country," he said. "We may be poor but we are not stupid. I appeal to our leaders to do things on behalf of their people and Africa as a continent."
Pastor Mumba urged the SADC leaders to lead the process of integrating Africa into a united continental village.
He observed that the process of Africa's integration was not moving fast enough to meet the people's expectations.
"We definitely need to speed up the process. I would like to see the region with a focus and deadline on integration," he said. "SADC leaders must begin with the regional integration to give us confidence that our desire for a United States of Africa will be realised."
On the constitutional conference bill, Pastor Mumba said it was not too late for Zambians to shape it up to meet their aspiration. He said the bill was still open for correction, discussion, inclusion and changing so that it could be shaped in manner that would serve the interest of the people.
"As a party, we have met and decided that we shall make our submission to the parliamentary committee because we feel there are some recommendations that can compromise the integrity of the process," he said. "I urge everyone that we must find a away where we can be brutal with one another...Oasis Forum can be brutal with government and government can be brutal with Oasis Forum too, without none of them being intimidated by the other."
He asked government officials to desist from issuing threatening statements.
Friday, August 10, 2007
By Peter Mavunga
IN the pubs and clubs of London’s East End, I am often privy to some hot debates about Zimbabwe. Last week one such contest took place in the Hudson Bay where, because of frayed tempers, I took it upon myself to chair, if I could call it that, the debate between two hotly disputing protagonists.
Enter, in the red corner, my good friend, Joseph Jabangwe. He is a man whose ideas I respect immensely not only because he speaks good common sense, but also because he is fearless in debate and will say it like it really is.
But there is more. When I was in Zimbabwe recently, Joe introduced me to his sister, a genteel, mature lady whose gift of the gab was evident from the very moment our eyes met. Joe’s sister has really interesting fundamental beliefs.
She believes, for instance, that people should never give a child a derogatory or negative name like "Muroyiwa" or "Mahure" because the child will in turn live the reality and meaning of that name.
Give the child a positive name, she believes, and the child will most probably live a positive and rewarding life.
"I named my little brother, ‘Joseph’, so he could emulate the helpful, biblical ‘Joseph’," she explained to my amazement.
First, it was a revelation to know she named the man I had known for more than thirty years. Secondly, I was amazed how accurate she had been about Joe’s helpfulness. I have lost count of the number of people he helped in one way or another in the UK. But I digress. This story is not about Joe’s life but rather about a clash of his ideas pitted against those of an MDC supporter, in the blue corner, who preferred to be anonymous but whom I shall call Samson or Sam for short here. Like boxers the two fought it out with me as referee.
I have met Sam a few times before, a charming, energetic and friendly young man, but I know a lot less about him than I do about Joe. What I do know, though, is his strong anti-Zimbabwe Government passion. I know he hates Zanu-PF with a vengeance and when he opens his mouth in Joe’s presence, the conflict that arises is often palpable.
The first problem, therefore, was to get the men from the Blue and Red corners to listen to each other. They had much to say at the same time and I could not follow who was saying what. So my first task as self-imposed chairman was to get some semblance of order in this debate.
So it is Sam’s turn to speak and he asserts, first of all, that Zimbabwe is not under any sanctions since it can trade with anyone it chooses. Sam believes any sanctions imposed by the West were "targeted" against the leaders in the form of a travel ban.
Joe’s head is almost coming off at the hinges as he shakes it in disagreement. I detect a strain of disdain on his face, as he cannot believe he is hearing this from a Zimbabwean. But steady on, Joe, Sam is only expressing a view. Let him make his case without interruption!
Sam’s second point is that Zimbabwe’s current economic problems cannot and should not be linked to the country’s colonial history. The real problem is quite simply that the current crop of leaders are tired and have run out of ideas and they must go now.
I can see Joe is itching to come in but he respects my ruling as chairman that it is not his turn to speak yet. But he cannot help but squeeze in the point that those who have no respect for the collective wisdom of our leaders are not worth listening to.
But for now he will have to listen to Sam as I insist this debate has to be conducted in proper fashion. So Sam manages to state his third point, which is that inflation is only caused by mismanagement of the economy, irresponsible printing of money and this is itself fuelled by corruption in the ruling party.
I can see the alarm in Joe’s face, but he holds his peace, for now at least while Sam continues.
Sam proceeds to say there can never be any hope of an economic recovery as long as President Mugabe is in office. He says the real problem is the President because he is very difficult to remove from office (laughter). Any politician other than President Mugabe, he says, will be easy to remove from office.
Joe is appalled to hear this. This sounds like the politics of elimination. This is where the West and the MDC’s interest converge, where they personalise the country’s problems. This, he says, can never be right, he interjected. Regime change is too simplistic an answer manufactured by the West, Joe countered.
Sam is upset by the interruption and says somewhat rudely: "one fool at a time, please," I rebuke him gently. This is a serious debate that no one should put into disrepute, I charge. Sam is compliant and he proceeds to his fifth point that price cuts are no solution to the country’s problems. They will make things worse for ordinary people.
Retailers, he says, should be allowed to charge the market prices, that is whatever they think is the right price of the their products. It is better to have expensive goods than to have empty shelves, he asserts.
But Joe cannot contain his frustration. He interjects despite the chair’s protestations and demands to know why I allow him to spout such nonsense.
"To have expensive goods in the shops that ordinary people cannot afford is the work of oppressors. This benefits the rich who do not care what happens to the lot of ordinary Zimbabweans," he said.
"At least the Government is trying to champion the cause of ordinary people," said Joe rather sternly.
Sam simply could not buy it but he pressed ahead to make his final point. This was about the futility for any developing country to fight the West that has all the money. Those who fail to reach an accommodation with the West have themselves to blame and they have indeed failed as politicians and should go.
This did it for Joe. Without waiting for the chair to give him the floor, he was off. He took exception in particular to the idea that developing countries had to be subservient to the West in order to survive. Where is the independence, then, he asked?
Any solution to Zimbabwe’s problems, he said, had to take into account the history of the country. If we ignore the colonial past, the minority rule with its unjust and repressive laws against the majority we do so at our peril.
We cannot forget UDI, the abuse of power by the Smith regime during UDI and the intransigence of white settlers who forced black people go to war to free themselves. The liberation struggle was avoidable but only occurred because of the intransigence of a few whites bent on preserving their privileges come hell or high water.
"But that’s all history," interjected Sam. "People want food today and the shelves in the shops are empty."
But Joe was having none of that. He was in full flight.
We cannot forget that the war of liberation, the atrocities committed against our people during the war. Many Zimbabweans died for Zimbabwe; they died fighting against white oppression.
Today we cannot suddenly forget them and give in so that the same people who oppressed us to come back and do what they want.
We cannot forget, Joe continued, the Lancaster House agreement was a framework for democracy British style. We cannot forget the promises made there. We should not forget the policy of reconciliation and the good relations Zimbabwe enjoyed with the West between 1980 and 1998/99.
We should never forget above all how the UK reneged on the obligations it entered into under the Lancaster House agreement in the form of Claire Short’s letter to Minister Kumbirai Kangai, even though Zimbabwe had met its side of the bargain.
This, he said, was where our current problems began and any search for a lasting solution ought to begin with a clear understanding of this, the real great betrayal.
Construction of a biodiesel plant, expected to produce at least 300 000 litres of fuel per day using jatropha seeds, is progressing well, officials said on Wednesday. Finealt Engineering, a Government-owned company, is carrying out the project, which started in May last year.
Production managerMr Clement Shoriwa told New Ziana a variety of civil works, including water reticulation, and electricity installation, were being carried out.
"Our intention was to complete the project in July but have not been able to do so due to financial constraints," he said.
So far, he said, roads at the plant were now ready for compacting and tarring. Mr Shoriwa said the budget at the inception of the project in 2005 was $3 trillion, but had since ballooned, though he could not give the figure required now.
Construction of buildings, Mr Shoriwa said, would start once the civil works had been completed. The factory, to occupy 72 hectares, would accommodate an oil processing plant, seed storage plant, cake processing plant, oil storage tanks, diesel and methanol storage tanks.
Currently the company is producing between 200 and 250 litres of biodiesel per day for own consumption and for research purposes.
"We will go commercial once the factory has been completed," said Mr Shoriwa.
Apart from producing diesel, the company also produces by-products from jatropha such as soap, glycerine and fertilizer. Finealt started feasibility studies on the biodiesel project in 2005 while actual research commenced in 2006.
