Saturday, November 17, 2007
By Kabanda Chulu
Saturday November 17, 2007 [03:00]
EQUINOX Minerals has confirmed that its Uranium Feasibility Study (UFS) has revealed high grade uranium mineralisation within the Malundwe ore body being mined as part of the Lumwana copper project in north-western Zambia. However mines minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa recently stated that it would be illegal for any investor to start mining uranium because current regulations do not allow for such operations.
After discovering uranium deposits earlier this year, Equinox contracted Ausenco Projects Limited to manage and implement the UFS, which would soon be completed and it has revealed an intensive infill drill programme comprising a total of 158 reverse circulation (RC) percussion drill holes spread along the 2 kilometre strike length of uranium mineralisation.
Announcing the drill results yesterday, Equinox chief executive officer Craig Williams stated that the Malundwe deposit hosts significant uranium mineralisation along the central portion of the copper ore body’s western flank.
“The purpose of the UFS drilling programme is to upgrade the previously defined Malundwe uranium resources to an indicated and measured status and we are pleased to report that the UFS infill drilling programme at our Lumwana Project in the North Western Province of Zambia has further defined and confirmed discrete zones of high grade uranium mineralisation within the larger Malundwe copper ore body currently being mined as part of the Lumwana Copper Project,” Williams stated.
He stated that the UFS infill drill programme has provided the confidence required to fully evaluate and define the high-grade uranium zones associated with the Malundwe copper ore body.
“We are encouraged that these results will support a viable development plan to extract a uranium by-product as part of Lumwana copper mine that is now at an advanced stage of construction,” stated Williams.
The Lumwana Uranium Mineral Resources has been estimated at 9.5 million tonnes with a grading of 0.042 per cent and its mineralisation is predominantly hosted within the Malundwe copper sulphide ore body.
Dr Mwansa said the government would soon start reviewing the 1995 mines Act so that it could conform to recent discoveries in the sector.
He said the Act does not allow mining of uranium and recent discoveries in the Kariba area by OmegaCorp and in North Western Province by Equinox were being closely monitored.
By Peter Mavunga
I KNEW it was only a matter of time before they turned their venom on South African President Thabo Mbeki. And that moment is here — now that Mr Mbeki has remained his own man, refusing to become a spokesman for the West. The United Kingdom’s Daily Telegraph’s article earlier this week, headlined "Questions over Mbeki’s role in Zimbabwe talks", is one example of the way this principled African leader is being vilified.
He would have been spared their spleen had he chosen the easy route of doing as he is told. But, no. He has let them down, so he is getting it fast and furious.
According to the West, President Mbeki has been a disappointment, especially over Zimbabwe.
If only he had agreed to act resolutely to abet illegal regime change north of the border, he would have been their blue-eyed boy.
What is more, he would have been showered with superlative degrees of comparison only: like "the most far-sighted statesman of Africa".
I know this because this is what happened to our own President Mugabe at independence.
Having been described as "the Hitler of Africa" in a British tabloid before independence, the then Prime Minister Mugabe became the statesman of Africa almost overnight, thanks to his policy of reconciliation.
That policy announcement at a time the white population was shell-shocked by the victory of Zanu-PF at the polls was the best thing they had heard since sliced bread
Many had packed their bags ready to go and, indeed, many left (though some of them returned afterwards.)
It was a policy that endeared the then Prime Minister to the white population that felt safe enough to unpack their bags and stay on in the new Zimbabwe.
Their interests were clearly not being threatened, hence Cde Mugabe was cool.
President Mbeki, too, would have received similar accolades if, on Zimbabwe, he had condemned the country in the same terms the British are using in trying to consign the country to the dust heap.
All Mr Mbeki needed to do was extend the illegal sanctions imposed by the West.
In other words, they would have been pleased if he had done their dirty work.
But the South African leader is a shrewd and perceptive politician.
He is an African to boot and knows there is dignity in being African.
He believes there is such a thing called an African perspective, an agenda that cannot and should not be ignored.
In the case of Zimbabwe and his own South Africa, this has meant recognising the injustices meted out to indigenous Africans.
This has meant standing up to be counted and being prepared to stand up to the West.
This has meant, above all, being objective in his attitude towards President Mugabe rather than swallowing other people’s agendas.
Trouble is that this does not fit in with the all powerful West’s agenda and he who does not fit into the system is treated like an outcast or rather he is castigated in a condescending way as they have been doing against President Mugabe.
Now President Mbeki is having a taste of the same treatment in the Mark Gevisser’s book, "Thabo Mbeki: the Dream Deferred", the subject of the Telegraph article.
"Even though I’m certain Mbeki believes (Cde) Mugabe needs to go, he has proven he is not the right person to facilitate (Cde) Mugabe’s departure," Gevisser told the Telegraph.
This illustrates the problem.
It was not my understanding that Sadc set up the Mbeki commission, if I could call it that, in order to facilitate President Mugabe’s departure.
I thought it was set up to work towards a rapprochement between the Zanu-PF and the MDC factions and to work towards free and fair elections.
When a man devotes a book to discussing a political process, though, the least he could do is get the basic facts right.
Yet the author’s lack of grasp of the facts could be excused.
He probably could not help it. There is group-think mentality here, especially in the media and the BBC.
For the politics and economics of Zimbabwe to flourish and improve, one thing ought to take place: Mugabe must go.
Even a minister in Tony Blair’s government, Peter Hain, lashed out: "Mugabe must go and go now."
Funny enough, I have often associated statements like this with good examples of interference in the internal affairs of another country.
I would have thought that the task of voting in or voting out leaders is the preserve of the Zimbabwean people, however incompetent they may appear to the West.
But Western governments often abuse their power and impose their will on smaller nations.
This involves telling the smaller nation when the leader of the country should go when it is none of their business.
It is difficult for Western governments, so it seems, to take into account the fact that Zimbabwe has a constitution that allows the President to stand for re-election again and again.
Until the Constitution is changed, say through the ongoing Sadc initiative on dialogue, it is always baffling to find such clamour for unconstitutional regime change.
The proper way of doing things is to empower the people of Zimbabwe so that they, not anyone else, not even the British or Americans, should poke their nose into the internal affairs of a sovereign country.
President Mbeki has been criticised for all sorts of things, including alleged lack of transparency, being too close to President Mugabe and, above all, ‘‘working too slowly’’.
But there are others who think negotiations such as those taking place between Zanu-PF and the MDC factions are delicate and ought to be conducted in private away from the public gaze to have a realistic chance of success.
I belong to the latter.
l Feedback: p.mavunga @yahoo.co.uk
By George Chellah and Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday November 17, 2007 [03:00]
INDENI Petroleum Refinery only has 1.8 million litres of petrol for national consumption to last for about three days, contrary to the government’s announcement. But energy and water development minister Kenneth Konga said in a ministerial statement in Parliament yesterday that crude feedstock stock-piled in view of Indeni’s temporal closure would last up to the end of the month.
Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Peter Mumba on Thursday announced that at the time of the closure, Indeni, which is shutting down operations on Sunday, would have 11.9 million litres of diesel and 4.8 million litres of petrol.
But sources within Indeni yesterday disclosed that the refinery’s stocks of petroleum products had depleted to lower levels than those being announced by the government.
“The breakdown of the stocks of petroleum products available at Indeni as at 07:00 hours this morning (yesterday) are as follows: the combined stock for petrol that is in tank number 25 is 1.81444 million litres to last for about three days,” the source disclosed. “And for diesel which is in tank number 37 is 2.906 million litres which will last for about six days including imports that have been coming from Tanzania and South Africa. Now can those stocks go up to these days the permanent secretary is talking about? In fact, we are already consuming or giving out these remaining products.
“The truth is today as we are talking right now if somebody was to come and check the stocks at the Ndola Fuel Terminal (NFT) they will agree that there is no fuel there. Currently, Indeni is running its own generator to generate electricity. We are not getting electricity from ZESCO. So that is also a huge consumption on the reserves. All that, I am sure, Mr. Mumba has not taken into consideration when giving that announcement.”
The source said a fuel crisis was looming and there was need for the government to put in place measures that would assist the country.
“Trucks are coming in to cushion the effect of the shut-down. Even as we are talking now about three trucks from Dar-es-salaam have come at the refinery for purposes of weighing the products. But that is not enough as at now,” the source said. “So the truth is the crisis is there and the government should just admit. The only way to cushion the impact is for them to quickly bring in imports or finished products or else we will have a problem in the country.”
In a statement on Thursday, Mumba assured the nation that there would be enough fuel on the market during the period of Indeni’s shutdown.
Mumba said at the time of the closure, Indeni would have 4.8 million litres of petrol and 11.9 million litres of diesel.
Mumba said the petrol stocks would last for 10 days while the diesel stocks would last for 11 days.
He said the refinery would undergo a temporary shut- down awaiting the arrival of the next consignment, amounting to 60,000 metric tonnes, scheduled for November 24, 2007.
And Konga also said there was no need for panic because the country would continue to have sufficient stocks on the market to meet the demand during Indeni’s temporary closure.
He said another cargo of 90,000 metric tonnes was expected to arrive in Dar-es-Salaam between December 15 and 18.
“In addition to these arrangements, fuel from the two-year supply arrangement will be available in the country as from mid-February 2008,” he said. “The tender for this supply has closed a few minutes ago, today.”
