Saturday, March 29, 2008

(HERALD) Let’s vote to protect our heritage

Let’s vote to protect our heritage
By Dambudzo Mapuranga

"I should make it clear that we do not accept that Britain has a special responsibility to meet the costs of land purchase in Zimbabwe," was part of what Claire Short wrote in her letter to the Government of Zimbabwe on November 15, 1997, in what can only be summarised as an insult to the people of Zimbabwe.

Short’s letter, to put it simply, brushed off the right of the people of Zimbabwe to seek amends for what she termed the British government’s past policies. Despite all she said the fact still stood that the British government was responsible for gross human rights violations on the people of Zimbabwe. It systematically through racially biased legislature dispossessed blacks of their land and gave it as payment for services rendered to its citizens.

On March 26, Britain’s colonial legacy will be put to the test in Windhoek, Namibia, before the Sadc Tribunal.

Swords have already been drawn as the white dominated legal profession in the region and Europe are raring to hack to pieces the Government of Zimbabwe and the Tribunal should white justice not be served.

This dispossessed white minority seeks to convince the Sadc tribunal that the Government of Zimbabwe violated Sadc Treaty Article 6, which says a state cannot discriminate on any person on grounds of race.

The nerve of them to talk of discrimination when they are attempting to seek recourse for land whose ownership their fathers got on purely race basis.

The descendants of Zimbabwe’s colonial masters and their kith and kin abroad have already begun to make preparations for their symbolic media public lynching of Zimbabwe’s President Mugabe and his land reform programme.

Sentiments coming from those racially prejudiced indicate that African legacy, from the slave trade era to the post colonial era, has been that of white washed black liberation, which provides a façade of equality and freedom but does not seek to empower the black people through economic freedom and the status quo should not be changed.

It is funny that those who are taking the Government of Zimbabwe before the Tribunal call themselves Justice for Agriculture. The question one is forced to ask is justice on whose terms? Certainly not for the black people of Zimbabwe who were disenfranchised from their heritage through gross violations of human rights.

What justice is this that an oppressor seeks to take the victim to court seeking compensation for a crime that was committed and was then redressed?

A team of Anglo-Saxon lawyers from South Africa, Australia and Europe with its backbone as Professor Jeffrey Jowell QC, Advocate Jeremy Gauntlet SC, Advocates Adrian de Bourbon and David Drury, was put together by a syndicate made up of former white farmers whose farms where acquired by the Zimbabwe Government during its land reform programme, to put a pilot case before the Sadc Tribunal challenging the legality of Zimbabwe’s Constitutional Amendment Number 17.

The Amendment, which granted the Government of Zimbabwe the legal right to acquire the country’s eighty five percent arable land, which was in the hands of four thousand white farmers in a country with a population of close to twelve million, blacks.

This team of lawyers will seek to argue before the Tribunal that constitutional Amendment Number 17 which the government signed into law two years ago, is a breach of its obligations under the Sadc Treaty Article 6, which bars member states from discriminating any persons on the grounds of gender, religion, race, ethnic origin and culture.

The team expects the Tribunal to declare the amendment illegal and thus force the government to turn over ownership of the country’s major natural resource into the hands of 4 percent of the country’s population who are all white and that will be justice.

What their arguments will deliberately fail to draw attention to is the history behind the acquisition of land by the government. The land in question was in fact land appropriated from the black majority during the colonial era and given to a handful of British settlers as payment for service to Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England.

These settlers put the land in trusts for their offspring and future generations, while the black majority was forced to make do on crowded land, which was not arable land.

This was the driving force behind the liberation struggle for Zimbabwe. Agreements were made at independence between the British government and the new black majority government were that the British government would see to the return of the land to its rightful owners while it paid its sons and daughters for any inconvenience caused.

However, we are all aware of that nasty letter that Claire Short wrote to then Minister of Agriculture Kumbirai Kangai absolving the British government of any obligations and as the expression goes — the rest is history.

It is hypocritical of these white men and women to call for justice over property, which their grandfathers stole from the indigenous people of Zimbabwe. What is even worse is that they seek recourse in our courts of law and tribunals and yet have denied the same to our brothers and sisters in the Caribbean and North American over slavery reparations and civil liberty abuses.

Instead of coming out and denouncing the actions of their great grandfathers they seek to rob Africa again while trumpeting democracy, good governance and rule of law in our ears. The crisis in Zimbabwe these past eight years has been about land, our heritage.

There is thus no greater betrayer of this cause than Tsvangirai’s of this world who turned their backs on their people and sold their souls for the proverbial thirty pieces of silver. It is with this back ground that as Zimbabweans we should go to the March 29 polls with the resolve to show the rest of Africa that their solidarity in these trying times is greatly appreciated and that as pioneers against the disenfranchisement of people of colour we stand firm behind our gallant leaders.

The blood of our mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters spilt during the liberation struggle cries out to us that their sacrifices should not be in vain.

Zimbabwe will never be a colony again!

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(HERALD) Makoni’s campaign illogical, devoid of principle

Makoni’s campaign illogical, devoid of principle
By Chinondidyachii Chinondidya-Chinosekerera Marar

When Julius Nyerere observed that there is a difference, a distinction even, between being educated and being qualified, few people clearly understood what the former Tanzanian President really meant. But now they should, especially given the way in which Simba Makoni inaugurated his bid as a presidential candidate for the March 29 2008 elections, as well as the manner he has conducted his campaign ever since.

Both are sufficiently clumsy to give food for thought, food for thought for a conscious Zimbabwean to wonder where a man who hopes to take on the mantle of leadership loses his strategy.

There is no doubt that Makoni is entitled to offer himself as a presidential candidate. It is his constitutional right to do so. But as a scientist with a reasonable base of training will have been introduced to the principles and concepts of objectivity and logic, Makoni should realise that the twists, U-turns and contradictions that have characterised his campaign so far are totally illogical and devoid of principle.

Where does the morality of his "upbringing" in Zanu-PF’s liberationist ideology become re-defined in the name of his perceived historic calling?

Asked, at his second Press briefing, to reveal his backers (whom he had earlier said were "big-wigs" in Zanu-PF), Makoni offered a clever-by-half response by stating that "it would be absurd to bring to the high table the millions and millions of people who back me".

Today, he says the big-wigs he was referring to are ordinary people he expects will vote for him. On whether he had renounced his allegiance to Zanu-PF, he hurriedly insisted that the question did not merit an answer, arguing instead that it was necessary to look to the future.

On land reform, Makoni talked of "equitable" land distribution. Now, given that land re-distribution was largely completed 4 years ago, Makoni’s "land re-redistribution exercise" implies returning land to the settler colonists.

Strange that Makoni fails to realise that this kind of language — of "redistributing" land — is the kind of language that even the leadership of the MDC sell-out party has since abandoned, because it knows that the same has no support among Zimbabweans.

On the party structure, Makoni was decidedly and deliberately evasive, clearly showing that he doesn’t appreciate that the type of procedure of government-formation he proposes — one outside a party system — is strange and new to the public. The public sees party systems as the main institutional framework of party competition and cooperation through which is structured — and can be realised — the type of representation on the one hand, and consensus-building and mode of governance on the other.

Yet the "educated" Makoni refuses to tell people how he intends to govern without a party; refuses to accept that people have a right to know.

Well, perhaps his party structures are the Bretton Woods institutions from which he has been promised money to fix the problems of electricity, water, and food shortage in the country!

Instead, Makoni talks of governing through a National Authority, drawn from MPs he expects will cross the floor and join him. Certainly Makoni needs to be reminded that the Zimbabwe constitution does not provide for floor-crossing.

And in any case, Makoni should recall the experience of Malawian President Bingu waMutharika who, faced with a similar situation, hurriedly put up a party structure after finding it extremely difficult to pass a budget last year.

And as far as Makoni is concerned, his is a "revolution for renewal". Surely we must feel amused when we hear an aspiring president describing himself as a gifted and intelligent person but fails to realise that revolution is not a one-man band; rather, revolution is by the people: built in word, in dialogue, in deed, in work, and in action with the people.

It cannot be made by one person on behalf of others or by those others on behalf of the one person, but by both acting together in unshakeable solidarity. True revolutionaries — Comrades Mao, Castro, Chavez, Ahmedinejad, and Mugabe — knew and know this only too well. They clearly understood and understand the concept of building consensus with people when prosecuting revolutions. But Makoni doesn’t.

Then he proceeds to say Zimbabwe cannot continue to be ruled by those "who are still tied to Chimoio". How can a serious presidential candidate lampoon Chimoio? Is it that Makoni is attempting to erase the legacy of our noble struggle against colonialism, or he simply seeks to gratuitously despise the brave veterans of that struggle? To what end?

And, does it not occur to the esteemed Doctor that it is not possible to extirpate revolutionary ideas from the minds of people who contributed to the liberation of this country, and more importantly, that he is alienating a section of the Zimbabwe population without whose support he would never rule this country?

Ah, ndiko kukanganwa chazuro nehopeka uku!

Babamudiki, ndoo chiiko ichi chamunotiitira?

There is indeed clear evidence that Makoni, who overrates himself, has been unable to see what the likes of Roy Bennett, Treasurer-General of the MDC-Tsvangirai faction, see. Speaking of Makoni, Bennett wondered "how and where in the world does someone parachute into a presidential position never having addressed a branch meeting in the rural areas?"

The main subject of our discussion is to debunk the general assumption that having a degree, or a string of them, or a Professorship or a PhD for that matter, argues for intelligence or education.