The company has been growing jatropha in Mashonaland East using different models involving commercial farmers, Government institutions, individuals and organisations whom it supplies with inputs.
The jatropha growing season commences between August and September, while harvesting takes place after one year for cuttings and two years for seeds.
"It is a viable project and Zimbabwe is lagging behind whereas other countries are now at advanced stages of producing biodiesel," Mr Shoriwa said.
He cited countries such as Brazil, China, Kenya, Germany and Malawi as leading in the production of biodiesel which is now generally recommended due to its environmental friendliness.
Finealt Engineering employs about 300 workers, excluding casual workers. — New Ziana.
Mash central tobacco farmers prepare for season
TOBACCO farmers in Mashonaland Central are preparing seed beds ahead of the next season, an Agricultural Research and Extension Services official said yesterday.
In an interview, Arex provincial tobacco specialist Mr Tinomuonga Hove said seedbed preparations were going according to plan in all parts of the province.
"Everyone has started preparing for the forthcoming tobacco season as transplanting is expected to start early September," Mr Hove said.
He said some farmers were using conventional seedbeds while others were using the new seedbed preparation method of float trays.
"Most of the seedlings are in good condition but I want to urge farmers to be careful with algae and pythium root rot which are common in the float bed system," he said. Mr Hove urged farmers to switch to float trays that make transplanting easy and reduce the risk of nematodes.
By Brighton Phiri
Friday August 10, 2007 [04:00]
OPPOSITION Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has accused some of his members of parliament of receiving money from ruling MMD to clear their car loans. In a letter dated July 31 2007 to former PF secretary general and Nchanga members of parliament Charles Chimumbwa, Sata stated that he was in possession of intelligence information that some PF members of parliament had received top-up money from MMD to clear their vehicles on a promise to deliver the opposition party to MMD.
"The party has in its possession actionable intelligence information that one or two members of parliament have received top-up money from MMD to clear their vehicles on a promise of delivering our party to MMD...we wish them good luck with their sponsors...we can assure them that we shall help them ukuloba ilyauma," read Sata's letter in part.
When contacted to disclose the names of some of his MPs, Sata who confirmed writing to Chimumbwa, said he could not expose the names because he did not want them to stop assisting in draining MMD’s financial resources.
“We know them...we will know when they enter State House because there are some PF members at State House...My fatherly advice to them is to ask them to learn from Gladys Nyirongo of Bwacha Constituency, Patrick Musonda of Kabwe Central, Nedson Nzowa of Kabushi and R. J. Banda of Petauke Central who left Heritage Party for MMD...where are they today?” he asked. “The only person who has survived is Sylvia Masebo because she belongs to the family tree.”
Sata said his party was aware that some PF members of parliament had been invited to State House to meet President Mwanawasa and some MMD officials. He said his party was aware that some MMD ministers were writing false letters to show that some PF members of parliament wanted to join MMD.
Sata said MMD had taken advantage of some PF members of parliament who had ordered vehicles without the finances to bridge the gap between the loan and the cost of the vehicles.
“So we are fully aware and we advise our MPs to chew MMD money as much as they can...only the foolish will do otherwise,” he said. “We know that some of our MPs want to buy that...Umuteba weshilu bakombola ilyo lipenene.”
And in his letter to Chimumbwa, Sata accused him of rushing to The Post to tell lies.
“Hon Chimumbwa, the cause of your failure in life has been that you overate yourself. Sometimes, I wonder although I appreciate that we all learnt English, it is not our mother’s language,” read Sata’s letter. “You are going around lying to those who care to listen to you that you have been accused of conducting a coup d’etat on the presidency. Coup d’etat means violent seizure of power from a government. Michael Sata is not a government, therefore, your misuse of English words tells all about who is Charles Mofu Chimumbwa.”
Sata reminded Chimumbwa that he was introduced to PF by Chishimba Kambwili and that all those that attempted to deliver PF to MMD had failed.
Sata informed Chimumbwa that he had instructed PF secretary general Edward Mumbi and members of the central committee to take all the party cadres he took to Zambia Centre for Interparty Dialogue (ZCID) to The Post and meet the reporter, whom he claimed was told lies by Chimumbwa.
“Please enjoy your benefits from your new discovered colleagues with honour,” Sata stated. “As a businessman, you are fully aware of specific performance. You undertook to deliver...please deliver, do not use me as a stumbling block. As a personal friend, I will do everything to protect and defend you, but remember that I do not own this party. I doubt if the central committee and the entire party shall continue tolerating your cantankerous behaviour. We are always with you wherever you are...we attend all your meetings regardless of whom you are meeting. Please keep it up...it is wrong to defend a person who does not need any defence.”
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday August 10, 2007 [04:00]
WE are not shaken by resignations, UPND president Hakainde Hichilema has said. Commenting on several resignations of UPND top leaders including Ngande Mwanajiti, Siacheye Madyankuku and some former parliamentarians, Hichilema said UPND was not only for Tongas but all Zambians.
“Nature has its own way of pruning people. Those seeking quick gain will fall off on the road side. UPND is not for Tongas, it’s for all Zambians. Individuals can express their opinions but that does not mean that is the position of all people. Tonga tribalism is not an issue,” Hichilema said. “I ask our people not to be shaken; we are not shaken by resignations.”
Hichilema said just after last year’s elections, most people were resigning from their political parties to join the MMD in order to benefit from the government. He said the struggle for economic emancipation was tough and required people to be committed.
“Human bodies will weaken but the spirit will continue fighting for economic emancipation in our great country. You remember during the colonial struggle a lot of freedom fighters died but the spirit continued and we gained our independence,” he said. “Even now the struggle for economic struggle is a hard one and our bodies will tire and weaken but the spirit should continue. I challenge Zambians that ‘let’s walk the long and tough road together to develop our country’.”
He said Zambia needed quality leadership that should not be based on quality not tribe or the region.
“Let’s take this great country forward,” Hichilema said. “Politics is community service. It’s hard work, it’s for people who are committed.”
Hichilema said he did not join politics for short term gain but to deliver services to Zambians.
On former UPND vice-president and ULP president Sakwiba Sikota’s comments that UPND was dying, Hichilema said Sikota was envious of the UPND.
“Sakwiba has to work on his ULP. Why is he commenting on UPND? It shows that he is envious of UPND,” said Hichilema on phone from Central Province where is conducting a campaign tour. “He has to get busy with his party. I’m also busy with the UPND.”
Friday August 10, 2007 [04:00]
We welcome the decision by the Oasis Forum and the Collaborative Group on the Constitution (CGC) to postpone their planned demonstration during the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) heads of state meeting in Lusaka next week.
This is an important meeting from which nothing should be subtracted. This is not to say the constitution-review process in this country is not a very important issue. It is. But we have a lot of other avenues in which to express ourselves on this score.
And that being the case, there is no need for us to carry out demonstrations whose net effect would be to reduce our focus on regional integration and other problems facing our region.
This is not in any way to say those who wanted to carry out demonstrations have no legal or moral right to do so. They have every right, legal, moral or otherwise, to do so. But sometimes one can act imprudently in pursuit of one’s legitimate rights or entitlements. It is possible for one to stick to principles but at the same time act unwisely and in a manner that may be detrimental to his or her own broader interests.
But while we welcome the decision by the Oasis Forum and the CGC to postpone their demonstrations, we feel the police did not deal with this matter in the right way. It was not proper for the police to take away the legal right of citizens to demonstrate without their consent. The reasons being advanced by the police for stopping the demonstration demonstrate a lack of respect for the rights of citizens and a total disregard for the law. The law, as it stands today under the public order Act, doesn’t require the police to give anyone permission to demonstrate. All that the law requires is for the person intending to demonstrate to notify the police. That is all. This means that if the police have a policing problem arising from a shortage of manpower or other factors, they will need to plead with that person or group and reach some understanding.
But what we see is arrogance, with the police thinking they have got the power to determine when and when not one can demonstrate. It is time we all moved away from arrogance and lack of respect for the rights of others. Humility and compassion is needed in very big doses if we are to maintain the peace we so much talk about.
