By Vincent Syanungu
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
The state of our nation is a crisis. Only about 14 per cent are feeling the effects of this so-called economic development and these are the only people driving the economy. About 86 per cent of Zambians are impoverished and the government does not have any policies or plans to help reach the poor in the country.
The new deal government is focusing too much on economic development like reducing inflation rate to 5 per cent and increasing GDP to 7 per cent but they are not addressing the real issues affecting the poor people.
The government should come up with strategic plans to integrate the poor in the development of our country.
Neglecting of poor people has led to loss of trust and confidence in the current government.
The government should understand that what is dragging our economy backwards is the biggest base of poor people. I urge the President to help the poor like those from Mazyopa compound.
Chinese global trade
By Dr Chewe Chabatama USA
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
I have been following the debate raging on the Chinese investors in Zambia, and it appears Zambians have not been following the debate on the shifting Chinese global trade activities from the developed world to the poor nations in Africa such as Zambia.
There has been ongoing interest in the US on why China has suddenly decided to shift to Africa. And this is an area I feel Zambians and Africans should try to come to grips with, not name-calling, insults and intimidation from Mpombo.
Why has China suddenly become Africa-friendly in trade? The Zambian government and other African governments are supposed to ask themselves this question and find an answer. We have "experts" in the Zambian government who are well paid to monitor things of this nature. But given the mediocrity of our Zambian and African politicians, they cannot discern this. And if they knew, they would not want to talk about it because they do not care about the welfare of the people they govern. Their newfound pampered lifestyle and their gratuity matter more than people's welfare.
The reason China has suddenly become Africa and Zambia-friendly is simple. China wants to create a new market for its products in Africa. China is quickly losing its American market as most products from China, especially food and toys have been declared dangerous in the US.
Right now toys from China are being removed from shelves in the shops because they are a danger to the health of American children. Last month a Chinese owner of one of the companies that makes the toys, which have been removed from shelves, committed suicide because of the losses he anticipated.
Some states in the US have actually declared that they will inform the Chinese manufacturers to start labelling their products very conspicuously so that buyers can make their choice whether to buy them or not.
Other states in the USA have declared they will not allow Chinese products in their shops. We Zambians must know what is good and what is not good for us. We cannot accept anything from outside just because we are poor. That is outrageous. I want us Zambians to start charting our destiny.
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
The conviction of former Zambia National Service (ZNS) commander Lt Gen Wilford Funjika is a strong message to plunderers and other criminal elements in society, who think they can defeat the cause of justice with all sorts of tricks and clever schemes. For a long time, these characters who have been accused of plunder of our national resources have refused to admit doing anything wrong and have been fighting to frustrate the cause of justice using various tricks, including delaying tactics. They want to retain the benefits of their ill-gotten wealth and have accused their accusers of persecuting them.
We have always said that evil cannot triumph over good. And the truth will always come out, no matter how long it is delayed. After that judgment by Ndola High Court Deputy Registrar Jones Chinyama, can Lt Gen Funjika and all those that condone corruption today stand up and cry that the Task Force is persecuting him?
It is said that the riches one gets through dishonesty do not take time to disappear. And before they disappear, they lead such a one into the jaws of misery and tragedy, like Lt Gen Funjika has today been led to prison, although his ill-health has saved him, for the corrupt activities he engaged in during the time he served as ZNS commander.
The Bible in Ecclesiastes states that there is time for everything. Lt Gen Funjika, like many others who during Frederick Chiluba’s time involved themselves in the banditry and looting of public coffers, accumulated thousands of British Pounds and US dollars as kick-backs for the contracts he corruptly offered his friends without following tender procedures. Now, it is time for them to account for their banditry.
It should always be remembered that anything that comes from evil and injustice does not last. The wealth that these plunderers accumulated is slowly evaporating.
A lot of their ill-gotten properties and other assets, including liquid cash in hundreds of millions of kwacha, have been confiscated by the Task Force on Corruption. Some people who have so far been convicted for corruption have forfeited their property to the state.
Only this week, Lt Gen Funjika was ordered to pay the state 15,000 British Pounds, which his children received as benefits from some company as a result of his corrupt activities.
These are good developments for those well-meaning Zambians who detest corruption and would like to fight it at any cost. Corruption must be denounced in the strongest terms possible because it is evil and a heavy tax on the poor.
And when justice is done, when corruption is fought, good people are very happy; they celebrate. But the evil and wicked people are brought to despair and desolation, so they want to deceive our people that this fight against corruption is not important and will not yield the desired results.
They want to make our people believe that corruption, and its related offshoots of pilferage of public resources, has always existed, exists today and will continue to exist tomorrow. They want our people not to be on guard, not to be vigilant.
They say people fighting against corruption are doing so for political expedience because they are not genuine about it. Yes, this may be correct in some cases.
But doing something about this cancer, which is daily eating into the fabric of our society, is better than doing nothing about it. Today, many civil servants are scared by the mere mention of Task Force or their realisation that it is in existence.
We would like to believe that many of our civil servants and public service workers have been forced to avoid corrupt activities simply for the fear of being visited and paraded in court by the Task Force.
This is not to say all is well in the Task Force. The Task Force has its own difficulties and challenges but the work it is doing for the nation is great and commendable.
That is why it will be wrong to put together its objectives and failures. Doing this will be like one pointing to the stars or the moon and all that other people can see is his finger-tip.
What we are saying is that no one should be allowed to mislead our people into focusing on the incorrect or insignificant part of the matter and miss the most important part.
There are also lessons for President Levy Mwanawasa and his officials in government to learn from what is happening today in as far as corruption is concerned.
It should be realised that the bells tolling for Chiluba and his former officials today can toll for Levy and his colleagues if they do not avoid the looting and banditry that characterised Chiluba’s regime.
Let the past mistakes be known and let us ensure that these mistakes are not repeated today or in future because this is the essence of learning history. Nelson Mandela says, “the past is a rich resource on which we can draw in order to make decisions for the future”.
He also says that the purpose of studying history is not to deride human action, nor to weep over it or to hate it, but to understand it and then to learn from it as we contemplate the future.
Labels: CORRUPTION, ZNS
Treasury reclaims N/Western’s poverty reduction funds
By Mulimbi Mulaliki in Solwezi
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
CATHOLIC Commiss-ion for Justice and Peace (CCJP) Caritas Solwezi Diocese Coordinator Frederick Nabanda has expressed concern over the failure by the North Western Province administration to utilise K5 billion poverty reduction funds. The treasury has since withdrawn the funds. Nabanda said the K5 billion had been lying idle in commercial banks since it was sent to the province early this year after the budget was approved by Parliament .
“This money was supposed to be utilised by strategic ministries like health, agriculture, education to improve social infrastructure as a way of reducing poverty and, unfortunately, up to October this year, not even a ngwee has been spent,” Nabanda said.
Nabanda disclosed that the treasury had since reclaimed the K5 billion because it had not been put to use.
“What is really causing concern is that the province has no capacity to work towards reducing poverty. They have failed to use the money, indicating that there is no poverty in the province which I see clearly but this shows that they have no interest of people,” he said.
Nabanda explained that social infrastructure in the province was in a state of disrepair be it with schools, feeder roads and health centres in rural areas, which were damaged by heavy rains last year.
He said such infrastructure had not been worked on, and wondered as why the provincial administration could not release the money to address the problems.
“I took up the matter with North Western Province Deputy Permanent Secretary Nkolola Hazemba to register my displeasure and to inquire as to the reason why they could not utilise the K5 billion,” he said.
Nabanda explained that what he discovered was that there was no commitment on the part of civil servants and the tender committee never sat to award tenders.
“Do we expect to get more funding next year as a province for poverty reduction when we have failed to utilise K5 billion? Having failed to use the money clearly indicates that the State can’t give us funds for the same purpose of reducing poverty and if they do they will give us much less (amounts),” he said.
Nabanda urged the incoming permanent secretary Jaston Mulando to liaise with Secretary to the Treasury Evans Chibiliti to send the money back so that it could be used.
“As a leader who is there to ensure that there is social justice, this is clear injustice because people have been denied social infrastructure and I demand that the culprits are brought to book,” Nabanda said.
Labels: CARITAS, CCJP, NORTHWESTERN PROVINCE, PRFs
Extend to rural areas, Choma DC urges mobile phone providers
By Charles Mangwato in Choma
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
ACTING Choma district commissioner Mungoni Simulilika has appealed to mobile telephone service providers to extend their services to rural areas for peasants to benefit from new farming innovations being disseminated through cellular phones.
Simulilika was speaking in Choma on Thursday when he launched the CropServe SMS facility for Southern Province which would enable farmers in rural areas to receive agricultural information by sending text messages to 47777.
He regretted that in some rural areas where farmers had access to the networks, they had to either climb trees or ant -hills to communicate.
"This is not good enough; I challenge CellZ, Celtel and MTN to reach out to the rural farmers and provide the service," he said.
Simulilika said with CropServe, the onus was now on mobile phone service providers to enhance good coverage.
He challenged farmers to utilise the SMS facility to get the information they required on farming.
And CropServe Zambia chief executive officer Lytton Zulu said the new SMS facility, which is being piloted in Southern Province, was targeting small-scale farmers.
Zulu said CropServe, which has traditionally been a provider of farming inputs to farmers, would now provide back-up services to farmers through the SMS facility.
Meanwhile, Simulilika warned farmers in Choma to be wary of fake non-governmental organisations going round villages, asking them to pay membership fees for them to access inputs.
He also cautioned the farmers against buying fake seed that had flooded the market.
He said some non-governmental organisations were masquerading as input providers in order to swindle farmers.
He said most farmers had in the past been swindled out of their hard-earned money by the fake organisations that disappeared after getting membership fees from unsuspecting farmers.
Labels: FARMERS, ICT, NGOs
Explain capturing of animals, chief Shakumbila urges ZAWA
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
CHIEF Shakumbila of Mumbwa district has demanded that Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) management explains why its officers captured more the than 60 animals from the Blue Lagoon National Park. Recently, ZAWA officers captured more than 60 Zebras from the park without the knowledge of the community and chiefs.