It doesn’t necessarily mean so. To the contrary, it shows that one is qualified, and a qualified person is only literate, which is not the same thing as being educated or being intelligent. An educated person is able to interpret and harness the phenomenon around him, is able to reason, and to possess logic and common-sense.

Thus, only a qualified person, Makoni, as opposed to one who is educated, chooses a plush five-star hotel as a springboard from which to launch his bid for the highest political office in Zimbabwe.

Similarly, only a qualified person advises people to access his manifesto on the Internet, which the vast majority of average Zimbabweans have no access to. And too, only an "educated" person claims that the upsurge in voter registration immediately after his presidential bid shows that he has support.

This is a very unscientific way of reasoning. I for one knows of people whose one and main reason for registering to vote immediately after Makoni made his bid was to make sure their votes count against him.

One gets the distinct impression that Simba Makoni, himself a media construct, suffers from the mistaken belief that his "reputed" eloquence in the use of the English language translates into intelligence.

He sure seems to have imbibed the old adage of, "Ah, wamunzwa chirungu chake, vakomana murume uyu ari intelligent! Haabviri!" Makoni should know better that eloquence in the use of English, a language imposed on us by colonialists, does not translate to intelligence at all.

You see, Makoni — who does not love people but pretends he does, because love is at the same time an act of courage and a commitment to other people — has been on a crusade to exclude the very same people he avows he loves and respects.

He refuses to disclose to prospective voters the real people behind his project and, except for Dumiso Dabengwa, Kudzai Mbudzi, Ibbo Mandaza and Nkosana Moyo, he denies association with even those already known to us: SABMiller, a South African Breweries company, and Citigroup, an American banking institution.

Makoni has shown a peculiar reluctance to establish a permanent relationship of genuine dialogue with the people, and serially presents himself to prospective voters like a teacher who presents himself to students he considers as his necessary opposite. Indeed he presented himself as an elitist projecting "knowledge" as a gift to be bestowed on those who know absolutely nothing. This concept corresponds to what Jean Paul Satre calls the "indigestive" or "nutritive" concept of education, in which knowledge is "fed" by the teacher to the students "to fill them up.’

Clearly, then, there is no denying that Makoni who — unable to overcome alienating intellectualism or false perceptions of reality — considers people to be abstract, isolated and unattached to this world — in short, objects. The fact of the matter is that dialogue cannot exist in the absence of love of other people: "I do not love others therefore I cannot enter into dialogue with them."

Instead, he seeks to talk to them through the human rights language of rule of law, democracy and good governance that we often hear from the Americans and the British.

And in trying to convince people of their suffering, he seeks on that basis to organise or regulate the way information enters their consciousness, their perception — information that he and he alone considers true. Thus we find Makoni trying to use the current economic hardships as a pretext for manipulation, indeed an attempt on his part to use people as docile pawns in his reckless game of political opportunism.

Makoni’s ultimate objective is to domesticate reality and to "make" his own truth from which he either excludes people from participation, or only allows them pseudo-participation, so he can organise the political process that feeds into his ambition. He tries to deceive. He takes people for granted. For instance, he promises that once he gets into power then vanhu vachakorobha mudzimba nemidzonga yenyama, vagotsvaira zvivanze nemabhanduru emuriwo!

Makoni is unable to live with others in true cooperation and solidarity. Yet he should realise that any situation in which some person or persons prevent others from engaging in processes of enquiry, participation and decision-making is one of intolerance, and that it dehumanises.

The means used are not important: to alienate other people from their own decision-making is to view them as objects. In that sense, no-one can be considered authentically human while he or she prevents others from being so. Company chief executives or board chairpersons of organisations must similarly watch out against these habits!

The reality is that in politics as in business, one cannot impose oneself or one’s ideas on others, but rather that there should be true solidarity, and that such true solidarity requires trust in people, love and genuine communication, all of which generate critical thinking about reality.

And the thinking that is concerned about reality does not take place in ivory-tower isolation but in communication with others for, for a fact, the "I" cannot exist without the "Not I"; conversely, the "Not I" depends solely on that existence.

It indeed is shocking that a person of the presumed stature of Makoni — who should be incarnating a rediscovery of the humanising vocation of the intellectual, as well as demonstrating the power of action to negate perceptions of elitism — kick-starts his ambitious political project from two platforms that make it difficult for him to reach out to the thoughts and experiences of the vast majority of prospective voters, and yet still describes himself as a man of the people.

Lastly, Makoni has been long enough in Zanu-PF to know that Zanu-PF is a set of ideas, or ideals, around which people have rallied. The ideals that characterise Zanu-PF are liberationist: self-empowerment, dignity and sovereignty.

Today Zimbabweans suffer economic hardship because we are at war with imperialists. We want to maintain a legacy. So today if President Mugabe departs from the same ideals, zvese zviya zvokuti "VaMugabe woye" zvinenge zvapera! So, in departing from the ideals of Zanu-PF, Makoni has not only abandoned the people but has also turned against them.

He, too, should know that he was created by Zanu-PF. Inhiyo yeZanu-PF. He owes his current profile to Zanu-PF. At 30, he became a Minister, courtesy of Zanu-PF, after which the party internationalised him by making him the first Executive Secretary of Sadc.

In 2005, both the party and government, including President Mugabe, vigorously lobbied and campaigned for him to become president of the African Development Bank. Perhaps that is where he got the idea of becoming president!

So for all his life, Zanu-PF has been like a hen to Makoni, a hen in the sense of huku iya inoteta, ichitsvara yofukunyura kuti nhiyo dzayo dziwane zvokudya.

But today he has rejected his own mother, and yet continues to want to feed on what the mother has hunted for all the chicks of Zimbabwe.

Ah, Makoni, surely it doesn't befit a man who has benefited from Zanu-PF, your mentor and mother, to turn against it and yet, being a chick, inevitably find yourself uchitevera panenge patsvarwa neZanu-PF uchiti chobo, chobo, chobo!

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(HERALD) Makoni/Tsvangirai: The End of History

Makoni/Tsvangirai: The End of History

I have just gone through a representative part of the western press, British press included. Putting aside nuances, the consensus is that President Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF are set to win. Hardly news at all for us in the country who have seen the contrasting crowds attracted by the political antagonists. Zanu-PF has the voters, whatever sleights of hand the opposition may have tried. What is news though is that the western press is admitting to the defeat of the opposition well before the vote is taken.

Including an admission that the Makoni factor has been extremely detrimental to an already divided opposition. It was pretty daft for the British to think that Makoni had a modicum of appeal in rural Zimbabwe where jongwe rules the roost. Or that Tsvangirai would be as attractive to the urban protest vote against Zanu-PF as he has been in the past.

The phantoms which the British, the Americans and Raylander have invented for Simba have proved obdurate sleepers in a cacophonously eerie graveyard. They won’t wake up; they won’t come forward, leaving Makoni quite helpless and frustrated. His rally in Mutare — itself a monumental flop — clearly indicated things were going pretty bad for him. Ever since then, Simba grew irritable and even irascible with the media. The plan to use Mutare — his home town — as venue for rousing heavyweight sleepers fell apart.

The only thing heavy about the so-called weights was the splendid quality of their sleep — deep sleep of settled Zanu-PF cadres old enough to have seen and counted ugly aftermath of reckless rebellions. The only thing heavy was Simba’s importuning them to please wake up.

They kept snoring; they are snoring; they will snore, right into the booth. They were not going to try a rebellion, let alone get associated with one born so badly, one so already soiled by sheer ineptitude. If Zanu-PF ever faced a bald rebellion, here was one.

Tekere’s potent drink

Tekere got especially haggard when it became apparent the war veterans whom he thought would back Makoni, gave a dramatic no-show in Mutare, clearly revealing what should have been obvious enough to him, if he was an ounce the soldier he paints himself to be in Mandaza’s book on him.

Those war veterans were at work! Once every bit of what Tekere’s fools were planning was known, it was time to go and they did. The system was all the richer for the brief flirtation which gave Makoni such ephemeral glory and grand illusions of misgoverning this country. But the war veterans would not walk away uneventfully. They made sure Makoni had been dealt a felling psychological blow from which he reels to this day.

I watched Simba’s mien at rallies subsequent to this devastating flop. He was clearly unhinged, quite unsure. Not even his hands could easily come together for a clasp with which he hoped to build symbolism for his project. In one advert, the clasp fails, winding up being chinja’s open arm! Even more embarrassing was the rally he shared with Mutambara where he found himself flooded by open arms! Goodness me! The hazards of political hybridity! You do not go into an election with your bare arms, will and wife, hoping for manna. You do not go boldly in a poll on the promise of a drunkard who pretends to be a kingmaker from Manicaland. I am sure he now knows God gives no manna to politicians.

Simba’s barren call to Morgan

Gentle reader, Morgan Tsvangirai has, as before, checked in the Meikles. Thursday night, Makoni and Tsvangirai linked up. The two connected, all against a planned joint press conference scheduled the same Thursday, which Tsvangirai wrecked through non-appearance. The villager for once proved the wiser party. Here was a clear entrapment. Simba would have wanted to share a press conference with Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday, ostensibly to put pressure on President Mugabe, but in reality a contrivance for a deadly comparison with the modestly educated Tsvangirai. Simba wanted to charm Tsvangirai’s constituency through sheer eloquence, proving to it he would make a better leader to the villager. Clearly the villager would not have been able to stop the Pots ‘n’ Pans villain the same way Happison Muchechetere did subsequently. Thanks to good advice, Tsvangirai made a disappearing act, leaving Makoni and Mutambara limping for reasons with which to satisfy an eager international press. This necessitated the nocturnal call. In that conversation, Makoni copiously pleaded for an eleventh hour merger. He needed it badly, and still does. But he will not have it. The villager flatly refused, coolly stating this could only be considered after March 30 when everyone’s worth is known.

