Saturday, January 19, 2008
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe and Joan Chirwa
Saturday January 19, 2008 [03:00]
GOVERNMENT’S decision to impose a windfall tax on mining companies has resulted from public pressure, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has disclosed. And an international business consultant Trevor Simumba said revenue gained from the windfall tax imposed on the mines should not be used for personal emoluments for the government workers but must be channelled to basic sectors.
Finance deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa said the government made an ‘executive decision’ to impose a windfall tax on mining companies following public concerns on revenue currently being collected from mineral resources.
Shakafuswa said the government could not wait for conclusion of the renegotiation of development agreements with the mines before increasing the new mining taxes, saying ‘the process was taking rather long’.
“Being a listening President, President Mwanawasa listened to the calls of Zambian people who were calling for increasing mineral taxes in mining sector and that is why we started renegotiating the development agreements,” Shakafuswa said. “But when we realised the renegotiation process was taking long, the President made an executive decision of imposing a windfall tax which is going to come into effect immediately after the presentation of this year’s national budget.”
Shakafuswa urged mining companies in the country not to resist the new tax regime in the mining sector as doing so would ‘tarnish the image of multinational companies’. “Our colleagues should understand that the Zambian people are in a hurry to develop and they should not frustrate this because this decision was made by the government based on the wishes of the Zambian people,” said Shakafuswa. “So if they decide to resist these changes, they will be leaving a bad legacy not only for themselves but for all international companies. And remember, these changes are a call of the people, so if they want to frustrate this decision, then they will face the wrath of Zambian people.”
A number of mining companies in the country have however not made their position known over the new mining regime, indicating that consultations were being made before public statements could be made.
And Simumba said revenue from windfall taxes from mining companies should be used to improve services in health, education and other social sectors.
“Finally the government has listened to us. I hope this time implementation will be effected because last time the three per cent royalty tax was not implemented. It is also important that the extra revenue earned is directed towards socio economic sectors such as hospitals, schools, doctor/nurse salaries and teacher salaries as well as infrastructure development that will further enhance mining, industrial and agricultural development,” said Simumba.
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday January 19, 2008 [03:00]
FINANCE minister Ng’andu Magande yesterday praised the leaders of the First Republic for the high moral standards they exhibited in the management of public financial resources. And Parliament has voted back all the members of last year’s Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Moving a motion urging the House to constitute the Public Accounts Committee for the second session of the Tenth National Assembly, Magande said after noticing some weakness, the government was taking measures to improve financial management in the public service.
He said it was embarrassing to the government that K11 billion worth of revenue was misappropriated, as reported in the main report of PAC for 2007.
“There are many members of parliament who have been permanent secretaries or controlling officers before. I am one of them. We are all aware of the weaknesses of the financial management systems in the past during our service,” he said. “During the First Republic, funds were spared from fraud by the high moral standards of the public servants of that time.”
He said it was unfortunate that some public servants, especially in the Third Republic, later took advantage of the weak financial systems to exploit public funds.
“It was common knowledge during the Third Republic that some ministers were depositing public funds in their personal accounts and siphoning the interest for personal use,” Magande said as he looked towards the opposition side of the House. “Regrettably, some of those involved in these malpractices have even offered themselves for elections to high offices in our land.”
He said it was disheartening that some former government officials that had been cited in the Auditor General’s report of having misappropriated public funds were sitting in Parliament to date.
Magande said the government would continue to implement the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability (PEMFA) reforms this year.
“The government is fully aware that without financial discipline, the attainment of the objectives and goals of the Fifth National Development Plan and ultimately, the Vision 2030 will be impossible,” he said.
And Magande, who commended last year’s PAC for the role, it played in enhancing Parliament’s oversight role said the committee would continue to receive valuable support from the government through the office of the Auditor General.
Magande also said the K900 billion that was withdrawn after it was found lying idle in the commercial banks was in safe custody at the Bank of Zambia.
Saturday January 19, 2008 [03:00]
No one can question the fact that generally leaders of the First Republic had very high moral standards. And we agree with finance minister Ng’andu Magande that they also exhibited these high moral standards in the way they managed public finances and other resources. This is not the situation today. Most politicians are certainly not in politics or government for public service but for personal benefit.
The leaders of the First Republic were indeed, in many respects, very honest and selfless people. If they were in any small way crooked, nothing would have been left for today’s selfish and greedy politicians to steal or amass. They would have shared all the lands amongst themselves and for anyone to get land they would have to buy from them. But very few of them own any meaningful acres of land. They are today among our poor and vulnerable old people.
But we shouldn’t forget to learn from them in terms of virtues, principles, standards and commitment to public service. We say this because to them integrity was the foundation of leadership. They showed a very high sense of perspective and priority as they struggled for what they could change and accepted what could not be changed.
They demonstrated the importance of incorruptibility as part of the essence of self-respect. While appreciating opportunities to enjoy the good life, they generally refused to use their positions to get themselves anything that wasn’t their due.
And there is one extra special quality of these First Republic leaders which these leaders had and which deserves to be mentioned – that is a self-confidence, a sense and strength of identity that was far beyond their generally modest formal education and experience.
When one tries to discern what motivated these leaders to do what they did, it is clear that it was not a selfish fulfillment of personal ambition or pleasure but a genuine desire to serve their people and their country.
We should always give thanks to their humanity because with it they created a good country and a relatively decent nation for us. There are two major motivations that lead people to behave in the way they did. One is religious. The Fatherhood of Almighty God betokens the brotherhood and sisterhood of fellow citizens. We are all God’s children, responsible for the well-being of everyone in our country, commanded to reach out the hand of help to the other.
Social justice and benevolent action are as old as the Bible. The prophet Amos, for example, stoutly defended the oppressed, thundered with indignation against the idle rich for their ill-treatment of the poor. “Let justice well up as the waters, and righteousness as a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24).
The second motivation is humanitarian – it springs from a deep sense of identification with one’s people, with the oppressed, the ability to hear their cry, an acute awareness of the realities of poverty, a personal anguish at the suffering of fellow human beings, fellow countrymen and women. And generally the humanity of the First Republic leaders was boundless and inspirational. Positively and purposefully one had to strive to ameliorate widespread poverty and hardship, to build a society based on harmony and equality, in which every single individual would be respected. This was their driving force: to better the living conditions of the entire population.
A great freedom fighter, the Reverend Martin Luther King, once said, “we are all inextricably bound together in a single garment of destiny.” Our First Republic leaders brought the fulfillment of that dream, that we are all part of one big caring Zambian family, so much closer.
We should appreciate that it is not genius, nor glory, nor even love which truly reflect the human soul – it is kindness. All our fellow citizens, like Magande, who remember what these First Republic leaders did, the good standards of honesty and integrity in public life they set, their selflessness will forever cherish them in their hearts.
They taught us that a leader should have largeness of mind, looking upon the interests of the people, of the nation as his very life and subordinating his personal interests to those of the nation, to those of the people; always and everywhere he or she should adhere to principle and wage a tireless struggle against bad practices, so as to consolidate the collective life of our nation. Only thus can he be considered a true leader.
Every leader must be brought to understand that the supreme test of the deeds of a leader is whether they conform with the highest interests of the people. At no time and in no circumstances should he place his personal interests first; he should subordinate them to the interest of the nation and of the masses. Hence, selfishness, corruption, and so on, should be most contemptible, while selflessness, working with all one’s energy, whole-hearted devotion to public duty, and quiet hard work will command respect.
The exemplary role of a leader is of vital importance. They should set an example in all they do.
This may sound like utopia. We say this because people have given up seeking high values and standards from their leaders. Politics and leadership has become an arena and an undertaking of foxes, hyenas and jackals. All sorts of scoundrels today find themselves in very important and senior political positions to simply enrich themselves.
This is not a permanent phase, it is certainly not a progressive phase but a reactionary one which will one day come to pass. A progressive wave will inevitably one day sweep our country again and it will bring with it leaders with standards and values as those of the First Republic. This is our hope and this is our faith. What progressive people in this country need is patience. Principles they already have, opportunities there will be.
Their time will come and the foxes, hyenas and jackals will run away. Everything has got a time. But evil in this country should never be seen as a permanent phenomena to which we should resign ourselves, our future and that of our children and their children’s children. We will not be ruled by standards of foxes, jackals and hyenas.
By Lambwe Kachali
Saturday January 19, 2008 [03:00]
HOME affairs minister Lieutenant General Ronnie Shikapwasha yesterday declared that he would contest the MMD presidency and thereafter succeed President Levy Mwanawasa as Republican president. And Lt Gen Shikapwasha said MMD presidential aspirants campaigning now were killing President Mwanawasa's initiatives of delivering to the people of Zambia.
In an interview, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he would without reservations vie for the MMD presidency and was hopeful that he would become the next Republican president after President Mwanawasa.
He said he did not want to engage himself in the ongoing presidential debates because there was something in which he believed. Lt Gen Shikapwasha said currently he was working hard with President Mwanawasa to ensure that the MMD government succeeded. He said he would ensure that President Mwanawasa left office a happy and proud President.