We cannot play around with our citizens’ fundamental rights, especially the freedom of speech and expression which is the lifeblood of any democracy. To assemble and protest, to ensure justice for all – these all rely upon the unrestricted freedom of expression. Democracy is communication: People talking to one another about their common problems and forging a common destiny. Before people can govern themselves, they must be free to express themselves. Citizens in a democracy live with the conviction that through the open exchange of ideas and opinions, truth will eventually win out over falsehood, the values of others will be better understood, areas of compromise more clearly defined, and the path for progress opened. The greater the volume of such exchanges, the better.
And we should never forget that democracies rest upon the principle that the government exists to serve the people; the people do not exist to serve the government. In other words, the people are citizens of the democratic state, not its subjects. While the state protects the rights of citizens, in return, the citizens give the state their loyalty. Under an authoritarian system, on the other hand, the state, as an entity separate from the society, demands loyalty as service from its people without any reciprocal obligation to secure their consent for its actions,
The essence of democratic action is the active, freely chosen participation of its citizens in the public life of their community and nation. Without this broad, sustaining participation, democracy will begin to wither and become the preserve of a small, select number of groups and organisations. But with the active engagement of individuals across the spectrum of society, democracies can weather the inevitable economic and political storms that sweep over every society, without sacrificing the freedoms and rights that they are sworn to uphold.
A healthy democracy depends upon the continuing, informed participation of the broad range of its citizens. In short we can say democracy is a process, a way of living and working together. It is evolutionary, not static. It requires co-operation, compromise and tolerance among our citizens. Making it work is hard, not easy. Freedom means responsibility, not freedom from responsibility. Democracy embodies ideals of freedom and self-expression, but it is also clear-hide about human nature. It does not demand that citizens be universally virtuous, only that they will be responsible.
As theologian Reinhold Niebuhr said: “Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.”
Government protects inalienable rights, such as freedom of expression or of assembly or protest, through restraint, by limiting their own actions. Every state must have power to maintain order, but the rules and procedures by which it does that must not be arbitrary or subject to political manipulation by the state.
The decision by the Oasis Forum and the CGC demonstrate a high level of political maturity and a spirit of tolerance and compromise. We wish other groups could emulate that. Yes, we want peace in our country but we shouldn’t forget that peace is a fruit of honesty, truth and solidarity. Peace cannot be reduced to the mere absence of conflict; it is the tranquillity of order. And to guarantee peace in our country, all are called to maturity, tolerance and responsibility. Peace is for us both a gift and a project, and something that we must work to obtain. If peace is to be established permanently in our country, the primary requisite is to eradicate the cause of dissention between people. And the actions that lead to peace must be concrete and visible actions where the government has to show the way.
Peace requires that all parties respect each other and that all, in turn, recognise and respect the government as a legal institution. An authority is needed to guide the energies of all towards the common good and the government is the instrument by which people co-operate together in order to achieve the common good.
By Kabanda Chulu and Mutale Kapekele in Livingstone
Friday August 10, 2007 [04:00]
FORMER Mozambican President Joachim Chissano has observed that globalisation has brought growing inequality across and within nations. And Vice-President Rupiah Banda said despite the strong macroeconomic performance, African countries still faced a huge challenge of economic shocks as a result of globalisation.
Addressing the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) 2007 Southern Africa regional conference in Livingstone yesterday, Chissano said the majority of developing countries had continued to remain at the periphery of globalisation.
“Globalisation brings to developing countries risks, challenges but also opportunities such as greater access to developed countries’ markets and technology transfer, but it also brings growing inequality across and within nations. Another negative aspect of globalisation is that the majority of developing countries remain at its periphery and they are therefore failing to reap benefits while feeling the brunt of this powerful force,” Chissano said.
He said in the globalisation process Africa had suffered severely from the flight of human capital, which is commonly referred to as brain drain in poor countries and brain circulation in developed countries.
“Clearly the impact of globalisation is more felt on business and it is more visible in Southern Africa where the rather weak economic base featured by its countries makes them more dependant on extra-regional economies and thus more vulnerable to global shocks,” Chissano said. “And our inability to generate domestic savings forces our economies to rely on foreign capital flows for investment and our obsolete and less competitive technologies compel our countries to look for their pertinent replacement outside the region and our knowledge and business practices remain inadequate to the high speed the global economy is moving through.”
However, Chissano said that African economies could not move forward if they fail to take advantage of the opportunities offered by globalisation.
“I believe we can do it and we can put globalisation to the benefit of regional business and we can do it better under the following pre-conditions such as peace, stability and appropriate macro economic policies that simultaneously fulfill the role of promoting indigenous business and attract foreign investment,” said Chissano.
“But this must be compounded with strong political will to cooperate with one another and all of us must develop and defend a common agenda for development which goes beyond a mere economic growth.”
And Vice-President Banda said African countries have the huge challenge of remaining economically vigilant in the light of volatile oil prices and unpredictable weather.
“The main challenges we face are sustaining broad based economic growth and making further inroads in alleviating poverty reduction strategies.”
He said the economy of the continent could only improve by boosting macroeconomic activities and reducing the cost of doing business.
“This will entail persevering with macroeconomic stabilisation efforts, reducing the cost of doing business and continuing to address governance issues directly, including enhancing the legal framework and strengthening the transparency of natural resource management,” said Vice President Banda.
Thursday, August 09, 2007
President Levy Mwanawasa in 2006
President Mwanawasa has made fighting corruption a key policy
Zambia's President Levy Mwanawasa has suspended the head of the country's anti-drug unit for alleged abuse of office.
A presidential spokesman said Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) head Ryan Chitoba had been suspended to allow for a smooth investigation.
Mr Chitoba allegedly misappropriated funds recovered from criminals. He has not commented on the claims.
He is the latest senior official in Zambia to face charges of corruption.
A statement by Mr Mwanawasa's aide, John Musukuma, quoted the president in a letter to Mr Chitoba.
"To facilitate the completion of these allegations, or should it be decided to charge you in a court of law, I am suspending you from exercising your functions... with immediate effect," it said.
President Mwanawasa, who took office in 2002, has made the fight against corruption a key policy of his government.
Opposition parties, however, accuse him of not being firm enough on corruption in his own administration.
By Noel Sichalwe and Masuzyo Chakwe
Thursday August 09, 2007 [04:01]
POLICE in Lusaka has denied Oasis Forum and the Collaborative Group on the Constitution (CGC) permission to demonstrate over the constitution making process during next week's SADC heads of state summit in Lusaka.
Acting Lusaka division police commanding officer Kedrick Zombe has informed Oasis Forum that he had a shortage of officers to monitor the demonstration. Zombe has since proposed July 21, 2007 as an alternative day for the Oasis to hold the demonstration.
But Oasis Forum spokesperson Musa Mwenye yesterday said he sympathised with the police officers because they were acting under political pressure. Mwenye said Oasis Forum and CGC members were all law abiding citizens. He said he was happy that the police have finally given a response, unlike the ministers that were making political statements on the planned demonstrations.
"I don't know how genuine the police are in this response but I sympathise with them because they are acting under political pressure," he said.
He said demonstrations on August 21, could not be possible because that would be after the SADC summit which they were targeting. Mwenye said the Oasis Forum and the CGC would have a meeting where they would decide the way forward.
The Oasis Forum and CGC have planned a demonstration during the SADC heads of state summit to urge other regional leaders to help Zambia resolve the constitutional problem.
Last month, home affairs minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha said the Oasis Forum should leave the SADC heads of state alone. Foreign affairs minister Mundia Sikatana also said the constitution-making process was an internal issue that should be left to the Zambians.
Later chief government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti said the Oasis Forum and CGC were free to picket SADC heads of state, as long as they would abide by the law.
But justice minister George Kunda on Sunday said the Oasis Forum's planned demonstrations were unnecessary at present as the government was putting in place the National Constitutional Conference Bill to adopt the new constitution.
He said proponents and organisers of demonstrations, chaos and strikes would be held responsible for any damage to property, loss of life or lawlessness, which would occur during demonstrations.
Kunda said it was unfortunate that the Oasis Forum and "those bent on derailing the constitutional review process" intended to demonstrate against government during the SADC heads of state summit next week.
By Noel Sichalwe
Thursday August 09, 2007 [04:01]
LUSAKA businessman Matthew Mohan has been arrested for allegedly obtaining about US $110,000 by false pretences. Mohan, who is also InkTech managing director, has been arrested together with his lawyer Chongo Musonda, his financial manager Paulos Chilembo and secretary Sharon Phiri.