The disaster of Cde kaOne

It must be recalled Makoni’s overrated mind manager — one Ibbotson Joseph — was only last week pushing the line of a Super Tuesday in the media, apparently forgetting even in the American calendar such a day only comes once.

He sold the line that this last Tuesday would see sleepers shaking off their slumber to publicly proclaim support for him. Well, Tuesday came and nothing super happened. You do not handle the media that way Mr Joseph.

It is called knocking off a pot’s bottom with one abundant meal, forgetting you will need another meal, and yet another. But then is there a tomorrow for this Mr kaOne? I doubt. Evidence points to a terminator campaign, one too pitched on superfices of physiognomy to last beyond one and only attempt. Now Nkosana Moyo is hoping to redeem the argument. He tells the BBC Simba’s strategy rests on imbeds in Zanu-PF. No one hopes so.

The Welshman factor

So Tsvangirai has rejected overtures from Mr kaOne, overtures which were meant to spare the natural scientist from unrelieved political disaster. The idea was to imbed his own defeat in Morgan Tsvangirai’s screaming and boomeranging fifth one. That way, Simba would have been able to rebuild a second attempt, this time at the helm of a reunited MDC, now that he already has Mutambara (or is it the other way?). Reading through the masters’ press (Western press), it is clear in the unlikely event of a run-off, Makoni will be fighting from the Tsvangirai corner — an even more obscure underdog than he was in Zanu-PF.

Unlike the irascible Kombayi, he will not have a constituency. Equally, Welshman may not lend favour to a Makoni who takes his faction of the MDC back to Tsvangirai. Or if he does, he will not work for such an odious eventuality.

But then, all this is hypothetical given the situation on the ground. Which means what? Well, that Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF will triumph with an unbridgeable margin. After a day or two of grousing, all of Brown’s puppets will come round to accepting the results, and Zanu-PF will get down to tackling the challenges of sorting out a sanctions-wrecked economy.

So long a letter from Law Society

The reasons for Mugabe and Zanu-PF landslide victory are not difficult to reconstruct. Both Tsvangirai and Makoni did their damn-dest to trigger Zimbabwe’s angst over its sovereignty.

The British meddlesome hand became so obvious — directly through Brown’s bald letter which outraged elements within the Law Society of Zimbabwe did so well to leak to the authorities. And indirectly through the corporate bodies which came so obviously on the side of Simba Makoni, including their local subsidiaries.

Indirectly through the cockiness of returning white farmers who stuck out like very white sore thumbs. Clearly Zanu-PF had calculated well to return into the campaign ring the issue of sovereignty. But did the two men in opposition have to validate this theme so abundantly as to vindicate Zanu-PF’s claim that Zimbabwe faced a real danger of re-colonisation and a return to white settler agriculture? Once the two men had done Zanu-PF such a favour, even their feeble bid to make issue out of the economy went limping.

Fear of the master’s anger

Secondly, the two men did not have to deny the reality of sanctions. Surely such a denial was not only bald; it was self-incriminating! Cleverly Tsvangirai and Ncube should have signed the political declaration which was supposed to have been the last act of the Sadc-initiated dialogue. That act alone would have put both the ruling party and the opposition on one side on sanctions, in which case the ground would have been clear for other issues on which the opposition had a decisive advantage. The fear of the master’s anger, it would appear, proved greater than political sense.

It was particularly bad for Simba Makoni. His aggressive and intemperate rejection of the sanctions thesis, coupled by bald attempts to justify them on grounds of autocracy, simply cut him as a bitter, barren and duplicitous politician. Here was a man who was in Government all along, now casting the enemy’s epithets on the same government he served until relieved of his post.

Here was a whole former minister of finance who saw and felt the impact of sanctions from within, right on public finance ledger, now claiming sanctions were unreal and yet deserved! Here was a man who was with President Mugabe in Dar es Salaam when both the World Bank and International Monetary Fund confessed to Anglo-American pressure on Zimbabwe, now claiming Zimbabwe was more sinning than sinned against.

Far from sounding credible, he only came across as a deceitful politician so helplessly beholden to his masters’ arguments. It did not quite make him genuine, let alone Independent. The electorate will whip him soundly for that.

Whites’ men

Thirdly, both man offered nothing but the bogey of a white man with deep, rich pockets. They offered fabled white generosity as their alternative to Zanu-PF.

Tsvangirai put it so crudely: I have white friends ready to pour in billions to recover the economy. Simba indiscreetly imbedded the same factor in the more trendy word "investor". But both implacably gloated about their "rich white cousins".

And to the electorate, the message hit inversely: they did not have rich white men; rather they were whites’ poor black men. This gave particular resonance to two key elements of Zanu-PF’s campaign theme: sovereignty and empowerment. The one seemed threatened by the white spectre; the other undermined by it. Where the debate is cast in such rabid nationalistic overtones, it is foolhardy to say vote for me for I have rich white men. But then to whom do you tell this?

Poor Unhappy Rwodzi

Fourthly, the whole issue of price escalation was turned against the opposition. In fact, they were clever enough not to have pushed this argument. Let me confess: if voting rights were apportioned on the basis of property, the March poll would have been between MDC and Simba Makoni.

Zanu-PF would have been soundly buried. It did not have the vote of the petty bourgeoisie at all. It will not have it even after this poll. From pseudo-indigenous once as Shingi Mutasa (and his Saudi prince who dominates the earth’s largest bank) to obscene beneficiaries of empowerment such as Farai Rwodzi who coordinated Makoni’s publicity, Zanu-PF did not have an ounce of sympathy. Fortunately the rich are few and will not always be with us, more so after March 30! The vectors of price escalation were in the camp of the quislings, in fact their corporate face.

And after the announcement of results of Kurebwa’s opinion poll, many who meet early morning to shed off excess fat in Harare’s sumptuous gyms, have since resolved that the die is already cast. They will not bother to vote today. They will not, for their resolve was broken by Zanu-PF’s crowds, even here in Harare.

Diminishing scenarios

So the writing is on the wall and the scenarios are diminishing. For the West, the scenario of direct intervention which BBC’s Reynolds is dying for, will not take place. There is no will for it. There is no reason for it. There is no competence for it. Lots of competence against it, and Britain and America know that. Kenyan option? Well, there is no Raila Odinga for it. As Tsvangirai will readily attest, Mugabe is no Kibaki. What is more, we have a clean ballot here and both Makoni and Tsvangirai have made the point to the whole world, ironically for Zanu-PF.

The opposition threats of a second Kenya here in Zimbabwe simply underline their lack of courage for it. Which is not to say there will not be attempts at mischief. Lots of such attempts, including trying to discredit the process.

In fact this has already started, although it is proving very hard to stick. What the West is hoping for is either a run-off or a disputed outcome which will summon a Kofi Annan or his equivalent, to cobble together a negotiated settlement which would accommodate Makoni and Tsvangirai the Kenyan style. Interestingly both men are promising a government of national unity should they win. They know they will not win, which is what makes their promises a mere wish and prescription for what they hope Zanu-PF can be persuaded to countenance. From where I sit, this is a very vain hope.

Which means this election will end two political careers: that of Tsvangirai and that of Makoni. The one because he has tried and failed too many times; the other because he tried kaOne so disastrously. And because Makoni had no party when he tried this disastrous once, there will be no Ncube, Coltart, Trudy to shout him out.

His call for leadership renewal will work against him, ironically in respect of a leadership he never gave. He will just wither away, marking the end of petty bourgeois element in Zimbabwe’s buffeting politics.

When Zimbabwe may be a colony again

I go back to my old thesis: Zanu-PF’s real challenge will not be the recovery of this economy under conditions of continued western sanctions; rather, it will be the forging of a genuine national bourgeoisie with a sufficient national outlook to take charge to a reformed economy.

That way, Zanu-PF’s politics will have aligned with its economic vision. Not the present mismatch of nationalist politics pretending to ride on Rhodesia’s settler economy.

What right does Zanu-PF have to expect Lever Brothers to validate its politics? What right, Comrade President, to expect charitable conduct from the 400-plus British companies here? Unless this obscene cohabitation is challenged, Zimbabwe may very well be a colony again. In your lifetime, Sir. Icho! l nathaniel.manheru AT



Zambia can be a better place to live in

Zambia can be a better place to live in

ZAMBIA is endowed with vast natural resources that present a great opportunity for productivity in all sectors of the economy. This is most ideal for employment creation and absolutely desirable for fighting poverty. Many natural, political and socio-demographic factors work to the advantage of Zambia. It is no longer debatable that Zambia has some of the best mineral deposits in the world.

The country’s natural resources range from minerals such as copper, cobalt, zinc, lead, coal, emeralds, gold, silver and uranium to hydropower and several waterfalls like the Victoria Falls. Minerals like nickel, an important and high valu e mineral, precious stones in the gemstone mine industry and indeed, the traditional copper, can all contribute to Zambia’s gross domestic product.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) country profiles, Zambia utilises less than seven per cent of the land for arable purposes. Some estimates have put the water resources endowed on Zambia at 40 per cent of all the water in the southern African region; implying that in terms of crop irrigation and power generation, Zambia can potentially take care of the entire region!