He said if he became the next president in 2011, he would follow President Mwanawasa's footsteps as far service as delivery was concerned and ensure that the legacy and prosperity that he would leave behind for Zambia continued.
Asked why he was so confident about becoming the next president when there were so many presidential hopefuls within the MMD, Lt Gen Shikapwasha responded: "Just wait and see. Names for the presidential candidates are there and my name is on the list. I know what I am talking about, so just wait and see. I am going to contest and I am very much ready. Just wait, time is coming and everybody will know. Time will come to prove for yourself."
Asked further if he was a threat to first lady Maureen Mwanawasa as she had also been mentioned as one of those with presidential qualities, Lt Gen Shikapwasha:
"I am talking about myself and not others. I have said wait for time to come and you will prove that what I saying is right. Time will come to answer those questions. That's all I can say now."
And Lt Gen Shikapwasha said some presidential hopefuls who have started their campaigns were hindering President Mwanawasa initiatives to deliver effectively to the people of Zambia. He said although every MMD member was free to contest positions of their choice, it was important that they took into account their role and obligations to Zambians.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha said he had no time to waste because Zambians wanted development in all sectors of life.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen Shikapwasha said Zambia had continued to lose millions of money through copper theft, especially on the Copperbelt. He said the anti-copper theft squad would not rest until such crimes in the country were eliminated.
Lt Gen Shikapwasha was commenting on the latest alleged copper thefts by Chinese nationals on the Copperbelt. He said there was need for people to educate themselves about the repercussions of theft.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday January 19, 2008 [03:00]
ROTHSCHILD has completed the valuation of Zambia Copper Investments (ZCI) shares in Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM) which stand at US $ 213 million (approximately K 850 billion). According to the update on the call option dated January 17, 2008, Vedanta Resources Plc now has a reasonable period within which to accept or reject the valuation price as determined by the Bank.
“Further to the cautionary announcements released on SENS between 2nd September 2005 and 9th January 2008, the directors of ZCI wish to inform shareholders that the independent investment bank’s valuation of the 28.4 per cent of Konkola Copper Mines plc shares held by ZCI through its wholly owned subsidiary, ZCI Holdings South Africa has now been received,” the company stated. “The Bank has valued ZCI’s investment in KCM at US $ 213.15 million as at 12 August 2005.”
The ZCI directors stated that ZCI shall be bound to accept the valuation.
“Shareholders are reminded that in the event that Vedanta Resources Plc is unwilling to pay the option exercise price as determined by the bank; it shall not be required to proceed with the associated purchase of ZCI’s KCM shares. In terms of the provisions of the call option deed, ZCI shall be bound to accept the valuation made by the Bank,” it stated.
Trading in ZCI securities has since been halted until further notice.
“ZCI shareholders are advised to continue exercising caution when dealing in ZCI’s shares until Vedanta’s decision regarding their acceptance or otherwise of the option price has been delivered to ZCI and a consequent announcement is released by ZCI,” the company stated.
South Africa: A Revolution Fuelled By Organic Vegetables
by Helen Kilbey
A quiet revolution is pulsing through the huge residential areas spread out on the edges of Cape Town. Home to nearly a million people, these areas -- known to South Africans as townships -- are no strangers to revolution. Hotbeds of anti-government activity in final years of apartheid, their potholed streets have been pounded by countless angry protestors, the walls of their homes privy to many a mutinous conversation.
But 13 years after liberation, the battleground looks somewhat different. The enemy, once clear, has become vague and ill defined. Those who once lived in fear of government bullets are now far more likely to be killed by AIDS; those who hoped for "a better life for all" (the slogan that swept the African National Congress into power in 1994) are still faced with joblessness, poverty and crime.
Against this altered landscape, it makes sense that if the seeds of revolution are being sown, they are being sown a little differently.
Quite literally, in fact.
For today's weapon-chest is becoming increasingly filled with vegetables: cabbages, carrots, beetroot, spinach leaves and heads of broccoli. One hundred percent organically grown.
It is a revolution fuelled by vegetables.
They are being grown out in the open, in community food gardens created on previously unused patches of land all over the townships -- Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu, Crossroads -- with more springing up every year. Almost all of them are owned and run by township-based women; pensioners in many cases.
A revolution led by grannies, based on spinach?
When the adversary is hunger, sickness and disempowerment, mothers and grandmothers may be the best people to overcome it; and an organic food garden could prove to be a far more effective weapon than an AK-47.
Phillipina Ndamane, 72, is a typical township food gardener. With five other women, she co-owns and runs the Fezeka community garden in Gugulethu, where she lives. The garden is about three quarters the size of a soccer field, and is filled with rows and rows of flourishing vegetables. Each woman has her own plot, on which she grows food for herself, her family and her neighbors. In the middle of the private plots is a communal plot, on which the women grow vegetables which they sell, sharing the profits.
Like her five partners, Ndamane relies on a government pension to make ends meet. At R800 (U.S.$115) a month, this does not go very far in feeding herself, her elderly sister and the nine children she supports -- six grandchildren and three others, all orphans. "We can't buy vegetables," she says. "The garden is helping me a lot because we don't [need to] buy the things we grow here -- I'm taking some to the house."
The social benefits of Fezeka radiate further, too. As Fezeka co-owner Shaba Esiteng, 77, explains: "We are helping the others who don't work, the sick people... people who have HIV, old people -- we help them with our vegetables."
Esiteng is living proof of the nutritional value of the vegetables she grows: "When I first came to the garden, really, I was thin. I was sick. I can feel that I'm strong now… maybe it's because I didn't have any vegetables. I'm very strong now, I'm eating vegetables every day… [and] I'm getting exercise."
"She's fat!" chimes in Joyce Nyebela, 65, laughing. "She wasn't like this [before]; she doesn't get old!"
Nyebela, another Gugulethu resident, is sold on the benefits of gardening: "We come to the garden to take exercise, to move the nerves, to meet people and talk -- it's better that way."
Her husband, on the other hand, "just sits, eats and drinks coffee," she says in a disparaging tone. "Men don't want to do anything -- they just want to eat and talk and, you know, rule you -- that's all."
Doesn't she want him to join her in the garden?
"No, if he wants he must do something, not come to work with me, no. Here it's only women."
Her negative feelings about men are shared by many of the other women who work in communal gardens across the townships -- explained partially by the fact that many of the men who have been involved in gardens in the past have had problems accepting women's leadership.
Rob Small, resource mobilization manager for the Cape Town-based urban agriculture association, Abalimi Bezekhaya ('Planters of the Home') -- largely responsible for stimulating the food gardening movement in Cape Town's townships over the last 25 years, and still heavily involved in developing it -- explains how this has happened, and how the situation is changing:
"A few years ago the men were saying to the women… that they were being cheeky, now that they were becoming empowered through this movement; and often we were finding group leaders being banished back to the rural areas, with the men sitting in the garden consuming what was left.
"[Now] there has been a major groundswell shift, where women have decided 'none of this anymore' – they've chased the men out and they're leading. They are saying men must work in their own gardens."
And, if it comes to it, women are not afraid to stand up to men who won't listen.
Small recounts: "One day at Siyazama [one of the more prosperous gardens], they were waiting with sticks and whips because this man just wouldn't listen to them, wouldn't cooperate with them. He just wanted to sell everything."
Money is another reason why men and women have struggled to work together, according to Small. "Men just want the money. Women don't just want money -- they also want to be able to look after their sick neighbors, their wider community, their children and their grandchildren."
The model according to which the Fezeka garden operates is what Small calls an "emerging livelihood-level model."
Through working with township gardens over the years, Abalimi has developed a "sustainable development continuum," on which gardens range from "survival level," -- at which food is grown for immediate consumption -- through "subsistence level" to "livelihood level," which involves a mixture of personal and commercial plant-growing. At the top end of the scale is a pure commercial model, where everything grown is for sale.
Though Abalimi supports gardeners wanting to farm commercially, the organization is in favor of gardens developed at the livelihood level, because of the social benefits it sees radiating out from this model.
"Everyone thinks that the commercial model is the Shangri-La, but it's actually not," says Small. "That provides the least social benefits, in our opinion… No-one understands this livelihood level. We all used to be at livelihood level, in our ancient past. We were living at modest livelihood level where we were embedded in a whole. We weren't super-wealthy but we weren't super-poor -- and even if we were poor, we had most of our needs met.
"Women are getting a broad range of benefits [from livelihood level gardens]: health, family wellbeing, networking… mutual support groups, child support groups, community care through vegetables to the poor, the needy -- all that starts to happen."
And more and more people are wanting to be part of it.
In the beginning, Abalimi went out and recruited people, persuading them to start gardening as a solution to some of the problems they faced. Now the organization is inundated with requests from eager township residents wanting to grow their own food. It is at present directly involved with about 50 gardens, and in the last decade has supported the development of about 300.