In an interview, chief Shakumbila said it was disheartening that ZAWA had ignored community demands to explain the reasons behind the capture of the animals.
Chief Shakumbila said despite writing to ZAWA director Dr Lewis Saiwana on several occasions, no explanation had been given.
“This silence had raised a lot of suspicion among the community and chiefs. The community was not informed about the capture of these animals. We just saw trucks getting into the national park and later out filled with zebras. At first I thought its officials would get back to me and the community to explain on the development but up to date nothing has happened,” chief Shakumbila said.
He reminded ZAWA that wild animals did not belong to the authority but were for the Zambian people and it would be important to be transparent in their management.
“If ZAWA sold the animals, it would be important to tell the nation the truth. And also the community should be given a percentage from what has been realised. This is in line with ZAWA Act,” said chief Shakumbila.
Blue Lagoon resource board chairperson Foster Chikonkoti said he wrote to ZAWA regarding the disappearance of the animals from the park.
And Chikonkoti said the Authority would find it difficult if it did not account for the animals captured from the park.
“We have waited for the explanation for along time and all that the community needs now is action,” said Chikonkoti.
ZAWA public relations affairs officer Wilfred Moonga confirmed the capture of the animals.
“I know chiefs have been wondering about the development, this is because the animals were captured from national park.
We should have asked for permission if it was from the GMA because we work hand-in-hand with the community in that area,” Moonga said.
He said ZAWA had embarked on a restocking exercise throughout the country.
“We took those animals to Lusenga plains. Apart from Zebras, we also captured impalas and pukus from Kafue National Park to Lusenga Plains.
We hope the chiefs and the community will now understand where their animals have been taken to,” he said.
Moonga also confirmed that about eight zebras died during the exercise.
Labels: CHIEFS, ZAWA
Matongo advises govt to lobby EU over EPAs
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday November 03, 2007 [03:00]
OPPOSITION Pemba member of parliament David Matongo has advised the government to persuade the European Union (EU) with logic that Zambia is not ready to sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). And commerce minister Felix Mutati has said Zambia was more concerned with the substance and content of the EPAs and not compliance with the December 2007 deadline.
During debate in Parliament to adopt the report of the committee on Economic Affairs and Labour yesterday, Matongo said the National Assembly should assist government negotiators to send a clear message that Zambia was not ready for the EPAs.
“This position is agreeable with almost all the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and we should put our message clear as a united force that we are not ready for the EPAs and we should not beg but persuade the EU with logic that we cannot compete effectively,” said Matongo.
“And we should not take comfort in the EU duty and quota free offer under the everything but arms (EBA) systems because it is not negotiated and can be taken away anytime and we should not allow ourselves to lose revenue under the reciprocity arrangements.”
And Mutati said government would not sign any agreement that goes against the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
“Whether in agreement with the World Trade Organisation or not, the EPAs in their current form will go against the MDGs and why should the EU put pressure when they have committed to the attainment of the MDGs?” he asked.
He said the ACP countries had asked for a 25 year stabilisation period due to the revenue loss as a result of the free trade area agreements but the EU insists that it would be too long.
“The EU argues that trade, goods and services should underpin the EPA but we want more development and aid for trade aspects and as Zambia we are more concerned with substance and content of the EPA and not necessarily the deadline,” said Mutati.
“Another critical issue is with the way we are grouped since others are least developed countries (LDCs) their needs are different from what the more advanced countries want and they are willing to sign at the expense of the LDCs so this position has split the groups.”
Labels: DAVID MATONGO, EPAs, EU
be renegotiated or cancelled 12:56 02/11/07
Congo panel to recommend 61 mine contracts be changed
A government panel in the Democratic Republic of Congo will recommend 61 of the nation`s agreements with mining companies, including Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc, be renegotiated or cancelled, the group`s chairman said.
The commission will recommend that 38 contracts be changed, including those of Freeport and Nikanor plc, Alexis Mikandji, chairman of the commission for the review of mining contracts, said on November 2 in a telephone interview from Kinshasa. The panel will say 23 contracts should be cancelled, he said.
The DRC, which has about 10% of the world`s copper reserves and a third of its cobalt, established the panel in April to review all mining deals, with the aim of amending those deemed unfair to the state.
President Joseph Kabila is trying to attract investors to dig new mines and restart others abandoned during a civil war that ended in 2003, leaving 4 million dead and the country`s infrastructure destroyed.
"The review takes a hard line on the mining contracts, including those signed with major firms," Philippe de Pontet, African analyst at the Eurasia Group in Washington, said in an e-mail. "We expect that the Kabila administration will reject some, but not all, of the recommendations."
The commission divided the contracts into three categories: those that should be changed, those that should be canceled and those that should remain untouched, Mikandji said. None of the contracts reviewed are in the last category, he said.
The recommendations "will be discussed by the government before the state enterprises are given instructions what to do," Mikandji said. Martin Kabwelulu, DRC mines minister, said in March that no contracts would be cancelled.
The report will be reviewed by the Cabinet before state companies begin renegotiating elements of the deals with their private counterparts, Mikandji said October 22.
Other companies operating in the DRC, a country the size of western Europe, include Moto Goldmines Ltd, AngloGold Ashanti Ltd, BHP Billiton Ltd, Katanga Mining Ltd, First Quantum Minerals Ltd and Central African Mining & Exploration Co.
China said in September it would loan the DRC government US$5 billion, some of which will be used to fund a new joint venture mining company between the countries. Gecamines, the DRC`s state-owned copper producer, already owns stakes in each of the country`s copper and cobalt-producing operations concentrated in the southern Katanga province. "It will be interesting to see whether some of the canceled concessions are awarded to Chinese firms, in the wake of Beijing`s multi-billion dollar deal with the government," de Pontet said.
Bill Collier, a spokesman for Phoenix-based Freeport, declined to comment immediately when contacted by Bloomberg. Simon Tuma-Waku, DRC`s former mines minister and Nikanor`s chief strategy officer, couldn`t be reached for comment when called on his mobile phone in the DRC.
(Bloomberg, November 2)
Labels: DRC, MINING CONTRACTS
1 000 more tractors expected from China
From Isdore Guvamombe in KUNMING, China
A CONSIGNMENT of 1 000 more tractors and an assortment of other related farming implements worth US$100 million from China is expected to arrive in Zimbabwe in three months’ time. The implements, which include combine harvesters, irrigation pumps, disc harrows, planters and electricity generators, among others, went onto the sea last week, after undergoing compliance inspection tests from a team of Zimbabwean Government officials.
They are now on their way home.
In an interview on the sidelines of the China International Travel Mart, Zimbabwe’s Ambassador to China, Cde Frederick Shava, said the consignment was the last batch of equipment procured from a US$200 million Chinese government loan.
"As we are speaking, the consignment is now on the high seas on its way home. The consignment includes 1 000 tractors, combine harvesters, generators and planters plus several other related equipment.
"The generators in particular, will alleviate electricity outages in irrigation areas where we plant out winter crops,’’ said Cde Shava.
He said although the equipment will arrive home way into the summer farming season, it was important to note that the equipment could not be shipped until the Government sent inspectors for compliance purposes.
"The equipment might get home way into the summer farming season but we are sure that it is compliant to our needs because our inspectors who came here recently approved the consignment after carrying out tests.
"The pre-shipment team had to come first to inspect the equipment. By the end of November or beginning of December, we should see the consignment starting to arrive home but by mid-farming season, the entire consignment should have landed home.
"Our winter farming season should be different from the previous one, as we have moved to alleviate power outages,’’ Cde Shava said.
Labels: TRACTORISATION, ZIMBABWE
‘Let’s boost productivity’
PRESIDENT Mugabe has called for increased capacity utilisation in key pillars of the productive sector to ensure economic stability. The thrust, which is in line with the National Economic Development Priority Programme, requires that all potential in productive sectors such as tourism, agriculture, mining, and manufacturing, among others, is harnessed and fully utilised.
The President was speaking in Chinhoyi yesterday at the official opening of the Chinhoyi University of Technology Hotel School, the first of its kind in Zimbabwe, and capping of 260 graduates in agricultural engineering, post-harvest technology and international marketing. The hotel school will also be run as a commercial venture.
"It goes without saying that the main thrust of our current national economic development programme is to stabilise the macro-economic environment. As we work towards this objective, we should see increased capacity utilisation in the productive sectors of agriculture, manufacturing, mining, construction, tourism, transport and communications," he said.
Such an approach invariably needs to be complemented by highly skilled human capital for research and implementation of programmes.
Tourism and hospitality — as one of the major drivers of economic growth and foreign currency earners — should be supported through the development and training of highly qualified manpower.
President Mugabe commended the university and the ministries of Higher and Tertiary Education and Environment and Tourism for setting up the School of Hospitality and Tourism as an important milestone in the training of students – both locals and those from the region.
"The opening of the School of Hospitality and Tourism at the Chinhoyi University of Technology is a milestone for the institution and for the entire nation as it seeks to produce dynamic, innovative and entrepreneurial graduates richly endowed with practical skills for the development of our country," he said.
It comes at a time when Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, is working to reposition the tourism sector.
Harmonised and co-ordinated human resource training and development, the President said, was in line with the position taken by Sadc member states, which seeks to ensure that tourism training institutions in the region are complementary.
President Mugabe said Zimbabwe would reserve places for students from the Sadc region.
"In this spirit, and as part of the spirit of regional economic integration, Zimbabwe would be happy to reserve a quota of the places available for students from other Sadc countries."
Cde Mugabe said the region was aware of the global significance of tourism as the world’s fastest growing industry and called for clearly defined policies and strategies for its development and promotion.
Of concern, however, were the meagre receipts from tourism in the developing world and Zimbabwe in particular, which he attributed to the underdeveloped state of tourist attractions.
"Our concern and, indeed, that of our region is that the rich tourism potential which offers an array of features and a number of sites containing natural wonders of the world remains largely underdeveloped and, therefore, does not contribute to the economic well-being of our people and those of other regions," said Cde Mugabe.