At a recently held public discussion forum convened by the Economics Association of Zambia in Lusaka under the theme “Equity and Development”, panel discussant Namucana Musiwa observed that there is great potential in Zambia. But for the people’s mindset and attitude towards work!

The 2008 national Budget seeks to unlock wealth for national development, but some analysts still insist that the wealth of the country would continue to be concentrated in the hands of a few including foreigners if the work culture among Zambians does not change.

The question is: Why should work culture, which is generally defined as a system of beliefs that shapes individual and group behavior in an organisation, be such a big issue?

Although a belief system cannot be seen directly, its effects can be understood by observing the behaviors of individuals and groups. Ms Musiwa believes that most people in Zambia are unnecessarily tolerant of wrong things and when they express their anger, it is often at the wrong target.

As a case in point, the performance of the civil service has been a source of concern for a long time. Public perception has often been that civil servants are inefficient and generally have a negative attitude to work.

It may seem like acceptable practice to report late at work, take an early lunch, report back late after lunch, spend the afternoon forwarding e-mails and later on knock off before official knock off time.

“If you go to the immigration department today you will find upgraded offices and nice computers but the work culture is still the same. We need to promote a positive service culture and begin to be more pro-active as a nation,” Ms Musiwa observed.

Being proactive entails investing in planning so that every activity whether anticipated or not is met by a high level of preparedness. Some have expressed concern at what they call a reactionary attitude of waiting for things to happen and then grapple to mitigate their impact in Zambia, if recent events such as the floods and the ongoing electricity load shedding are anything to go by.

The issue of urban and city planning particularly in Lusaka is a matter of concern and one would be tempted to think that Zambia has not produced any graduates in city planning since independence.

It is a fact that as early as 1975, it was estimated that one in two persons was a squatter in Lusaka and today, the Lusaka City Council says up to 70 per cent of the total city population could be living in squatter camps or the so-called peri-urban settlements.

Local Government Minister, Sylvia Masebo seems to understand this problem very well:

“The reasons for the springing up of so many slums or illegal settlements in Lusaka have been economic, social and political altogether … but the repercussions of allowing such slums are that when floods or other natural tragedies come, the effects are very severe,” she says.

On the other hand the argument of poor planning or lack of or poor implementation of plans has been blamed for this. “Our sense of contingency planning as Zambians is very poor and we have a tendency of procrastination. We have no regard for time and we relax and convince ourselves that all will be well,” Ms Musiwa observed.

Zambia had abolished her planning system at the ministry of Finance for about a decade from 1991 -2001. Now that the Government of President Mwanawasa has revived the planning system, which has resulted in the creation of the Vision 2030 –to make Zambia a middle-income country by the year 2030 and the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP), the country has a mechanism for ensuring national development.

Centre for Policy Dialogue executive director, Neo Simutanyi observed that Zambia needs to focus on the redistribution of wealth and opportunities considering that up to 94 per cent of Zambians could be living below two dollars a day.

He says Zambia needs to rethink its governance structures so that they can become more meaningful at breaking the inequalities that exist considering that more resources are concentrated in the hands of a few people.

Dr Simutanyi called for a paradigm shift in the way things are done in the country so that people begin to see more meaningfully the benefits of their civic duties. He cited the way a majority of Zambians dread paying tax yet in other countries doings so is a noble duty that people perform with pride.

Lusaka lawyer Patrick Matibini observes that opportunities exist for Zambia to be better off hence all citizens should take keen interest in the on-going Constitution making process to ensure that the country creates for itself a legal framework that will ensure the welfare of the ordinary Zambian is taken care of.

He believes the way forward should be the inclusion of social, economic and cultural rights in the new Constitution.

Zambia’s economy has experienced modest growth in recent years, with real GDP growth in 2005-07 between 5-6 per cent per year. The country experienced a bumper harvest in 2007, which helped to boost GDP and agricultural exports and contain inflation. Although poverty continues to be a significant problem in Zambia, it is a fact that the economy has strengthened, featuring single-digit inflation, a relatively stable currency, decreasing interest rates, and increasing levels of trade.

Zambia’s contemporary culture is a blend of values, norms, material and spiritual traditions of more than 70 ethnically diverse people, there is every reason to believe that Zambia can be better off!



Ware advises SMEs to invest in technology

Ware advises SMEs to invest in technology
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

ZAMBIAN Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) should emulate their colleagues in the far East and invest in technology to enhance their productivity, Softline ACCPAC has advised. Regional director for Africa and Indian Ocean Islands, Aruna Ware said investment in Information Technology (IT) by most countries had been the at the core of their economic fortunes in recent times.

Ware said this in an interview after Softline ACCPAC organised a one-day seminar with Emerging Technologies Limited on the usage of Softline ACCPAC payroll and human resource software.

She also stressed that investment in the procurement in technology SMEs needed to move in tandem with investments in training of human resource.
“What is the essence of investment in technology when the people to use it do not understand it?” Ware asked. In fact if you look at the success of the SMEs in Asia, technology has been at the core of that.”

Ware also counselled SMEs not to perceive technology as a production but as something they should embrace wholly to enhance their efficiency.
And Emerging Technologies managing consultant Mwango Musonda said his company was investing in technology to ensure that the local entrepreneurs had the full understanding of the innovations.

Musonda said Emerging Technologies was striving to uphold integrity to ensure that the ACCPAC ERP that would be distributed on the local market was original and was proof of manipulation.

Musonda also said: “In our marketing process, our targets are SMEs and we are creating software that would meet the specifications of all the category of SMEs.”

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Zamtel finishes installing optic fibre in Lusaka

Zamtel finishes installing optic fibre in Lusaka
By Chibaula Silwamba
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

ZAMTEL managing director Simon Tembo has said his company has finished installing optical fibre in Lusaka and has since started connecting clients to the network. In an interview yesterday, Tembo said the Lusaka Metropolitan optical fibre would be officially commissioned next month. “We are now selling the service to government departments and business houses,” Tembo said.

The installation of the Lusaka Metropolitan optical fibre project was scheduled to be completed in January but was delayed due to the rains that had flooded some parts of the city. Tembo said after the Lusaka Metropolitan project, ZAMTEL would embark on the national optical fibre installation.

“All the equipment for the national optical fibre is in the country,” said Tembo.

A fibre optical cable is a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves. ZAMTEL has invested US $5 million (about K19 billion) in the Lusaka Metropolitan and has installed over 20 nods in areas such as Arcades, Manda Hill, Northmead, ZNBC, government complex, University Teaching Hospital (UTH), and University of Zambia (UNZA).

ZAMTEL is phasing out satellite communication and copper cables because they are expensive and have limited capacity to replace them with optical fibre cables.

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Power outages could lead to job loses, warns Musenge

Power outages could lead to job loses, warns Musenge
By Mutuna Chanda in Lusaka and Zumani Katasefa
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

OUTGOING Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) president Dan Musenge has warned that the power shortages that the country is experiencing could lead to job losses. And commerce minister Felix Mutati has called for better engagement between the government and employers to be able to attract US $3 billion and create 100,000 jobs this year. Meanwhile, labour deputy minister Austin Liato said the quest for increased productivity should not be allowed to result in workers’ abuse.

Speaking during the ZFE annual general meeting at which new office bearers were being elected in Lusaka yesterday, Musenge said the measure of suspending duty on energy saving devices that President Mwanawasa announced recentlywas not enough and that a lot more needed to be done to address the energy problems that Zambia was facing.

“As we stand now companies and the economy are incurring the costs resulting from the energy problems we are facing,” Musenge said. “There could be staff shed-offs because companies are producing less and those are the implications that need to be addressed.”
Musenge also spoke of the need for the government to reserve land for the expansion of the country’s road network.

He further urged the government to carefully consider its steps before agreeing to the Economic Partnership Agreements that it, together with other African Caribbean and Pacific states, was negotiating with the European Union (EU).

Musenge said Zambia still had to deal with belonging to either the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (Comesa) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

But Mutati said Zambia would not choose whether to belong to Comesa or SADC but that the broader perspective was for all African states to belong to one bloc.
Mutati further said additional electricity was needed to sustain the momentum in the economy.

“Today (yesterday) we are receiving bids for Maamba Collieries and part of the plan for it is to have a coal fired power station at Maamba and so that will address part of the problem of the power shortages in the short term,” Mutati said.

And Liato in a speech delivered by labour commissioner Noah Siasimuna said Zambia needed to focus on productivity promotion but that this should not result in workers being abused.

Meanwhile, Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) deputy general secretary Ian Mkandawire urged government to put in place stiff laws that would ban the exportation of unprocessed minerals outside Zambia by mine investors.

In an interview yesterday, Mkandawire said the government should make sure that the investors create enough jobs for Zambians by ensuring that the processing of the minerals was done within Zambia before being exported.
And Mkandawire said that the attitude of foreign investors towards Zambian workers was still bad.

He observed that there were a lot of disparities in salaries and wages between local and expatriate workers in many mining companies.
“We want to see equal pay for equal work. We want to have professional expatriate workers. We do not want expatriate to have security guards here. No,” Mkandawire said.