Other important players have come on board, most notably the central government's Department of Agriculture and the City of Cape Town, which Small says is "the first city in Africa to have a formal urban agriculture policy approved by executive political leadership."
The journey has not been easy. Pat Featherstone, operations director of Soil for Life -- the other significant Cape Town-based NGO which has been helping to build the township gardening movement, and which has operated since 2003 -- says there have been huge difficulties with projects: "There's so much that goes on in these communities that makes it really difficult to garden... in fact, often it's not about growing food, its about growing people."
Soil for Life is currently placing more and more emphasis on food gardening at home. "With home gardens, there's no transport needed, no hassle… and people want it," says Featherstone. "People see someone's garden and it's beautiful and they want one. The deal is, if you want a home garden, we'll show you how to do it -- and then half the produce is [yours], and the other half we'll buy from you."
For many, communal gardens give them something that nothing else can -- a sense of community.
"These women are my sisters," says Regina Shiceka of her fellow Fezeka gardeners. "They are like family. If you have a problem, you can come and talk to them and they will help you."
"Before the garden we were sitting in our houses," says Phillipina Ndamane… [Now] the garden is strengthening us; it's why we are here every day. I enjoy this garden…. I will carry on till I die."
Webmaster Hanno Beck: As soon as the derelict land that these people are using starts to have a nontrivial value, they will all be speedily thrown off it by so-called "owners" who have done nothing for the neighborhood. Are only geoists allowed to see that, nobody else?
By Business Reporter
THE Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines- Investment Holding (ZCCM-IH) is to appoint a new management team at Maamba mine to help revamp operations, ZCCM-IH chief executive officer Joseph Chikolwa has said. Mr Chikolwa said the company is currently in receipt of a number of bids from interested parties who would like to partner with ZCCM-IH in Maamba.
The colliery has not been operational for over 18 months. Mr Chikolwa said in response to a Press query yesterday that the company had since already appointed a new managing director and Finance manager.
“We are putting in place a new management team, where necessary we will recruit new personnel such as managers to look after the engineering, mineral processing, and geology and mining functions,” Mr Chikolwa said.
He said ZCCM-IH would also reconstitute a new board of directors soon after consultations are completed.
Mr Chikolwa also said the company was working on a new business and financing plan for the mine.
“The business and financing plan was currently under review with a view to have mining operations start as soon as possible in order for the mine to become self supporting,” He said.
The ultimate plan is for ZCCM-IH to reduce its shareholding in Maamba from the current 100 per cent. Maamba coal has been the main stay of coal mining operations in Zambia for decades.
By Business Reporter
Approximately K100 million has been earmarked for the development of a pineapple out grower scheme in Mwinilunga involving 1,000 small-scale citrus farmers. Freshmot Zambia Ltd managing director, Moses Tamele said the venture was part of the preparations for the revival of the Mwinilunga pineapple processing factory.
Freshmot is currently in negotiations with a South African firm aimed at setting up a joint venture in the revival of the pineapple factory. The objective was to ensure that the anticipated new factory had enough raw material for processing into various ends products.
Freshmot will soon embark on a programme to identify potential out grower farmers in the northwestern province which would also be extended to the Copperbelt.
The development has elated many farmers in the province who see the development as an opportunity to embark on commercially viable citrus farming.
“Hundreds of tonnes of citrus fruit go to waste every year in Zambia because of lack of market and the non availability of processing facilities to absorb the fruit.” Mr Tamele said.
A citrus farmer Mizinga Kayombo who grows fruit on the Copperbelt urged FreshMot to enter into long term contracts with farmers in order to sustain the project.
Mr Kayombo suggested that the company should also help farmers access the export market especially the Democratic republic of Congo and Angolan markets where much of the fruit including oranges, mangoes, pineapples and bananas are sold under individual arrangements.
By Times Reporter
PATROTIC Front (PF)’s Bahati member of Parliament, Besa Chimbaka, has welcomed the Government’s new tax regime on mining and urged the State to ensure the benefits of the mineral loyalties trickle down to the improvement of social services. Mr Chimbaka told Parliament on Wednesday evening that proceeds from the new tax measures should be used to benefit a lot of infrastructure development projects and the livelihood of the people should be improved on.
Mr Chimbaka was debating on a motion of thanks on President Mwanawasa’s Parliamentary Speech. On Agriculture, he said President Mwanawasa’s statement that the country was moving from sacrifice to wealth creation making the economy work for the people should be taken seriously.
“Whether we are PF, United Liberal Party (ULP), MMD or any political party, we need to ensure this country move forward,” he said.
Mr Chimbaka was, however, disappointed with the Government over the non-re-stocking of fish in Luapula Province despite knowing agriculture was key to national development.
On the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) participation, he commended Dr Mwanawasa for starting the Constitution-making process.
“I commend President Mwanawasa without fear or favour for constituting a forum to enable Zambians sit and make a Constitution which I believe is not going to be based on tribal lines. The President has lived up to his word,” he said.
But PF Lusaka Central MP, Guy Scott, said he could not participate in the NCC because in its current form the NCC Act was defective.
On the mineral agreements, Dr Scott wondered what consultations the Government made when the mine owners recently in the Press were quoted to receive the new tax regime on mines with mixed feelings.
He called on the Government to quickly tell the House what was contained in the new mine agreements.
Mulobezi MP Michael Mabenga (MMD) said President Mwanawasa had done a lot to develop the rural areas in Lukulu, Mongu Solwezi among others.
In his contribution on the same motion, Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources Deputy Minister, Toddy Chilembo, said the long journey of making the Constitution finally had started and all should participate.
On the mineral agreement, Mr Chilembo said his Government embraced the idea, which would ensure that the mining investors paid more taxes.
Friday, January 18, 2008
By Gift Hajongola
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
Since independence, agricultural production has played a vital role in driving the economy of Zambia, but it appears its sustenance, real meaningful advancement and growth both at household and national level is not forthcoming. Using the constituency approach and participatory methodology appears to be the only lasting solution to real agro-industrial development. To support this suggestion, I have developed a document on the practical methodologies and structures of making agriculture a real business which can raise the living standards of the worst poverty-stricken people of the rural population.
It is very unfair that in rural areas, where there is plenty of rich and fertile land, 80 per cent of the people are poor. What really lacks is the structural system which can make these local people productive and drive their own production, processing and marketing.
Time has come when we need to make agriculture production a big business, not just a place of survival. As it is now, the rural people are deemed to be the poorest and socially excluded to serious financial allocation during budgeting and implementation of some projects. It is time to put development into the hands of the indigenous people so that they own the means of production and this starts at the point of budgeting.
There is also a need to reduce funding on service activities and increase fund allocation to production so that the production-based areas would in turn support the service delivery sectors .This is sustainable development. The formula is : the more the productive base is widened, the more the service base is widened as well.
Lack of planning
By Evans C.
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
It is very sad and disappointing to look at how our country is being managed. It is management crisis every time!
We all knew well in advance that our country was going to experience serious floods this rainy season and yet no measures were put in place by the government to remedy the situation. People are now homeless with more expected to join the picture soon. Mind you, there is still damage to crops and hunger following this situation. When are we ever going to learn? Surely our leaders should wake up and start managing this country properly. Where are all the planners and advisors to the government tasked with managing these affairs?
I think it is very embarrassing for our leaders to start crying out for external assistance now that we have victims of these already predicted floods. It shows incompetence, lack of foresight and is typically African. We have a lot of high lying land and people should have been moved from flood-prone areas well before the rains began. Are we forever going to continue begging for outside help? Are we also going to ask for outsiders to repair our poorly constructed roads that are now collapsing because of the rains? Maybe we should also cry for external help to construct drainage systems in Lusaka.
Shame to all those officers and leaders who failed to plan for this catastrophe! Stop being ‘crying babies’ because you just failed to manage your country!
Cost of living
By Evans C
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
Many people have talked about high taxes and the need to reduce them in Zambia. I also totally agree, especially when I look at the cost of most commodities in our country.
I don’t understand why beef, chicken and all other goods produced locally should be so expensive. These same commodities cost far less in neighbouring countries.
If our leaders are really serious about improving our welfare, let them work towards reducing the cost of living now. We are already earning very little money and yet this government expects us to survive on things we can’t even afford. People are stealing and engaging in corrupt activities so as to survive.
We are tired of hearing about the so-called economic boom because it means nothing to most of us ordinary people.
Scrap Youth Fund
By Ladislas Hibusu
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
As the budget presentation approaches, there are many prospects and surprises to different departments and sectors. We will be stunned to the pronouncements of bulky achievements and hardly any failures that are so minute and unsubstantial. Amidst these pronouncements will be changes in the VAT system, there will be reductions and increments in allocation of funds in different sectors.