He said developing nations were being "short-changed" by tour operators who organised packages that see some host countries getting very little from spendthrift tourists as they only pay for food and go to the next country.
Zimbabwe must seek to understand cultures and languages of friendly nations in line with the Look East Policy in view of the illegal Western sanctions, Cde Mugabe said.
This would enhance the country’s chances of penetrating the "globalised and diversified" arena of hospitality and tourism.
Cde Mugabe commended the university’s thrust to develop and specialise in tourism and hospitality, irrigation engineering, fuels and energy as directly responding to the current economic challenges.
A mechanism for quality control should be put in place at every level as tourism was by nature an international industry and called for the re-aligning of programmes with regional and international trends if Zimbabwe was to benefit from the 2010 World Cup soccer finals in South Africa.
Before capping the graduates, President Mugabe installed Professor David Jambwa Simbi as the substantive Vice-Chancellor for
Prof Simbi had been acting since last year and replaces Charles Nherera, who was jailed for corruption.
In his acceptance speech, Prof Simbi said he would do his utmost to steer the university to its potential and realise its objective of being the regional centre of excellence in technological innovation and development.
A qualified engineer with a bias in metallurgy, Prof Simbi was born in Nyazura in 1952.
He said realisation of the university’s objectives and goals would be guided by the recently launched 10-year strategic plan.
CUT, like other universities, faced the challenge of retaining qualified staff, most of whom are leaving in droves in search of greener pastures.
"For Chinhoyi University of Technology, it is becoming increasingly difficult to provide for continuity as well as allow for the development and establishment of institutional memory, further compromising research output and quality of community service," he said.
The university was doing all it could under the circumstances to offer incentives that could invariably lead to retention of staff by addressing accommodation concerns through negotiations for a build-operate-transfer arrangement with private companies while council has provided land for that purpose.
CUT had partnered with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and information technology multinational company Hewlett Packard to develop a national programme to reverse brain drain, an extension of the International Home-link Desk project funded by the International Organisation on Migration.
Local financial institution ZB Bank supported the setting-up of the hotel school and donated $1 billion.
Labels: HUMAN RESOURCES, MUGABE, NEDPP, THE HERALD
Let's have a fair share of the cake
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
The confession by former finance minister Edith Nawakwi that the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank blackmailed the government over the sale of our copper mines
is not surprising, although it is a sad reality.
It is not surprising because this is how the IMF and the World Bank have operated since their creation - to blackmailing, sabbotaging and manipulating governments of poor and vulnerable nations.
The sad reality is that these two agents of neo-liberalism continue to savagely manipulate our governments, even though they vehemently deny doing so. Through their imposition of unworkable economic policies, the IMF and World Bank continue to mess us up economically and other.
It is unimaginable that our government today continues to entertain these institutions which, going by Nawakwi’s confession, have brought us to where we are in terms of copper mining agreements where we have basically lost our own national asset to foreign capital. As Nawakwi admits, the IMF and the World Bank were among the advisers who gave the government a false impression that the future of copper mining was doomed and there was nothing wrong with selling the mines for a song, for a whisper.
Unfortunately, we are not a learning people because we still give the IMF and the World Bank every opportunity to do whatever they want in our country. If we want a policy review on taxes, for instance, we have to rush to the IMF for guidance and they are always eager to ‘help’ us out just like they have ‘helped’ us in giving away most of our national assets to foreign capital. Last year, it was the IMF which was called upon to help the government to review the tax regime, and we know the kind of policy measures which were proposed to the government.
If most of the recommendations had been implemented according to the IMF, there been a guarantee for more and more misery for the majority of Zambians. Over our land policy review process, the World Bank is deeply involved and it is making all kinds of recommendations which are clearly not in our own interest. Today as we speak, the World Bank is busy researching on our land tenure system and it will not be long before we hear its final verdict in terms of which route or approach we should take in the management of our land.
When it comes to dealing with these institutions, we have to come to a realisation that they have played a central role in selling our assets and our country for a worthless price and we have to learn to do things differently. Last week during our independence anniversary celebrations, we pointed out that there was need for us to start breaking with the past, especially in terms of economic determination.
We know that doing so is not easy; we are acutely aware of the intricacies of the global economic system. We know too well that our leaders are in a weak position. If it were not so, leaders like Levy Mwanawasa would not be incessantly trotting to Western centres of power, begging for foreign investment, trade and aid. They do so because they stand on weak ground; they always find themselves locked into the global capitalist orbit, co-operating perforce with rich nations for investment, trade and aid.
It is good that our government has admitted that the copper mine deals were poorly handled and there is need to have a second look at them. We wish the government had listened earlier because all these renegotiations would not have been necessary if Levy’s government had cared a little to pay attention to people’s concerns. But as they say, experience is the best teacher and we can only hope that the bad experience over our mine deals is enough for us not to repeat mistakes that were made in the past.
As we embark on the renegotiation process, let us not forget that the forces arrayed against us are not small, and we would be foolish to take things for granted. Officially, we have been told that the mining firms are willing to renegotiate the contracts with the government. However, there is need to distinguish between willingness and agreement. The two are not the same thing because one may be willing to discuss but that does not mean that one would agree with the propositions from the other side.
We agree with the Action for Southern Africa and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund groups that renegotiation of these mining agreements is an important step in the right direction because this is the only way Zambians will be guaranteed some benefits from copper resources. Not to be overlooked in this process is the fact that while renegotiation should also endeavour to protect the profit interests of the investors, everything should be done to ensure that the mine contracts reflect the interests of the majority of Zambians.
Yes, the results of renegotiation may not translate into an immediate overflow of resources because, after all, the percentage being pursued by the government – from 0.6 to 3 per cent mineral royalties – is not that sufficient when we look at the actual windfall profits arising from the boom of the copper industry. What is important is that the process should begin. The rest can follow later. After renegotiation of the current mining contracts, it would be necessary for us to start looking at long-term measures so that in future the government should maintain a larger stake in the management of our country’s natural resources and we should not feel shy about such prospects.
Of paramount importance in this process is that we do not allow any external influence from such not-so-helpful institutions as the IMF and the World Bank because we may just end up orbiting around the same cycle which has so far not taken us anywhere. It is important that those involved in this process ensure that no special interests from within or outside are allowed to frustrate this decisive process. Everything should be undertaken to ensure that the process is successful so that for once the people of Zambia will have a fairer share of their prized possession. It is time Zambians had a fair share of the cake.
Labels: DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, EDITH NAWAKWI, EDITORIAL, IMF, MINING CONTRACTS
IMF, World Bank pressured govt to privatise mines - Nawakwi
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Chibaula Silwamba
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
FORMER finance minister Edith Nawakwi has revealed that the IMF and the World Bank pressured the Zambian government to privatise the mines on the pretext that copper prices would not increase in 20 years.
According to a report by Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA), Christian Aid, and Scotland’s Aid Agency entitled, “Undermining development, Copper mining in Zambia” dated October 2007, Nawakwi - who is Forum for Democracy and Development president - admitted that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank told the Zambian government that copper prices would never increase, hence they should privatise the mines.
“We were told by advisers, who included the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that not in my life time would the price of copper change. They put production models on the table and told us that there (was) no copper in Nchanga Mine, Mufulira was supposed to have five years life left and all the production models that could be employed were showing that for the next 20 years, Zambian copper would not make a profit,” the report quoted Nawakwi as having told its author in an interview on July 26, 2007.
“Conversely, if we privatised we would be able to access debt relief, and this was a huge carrot in front of us – like waving medicine in front of a dying woman. We had no option (but to go ahead).”
According to the report, Nawakwi stated that one of the arguments in favour of privatisation was that it would save the government money by relieving them from propping up an enterprise losing up to US $1 million a day. The report further revealed that in 1999, the donors withheld aid to Zambia until the government agreed to privatise the mines.
“Privatisation of ZCCM (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines) was a condition repeatedly attached to several loans from both these institutions (IMF and World Bank) and was a pre-condition for Zambia to qualify for debt relief through the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. In 1999, with the Zambian government still reluctant to privatise ZCCM, major donors withheld some US $530 million in aid until the government conceded,” the report revealed.
“ZCCM’s assets were split into seven sections and sold to various investors, though the company was able to retain shares in some of the units - including in KCM (Konkola Copper Mine) – through the creation of a holding company called ZCCM-IH (Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holding).”
According to the report, the negotiators argued that increased investment by the new mine owners would generate significant profits that would be channelled back to the Zambian government through taxation and dividends.
“Although this has happened to some extent, evidence from a variety of reports suggests that the amount of revenue transferred to the Zambian government by new mining companies is relatively small compared to the revenues transferred to governments in other resource-rich countries,” the report read. “For example, according to Christian Aid’s Rich Seam report, Botswana’s largest diamond mining company Debswana pays at least 70 per cent of its profits to the government through revenue transfers of different sorts, including dividends.”
On financial benefits from the development agreements with the mines, the report points to the fact that Vedanta’s annual report does not detail the amount of net profit that KCM makes in various financial years or how much was paid to the Zambian government in various forms of revenue transfers.
“Given the lack of information available, the figures cited below are approximate. We firmly believe that Zambia was placed under considerable pressure, which weakened its bargaining position, leaving it unable to replicate models that had been successfully applied elsewhere,” read the report.
The report indicated that in the financial year 2006/07, KCM would have paid in excess of US $6.1 million despite the company extracting ore that generated revenues in excess of US $1 billion.
It also stated that it was not clear whether the mining companies had paid “even these low rates of royalties”. The report also highlighted the practice of price participation that evidenced Zambia’s weak negotiating position.
“Price participation constitutes a separate contract in its own right. We’ve been unable to obtain a copy of the contract, but a ZCCM official told us that, if the price of copper at the London Metal Exchange exceeds a specific benchmark (US $2,700 -2,800 per tonne) then government through ZCCM-IH starts to claim back a certain percentage (in KCM’s case, 25 per cent) of the difference between the benchmark price and the current price,” read the report.