According to police sources, Mahon has been detained in police custody for the last two weeks while Musonda, Chilembo and Phiri were arrested last Friday.
Sources said Mohan was alleged to have obtained a loan of US $110,000 from First Alliance Bank in two separate amounts of US $80,000 and US $30,000. Mahon is said to have engaged Musonda to represent him and also witnessed the receipt of the money.
Police sources said Musonda has been jointly charged with Mohan on the basis that he appended his signature as a lawyer acting for his client when getting the money from the bank.
However, police sources have said they could not release the quartet on bond because there were instructions from State House.
"After Musonda's relatives persisted that they wanted a police bond since the charge was bailable, they were told that there were instructions from State House not to issue any bond," the source said.
According to sources, on July 15, 2007 police searched Musonda's house with a warrant indicating that they were looking for drugs, firearms, forged documents and date stamps. The source said police were looking for properties suspected to have been stolen. However, the police did not find anything relating to what was on the search warrant and ended up picking some documents that were remote to the matter they were dealing with.
The sources said at that time, Mohan had travelled to India on a private visit and police told Musonda, Chilembo and Phiri not to disclose anything relating to the investigations because they were
By Bivan Saluseki
Thursday August 09, 2007 [04:00]
FORMER president Frederick Chiluba has said his advice to President Mwanawasa over Dr Kenneth Kaunda was timely and born out of genuine concern. And Chiluba has asked the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) to deal with Task Force prosecutor Christopher Mundia whom he has accused of showing hatred and prejudice against him.
Speaking through his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba, Chiluba yesterday said his advice to President Mwanawasa on Dr Kaunda did not deserve unwarranted attacks.
Last week Mundia charged that Chiluba's hands were tainted with irregularities against Kaunda and advised him not to dare to advise President Mwanawasa on how he should deal with Dr Kaunda.
Mundia said Chiluba had no moral right to deceive Zambians when under his regime, Dr Kaunda was detained with many others, including army officers on allegations that they took part in the 'Solo' treason case when he was innocent. He said it was Chiluba's government that declared Dr Kaunda a stateless man apart from denying him his pension and other benefits as provided for the Constitution.
But Chiluba said his advice was born out of genuine concern. Chiluba advised President Mwanawasa to tone down on Dr Kaunda. This was after President Mwanawasa was reported to have referred to Dr Kaunda as a "chap" who was decampaigning MMD in foreign countries.
However, Chiluba yesterday said such kind of animosity from Mundia defeated the purpose of genuine advice. Chiluba, who is scheduled to return home this Saturday from South Africa where he is attending a medical review, said there was no shed of sense of humanity in Mundia's remarks.
"Many countries have found their former leaders useful," he said.
Chiluba said former leaders could be useful in terms of business roles or in charitable organisations. He said in discussing past presidents, people should know that former presidents were human too and prone to err.
"The nation will be promoting vindictiveness; just because Dr Kaunda treated Dr Chiluba this way, or Dr Chiluba treated Dr Kaunda this way therefore President Mwanawasa should treat Dr Chiluba or Dr Kaunda this way," he said.
Chiluba said that cycle needed to be broken.
"There should be mutual respect," he said. "Dr Chiluba should not be mistreated because he mistreated Dr Kaunda or Dr Kaunda should be mistreated because he mistreated Chiluba."
He said former presidents could still render advice.
"There is a view in certain circles that Dr Kaunda or Dr Chiluba should not or cannot advise President Mwanawasa on account of how they treated other people of the mistakes they made when they were Presidents; that they are ill qualified because of mistakes they made when in office," he said. "There are lessons learnt in life. There is valuable experience and insight that you learn from holding such a position."
Chiluba said he was concerned that Mundia who was a Task Force prosecutor was making such comments.
"He has shown open hatred and biasness yet he is carrying out portfolio of Task Force prosecutor," he said.
Chiluba said he found it difficult to understand why his genuine advice to President Mwanawasa could warrant such attacks from Mundia.
"His conduct betrays his position in the legal society," he said. "He is prosecutor for the Task Force. Christopher Mundia cannot be allowed to make the comments he made. LAZ should advise Christopher Mundia to stand down on ethical concerns because of his open hatred and wild remarks against the Chilubas."
Chiluba said Mundia should take a leaf from lawyer Mutembo Nchito.
"Despite the manner in which he carried his work, he never issued public statements. His battle ground was in court," he said.
Chiluba said Mundia should stand down because he had shown hatred against the same people he was prosecuting.
"He can't work professionally. He will work prejudiced," he said.
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a concept in green economics and welfare economics that has been suggested as a replacement metric for gross domestic product (GDP) as a metric of economic growth. Its advocates claim that it can more reliably distinguish worthwhile growth from uneconomic growth: almost all advocates of a GPI would accept that some economic growth is very harmful.
Ten men found guilty of treason for leading a secessionist rebellion in Namibia's Caprivi region have been sentenced to long prison terms. They were expelled from the courtroom before their sentences were handed down for shouting "Viva Caprivi". Seven of them received a 32 year jail sentence; the other three got 30 years. None of the accused recognised the court's authority, saying they were not Namibian. More than 100 other people are still in detention awaiting trial.
'Most serious crime'
The BBC's Frauke Jensen in the capital, Windhoek, says there was tight security at the packed courtroom for the sentencing. Judge John Manyarara said such long prison sentences were necessary. "High treason is one of the most serious crimes anybody can commit in today's world," he said. He had found the men guilty a week ago - some of going to Angola in 1998 to collect weapons then used in an attack in Caprivi region, the finger-shaped stretch of land north of Botswana.
In 1999, a police station, border post, the offices of the Namibia Broadcasting Corporation, a military base and a bank came under attack in Caprivi's main town of Katima Mulilo. Twelve people died in the rebellion, before it was crushed by the military. One person was found guilty of recruiting people for the Caprivi Liberation Army and others of trying to regroup and redeploy from 2001 onwards.
The men have the right to appeal, although this is unlikely as the men do not recognise the court's proceedings, our reporter says. They claim they were abducted from Botswana, where they were living in a refugee camp, to face trial in a country they do not recognise.
Our correspondent says there have been some human rights questions raised about the length of men's detention. But overall, she says, Namibians believe Caprivi to be part of Namibia and are likely to support the stiff sentences.
The person behind the secessionist movement, Mishake Muyongo, formerly a prominent politician in the country, has been living in exile in Denmark since the events of August 1999. The trial of the other 119 accused, which started in 2003, will continue in September.
Malawi's parliament is free to meet again after the Supreme Court of Appeal overturned an earlier injunction. On Sunday, opposition MPs were granted the injunction, apparently seeking to stall debate on the national budget. The order was overturned after the attorney general argued in court that parliament should be allowed to meet and approve the already-delayed budget.
The budget has been caught up in a political row over the defection of opposition MPs to the government side. Earlier this week, police raided the home of Judge Joseph Mwanyungwe, who issued the injunction barring the speaker of parliament from reconvening the house. United Democratic Front (UDF) MP Leonard Mangulama and independent MP Gerald Mponda obtained the injunction on Sunday. Opposition MPs have been refusing to discuss the budget unless MPs who switched to President Bingu wa Mutharika's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) are expelled.
News of the injunction prompted demonstrations in which people threw stones at the parliament building and barricaded the MPs inside for more than five hours. The current political impasse began in June, when the Supreme Court ruled that the speaker of parliament can expel MPs who switch parties. Most members of Mr Mutharika's party were elected on the ticket of the UDF, the former ruling party.
Mr Mutharika also won elections for the UDF, but left to set up the DPP, accusing UDF officials of blocking his anti-corruption drive. Analysts say should the speaker expel the floor-crossing MPs, it could take six months to organise all the by-elections which would ensue.
Wednesday August 08, 2007 [04:00]
It is certainly not desirable for the government to be subjected to demonstrations during the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) heads of state summit in Lusaka. No government would like to find itself in such a situation. Yet it is the way a government reacts to such demonstrations that clearly defines its character, its democratic credentials. Undemocratic governments would not accept or tolerate such demonstrations or any humiliation when hosting such an important gathering.
Few African governments would tolerate such demonstrations. But we see such demonstrations on our television screens in more democratic countries when they are hosting very important international meetings. We saw it in Gleneagles; we recently saw it in Heiligendamm. The British and German governments didn't stop the demonstrators who included not only their nationals but also others from other countries whom they had given visas to come and demonstrate.