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Zim citizens describe polls as last hope for the nation

Zim citizens describe polls as last hope for the nation
By Jack Zimba
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

SOME Zimbabwean citizens returning home to participate in today’s elections have described the polls as the last hope for change in the economically-hit southern African country. In an interview at the Intercity Bus Terminus in Lusaka on Thursday, a Zimbabwean resident Joe Chihota said: “These elections provide the last window of hope for the people of Zimbabwe to change this government which has been in power since 1980.”

But Chihota, who is an MDC supporter, expressed doubt about the opposition winning the elections, saying they were too weak to unseat the Mugabe government.
Others, however, were optimistic about the opposition’s chances.

“The old man has got to go. Morgan Tsvangirai is winning. The present government has failed to deliver and the people are saying ‘enough is enough’,” said a registered voter, who declined to give his identity.

Chihota, who is a vegetable trader in Harare, also expressed fear of a further down-turn in the country’s economy if President Robert Mugabe, who is going for his sixth term in office, won.

“If Mugabe wins, it will mean that the sanctions on the country will continue, but if the opposition win, then maybe the white farmers will come back and contribute to our economy again,” said Chihota.

Zimbabwe is under economic and travel sanctions imposed by the United States. It is currently battling with a run-away inflation soaring above 100,000 per cent.
At the Intercity Bus Terminus, K15,000 buys Zim $100 million.
And a pastor, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he feared the country might be thrown into violence if the opposition won.

The Harare-based pastor urged Zambians to pray for peace in his country.
“The issue of violence after the elections cannot be ignored. We fear that what happened in Kenya might happen to us in Zimbabwe,” the pastor said.
The 84-year-old Mugabe is facing two main challengers, Tsvangirai and former finance minister Simba Makoni, in today’s elections, with over five million registered voters.

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Zim defence, security wings on full alert

Zim defence, security wings on full alert
By George Chellah
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

ZIMBABWE'S service chiefs yesterday announced that all defence and security wings were on full alert and up to the task in thwarting all threats to national security as the country goes to the polls today.

Addressing journalists at police headquarters, police chief Augustine Chihuri, who was flanked by Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe National Army commander Lieutenant General Philip Sibanda, Air Force of Zimbabwe commander Air Marshal Perence Shiri, director-general of the intelligence retired Major General Happyton Bonyongwe and Commissioner of Prisons retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi, urged the nation to sustain the current peace, law and order.

"We wish to advise the nation that all the defence and security forces of Zimbabwe are on full alert from now onwards covering the election period and beyond. May we remind everyone that those who think and do evil must fear, for the defence and security forces are up to the task in thwarting all threats to national security," Chihuri warned.

"Also those who have been breathing fire about Kenyan style violence should be warned that violence is a poor substitute for intelligence and that it is a monster that can devour its creator, as it is blind and not selective in nature.

"Such misguided elements should stop this dangerous dreaming where they start to comment themselves, measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves among themselves forgetting the constitution and our existence. Doing so is not wise."
Chihuri reminded all contesting parties and individuals of what the law clearly stipulated and how votes would be counted and results announced.

"We are not going to allow a situation where individuals arrogate themselves the roles of election officials and announce themselves winners at any stage of the electoral process. The authority of counting votes and announcing the winners is vested in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission in accordance with law," Chihuri said.

"We warn anyone of such inclination that we will not tolerate any such pronouncements as they have the effect of trying to take the law into their own hands thereby fomenting disorder and mayhem. Everyone is therefore advised to follow the law."

He said the defence and security forces guarantee peace and safety for all Zimbabweans who would like to exercise their right to vote.

"Adequate security deployments have been made to ensure their safety. But after voting, we urge all the voters to go back and await the results in the comfort of their homes. The officers who have been deployed at polling stations have been thoroughly briefed on their roles in line with statutory instrument 43 of 2008," Chihuri said.

Chihuri said there have been some exaggerated reports carried by the media with regard to the elections.

"We appeal to the various media houses to report stories in a professional and ethical manner. Truth and accuracy should not be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency," said Chihuri.



Chiinda declares support for govt

Chiinda declares support for govt
By Miriam Zimba
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

WE call ourselves endangered species, fired Mazabuka district commissioner Misheck Chiinda has said.

In an interview yesterday morning, Chiinda, who was supposed to chair the District Disaster Management meeting, disclosed that he only received the letter terminating his employment yesterday morning.

“We call ourselves endangered species (political appointees), thus for me to have been here this long, I would like to thank his Excellency the President for having accorded me this opportunity to serve as DC for the last three years. All I can say is that I will continue giving him and the New Deal government my full support,” he added.

No reasons have been advanced in the letter of termination signed by Southern Province Permanent Secretary Darius Hakayobe dated March 14, 2008. Chiinda said he would now concentrate on farming and supporting the MMD.

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Mugabe mocks Tsvangirai

Mugabe mocks Tsvangirai
By Amos Malupenga, George Chellah and Kingsley Kaswende
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Thursday mocked MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's credentials, saying he derives his principles of democracy from the white colonialists he worked for as a tea boy. And President Mugabe has declared that Zimbabwe's economy will never collapse despite the challenges facing the country.

Addressing a mass rally at Bindura, about 78 kilometres from Harare, President Mugabe said Tsvangirai misleads himself that he is a democrat just by virtue of having worked with the colonialists as a tea boy.

"Morgan was working here at Trojan Mine in Mashonaland West as a tea boy. He is saying 'I was giving whites tea that's where I derived my principles of democracy through serving the whites with tea'," President Mugabe said.

President Mugabe expressed optimism that the Zimbabwean economy would remain standing despite the pressing challenges.

President Mugabe said under the "Look East Policy", the Zimbabwean government was now dealing with countries like Malaysia, India, China, Indonesia and Iran.

"We will never collapse and I have told them. I told them at the United Nations (UN) as well, never, never.

They are talking about regime change... regime change will only be called by our people. We are a people driven party," President Mugabe said.

He urged Zimbabweans to be more cautious than ever before. "Let us be careful with our security and politics," he said.

And President Mugabe announced that Cabinet held its final meeting on Thursday morning before its dissolution. "I have told them that the good performers will continue but the weak performers will drop," he said.

President Mugabe called on the ruling ZANU-PF supporters to vote in today's harmonized presidential, parliamentary and council elections.

Earlier during the launch of the first phase of the medical sector skills retention programme at Harare Hospital, President Mugabe said detractors have tried to derail the government's efforts but unity and resourcefulness of Zimbabweans had always triumphed.

"Victory is here for us to see and celebrate today. In the early history of our independence, our health sector operated in a regional and international context that was free of the illegal sanctions that weigh us down today," President Mugabe said. "Then, we could access affordable vital equipment, medical drugs and other essential consumables without the inhuman and insensitive declared and undeclared sanctions called for by Britain, America and their racist cousins in response to our land reform.

"Today, the British and Americans and those who think like them, would rather see our children, the old and the infirm suffer under the weight of their evil sanctions they have imposed as part of their desire to effect regime change in our country."

President Mugabe said the country would continue to march on undeterred.
"Forward as we march, we honour and recognize the large hearts of our entire civil service who include teachers, doctors and nurses.

They have steadfastly responded to the call of duty to serve the people of Zimbabwe," President Mugabe said. "In turn, government wishes to give deep appreciation of the areas of concern to the medical fraternity, hence today, we launch the following support interventions to benefit and retain skills in this strategic social sector."

President Mugabe said these initiatives were just complementary interventions to other programmes the government was implementing.

"It is, therefore, imperative that we recognize them as national programmes that are a direct offshoot of our people's struggle for self-reliance and self-determination. It is a struggle that fought racist settler colonialism," President Mugabe said. "It is the struggle that brought us political independence and it will carry us to the economic empowerment of our people.

This is the Zimbabwe we fight for, the Zimbabwe we want. Anything less would be a betrayal of the struggle that together with our people, we fought so valiantly against colonialism. And those who seek to negate it should know that their efforts will fall flat."

And Central Bank governor Dr Gideon Gono said the programme was not a knee-jerk reaction to challenges facing the health sector.

"We have adopted, together with the Minister of Finance, a philosophy of less talk and more action. So the nation should brace itself for more wonderful times in the not too distant a future," Dr Gono said.
He dismissed statements from critics accusing the Central Bank of playing political gimmicks.

"Life should not stop simply because we have an election on our hands," Dr Gono said.
Health minister Dr David Parirenyatwa called on all political parties to condemn and call for the lifting of sanctions.

Under the first phase of the medical sector skills retention programme, the government through the Central Bank has secured brand new 450 Mitsubishi Gallant cars for medical practitioners across the country, 52 buses, 82 ambulances and power generators, among other things.

President Mugabe announced that his family had also sourced 350 television sets to provide entertainment to patients in hospitals.

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Loan revelations embarrass Mulela

Loan revelations embarrass Mulela
By Mwala Kalaluka
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

FORMER foreign affairs deputy minister Davison Mulela has said he is extremely embarrassed by revelations made to the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that he is failing to offset a furniture loan. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Tens Kapoma told PAC last Wednesday that his office had referred the matter in which Mulela was failing to liquidate a balance for a furniture loan amounting to K13, 690, 000.00 to the Attorney General’s office.

Kapoma, who said the furniture was procured by the government, but was converted into a personal loan at the time Mulela was dropped, said Mulela paid K5 million and that his office had sent constant reminders to him to offset the balance of K8.6 million.

Kapoma explained that the items in question were bought for Mulela at the time ministers and deputy ministers were told to vacate Mulungushi Village Complex, as their stay there was proving to be too costly to government.