“According to the same official, ZCCM-IH rarely receives the full percentage as “there are conditions (attached) and a cap on the amount that ZCCM can receive from KCM in one year (roughly US $16 – 19 million). In our view the net result of these clauses is that the Zambian government is unable to derive what would normally be considered its rightful or normal rewards from the extraction of the country’s key natural resource.
“One would expect that the Zambian government/ZCCM to benefit from these profits through its shareholding in KCM. However, sources suggest that KCM has distributed only four percent of its net profit to shareholders in form of dividends for the financial year 2007.”
The authors of the report recommended an end to the culture of secrecy that surrounded the mining industry.
It recommended that development agreements should be published.
“The mining companies should pay the Zambian government a larger share of the difference between the actual copper price and the trigger copper price in the price participation scheme, and also pay value added tax at local business rates,” the report recommended.
“Develop the political will and institutional capacity to effectively enforce existing labour, safety and environmental legislation, update national pollution laws in line with the latest World health Organisation guidelines, and to ensure that companies agree to include these standards in their environmental management plans as part on the renegotiations process.”
They also recommended that the Zambian government revisit the development agreements from the perspective of the Zambian people rather than that of the companies.
They also recommended that mining companies approach the renegotiation exercise, not as an opportunity to pursue their own interests, rather to revise the government’s share of revenue upwards for the long-term benefits of both parties.
Labels: ACTSA, EDITH NAWAKWI, IMF, World Bank
World Bank endorses revision of mining agreements
By Florence Bupe
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
THE World Bank fully supports the government’s efforts to renegotiate development agreements with the mines, country manager Kapil Kapoor has said. And Kapoor has observed that there is need for Zambia to accelerate its economic growth in order to realise the vision to turn the country into a middle-income zone.
Speaking at a media breakfast yesterday, Kapoor said the Zambian government had made the right decision to renegotiate development agreements because this would ensure that the country benefits more from the industry.
“We fully support government’s efforts to revise mining agreements. Zambia should be able to benefit more from high commodity prices and use the earnings to improve other sectors of the economy,” Kapoor said. “This country should take a leaf from Botswana, which has over the last few years utilised its diamond revenues to improve other economic sectors.”
Government is in the process of renegotiating development agreements with the mines following increased copper prices on the international market, and is targeted at raising mineral royalties and corporate tax, among others.
And Kapoor has challenged the government to enhance citizen participation in the country’s economic activities if the vision to turn the country into a middle-income area is to be attained.
“There should be increased emphasis on broader economic participation by average Zambians if this country is to increase its income levels. We are also working out a strategy to increase sustainable competition on the economic platform,” he said.
Kapoor said Zambia needed to raise its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) status from the present average of five per cent to eight per cent or above.
“As a bank, we have a dual challenge to get Zambia to accelerate its GDP growth, and also to get more Zambians further involved in economic activities,” Kapoor said. “The bank wants to be responsive to Zambia’s needs through increased entrepreneurship capacity and sustainable job creation.”
Meanwhile, Kapoor has expressed confidence that Zambia is a credit worthy country, but cautioned the country against falling into a debt trap.
He said the government should utilise borrowed money prudently by investing in key economic sectors that would yield higher returns to avoid being unnecessarily indebted.
Labels: DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, KAPIL KAPOOR, World Bank
Mbula gives tips on 'Buy Zambia' Promotion
By Lambwe Kachali
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
ZAMBIANS should do away with the casual approach to business if the ‘Buy Zambia’ promotion is to be competitive at international level, Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Leslie Mbula has said. In a statement, High Commissioner Mbula stated that it was difficult for Zambian products to compete with other imported goods, particularly in South Africa because of the poor quality.
He noted that although the promotion (Buy Zambia) was in South Africa, Zambia should continue to encourage and improve on the quality of goods it was exporting to foreign countries.
“I therefore advise the Zambian team that in order for the goods to be proudly Zambian, there is need to improve on the products and services as well,” High Commissioner Mbula stated.
“The end goal of ‘Buy Zambia’ would be realised after a string of excellence. This should start with the improvement of Zambia Bureau of standards until it is proficient enough as well as doing away with casual approach of business.”
The ‘Buy Zambia’ brand team which seeks to promote Zambian products at the expense of imported goods is currently in South Africa to compare notes with their ‘Proudly South African’ counterparts.
Buy Zambia consists of government and private sector individuals and is led to South Africa by Mable Mung’omba.
Mbula expressed gratitude that both the government and the private sector had participated in the undertaking.
Police seize 'stolen' copper cathodes from Chinese firm
By Mwala Kalaluka
Friday November 02, 2007 [03:00]
POLICE have seized from a Chinese mining firm in Ndola a substantial quantity of copper cathodes and cables suspected to have been stolen. Inspector General of Police Ephraim Mateyo said yesterday that the contraband was discovered after a tip-off from members of the public.
“The quantity is not yet clear but what I know is that it is quite substantial,” Mateyo said. He said experts would be called in to ascertain the value of the copper cathodes and cables.
“I want to warn these people that are stealing copper to keep away from these vices because the long arm of the law will not rest; it will reach them,” he said. “My warning is not only to the Chinese; that would be wrong, but to all people that are dealing in copper substances that the police will not rest.”
Asked further about the people connected to the theft, Mateyo responded, “Who they are and where they come from I don’t know; all I know is that they are Chinese.”
Mateyo commended the Anti-Copper Theft Squad “for a job well done”.
And Mateyo said Solwezi police arrested two foreign nationals who were found with two trucks loaded with stolen copper.
He said the copper was believed to have been stolen from Kansanshi Copper Mine.
Labels: CHINESE, COPPER, CORRUPTION, EPHRAIM MATEYO
Sata caught in a web of lies
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:00]
We did not expect Michael Sata to be ashamed of his questionable dealings with Taiwan, especially the dubious manner in which he asked for US $50,000 because the old man has no shame. Sata exaggerates his worthiness when the man is just a shameless liar. He says he is faster and more intelligent than President Levy Mwanawasa’s government which we are sympathising with. This cannot be anywhere near the truth. What is correct and true is that Sata is faster in creating stories and telling lies. But he forgets that lies have got very short legs to stand on .
Their lifespan is as short as that of dew. In no time, they crumble.
As it is, Sata’s lies are crumbling in his face and he wants to divert attention from that. But we will not give him the space. We will ensure that he is exposed for what he is - a seasoned liar.
As we have stated before, no amount of name-calling or accusations will deter us from telling the truth. It is all right for Sata to give us tip-offs about many issues including those to do with his political enemies but it is not all right for us to receive tip-offs from other sources, including Sata’s political enemies, about newsworthy issues.
It’s all right for Sata to walk into our newsroom and demand that he be interviewed or accompanied wherever he wants to go by a journalist of his choice, but it’s not all right for other politicians – who don’t even burst into our newsroom - to be covered in our newspaper. When we cover other politicians in the manner that seems positive in Sata’s eyes, then we are sympathetic to their cause or we are converted.
If that were true, then it could be said without doubt that The Post is Sata’s or PF’s converted disciple because Sata is more covered in our newspaper than any other politician in this country, even when he is talking nonsense like he is doing today.
When we denounce, when we are very critical of Levy and his government, we receive accolades from Sata and his minions. They say we are a professional and objective newspaper. But when we are critical of their activities, especially the questionable ones, then we are sympathetic to Levy and his government.
Sata is today accusing us of conniving with the MMD, the way we allegedly did during last year’s general elections, to destroy him and diminish his party’s chances of winning a parliamentary by-election in Chingola.
This is cheap propaganda. Is Sata saying that the MMD and ourselves are responsible for his mischief, for his monkey business? Is Sata suggesting that the MMD created that letter to the Taiwanese government in his name, asking for US $50,000 and then leaked it to us so he could be destroyed? Is Sata denying being the author of that letter to the government of Taiwan, asking for funding for him to continue his mission of discrediting China? Is Sata saying we cannot write any negative story about him and his party, that we should turn a blind eye to his misconduct and lies? Is Sata suggesting that we should be his constant praise singers and Levy’s constant critics?
And if we may ask Sata, is his aim to destroy other people, politicians included, when he leaks information about them to us? Is Sata declaring himself the only official and registered source to leak or provide information to The Post?
We receive and seek information from everywhere and anyone, including our enemies and those we do not agree with on certain issues.
Let it be made clear that no one, not even ourselves, can succeed in destroying Sata if his dealings are without blemish. Sata can either build or destroy himself through his actions. The choice is his. But as it is, Sata is just destroying himself with his shameless lies.
By the way, we do not aim at destroying anyone in our work. We are here to tell the story, the truth. We also like telling the story behind the story; like we exposed Sata’s letter which was behind his invitation to give a talk at Harvard University.
And talking about Sata’s lies and contradictions, here they are, in case some may think we are up to no good with the old man and his PF. Sata is bitter with us and calling us all sorts of names because our only sin is to expose his contradictions and lies.
When he briefly returned to Zambia from London where he allegedly lost his passport last week, Sata told us that his passport was stolen by a Chinese porter at Crowne Plaza Hotel, where he was staying and that he had reported the matter to the police, who promised to investigate the matter.
But when we contacted the hotel management about the matter, the management said no such incident occurred and Sata did not bring anything to their attention. We proceeded to ask the police in London, whom Sata said he reported the matter to and were investigating. The response from there was negative. The Metropolitan Police, together with those from the inner city of London said they did not have any such report about Sata’s missing passport. They added that it was easy for them to trace all complaints because of their computerised system which enables them to capture complaints as soon as they are lodged.
Yesterday, when we asked Sata to reconcile these statements, he shamelessly changed his position on the matter. He said he reported to the Zambian mission in London that his passport was mysteriously misplaced. But he forgot that last week he said a Chinese porter at the hotel stole it.
And instead of disclosing which police station he reported the theft of his passport to, Sata chose to accuse the Metropolitan Police of conniving with us to cover up. Cover up what? He was just short of linking us to this fictitious theft of his passport. If our security agencies were very vigilant, they would have by this time established that there was something fishy about Sata’s claim that his passport was stolen by a Chinese porter.