He said oil marketing companies had committed a total of 52 million litres of diesel and 20 million litres of petrol during the period November to December 2007.
By Noel Sichalwe
Saturday November 17, 2007 [03:00]
SEVERAL stakeholders have proposed minimal adjustments to the current tax structures, particularly the Value Added Tax (VAT) and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) in the 2008 budget. According to a compilation of tax and non-tax proposals from 42 stakeholders for the 2008 budget, the stakeholders have proposed reduction of the current 17.5 per cent VAT to percentage figures ranging from 10 to 15 per cent.
They have also proposed changes in the PAYE threshold to give relief to many Zambians earning less than K900,000.
But finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa yesterday said that the tax proposals were acceptable as long as the stakeholders could provide alternative sources of government revenue that would be lost through the tax reductions.
Shakafuswa said the government was ready to consider suggestions from stakeholders to adjust the current tax structures as long as they could propose alternative sources of income.
“If the stakeholders can find money to replace the revenue loss from the proposed tax reductions, we will take it up,” he said. “This is the logical thing to do for them. So what I am saying is that these changes are acceptable as long they can provide us with alternatives. I am just surprised that these proposals are coming when we are going into serious budgeting.”
Among the 42 stakeholders that submitted to the Ministry of Finance were 11 associations, 16 companies, eight government ministries, one church organisation and six individuals.
The Zambia Institute of Chattered Accountant (ZICA) has proposed that people earning up to K9,600,000 per annum should not attract any tax and those earning K48 million per annum should attract 25 per cent tax while others earning above K66 million per annum should attract 30 per cent tax.
It has also proposed an increase in the tax credit for persons with disabilities from K72,000 to K600,000 per annum.
ZICA has, however, suggested that corporate tax rates for companies should remain at the same level and that government should negotiate development agreements to level the playing field.
They have further suggested a VAT reduction from 17.5 per cent to 15 percent.
The Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) has also proposed that any monthly wage of K900,000 should not be subjected to tax under PAYE.
They have also proposed tax relief for pension contributions so that more people can take voluntary pension schemes. They have further stated that negotiations of development agreements should be concluded by the end of the year in time for 2008 budget.
ZACCI has further proposed a VAT reduction from 17.5 per cent to 15 per cent.
The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) has noted that government should allow VAT claimed on petrol expenses to be increased from 20 per cent to 50 per cent and abolish VAT minimum taxable values on selected items.
Northmead Assembly of God Church has suggested a decrease in PAYE by five per cent for all income bands. They have stated that PAYE for medical personnel, teachers, lecturers, police and armed forces should be 12 percentage points lower than that of other working class.
They have also called for the reduction of VAT from 17.5 per cent to 10 per cent.
Northmead Assembly has, however, proposed tax increase on alcoholic beverages and cigarettes by at least 10 per cent since the social costs of alcohol and cigarettes justify the proposed increase as medical conditions related to the products are paid for by tax payers.
The Non Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee (NGOCC) called for the reduction of PAYE to at least 25 per cent. They have proposed that the tax-free threshold should increase from K500,000 to K800,000, being the cost of basic food basket as determined by Central Statistics Office (CSO).
NGOCC has further called for the reduction of VAT from 17.5 per cent to 10 percent across the board.
It has further suggested that mineral loyalties should be increased to bridge the gap for the losses in measures proposed for PAYE and VAT.
Alick Kaluba has also suggested two types of PAYE, one for Zambian citizens and another for non-citizens.
Kaluba proposed that Zambian citizens earning less than K500,000 should not attract any tax while non citizens earning K500,000 should attract 25 percent tax.
The Zambia Business Forum (ZBF) has called for the removal of duty and VAT on hand tools for farmers.
Meanwhile, the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has suggested the reclassifying of Gypsum as a fertilizer in order to be exempted for VAT purposes.
The Ministry of Commerce and Trade proposed that imported raw materials should attract VAT at 7 per cent.
The Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has suggested an increase in tax rate for farming income from 15 per cent to 35 per cent and increased company rate for companies manufacturing fertilizer from 15 per cent to 35 per cent.
Meanwhile, Celtel Zambia has suggested that foreign exchange losses incurred on loans used to purchase telecommunications equipment should be tax deductible.
The Ministry of Tourism has also called for the reclassifying of the tourism sector as a non-traditional export and reduce the corporate tax rate for the sector from 35 percent to 15 percent.
Zambia National Federation of the Blind (ZANFOB) has suggested that all tax should be removed from all businesses owned by blind and other disabled persons.
Friday, November 16, 2007
ZIMBABWE will not collapse, now or in the future, and illegal sanctions against its people will not subdue the nation’s resilience and ability to survive, President Mugabe has said. Speaking at the commissioning of the country’s maiden commercial bio-diesel plant in Mount Hampden just outside Harare yesterday, Cde Mugabe said challenges brought about by the sanctions had instead motivated Zimbabweans to think outside the box.
"As a people, we have demonstrated that the dark clouds of our hard times, particularly those sown by Western destructive forces, have their silver lining by way of not just strengthening our resilience, but also of deepening our scientific research and stimulating our innovativeness," he said.
Zimbabwe made history by launching the first such plant in Africa, a move that should significantly ease fuel shortages while saving the country at least US$80 million annually through import substitution when operating at full capacity to produce 100 million litres of bio-diesel per year.
The plant, which processes jatropha, cotton seed, sunflower and soya, among others, to produce bio-diesel, is a joint venture between the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Youn Woo Investments of South Korea.
President Mugabe commended the two partners for coming up with such an innovation.
Zimbabwe also becomes the first country in the world to produce bio-diesel with a bio-purity level of virtually 100 percent.
Germany has a bio-purity level of 75 percent while other European countries range from 2 percent to 20 percent.
This achievement, said President Mugabe, was a derivative of Government’s far-sighted land reform programme.
Zimbabwe, which has largely depended on imported fuels, would now be cushioned against exogenous threats relating to fuel supplies, particularly in terms of pricing and availability when the plant is at full capacity.
"The strategic importance of this bio-diesel programme is its symbiotic integration with Government’s thrust in agricultural productive activity.
"I am informed that once wholly customised, this plant will, at full capacity, yield a production level of 100 million litres of diesel per year, meeting virtually all the agricultural sector’s diesel requirements for our strategic crops and other farming activities," said President Mugabe.
Positive spin-offs from the investment, which include the production of industrial chemicals and stockfeed, would benefit the country immensely.
In this regard, Government would install similar plants in all provinces over the next three years to meet the country’s agricultural and industrial productive sector fuel demands.
Farmers were challenged to produce enough oil seeds to meet both consumptive and fuel production needs. At least 500 tonnes of seed oil would be required annually to produce the targeted 100 million litres of bio-diesel.
On its part, the Government would deepen frameworks for technical and financial support to consolidate the benefit of land redistribution.
"Within this context, therefore, it is once more necessary to challenge all beneficiaries of the land acquisition exercise to ensure that every inch of allocated land is put to good use," the President said.
The 2007/2008 agricultural system was expected to mark the turning point in the country’s economic fortunes, with agricultural production providing the lead in the transformation process.
Finance Minister Dr Samuel Mumbengegwi said both fiscal and monetary policies had adopted a thrust to fully support agriculture as a strategy to shrug off the effects of illegal sanctions.
Energy and Power Development Minister Cde Mike Nyambuya also commended the installation of the bio-diesel plant, stressing that fuel from this process was much cleaner and safer to use.
At yesterday’s ceremony, Reserve Bank Governor Dr Gideon Gono announced a $1 trillion finance facility for each province for the
production of jatropha, the major oil seed for the bio-diesel processing technology.
He said the facility was meant to stimulate the growth and propagation of jatropha as feeder stock for bio-diesel projects in each province.
This was part of a two-year strategy towards energy production, self-sufficiency and import substitution. Modalities on the application and operation of the facility were presently being worked out.
Jatropha had the highest oil content ahead of other vegetable oil seeds.
However, because of its customisation, the bio-diesel plant launched yesterday can process any vegetable oil seed.
"It is our hope that as a country we can now come up with a National Energy Self-Sufficient Vision document with clear deliverables and time frames that links our agricultural and industrial activities to land, to fuel generation and export earnings.
"Today we are standing on, and witnessing the correct formula for dealing with our national diesel challenges and using brand new technology from far afield," said Dr Gono.
The latest facility is one of many the central bank has launched over the past few years to stimulate production in agriculture and other productive sectors of the economy.
The jatropha facility would augment efforts to encourage production of the crop, which has a 35 percent oil content, much higher than other seeds that average 17 percent.
It took two to three years before jatropha seeds could be harvested and, in the meantime, Zimbabwe had excess capacity in terms of pressing other oil seeds such as sunflower, cotton seed and soya.
Following yesterday’s ceremony, efforts were now being directed towards the establishment of replica plants in all provinces.
Zimbabwe requires one billion litres of diesel per annum and could become self-sufficient if the bio-diesel plants, with a production capacity of 100 million litres annually, would be established in all provinces.
Dr Gono said yesterday’s plant launch was a culmination of negotiations between the central bank and some private sector South Korean investors that began in May last year when he visited that country.
It took four months to install the plant.
During its construction, the central bank also drew expertise from the National Social Security Authority and the Civil Protection Units to ensure adherence to safety and environmental friendly concepts.