He said the furniture was procured by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs because the house which they rented for Mulela subsequently had no furniture.
But Mulela charged yesterday that Kapoma and his officers were not being truthful on the matter and that some of the assertions they have made over the issue have brought his integrity into question. “The permanent secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs is misleading the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee and the nation at large,” Mulela said in an interview.

He said he procured the items in question through a personal loan.
“The items were purchased by the Procurement Unit of the ministry and the receipts were retained by the officials and items were delivered to our shop at Arcades,” Mulela said.
“I never stayed in a rented house apart from Mulungushi Village Complex from where I moved to my own house in Roma.”

Mulela said he was surprised that the issue of him not paying for the loan in contention surfaced seven months after he left office.

“Nobody gave me the answer why this amount was not recovered from my gratuity,” he said. “I am not a fugitive to be pursued.”

Mulela said seeing that the matter could turn into an embarrassing situation, he decided to pay the K5 million and committed himself to offset the balance.

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Cuito Cuanavale changed history of Africa

Cuito Cuanavale changed history of Africa
By Editor
Saturday March 29, 2008 [03:00]

We believe that on a day like today, homage should be paid to the efforts made by the Cuban troops and the Cuban people in the defence of Africa at Cuito Cuanavale. This was a mission they will always feel proud of; it is one more page of glory for Cuba’s militant people and their armed forces. Fidel Castro, that heroic leader of the Cuban Revolution, once remarked: “Whoever is incapable of fighting for others will never be capable of fighting for himself.

And the heroism shown by our forces, by our people in other lands, faraway lands, must also serve to let the imperialists know what awaits them if one day they force us to fight on this land.”

There are moments when difficult and bitter decisions have to be made, and when that moment came for Angola, the Cuban leadership, their party and their armed forces did not hesitate for an instant to come to Angola’s aid in the defence of its independence. We believe that helped to prevent a political calamity, a military calamity for Angola, for Africa, and for all progressive forces. And as we saw later, and we are today witnessing, that decisively boosted the prospects for peace now present in our region, the southern African region.

We know that the United States had some sleepless nights over the kind of boldness whereby a small, blockaded and threatened country like Cuba was capable of carrying out an internationalist mission of that nature in Angola, in southern Africa. The empire couldn’t conceive of that. They are the only ones in the world who are entitled to have troops everywhere, weapons everywhere, bases everywhere. And so the fact that a small Caribbean country was capable of providing support to a sister African nation was something beyond their parameters, concepts and norms.

It is today very clear that that internationalist mission carried out by Cuba in Angola, in our region, had a very big impact on Africa. The African peoples, and even African governments of that time, even those that were not revolutionary at all but rather belonged to the right had viewed with admiration the mission carried out by Cuba on our continent. The African peoples knew that these troops were allied with them; they knew that the only non-African country whose troops were sent to defend an African country against the aggression of racist and fascist apartheid South Africa was Cuba.

All Africa deeply hated apartheid. All Africa viewed apartheid as their greatest enemy, an enemy that despised Africa, attacked Africa, humiliated Africa. It is incredible up to what point African peoples suffered from apartheid, and this turned African feelings, the African soul, into an ally of Cuba.

The imperialists couldn’t understand very well the reasons for Cuba’s broad relations and prestige on the international scene. But the African peoples, who have been humiliated by apartheid and racism, had been able to appraise in all its dimensions the noble, generous gesture, the historical dimension, the heroism of the Cuban people who were capable not only of defending themselves on their own land from such a powerful enemy but also helped the Africans in their struggle

against the fascists and racists. The African peoples viewed the United States as an ally and friend of apartheid and saw it as mainly to blame for apartheid’s survival.

It is a really extraordinary fact that when the Cubans were threatened in their own country, when the empire spoke of crushing them, when the empire forced them to make exceptional efforts in defence, the Cubans never refrained from fulfilling their internationalist duties. They did that even though they had well-founded reasons to suspend their internationalist missions and recall their forces in view of the threat they faced.

Enough has not yet been said, but we believe that at Cuito Cuanavale Cuba had written one of the bravest and most extraordinary chapters of internationalism. They had fulfilled their duty. And they should be proud of having fulfilled their duty, of having made a contribution.

They are a small country. They are a poor country. But they made a contribution they could in the struggle to liberate millions of people from the yoke of apartheid, the yoke of colonialism. And as the Cubans like to put it themselves, they paid their historic debt.

These were the descendants of men and women who crossed the oceans centuries before as men and women in bondage in the hold of slave ships. At the turn of the 20th century they crossed the ocean as free men and women, with arms in hand.

They came to defend the descendants of their ancestors. They returned to their place of origin to fight for freedom. Their ties with Africa, first of all, are blood ties. They are Latin Africans, they have historic ties that were renewed at Cuito Cuanavale. We today express Africa’s gratitude for what Cuba has done for our continent.

And the truth is that Cuba has and had no economic interests in Angola or in Africa. Cuba had and has no strategic interest in Angola or in Africa nor can it or could it, because Cuba is not a big power but a small country. Cuba was in Angola by virtue of internationalist principles, by virtue of its feelings of solidarity, because it was doing its duty of helping other peoples. It was doing its duty of helping the African peoples against apartheid, against racism, against colonialism, against foreign aggression.

We wish to pay special tribute to the Cuban armed forces who travelled thousands and thousands of kilometres to come to Africa and assist in a practical way those who were still languishing in the chains of colonialism, imperialism and foreign domination in our region, the southern Africa region.

We are indeed grateful to the leadership of Fidel, for the concrete material assistance, political and diplomatic support that was given to the liberation movements in southern Africa. And as Fidel himself said at a ministerial meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in May 1988: “I can assure you of one thing.

The history of Africa will have one very important moment. But it must be written before Cuito Cuanavale and after Cuito Cuanavale. Because the powerful South Africans, the ‘superior’ white race, ran up against a small piece of territory defended by blacks and mulattos – I call all Cuban mulattos – from Angola and the Caribbean … when you meet a white South African, a racist, the only thing you have to ask him is: what happened in Cuito Cuanavale? What happened in Cuito Cuanavale? That’s all you have to ask him.”

But what was the significance of Cuito Cuanavale? It changed the course of the way in Angola, and in doing so set in motion events that had the potential to change – or indeed changed - the course of African history.

A combined force of Angolan, Cuban and SWAPO troops fought back and defeated a mighty South African invasion of Angola. Fidel has said that the South Africans “broke their teeth against the defence” of Cuito Cuanavale. After five attempts by the South African army to capture Cuito Cuanavale, they were eventually routed.

But the question is: why did more than 300,000 Cubans – of all ages and professions, men and women, black and white – volunteer to help defend Angola from repeated South African invasions? Was the presence of these Cuban forces in Angola an obstacle to Namibia’s independence and peace in the region? Were they a threat to the United State’s security, as it was often claimed by Washington?

Had Angola become Cuba’s Vietnam? We don’t need to answer these questions. These were questions that were being asked at that time. But time has answered them fully. Cuba has answered these questions with examples of the honest and forthright approach of the Cuban leadership. The United States government and others have also given their interpretation of events in southern Africa.

And with all that we can see in southern Africa today, now more than ever can we appreciate the significance of the military and political victory of peoples of Angola, Namibia and indeed democratic South Africa at Cuito Cuanavale. It cannot be denied that these were events that changed the history of Africa.

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Milupi urges govt to seek alternate energy sources

Milupi urges govt to seek alternate energy sources
By Florence Bupe
Thursday March 27, 2008 [03:00]

LUENA independent Member of Parliament Charles Milupi has suggested that the duty exemption on energy saving equipment should be accompanied by other measures like continued exploration for alternative energy sources. The government has suspended duty on energy equipment to mitigate the impact of power cuts currently being experienced in the country.

“The Ministry of Finance, in dealing with the new tax regime for the mines, should prioritise directing funds towards power generation enhancement as a matter of urgency,” he said.

Milupi said the policy on uranium, as a source of electricity, should also be hastily established.

“Much as we appreciate that certain safety measures have to be observed in the use of sensitive materials such as uranium, we also need to take into account the benefits we can derive from positively utilising these materials for example in the generation of electricity,” he said.

Milupi further called on the government to augment Zambia’s energy interconnector with energy surplus countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

“By 2009, this country will run into an even more serious power crisis, and there is need to take advantage of our vast resources and the potential we can derive from there. For instance, the Luapula River has the potential to generate up to 200 mega watts.

We have water resources that provide us with massive opportunities for power generation, and ultimately increase the country’s revenue base,” said Milupi.

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Kavindele seeks to meet Levy over N/West Railways

Kavindele seeks to meet Levy over N/West Railways
By Maluba Jere and Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

NORTH West Railway Company chairman Enoch Kavindele has said it is unfair for President Mwanawasa to say that they are not serious about constructing a rail line connecting Zambia to Angola. Reacting to President Mwanawasa’s statement that government might consider taking over the Northwest Rail Company (NWR) and make the rail line state owned, Kavindele said he would seek to meet President Mwanawasa when he returns from Botswana to get the understanding of the statement.

NWR was last November granted a 10-year rail construction permit by Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the company has announced that it has so far mobilised about US $400 million for the 405 Kilometre line to connect Zambia to Angola.

“We are very serious about the project. The only drawback is the reluctance by the two mining companies (Lumwana Copper Mines and Kansanshi Mine) to sign the off-take agreements otherwise we are all set,” he said.