And when he was asked to explain why he wanted to put money meant for PF in his personal account, Sata said there was nothing wrong with that. He said this forgetting that only a few months ago, he accused Levy of money laundering for keeping donated MMD money in his personal account. These are some of Sata’s lies and inconsistencies. And when we say he does not do anything on principle, that he is a hired gun, we do not mean to be malicious. We mean just that.
Not long ago, in his desperate attempt to look good in the eyes of one of the leaders in the SADC region, Sata lifted a document authored by a party wing where this leader belongs and presented it to us as his own statement denouncing the enemies of this leader. We saw through his deception and just ignored that statement. If we had proceeded to expose it, Sata would have been the first to cry foul and accuse us of craving to destroy him.
This is the man who wants to rule Zambia.
When we say Sata cannot be our people’s saviour for the reasons that we keep repeating, we are accused of de-campaigning him.
On our part, we are not worried about Sata’s tantrums because over the years, we have learnt the art of tolerating his mischief. So we are ready to accommodate him at any time despite his accusations against us.
Labels: EDITORIAL, SATA
I'm not ashamed to deal with Taiwan, says Sata
By Bivan Saluseki
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:00]
I am not ashamed to deal with Taiwan, Patriotic Front (PF) president Michael Sata has said. Addressing a press conference yesterday, Sata said it was only an idiot who would auction Zambia for US $50,000.
"It would be an idiot who would auction Zambia for US $50,000 because I can go to Mr Wynter Kabimba and he can give me because lawyers get money in dollars. To sell Zambia for US $50,000! The person who has been selling Zambia is Ronnie Shikapwasha who has been issuing work permits to unqualified Chinese and today it has been qualified by Mr George Katili Mpombo. They are trying to divert attention," he said.
Sata, who on Tuesday night returned from the United States where he had gone to discredit China in favour of Taiwan, claimed that the current government was very corrupt although he could not justify this claim.
"They are so corrupt, when they see Sata asking for US $50,000...I could have even asked for a million but US $50,000... and all you need to do is go to South African Airways and find out the cost of an ticket," he said.
Sata said he took very strong exception to reports in The Post that he wanted to sell Zambia.
"In 2000, I met people from Taiwan. The government of Frederick Chiluba was very close to recognising the government of Taiwan but it was new in government. They succumbed to intimidation by Chinese that if you recognise Taiwan, we are going to pull out so they left it from there but that was a collective responsibility.
Cabinet agreed, the whole government agreed," Sata said. "In 2001, when I broke away, I broke away with my thinking of this country. The few friends who we went away with...I must admit it was not easy to convince this man (pointing to Guy Scott) about Taiwan."
Sata said he was a moving billboard for The Post because if he was not appearing in The Post, The Post did not sell.
"So The Post has become our regional organisation secretaries. Even if I am not here, they keep the fire burning. I am very grateful to The Post and I am very grateful to The Post again where they have printed here our Chinese defence minister George Mpombo and they are showing that 43 years, whilst he is defending the Chinese, the people in Mandevu are parading for water," he said.
Sata said despite being invited by Harvard University in July 2007, PF realised that the government was uncomfortable.
"We did realise as a party that this government is very uncomfortable for anybody who goes to disturb their master because Zambia is a province of China. We kept it to ourselves. We did not want anybody to know until at the last minute," he said.
Sata said Scott and PF spokesperson Given Lubinda had been to Taiwan for a week to attend an economic forum.
"That again we didn't advertise because we know what's going on. Now I am not shamed. In here, I have a young man called Wynter Kabimba. This young man remembers. I was not even a councillor. I was just a mere branch chairman when I discovered South Korea.
Kenneth Kaunda was a gentleman and a humanist. When I came here fighting for the rights of South Korea, Kaunda did not call me names," Sata said. "Kaunda did not even accuse me of getting money from South Korea. Kaunda even accepted Zambia, KK 11 to go to South Korea to go and play a friendly match. And today, if you go on the streets, there are only two vehicles, that is Japan and South Korea and Mr Sata is not a shareholder in any of the South Korean companies."
Sata said Korean and Japanese companies had provided employment to Zambians and offered quality goods.
"Everything including the electronics which The Post newspaper is using is from South Korea. I take strong exception for all the allegations. For example, I take strong exception from a Catholic priest Fr Frank Bwalya when he is doubting my integrity.
Fr Bwalya knows very well there is no Catholicism in China so I don't know, probably he wants to go back to MISA," he said.
Sata said Fr Bwalya should know that in Taiwan, there were only four Catholic universities.
"What surprises me is the MMD government and The Post newspaper. Every time there is an election, they form an unholy alliance. Last year, The Post serialised everyday the editorials.
They did all negative editorials but thank God, the people they were trying to aim at did not accept them. They did not vote for them and now what is going on, all the serialisation by The Post, all the sensationalisation by The Post is to support MMD, to divert the attention from Nchanga, from Chimumbwa's problem who wants to sell copper which he doesn't dig and which he hasn't got so they would like to transfer these things to Michael Sata," he said.
Sata thanked Zambia's High Commissioner in London for helping him when he allegedly 'lost' his passport.
"We need more people like that man in London because when I went to them, I reported that my passport had mysteriously been misplaced.
He brought his two officers together and I found two permanent secretaries in his office, Lewanika and Imbwae and he said we will hold on to this meeting until we finish with Mr Sata so that he can get back to Zambia. I am also very grateful to our London supporters who were also supporters of Levy Mwanawasa who paid 3000 Pounds to buy me a ticket. I was going to Taiwan by economy but they bought me a business class ticket to bring me back to Zambia to come and get my passport," Sata said.
"I am grateful to the British government, I’m grateful to the American government who within five hours they gave me the necessary visa for me to get back to America. If my own government cannot protect me, then you start wondering, do we have a government? Our own government in Namibia is supposed to protect Zambians in Namibia then you have the so-called Chinese ambassador occupying Zambian offices condemning our own lecturers when our Namibian government has not complained, then you know how much they have eaten."
Sata said the government should not be very jittery because it was the Chinese he was complaining about. He said it was surprising that acting information minister George Mpombo kept on defending Chinese interests in Zambia including Malawi instead of their representatives.
"At Harvard, I was talking about Chinese investment in Zambia. I have had so many invitations to go to China but I have refused," he said.
"Zambia has become a labour camp. Most of the Chinese are prisoners of conscience. I want any investment but not Chinese human beings. Why should China have a development zone in Zambia? Where is the American development zone? Where is the British development zone?"
Sata said Zambia was not at war with Taiwan for him to be refused from dealing with it.
"If I went to Taiwan and it's at war, they would say, 'why are you collaborating with an enemy'?" he said.
Sata said he had nothing against Chinese individuals. He said what Zambia needed was technology from China.
Sata said some people were even condemning the High Commissioner to UK who saw his national (Sata) in distress in London. He said if he was embarrassed in London, it was Zambia which could have been embarrassed.
Sata said Zambians should speak out.
"So wake up! Me, I’m just providing leadership. I don't hate Chinese, I hate the way they are invading Zambia," he said.
Sata said God had stopped creating countries and Zambia was for Zambians.
"God gave Chinese their own country. God so it fit to give us copper and everything which is here, so they should be proud of what God gave the Chinese," he said.
Sata said he would continue with the fight for the protection of Zambia and the party had radical people like Chishimba Kambwili and others who were ready to take on the mantle. He said there was no corruption in his dealings.
"Because The Post, they have spent so much money trying to find where I hid stolen money but they can't find. The Post have gone all over the world, they have not found anything," he said.
Sata said Post managing editor Amos Malupenga was working against him by writing bad editorials.
"The biggest problem we have is our reporters, including The Post. I called comrade Malupenga from Boston to say they practice their vocabulary on me when they write editorials. They say I have a gun, I have been given guns by Taiwan to shoot who, I don't know. They say PF u-turns. I read from Boston from Daily Mail. We have not refused to go and attend the National Constitutional Conference," he said.
Asked why he has asked the Taiwanese government to transfer the US $50,000 through his personal account and not the PF account, Sata said there was nothing wrong with that. He said it was normal for him to ask for PF money and ask for the same to be channelled through his personal account. Sata said money could be gotten from different countries using different accounts.
And asked to comment on Metropolitan police statement that he had not reported to them about his missing passport contrary to what he said last week, Sata accused the Metropolitan police of being behind the loss of his passport.
"Is it The Post newspaper to which I am supposed to subscribe when my passport is lost? Is it The Post I am supposed to satisfy? I am supposed to satisfy the passport office in London," he said.
Sata said The Post and Metropolitan police in London wanted a cover-up over his missing passport.
"So it's a dead issue for The Post to try and tarnish Michael Sata. It's very costly for a person to come, get to London, get back, get a passport," he said.
Sata said he did not want to suspect The Post as being part of his missing passport.
He said the Metropolitan police did not ask him similar questions like The Post.
"Whether The Post or Mr Malupenga wanted, if I went to Metropolitan police, the person was going to say 'we will wait for the report of the police, then we can give you another passport'. So please tell Mr. Malupenga, we know he has some sympathies with the Mwanawasa government but I am far much intelligent and faster than Mwanawasa's government," said Sata.
Labels: SATA, SHIKAPWASHA, TAIWAN
Defer signing of EPAs - Jubilee Zambia
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:00]
JUBILEE Zambia Monze chapter has called for the postponement of the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) scheduled for December 2007 in order to allow for full consultations among the people. And former commerce minister Dipak Patel has challenged the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries including Zambia to question the merits and demerits of the EPA.
During a stakeholders meeting on economic literacy held in Monze yesterday, Jubilee Zambia observed that EPAs will result in reduction and loss of revenue and sovereignty.
“We feel that in their current form if signed, the EPAs will lead to reduction and loss of revenue and sovereignty by the government resulting in job losses and will strangle the country’s right to pursue a home grown development agenda. We therefore recommend that signing of the EPAs due in December 2007 be postponed indefinitely to allow for more time for dialogue, consultations and negotiations,’ it stated.
Jubilee Zambia stated that there was need for coherence and consistency in the positions Africa adopts in all arena of relations and negotiations with the European Union (EU).