Certain sectors like local government that are very key to the growth of the nation are neglected, as such experiencing dire drainage systems. I strongly feel that more funds should be scrapped off and be allocated to sectors like local government for waste management and drainage systems. The drainage and sanitation systems in the country are porous right now. Visit Soweto, Misisi, Kanyama, Mtendere, and many other places, it’s a sorry sight. However, I feel it’s not entirely the government to blame for some of these ailments; residents are also partly to blame. Residents can come up with an initiative by making contributions and hire technocrats to amend the state of affairs.
Unless we are availed with an authentic financial report of the foresaid concern and unless some come out to confirm that they benefited, this fund is a non-starter and should not appear in the fourth coming budget or we enrich a few elite.
Perhaps it’s one of the ‘knit-bits’ to the vulture funds. Although this is a subjective view I strongly feel there are a lot more patriotic youths out there who have very realistic and farsighted objectives of expanding their projects, hence creating employment for the underprivileged.
By Brighton Phiri in Mazabuka and Monze
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
PRESIDENT Levy Mwanawasa yesterday advised people not to politicise the floods being experienced in the country. And President Mwanawasa blasted the media for allegedly failing to initiate their own coverage of the situation in the country. Meanwhile, some MMD cadres attempted to harass Mazabuka Central UPND member of parliament Gary Nkombo at Mbiya Basic School where President Mwanawasa landed on his visit to some flood sites.
Addressing people at the school grounds, President Mwanawasa said his visit was not a happy one. He said the floods were not supposed to be politicised or treated on a partisan basis.
“This is not a happy visit but I intend to acquaint myself and government of the problem the floods have caused in Southern Province,” President Mwanawasa said.
He said it was wrong for any politician to go round cheating people that his government was not concerned with the flood victims because it had done what it could to assist them.
“I am not the only one in government. And Southern Province is not the only area that I run and floods are not the only challenge Zambia is facing. I have to deal with all the problems faced by the country. So don’t listen to politicians who say that ‘President Mwanawasa does not care, so do not vote for MMD’. These problems should not be politicised,” President Mwanawasa said.
He wondered why some politicians were cheating people when the government had sent food, clothes, medicine and tents and had allocated money to Southern Province to mitigate the effects of the floods. He disclosed that each of the three constituencies in Mazabuka had been given K20 million to mitigate the effects of the floods.
“We have provided blankets and food and even other well wishers have donated food which we delivered to you. We have provided tents to the people that have been displaced in all the camps in Mazabuka,” President Mwanawasa said. “Some schools have been turned into temporary homes for the flood victims and all this we are doing is due to our concern for our people.”
President Mwanawasa described the situation as a national disaster which required concerted efforts.
“Let us for the time being take off our partisan hats and attend to this national disaster,” President Mwanawasa said.
He challenged journalists not only to demand freedom of the press but reminded them of their duty to inform the world about the flood situation in the country.
“Apart from our own ZNBC and Muvi TV, I have been watching other television stations like Al Jazeera, CNN and BBC, I haven’t heard about the local flood situation but all I have heard about are the floods in Mozambique,” President Mwanawasa said. “I don’t know why you are conservative with your airtime. You want us to bring news on your table. When I talked about the need for humanitarian aid in Zambia, it is headline today in the Times of Zambia and Daily Mail. What is wrong with you? You can’t initiate on your own to film what is happening for the world to see until the President cries for help; you can’t initiate your own coverage of such a national disaster.”
Earlier, some MMD cadres attempted to attack Gary Nkombo accusing him of insulting President Mwanawasa and contributing to the low turnout of people to welcome him. This was at the time President Mwanawasa was having a private briefing with members of parliament in Mazabuka, the three ministers he is traveling with, finance minister Ng’andu Magande, works and supply minister Kapembwa Simbao and community development minister Catherine Namugala and the provincial, government and MMD leadership.
When the police were alerted, they warned the MMD cadres against any acts of violence but the cadres vowed to sort out Nkombo after his meeting with President Mwanawasa.
And Albidon Mine has donated some foodstuffs to the flood victims. What was donated included 250 bags of mealie meal, 500 litres of cooking oil, 250x5 kilogrammes salt, 450 x 2 kilogrammes of sugar and 150 blankets.
And addressing the people later at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula stadium in Monze, President Mwanawasa said it was not his intention to address public rallies on his fact-finding mission on floods.
He said what the country was experiencing in terms of floods was due to climate change because the world had become hotter contributing to heavy rains in some parts and drought in other areas.
“We seriously need to step up our efforts because we shall all drown,” President Mwanawasa said.
He said food security was being affected because the climate was either too hot or there was too much rain that destroyed crops. He said climate change was caused by man through emission of poisonous gases in the air.
He said African states were not guilty of emitting dangerous gas in the air but that the industrialised countries were guilty of such acts.
“Unfortunately, we are the recipients of the bad things in the industrialised north. In Zambia, we are not doing much to mitigate the effects of climate change or global warming,” said President Mwanawasa.
He appealed the Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources minister to step up efforts in sensitisation on climate change.
By Joan Chirwa
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
THE Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has granted authorisation to Equity Capital Resources Plc for a new collective investment scheme on the local market effective December 2007. Equity Capital Resources (ECR) Plc - a financial advisory and asset management firm - will operate the fourth of collective investment schemes in Zambia besides Cavmont, Intermarket Banking Corporation and African Banking Corporation which are running the Cavmont Income and Growth Fund, ABC Unit Trust and Intermarket Unit Trust.
ECR Plc director Nathan DeAssis, in an interview, said the investment scheme - which is expected to be officially launched this April - would be run in partnership with AGM Global Trust Company and a selected bank as trustees and custodian respectively for the Equity Capital Resources Unit Trust.
"With regard to investment, the key element in all investment activities is how to manage the risk process and everything has a level of risk and it is what you do with the risk factors rather than worry about the risk itself that makes good investment sense; my own philosophy is that if it does not make money sense then I do not invest," DeAssis said. "A unit trust allows the unit holder to make investment without worrying too much about the risk because of the professional nature of the parties undertaking the management process and adherence to prudent regulatory requirements through the Securities Act of Zambia."
A collective Investment Scheme operates on a basis of a mutual fund that allows the unit holders a direct participation in the operations of the scheme through appointment of a management company, trustee and custodian of the assets.
It is also a vehicle used to pool investors' money to make multiple types of investments, known as the portfolio.
"Shares, bonds and money market funds are all examples of the types of investments that may make up a collective investment scheme. The collective investment scheme is managed by a professional investment manager who buys and sells securities for the most effective growth of the fund," DeAssis said. "As a collective investment scheme investor, one becomes a "shareholder" of the collective investment scheme vehicle.
When there are profits they will earn dividends. When there are losses, their shares will decrease in value. Collective investment schemes are, by definition, diversified, meaning they are made up of a lot of different investments. That tends to lower risk of an investment; it does not eliminate risk completely but mitigates the levels of risk associated with an investment."
By Bivan Saluseki
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
Chief Puta of the Bwile people in Luapula Province yesterday denied having received a vehicle from DRC's Katanga Province governor Moses Katumbi. Chief Puta, who is in Lusaka and using the Toyota Hilux Surf registration number KN 7518 BP, said the vehicle in question was given to him by DRC-based Central African Mining Company and not Katumbi.
"I have papers for it. I have had the vehicle for three months now," chief Puta said. "I am with the same car with papers. You can come and look at them. It was Central African Mining who gave it to me."
Chief Puta said people insinuating that he was given the vehicle by Katumbi merely wanted to create problems between him and President Mwanawasa. He said he had handed over the issue concerning his visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo to the Bwile Royal Establishment.
And Bwile Royal Establishment spokesperson Chansa Mutuka said the vehicle was not connected to Katumbi.
"It is just a gift from Central African Mining," he said.
But sources said chief Puta was given the vehicle following his invitation in October to Congo DR by Katumbi for talks concerning exclusive mining agreements in Chiengi district.
Last month Katumbi 'chartered' a plane to ferry chief Puta to Lubumbashi to discuss mining agreements in Chiengi district. According to sources among traditional leaders in Luapula, chief Puta was first invited to the DRC by Katumbi in October last year but only went to meet him in December.
Mines minister Dr Kalombo Mwansa said the government would investigate chief Puta's trip to Congo to find out what Katumbi discussed and agreed with him concerning mining rights in his chiefdom. He said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs would be used to establish the truth since the matter involved a foreign country.
By Ntalasha Mutale
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
FIRST lady Maureen Mwanawasa has launched the Inaugural Empowering Women Symposium (EAWS) to be held in Lusaka in August 2008. In a statement, Maureen said the EAWS was aimed at creating awareness of gender-sensitivity and mobilising and empowering women across Southern Africa.
“The liberation of the female resource for development is a “continental challenge” and it is important that organisations, non-governmental oragnisations, investor communities support the objectives of the EAWS, which will help us to continue to collaborate and enhance the role of women in furthering economic development,” Maureen said.
She said the launch of the EAWS was in line with the vision and national gender policy of the Zambian government which was to achieve full participation of both men and women in development at all levels.