"Your Excellency, the declared and undeclared sanctions against us as a country as well as the hardships our people are experiencing, coupled with the continued rise in the price of oil internationally, demands that we reconfigure our lives and our economy in a manner that eases the plight of our people and reduce dependency on those externalities and exogenous factors which we cannot influence in our favour," said Dr Gono.
He commended Zimbabwe’s education system, saying the Mount Hampden plant was being operated by young men and women from local universities who had proven their worth.
These would continue to receive training locally and in South Korea.
"They are excellent by any standards and this has been confirmed by the plant designers themselves," said Dr Gono.
The President witnessed the diesel from the plant being poured into a tractor, which then moved powered by the fuel.
Chiefs throughout the country would each be allotted 200 litres of the diesel mainly to support agricultural production in their areas.
By Godwills Masimirembwa
IN ITS November 9-15, 2007 issue, the Zimbabwe Independent carried a commentary titled "Why we need a new constitution." The commentary was on the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Manica Zimbabwe Limited and Two Others vs The Minister of State for National Security, Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the President’s Office and Another, SC 31/07, in which white commercial farmers were challenging the constitutionality of the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment by the State.
The Supreme Court held that the acquisition was lawful.
The commentary is the familiar accusatorial repertoire against the Government and the judiciary that has become the trademark of the so-called independent media in Zimbabwe.
The editor of the Zimbabwe Independent does not agree with the finding by the Supreme Court that the compulsory acquisition by the State of farm equipment originally owned by white commercial farmers "in terms of the Act (the Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Materials Act) is for the purpose of furthering the land reform programme’’.
The Supreme Court went on to say "The land reform programme is not a private activity but is a programme that is beneficial to the public generally and certainly to sections of the public." This, the Zimind editor does not agree with.
Further, the said editor takes issue with the Supreme Court’s finding on the question of compensation for farm equipment so compulsorily acquired.
The constitution provides for fair compensation to be paid within a reasonable time.
The Chief Justice said "The plain language of section 16 (1) (c) of the Constitution is that compensation should be fair and that it should be paid within a reasonable time.
"I see nothing in the language of the section or the context of the provision that suggests such payment cannot be made in instalments. In my view, the fact that the Constitution is silent on this issue, that is, it does not specifically prohibit or specifically authorise payments in instalments, cannot be construed as prohibiting payment by instalments. I am not persuaded by the applicant’s argument that section 16(1) (c) is to be construed as providing for one lump sum payment.
"As I have stated, section 16 (1) (c) of the Constitution is intended to provide for two things:
l payment of fair compensation; and
l that such payment be made within reasonable time.
To interpret the clear wording of section 16 (1) (c) as outlawing payment in instalments would be doing violence to the plain language of a section that simply provides that the payment be fair and that it should be made within reasonable time.’’
The Zimind editor says of the judgement: "The Supreme Court ruling is remarkable more for its implications than what it actually says. The law is so vague that extraneous factors can be added to demonstrate why the compulsory acquisition of private property was for the benefit of the public."
The Zimind editor needs to be reminded that there is a legal subject called "Interpretation of Statutes." It is a universally recognised subject, which lays down the rules and principles that a court uses in interpreting statutes. In his book "Statutory Interpretation", Christo Botha says "the written or spoken words are imperfect renderings of human thought, and in the case of legislation, the courts are obliged to use specific rules of interpretation to construe the meaning of the documents."
Christo Botha quotes Devenish, who, in 1992 made the following statement concerning a new post-apartheid constitution in South Africa: "A new post-apartheid constitution for South Africa should contain a provision authorising a teleological method or theory of interpretation."
A teleological method of interpretation is a value-laden method, which addresses the fundamental values underpinning a constitution.
While the Constitution of Zimbabwe does not contain a provision of this nature, it is clear that judges play an important role in interpreting statutes in favour of or against a particular social, political and economic dispensation.
The Zimind editor’s commentary is obviously value-laden, seeking a constitution that protects private property without regard to how it was acquired, its impact on justice, fairness and ultimately social harmony.
The editor’s commentary takes as given and correct the Rhodesian economic dispensation. This is why he sees nothing wrong with whites owning farming equipment while blacks who lived under the same dispensation had nothing.
The legal dispensation that the editor cries for, the one that guarantees private property at any cost, that does not address past injustices, is diametrically opposed to the post-independence legal dispensation that of necessity has to correct past injustices and usher, uphold and protect a just social, political and economic legal dispensation. It is therefore not difficult to appreciate the lack of convergence between the interpretation of the Zimbabwean Constitution as rendered by the Supreme Court and that of the Zimind editor.
The value systems at play are like chalk and cheese.
The Supreme Court had no difficulty in concluding that the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment was in furtherance of the Land Reform Programme because section 6 of the Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act, under whose provisions the compulsory acquisition was done, reads:
(1) "Subject to this Act, the acquiring authority may, either by agreement or compulsorily, acquire any farm equipment or material not currently being used for agricultural purposes on any agricultural land, where the acquisition is reasonably necessary for the utilisation of that farm equipment or material on any agricultural land."
Section 10 (1) puts the matter beyond doubt as follows: "Subject to subsection (2), any farm equipment or material acquired in terms of this Act shall vest in the State for the benefit of the Land Reform Programme."
The Land Reform Programme was instituted to address injustices created by colonialism. Land was forcibly taken from blacks and had to be returned to them through the Land Reform Programme. The whole colonial set up was wrong, allowing whites to loot our forefathers’ cattle and other property without compensation.
The Land Reform Programme, had of necessity to address the issue of farm equipment as it is in truth and fact part of the farm or the necessary tools for carrying out farming activities.
The justification for the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment is its connectivity to the land.
The Land Reform Programme, including the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment cannot be understood by a person who sees nothing wrong with colonialism and its attendant evils.
This explains the Zimind editor’s statement "In this case justification for the seizure of the farmers’ equipment was not because they had violated the law or done anything illegal, but that Government, of its own volition, embarked on the Land Reform Programme in 2000 allegedly for the ‘benefit’ of the public generally or a section of the public. Realising that it didn’t have adequate resources to equip those who had allegedly benefited, it turned on the weakest group, which already owned equipment and seized it. And we are told this is lawful."
The Zimind editor conveniently forgets to tell his readers that whites benefited and accumulated wealth through subjugating blacks. This is the plain and simple truth about colonialism that any serious journalist should tell the world.
This injustice had to be reversed through an equitable redistribution of the wealth so unjustly accumulated. This is the plain and simple truth about the obligation of the Government of Zimbabwe to black people after independence.
To write as if whites were equal citizens with blacks during the colonial era, with both races having equal access to resources, with whites having owned land and accumulated wealth, while blacks on their own failed to achieve the same on an equal playing field, is both myopic and a dangerous misrepresentation of history. To simply say whites "owned" equipment without explaining the circumstances leading to the whites "owning" and blacks "not owning" farm equipment is a dereliction of a journalist’s duty to inform and educate the public.
The compulsory acquisition of farms and farming equipment owned by whites was both just and fair. Without it, the liberation struggle would have been in vain.
The statutory provisions relating to the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment are therefore constitutional and are not in breach of the Declaration of Rights.
There was no lack of proper planning and adequate preparation regarding the Land Reform Programme. The truth is that whites, despite knowing that they were unjustly occupying vast tracts of land, refused to voluntarily surrender the same to the Government for resettlement purposes. The Government then had to move in and compulsorily acquire land in the midst of resistance from white farmers.
The Zimind editor further attacks the judgement on the ground that the court did not bother to inquire whether indeed the equipment so seized benefited the public "generally", arguing that the white farmers have a reasonable suspicion that their equipment was seized for the benefit of a few politically connected individuals.
This argument ought to be dismissed out of hand with the contempt it deserves.
The Acquisition of Farm Equipment or Material Act provides for the payment of adequate or fair compensation. The Zimind editor does not agree with the Chief Justice’s interpretation of the constitutional provisions regarding the payment of compensation arguing that the Constitution is defective by not providing a time limit within which compensation has to be paid saying it is "vague on what constitutes adequate and fair compensation, by failing to prescribe whether payment will be one lump sum or instalments."
Armed with his three "compelling" observations, the Zimind editor then calls for "a new, people-centred constitution" — but wait, the man is afraid of the same people power he advocates as he makes a volte-face, saying "not in the populist political sense, but to address real inadequacies in the basic law."
The inescapable dilemma the Zimind editor finds himself in is that if he accepts that a constitution acquires constitutional legitimacy only if it enshrines the values of the populace at large, in other words, embraces the populist agenda, then his defence of the indefensible Rhodesian relic as personified by a few recalcitrant whites will be in tatters.
The fact, Mr Zimind editor, is that for the majority of Zimbabweans, the Land Reform Programme and its ancillary appendages like the compulsory acquisition of farm equipment form the core of the "people-centred constitution" you talk about, for the purpose, the driving spirit of the liberation struggle was the repossession of our land.
Now that our Constitution addresses the fundamental desire of the Zimbabwean populace, inadequacies can be rectified through constitutional reform, rather than a new constitution.
Our Constitution guarantees private property to the extent that such rights do not adversely impinge on the rights of others. The irrefutable historical position prior to the land reform programme is that the private property rights acquired by whites were at the expense of the rights of blacks.
Consequently, constitutional provisions extinguishing or proscribing those illegitimate private rights are fair and a sine qua non to a democratic dispensation in any country.