“It is increasingly clear that there is inadequate knowledge of the EPA negotiations within the various Regional Economic Communities (RECs), leading to a lack of information to the public about an agreement that has repercussions on their livelihood so it is important that the issues are not left simply to the cynical manipulations of the EU on one hand and to the deception of ACP regions on the other,” stated Jubilee Zambia.
Some of the partner organisations that attended the meeting include farmer associations, marketeers, faith based Organisations, political representatives, pensioners and trade unions.
They also called on the government to urgently attend to key areas of concern.
And speaking recently, Patel observed that European countries should stop preaching about free trade when their agriculture subsidies were killing the potential of the agriculture sector on the African continent.
“So before preaching Africans about virtues of EPA and free trade, let the rich countries first think about what their subsidies do to Africa and stop forthwith their unbridled liberalisation demands they make on Africa and other least developed countries (LDCs),” he said.
Patel said that EU members, such as Italy, France, Ireland and Spain among many others are steadfast in ensuring that they not only ’protect’ their farmers from opening up their markets, but also ensure that they continue with subsidies in one form or other.
Labels: EPAs, JUBILEE ZAMBIA
FRA's decision to sell maize locally won't distort prices,says Mulenga
By Mutuna Chanda
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:00]
THE Food Reserve Agency’s (FRA) decision to sell maize locally will not distort market prices, Millers Association of Zambia (MAZ) chairman Caleb Mulenga has said.
In an interview, Mulenga said FRA had recently consulted stakeholders, including MAZ, of its intention to sell maize on the local market.
“FRA wanted to offload 150,000 metric tonnes. In fact it is us who proposed that they sell 50,000 metric tonnes every month. We did not want them to enter the market without agreeing on the amount of maize they were going to sell because they have the capacity to distort market prices,” Mulenga said. “By now all serious farmers have sold their maize. The only ones who are remaining with maize are traders and millers. Millers have stored their maize for production.”
He said the 50,000 metric tonnes of maize that FRA was selling on the local market at US $200 per metric tonne was within the price ranges that small scale and commercial maize was sold at.
“Small-scale maize prices are at US $190 per metric tonne while commercial maize prices are between US $ 205 and US $ 210 per metric tonne,” Mulenga said.
And Mulenga said any price changes in the cost of mealie meal were expected to be within the range of 10 per cent.
“The only changes in the prices that are expected are seasonal variations. For example, if you buy maize in October and you are going to use it in January next year, there are costs related to storage and so the maize will be more expensive by the time you use it.
Prices are expected to be within the same ranges but if there are any increments they won’t be drastic,” Mulenga said. “Even when you look at the price at which FRA is selling maize, it is between small scale and commercial maize prices.”
FRA has announced that it intends to sell 50,000 metric tonnes of maize on the local market at US $ 200 per metric tonne.
Labels: FRA, MAIZE
ZDA approves 73 investment licences worth K3.7 trillion
By Andrew Chiwenda
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:01]
Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) has approved and processed 73 investment licences with a total pledge amounting to US $995 million (approximately K3.7 trillion) from January to October this year.
ZDA acting director Glyne Michelo said that since January this year, there has been an increase in infrastructure investments with total pledged employment of about 10,000 jobs in different sectors namely construction, services, information and communication technology, education, tourism and small-scale mining amongst others.
Michelo said to access ZDA investment licences, investors should have not less than US $500,000 as investment capital in the priority sectors.
Michelo further said the agency gives incentives to investors who wanted to invest in 12 priority sectors among them hydro electricity, agro processing, pharmaceuticals, and copper processing.
According to the ZDA Act, investors that invest in the priority sectors will initially be exempted from paying corporate tax for a period of five years.
From 6 to 8 years, the corporate tax would only be on 50 per cent of the profit margin and after 9 years, the tax would be on 75 per cent of the profit.
In addition, investors will also be exempted from paying dividends as well as customs duty when they bring in equipment while there would be no duty on specialised motor vehicles for a period of 5 years.
The ZDA Act was ratified last year while the operations started in January this year. ZDA is an amalgamation of the Zambia Privatisation Agency, Export Board of Zambia, Zambia Investment Centre, Zambia Export Processing Zones Authority and the Small Enterprises Development Board.
Michelo emphasised that the aim of ZDA was to create a one-stop facility for finished goods for both local and international market such that there would be job creation because most investors would be dealing in finished products as opposed to just raw materials.
Michelo further said the main component of the pledged investments was the establishment of four multi-facility economic zone in four different areas. He said the major investment being done was by China Non-ferrous Metals Corporation under the auspices of Chambishi Metals in Chambishi. He said Ndola would have two separate multi facility economic zones while one would be established in Lusaka.
“In Lusaka alone, we will have a multi facility economic zone with an investment of US $100 million and two others will be established in Ndola with a total of 50 to 60 companies on each zone. These facilities will include copper processing, garments production, food processing and pharmaceuticals,” he said.
He said Chinese investors would build these zones in five African countries starting with Zambia.
And Michelo said there was a monitoring and compliance unit that monitored all the projects applied by foreign investors to ensure they did what they undertook to do.
Labels: INVESTMENT LICENSES, ZDA
Japan to start single loaning system to developing countries
By Joan Chirwa in Nagoya, Japan
Thursday November 01, 2007 [03:00]
DEVELOPING countries will soon start receiving technical assistance loans and grants under one financing arrangement from the Japanese government. Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) Chubu director general Hiroshi Yoneda said streamlining loan and grant disbursement for technical co-operation to developing countries could enhance availability of resources.
“Unlike the current arrangement where JICA and the Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) both provide technical loans and grants to developing countries, the new system will make us the largest bilateral development agency,” said Yoneda when 18 African journalists visited JICA Chubu on Tuesday. “It is important that money is put together and then given to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) for technical assistance. This loaning programme will be flexible.”
Yoneda said the single loaning system from the Japanese government would make available resources of about US $10 billion for 155 countries currently receiving aid from Japan.
He further said Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) was decreasing due to unsettled debt by some developing countries.
Most African countries will however not be affected by the trend since the Japanese government is making efforts to double technical and development aid to the continent by the end of this year.
In Zambia’s case, total Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the country up to Japan’s fiscal year 2005 totalled 49.49 billion Yen (approximately K1.6 trillion).
Japan has also provided debt cancellation of more than 74 billion Yen (approximately over K2.4 trillion) upon Zambia’s attainment of the HIPC completion point at the end of 2005.
“Japan’s ODA is not increasing, but it is rather decreasing because we have a lot of debt. Overall ODA is increasing but Japan’s contribution is decreasing,” Yoneda said. “However, there are countries that are really coming up such as the United Kingdom. Other European countries are also increasing ODA.”
Japan’s ODA last year dropped to US $11.6 billion from US $13.1 billion in 2005.
Its total Gross Domestic Product (GDP) stood at US $4.3 trillion in 2006, ranked second after the United States of America (USA) whose total GDP in 2006 was recorded at US $13.2 trillion.
Japan is widely known for its technology and automobile industries, making it one of the world’s largest exporters of automobiles and other technological machinery.
Labels: DEVELOPMENT, JAPAN, JBIC, JICA, LOANS
Preach truth about Zim, Luciano urged
VISITING Jamaican reggae star Luciano yesterday met the Minister of Environment and Tourism Cde Francis Nhema who urged him to preach the truth about Zimbabwe when he returns to his base.
Luciano who arrived in the country on Tuesday for the Jacaranda Jazz Festival to be held at the City Sports Centre in Harare on Saturday thanked the freedom fighters, for liberating the country.
Addressing a Press conference together with Cde Nhema, Luciano hailed the Government for organising his maiden tour of Zimbabwe and saluted President Mugabe whom he described as a necessity for overcoming Zimbabwe’s challenges.
"I am happy to be taking part at the festival and I would like to thank the freedom fighters, who liberated this country. The job is still on and I wish to continue keeping the spirit higher," he said.
Luciano, who on Tuesday applauded the leadership of President Mugabe, said the country still needs him for the success of its political and economic reforms.
"President Mugabe is a great man. He is still a necessity for this country and we are proud to stand with him," he said.
Luciano thanked Cde Nhema and the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority for allowing him to play his yet to be recorded song Zimbabwe Stand Strong at the Press conference.
The song urges Zimbabweans to unite at a time when the nation is facing many challenges.
Cde Nhema said it was an honour to have Luciano in the country for the Jacaranda Jazz Festival.
He also said his ministry would take Luciano to any destination of his choice if he intends to see some of the cultural sites the nation boasts of in order for him to convey the right message.
"It is our honour to celebrate our Jacaranda Festival with you and I hope your eyes will do the talking when you return to Jamaica. If you want to go to Mbare, Highfield or Chitungwiza or any other place of your choice we will make arrangements so that you preach what you would have seen," he said.
The crooner promised to belt out popular songs such as It’s Me Again Jah and Over My Soul among other new compositions at the festival.
Labels: LUCIANO, REGGAE, ZIMBABWE
(HERALD) Condemn sanctions on Zim
Condemn sanctions on Zim
Dr John Sentamu The Archbishop of York England Re: Appeal to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe I am writing in my personal capacity, in response to your radio interview which came over the BBC last night (September 16 2007) in which you vehemently attacked, and condemned President Mugabe’s rule and called him a racist and compared him with Idi Amin.
You heaped all the blame on President Mugabe, not so much on his Government, for inflation, for alleged mass starvation, for mass migration of people, for lack or scarcity of essential common commodities, for harassing the members of the opposition, for the abuse of human rights, and for lack of Press freedom, etc.
You went on to call upon the British and others to do something in order to restore democracy, the rule of law and prevent starvation, and suggested further sanctions as one of the ways to bring about change.
Your radio interview distressed me considerably because you jumped onto the bandwagon of groups of people and media who condemn President Mugabe for the appalling situation now obtaining in Zimbabwe without trying to understand what went wrong.
I, however, sympathise with you and I am equally concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe, but I cannot excuse you for siding with all and sundry who stage-managed the destruction of Zimbabwe.