If we had our way, we would rather have the disagreements resolved long before next week's meeting so that there are no demonstrations.
But there is nothing undemocratic in the decision by the Oasis Forum to carry out demonstrations during the SADC heads of sate meeting. It may be undesirable but certainly not undemocratic as justice minister George Kunda is trying to allege. And not everything that is undesirable can be said to be unlawful. What the Oasis Forum is trying to do may be undesirable, especially on the part of the government, but it is certainly not unlawful.
There is need for us to realise that human beings possess a variety of sometimes contradictory desires. People want safety, yet relish adventure; they aspire to individual freedom, yet demand social equality.
Democracy is no different, and it is important to recognise that many of these tensions, even paradoxes, are present in every democratic society. A central paradox exists between conflict and consensus. Democracy is in many ways nothing more than a set of rules for managing conflict.
At the same time, this conflict must be managed within certain limits and result in compromises, consensus or other agreements that all sides accept as legitimate. An overemphasis on one side of the equation can threaten the entire undertaking. If groups perceive democracy as nothing more than a forum in which they can press their demands, society can shatter from within. If those running government exert excessive pressure to achieve consensus, stifling the voices of the people, the nation can be crushed from above.
But there's no easy or single solution to this complex problem. What is needed is a lot of tolerance and a lot of balancing acts. This is so because democracy is not a machine that runs by itself once the proper principles and procedures are inserted. Building democracy in our country will therefore require the commitment of all its citizens who accept the inevitability of conflict as well as the necessity for tolerance.
And its important to recognise that many of the conflicts we will face in our efforts and endeavours to build a democratic country will not be between clear-cut "right" and "wrong", but between differing interpretations of democratic rights and social priorities.
These may not be easy questions, and the broad precepts of democracy may only provide guidelines for addressing and analysing these issues. It is for this reason that developing the culture of democracy is very important. Individuals and groups must be willing, at a minimum, to tolerate each other's differences, recognising that the other side has valid rights and a legitimate point of view.
And they should try to meet in a spirit of compromise and seek a specific solution to the problem. Consensus building is the essence of democratic action. We say this because it teaches interest groups to negotiate with others, to compromise and to work within the constitutional system. And by doing so, groups with differences learn how to argue peaceably, how to pursue their goals in a democratic manner and ultimately how to live in a world of diversity.
It is in this spirit that we should approach what appears to be a highly divisive constitution review agenda. As Chairman Mao Tse Tung put it, " let hundred schools of thought contend". Through clash and compromise of ideas, however imperfect, our people will be able to arrive at a constitution-review process that is most acceptable.
There is no need for the government to try to crush the Oasis Forum.
It may be an irritation to those in government, and to some of its leaders, a little prickle but they have every right to do what they are doing and to be what they are or want to be. The best way to deal with conflicts that arise from people's exercise of their democratic rights is through democratic methods; it’s by more and more doses of democracy. If the government is not able to reach some compromise, understanding or accommodation with the Oasis Forum, then the latter have every right to demonstrate or protest the government's approach on the constitution-review issue.
For all its deficiencies, our Constitution still has some democratic credentials because it does protect some fundamental freedoms. In our country, citizens have the right to gather peacefully and protest the policies or actions of their government or of other groups, with demonstrations, marches, petitions, boycotts, strikes and other forms of direct citizens’ action. And these protests or demonstrations are often designed to attract the attention of the news media, of those in government and of the international community. A high-profile meeting like the one we will be hosting next week certainly provides a good opportunity for attracting such attention.
Protests or demonstrations are a testing ground for any democracy. The ideals of free expression and citizen participation are easy to defend when everyone remains polite and in agreement on basic issues. But protestors or demonstrators - and their targets - do not agree on basic issues, and such disagreements may be passionate and angry.
The challenge then is one of balance: To defend the right to freedom of speech and assembly, while maintaining public order and countering attempts at intimidation or violence. To suppress peaceful protest or demonstration in the name of order is to invite repression; to permit uncontrolled violence or protests is to invite anarchy.
Again, there's no magic formula for achieving this balance. In the end, it depends on the commitment of the majority to maintaining the institutions of democracy and the precepts of individual rights. Democratic societies are capable of enduring the bitterest disagreement among its citizens - except for disagreement about the legitimacy of democracy itself. It is in this spirit that we feel we should approach the tension or conflict that is building up in the nation over the constitution-review process.
But still we feel there is a way that the conflict over the constitution-review process can be handled to avoid distracting attention from the other equally important and urgent issues facing our region, the SADC region. Demonstrations during this meeting will definitely be undesirable but certainly democratic and legal. And the only way to deal with something of this nature, something that is undesirable but democratic and legal, is by deploying democratic methods and not repressive or illegal measures.
By Noel Sichalwe
Wednesday August 08, 2007 [04:00]
OASIS Forum spokesperson Musa Mwenye yesterday said the government would not stop the civil society from demonstrating during the SADC heads of state summit in Lusaka next week. Mwenye was commenting on justice minister George Kunda’s statement that it was undemocratic for the Oasis Forum and their supporters to demand that their will prevail over the constitution review process. Mwenye said the demonstration would be conducted within the law and that they had followed the law to the letter.
“We intended to be absolutely peaceful and we have followed the law to the letter,” he said. “We gave our notification to the acting Lusaka commanding officer last week on Monday. We have not received any response up to now and by law they are obliged to at least five days before the planned demonstration which is today (yesterday).”
Mwenye said Oasis Forum and the Collaborative Group on the Constitution (CGC) have not broken any law and wondered why Kunda could threaten them instead of leaving such issues with the Minister of Home Affairs.
“The appropriate authority on these issues is the Lusaka Province acting commanding officer and the Minister of Homes Affairs. The statement by the justice minister is ultra vires of the public order Act unless he can confidently say that he is acting home affairs minister.”
He said Oasis Forum only gave a notification for the planned demonstration for Lusaka Province and that if people on the Copperbelt Province intended to join, the CGC would support them.
Mwenye said he had information that the labour movement and other interest groups were also planning a demonstration on the Copperbelt Province whom they would support.
“The Oasis Forum and the CGC can’t stop the other people from demonstration but they have to do it within the confines of the law,” Mwenye said.
And speaking on a Q-FM Radio programme discussing the constitution, Mwenye said the fact that Kunda was concerned about the planned demonstration was a compliment to Oasis Forum and CGC.
He said the Oasis Forum had organised marshals during the planned demonstration to control people so that the procession would be orderly.
“We are proceeding with the demonstration and nothing will stop us,” Mwenye vowed.
“We know a lot of things will happen but we will continue speaking for the will and aspirations of the people.”
Mwenye also said the National Constitutional Bill (NCC) should be withdrawn because it would not be relevant to the current constitution-review process.
He said some of the politicians in the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) were responsible for the mess in the 1996 constitution-review process and had no moral right to dictate the exercise.
Kunda on Sunday said the demonstrations were unnecessary then as government was putting in place the NCC to adopt the new constitution.
He stated that proponents and organisers of demonstrations, chaos and strikes would be held responsible for any damage to property, loss of life or lawlessness, which would occur during demonstrations.
Kunda stated that it was unfortunate that the Oasis Forum and “those bent on derailing the constitutional review process” intended to demonstrate against government during the SADC heads of state summit next week.
He stated that the intention of government, the ZCID and other stakeholders was to achieve a comprehensive review of the constitution in a less costly manner.
He said the NCC Bill had been presented to the National Assembly and other stakeholders could make submissions on the provisions of the Bill and make suggestions on how to improve it.
By Noel Sichalwe
Wednesday August 08, 2007 [04:00]
DRUG Enforcement Commission (DEC) Commissioner Ryan Chitoba was yesterday suspended to pave way for investigations into financial scandals at the institution. And Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) president Reuben Lifuka has welcomed the suspension of Chitoba but hoped that it would be extended to the deputy commissioner Jacob Koyi, who is also facing the same allegations.
Meanwhile, the ACC has concluded investigations into the abuse of authority of office allegations against Southern Province minister Joseph Mulyata. Secretary to the Cabinet Joshua Kanganja announced Chitoba’s suspension in a statement yesterday.