Private investors who intend to return Zimbabweans to Rhodesian days can keep their investment. We do not need them. The landmark Supreme Court judgement upholding the State’s right to compulsorily acquire farm equipment in furtherance of the Land Reform Programme taught me one lesson — that a purposive interpretation of legislation is the surest way of achieving justice. It is a good judgement that has consolidated the Land Reform Programme.
Friday November 16, 2007 [03:00]
THE renegotiation of copper mining agreements is an important process which requires a lot of seriousness. And it is good that Levy Mwanawasa’s government has admitted that the copper mine deals were poorly handled and there is need to have another look at them. How we wish Levy and his government had paid attention to various stakeholders who raised alarm over the fact that the mining deals had not been carefully and fairly handled. However, the renegotiation process is a step in the right direction because this is the only way Zambians will be guaranteed some benefits from copper and other mineral resources.
However, looking at the recently released Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) or the Green Paper, we have some issues to raise with the government over the way it intends to deal with the mining renegotiations. Specifically, we are interested in the line which states: “In order to facilitate new large scale mining ventures, government’s focus will be developing capacities in geological and structural mapping including acquiring geological laboratory facilities and equipment.
In addition, more effort will be made in undertaking mineral exploration and resource surveys such as petroleum and uranium exploration. Government will also focus on small scale mining development and technical support by, among other things, providing revolving funds and technical services in geology”.
According to the MTEF, the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development has been allocated K43 billion in 2008 of which K15 billion is for strengthening institutional capacity and K5 billion for personal emoluments. In 2007, royalties were budgeted for at K77.34 billion and projected by end of December 2007 at K72.76 billion. In 2008, royalties have been projected at K72 billion while K79 billion is for 2009 and K86 billion is the projection for 2010.
Looking at the MTEF projections, it is obvious that the government is not expecting much more royalties even with the expected re-negotiations with the mining companies.
To us, this is disgraceful and scandalous. Despite all this, the reality on mining and prospecting licensing management on the ground is appalling. In June 2007, the Minister of Mines and Mineral Development announced that his ministry was undertaking an audit of issued licences and that there were plans to cancel licences that were not used. In a speech read on behalf of Levy, the minister warned: “Use it or lose it”.
As we near the end of the year, we are yet to see any action on this. Surely, after six months, has the audit not been completed? If it has been completed, and in public interest, we need to know what the findings were. In our November 14, 2007 editorial we stated that there was total confusion in managing prospecting and mining licences at the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development.
From the most recent prospecting maps, which we have had sight of, it will baffle any Zambian to know that almost the entire country mineral resources for prospecting and/or mining have been given away to a few foreign mining companies. Today, very few prospecting or mining licences are being held by Zambians.
And in a handful of these foreign companies which hold most of the licences, a few Zambian elite either hold honorary directorships, legal advisory or have been given negligible share options. Perhaps these few Zambians have been asked either to front the foreign mining companies’ local operations or to help them “facilitate” with the government bureaucracy.
As if to add insult to injury, most of these foreign mining companies have been holding on to prospecting or mining licences for years, and in some cases decades and this too, illegally! There are also many instances in which the same area has been allocated to more than one licence holder. Do the director of mines and his staff not know how to allocate areas and read maps? It is also not uncommon for application files to go missing. Perhaps the projected allocation of K15 billion in 2008 to strengthen institutional capacity will help the ministry remove this gross incompetence.
The current mining law clearly states that if no prospecting is undertaken in a two-year period, the holder of such a licence loses it. In some instances the foreign holders of prospecting and mining licenses have even sold their rights to other foreign companies. Then there is the incredible bureaucracy that is involved in applying and obtaining prospecting and mining licences, to a point where it is one of the most infuriating exercises which takes any investor juggling and cajoling the staff at the Ministry of Mines headquarters and their various departments.
This is why we said the other day that the MTEF Green Paper is full of rhetoric; it’s just words, words and more words. And words which mean nothing.
We therefore urge Levy and his government to get more serious about the copper mining renegotiations because this is a very serious matter for the nation. We want to see action from Levy’s government over the renegotiations. A lot has been said but we have not yet seen action. Levy and his government should take a leaf from what is happening in Tanzania, where President Jakaya Kikwete has even set up a committee to look at mining contracts and a clear time-table has been given to those who have been given the task.
Just like in the case of Tanzania, we believe that the terms of reference for renegotiation should include going through all mining contracts and all other documents involving large-scale mining, the tax regime and in the mining sector, including issues that border on the rights of both investors and the government. This has to be done because we need to start managing our mineral resources properly.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Friday November 16, 2007 [03:00]
DEVELOPMENT and economic consultant Professor Oliver Saasa has expressed concern at the slow pace in the government’s re-negotiation of development agreements signed with mining companies. In an interview yesterday, Prof Saasa said the government should ensure that the country benefited from the development agreements and mineral loyalties.
“We should push more for the re-negotiation of development agreements than mineral loyalties because we can benefit more from the development agreements. The slowness taken by the government in the re-negotiations should be of concern to all of us,” Prof Saasa said.
“Government should give regular updates on the re-negotiation process. We want to know what is happening.”
He said Zambia was expected to benefit colossal amounts of money from the re-negotiated development agreements. However, Prof Saasa observed that at the moment the mining companies were not paying taxes, which when re-negotiated would go to government coffers and in turn benefit Zambians.
“We expect to benefit more,” Prof Saasa said. He said although there was need for the country to benefit some funds through mineral loyalties, the money would be lower than what would be gotten from the renegotiated development agreements.
However, Prof Saasa said would Zambia benefit more from mineral loyalties because of the increasing production levels.
“To some extent, the mineral loyalty is based on production; the higher the production the higher the benefits from mineral loyalty,” Prof Saasa said. “Within the next four to five years we expect over one million metric tones of copper.
That is the expectation from Lumwana mine. Therefore, when we increase the output, we will expect the increase in the loyalties. So we should not be so disappointed with the current amounts of money from mineral loyalties. In fact, mineral loyalties are lower than development agreements, for me I would rather we concentrate on re-negotiating development agreements.”
By Emmanuel Katongo in Arusha, Tanzania
Friday November 16, 2007 [03:00]
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete has appointed former Attorney General Mark Bomani chairman of the committee to review all mining contracts. In a statement issued by State House in Dar-es-Salaam yesterday President Kikwete gave the 11-member team three months to complete its work. The members include legislators from the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), opposition parties, senior government officials and the private sector.
Its terms of reference include going through all mining contracts and other documents involving large-scale mining, the tax regime in the mining sector and the right of an investor and those of the government.
The committee will also meet with the Chamber of Minerals and other stakeholders to review the system used by the government to supervise large-scale mining.
Other members of the committee are United Democratic Party (UDP) member of parliament for Bariad East, John Cheyo and Chadema member of parliament for Kigoma North Zitto Kabwe.
Others are CCM member of parliament for Kyela, Harrison Mwakyemba, Msalala member of parliament Ezekiel Mainga, Peter Machunde from the Dar-es-Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) and David Tarimo of PriceWaterhouse Coopers.
Also on the committee are the director of civil cases and international law in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Justice Maria Kejo and a lawyer with the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Salome Makange.
Commissioner for policy in the Ministry of Finance, Mugisha Kamugisha and the Human Settlements assistant director in the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Human Settlements Development, Edward Kihundwa are also on the committee.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Thursday November 15, 2007 [03:00]
It is very clear that the work and reports of the Auditor General are not being taken seriously by those in power and in our politics. Even the citizens of our country, including those in civil society organisations, don’t really seem to be much bothered by this apparent lack of accountability in public institutions.
The observations made by our Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee chairman Charles Milupi are frightening. Honourable Milupi says the continued misappropriation of public funds is becoming an ‘offensive stench’. And on Tuesday he told Parliament that K26.6 billion was misappropriated and misapplied in 19 public institutions that were audited by the Auditor General for the year ended December 31, 2005.
When people in government fail to do their jobs properly, we can expect needless harm, injustice and waste of public money. Holding to account is a powerful lever to cause those in government to act diligently in public interest, but we don’t seem to be using it effectively, that is if we are using it at all. It means exacting and validating public explanations we need from those in government that help us to make sensible decisions as citizens – including what trust to place in those running government institutions.
If we don’t trust these people, the people running our government institutions, society will not work properly.
There is no way K112 billion can be wasted on the Mongu–Kalabo road, leaving nothing to show, and no one is held accountable or is brought to book for such gross wastage of public funds. There is no way US $1 million can be lost on the Mbesuma bridge without anyone being held accountable and prosecuted. This type of impunity if not addressed will become a permanent fetter on the development of this country.
There is no way we are going to make progress as a nation if public funds are not managed and used in an efficient, effective and orderly manner. It will not be possible to achieve our developmental goals and lift the masses of our people from abject poverty, disease and ignorance without changing the way we manage public resources and affairs.
What the Auditor General’s reports reveal every year is nothing but a tip of the iceberg as far as misapplication and misappropriation of public funds is concerned. There is prima facie evidence to show that levels of corruption in the public service have not gone down.
Civil servants and public workers are still among the richest of our citizens today. Most of the large and expensive buildings in and farms around Lusaka and other centres are owned by these same people. We all know very well the salaries of civil servants and other public workers because they are gazetted.
Well there have been attempts by some corrupt politicians to explain this through travel allowances. But even these travel allowances, there is something corrupt about them – they are not legitimate expenses of government. A close scrutiny of these travel allowances will reveal that in most cases they are not necessary and in others they are excessive.