Kavindele also said he believed that if construction of the rail line started this year, it would be ready by 2010 to fulfill President Mwanawasa’s recent undertaking to his Angolan counterpart.

He also said NWR expected President Mwanawasa to assist the company to obtain the off-take agreements from the two mining companies.

“It’s a condition of the loan that the two mining companies sign off-take agreements,” he said. “In order for Lumwana to raise $584 million, they had to show their financiers the processing agreements they entered into with Chambishi Smelter.

Likewise, we are being asked to produce off-take contracts and there is nothing unusual about it. So we hope now that the government wants to speed up this project, they will help us obtain the off-take agreements from the two mining companies.”

Kavindele further said that he had just got communication from the financiers of the project that the funds had been available for some time and that had now attracted interest of $750,000.

Kavindele added that he appreciated the government’s urgency to develop the North Western Province, and transport infrastructure.
“So it’s most unfair for the President to say that we are not serious with the project because we were only granted the Investment licence last year in November,” said Kavindele.

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Govt warns defiant investors

Govt warns defiant investors
By Kabanda Chulu in Kawambwa
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

KAWAMBWA Tea factory manager George Mwansa has said the company is struggling to penetrate the export market due to lack of modern equipment. And Luapula Province acting permanent secretary Clement Siame has warned Khumah Holdings of Zimbabwe, which is the holding company of Kawambwa Tea, to stop defying government directives. During a tour of the tea estate and factory on Tuesday, Mwansa said the company was producing 100 metric tonnes of tea per month when it reached peak production.

“But when not operating at full capacity, we only produce between 60 and 70 metric tonnes of tea and out of this only 24 tonnes is being taken to the Mombassa auction floor in Kenya where buyers are found,” Mwansa said. “We export tea as a finished product, packaged as Kawambwa Tea and the quality is good because we sell everything at the auction floor but our export volumes are not high as compared to the region due to lack of modern equipment.

For instance, it is difficult to compete with others that are using the Continuous Fermentation Units (CFU) while we use the old system and only shareholders can answer on matters of recapitalisation.”

Kawambwa Tea was state-owned until it was sold off in 1996.
And Siame said the new owners of the company had failed to run considering their incapacity to recapitalise it.

He also warned Khumal Holdings that the government would not allow defiant investors.

“It is an acceptable that these people are not investing in the company and they are just taking money elsewhere and also why should they operate without hoisting a Zambian flag at this factory?” said Siame.

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Chiluba warned over evading maize deal questions

Chiluba warned over evading maize deal questions
By Noel Sichalwe
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

TASK Force chairman Max Nkole yesterday said Chiluba evaded questions that were asked regarding the Carlington maize saga. Briefing the press after former president Frederick Chiluba appeared for questioning at the Task Force offices, Nkole said Chiluba had indicated that he wanted to explain in detail the issue concerning the Carlington maize and that it was in that spirit that the Task Force summoned him to talk to them.

"We had prepared a questionnaire which he was supposed to answer to and we made available all logistics that were required to make him comfortable while here," he said. "His interview was warn and caution.

In other words, he is deemed as a suspect. Our focus is to try to establish a conspiracy between officials including himself and the Carlington Sales executive in Canada.

As we said earlier, he was at the centre of brokering and actually approving this maize contract, so we are looking at him as a suspect together with all other people who received the money outside.

The nature of questioning which was a question and answer was such that he was supposed to provide us with answers. Unfortunately, he was evasive and he declined to answer to any of those questions.

So our next strategy will be trying to conclude these investigations and try to recover the money wherever it's lying outside Zambia and the other is to seek recommendation from the DPP (Director of Public Prosecution) for the prosecution of all those people that will be perceived to have conspired.

President Chiluba was also cautioned on a charge of abuse. In the sense apart from this contract of US$7.8 million, a fraction of that money was diverted to what was being termed as a lobby's contract after a formal contract had been signed between FRA and Carlington.

So it's another angle we are trying to consider that that money which was diverted amounts to abuse of office."Nkole said the officers also had preliminary interviews with Finance Bank proprietor Rajan Mahtani and former finance minister Edith Nawakwi and that they were looking forward to having formal interviews with them to cover all angles in the matter.

Mahtani is alleged to have introduced Carlington Sales chief executive, Ali Ben Manashe to Chiluba and had a business deal with him.He said the same Ali Ben Manashe was on the run and that he was wanted in the United States and Canada.

Nkole said this was another matter they had to issue warrants of arrest.However, Chiluba has denied any involvement in the Carlington maize saga that resulted in the loss of about US $7.8 million.

This was after Chiluba gave a warn and caution statement to Task Force officers over the maize saga.Chiluba who arrived at Task Forces offices in Woodlands area around 09:50 hours was accompanied by his wife, Regina, lawyer Robert Simeza, family members and supporters among them former science and technology minister Valentine Kayope.

The questioning lasted about two hours before Chiluba emerged out of the offices and waved at anxious journalists who were waiting for him outside wishing them a good day.Chiluba could not even give any statement to the media but delegated his spokesperson Emmanuel Mwamba to speak.

Addressing journalists, Mwamba said Chiluba was warned and cautioned over the Carlington maize deal and the sub contracts that arose from the deal that the officers were investigating.Mwamba said the officers particularly mentioned the subcontract for US $1 million, which was meant to pay for maize but was diverted.

He said Chiluba was shown a contract that was signed on October 10, 1997 between former Food Reserve Agency (FRA) executive director Chance Kabaghe and Carlington Sales chief executive, Manashe which later failed to materialise.

He said after the contract failed to materialise, there were two sub contracts one of which was signed by former finance minister Edith Nawakwi and Manashe involving about US $ 1 million. Mwamba said this contract was meant to mandate Manashe to get Canadian firms that could buy the ZCCM core mining assets.

He said the second one was a consultancy contract that was signed by former Attorney General Bonaventure Mutale and Manashe meant to build Zambia's image with donors in the United Kingdom and United States and multilateral institutions.

Mwamba said Chiluba has denied any involvement whatsoever in the Carlington deal and that if the officers would be satisfied with the evidence, they might proceed to effect an arrest.Mwamba said Chiluba elected to remain silent by invoking his constitutional right as advised by his lawyers because he was not aware of some issues that happened ten years ago.

He said Chiluba was asked about 30 questions but did not respond to any."He was actually learning some of the things in the interview room," Mwamba said. "So we will hear from them but he has cooperated and we are ready for any action that the Task Force wish to take," said Mwamba.

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Govt companies are underperforming, says Chilipamushi

Govt companies are underperforming, says Chilipamushi
By Chiwoyu Sinyangwe
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

GOVERNMENT spending agencies should view the Auditor General’s report as a management tool to improve their efficiency and not a document to dent their images, commerce Permanent Secretary Davison Chilipamushi has said. And Chilipamushi has observed that most commercialised government companies have continued to under-perform.

In an interview after Patents and Companies Registration Office (PACRO) presented a K700 million dividend on Wednesday, the first ever by a government agency, Chilipamushi said PACRO was an example of company that had been transformed from loss making to profitability due to the recommendations of the Auditor General’s report.

“About a few yeas ago, PACRO like most of our agencies was making losses and was a drain on the treasury but basing on the recommendations of the OAG Office of the Auditor General report these are the results we are seeing today,” Chilipamushi said. “So, the lesson for other government departments and other spending agencies is that they should use the AG’s report as a tool to be used to improve service delivery…even when there are negative issues, they should be taken in the manner that suggest that they are simply advising you to be able to correct those anomalies that might be occurring in the institutions.”

Chilipamushi also stressed that those controlling officers that were found wanting in the AG’s report needed to be prosecuted.

“People are bound to make mistakes here and there but all the report does is to remind all the controlling officers and the people involved to help seal the loopholes and ensure that those loopholes don’t result in the loss of government money,” Chilipamushi said. “Where it needs to take corrective actions of firing people or prosecuting them, so be it.”
Chilipamushi said while some companies had performed well under commercialisation, most of them had continued to underperform.

“Some companies are performing well but others need surgery to be able to move a little bit more in terms of efficient delivery of service,” said

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We won't rig elections, assures Mugabe

We won't rig elections, assures Mugabe
By Amos Malupenga in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has assured that his government does not intend to rig tomorrow's elections because it has never done that before. And President Mugabe said the suffering that Zimbabweans are currently enduring will soon be a thing of the past. Winding up his campaign rallies in Manicaland on Wednesday, President Mugabe said MDC leader Morgan Tsvangrai, his members and sympathisers have resorted to telling the world shameless and desperate lies that tomorrow's general elections would be rigged by the ruling ZANU PF.

He said Tsvangrai was well aware of the impending electoral thrashing so he was now trying to prepare the world to sympathise with him.
President Mugabe said no rigging would take place and that Zimbabwe did not know that word until MDC was born.

"Of course these puppets are using the language of their masters," President Mugabe said. "We didn't know the word 'rigging' before MDC. But these are lies, there is no rigging.

These are damn liars, they are devilish liars. Yes, we have to say it because they tell lies at number 10 Downing Street British Prime Minister's official residence, they tell lies in Washington. They are damn liars, devilish liars."

President Mugabe said Tsvangirai and his masters would want post-election violence to justify their lies but this would not happen. He said police would not allow in Zimbabwe the violence that characterised post-election Kenya.

He said those that would want to destabilise the country through violent means would be well taken care of by the law and that all the armed forces were ready to deal with violent characters.