“The Secretary to the Cabinet, Dr Joshua L. Kanganja has announced that Mr Ryan Chitoba, Commissioner, Drug Enforcement Commission has been suspended with immediate effect in order to expedite the on-going investigations on alleged abuse of office against him by the Anti-Corruption Commission,” the statement read in part. “In the meantime, the Inspector General of Police Mr Ephraim Mateyo will oversee the operations of the Drug Enforcement Commission.”
And Lifuka said the suspension of Chitoba was an important development to the problems surrounding DEC.
“We have been asking for it for some time now and we would have made a lot of progress if they did so a long time ago,” Lifuka said. “But one thing we should be aware of is that the suspension of Chitoba is not an admission of guilt but meant to allow professional investigations.”
Lifuka hoped that DEC would stop the transfer of employees who might have been suspected to be whistle-blowers. He further hoped that the government had learnt a lesson not to take institutions like DEC for granted.
“It will, however, be an omission if Mr Chitoba is suspended without his deputy Mr Koyi. This is because they are both facing the same allegations. It would be appropriate that the two receive the same action,” Lifuka said.
Meanwhile former ACC director of operations Bradford Malumbe has said nothing could stop someone being investigated from stepping down unless there was something to hide.
Malumbe was commenting on the ACC investigations against Chitoba and Koyi for abuse of authority of office.
Featuring on Eye Ball to Eye Ball programme on Muvi TV on Monday night, Malumbe said any clean person could not fear to resign from the position to pave way for investigations.
“Unless you have something to hide when you are being investigated, there should be no problem in stepping down,” he said. “Maybe there should be something to be done before the authorities take a decision.”
Malumbe also said it was unfortunate the President Mwanawasa seemed to be the only one talking about corruption while other ministers were quiet.
“I think whoever is in government believes in the anti-corruption policy. If not, I am afraid they are just there for jobs,” he said.
Malumbe said in the previous government, there was no political will to fight corruption and that the ACC did not have adequate funding to conduct proper investigations.
“It used to pain me to find that in a month, we only had fuel money for three days and officers could therefore not go out there to do their work,” he said. “Things have changed now.”
The ACC is investigating Chitoba and his deputy Jacob Koyi for abuse of authority of office involving about K1 billion.
And sources have said that after concluding investigations in the Mulyata saga involving Lusaka businessman Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba popularly known as GBM, the docket has been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions, asking for consent to prosecute.
ACC director General Nixon Banda confirmed investigations against Mulyata. He said Mulyata was being investigated on allegations that he used his office to order the release of a Germin’s bus that was impounded by Road Development Agency (RDA) officers for overloading at Livingstone weighbridge before paying an admission of guilt fine.
When contacted yesterday to confirm the closure of investigations against Mulyata, Banda said he was not available for comment.
And Zambia Youths Association in the fight against corruption executive director Rickson Kanema expressed disappointment at the behaviour of Reverend Moses Lungu for his attempt to protect DEC commissioners because he was seeking employment from DEC.
Kanema said they supported the stance taken by Transparency International Zambia and the ACC in the investigations at DEC. He said Rev Lungu’s behaviour was contradicting his title.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Wednesday August 08, 2007 [04:00]
KABWATA member of parliament Given Lubinda has presented the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) amendment bill to Parliament which seeks to compel chiefs of defence forces, senior public officers and accounting officers to annually declare their assets, income and liabilities to the chief justice. According to the ACC amendment bill No. 14 of 2007, Lubinda stated that the bill would compel senior public officers and accounting staff in government, parastatal organisations and corporate bodies in which the government has financial interests and members of the Judiciary to make declarations of assets, income and liabilities to the Chief Justice and to the Judicial Complaints Authority annually and at the expiration of the engagement.
“The following further amendments are proposed to be made to the Anti-Corruption Commission Act to compel the Anti-Corruption Commission to verify declarations within 90 days of their being deposited to the Chief Justice or the Judicial Complaints Authority,” Lubinda stated.
“The Bill aims at the following; to contribute to the detection, prevention and punishment of corruption; to enhance public confidence in the institutions of government and officers; to provide a transparent environment in which citizens, including officers of government, parastatal organisations and body corporate in which government has stakes to engage in private business activities without fear of unwarranted suspicion and possible state harassment; and to inspire Zambian citizens and residents to get directly involved in the fight against corruption knowing that their representatives in the National Assembly are leading the crusade by formulating laws that enhance the fight.”
Lubinda stated that public officers from the rank of cashier and above in a public institution or parastatal organisation or a corporate body in which government has financial interest would be required to declare their assets. He stated that the law, once in place, would stop illicit acquisition of wealth.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
By Bob Sianjalika
GOVERNMENT has charged Sable Contractors for poor road works and is claiming damages over the failure to complete the Mporokoso-Senga Hill road (D20) in Northern Province. Works and Supply Minister, Kapembwa Simbao, who is inspecting roads in the province, said he was not happy with the work done and the pace at which the 80-kilometre stretch construction was being carried out.
Mr Simbao, who could not specify the amount in damage, also warned that the Government would not hesitate to terminate the contracts for those failing to do the work according to specifications and complete it within the specified period.
He openly said that he was not happy with Sable’s work on the road that was far from being completed.
The minister was mostly disappointed because the firm’s management had earlier told him that construction of the road had been completed and could not understand why Sable was failing to finish the road which was supposed to have been finished last April.
He said the road was of economic importance and would act as a short cut to Nakonde as people would not pass through Kasama but go direct to Nakonde.
“We don’t want to reach the extent of canceling the project because doing so will be more expensive. Therefore, we want Sable to be honest and live up to its words,” Mr Simbao said.
Mr Simbao, who was touring the road together with regional road engineer, Daniel Kawana, also challenged the local Roads Departments to take keen interest in ensuring that the road was completed on time.
“If you are not careful, this project will reach in the rainy season. In our view, you are still remaining with a lot of work and I hope you will keep your promise,” the visibly unhappy minister told the contractor’s site supervisor, Alam Manfuz.
In reply, Mr Manfuz told the minister that the contractor had remained with only three kilometres of bush clearing and once they finished, they would be able to speed up their work.
Mr Manfuz acknowledged the delay in the completion of the road but assured that more equipment would be brought on the site to finish the work.
Meanwhile, Mr Simbao directed regional road engineers to regularly inspect the roads and bridges in the province and make appropriate recommendation for repair works to be carried out.
By NKOLE CHITALA
ABOUT 20 local manufacturing companies have confirmed participation at a trade mission in Lubumbashi, Democratic Republic of Congo. Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the European Union Export Development Programme EDP II will coordinate the trade mission scheduled to take place from August 14-16. ZDA acting director general, Glyne Michelo, said that the trade mission would comprise companies pre identified into two groups of established exporters and those with export potential.
“We have received an overwhelming response from local companies, more than 20 well established manufacturing companies have already confirmed participation,’’ he said in an interview in Lusaka.
Mr Michelo said that the DRC was one of the largest markets for Non Traditional Exports in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the second largest market in the Southern Africa Development Community, hence the need for the trade mission. He cited increased export orders and identification of buyers of various products as some of the expected benefits from the trade mission.
He also explained that the event, will have an exhibition and a match making event, where Zambian companies will have, one on one meetings with buyers and discuss various products, price mechanisms and delivering means among others.
Mr Michelo also said that he was impressed with the number of companies that have participated in similar trade missions before, as they have been able to clinch export orders, which they have since maintained.
By CHIWOYU SINYANGWE
A CHINESE manufacturing company specialised in agriculture tractors, Benye Tractor Corporation, is to set up an assembly plant to serve the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) region. And Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister, Ben Kapita has urged the private sector in the country to take a lead in providing affordable and suitable equipment to the small scale farmers in the country to enable them graduate to commercial status.
Benye Tractor Corporation is a Chinese company that mainly specialises in Benye brand BY20-80 horsepower wheeled tractors.
S.K Agri Supplies Limited board chairman, Sebastian Kopulande revealed in Lusaka said that currently the company is focusing on going into partnership with the co-operative movements in the country at production, processing and marketing levels.
“In the near future, the Benye Tractor will be assembled in Zambia to serve the SADC region,” said Mr Kopulande whose company is the exclusive franchise of the products of Benye Tractor Corporation.
He was speaking during the official launch of S.K Agri Supplies Limited at the on-going 81st Agricultural and Commercial Show over the weekend.
The partnership between S.K Agri Supplies Limited and Benye Tractor Corporation had been financed with lease finance from Stanbic Bank Zambia Limited.