Our government’s procurement system also leaves much to be desired and is inherently corrupt. We cannot continue to have a country where citizens cannot account for what they have and expect to have high levels of accountability in the nation.
Every year the Auditor General’s report reveals high levels of misapplication and misappropriation of public funds but no one hears of the prosecutions that are supposed to accompany them. Why? Has it become an acceptable way of conducting government business and public affairs?
Look at the damage this is causing to the human condition in our country! How can someone be allowed to misappropriate billions of kwacha that were meant for restocking of cattle in Southern Province and go scot-free? We have not heard of anyone being prosecuted for stealing this money. Why? How can our police, which is so much in need of cash, lose such huge sums of money without anyone being prosecuted?
When Transparency International produce figures or statistics indicating that corruption has not gone down in Zambia, those in government quickly start denouncing them. The truth is that corruption has not gone down in Zambia. What has probably happened is that the current President may himself not be involved in stealing public funds like his predecessor did. But this in itself doesn’t mean that corruption in government has accordingly reduced.
There is need to take a critical look at the operations of government. The cost of running our government is too high due to misapplication and misappropriation of funds. For instance, a project that would cost government US $1 million will not be completed for less than US $10 million or $15 million because of misapplication and misappropriation of public funds. There is very little that can be accomplished by any government under such corrupt circumstances. We need, as a nation, to seriously address this issue in public institutions.
It cannot be denied that President Levy Mwanawasa is running a corrupt government. And to run a corrupt government does not necessarily mean that Levy himself has to be corrupt. We have no evidence whatsoever to accuse Levy of being corrupt. But there is abundant evidence coming from the Auditor General and publicised by the Public Accounts Committee showing very high levels of misapplications and misappropriations of public funds.
What does this amount to? It amounts to very high levels of corruption in government. It amounts to Levy running a corrupt government. There is very little that has been done to stop corruption in public institutions. The example Levy might have set of he himself not being involved in corruption is not enough; it is simply an example. But we know that examples by themselves do not solve problems of this nature, they have to be accompanied by concrete measures and practices.
The buck for all this corruption in government stops at Levy. The only way he can absolve himself from all this is by making sure government business and affairs are conducted with effective and efficient controls and those who are found wanting are prosecuted. This is not happening. Impunity is still the order of the day.
And this explains why public servants are not scared of stealing because they know that they will lose nothing – they will keep their jobs and their loot; if they happen to lose their jobs, they will at least keep their ill-gotten wealth. This is not the way to run government; this is not the way to run public institutions and affairs.
Those who are tasked to manage and use other people’s money have an inherent duty to account – accountability should be an inevitable consequence of being an agent of the people, a servant of the people. Levy, as a servant and agent of our people, should be made to account for all this money that is being misapplied and misappropriated by people working under him or for him.
He can’t run away from this responsibility because it is his duty to ensure that public funds are used in an efficient, effective and orderly manner. Failure to do so is tantamount to him failing to do his job as head of state and government. This is what it means to tolerate the misapplication and misappropriation of public funds.
By George Chellah
Thursday November 15, 2007 [03:00]
INDENI Petroleum Refinery Company has run out of crude oil and is expected to shut down operations by Saturday. But Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary, Peter Mumba, said there was no need for panic because a shipment of 60,000 metric tonnes of crude oil was expected by November 24, 2007. Indeni public relations officer Mwila Nkonge referred all queries to the finance and energy ministries as they are responsible for crude oil procurement. But sources within Indeni yesterday revealed that the refinery had exhausted the last consignment that came in recently.
“We have run out of crude oil. The supplies we have will only last for today (yesterday) and probably tomorrow (today),” one of the sources disclosed. We will have a dry spell until maybe early December without crude oil. This means that the refinery will be shut down from this Friday until early December. So, the truth is that the refinery will shut down operations because of lack of feed stock or lack of crude oil.”
The source disclosed that the refinery was likely to resume operations in December when the government procures the feedstock.
“We will shut down and we are expecting that the government procures the crude oil by December 3rd or 4th, 2007,” another source said. “And management is saying that it’s the government’s fault because they have removed Total from the procurement of crude oil and they are now procuring it themselves.”
The source further disclosed that the government had been trying to access funds from the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) to procure the feed stock for the refinery.
“They have been pushing for about US$65 million from the Bank of Zambia to purchase but we don’t know how far they have gone with that,” the source said.
The source warned that if the government did not act quickly, the shutdown could plunge the country into another serious fuel crisis.
“The implications of the shutdown are obvious. There is a possibility of shortages of fuel products on the market,” the source revealed. “So we are likely to experience fuel shortages similar to the ones we had recently.
“And of course the financial position of Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company will be affected because there will be no production for such a long time.”
When contacted, Indeni public relations officer Mwila Nkonge referred all queries to the finance and energy ministries.
“The Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Energy are the ones procuring the crude oil so I think they have the right information,” Nkonge said.
But Mumba said the matter of crude oil had been solved by the Ministry of Finance and Indeni.
“The issue of crude oil has been sorted out. We don’t see any reason for panic. We are expecting crude oil to arrive any time this month. We are expecting crude oil on the 24th of this month to be specific,” Mumba said. “We are expecting about 60,000 metric tonnes any time this month and another 90,000 metric tonnes by the end of December.
“This is before we enter into a long-term arrangement with some suppliers. We are running a tender which ends on November 16. We want to pick suppliers to give us feed stock for the next two years.”
By Chibaula Silwamba
Thursday November 15, 2007 [04:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday said today’s youths will become future victims of poverty and parents of vulnerable children if they do not get jobs. Launching the tool-kit-scheme for graduates of technical education programmes at Lusaka Business and Technical College in Lusaka, President Mwanawasa said that his government recognised that youth unemployment was a serious problem and it had a negative impact on Zambia’s prospects for economic development and individual wealth creation.
“My government is aware that youth unemployment does not affect Zambia alone but it is a global phenomenon affecting most nations of the world. Some estimates indicate that about 300 million people in the world are unemployed. This translates to more than 35 per cent of the potential global force being unemployed,” President Mwanawasa said. “In Zambia, it’s estimated that the formal labour force comprises less than 20 per cent of the nation’s total labour force.”
He said his government had created a good investment climate that attract local and foreign investment, which in turn create more jobs for Zambians. President Mwanawasa said the policy on skills development through the Technical, Educational, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) had been re-oriented to make it demand responsive.
“In 2005, my administration introduced a TEVET fund through which government provides resources to technical colleges that bid to produce high quality graduates in priority skill areas identified by government, which include; heavy duty repair, paramedical, civil engineering, instrumentation, mechanical engineering, water engineering, draftsmanship, tourism and travel and agricultural engineering,” President Mwanawasa said.
“However, my administration has noted that skills development does not necessarily lead to formal employment or employment creation. It is possible to have skilled people who cannot find jobs in the formal sector. It is therefore also important to empower those who graduate from skills development programmes by providing support such as toolkits, capital and access to land.”
He said it was for that reason that he directed the ministers of finance and science, technology and vocational training to establish a toolkit scheme for TEVET graduates.
He said the Indian government provided financial support and the toolkit has since arrived in the country and was ready for distribution.
“The toolkit alone may not be sufficient to fully empower the graduates for self-employment. I therefore request relevant institutions to lend their support in accordance with their mandates,” he said.
President Mwanawasa advised the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to help TEVET graduates in small and medium enterprise creation. “It should be possible for councils to give preference to TEVET graduates when selecting suppliers of goods and services such as furniture production, construction of buildings, repair and servicing of transport fleets and others,” said President Mwanawasa.
And science and technology minister Peter Daka explained that the procured toolkit include those for automotive mechanics trade, automotive electrician, filter trade, metal fabrication and welding trade and electrical technician trade, carpentry and joinery, body shop, plumbing, cutting and tailoring, radio and TV repair.
“For the start, the scheme is to benefit only graduates from public training institutions under my ministry. However, in future my ministry intends to cover other skill areas and at the same time extend the graduate loan scheme to graduates from private training institutions,” Daka said. “The toolkit shall be given to TEVET graduates in form of a soft loan and the graduates shall be expected to pay back in a reasonable period of time and at a very low interest rate.”
A beneficiary of the toolkit, Sergeant Mwila Mwitwa said the equipment would help the beneficiaries become entrepreneurs. “It will enhance eradication of street adults, street vendors and unemployment,” said Mwitwa in a vote of thanks. The toolkits were given to several students from various TEVET institutions around the country.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
By Fridah Zinyama
Tuesday November 13, 2007 [03:01]
Finance Minister Ng’andu Magande has said the government is not deliberately taking its time in finishing re-negotiating the mineral royalties as there are not only legal but technical aspects to consider. Most of the stakeholders feel that the government has unnecessarily taken too long to finish with the re-negotiations and this has cost the nation the much-needed finances. But the government still insists that they are making headway and would like to be comfortable with the outcome of the re-negotiations. In an interview, Magande said it might seem like the government is taking its time in re-negotiating the mining agreements but that was not the case.
“We just want to be extra careful and not do things quickly because the same people who are calling for quick renegotiations will be in the fore-front of condemning government if things are not properly done,” he said.
Magande said the government did not just have to deal with technicalities in the agreements but legal aspects as well, which could not be hurriedly done.