President Mugabe urged MDC to accept defeat.
"If they lose, let them accept. We are ready to accept the results. After all, we have always been accepting results. When they win more, we accept so when they win less, they should accept," he said.

And President Mugabe, who is today scheduled to dissolve his Cabinet, admitted that Zimbabweans were currently going through a lot of hardships and suffering but promised that things would change after tomorrow's elections.

He said ZANU PF and the country in general would emerge stronger after elections.

"This is a passing phase," said President Mugabe.

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Zim govt rules out post-election violence

Zim govt rules out post-election violence
By George Chellah in Harare, Zimbabwe
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

JUSTICE minister Patrick Chinamasa has dismissed predictions of post-election violence in Zimbabwe claiming that Britain and the US are worried because of the current peaceful situation in the country. And Chinamasa has dismissed as utter rubbish MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai’s recent complaints over the electoral process, saying the opposition leader was now panicking and trying to prepare grounds to explain his imminent defeat.

During a special interview on Zimbabwe Television on Tuesday evening, Chinamasa expressed optimism that this Saturday’s harmonised presidential, parliamentary and council elections would be peaceful.

“There will be no Kenyan situation in Zimbabwe because the majority cannot revolt against itself. That’s a pipedream; there will be no violence here. MDC is going to be wiped out politically. We know that the British and the Americans are worried that there is no violence in the elections. They think it’s a very bad precedent, which must be stopped,” Chinamasa said.

“They will look at you as you kill each other so long as it doesn’t affect their interests. In fact, the bloodier the better, that is colonialism for you. Look at Nigeria, that election happened right in their eyes but they didn’t say anything because it didn’t affect their oil interests.

So the people of Zimbabwe should ask themselves: ‘why the discrimination?’”

Chinamasa dismissed Tsvangirai’s recent claims that the elections would not be free and fair.

“That’s utter rubbish. Last year we embarked on the SADC dialogue and they raised concerns about the playing field. We asked them to express all their concerns about the playing field and that they did.

We agreed to everything and at the end of it, it was very clear that the playing field was leveled to their satisfaction. That’s why they accepted to participate in the elections,” Chinamasa said.

Chinamasa said Tsvangirai was participating in the elections under a clear understanding that the playing field was leveled.

“Tsvangirai is panicking, they see the crowds the President is attracting. They see that they are going to be wiped out from the political map. They are seeing defeat. So they are trying to find excuses for the defeat, which is staring them in the face,” he said.

Asked about Tsvangirai’s suspicions that elections would be rigged if results were announced at the National Command Centre, Chinamasa responded: “That is the tragedy because he lacks basic education, which is unfortunate for MDC and the country as a member of the opposition.

He is humbly educated, so he lacks understanding of the process. We are basically talking of correlating the results of polling stations. I thought he has good lawyers around him to advise him.”

Chinamasa wondered why the MDC was accusing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) of being biased when it participated in its establishment.

“The present ZEC is constituted by nominees from the MDC and ZANU-PF. So if there is anything, I am sure their people are there.

The ZEC is a product of the dialogue between the MDC and ZANU-PF. MDC and ZANU-PF put up their members who are now members of ZEC. You ask Morgan himself, he knows that,” Chinamasa said.
He said Tsvangirai was a very indecisive leader.

“Even in the negotiations, it was difficult. It’s very difficult when you are negotiating with puppets because someone has to decide for them. So they keep on changing positions,” Chinamasa said.

He accused independent presidential candidate Simba Makoni and Tsvangirai of supporting the West over the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.

“They called for the sanctions and clearly they will never say ‘down with the sanctions’ because the people funding them are the ones that imposed sanctions on us. They opposition leaders have evil minds,”

Chinamasa said: “It’s like a man asking a woman out and then he buys a pliers to pinch her ears in order to compel her to love him. Sanctions have targeted all individuals critical to our economy. The economy, the government, just like companies are run by individuals. So they can’t say these are targeted sanctions because they are targeted at people who run our government.”

Chinamasa said despite the challenges, Zimbabwe would come out stronger after this Saturday’s harmonised elections.

“As far as they are concerned the economy would have collapsed in 2000. But we are still standing. We have lasted for 10 years under sanctions using our own resources. No other country in Africa has done that or will be able to do that,” said Chinamasa.

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Findlay hits back at Shakas

Findlay hits back at Shakas
By Patson Chilemba, Masuzyo Chakwe, Lambwe Kachali and Fridah Z
Friday March 28, 2008 [03:00]

SUSPENDED MMD Copperbelt provincial chairperson Terence Findlay yesterday hit back at Jonas Shakafuswa saying he is a "bad seed" who must be rooted out of the party and the government. And the women movement yesterday petitioned President Levy Mwanawasa over Shakafuswa's remarks against women with one of their placards reading: "Slaughter the economy, not women".

Meanwhile, Chikankata UPND member of parliament Munji Habeenzu has formally written to Speaker of the National Assembly Amusaa Mwanamwambwa over the verbal attack by Shakafuswa.

Commenting on Shakafuswa's threat to beat Habeenzu over his statements that members of parliament had turned Parliament Motel into a brothel, Findlay said Shakafuswa's outbursts had caused injury to many people.

Findlay said it was unfortunate that Shakafuswa kept on threatening people.

He said it was more worrying that he extended his harsh language to the women.

"I've been vindicated now that his outbursts are a problem to people.

People can see that I've done nothing wrong. It's him who is being a problem. Bad seeds like Shakafuswa should not be in the party and government," Findlay said. "I'm advising the party leadership that there is a bad seed in that. He's a small little boy in the party."

And the women who assembled at Cabinet Office carried placards with messages demanding the removal of Shakafuswa from his position as deputy minister finance.

As the women were chanting anti-Shakafuswa slogans, the police informed them that they had no right to demonstrate because they had no permit.

But the women said they were not demonstrating but merely petitioning the President.

NGOCC executive director Engwase Mwale said the women were not breaking the law but merely trying to raise concern and ensure that Zambia had quality leaders.

Mwale said the issue of forgiveness was one thing and the type of role models the country should have was another.

Among the organisations that attended include NGOCC, Women for Change, Zambia National Women's Lobby and Young Women Christian Association, Empowerment of Prisoners' Wives and Children, Young Women in Action, Lusaka Muslim Women, Zambia Federation of Women in Business.

And in the petition that was handed to Vice-President Rupiah Banda, the women movement demanded for the immediate removal of Shakafuswa from leadership for his lack of respect towards women.

"The minister's derogatory remarks abrogates the spirit of ensuring a just world for the women of Zambia. We are further concerned that the remarks are a drawback on the strides that Zambia has made towards addressing the HIV and AIDS pandemic.

We are concerned Mr President that the contribution that you have made to the progress for gender equality in Zambia, will be negated by the retrogressive actions and statements of your ministers," they stated.

They expressed shock that a leader at the level of minister could express such unbecoming language against women and promote the use of Parliament as a brothel for leaders who have the 'money' to spend.

The women noted that the HIV and AIDS pandemic had hit women more than men due to their low social-economic status that prevented them from making sexual decisions to an extent where they were victims of sexual abuse and exploitation.

And in his letter dated March 27, 2008 and addressed to the Speaker Mwanamwambwa, Habeenzu stated that he and his family were now living under extreme stress and fear, as they did not know when Shakafuswa would execute his intentions.

"On the night of Thursday 19th March 2008 at about 22:45 hours, I went to the Speaker's bar. Upon my arrival, Honourable Jonas Shakafuswa M.P started hurling insults at me in presence of so many Honourable members of parliament and civil servants.

Notable among those that were present were Hon Moses Muteteka M.P, Honourable Vincent Mwale M.P, Honourable David Matongo M.P, Hon Douglas Syakalima M.P, Honourable Toddy Chilembo M.P, Honourable Garry Nkombo M.P, Honourable Clever Silavwe M.P and Honourable Paul Sichamba M.P. Sir, unfortunately, also present at the Honourable Speaker's bar were a number of journalists from various media houses," the letter read in part.

"Honourable Shakafuswa verbally assaulted and physically intimidated me, accusing me of having caused discourse at his home by the manner in which I debated the Ministry of Health vote more than 10 days prior to this incident. In my debate on the floor of the House, I never referred Parliament Motel as a brothel in the manner that Hon Shakafuswa strongly suggested in his verbal assault against me.

Further to this unfounded accusation, he insisted that these activities must be left to those people who have got money to pay for sex and that since I was poor, an idiot and an imbecile, if I continued debating in the manner that he accused me of, he would resort to beating me up."

Habeenzu stated he was surprised and still remained in a state of shock at the manner Shakafuswa behaved.

"Sir, before I could even ask why I was being accosted in the manner that the deputy minister conducted himself, Honourable members who included Hon David Matongo, Hon Moses Muteteka requested me not to respond and to leave.

I obliged and Hon Vincent Mwale led me out of the place. Mr Speaker, I now wish to know through your office as to why the Honourable deputy minister elected to harass and threaten me over an issue that I debated on the floor of the House 10 days later in the bar.

I am humbly seeking your indulgence, Sir, that this matter is addressed in order for my family and I to continue enjoying freedom of speech, association and most of all liberty," stated Habeenzu.

And United Party for National Development (UPND chairperson for women affairs Masela Chinyama said she felt for Florence Shakafuswa in her pain as "a victim of the husband".

Chinyama said there were a lot of women today who could say with a clear conscience that they had not been to bed with any other man except their husbands. "I am one of them," she said.

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