Mr Kopulande who is also chairperson of the Zambia-China Business Association said the co-operative movement was the anchor of the future of agriculture in Zambia and therefore needed support from both the private sector and Government.
At the same occasion, Mr Kapita called for strengthening of public private sector in the country to increase productivity among small-scale farmers. Mr Kapita said there was need for the private sector in the country to provide small and affordable tractors and other farming equipment to small-scale farmers.
“Farmers are tired of ‘Kambwili’, hand hole, in tiling the land. The hand hole is not only strenuous and very limiting in terms of expansion of hectarage under cultivation,”
“It is my hope that companies such as S.K Agri Supplies Limited will play a leading role in supplying small but affordable tractors to small scale farmers,” Mr Kapita said.
Among the equipment that S.K Agri Supplies Limited would supply include tractors and implements, irrigation equipment, agro processing equipment, and power generation equipment.
Others are land preparation equipments, farm transport and forklifts, motorcycles and bicycles.
By Joan Chirwa
Tuesday August 07, 2007 [04:00]
ECONOMICS Asso-ciation of Zambia (EAZ) secretary Chibamba Kanyama has called for adequate participation of various stakeholders in the adoption of the new mining policy currently under discussion. Commenting on the draft mining policy that seeks to replace the 1995 piece of legislation, Kanyama said there were a number of interested parties in the operations of the mining industry, hence the need for more participation by all key stakeholders in the review process.
“This process should incorporate all key stakeholders. We have got various registered institutions that represent various groups. We have got the business organisations such as the EAZ, civil society groups and the farmers union,” Kanyama said. “There are so many interested parties including civil society groups who represent a wider spectrum of the Zambian populace. The other important thing to note is to avoid making any commitment especially when we know the consequences such commitments will have on our future generations.”
The government, through the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, has come up with a draft policy for the sector that proposes a number of changes in the operations of the mining industry.
According to the draft mining policy, which seeks to replace the one of 1995 that was anchored on attracting investors into the mines as the country privatised the industry; any fiscal provisions in any agreement will be subject to public scrutiny and be gazetted before taking effect.
The draft policy states that all development agreements signed with investors would be subjected to public scrutiny and must be ratified by the National Assembly before taking effect.
Other proposed changes in the draft policy are that the country shall not offer tax holidays in the mining sector but instead develop a friendly tax regime for mining investment.
And Kanyama advised the government to be consistent in the implementation of new policies, taking into account long-term national documents such as the Vision 2030.
“We don’t want posterity to judge us harshly. It is a good thing to have a new mining policy although it has come quite late when numerous investments have already taken place,” Kanyama said.
“The question now is what we are going to do with the development agreements signed under the 1995 policy. While we are discussing the new policy, it is important now that all the existing development agreements are declared null and void and these must be re-negotiated in line with the new policy.”
Under the current policy, the government has the prerogative of negotiating development agreements with investors and giving them any incentives deemed necessary to enhance the investment's viability without seeking Parliamentary approval.
Other proposals include facilitation of indigenous Zambians' participation in mining ventures, which will be guided by the recently-enacted citizen’s economic empowerment Act.
By Joan Chirwa
Tuesday August 07, 2007 [04:01]
Botswana’s President Festus Mogae, who graced this year’s 81st agricultural and commercial show which ended yesterday, said Zambia and Botswana had the biggest challenge of turning their vast natural resources into wealth. And Zambia Agricultural and Commercial Show Society president William Saunders has said the implementation of the recently enacted Citizens’ Economic Empowerment (CEE) Act was the most difficult task for the government.
During his official address to the show, President Mogae said the immediate challenge of the two countries was the fight against poverty and under-development.
“For countries that are richly endowed with natural resources such as Zambia and Botswana, the challenge is also how to turn that blessing of abundant natural resources in to tangible benefits for our people,” President Mogae said. “I therefore find the show’s theme of ‘Economic Empowerment’ to be most appropriate.”
President Mogae further indicated that his country has joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) that seeks to promote transparency among countries rich in natural resources such as minerals.
Zambia is yet to join the EITI, an institution that seeks to resolve one of the most striking paradoxes of the African continent where countries with vast natural wealth are among the poorest in the world.
“We have nothing to hide. That is why our countries have readily submitted to rigorous checks as under the Kimberly Process with respect to the sale of diamonds. Botswana has also joined the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative to assure the world that its resources are for development and the economic empowerment of its citizens,” Mogae said.
He further said Botswana and Zambia should be proud of the successful eradication of tsetse flies along the border areas.
“Our 2006 aerial spraying on Botswana side also covered a small portion of about 200 square kilometers of Western Zambia. We are of course fully aware that the destructive tsetse flies do not respect political boundaries. Botswana stands ready to co-operate further with Zambia in its eradication efforts,” said Mogae.
The Agricultural and Commercial Show is an annual event that sums up activities of the district and provincial agricultural shows held usually after each harvest period across the country.
There has been an enormous growth recorded in the agriculture sector over the past few years, with the industry generating between 18 to 20 per cent of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
And Saunders in his address to the just ended 81st Agricultural and Commercial Show themed ‘Economic Empowerment’, noted that the legislation of the CEE Act was not as tasking as the implementation of the legal document.
“Legislation of the empowerment Act was the easy part, the hard part is ensuring that empowerment truly empowers the grass roots of our society and this requires a commitment from us all. But it must be workable in a natural way-that is to say all successful development occurs because it is easy to embrace by us all, it is not forced upon any of the participants at any stage,” Saunders said.
‘This is a challenge to us all. I am extremely honoured that the President of Botswana is gracing us with his presence to officially open the show. Since independence in 1966, Botswana has transformed from a near-subsistence economy into one of the wealthiest and fastest growing countries in Africa.”
Saunders further said the discovery of mineral resources and the growing livestock sector accounted the large portion of Botswana’s exports.
“Although the agriculture sector now accounts for less than five per cent of your total exports, it is an important source of employment in your country. All these achievements made by Botswana cannot come on a silver plate, but are a result of sound economic management by the people of that country,” Saunders said.
“I have no doubt you (President Mogae) have a deep understanding about the economic turmoil Zambia has gone through but also that you would recognise the benefits are ultimately greater than pain.”
Zambia’s President Levy Mwanawasa who also attended the show said: “I hope that this show will contribute to the regional economic integration especially that the number of foreign exhibitors has increased. The show will help boost business opportunities and thereby contributing to regional economic integration.”
By Joan Chirwa
Tuesday August 07, 2007 [04:00]
TRANSPARENCY International Zambia executive director Goodwell Lungu has advised the government to put in place transparent systems that would promote the economic empowerment of citizens. And Lungu has called for the adequate prevention of financial irregularities as reported by the Auditor General’s reports.
In an interview at the just ended 81st Agricultural and Commercial Show in Lusaka, Lungu said there could not be meaningful economic empowerment without creating transparent systems at every level of government operations.
He was commenting on the theme for this year’s agricultural show which focused on the people’s economic empowerment.
“We should look at the promotion of transparent and accountable systems which is the route to economic empowerment. We have observed that quite a number of systems are not transparent and they are hindering the economic empowerment of our people,” Lungu said.
“Once these systems are taken care of, citizens will definitely start getting the benefits of economic empowerment.”
And Lungu said there was need to put in place strict measures that could prevent the misuse of public resources by public workers.
He said the trend of having unaccounted-for money by different ministries was hindering the economic empowerment of citizens in the country.
“The situation has not been arrested despite irregularities being highlighted by the Auditor General year-in-year-out. Government should find ways and means of preventing such occurrences,” Lungu said. “For example, the Ministry of Works and Supply is said to have a lot of contracts that were not completed at the end of 2005. The ministry went beyond in paying contractors by about a billion kwacha. This creates a hindrance to economic development because we still have bad roads and in some areas, there are no bridges.”
Lungu further said good and adequate infrastructure was a critical component to economic development.
“The bad infrastructure we have is as a result of money going to waste. The Ministry of Works said the reason for such irregularities is because the Ministry of Finance is not able to release money on time, hence the contractors are surcharging the ministry,” Lungu said. “It is therefore important to have adequate funding in the budget and quick disbursement of funds to avoid over-payment of these contractors.”