“The EAWS is a public and private sector initiative which reflects and encourages commitment from both the government as well as the private sector organisations in promoting the role of women as enablers of national growth,” she said.
She said the EAWS was an initiative to mobilise Southern Africa to include governments, policy-makers and other stakeholders to review and begin the process of enhancing the role of women as talented individuals.
And speaking at the EAWS partner launch on Wednesday evening, Gender and Women in Development minister Patricia Mulasikwanda encouraged Zambians to take control of the economy by becoming local investors and run side-by-side with the foreign investors.
One World Africa executive director Priscilla Jere urged the government to expedite the implementation of the Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) in order to accelerate the smooth flow of information in its various formats.
“The ICT policy recognises the role information plays in the empowerment of women. As One World Africa, we are proud to have been in the formulation of the ICT policy particularly women,” she said.
Chairperson for the steering committee on EAWS Orlean Moyo said the most crucial aspect the EAWS was facing was the commitment and pledge which set aside 20 per cent of every dollar raised in funding and sponsorship towards the empowering women trust fund whose activities would be channelled towards many more women programmes in Zambia.
By Joan Chirwa
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
THE ZAMBIA Meteorological Department (ZMD) has predicted a slight reduction in the amount of rainfall in the southern half of the country during the coming week. And the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) has said the current rainfall pattern is posing a serious threat to the agricultural industry in the country.
Senior forecast officer at the meteorological department Anderson Mulambu, in an interview, said most parts of the country are likely to experience slightly reduced rainfall in the next few days through to next week compared to what has been received in the past weeks.
Our forecast for this week and next week is that the southern half of the country, which includes Southern Province, parts of Lusaka Province, part of Eastern Province and part of Western Province, will receive reduced rains," Mulambu said. "We may not have heavy rains this week and next week."
Mulambu said the rain forecast for January, February and March however show that the country would experience normal to above normal rainfall in most parts.
Zambia has this rainy season experienced above normal rains, leading to floods around Lusaka, Eastern and the Southern parts of the country, with a number of people being rendered homeless while crops and some bridges have been washed away in the process.
Apart from Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique are other countries that have been affected by flooding due to the heavy rains experienced this season.
And ZNFU executive director Songowayo Zyambo said although it is early to quantify the impact of the heavy rains, it is however clear that farmers would this year record a reduction in crop yields.
"The cotton crop is generally stunted exhibiting retarded growth. The overall situation will only improve if substantial break in rainfall and cloud cover is experienced throughout Zambia in the immediate future," Zyambo stated. "The union is observing the situation and will soon initiate agricultural industry consultations to develop private sector consensus which will be the basis for discussions with other stakeholders who include government."
Friday January 18, 2008 [03:00]
The existence of 47 per cent of our children under the age of five with chronic malnutrition constitutes an affront to all of us as a nation. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem. Meeting the basic needs of families must take priority in any government planning, with an agricultural policy that really respects the earth, the farmer and the consumer. Hunger in our society is a sign of gross injustice and a block to development.
We cannot continue to have people each day who cannot meet the basic needs necessary for a decent human life. It is a strict duty of justice and truth not to allow fundamental needs to remain unsatisfied. Economic justice requires that each individual has adequate resources to survive, to develop and thrive, and to give back in service to the community.
It has been long known that malnutrition undermines economic growth and perpetuates poverty. Yet we have failed to tackle malnutrition over the past decades, even though well-tested approaches for doing so exist. The consequences of this failure to act are now evident in our inadequate progress toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and more generally toward poverty reduction.
Persistent malnutrition is contributing not only to our failure to meet the first MDG – to halve poverty and hunger – but also to meet other goals in maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, education, and gender equity. The unequivocal choice now is between continuing to fail, as we have done with HIV/AIDS for more than a decade, or to finally make nutrition central to development so that a wide range of economic and social improvements that depend on nutrition can be realised.
The returns to invest in nutrition are very high. Malnutrition slows economic growth and perpetuates poverty. And it does this through direct losses in productivity from poor physical status, indirect losses from poor cognitive function and deficits in schooling and losses owing to increased healthcare costs. Malnutrition’s economic costs are substantial: productivity losses to individuals are estimated at more than 10 per cent of lifetime earnings, and gross domestic product loss to malnutrition runs as high as two to three per cent. Improving nutrition is therefore as much – or more – of an issue of economics as one of welfare, social protection and human rights.
Reducing under-nutrition and micronutrient malnutrition directly reduces poverty, in the broad definition that includes human development and human capital formation. But under-nutrition is also strongly linked to income poverty. The prevalence of malnutrition is often higher among the poorest income quintile than among the highest quintile. This means that improving nutrition is a pro-poor strategy, disproportionately increasing the income-earning potential of the poor.
Improving nutrition is essential to reducing extreme poverty. Recognition of this requirement is evident in the definition of the first MDG, which aims to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. The two targets are to halve, between 1990 and 2015: the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar per day; the proportion of people who suffer from hunger – as measured by the percentage of children under five who are underweight.
Therefore, improving nutrition is in itself an MDG target.
Malnutrition and HIV/AIDS reinforce each other, so the success of HIV/AIDS programmes depend in part on paying more attention to nutrition.
Markets are failing to address the malnutrition problem wherever families do not have the money to buy adequate food or healthcare. Human rights and equity arguments, as well as economic return arguments, can be made for government to intervene to help such families. And the government should intervene because improved nutrition is a public good, benefiting everybody. For example, better nutrition can reduce the spread of contagious diseases and increase national economic productivity.
Under-nutrition’s most damaging effect occurs during pregnancy and in the first two years of life, and the effects of this early damage on health, brain development, intelligence, educability, and productivity are largely irreversible. Actions targeted at all the children have little, if any effect. With the government’s very limited resources, it is therefore advised that we focus our actions on this small window of opportunity, between conception and 24 months of age.
Income growth and food production, as well as birth spacing and women’s education are therefore important but long routes to improving nutrition. Shorter routes are providing health and nutrition education and services such as promoting exclusive breast feeding and appropriate complementary feeding, coupled with pre-natal care and basic maternal and child health services and micronutrient supplementation and fortification.
We need to reposition nutrition much higher in our development agenda.
But we are not alone with this problem. It is a problem that is affecting so many fellow Third World countries. Over 46 years have elapsed since the World Indicative Plan for Agriculture Development was presented within the framework of FAO in 1962. It reflected the difficult food and agricultural development situation at the time and established the guidelines for a programme that was, by the end of the 1980s, to make hunger and undernourishment mere bitter memories of an unpleasant past for the peoples of the Third World and turn the agricultural sector into a dynamic development factor instead of a traditionally stagnant and weak sector.
Over 34 years have, likewise, elapsed since the World Food conference in Rome in 1974, urgently convened in view of the massive famines and alarming decrease of food reserves recorded those years. On that occasion, the conference solemnly declared that hunger and undernourishment should be stamped out on the planet in 10 years and called on all nations to cooperate in an enormous effort for international food security.
The failure of these endeavours to achieve the basic and essential objective of supplying all human beings with enough food to develop their potentialities for enjoying a full life is today more evident than ever. The fact that today in 2008 about 47 per cent of Zambian children under the age of five suffer from chronic malnutrition and the near billion hungry people in the world – a terrifying and skyrocketing figure – are turning into a tragic irony the good intentions of the World Indicative Plan of reaching a calorie-intake level equal to the projected demand in the Third World by 1975, and that this intake surpassed by 10 per cent the required levels by 1985. It is obvious that the eradication of hunger as stated by the World Food Conference is simply one more well-meant although unsuccessful attempt of the kind that characterise the path of our countries’ negotiating positions in the world economy.
The so-called food crisis is not a recent phenomenon, although the current deep economic crisis contributes to its worsening. Strictly speaking, the food crisis, understood as widespread hunger and malnutrition among the broad masses of the population – so paradoxically in contrast with food over consumption by some minorities – has always been an avoidable component of colonialism, neo-colonialism and underdevelopment. The food crisis must be considered by the majority of the underdeveloped world as a secular, permanent condition of their precarious life. For them, the hypothetical recovery of the developed economies has almost no meaning, since not even the greatest economic booms of the system have been able to prevent the present of hunger and undernourishment in the Third World. For the hundreds of millions of hungry people living in our world, the food crisis is not a mere conceptual reference, but rather a tragic daily experience, a disgraceful reality for all humankind.
The painful truth is that, despite the goals to eradicate it, hunger persists and tends to grow.
And all this is happening in the midst of an unbridled arms race, senseless both because of its essence, dangerousness and dimensions, and because of the contrast between the huge resources spent in developing means for man’s extermination and our people’s vital and daily needs. The existence of large numbers of hungry and undernourished people in the world constitutes an affront to all mankind. A stable, permanent solution must be found for this serious problem.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
There is a disastrous flood crisis in Zambia which needs to be brought to the attention of the international community in a clear way. The current seasonal rains – intensified by La Nina current in the Pacific – has pushed our rivers to their dangerous level and beyond over the past two to three weeks. And the weather forecast for the next one week or so is not good, with more rain expected which could last until April.