Now here is the basic information:
Zimbabwe is a large country; it covers 390 757 square kilometres; it is about 1½ times the size of Uganda with a population of 12 million, or about half that of Uganda, 80 percent of whom are Shona, 14 percent are Ndebele, 1 percent are European and the rest are natives of different tribes (The World Almanac, 2006:850).
The current situation has its origin in the unequal ownership of land. At the time of independence in 1980, the Europeans, 1 percent of the population, owned 87 percent of the land, and the Africans, who made up 99 percent of the population, lived on 13 percent of the land.
In 1988, I was Uganda’s High Commissioner to Zimbabwe, and while attending the annual agricultural show in Bulawayo, sitting next to the late Dr Herbert Ushewokunze and Dr Stan Mudenge, I asked them why there were no Africans taking part in the show. The two ministers relayed my question to Mr Robert Mugabe, who, by then, was Prime Minister.
I was seated about two or three places from Mr Mugabe. He went on to explain to me that the Africans could not participate in the exhibition because they had nothing to show, they owned no business, no farms and the majority survived by working as porters on the settlers’ farms and on small land holdings on which they could not farm or practice animal husbandry.
Mr Mugabe told me that the land issue had been raised at Lancaster House when the independence terms were being discussed and it had been agreed that the question of land redistribution could be discussed after a period of 10 years after independence and Mr Mugabe assured me that he intended to raise the issue in 1990 and, sure and certain, that is what he did.
As soon as Mr Mugabe called for a serious discussion regarding the redistribution of land, the European settlers went wild! Mr Mugabe was rubbished, condemned and called a racist and despotic dictator who did not care for the welfare of his people. The more he called for something to be done so that the African people could get some piece of land which they could call their own, the louder the condemnation became.
It is regrettable that Archbishop Desmond Tutu, like you, would have preferred President Mugabe kept quiet!
The settlers owned large expanses of land, owned ranches and estates on which they grew maize, sugarcane, beans, rice, wheat. They raised cattle, pigs, sheep, and horses. They were the only ones who owned butcheries, banks, textiles, factories, bakeries, and beer factories. They owned petrol stations, beer bars, bookstores. They were the accountants, lawyers, doctors, and garage owners. They were the senior personnel in every government department as well as in every private business. The Africans were porters, gatekeepers, cooks, drivers, and worked in mines, and owned nothing.
Now, Sir, consider this: The more Robert Mugabe intensified his land acquisition efforts, the more bitter the settlers and their media became and began to dismantle their manufacturing plants, they stopped to grow any more food, remember Europeans grew maize and processed it, but did not eat it, it constituted the staple diet for nearly all Africans; and so by not growing this crop, shortage of maize meal was certain (Editor’s note — actually the bulk of maize came from communal farmers as white farmers grew mainly cash and industrial crops).
Now, I would like to know from those who condemn Mr Mugabe, including Archbishop Tutu, to let us know what Mugabe could have done. Could he be advised to leave the land question; so that his 12 million Africans remained on 13 percent of their ancestral land in order to earn endless praises as a foresighted democratic, non-racial leader, an example for all African despots to emulate? Should he have resigned in order to make way for the MDC leadership and the Roman Catholic bishop for Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, to take over whom the settlers and the Press considered more efficient, capable and understanding than the Mugabe administration?
By calling for further sanctions, Dr Sentamu, you are demanding the intensification of the suffering of the African people and I would like to point out that for all I know, sanctions seem not to work and would like to know where, on the African continent or elsewhere, have they been able to bring about a more beneficial political system?
Finally, I would like to suggest that instead of calling for further sanctions (on Zimbabwe), you should:
l Advise the anti-Mugabe groups to understand the origin of problems in Zimbabwe.
l Advise the British and their friends to avoid blaming Mr Mugabe as the cause of the problem, but as an unfortunate leader who found himself in a situation to settle the problem he did not create.
l Instead of calling for sanctions, you should call upon the international community to come to the rescue of Zimbabwe by stepping in to arrange the redistribution of land by compensating the aggrieved settlers.
l You and Archbishop Tutu should lead a campaign for the international community to get essential supplies of maize meal, sugar and medicine and to send health works to assist in the rehabilitation effort. Mr Mugabe and his Government deserve our empathy and sympathy, but not condemnation.
l I seriously request you and Archbishop Tutu to appeal to the African Union leaders, it would be the most grotesque sin we all would be committing to approve, leave alone, or impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.
l The African Union should come to the rescue of Zimbabwe, sanctions must be avoided.
I feel a little bit unsettled that President Mugabe has had no outright support from his African colleagues with the exception of Mr Kenneth Kaunda and South African President Thabo Mbeki and a few others. These and others are being accused of being unable to remove Mr Mugabe from power, but the reason is that they understand a bit more of what led to the present situation, and that makes them less likely to condemn the Zimbabwe leadership.
I am, Sir,
Professor Mwene Mushanga
PO Box 46
Labels: SANCTIONS, ZIMBABWE
(SCIAF) Undermining Development -Copper Mining In Zmabia
Undermining Development - Copper mining in Zambia
Here are some highlights from the report:
In 1999, with the Zambian government still reluctant to privatise ZCCM,
‘major donors withheld some $530 million in aid until the government
That is nearly the entire amount of aid to the government, about 1/3
of it's entire budget.
According to the then finance minister Edith Nawakwi, the government was put under enormous pressure:
‘We were told by advisers, who included the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that not in my lifetime would the price of copper change. They put production models on the table and told us that there [was] no copper in Nchanga mine, Mufulira was supposed to have five years’ life left and all the production models that could be employed were showing that, for the next 20 years, Zambian copper would not make a profit. [Conversely, if we privatised] we would be able to access debt relief, and this was a huge carrot in front of us – like waving medicine in front of a dying woman. We had no option [but to go ahead].’31
This kind of company-by-company analysis is extremely difficult to do in Zambia. We asked KCM for a copy of their annual report, but did not receive one. We also asked Vedanta and KCM to comment on the report and on the figures cited below but, at the time of writing, they had not given us the relevant information. Vedanta’s annual report does not detail the amount of net profit that KCM makes in various financial years, or how much was paid to the Zambian government in various forms of revenue transfer.35
Given the lack of information available, the figures cited below are approximate. We firmly believe that Zambia was placed under considerable pressure, which weakened its bargaining position, leaving it unable to replicate models that had been successfully applied elsewhere – in Botswana, for example, as mentioned above. As a result, various mining companies locked the government into 15-20 year contracts that, in our opinion, allow the exploitation of its key natural resource on unfavourable terms.
Mineral royalties provide a case in point. Given the high quality of Zambia’s copper deposits,36 the high rate of extraction, and the country’s dependence on copper, the Zambian government should be able to charge a relatively high rate of mineral royalty. An IMF paper states that the ‘common range’ for royalty rates in developing countries is 5-10 per cent, with some royalties as high as 30 per cent.37 Zambia’s Mines and Minerals Act specifies a royalty rate of just 3 per cent of the netback value of minerals produced.38 However, many mining companies (including KCM under Anglo American’s leadership) managed to negotiate a different rate than that specified in the Act. Indeed, KCM pay just 0.6 per cent of the gross revenue of minerals produced. However OECD guidelines, standards for company behaviour signed up to by OECD member governments, expressly state that ‘enterprises should refrain from seeking or accepting exemptions not contemplated in the statutory or regulatory framework related to... taxation, financial incentives or other issues.’
Another example of the effects of the Zambian government’s weak negotiating position is the rate of corporate income tax. While KCM’s corporate income tax rate is set at 25 per cent, there are several exemptions and allowances – for example, an extended carry-over loss period – which can lead to the headline rate not being paid in practice.
While it is standard practice to allow losses to be carried over and offset against future profits, the net effect of this and other tax exemptions, according to the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation,44 is that mining companies in Zambia can legally enjoy a marginal effective tax rate of 0 per cent.
The practice of ‘price participation’ is further evidence of the government’s weak negotiating position. Price participation constitutes a separate contract in its own right. We have been unable to obtain a copy of the contract, but a ZCCM official told us that, if the price of copper at the London Metal Exchange (LME) exceeds a specific benchmark (US$2,700-2,800 per tonne), then the government, via ZCCM-IH, starts to claim back a certain percentage (in KCM’s case, 25 per cent) of the difference between the benchmark price and the current price. According to the same official, ZCCM-IH rarely receives the full percentage as ‘there are conditionalities [attached]’, and a cap on the amount that ZCCM can receive from KCM in any one year (roughly US$16-19 million).45 The Zambia Privatisation Agency also notes that there is a cap of US$125 million on how much ZCCM can receive ‘over the life of the operations’.46 Clauses such as these have led an official from the Ministry of Justice to state that ‘the principle of price participation is very good [and]...on paper they [the clauses] look fine...[but] the amount the government got was pathetic’.47 If this is the case, it would be appropriate for Zambian civil society to have access to the price participation document so that they can assess the validity of these statements.
In our view, the net result of these clauses is that the Zambian government is unable to derive what would normally be considered its rightful or normal rewards from the extraction of the country’s key natural resource.
Action to rectify this would not be unprecedented. Indeed, the UK government took action along similar lines in 2005, when the doubling of the oil price meant that companies operating in the North Sea were averaging a 40 per cent return on capital, compared with the more usual rate of around 13 per cent. In an effort to generate more government revenue, the then Chancellor Gordon Brown increased the supplementary North Sea charge from 10 to 20 per cent.61
Labels: CORRUPTION, DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENTS, EDITH NAWAKWI, IMF, MINING CONTRACTS, World Bank
Leaders without a vision
By Saka Sokontwe, Lusaka
Wednesday October 31, 2007 [03:00]
What do you think is the most difficult challenge facing Zambia 43 years after getting its independence?
The most critical problem facing Zambia today is the leadership vacuum that grew from the time MMD came into power.
It is during the MMD era that our beloved country has become like a ship whose captain cannot safely bring it to the shore and to make matters worse, the captain has engaged the services of pilots who do not know the local waters well.
I firmly believe that most of the problems we are experiencing rise and fall on leadership.