Tuesday August 07, 2007 [04:00]
It is now manifestly clear that the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill will remain a pipedream for as long as politicians remain as lawmakers on behalf of our people. For the FOI to become law, members of parliament will have to enact that. However, it seems to us that these members of parliament who are supposed to be representatives of our people do not actually represent the people that gave them authority to sit in the National Assembly on their behalf.
We do not think it will be an exaggeration for us to say that three quarters of the time, these members of parliament either represent their own interests or those of their various political parties. They do not represent genuine people’s interests.
We have no difficulties understanding why this is the state of affairs. Politicians are always pre-occupied with self-preservation. That is why it has been difficult for us as a country to make progress in the media law reforms because these politicians are well aware of the influential role the media can play in the enhancement and promotion of democracy and good governance.
Politicians from both the ruling and opposition political parties have, for a long time now, been dragging their feet in ensuring that the FOI materialises into law. That is why at every turn, these politicians do not restrain themselves from misleading members of the public that FOI is meant to benefit journalists alone. We have said many times before that this law is designed to give journalists and members of the general public access to information that is unnecessarily shielded or hidden by those in authority for selfish reasons.
FOI is not designed to give journalists excess power in seeking information. It is not even exclusive to the media personnel. It is meant to enable anyone seeking that information from government ministries and departments, or indeed any other public institution to do so without being blocked. And this information is not necessarily for the purpose of media use.
But because politicians are sometimes even afraid of their own shadows, they have always opposed the enactment of FOI because they think they can one day become victims of the new law when the media digs deeper into some of their activities. So they want to insulate themselves from such possibilities by making sure that the FOI does not come into existence. That’s why our politicians are everyday coming up with all sorts of compromising conditions if the FOI is to be turned into law.
It is not surprising, therefore, that even Michael Sata who is very familiar with the operations of the media can today champion a vanity cause that the FOI should not only allow journalists access to information but should also oblige them to disclose their sources of information. This is where the difference is between the media practitioners who are pushing for the FOI and the politicians who are to enact it.
The media people, realising that they are not the only beneficiaries of this law, want to look at a bigger picture for the benefit of the public. But our politicians are looking at how they will be affected personally, without looking at the general public good that this law will bring to bear on our society.
Because some coward Patriotic Front member of parliament went on Yatsani Radio to castigate his dictatorial tendencies, real or perceived, without disclosing his names, Sata suddenly feels that journalists should be compelled by law to disclose their sources of information. In saying this, Sata is only guided by his personal interest in the matter. He is oblivious, unconscious or insensible to the ethical requirement that journalists should not disclose their sources of information when there is need to do so.
As a result of personal interest, Sata has forgotten that on a number of occasions, he has given us information off the record. Is he now saying that each time he gives us such information, it will be all right for anyone to use the law to compel us to disclose that it was in fact him who gave us the information? If it is normal that every source of information should be known, why does Sata sometimes prefer to speak off the record?
It is true that our ethics as journalists do not allow us to disclose certain sources of information, especially if doing so might endanger their lives or even jobs. But there is an exception to every rule. This ethical requirement was made in good faith. It is meant to protect genuine news sources releasing information in the interest of the public and for public good. Sources who want to malign other people whilst hiding behind this ethical requirement are not to be supported. Sources who want to tell lies about other people whilst hiding behind this ethical requirement are not to be protected.
And we demonstrated this exception to the rule sometime last year when we exposed this same Sata as the man who gave us a forged letter alleging something against President Levy Mwanawasa. We did this because we realised that Sata must have known that the letter was forged at the time he was passing it to us. So we went against our ethical requirement just to demonstrate that wrongdoers are not to be protected under this noble ethical requirement seeking to protect genuine sources of information. Of course, we also acknowledged our own share of the blame in this because there was a lapse in our verification process.
We are saying all this just to illustrate that most of the fears expressed by our politicians concerning media law reforms are irrational. It is said that freedom comes with responsibility. We do not think that journalists, or indeed other people, would want to abuse their freedom.
But when that abuse occurs, as it is likely to be sometimes since we are all imperfect, there should be a way to deal with that. When all the law compels journalists to disclose their sources of information, then we are likely to experience a ‘draught’ of news because all sources will be endangered.
If today we report, using our sources, that a Zimbabwean top cop was shot dead at Lusaka’s Pamodzi Hotel when the Inspector General of Police is saying that the police officer died of natural causes, what will stop the Inspector General of Police from using the law to compel us to disclose our sources so that he can victimise them for saying the truth?
These are the issues that Sata and many others who say things without deep reflection should look at before they attempt to mislead the public. We have a country to serve, not individuals and their selfish agendas.
By Noel Sichalwe and Brighton Phiri
Tuesday August 07, 2007 [04:00]
THE Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) on Saturday sought services of the Zambia Army to forcefully transfer to various provinces officers suspected to be whistle blowers in the financial scandals at the institution. And Patriotic Front president Michael Sata yesterday declared that he would continue attacking President Mwanawasa's family tree until Chitoba was suspended.
On Saturday night, four armed military officers forced their way into unsuspected DEC officers who have been issued with letters of transfer to physically help them pack and leave to their various areas of posting.
The soldiers clad in military uniform using a military truck started their assignment with Justine Phiri around 03:00 hours on Saturday and ordered him to start packing without prior notice.
Sources said Phiri's wife, who works for Madison Insurance, protested against the forced transfer but the soldiers forced her husband to go.
"Mr Phiri just packed clothes in a small bag and that is how he left," the sources said.
Afterwards, the soldiers went to Clement Mweupe around 04:00 hours whom they approached unexpectedly and told him to pack and go.
The sources said Mweupe tried to resist the impromptu move but the soldiers even assisted him to pack so that they could start off. "You know this is the officer whose wife works for the judiciary and they were forced to go without informing her employers," the sources said.
The sources said some of the DEC officers who were transferred could not even find accommodation and were only squatting with well-wishers. Both Phiri and Mweupe have been transferred to Mansa.
Among those transferred is Jacqueline Chisi who has been taken from headquarters to Solwezi. Chisi was also demoted by seven ranks from that of senior human resource personnel to a clerk, and Trevor Malambo, assistant commissioner who has been transferred to Ndola. Others are Mercy Lungwane, an assistant investigations officer who has been transferred to Mpulungu, Patson Chiwala, a senior investigations officer and his wife Hope Chiwala, an investigations officer who have been posted to Kabompo while Mable Lumbwe, a clerk officer has been posted to Kasama.
Bridget Kafwimbi, an investigations officer has been taken to Kasempa, Chansa Chibwe, a senior investigations officer has been transferred to Kabwe, Justine Phiri, a senior investigations officer has been posted to Mansa and Anice Luwi, an assistant investigations officer has been posted to Mpulungu.
The ACC is investigating Chitoba and his deputy Jacob Koyi for abuse of authority of office involving about K1 billion.
And reacting to Lamba speaking people's spokesperson Jobb Shamfuti's threats that the Lambas would deal with him in a manner befitting his venomous attacks, Sata said Shamfuti was the wrong person to speak on behalf of the Lamba people because he belonged to President Mwanawasa's family tree.
"I will not fold my hands until Chitoba faces the law just like Gladys Nyirongo and Frighton Sichone, who were fired to pave way for investigations over allegations levelled against them. I am ready for them," Sata said.
"I am not talking about the Lamba speaking people, but members of Mwanawasa's family tree who are over protected against prosecution. Shamfuti should not try to shield Chitoba from prosecution using the Lamba speaking people. When Chitoba and Shamfuti are waxing in fat, they forget they are Lambas but when trouble gets close to them they want to hide in the tribe."
Sata said the Lambas and Lenjes were suffering like any other Zambian, through the high cost of living, poverty, and lack of drugs in health institutions among others. Sata said Shamfuti's statement was a deliberate ploy by members of the Mwanawasa family tree to mislead the nation that he was attacking the tribe.
"I have no intention of attacking the tribe because we are all wallowing in poverty," Sata said. Sata asked State House to challenge his statements that there were members of the Mwanawasa family tree at government, party and diplomatic levels.
He also challenged Chitoba and Shamfuti to deny being related to President Mwanawasa. Sata reminded Shamfuti that the corrupt allegations levelled against Chitoba were not about the Lamba and Lenje speaking people but two individuals in DEC.
"What I expected from Shamfuti was to deny that Chitoba does not belong to the family tree. State House has not said anything, it is quiet," he said. "Chitoba should be reminded that I will not wait for Shamfuti to come and sort me out before he faces the law."