If this happens, Zambia will certainly face major flooding with potentially catastrophic consequences. This is why we should not wait to declare this a national disaster requiring emergency measures. We need to immediately respond to the coming crisis and further develop disaster preparedness activities.
And as President Levy Mwanawasa has correctly stated, Zambia alone is unable to deal with the effects of the current floods, international support is urgently needed.
The situation in most parts of our country, especially in Southern Province, is particularly worrying. Our flood-prone areas were already severely hit by flooding last year and the year before. Many communities in these areas are just starting to recover and they now have to face another crisis. We may not know exactly how many people are currently being affected but the numbers are rising on a daily basis.
We must immediately bring humanitarian aid to affected communities but we also need to bear in mind that people affected or displaced by the floods will need long-term assistance, especially to restore their livelihoods. Arable lands are lost in flooding, which is a very important loss for the economy and for the livelihood of our people.
The relentless rains are causing severe flooding in many parts of our country, including townships and compounds in our cities, leading to severe destruction and affecting so many of our people.
Many crops have been washed away and food stocks destroyed. People who already were vulnerable before the floods are now totally dependent on households in communities who managed to salvage their own stocks.
The risk of malaria and water bourn diseases is growing. There is an increase in various diarrheal diseases which obviously need to be addressed mostly because water is being contaminated. And because of the floods, drinking water is being contaminated. So, obviously, water and sanitation is a priority for emergency response.
Some households have been washed away by the rain. There, again, is need to provide them with non-food items.
The distress caused by flooding is likely to continue for some time, together with the destruction they are causing. The floods have left our roads damaged, bridges swept away. And as President Mwanawasa observed yesterday, “lives have been lost and there is a lot of hunger”.
But the problem of these natural disasters, of floods, will not go away soon. There is need to develop policies, strategies and plans to combat the risks associated with these floods.
And such policies, strategies and plans should be based on a comprehensive risk assessment. This will require an integrated approach whereby a wide range of mitigation measures should be considered.
We need to change our approach to the management of floods. We have experienced a number of them over the years and by now we should have some reasonable experience on how to respond to such disasters or crises. We need to change to a proactive management of floods. Of course this requires identification of the risk, the development of strategies to reduce that risk, and the creation of policies and programmes to put such strategies into effect. Of course all these will not necessarily eliminate the risk of floods but will help reduce the suffering of our people and the damage to their households and stocks.
When the probability of the extreme flooding event is greater than normal, then activities such as stockpiling of sand bags, emergency food and water supplies, the evacuation of high value stored crops or goods from flood prone areas can be undertaken.
It is a good time to create awareness in the public as to the potential for flooding, highlight the actions that the public and others should take, and to carryout emergency response exercises to test the degree of readiness. In some cases, emergency measures such as temporary raising of flood protection works may be warranted.
We can surely reduce the impact of some of these floods. For example, it has become an annual occurrence: China’s mighty Yangtze River swells under torrential rains, then surges downstream, flooding dozens of communities and leaving thousands homeless.
During the summer of 1998, more than 2,000 people were killed, and the floods, which began in early June when seasonal rains arrived earlier and were heavier than usual, left 14 million homeless.
For the fifth time that summer, the Yangtze hurled a massive flood crest toward the tens of millions of people who make their homes along its central and lower stretches. Earlier that week, a fourth flood crest was thwarted by millions of weary soldiers and civilians drafted into the flood fighting campaign. More importantly, weakened levees that have withstood an early constant assault by the river remained largely intact.
What this shows is that we cannot sit ndwii hoping things will sort themselves out. We have to stand up and do something. Our urban areas are being harassed by rain water simply because we don’t have an effective and efficient drainage system. In some cases this doesn’t need expensive construction to get the water moving. But every year the same areas get flooded and no one does anything about it.
A number of critical services such as power lines often cross flood-prone areas. But every year we end up with these being destroyed or damaged when such utilities can be protected against the ravages of flooding at a relatively low cost through additional depth of burial, a higher design standard for exposed components, a raising of components above design flood levels.
The same applies to bridges. Every year we lose many bridges due to flooding. Bridges generally constrict the flow of water, and they can act as artificial dams if debris jams on the structure. In all cases, their hydraulic characteristics must be considered at the design stage to prevent unacceptable rise of water levels upstream of the structure.
Bridges are important in terms of maintaining access for evacuation and delivery of medical and other emergency services. Key transportation corridors should have high design standards that will withstand extreme flooding events.
Bridges are expensive, and difficult to replace quickly after a flood event and therefore a lot of attention needs to be paid to their construction; there should be no short-cuts in the way we construct bridges.
Therefore, corruption in this area should not be tolerated in any way or any form because the costs of shoddy jobs can be too high.
We call on the government to go all out and mobilise the Zambian people, including our armed forces, to try and mitigate the effects of the current flooding on our people. And these should not only be those in the rural areas but consideration should also be given to those in urban areas who have been affected in similar way.
There is also need to step up the international campaign because we cannot manage this crisis on our own; we need international assistance.
And let us start by declaring this a national disaster and deal with it with the same tenacity with which we deal with all other disasters.
By Bivan Saluseki
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
PRESIDENT Mwanawasa has appealed to the international community to help Zambia deal with the effects of the flood situation. And President Mwanawasa yesterday said there were more cases of corruption being exposed in his government, thereby giving an impression that there was more corruption than in previous administrations. Receiving credentials from Australian High Commissioner to Zambia, John Courtney, at State House yesterday, President Mwanawasa said Zambia alone was unable to deal with the effects of the current floods.
"Floods have left our roads damaged, bridges swept away, lives have been lost and there is a lot of hunger.
We are appealing to the international community, in this particular case Australia to render whatever you can to our country because I know that on our own, despite the various economic achievements which we have made over the years, we will be unable to tackle the humanitarian situation which has occurred," he said.
President Mwanawasa said he was leaving it to High Commissioner Courtney, based in Zimbabwe, to consider Zambia's appeal as his first duty.
President Mwanawasa said the Zambian High Commission in Australia was closed in 1991 due to financial difficulties.
He said Zambia appreciated the invaluable assistance rendered by Australia.
He asked Australian enterprises to come to Zambia and tap resources and business potential.
High Commissioner Courtney said Australia and Zambia had been working together on issues of common concern.
High Commissioner Courtney said Australia had helped Zambia in training Anti Corruption Commission officers.
And when receiving credentials from Danish Ambassador to Zambia, Thomas Schjerbeck, President Mwanawasa said the fight against corruption would continue.
President Mwanawasa said the government felt that the fight was essential for Zambia.
"The meagre financial resources which are available should all, without exception, go towards the enhancement of the living standards of our people. It should not go into the pockets of a few selfish individuals. Therefore, government has set in place the fight against corruption and I am glad that you are able to render assistance," he said.
"You may find that from time to time, certain bad eggs in our communities emerge as corrupt cases. You may sometimes even hear that there is more corruption now than there was in previous administrations. I don't agree with that, but I do agree that the government has been very transparent so that in all cases of bad behaviour, we are able to expose and therefore, we have more cases exposed which the public come to know about.
Therefore, that is giving the impression that there is more corruption. There is a lot of corruption yes, but with the measures which we have taken, I believe that this will be severely curtailed in the not too distant future."
President Mwanawasa said the development cooperation was vital to the relations between Zambia and Denmark. President Mwanawasa proposed a state visit to Denmark.
He said climate change had threatened to put asunder the gains that Zambia had made over the past six years.
President Mwanawasa said the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) was an ideal opportunity for people to give themselves a good constitution which was people driven.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said in just a year's time, a promising democratic development had taken place in Zambia.
He said the constitution making process would be an important step to further stabilise the fundamental structures of Zambia.
"There is sound economic development with stability and growth of the economy. This has been achieved through prudent and disciplined economic policies and helped by the favourable terms of trade," he said.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said Zambia's dedicated fight against corruption should continue.
"Corruption is an evil, which slows down and in some cases stops development," he said.
He said the fine economic performance must be sustained and that poverty should be eradicated.
Ambassador Schjerbeck said Denmark's cooperation to Zambia grew to US$50 million per year.
Ambassador Schjerbeck was charge d'affairs between 1983 and 1988 in Zambia.
President Mwanawasa also received credentials from Angolan Ambassador to Zambia, Pedro De Marais Neto.
President Mwanawasa said Zambia had a viable rail link, which was sadly disrupted during the Angolan civil war.
He said the route was not only short but was a source of significant economic benefits to the two countries.
He asked Angola to work tirelessly towards the revival of the economic zone.
President Mwanawasa said SADC's idea of regional integration would only come to fruition when countries learnt to deepen their bilateral cooperation.
President Mwanawasa proposed a state visit to Angola as SADC chairman and not to be told at short notice.