“We have to deal with the mining companies on an individual basis as there are different needs that have to be addressed like the lifetime of the individual mines and the different minerals found in each mine,” he said.
“We need to understand what is happening in order to fit things in the right framework.”
Magande added that the government would have to deal with about 12 mining companies on an individual basis and deal with their individual peculiarities.
“We have to consider how the review will most importantly affect production and how much the mining companies would be required to pay in terms of taxes,” he said. “Eight of the twelve mining companies signed the agreements before the prices went up.”
Magande said these were the issues that were causing the government to take its time in finalising the re-negotiations.
“And we have to find specialists who help us to adequately deal with the issues,” he said. “We would like to feel comfortable with the outcome of the re-negotiations when they are finally concluded.”
Magande said the process might seem to be taking long at the moment but that things would be quickly done when the technicalities and legalities were dealt with.
And finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa disclosed that most of the mining companies had agreed to re-negotiate the mining development agreements with the government.
“All the mines had agreed to come on board over the renegotiation for new mineral royalties,” he said. "People were saying that we were taking too long to start the negotiations for the increasing of royalties. We had to prepare ourselves. Those guys have international lawyers and if I take my permanent secretary for budget to go and negotiate, he will just be torn to pieces by the international lawyers.”
Shakafuswa said in order to make the experts on the Zambian side ready, the Norwegian government has rendered us some assistance.
“They gave us help to understand how to go about and negotiate and what I have gathered is that all the mining companies have agreed to come on board,” Shakafuswa said.
"We don't foresee any problems ...when the companies were coming into Zambia, they were telling us the prospects of getting copper and selling it was very expensive and they would not make a profit in a very long time but the trend has changed. When we negotiated the mining development agreements at the time, prospects were grim but now since the prospects are bright, we expect them as well to honour and give respect to the people of Zambia.”
Pressure has been mounting on the government by stakeholders to quickly finish re-negotiating the mining agreements if the country is to benefit from the peak copper prices the industry is experiencing on the international market.
EDITOR — Allow me to express my sadness at the apparent demise of my beloved profession, engineering. All over Africa, Zimbabwean engineers are in demand mainly because we are hardworking and well-trained professionals. The ground that we have covered to attain this status is, however, gradually being eroded. At the risk of sounding like a mercenary, let me say the rates engineers are paid in the public and private sectors are just pitiable. This development has seen many engineers leaving for greener pastures and unfortunately the gap they leave takes years to fill.
This applies to all levels — from artisans right up to the chartered engineers. The training standards have gone down as the skilled and seasoned engineers have left and are still leaving. This is where I want to challenge industry as to what they are doing to retain such skills.
I was shocked by one director at a local manufacturing concern who declined to give tooling allowances to his artisans simply because they can go and work somewhere else. This irresponsible attitude has seen apprentices coming off their training programmes virtually "green" and it’s a shame when such companies claim, by donating a few goodies, that they are responsible corporate citizens.
A few companies like Triangle, Zimplats, Delta and Zimasco still have very good focus on training which I urge other companies to follow. Training is the only basis for us to have the capacity to take back our industry to where it was. One needs to look at South Africa where such well-defined training systems were absent and the skills deficit they have despite a sound economy.
My other concern is the role of the Zimbabwe Institite of Engineers. Besides the "bridges competition" I am not sure whether enough has been done to make students aware of what engineering is and its importance. My other point is that ZIE is not a regulatory body — who regulates engineering practice?
Perhaps one would say that what NSSA — Factories Inspectorate does but engineers cannot be registered or accorded professional status by NSSA. To come out of this, I suggest that an engineeering council must be set up to oversee engineering standards in all aspects (training, mentoring and licensing). This council will obviously be made up of key stakeholders including the existing ZIE, factories inspectorate, ministries and so on.
As it is now, anyone can be promoted to the status of engineer in some of these organisations. Such promotions are made unfortunately by people who have no clue of what engineering is. This seriously compromises the learning environment especially for young graduates who find themselves being trained by people who are not adequately equipped for the tasks.
This, I hope, can be cleared if all engineers are registered and licensed by a regulatory body that will also oversee all other engineering activities. Qualification to Professional Engineer status should also be accompanied by certificates of competence covering all issues. Training of apprentices artisans should be done by certified artisans , training of engineers should aslo be done by Corporate/Professional Engineers.
Thirdly universities should increase the practical exposure of all would be engineers. NUST has gone some way in having an attachment programme that tries to address this but still needs fine tuning. It’s shocking to have a graduate mechanical or electrical engineer who can barely operate a basic lathe machine.
Shocking but its true — I have seen theoretically sound graduate trainees battling to get to grips with basic workshop technology— but then that is the beginning of it all. Perhaps it need to be taken further down to primary school to teach the youngsters basics of workshop practice rather than wait for them to graduate.The colleges just need to seriously improve on this.
For NUST I think whats needed is a firm progress follow up programme and agreement with the industry on the training needs of the students.
I have seen students being turned into "typists" with little or no emphasis on hands on trade practice during the whole year of attachment.
To all fellow engineers, the challenge is upon us to make this profession noble once more in our country. Can we also have a lively calendar ZIE? I don’t know when I last received a bulletin or newsletter despite being paid up.
THE transitional economic plan set to guide national programmes next year is now almost complete, the Secretary for Economic Development, Mrs Judith Kateera, has said. This is expected to give policy direction during the formulation of the 2008 Budget. "The plan is currently going through the clearance processes," she said. The transitional plan, which is a short-term policy, would be succeeded by a medium-term plan, the new five-year Zimbabwe Economic Development Strategy (ZEDS) to be launched mid-next year. ZEDS would be implemented from 2009 to 2013.
The key objective of the transitional plan was to stabilise the economy through policies geared towards reining in inflation, dealing with the exchange rate issues and ensuring that interest rates are in sync with inflation to create an enabling environment conducive for business.
The plan is a culmination of widespread consultations that the ministry held nationwide to come up with a truly representational plan. The ministry also targeted the pre-Budget seminar for legislators that was held in Bulawayo recently. The transitional plan was expected to be presented to Cabinet after the completion of the consultative process.
It would replace the National Economic Development Priority Programme whose tenure ends at the end of this year. The Ministry of Economic Development took a deliberate policy to consult the grassroots on national economic policies to foster ownership of the policies among Zimbabweans.
BRITAIN is plotting with Nordic countries to get Zimbabwe on the agenda of the European Union-Africa Summit in Portugal next month, but Harare has said it is prepared for any showdown, according to sources. It is understood that London is taking this route as a face saver after failing to have President Mugabe barred from the meeting.
Diplomatic sources said a campaign to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the summit is underway with ambassadors of Nordic countries in Harare co-ordinating the scheme alongside the opposition MDC and civic society.
The conspiracy involves building up allegations of State-sponsored violence against the Zimbabwe Government and reviving calls to try those accused of being responsible for the disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands in the 1980s in international courts.
Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Sten Rylander has since July been on an anti-Zimbabwe crusade.
During his summer holiday in July, Mr Rylander flew home and held a number of interviews with the Swedish radio and television attacking Zimbabwe for alleged human rights violations, State-sponsored violence and suppression of democratic space.
Last month, he took his campaign to an end of year review meeting of the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Fund in Nyanga.
At the meeting, the ambassador alleged that the Government was sponsoring violence against the opposition but did not substantiate his claims.
Heads of Government departments attended the meeting, which affords Zimbabwe, as a member of the United Nations, an opportunity to give a priority list of its development projects for funding by donors who support the UN.
This prompted the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda to write to the United Nations Development Programme resident representative Dr Agostinho Zacarias registering Zimbabwe’s displeasure about Mr Rylander’s conduct.
"It was unfortunate that such an allegation was made at the ZUNDAF meeting which to me is a development forum not a political one. The ambassador could surely have addressed his concerns with the appropriate authorities, that is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"For him to throw his salvo at the Govern-ment of Zimbabwe in a development forum, is not only discourteous but also undiplomatic.
"These are serious allegations he is making against a sovereign state. He therefore needs to substantiate them," wrote Dr Sibanda, in the letter dated November 7, 2007.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Mr Rylander on the same day to substanti- ate the claims he made at the ZUNDAF meeting.
Head of the Europe and Americas division in the Ministry, Ambassador Ngoni Sengwe, challenged the ambassador to present evidence to prove his claims.
Mr Rylander cited a demarche (a formal diplomatic representation of one government’s official position, views, or wishes on a given subject to an appropriate official in another government) the EU sent to the Government in August listing cases of alleged violence against the opposition.
But Ambassador Sengwe said the demarche did not refer to current events, which Mr Rylander had alluded to.
The Swedish diplomat pointed out that his source was the Zimbabwe Human Rights Lawyers’ Association, an anti-Government body.
Ambassador Sengwe questioned the credibility of Mr Rylander’s sources and queried the motive of his statement when the opposition MDC had just had a meeting with Home Affairs Minister Cde Kembo Mohadi and did not produce evidence of its violence claims.
"He wondered why the Swedish ambassador would be the activist for the MDC when the MDC itself had not tabled the issue of violence," a source who attended the meeting said.
Mr Rylander undertook to bring "concrete evidence" of the alleged violence.
It has since emerged that the cases cited by Mr Rylander were similar to those contained in a report produced two weeks after his claims by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
Zimbabwean authorities believe there is a campaign to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of the summit as a face saver for the British.