The invaluable expertise of a leader in any country, group or organisation more than anything else will determine its success or failure.
The impact of leadership is seen even in ancient Israel, where all was well with the nation when they had a good leader. When they had a bad leader, things went wrong for everyone.
The conclusion is that Zambia has been put in a quagmire by people who aspire for leadership without a vision on how best to serve this great nation.
By Mwenya M
Wednesday October 31, 2007 [03:00]
Zambians of goodwill need to support the government's efforts to renegotiate the mining contracts in Zambia. For too long these investors have been getting away with huge profits in their pockets. It is time to get substantial revenue from these corporations.
As if that were not bad enough, these mining investors do not even respect Zambia's labour and environmental standards.
Investment is not a licence to steal and exploit other people. Zambia must welcome only responsible investors who pay a fair tax to the government and are able to promote social development in communities.
As for the government, you were not truthful enough to tell the people of Zambia the cost of selling the mines.
The people sacrificed social and economic benefits to allow MMD to sell the mines to foreigners. You have a chance now to set the record straight and let the mineral wealth be of benefit to Zambians.
Profits from the mineral wealth are not benefiting Zambians but investors who cannot even enlist on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. Why are these investors not giving back to Zambia's economy?
Today, a Vedanta University is being constructed in Orissa, eastern India, and will host a 1600 bed medical teaching hospital and several world-class faculty schools; with a $1 billion donation from an affiliated “foundation” of Vedanta Mining Investments. This is a largest-ever single donation to a university.
Why not invest in the same manner in Zambia where the funds are coming from? Soon our graduates will be replaced by Vedanta University graduate professionals in the mining sector, hence increasing the unempolyment levels. Let's renegotiate to get a fair deal on the mining sector.
By Isaac Makashini USA
Tuesday October 30, 2007 [03:01]
It is not surprising that once again the issue of Chinese investors in Zambia has come to the fore over the last few days.
Despite all the political calisthenics that Michael Sata is known for, I think one thing he has been consistent on is to keep his axe sharp to bring down the rising forest of Chinese monopoly in the Zambian economy.
Whether for good or ill motives, no politician has blown the whistle more loudly than Sata has done to expose the numerous fouls committed by our economic partners from the Far East.
Before we dismiss Sata’s concerns as the rantings of a man selfishly wanting to cash in on this volatile matter, we must pause and ask ourselves whether there is no merit in some of the issues which he has persistently raised.
It is not a secret that the Chinese investors’ treatment of our local people in these industries is inhuman, to say the least. Even the government has admitted this.
While we need Chinese investment in our country, we must not give a deaf ear to the serious labour miscarriages our “all-weather friend” has continued to commit with impunity.
I think we need to sit down and ask ourselves what cumulative benefits for the future of our country we are reaping from this one-legged economic partnership with China.
By Mwanza Mathias, UNZA
Wednesday October 31, 2007 [03:00]
I hereby commend The Post for its relentless fight towards good governance and better life for every Zambian. We have heard the saying "Life begins at forty." Going by this saying, Zambia would be said to be 3 years old. Alas, 43 years after independence, Zambia is no longer a youth. It’s sad Zambia can only pride in past glory of once having had one of the strongest economies in Africa. Where did we go wrong?
Independence is about freedom. Freedom entails being self-sufficient, self-reliant and having direction.
Freedom is about being able to make choices in your best interest as a nation and thus being responsible for those choices. Peace is sustainable. Freedom is about every citizen being able to voice out and be heard. The feeling of partnership creates the spirit of responsibility in every citizen.
Our freedom fighters had the role of seeing us liberated and our role and challenge is to sustain the unity, peace and realisation the vision of our forefathers, who foresaw a self-sufficient Zambia with social, academic, religious and economic freedom.
As we celebrate, let’s revisit our policies such as mining agreements and investment policies, where most Zambians will be able to set up enterprises and employee fellow Zambians, where Zambia's potential of becoming a manufacturing nation is realised, putting to use its vast natural resources and realising its role among great exporting African nations, hence reducing poverty levels.
We may have diverse political, religious and ethnic interests but we are one Zambia and one nation above everything else. Even a good, sustainable constitution is possible when we all forego individual interests and put Zambia first. Happy 43rd independence anniversary Zambia and God bless!
Improve drainage systems
By John Milimo, Lusaka
Wednesday October 31, 2007 [03:00]
As we approach the rainy reason, let us not forget that we have a problem of drainage systems in many parts of our country. Before it is too late, let us start doing something constructive in order to improve our drainage systems.
As we all know, our government is very slow in answering people's requests.
Let us therefore start doing something in our small little ways to improve our drainage systems, because it is we that will suffer unnecessary floods, which are likely to lead to the out-break of water-borne diseases like cholera.
To protect ourselves from such diseases and unnecessary inconveniences, let us therefore attend to our drainage systems adequately.
Bush's remarks on Fidel
By Prince Bill M. Kaping’a Kitwe
Tuesday October 30, 2007 [03:00]
Cuban leader Fidel Castro has been away from the public eye since July, 2006. This is the day that he officially transferred power to his younger brother Raul Castro, who is also that country’s defence minister.
This was precipitated by Castro’s ill-health. In apparent reference to this, United States President George W. Bush rumbled in his recent address to Cuban dissidents in Miami, and I quote: “The long rule of cruel dictator Castro is nearing its end!” This comes hot on the heels of similar remarks he made earlier before the United Nations General Assembly in New York, a move that prompted Cuban foreign minister Felipe Perez Rogue to walk out in protest.
Isn’t the current US President a devout born-again Christian or so we are told? But contrary to the norms and ethics of Christianity, Bush’s heart seems to be so pregnant with immense hatred for one Fidel Castro that his belief and earnest prayer is seemingly that the rightful place for Fidel is the grave. What sort of Christian is Bush?
According to the Bible that I know and read, vengeance belongs to the Lord our God alone.
The same Bible further teaches us to “Love your enemies, do good to them, lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:35) Where does Bush’s mercifulness stand as the Bible clearly commands? Why should he be pronouncing doom on Fidel for whatever reasons if he is indeed a true Christian?
Too much freedom
By Gabby GP,Kabwe
Tuesday October 30, 2007 [03:00]
As Zambia celebrates its 43 years of independence, we need to ask ourselves serious questions about our past, present and future.
We may boast of 43 years of political independence, yet we are nowhere close to economic independence.
I may sound rhetorical that part of that independence is locked up in part three of our Constitution called the Bill of Rights, it’s locked up with our leaders that hog decision-making positions and jobs that would otherwise be handed down to the young and vibrant generation for continuity and fresh ideas.
It’s locked up in our ability to make some bold decisions such as simply revising the mineral rights currently at play in our mining sector.
Conversely, too much independence has seen our underage youth start hanging out in clubs and nightclubs, and nobody seems to care. Our future hangs in the balance as young people not only need the recognition due to them but also a firm policy and monitoring system that keeps them away from self-destruction.
If this independence commemoration were to carry meaning, somebody must be silent no more; somebody must cry out and spare not, before our nation goes to the dogs.
By Dr Henry Ilunga Kasongo Mongu
Tuesday October 30, 2007 [03:00]
Leadership is defined as the qualities and skills of a good leader; and those qualities are respect for others, humility, moderation of language, honesty, integrity, selflessness, transparency and accountability.
Anyone who aspires to a leadership position must have these qualities. It is for this reason that I agree with Father Bwalya who stated in the Sunday Post of October 28 that Sata’s action raises a lot questions , and he insisted that the Zambian public should not take such conduct lightly, especially that it concerns a man who has attempted to occupy the highest office in our land.
However, I do not agree that it is the responsibility of the public to make their leaders accountable as Father Bwalya wants us to believe; politicians and other leaders must be honest, responsible, transparent and accountable by virtue of their position.
The onus of the public lies in the power they have when choosing or voting for their leaders. They should not vote for non-performers or people who are selfish, unpatriotic and not accountable.
Coming back to the case of Sata, we hope that the Patriotic Front leadership will humbly explain to the Zambian people the nature of the dealings it has with Taiwan.
Sata and Dr Guy Scott should also explain why Sata lied in his attempt to obtain money from the Taiwanese government, and why such a big amount as 50,000 dollars was to be deposited in Sata’s personal account. Are they (Sata and Guy) trying to say PF has no account, and all the money it receives from local and international friends comes through Sata’s account? Not doing so would be a serious blow to Zambia’s growing multipartism and to the Patriotic Front as a party.
The silence from the people of Zambia on Sata’s scam does not mean they condone his activities; it is on the contrary a display of maturity, wisdom and strength.
There is an African proverb which suggests that a man who, after seeing a naked mad person on the street, decides - out of pity and sympathy - to cover the mad man’s nakedness should first secure his own wrapper; otherwise he may cause a shame of himself if it falls off while he struggles with the lunatic, making passers-by mistake him to be mad too.
The silence of the Zambian people means a meditation on the country’s type of leadership, in this case PF, and a sober preparation for 2011, when the people of Zambia will vote wisely. They will vote for a leader - not a trickster.
Let's dialogue on NCC
By Charles Chunda Ngosa
Wednesday October 31, 2007 [03:00]
The most reasonable thing we can do is to put our heads together as far as the National Constitutional Conference is concerned and agree upon resolving anomalies our country is besieged with.
We are quarrelling as Zambians but other nations are busy sweeping money away from our country at an alarming rate. As Zambians, let's come together and make our economy fool-proof. We are just a laughing stock in the eyes of the international community.
Our country is one of the richest nations with a semi-developed infrastructure. Zambians are intelligent people who can be anything in the world.
The problem is we are not objective, focused and foresighted but are busy crying that we are poor.
Changing the party is not a solution to the problem of abject poverty and others but a good mindset is. Zambia needs attitude revolution.
Running up and down going to different nations to discuss investors is not a solution of wanting leadership. If one is to win confidence of the people, he/she should stay around with the people he/she claims to love, highlight their problems and offer solutions.
Foreigners who have come to Zambia cannot outwit us and go on doing things the way they like.
Labels: INDEPENDENCE, LEADERSHIP, LETTERS