By Agness Changala
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
COMMUNICATIONS minister Sarah Sayifwanda has said local companies owe the National Airports Corporation Limited (NACL) in excess of K10 billion. And Sayifwanda has appointed Monde Wood as chairperson of the NACL. During an orientation workshop for the new board of directors of NACL at Cresta Golfview yesterday, Sayifwanda said the debt burden was inhibiting the corporation from carrying out its mandate effectively.
“Sadly, the majority of these debtors are our own local companies who should have been in the forefront in partnering with National Airports Corporation to bring about improved service delivery,” she said.
Sayifwanda said this situation should be addressed immediately if sanity was to return to the industry.
And Sayifwanda said one of the major challenges that awaited the new board that was ushered in yesterday, was to improve infrastructure at the four designated airports in Zambia.
“For instance, Lusaka International Airport opened its doors to the public way back in 1967. This is over forty years ago and this means that the infrastructure which was built then was still in use but it requires modernisation in order to move in tandem with global developments and demands,” she said.
She said the airport infrastructure at Ndola International Airport required overhauling.
“More especially the terminal building which needs to be replaced with a new one. Ndola airport was built in the 1950s for military use by the colonialists. It is obvious that the airports mandate has changed considerably over the years and hence, the need for a terminal building,” she said.
She said Mfuwe International Airport equally required some improvement to the infrastructure. Sayifwanda urged the new board to take advantage of the opportunities that would be brought to the region during the 2010 World Cup.
Sayifwanda also appointed Dr Patrick Chikusa, Justina Wake, Dr Philip Nkunika, Emmanuel Mbambiko, Mukuka Zimba, Geoffrey Chiyesu, Steve Selenge and Emmanuel Ngulube as board members.
By Joan Chirwa
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
THE Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) will continue to monitor operations of Mopani Copper Mines (MCM) at its refinery in Mufulira to avoid a re-occurrence of pollution, the council’s director Edward Zulu has said. But Mufulira residents have insisted that ECZ was failing to carry out its duties as an environmental regulator owing to the government’s control over it.
Meanwhile, Kankoyo area member of parliament Percy Chanda has threatened to start legal proceedings against MCM for “trivialising” the pollution that recently occurred in Mufulira.
In an interview, Zulu said the environmental experts from the ECZ were constantly monitoring operations of MCM’s refinery following the depletion of some pumps which were discharging acid into underground water that is being supplied to a number of residents by Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company.
“Operations were closed at the point where the pumps where leaking. The machine they (MCM) have is underground and when it started leaking, the acid polluted underground water where Mulonga Water and Sewerage Company pumps water and supplies to most of the residents in Mufulira,” Zulu explained. “ECZ is on site. We are working with Mopani to ensure that what happened a few weeks ago doesn’t re-occur.
I understand the company has already purchased pumps to replace the old ones that were leaking.”
But some Mufulira residents said ECZ had failed to adequately control environmental issues in the country.
Chitalu Musonda, a resident said it was very annoying to see how the matter of pollution was trivialised.
“My daughter was one of the victims that suffered severe vomiting and diarrhea because of taking water that was polluted with acid,” he said.
Chanda said he had written MCM more than three times seeking an audience with them over the resulting pollution.
“But I have failed to meet them. Now I am just thinking of speaking to my lawyers as one of the MPs in the area so that legal action can be taken on behalf of the people,” said Chanda in an interview.
“I come from a mining background. Before Mopani came, there was ZCCM operating that mine. From operations of ZCMM, Sulphur Dioxide was being emitted, but when Mopani took over, it changed operations.
Mopani changed the technology and brought in the Isa Smelter which is supposed to run in tandem with the acid plant. So the amount of discharge by ZCCM was not that much compared to what Mopani is discharging.”
By Kabanda Chulu
Thursday January 17, 2008 [03:00]
THE government has selected Stanbic Bank as the preferred bidder to provide funding worth US$1.2 billion for the supply of 1.4 million metric tonnes of commingled petroleum feedstock that will be delivered by Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) of Kuwait.
Last week, Ministry of Energy Permanent Secretary Peter Mumba, announced that Finance Bank and Stanbic Bank had submitted bids to the Zambia National Tender Board (ZNTB) for the provision of funding for the two-year contract government signed with the IPG for the supply and delivery of 1.4 million metric tonnes of commingled petroleum feedstock.
ZNTB acting director general James Njolomba yesterday said the government through the Ministry of Energy and Water Development requested ZNTB to conduct the tender process, which was done and the bids were sent to the ministry for evaluation.
He said after the bids were brought back for thorough analysis, the ZNTB central tender committee (CTC) finally settled for the bid submitted by Stanbic Bank and the government would soon sign a contract with the bank to outline the modalities of the funding procedure.
"Everything which the government requested for has been done and the ministry will soon sign a contract with Stanbic Bank with a view to provide funding for the recently signed long term contract for the supply and delivery of crude oil,” said Njolomba.
Recently Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) chairman Hanson Sindowe urged the government to ensure reliable and transparent funding for crude oil in order to remove the hand to mouth fuel arrangement that has been prevailing in the country.
And ENFIN solutions managing consultant, Andrew Kamanga, said having a long term fixed contract would help to guarantee security of supply thereby doing away with shortages of the commodity.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
By Brighton Phiri
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
DR Kenneth Kaunda yesterday said the government's planned increase in mineral revenue was long overdue. And Dr Kaunda disclosed that he preached "One Kenya One Nation" slogan to the displaced Kenyans during his peace mission in that country last week
Commenting on President Mwanawasa's announcement that government would introduce a new tax regime that would increase its share of mining revenue, Dr Kaunda said every Zambian should support the government's decision, as it would benefit them.
"I wish the decision was taken yesterday. I am in full support of government's decision. They must implement it now for the good of Zambians," Dr Kaunda said.
On his peace mission in Kenya, Dr Kaunda said the destruction caused by the Kenyan post election violence evoked a lot of sadness in the minds of the former African presidents who last week visited the country.
The four former African presidents; Joackim Chissano (Mozambique), Dr Kaunda (Zambia), Ketumire Masire (Botswana), and Benjamin Mkapa of Tanzania last week visited Kenya under the African Forum peace building assignment.
The four African presidents who were led by African Forum chairman Chissano visited Eldoret, one of the hardest hit towns by the Kenyan post election violence.
"It was an extremely useful visit. We, during the time of our visit, learnt a lot. When we were there, the figures of the dead persons was 400, but now it has increased to over 600.
It was a sorrowful picture to see wrecks of wheelchairs, an indication that defenceless disabled persons were victims of the violence," Dr Kaunda said.
"It is an extremely serious problem, which has been seen by many as something fuelled by ethnic differences.
Our visit brought out a lot of sadness in our minds. The only thing I can do now is to plead with all those involved in the violence to begin forgiving each other and finding best ways of working together."
He said the violence was a product of increased poverty as the gap between the rich and poor people continued to widen in Kenya.
Dr Kaunda said ethnic differences and high poverty levels contributed to the worsening political tension in Kenya.
"We went there to meet the Kenyan government to assist them to understand what this means and how they can handle it," he said. "Our task was to ask both the government and opposition leaders to have their country's interest at heart and place it above partisan and ethnic interests."
Dr Kaunda disclosed that the African Forum delegation met both the government and opposition leaders, whom he said expressed their commitment to dialogue and national peace.
He said during their site visits of the affected areas, he preached reconciliation and healing among the people and their leaders.
Dr Kaunda said in his "gospel" he chanted "One Kenya One Nation" slogan because he saw the need to preach love and unity.
"I was motivated by the fact that this slogan worked effectively here in Zambia. Mind you this was not a UNIP slogan but a motto of the nation," he said.
Dr Kaunda asked Zambians to learn from the Kenyan experience, saying the ugly signs of tribal alliances which were mushrooming in the political arena was dangerous for the country's unity and peace.
He asked Zambians to avoid political alliances that were anchored on tribal links.
"Let us get united and get through our problems as one united nation," he said.
By Chibaula Silwamba
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
Finance and national planning deputy minister Jonas Shakafuswa has warned that companies that have government contracts and default on tax payments will be blacklisted. In an interview yesterday, Shakafuswa said he had directed the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to investigate all companies that have contracts with government to verify if they are tax compliant or not. He said those that would be found to be defaulting on tax payments would never be given the government contracts again.
"For me to be able to give a contract or even pay those with outstanding bills, they have to show that they are tax compliant and the money we are paying is also going towards payment of taxes," Shakafuswa said.
"For big government contracts, I have discovered that there are a number of people who are not tax compliant; they are putting in fake tax clearance certificates in the bids."
He said it should not only be Tomorrow Investments to be investigated but several others and they should be prosecuted.
Shakafuswa said he knew many companies that were not paying taxes.
"I have companies in mind but they are being investigated, I can't give you the names now because we are investigating them," said Shakafuswa.
"What I have done is that I have directed ZRA to investigate all major contracts in the last two years and make sure that everybody has been captured especially for big institutions like Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Works and Supply, ZRA will move in and audit all tenders given and make sure that all tenders have been given properly."