But Harare has said it is not afraid to fight in defence of its sovereignty and reputation.
"If they dare play Britain’s cat pawl, they are likely to get one outcome, namely a repeat of the 2002 Johannesburg World Earth summit (where President Mugabe boldly told then British Prime Minister Tony Blair to stay out of Zimbabwe’s issues). Zimbabwe does not shy away from a fight especially where it is right," said a Government official.
The Herald is reliably informed that British authorities were also using some African leaders to persuade Prime Minister Gordon Brown to attend the summit.
Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf has urged Mr Brown to drop his threat to boycott the summit.
"We hope that (Brown) will change his position and we hope that he will be there," she was quoted as saying by the British Daily Mail on Monday.
Sources said Mr Brown would then attend the summit on the pretext of responding to calls by some African leaders.
Wednesday November 14, 2007 [03:00]
At independence in 1964, Zambia was the richest country in sub-Saharan Africa. Twenty years down the line, it was one of the poorest with nearly 70 per cent of its population living in poverty. By 1982 Zambia, already highly indebted, faced financial and economic crises.
Between 1983 and 1995, the World Bank committed about US$1.4 billion to the country, 70 per cent of which was in support of structural adjustment. The aim was to help Zambia diversify its exports away from copper and to establish efficient import substitution in agriculture and industry.
Since the 1990s, the MMD government has continued structural reforms to the economy. However, as shown by the latest Green Paper, there is still weak ownership of the reforms.
Outside a very narrow group of politicians and senior officials, there is little ownership of the reform process. But we have to come to a realisation that civil society, like many other stakeholders in the country, has an important role in terms of its ability to provide input in the formulation as well as analysis of the impact of the budget on the economy. And this type of work is only possible when timely, reliable and comprehensive information is made available by the authorities.
The IMF programme in Zambia recently came to an end. However, looking at the recently released Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2008 to 2010, the government seems to have agreed to continue with IMF monitoring its economic policies. It is unfortunate that the government has decided to continue with IMF policies and remain in bondage of the Washington Consensus.
Our understanding is that the government's recently released MTEF, or Green Paper, for the years 2008-2010 is ostensibly for the purpose of consulting stakeholders on the course of action with regard to Zambia's development agenda. As to how and when such consultations will take place before the 2008 budget is yet to be known.
Given that we have roughly about 75 days before the 2008 budget is presented to Parliament, for all practical purposes this so-called consultation seems to be a mere public relations exercise in futility. In our view, the Green Paper has been published just to please the IMF and donors.
It is important to stress that the MTEF is only a method of budget preparation, which involves better information on which to strengthen transparency and accountability. The MTEF process by itself cannot lead to improved fiscal discipline, accountability and open government; these will only happen if there are related reforms to democratic and public sector management processes.
As such, it is important to distinguish between the MTEF as a budget preparation process and the implementation of the budget, which is not part of the MTEF process per se. Thus, we ought to look at whether smaller fiscal deficits were planned as a result of the introduction of the MTEF rather than the actual out-turn. Higher deficits may be the result of a breakdown in budget implementation processes.
It is important for the MTEF to be introduced as part of an array of financial management reforms. The Secretary to the Treasury, Evans Chibiliti would have done well to have instead announced the time and place where these consultations would be taking place across Zambia. We hope that the government will adequately advertise the consultative meetings over this MTEF, although it is clear that time is running out. In any case, Chibiliti is candid in his comment when he says:
"My preliminary assessment is that we have not done much so far. This is because of the slow pace of project execution."
What is glaringly lacking in the twenty-two page Green Paper are possible ideas, solutions or remedies to overcome the problems described therein. As usual, the paper simply restates the age-old issues, constraints and intentions. For instance, Chibiliti says:
"Another impediment to broad-based and higher rates of growth has been the slow pace of implementation of structural reforms such as the Private Sector Development Initiative (PSD) and Public Sector Management and Accountability Reforms (PEMFA). We recall that these reforms were, only a few years ago, launched with much fanfare and expense. Tens of millions of dollars have been allocated to these two critical reform programmes." Yet Chibiliti says: "In this regard, the government will quicken the pace of implementation of these reforms."
The question is how? When? What are the reasons for slow implementation?
These are the issues that stakeholders need to know before they can provide their inputs and possible solutions. In our view, the government is already aware of where some of the delay in structural reform implementation has come from. In this regard, a few examples are appropriate.
Under the subject of "Expanding the Structure of Growth" the Green Paper states that the growth in the mining sector has had little impact on the majority of the population and will therefore target new growth opportunities and diversify exports in agriculture, manufacturing and tourism sectors, as well as expand electricity generation.
In tourism, the government will re-capitalise the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), with K23 billion in 2008. Why? What happens to the money that ZAWA generates from fees and the support it gets from donors? The World Bank's Support for Economic Expansion and Diversification (SEED) project is being implemented very slowly by the Ministry of Tourism, as is the PSD by the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, which has about US$10 million grant money over a three-year period to implement PSD but the Green Paper is silent on how implementation will be improved.
On electricity generation, the Green Paper is loudly silent as to when the government will make a decision to open up the sector for private investment. There have been mixed signals on this issue, as to whether it will be ZESCO Limited and or the private sector. Why can't the private sector be allowed to invest in this sector without partnership with ZESCO Limited?
At the Ministry of Mines, there is confusion in managing prospecting and mining licences and most of the country has been allocated to very few foreign owned companies, leaving the idea of empowering Zambians illusive. The capacity for mine safety management has also not received the necessary support.
On public sector management, the government says it will focus on right-sizing, pay reform and payroll management. However, it should be recalled that public sector reforms started in the 1990s with the same focus. Therefore, what we need to know is whether the reforms have failed.
If so, why? The bottom line is that on key structural policies and reforms, the government is at a loss as to how and when implementation will be stepped up in order to support private sector-led growth. Even worse is that the government is equally silent on how management and implementation of its programmes will be improved.
As much as the MTEF can provide predictability in resource allocation to all sectors without a plan to implement structural reforms, what is the purpose of the rhetoric in the Green Paper? The government ought to get more serious with its economic and financial policies and programmes.
The people of Zambia are fatigued by the not-so-inspiring old stories contained in the so-called Green Paper.
By Fridah Zinyama and Mutuna Chanda
Wednesday November 14, 2007 [03:00]
FEDERATION of Free Trade Unions of Zambia president Joyce Nonde has said next year's national budget will expose the reality of the much talked about growth in the Zambian economy. And Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) committee member Bob Liebenthal has said the government needs to be commended for coming up with the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) as it gives stakeholders a clear picture of what it intends to accomplish.
In an interview on the proposed 2008 budget and the Medium term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) for 2008 to 2010 which was launched by finance minister Ng’andu Magande last week, Nonde said what was being awaited was the truth on how much the government had done on the issues that they had committed themselves to, such as broadening the tax base and renegotiating the development agreements so as to increase revenue from mineral royalties.
“What we are expecting is for the government to tell us that they have broadened the tax base across many sectors so that there is relief on workers’ taxes. They have been talking about broadening the tax base and we want to see that in the 2008 budget,” Nonde said.
“We also expect them to announce by the time the budget is presented next year that the renegotiation of development agreements has been concluded so that we know how much is going to be committed to development resulting from that. There have been a lot of tax holidays mainly on foreign investors.
“If there is nothing on broadening the tax base and increasing mineral royalties then there would be nothing for the workers because we would not expect anything.”
She also said if the government continued borrowing huge sums of money to finance its activities, then the growth of the economy would be questioned.
“There is a lot of talk on the economy doing well but for whom? We should see the doing well of the economy reflecting in the reduction of problems for workers. If we are growing and our income as a country is increasing we must see a reduction in borrowing,” Nonde said.
In a separate interview, Liebenthal said there was need for the government to ensure that it puts measures in place to implement the good plans it had come up with.
Liebenthal said the Green Paper was a very welcome gesture by government as it gave stakeholders enough information and time to react to what the government was trying to do.
“Another thing to commend government about is that the Green Paper is being done in a three-year period. Other countries have been doing this for a long time now and it helps stakeholders to know what government is doing and allows the stakeholders adequately,” he said.
Liebenthal said the government had given priority to important sectors that dealt with uplifting the lives of people.
He added that on the macroeconomic level, the government’s targets were realistic as it was aiming for 7 per cent real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth.
Liebenthal said if government could control other factors like the exchange rate, the prices of food and fuel, the five per cent inflation target was achievable.
“And government’s intention to limit borrowing to one per cent of GDP is rather conservative,” he said. “However, it should be commended as there is no reason to continue borrowing if plans are not being well implemented.”
Meanwhile, Liebenthal observed that the government had been doing a terrible job in implementing most of the strategic programmes that it had been putting in place.
“Implementation is the most important of the part of the strategic plans that the government comes up,” he noted.
“If implementation is poorly done, then the strategic plans just end up being academic papers and of no use to anybody. And government should also try and indicate how they have spent the funds that they managed to raise. The paper doesn’t indicate anything on how money was spent.”
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Treasury Evans Chibiliti has urged the controlling officers to ensure that they implement the strategic programmes that government comes up with.
“The biggest problem that we have at the moment is implementation of these programmes,” Chibiliti said.
“Once we iron out these areas, we will be heading in the right direction.”