By Amos Malupenga
Tuesday January 15, 2008 [23:00]
Lusaka businessman Yoram Mumba yesterday revealed that he conspired with Chiluba to overthrow Dr Kenneth Kaunda. But when contacted for comment, Chiluba laughed at Mumba’s statement. Commenting on former president Frederick Chiluba’s differences with Patriotic Front leader Michael Sata, Mumba said Chiluba was a very ungrateful person who always schemed to hurt his once upon a time friends. He said even when he served as Republican president, Chiluba was never magnanimous in his dealings with people.
Mumba said Chiluba, at any slight misunderstanding with any friend of his, would inflict such unbearable pain on that friend forgetting any big favours that friend did for him.
“I for one shielded Chiluba from being charged with treason in 1980,” Mumba revealed. “He and Chitalu Sampa from Zambia Congress of Trade Unions conspired together with me in my house at Mepepe, South of Chilanga to overthrow the UNIP government. I was given the assignment to contact and recruit personnel from the army and Air Force. The two gentlemen were to organise a countrywide strike in the event that the coup was foiled and we got arrested.
“I went through traumatic interrogations but I never squealed. I spent ten years in prison and when I came out, Chiluba and his colleague never came near me. I was expecting an invitation to one of their homes. It never came.”
Mumba said the people that visited him home to welcome him back into society were friends with whom he played sport before he was imprisoned. He said when Chiluba became Republican president, he was annoyed with him because he thanked Dr Kaunda for releasing him from prison.
“For this, he was to show me his wrath in earnest by ordering government ministries and parastatals including the intelligence service and all armed forces to divert their business dealings from my company, Eagle Travel, to some newly formed company owned by his friend,” Mumba said.
“When queried, his answer was ‘Yoram is a Kaundaist, don’t do business with him’. Chiluba is a man who can never be trusted, too slippery for any noble person with normal brain. Incidentally, it is a funny world; even the chief of mafia gangsters in the United States of America was very generous to some people who benefited from his loot. These are the people that protested bitterly when the law caught up with this benefactor. Such was the end of AI Capone.”
Mumba said he was saddened by the schism in the Patriotic Front going by the reports in The Post. He wondered why all retired presidents in Southern Africa were living quietly and honourably writing memoirs without anybody pointing fingers at them that they have stolen while Chiluba was busy quarrelling with all and sundry or trying to skim a come back because he verily believes Zambians across the country were feeling nostalgic for his rule.
“This is according to his personal assistant Emmanuel Mwamba,” Mumba said. “My foot, but these are the very people that ill-advised him to go for a third term that never was. My advice is that the man should grow up and begin to differentiate between genuine praise and appeasement. In most cases, Zambians in their shyness will always tell you that which they know will make you feel good. They do not care if they are right or wrong; what they are concerned about is your feeling after you meet them.”
Mumba said it should be realised that Sata would beat Chiluba at the polls because at the moment he was more popular than Chiluba.
“People now know who Chiluba is – a devilish enigma. I say this because all his skims are meant to hurt his once upon a time friends. When you cross his path, he will hunt you down until you drop dead.”
Mumba said people might be wondering the cause of the rift between Chiluba and Sata in PF. He said the cause was not the rebellion of PF members of parliament who Chiluba is using to get at Sata for having made a statement at a rally in Chilanga which statement vilified him.
This was soon after the London High Court judgment which found Chiluba and others guilty of having stolen millions of United States dollars from the Zambian government.
Mumba said at that rally, Sata told his audience that he was not there when Chiluba allegedly stole money from government. He said that statement did not go well with Chiluba who vowed to unleash a vicious campaign of slander to unseat Sata, “using the maverick MPs who seem not to know him yet”.
“A day will come when he will dump them,” Mumba said. “Knowing him, Chiluba will not end at this; his hatred of Sata will definitely rise to a crescendo of curses and filth. Chiluba should be told to leave Sata alone. I do hope that no money changed hands between the two of them for I shudder to remember what happened to his once closest allies such as Ronald Penza, Paul Tembo and more recently Rajan Mahtani.
All these were jewels in the life of our Second Republican President Chiluba. The question remains, what went wrong? Was Chiluba the cleanest out of these encounters? It is quite a labyrinth of a situation. Sata must be very careful.”
And when reached for comment earlier, Chiluba’s spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba said his boss together Chitalu Sampa and others were detained in connection with that coup attempt because of Mumba’s falsehood. He said that is why Chiluba and his colleagues were released after being detained for 18 months because of lack of evidence against them.
He said Chiluba was accused of organising countrywide strikes on the basis of Mumba’s lies but there was never any evidence to back up those allegations.
But Mumba said Chiluba was detained for 52 days and not 18 months.
“Yes, it is true he was released because there was no evidence,” Mumba said. “And there was no evidence because we shielded him. That is why I said we refused to squeal. We were grilled but I refused to implicate Chiluba. That is how he was released. We thought he would be more useful outside because our original plan was for ZCTU to organise countrywide strikes if the coup was foiled.”
Mumba said he has explained this episode in detail in his book entitled: “1980 Coup; Tribulations of One Party” which will be published in the next few months.
“The book is now with my publishers so just wait for it,” Mumba said.
And Mwamba said it was unfair for Mumba to speak on Chiluba’s behalf concerning current problems in PF. He said these problems or misunderstandings were almost resolved because there was a group of elders mediating between Sata and Chiluba and soon their differences would be over.
Mwamba said it appeared Mumba was sent by someone to scandalise Chiluba. He said it was clear that Mumba had an axe to grind with Chiluba going by the many scandalous letters he written through The Post.
“If he has some personal problems with Dr Chiluba, it’s better he just makes an appointment with him and resolve those problems,” Mwamba said.
But Mumba said no one could send him to do anything against Chiluba because what he was talking about is what he experienced or went through.
“Natumwikata fye tapali efyo alelanda (Chiluba is caught pants down there is nothing he is saying). Just wait for the book, you will read more details on that,” said Mumba.
However, Mwamba said whilst Mumba’s book will be welcome, like many others before him and yet to come, it would be exposed and fought viciously if it will contain falsehood.
And when contacted later, Chiluba laughed and asked: “Where was Yoram Mumba’s house? Was it in Kitwe? Was it in Ndola? The heart of a bitter man is an evil one because it is even willing to bear false testimony, imboni eyabufi fye!”
Chiluba said he would soon comprehensively respond to Mumba’s charges.
By Lambwe Kachali
Wednesday January 16, 2008 [03:00]
Chief Nabwalya of Mpika district in Northern Province has declared his support for first lady Maureen Mwanawasa for MMD presidency and later Republican presidency. And veteran politician Mama Chibesa Kankasa has said Maureen has all it takes to succeed President Levy Mwanawasa. In an interview, chief Nabwalya said MMD officials should not block Maureen from vying for the party presidency and later Republican presidency.
Chief Nabwalya said Zambians were tired of being led by male politicians, most of whom had failed to deliver to Zambians' expectations.
"I support her and I will support her for this highest office in the land. She is our mother and no one should block her from becoming our next president.
Madam Maureen has significantly demonstrated and every Zambian can see her fruits," chief Nabwalya said.
He said Northern Province would rally behind Maureen when she announces her candidature for MMD presidency.
"She is our choice and no one, I suppose, can match her. When God has given you a talent, no one can remove or block you. I therefore think no one in MMD will block her whether being a man or female. We have no doubts that madam Maureen will drive this country even further," said chief Nabwalya.
And Mama Kankasa, who was at chief Nabwalya's palace during the interview, said Maureen was a woman of integrity with better qualifications as compared to most men in the MMD.
Mama Kankasa said she would mobilise other womenfolk countrywide to support Maureen in an event that she is chosen by President Levy Mwanawasa as his preferred candidate.
"I know that sometimes it is difficult for her to declare her intentions because of her nature.
I have known Maureen for her competency, courage and service-delivery oriented to the Zambian people. I think Zambians have no doubt about her and most of them, especially my fellow women, will agree with me," Mama Kankasa said.
"I personally will organise a lot of support from the womenfolk to support her."
She said time had come for Zambia to be led by a woman president.
Mama Kankasa said Maureen was someone most Zambians were looking forward to leading the country.
"It's time for change. With me I have been fighting for women emancipation and I am not in support of Maureen because she is a lady but because of her qualities, which are above men. She has already started showing her vision for a better Zambia before she even becomes Republican president.
This will multiply when she gets there. All Zambians should give her enough support and not being jealous," she said.
Mama Kakasa said President Mwanawasa should not listen to people who are against Maureen for presidency.
"I think no one can mislead President Mwanawasa on this issue because he also wants someone who can complete the work he has started. Maureen is an intellectual and she commands a lot of public confidence," Mama Kankasa said.
"Even our President and the MMD national executive committee (NEC) know about this. We should all support her. As NEC discusses this issue, they should ensure that Maureen is put on the agenda. Maureen has no difficulties of support from chiefs and other people countrywide."