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
By Nomusa Michelo
Tuesday November 13, 2007 [03:00]
CHILUBA should keep quiet because our loss in Nchanga is a manifestation of the bad seed that he sowed in the MMD, chief government spokesperson Mike Mulongoti has said.
In an interview yesterday, Mulongoti described former president Frederick Chiluba’s teasing of the MMD over its loss in the Nchanga parliamentary by-election last week, as unfortunate.
“First of all, the people who surrounded him as he was laughing his head off, who are they? What are their reputations? This congregation is questionable. Dr Chiluba was president of the MMD, the bad seeds he sowed are now manifesting,” Mulongoti said.
“Part of the reason for the people not voting for us is the money that was supposed to be used to develop Nchanga was siphoned off. That’s why people are appearing in the courts of law today. If he had applied that money, he would not be as unpopular.”
Mulongoti said the people of Nchanga felt that they have not shared in the wealth of the country.
“The people who are being prosecuted in court, the people being questioned are the first ones to rejoice when they see the consequences of their actions are manifesting. I’m saddened, they should have been the last people to say that, because the results of their action is what we are seeing now,” Mulongoti said. “It is unfortunate that he should say that. The best was for him to keep quiet, that way he could have been showing remorse. Now he is mocking our loss, it is very unfortunate.”
And MMD spokesperson Ben Tetamashimba advised Chiluba to concentrate on going to court and looking after his health.
“He is a retired head of state whose job is supposed to be above politics. We know that he belongs to PF and he hates this government. Even when he goes to South Africa for his medical treatment on tax payers money, when he comes back he is thanking and praising Sata, instead of thanking the Zambian people whose tax is using for his trips to South Africa,” Tetamashimba said.
“It is unfair, he should not come into the political arena. He should just concentrate on facing his cases in court and getting treatment in South Africa and not being involved in politics.”
Tetamashimba said if Chiluba wanted to be respected as former head of state, he should behave like a statesman.
“If he doesn’t, we will have no choice but to meet him in the arena. He wants to praise Sata that ‘ee ntugulushi ishi’ (these are the leaders), but what kind of ‘intungulushi’ (leader) is he?” Tetamashimba asked. “We know what he (Chiluba) did in the last election. He spent a lot of money supporting Sata when he shouldn’t even be involving himself in politics.”
Chiluba on Sunday teased the MMD for losing the Nchanga parliamentary by-election saying they were good losers who will do better in future. Chiluba, who burst into laughter, said he was happy at PF’s victory in Nchanga because that was the meaning of democracy. He said when PF lost the Lupososhi by-election to MMD, they didn’t cry and so he didn’t expect anyone to cry after the Nchanga election.
By Luxon Makodza
Tuesday November 13, 2007 [03:00]
FOUR Mwinilunga chiefs have implored political parties, non-governmental organisations and faith-based organisation not to shun the National Constitutional Conference (NCC).
The chiefs, Nyakaseya, Mwininyilamba, Kanong’esha and chieftainesss Ikelengi, through their representative, Kingfred Salowu, said opposition political parties, non-governmental organisations and faith- based organisations remained critical in the formation of a constitution that would stand the test of time.
They urged all political parties and organisations that had had announced they would boycott the NCC to rise above politics and bury there difference and work at producing a constitution that would last.
The chiefs said that boycotting the NCC would not solve any problem.
They noted that the involvement of all key stakeholders remained cardinal in coming up with a good and acceptable constitution.
By Marc Gunther and Adam Lashinsky, Fortune
November 12 2007: 2:49 PM EST
Blood, silver-haired and 48, may be the youngest of the group, but he's accustomed to managing money on a scale that dwarfs Kleiner's (See sidebar, "Talking 'bout their generation"). At Goldman (Charts, Fortune 500) he oversaw the company's $325 billion asset-management arm from London. A retired Goldman exec, Phil Murphy, who now raises money for the Democratic Party, introduced him to Gore.
Gore and Doerr got to know each other more than a dozen years ago when they met to discuss technology and education policy during Gore's vice presidency. They were seen together so often that by the late 1990s, VC Stewart Alsop jokingly printed up and distributed hundreds of buttons that read GORE AND DOERR IN 2004. Doerr says he never considered elective office, but he credits Gore for his environmental awakening.
In June 2005, Doerr invited the Gores and Bill Joy, the former chief scientist at Sun Microsystems and now a Kleiner partner, to dinner at his home. Over coffee and dessert Gore hooked up his laptop to a projector and showed the group the slide show that the filmmaker Davis Guggenheim was just beginning to turn into a feature-length documentary. "I didn't get it until Al showed his slide show at our home," says Doerr. (Doerr has on various other occasions credited his conversion to his daughter Mary, Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Bill Joy, and New York Times columnist Tom Friedman, a pal and cross-country ski partner.)
Last year Gore and Blood came to the realization that Generation's wide-ranging research into public companies could be put to other uses. For one thing, Generation's investment analysts were coming across all sorts of interesting companies and trends, but since they currently invest in only public companies, they couldn't use those insights. Remembers Gore: "We began to think about how we could develop another way of pursuing these ideas in the market. And I said, 'Hey, the best in the world is Kleiner Perkins.'"
Kleiner had been dabbling in green investing, backing companies like fuel-cell maker Bloom Energy and solar energy startup Miasole. It has financed others that stretch the definition of clean technology to the breaking point: Terralliance has a stealth technology for finding fossil fuels, and GloriOil uses superbugs to increase recovery from mature oil wells. "GloriOil ought not to be named GloriOil," says Doerr, sounding defensive. "It ought to be named GloriMicrobes."
When Gore approached Doerr about a Kleiner-Generation "mind meld" last year, Doerr felt it was worth exploring. Capital requirements for startup IT companies had dropped precipitously, so the timing was good to explore a new area.
Doerr asked a younger Kleiner partner, Ellen Pao, who recently had been hired to make consumer Internet investments, to organize a meeting of 50 environmental thought leaders so that the partners could brainstorm with them about opportunities. They met in May 2006 at the San Francisco Four Seasons. R.K. Pachauri, whose UN Global International Panel on Climate Change later would share the Nobel with Gore, was there. So was Jose Goldemberg, a Brazilian scientist who spearheaded his country's push into sugarcane-based ethanol.
Road trip into America's nuclear future
Kleiner was by no means the first venture firm to pursue clean-technology investments. Firms like VantagePoint Venture Partners and Nth Power were earlier to the sector, and former partner Vinod Khosla, who remains affiliated with Kleiner and works out of its offices, began advocating alternative-energy investments well before Doerr got religion. Today Kleiner has co-invested with Khosla's new firm in several companies, including Ausra.
The shift has ruffled some feathers within the firm. Ray Lane, the former president of Oracle (Charts, Fortune 500), says some of his partners were concerned that the green focus would distract Kleiner's attention from its historical IT focus. But clearly there's no turning back. When Kleiner announced its latest fund, in February 2006, it designated $100 million of the $600 million total to clean-technology investments, then raised that to $200 million seven months later.
What do investors like Yale University and the University of California think of the move? In general, having profited handsomely, they tend to give Kleiner a long leash.
With Kleiner ramping up its commitment, Doerr has become ubiquitous in the world of green investing. Last year he was instrumental in helping pass a California bill supported by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that will mandate the reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions in the state. Lately Doerr's been driving a plug-in Toyota Prius, and he says his daughter Esther refuses to ride in anything else.
He also attracted widespread attention (and a few snickers) when he teared up at this year's techie TED conference while imploring attendees to save the environment. "He has this incredibly intellectual drive," says Randy Komisar, a Kleiner partner. "John is so passionate that he is almost difficult to take on a daily basis."
Entrepreneurs in particular clamor for Doerr's time -- and his operations expertise. John Melo, CEO of Kleiner-backed startup Amyris, says Doerr recently helped him select a chief financial officer, structure a critical joint venture, and implement a performance-management system in the company's lab that has helped it double productivity.
"I beg for time," says Melo. "Probably the most productive hour or two that I can get in a month is the time that I spend with John."
In front of a group, Doerr's style is part motivational speaker, part grad school seminar leader. At the end of one meeting Fortune attended, Doerr suggests that everyone brainstorm about the questions the partnership should consider at its December offsite. Doerr's aide de camp, Wen Hsieh, who holds two technical Ph.D.s from Caltech, scribbles the questions on an easel with a magic marker as Doerr directs the conversation around a long conference table.
Doerr himself wants to know how Kleiner's green-tech initiative can have the most enduring long-term impact. Gore wonders how to serve Americans who want to live "off the grid," a favorite topic. Kleiner partner Ted Schlein wonders how Kleiner will react if the price of oil falls dramatically. Partner -- and biotech expert -- Brook Byers brings up the most immediate concern: "Should we," he asks, "be hiring more people with expertise in the energy field?" Looking around the room, it's obvious that Kleiner employs a plethora of brainiacs and Ph.D.s, but not a single individual with a deep background in energy.
As a high-tech lifer, Doerr knew he'd have to get out of his comfort zone to lead Kleiner into this new era. So during the summer of 2006 he took a trip up the Tambopata River in the Peruvian rainforest to visit a research center run by the nonprofit Conservation International. But he had a difficult time disconnecting. With macaws swooshing overhead and monkeys screaming from the jungle, Doerr fiddled endlessly with a satellite phone and lap-top, desperate to check e-mail. Recalls Tom Friedman, who was among his traveling companions: "We were beyond the network, and that makes John very nervous."